Actions

Work Header

You Are Made of Something Holy

Chapter Text

"If you are a monster,

how come you carry stardust in the palm of your hands?

How come the stars kiss your skin,

like you are made of something holy?

You are the stuff of dreams, darling.

Only Heavens hold beings like you"

 

Liam couldn’t remember a time before the voice. His voice. His mate’s voice. His parents had always told him stories of Soulmates, two people who had been promised to each other the very moment they were brought into this world. But Liam’s favorite stories were the ones of funny and embarrassing situations mates put each other in.

Because Soulmates could hear each other. But, because of some joke, with a punchline that always missed Liam, Soulmates could only hear each other whenever they cursed. Cursing wasn’t Liam’s thing, but it surely was his mate’s.

Liam knew his mate was a he simply because Liam swung that way. It’s how it works, his mother had explained to him, back when Liam went through the phase of questioning everything.

“When you figure that out, you’ll know at least this one thing about your mate. The rest is up to fate”

Liam was seriously sorry for all the bissexuals out there in the world.

Liam couldn’t remember the first time he heard his mate, but he knew for a fact that it had happened pretty early on in his life. Which wasn’t rare, so to speak. It only meant his mate was older than him. There was no way for Liam to know exactly how much older his mate was, he only hoped he wouldn’t end up with some creepy forty year old.

His mother had told him it happened on Thanksgiving. They were in the kitchen, Liam and his parents, probably busy with cooking and baking, with soft Christmas music playing in the back. His mother said he was coloring, sitting next to his dad on the counter. And then the word slipped out, just like that. It hadn’t been his first word, cause that would’ve been just straight up awkward. Liam hadn’t been that young, but still.

“Oh, shit!”

His mother, who had been getting the pumpkin ready for the pie, froze in terror, almost causing an accident by dropping the knife she had been holding. His father had nearly fallen off his seat from laughing, that he did remember.

And that’s when all the conversations started, about Soulmates, about the existence of someone, somewhere out there, who was perfect, made just for him. In all honesty, later in life, after Liam had been able to truly grasp what all that really meant, having a mate, he had felt extremely relieved. To know it was one less thing for him to worry about.

Still, it was one of the most frustrating things Liam had ever experienced. Because, after all these years, after all the ‘shits’, ‘fucks’ and ‘motherfuckers’, he wasn’t any closer to figuring out who his mate was, or at least find out more about him.

Most days Liam could tolerate this feeling inside his chest. Having a mate didn’t mean he’d be loved and accepted by whoever was waiting for him on the other end of this connection. There was someone, someone who would decide their possible future together with a single glance, a single word. And that horrified Liam.

That all of this would just be for nothing.

That all the times he giggled in class, all the times he ignored how people stared annoyed at him would be frowned upon by someone who didn’t even know his name, but was supposed to be his partner in crime for all eternity. Liam did just about everything in his power to meet his mate, he joined as many clubs as he could, attended parties, introduced himself to pretty much anyone he crossed paths with.

But he was 22 and a Junior in college and still in the dark. All of it bugged him, for years, how his mate didn’t seem to be going out of his way to meet him, not even a fraction of the effort Liam put into it all. Until it just didn’t bug him anymore.

He no longer longed for the day he’d get to hear bells chiming and butterflies flying around in his stomach and all that crap. Instead, after his father passed away and he witnessed what losing her mate had done to his mother… Let’s just say Liam just wasn’t looking forward to having someone whose death could tear him apart like that.

But Theo? Theo was not what Liam had expected.

Liam had gone out to a house party with his Lacrosse teammates and, somehow, being the captain hadn’t gotten him out of being chosen to buy more booze. So, there he was. At 2:30 a.m., walking into a convenience store, hands in the pockets of his UCLA, Lacrosse Team Captain jacket, trying to keep warm.

The store was pretty much empty, except for a couple of people, and finding the bottles hadn’t been hard, his feet taking him to the back of the store almost on instinct.

And his blood ran cold when someone bumped into him, while he had been searching through his phone for the list of things his friends had asked for, almost dropping the device on the ground as he stumbled a bit to the side, hearing the sound of plastic bags and a gasp.

“Oh, fuck, dude, I’m sorry. I totally didn’t see you there”

Liam’s brain ached at the curse, his ears confused at the sudden echo effect. There were two voices and there were lips moving, right in front of him. Liam stood there, watching the light brown haired man bend to pick the stuff he had dropped up from the ground.

And if Liam had to guess what his face looked like in that very moment, he’d say it was something akin to pure terror. The guy, with his blue eyes and easy smile, stood back to his full height, offering Liam another apology, one his brain didn’t catch, since he was still baffled and mesmerized by the sight in front of him.

“Uh… everything okay there? I’m sorry, I was distracted”

The guys fumbled with the Doritos and Sneaker’s bars he had in hands, clearing his throat, shuffling his weight from one leg to the other. Then the sweetest, most unbelievable thing happened, right there in that convenience store at 3 in the morning.

The very handsome man in front of him dropped his things by the nearest shelf, his hands up in the air in front of Liam, his fingers moving in weird, weird ways Liam couldn't…

Sign language!

Wait… hold on a second!

Liam’s eyes followed the guy’s quick, agile hands. Sign language. Okay. First semester, Liam had studied a bit of it, his brain hurting at the sudden use. Liam had met a lot of interesting people on campus, including Lila, a Psychology undergrad who happened to be deaf. She could talk, reading other people’s lips to communicate. And she had taught him a bit of sign language, but Liam hadn’t been that great of a student.

Sorry I hit you? Is that what he’s saying? Well, he probably means bumped into you.

It was the guy’s worried look that told Liam he really needed to get over his starstruck momentum and start explaining himself. But, before he could do just that, Liam remembered his mother. His mother telling him all about deaf Soulmates. It didn’t mean they were really deaf, but deaf in the sense they couldn’t hear their Soulmates.

If the guy, who clearly wasn’t deaf, was using sign language, then that meant someone around him definitely was. And that alone explained why it still hadn’t clicked for Mr. Hot Pants over here.

“Ah, no, no… I’m… I’m not deaf, I’m your… God, I have no idea how to even say this, but uh… I’m just gonna say it, I guess… I’m, I’m your Soulmate”

The guy in front of him let out a huffed laugh, covering his mouth a second after, the movement 5 times faster than a human could blink. He cleared his throat once again, his blue eyes untrusting and nervous on Liam’s.

“My uh… my what?”

“Your Soulmate. I’m sorry, this isn’t going so well. Hi, my name’s Liam, I’m a Junior at UCLA, I’m captain of our Lacrosse team, me and my friends were celebrating that we just won the championship and uh… I don’t drink so here I am, on a liquor run for them. I didn’t mean to drop the bomb, I’m… just as surprised as you are, but I would never lie about this, I would never joke about this, never. You have my word, I swear on my father’s grave”

But no. All that hadn’t been enough. The guy licked his lips, biting his bottom one for a few seconds before lifting his head, eyes avoiding Liam's at all costs.

“Look, you seem nice and all, but I don’t have a Soulmate, you must have me confused with someone else”

And, just like that, the guy took the first step that would lead him out of the store and out of Liam’s life forever. He didn’t even have a name, nothing. This was his only chance with his mate, Liam couldn't be more sure that the man he now got to admire from behind was his.

“No… look, I’m 100% sure it’s you. When you ran into me and cursed, I… I heard you. I heard you here, talking and I heard you inside my head, with my mate’s voice. I heard my mate’s voice, it was like you were screaming into a microphone, echoed”

“But I never heard anyone, so…”

Liam knew he was pushing, but there was no way in hell he’d let this man disappear from his life. Not now, especially not now that he had seen him. Liam would be damned if he got this close to his mate and let him slip away. Not after everything.

“You know sign language... I’m sorry, I don’t mean to disrespect you or your family in any way, but… I’m guessing someone close to you is deaf, from birth”

Liam stopped breathing when the man turned to look at him, his eyes unreadable. There was nothing there to help Liam understand what he had been thinking, the bluest pools he had ever seen seeming frozen in shock as he took his time to process the words that had just flooded out of Liam’s mouth.

But, despite the long while that it took for Theo to talk, something in the way this… this guy spoke, in the way he looked at Theo with such passion and desperation made him cave and reveal this one huge thing about himself, about his life.

If that wasn’t confirmation enough that this man was telling the truth, the effect he had on Theo proof of their connection, then nothing else would help him make his mind up about learning he indeed had a mate.

“Tara… my sister”

“My mother once told me about Soulmates with deaf relatives, how the gene that runs in the family can make you deaf to your Soulmate, even if it doesn’t to the outside world. I’m sorry, I really don’t mean to pry or offend your sister, it’s just that… You have no idea how long I’ve waited for this, for… for you”

“For me?” Theo felt a smile, a stupidly cynical smile take over his face, watching as the laughter that escaped him almost physically hurt the man in front of him, the fact that having a mate was so nerve wracking to Theo seemed to open wounds on his skin “I have nothing, okay? Nothing. You seem nice, respectful and all that jazz, but… there’s gotta be a reason I don’t have a mate…”

“But you do. I’m here. You just never heard me, that's all. And, honestly, now that I am here, I’m not going anywhere, not unless you tell me that’s what you want. Then I’ll go, I won’t… look for you, I won’t try to contact you in any way, you won’t even see me around here”

Yes. Yes. Theo knew the guy was telling the truth. One word and Theo would never see him again. And, for some reason, that thought mortified Theo. He had lived 26 years without a mate, had been whispered about and teased through high school and college. For years, all he did was come back home to an empty apartment, an empty life.

But there his mate was. Right in front of Theo, telling him all the words he had ever wanted to hear, the words that would’ve made the whole world go silent around him. There were the hands that would hold him, the lips that would kiss his, the body that would make love to his, the voice that would laugh at his jokes, the smile he’d fall to his knees for, the arms that would hold him at night. There was the heart that would love his.

“No!” Theo saw his own hand reach for the guy’s arm, hissing the word as he squeezed the… what was it? Lacrosse jacket. Theo licked his lips, his mouth dry and a lump in his throat, eyes on the ground. Man, he wanted to be stronger than this, he wanted to look into those blue eyes and tell that man to never let him go, but he didn’t. He was scared, down to his very core, of what loving this man would do to him “Dont…”

“Then have coffee with me. Or tea, water, beer, bourbon, scotch, whatever you want. It’s all I’m asking for, a chance to make up for all the time that we already lost, to get to know each other. I waited 20 years for you, I was only 2 when I first heard your voice, and, being blunt here, I’ll take whatever time I could possibly get with you”

Oh, fuck, no. There were tears in his mate’s eyes and Liam feared instantly that he had said something wrong. Well, it just wouldn’t have been the first time. Words had never been Liam’s forté and he refused to let that be the thing that would drive his mate away.

And Liam couldn’t stop himself from taking the step forward that he took, his hand coming up to hold his mate’s cheek, his thumb softly caressing the tear that rolled down his perfect skin once he looked up again.

“What… what is it?”

“You… just have a way with words, it’s all” Theo chuckled, looking down and biting his lip. Theo sighed, doing his absolute best  not to lean into Liam’s warm, large hand. There was something ridiculously intoxicating about his mate’s rich, sweet and overwhelmingly delicious cologne.

“Then say yes to coffee with me, please” Liam forgot about everything around them, now that he had his hands on his mate, holding both sides of the man’s neck, caressing his porcelain skin. Liam would never let him go “Can I know your name?”

Theo laughed at the request. Like, duh. They had skipped that part, right off the bat. Theo allowed his hands to wipe his stupid tears away, ignoring how runny his nose was as he looked up to his mate.

“Theo… Theo Raeken”

“Hi, Theo… I’m Liam” Liam whispered, as he slowly rested his forehead to Theo’s, testing, careful and calm, the two of them sighing at the contact. Theo’s hands fisted the fabric of the t-shirt Liam wore under his jacket, his fingers cold, despite the layer separating their skins. Theo closed his eyes, stepping closer, until their chests were touching, arms almost completely around Liam’ shoulders.

“Hi” Theo smiled, moving away a little after blinking to get the few remaining tears out of his eyes “I’ll… I’ll have coffee with you, but I… I gotta run. I promised my sister I wouldn’t be long, she’s waiting for me at home”

“Yeah, of course”

Theo was surprisingly thankful for the hand Liam kept on the small of his back. If Liam really was the possessive type, there was no way for Theo to know just yet, but he understood what his mate was feeling, the need for contact. The need to make sure this was real, that they had truly found each other. They bought whatever it was they had gone to the store to get in the first place, standing obviously too close to each other as they waited for the slow cashier to hand them their change and bags.

Since it was late, they exchanged phone numbers while still inside the store. They did so with silly smiles on their faces, Theo’s forehead resting against Liam’s chest, the Lacrosse team captain’s arm around his waist as he typed his number and saved it on his mate’s phone.

Theo smiled at Liam insisting on accompanying him all the way to his doorstep, though it really wasn’t that far, only a block and a half away. And, fuck, Liam held the door open for Theo. Theo looked down, smiling at the butterflies. God, butterflies. How long had it been since Theo had last felt something like this?

“Oh, so, you’re the chivalrous type, huh?” Theo turned around, the cold 3 in the morning air engulfing them both in what seemed to be an invisible yet freezing windstorm.

They crossed the street, Liam’s hand reaching for Theo’s before he could stop himself or even think about what he was doing. And Liam smiled at the soft, shy smile that he saw on Theo’s face, how their hands fit together so perfectly, the two of them synchronizing their steps into the perfect pace as they made their way to Theo’s apartment building.

“Yeah… I guess so” Liam’s free hand flew to the back of his neck, forgetting about the bottles completely, something Theo found immediately endearing “Can’t let it die, can I?”

Liam would never know Theo’ sadness matched his own as they approached the building much too fast, for both their likings. But it wasn’t a good-bye. It was just the beginning.

“Well, if you don’t hold the door open for me on our date you won’t get a second one” Theo whispered, his hand reaching for his keychain as they stopped, turning to look at each other. And Theo could’ve sworn there no longer was ground beneath his feet when he saw the large, Colgate smile Liam had on his gorgeous face at his words.

“Deal” Liam whispered, leaning in. His hand let go of Theo’s, but only so he could hold the back of Theo’s neck, holding him right where he wanted him, his soft lips leaving a long, sweet kiss to his mate’s forehead. Theo’s hand held on to his jacket, sighing happily at the new, yet familiar contact “Call you tomorrow?” Liam whispered, lips brushing skin before slowly pulling away, their hands holding on to each other for as long as they could as Liam started walking away, one step at a time, blue eyes locked as they smiled like two fools… like two fools already falling in love.

“Deal…” Theo whispered, biting his bottom lip through a smile.

Chapter Text

"It's hard to resist a bad boy who's a good man"

Theo rested himself against the door to his apartment. His knees felt so weak he needed quite the long moment to breathe and pull himself together. It was all too much. Liam. Liam was too much. He… he was everything and then some. Theo closed his eyes, his mate’s blue orbs behind his closed eyelids a delicious reminder of their 4 in the morning encounter, his smile imprinted on Theo’s very soul.

Theo had never felt like that, like everything he had ever wanted was standing right in front of him, close enough to touch and yet so far away. He had gone through a lot, thinking that that man didn’t exist. Or hadn’t been born yet. Or worse. The idea that his mate no longer walked the Earth was enough for Theo to want to find him even more.

But the older Theo got and no voice came, no echo of someone else’s feelings, it felt like reality was finally sinking in. Either they had missed each other in the universe or he’d have to wait only God knows how long for him. But it turned out Theo was the problem.

He wasn’t going to be alone forever. Or end up with a teenager for a mate. No. No. There he was. 22 years old and fighting for Theo. When the word ‘Soulmate’ left Liam’s lips, all Theo wanted was space. Five minutes to ground himself. But, maybe, if he had had those moments to himself, he wouldn’t have said yes to Liam at all. And that was too horrifying a thought for Theo to allow himself to ever have again.

Theo had grown to hate himself for loving the idea of having a mate. Well, not really having a mate, but love, finding love. And when his mother had told him his sister was deaf, that love for love hadn’t died or lessened in any way. If anything, he had sworn to raise his sister knowing she’d find it one day, hearing her Soulmate or not. Just like Theo believed he’d find it too.

And there Liam was. Despite all of Theo’s doubts and mistakes. With his bright smile, blue eyes and that horrible, yellow jacket. A jock, of all people. Gosh, Liam was so not his type. Maybe that’s why we’ll work, Theo told himself. Because he’s definitely not what I had in mind.

Tara saw the look on his face, stopping on her way to the kitchen upon noticing her big brother almost slouching against the front door, white as a sheet of paper. She made him sit on the couch and tell her what had happened. Theo had taken a really long time for someone who had only gone out to buy a bag of Doritos and a couple of chocolate bars.

And so, Theo told her everything.

“I didn’t see him there, I was reading the label on the back of the Sneaker’s bar. And he just stood there, staring at me like he had seen the ghost of Aaron Burr or some shit like that, I don’t know. He… He’s my Soulmate”

His sister’s eyes grew exponentially large, a soft gasp escaping her lips as she covered her mouth with both her hands. Theo shrugged, laughter bubbling out of his chest at the memory of Liam, a smile he couldn’t fight appearing on his face. Liam’s hand on the small of his back, just how warm it felt, holding onto Theo’s as they walked. If Theo focused hard enough, he could still feel the place where Liam’s fingers had intertwined with his own, his skin tingling sweetly at the phantom sensation, wanting, craving it again.

Tara brought him back to the present, her hand gripping his shoulder and shaking him. Theo looked up, only to huff and roll his eyes. His sister had the largest smile possible on her lips, her hand slapping his thigh to make him continue.

“So?! You can’t stop there! What’s his name?! What does he look like? And what the hell was he doing at a convenience store at 3 in the morning? At least I can tell he’s not a child or anything like that”

Theo laughed, throwing his head back like he hadn’t done in a long while. For years now, his life could be resume by going to work, spending time with his sister, researching for a new project. That was it. He didn’t have friends, he didn’t go out on Friday nights. Theo wasn’t hiding from the world, from Liam, but he just couldn’t help becoming this version of himself.

He couldn’t remember ever feeling this weightless.

“His name’s Liam, he goes to UCLA so I guess it’s safe to say he’s not a child, no” Tara smiled at him, never trying to hide just how happy for him she was “He… he’s perfect, Tara”

Theo hid his face with his hands when his sister hugged him, making a fuss. She bounced on the couch, hands in his hair, making a mess of it. Theo only looked up when she stopped, finding her expectant eyes and encouraging smile.

“You know how I feel about Soulmates, but I genuinely think he deserves a chance, I mean… None of this is his fault, you know? You should’ve seen the way he looked at me, he truly wants this” Theo bit his lips, looking down. He couldn’t fight what he felt, stupid as it may sound. 26 years of pain and misery gone in 15 minutes. Gone because of Liam’s hands, his smile, how he made sure Theo knew just how much he had wanted to meet him “I do too”

By the time Theo was done telling Tara everything, his arms were hurting. But it was worth it, because Theo felt refreshed. He drove his little sister home, even though it was Saturday. She had to study for her finals and wanted to sleep for a bit before getting started on her day.

Theo planned on eating some breakfast then finishing this big project that was due for Monday. Well, that was the plan, until he was lying down on his bed, fresh from the shower. Until his phone rang, at 6:47 in the morning. His body jumped into motion, sitting on the bed, eyes staring at the name on the screen.

Liam.

Theo’s heart started picking up speed as he kept on staring, the phone vibrating like crazy in his hand. Liam was calling. His mate was calling. And, before Theo could understand what he was doing, his thumb slid across the screen, the phone against his ear as he forced himself to speak.

“Hello?”

“I couldn’t wait, I hope I didn’t wake you up”

Oh, Theo was fucked. Liam sounded like he had been holding his breath, wondering if he had been doing the right thing by calling. He had, Theo thought to himself as he felt the smile that started appearing on his face. Theo wished he had the strength to fight this, but he couldn’t. He didn’t even care that he couldn’t. Instead, he chuckled, letting himself fall back on the mattress, the same butterflies taking over his body as he rolled over onto his stomach, smiling like a total idiot.

“You didn’t, I just got off the shower” Theo spoke into the phone, his index finger tracing the patterns of the covers he was lying on “I’m glad you called” Theo bit his lip, not finding it in himself to care that the words left his mouth so freely.

“You are? Good, I… wasn’t sure you’d feel that way” Theo frowned, resting his chin on the back of his free hand, doing his best to stay calm through this conversation.

“Why’s that?”

“Well, because it’s been a couple of hours and I was scared you’d change your mind, that’s all” Liam sighed and Theo could see Liam pacing around, unable to stand still as they talked, hand on the back of neck, a gesture Theo already knew Liam himself didn’t know he did whenever he was nervous “I guess that’s why I just couldn’t wait any longer to call, I wanted to make sure nothing has changed”

“Nothing’s changed, I… I’m still in” Theo smiled when Liam breathed out exasperatedly, hearing the man drop something on the other side of the phone, gasping and he juggled to hold the device.

“Oh, God, I think I just broke something” Liam laughed and Theo recognized the sound of someone picking up glass shards from the ground “Good, I’m glad our date is still happening, I just… how about today? Are you busy?”

“Today? Uh… No, actually I’m not” Theo bit down on his fingers, unable to hold back the smile that took over his face and how Liam’s raspy voice got him feeling all kinds of ways “What did you have in mind?”

“Talking, to be honest. I’m down for anything, I just want us to go somewhere we can talk” Liam huffed, chuckling “Jeez, that sounds boring, huh?”

“No, it doesn’t” Theo sat on his bed again, clearing his throat softly. Liam made him forget even knowing how to speak English and Theo hated how long it took him to come up with replies “It sounds… good, uh… the talking”

“Okay, Good… Uh, is there any specific place you’d like to go?” Liam spoke, hoping he hadn’t sounded to Theo nowhere nearly as desperate as he had to himself.

“Uh, actually there is, I can text you the address” Theo bit his finger softly, taking a moment to breathe when he heard Liam’s breath hitching. Theo felt it too. They were going to see each other. Soon. There was anticipation between them, even though they were miles apart. It was so thick in the air Theo could almost taste it on his tongue “How about brunch? It still gives us some time to rest, I don’t know about you, but I don’t normally stay up until 4 in the morning”

“Well, I’m not much of a sleeper, but now that the semester is almost over, I could use the time off” Liam chuckled, still sounding magically consuming even through the phone. Everything in his mate was inviting, a call, a plea Theo couldn’t resist. He knew this was what having a mate felt like, his mother had done a great job describing the connection. Theo was nowhere near ready to see Liam and face his demons swimming in the blue pools the jock called eyes, but he yearned to feel the man’s hands once more, be around him. So he’d be there, wearing his brand new armor and polished ego, doing his best not to fall into the abyss he had already gazed into. Theo knew he was standing way too close to the edge “Brunch sounds great”

And there it was. The one thing Theo never experienced on a phone call. Comfortable silence. A tiny flash of a moment where he didn’t feel the need to babble and fill the awkward void that had appeared. He could settle for hearing Liam breathe.

That was probably why those words left his mouth. If Liam had managed to salvage whatever he had dropped moments before, it was definitely broken now. But Liam didn’t care. Neither did Theo. Because their 33 seconds of silence came to an end in the most majestic and probably cheesiest of ways.

“Will you kiss me? Later today, when we meet?”

Liam’s mouth opened and closed three times before the words came flying out of his mouth, his knuckles stalk white as he held onto his kitchen countertop with everything he had. Liam really hoped this wasn’t a dream. Or a Goddamn nightmare.

Liam’ stomach did a somersault inside his body and he needed a minute to remember how to breathe. He closed his eyes, biting his lip to stop himself from diving headfirst into this. It was obvious things needed to be clear between them and it took every ounce of willpower Liam had to stop himself from shouting yes! at the top of his lungs.

“Lord knows I want to, but I’ll only do it if you want me to”

Yup. That was all Theo needed to hear. It was all he needed to know that there was no turning back now. There were certain necessary stages for a Soulmate bond to be forged. It began at birth, being promised, being chosen for one another. Next was hearing your mate for the first time. Meeting and physical contact made it somewhat real. But it was only truly settled when there were feelings involved, intimacy between mind, body and soul.

And Theo was feeling all sorts of things as he laid out the shirt and jeans he wanted to wear. Theo knew what this date required of him, despite Liam never once mentioning it. This date meant they had to leave everything behind, all the years spent alone, all the times they kissed or slept with other people, every expectation. It required a clean slate.

This date meant they were committed to their bond and nothing could break them apart once they were truly connected. Despite how fast Theo’s heart was beating, there was happiness flooding his bloodstream, driving his brain crazy with mixed feelings and emotions. But it was worth it, every fucking second of that long ass morning.

Because Liam was already there when Theo arrived, waiting for him. The place Theo had picked was somewhat big, but wasn’t full. Liam had already chosen a table, asking for the waiter to save it for him as he played with his car keys outside, trying not to look too crazy as his eyes scattered the street for Theo.  

And Theo saw Liam first, drinking in the sight of the Lacrosse player in something that wasn’t a team jacket or yellow. And holy fuck. Theo bit his lips, unable to look away. Liam’s hair was a mess, the harsh wind making it stand in every direction, his fidgeting hands fumbling with his keys, almost pacing back and forth in his black jeans.

Liam turned around when he felt a burn in his stomach. In that very second, he forgot everything that would come with being truly mated. Having a mate didn’t mean he was mated. Their connection had brought them together. Staying? That was on them.

And all it took for Liam to know he’d stay was for his eyes to lock with Theo’s. Right there, in the middle of the street at 11 a.m., Liam found himself smiling, stuffing his keys into the pocket of his winter coat right before opening his arms to catch Theo. Theo, who jogged over to him. Theo, who hid himself against Liam’s body, arms around Liam’ shoulders as they chuckled, basking in the glory of their first embrace.

Theo. Who broke their tight hug only to hold onto the back of Liam’s neck, fingers through his hair, their eyes connecting for another couple of seconds before Theo smiled.

Theo. His mate.

His mate kissed him.

And no, Theo’s doubts didn’t magically disappear with that kiss. But there was suddenly ground beneath his feet. He was stable. Not safe, not yet. But Liam now was tattooing his name all over Theo’ skin, his chilly hands the ink on every inch they could reach, moaning his sweet devotion into Theo’s mouth like it was shutting out all the pain Liam knew for a fact Theo had gone through.

Nothing vanished in the blink of an eye. That didn’t come with the fairytale package. But there was a promise there, in between every kiss and whisper, every gasp and touch. They’d hold on to each other. They were strong enough to save themselves, but that didn’t mean they’d have to do it alone.

Theo broke the kiss, despite every cell in his body immediately begging for more. They were both panting, seeking the cold, morning air as their hands couldn’t seem to let go of each other. Theo opened his eyes to find Liam’ still closed ones, the man smiling softly as they came back down from the high of finally taking this step.

There were no words needed, just the reassurance of hands holding on to each other and knowing smiles being shared as Liam held the door open for Theo, protecting his mate from the freezing Winter air.

“I guess I’ll pick the location for our second date, huh?” Liam whispered, lips just barely grazing the skin of Theo’s ear as he held on to his mate’s waist, letting the waiter guide them to the table Liam had already chosen for them. If Liam noticed how large the smile on Theo’s blushed face was, he simply winked, smiling back.

They had a lot to talk about, but that didn’t mean flirting was off the table.

Chapter Text

'But beautiful mosaics are made of broken pieces'

“You’re kidding, right?” Theo asked, eyes wide as Liam smiled a devilish smile, elbows resting on the table now that they were done eating, lost in their own universe as they talked “You’re telling me you got into a fight? Like an actual fist fight? At San Diego Comic Con?”

“Well, technically I didn’t get into a fight at Comic Con, I got punched for my friend, who had gotten into a fight at Comic Con” Liam huffed, hand reaching for his hair to push it back “It was years ago, but maybe you can still see the scar, the guy’s hand was huge”

Theo sighed, smiling upon noticing the small white scar among Liam’s dark blonde hair. Theo’s eyes rested on their intertwined fingers, his mate held onto his hand, not letting go as he planted a kiss to the back of it. That wasn’t the first time that kind of contact happened, but it still made Theo’s heart skip a beat, biting his lip despite his foolish smile. Theo had already learned that Liam liked contact, liked showing how much he appreciated Theo and that was like wind for the butterflies inside his stomach to continue flying.

“I was going to ask you out on that second date of ours on Monday, since I have to seriously focus on the last few pages of my final essay tomorrow” Liam rolled his eyes, exhausted of writing and touching up what was already perfect “But I guess we should wait? Because of this project you have with your company?”

“Oh, Lord, please no, the last thing I want is for my job to get in our way” Theo squeezed Liam’s hand, in the back of his mind wondering how on Earth the man in front of him had been able to drown all the voices inside his head, shutting out all the whispers in less than three hours. Theo felt comfortable and that was a first “The last meeting is on Monday and we’ll visit the site in the afternoon or on Tuesday morning, you don’t have to worry about that” Theo smiled “It’ll all be over by the end of the week, I’ll make sure of that”

“Why visit the construction site if everything is being built according to your plan?” Liam asked, chin rested on the palm of his hand, eyes lost on Theo’s as his thumb caressed the back of his mate’s fingers.

“Well, because the hotel will only be completed and passed to our client’s name if I approve of the construction and, if something’s gone wrong, I can see for my own eyes how to fix it” Theo shrugged, not knowing how to make his work sound interesting. He was an architect. His work revolved around numbers and piles and piles of paper, empty coffee cups and endless sleepless hours whenever he had a project this big. It wasn’t even in the same atmosphere as interesting “What about you? Do you have any internships for the summer?”

“I’m waiting to hear back from UCLA, I signed up for their internship program and from other job interviews I’ve had in the past few weeks” Liam shrugged back, making Theo smile at the childish game they had started to play “But I’m only doing it because I need it to graduate, I already have a job. I honestly don’t know how I’m gonna pull all of this off, college, work, internship without losing it, but I’ll try”

Liam should have known those weren’t the right words to say. And he got confirmation the second Theo took his hand away from his. And he struggled to find words to say when he saw the change in his mate’s posture, how Theo blinked and his eyes just didn’t open for what felt like forever.

“I’m not saying I don’t have space for you, Theo, that didn’t even cross my mind” Liam’s hand pushed his hair back, a nervous gesture he hadn’t done this much since standing in front of the mirror earlier that morning “You’re not something ‘I have to juggle through the next couple of months’” Theo bit his lips when Liam reached for his hands and didn’t let go “You’re my mate, Theo, I know you feel what I feel, I’m never giving up on this”

“I know, I just… we’ve waited years for this, we can wait some more, I don’t want to get in the way of your education, of your career” Theo knew this wasn’t how Liam had planned on bringing this topic up, if he planned it at all, but they just couldn’t push it back anymore. Theo could wait, he had had the chance to graduate and focus on his life. He owed Liam the same chance. As long as they were both there, Theo could wait “I know we’d still have to see each other from time to time, but… that’s more manageable, I guess”

“Is that what you want? To wait? To see each other only when the bond demands us to, so we won’t die?” Liam whispered, bringing the tone of their conversation to a lower level. This was their future and Liam wasn’t going to give up without a fight. Like he could possibly focus on anything other than Theo if he couldn’t call or see the man “Because I don’t. Please, let’s not base this decision on a job that I still don’t have and might not even get. You have to understand that I’d drop everything for you, Theo. I know I probably shouldn’t say this so early on, but…”

“I like it when you say these things” Theo took his time with letting their eyes lock. Theo had already learned that would be his undoing, the way Liam seemed to pull him in with a mere glance, but he couldn’t help it. Looking into Liam’s eyes made him feel calm, it reminded him it was all real. They were mates, their bond was strong despite the stupid amount of years it had taken for them to meet. Theo could no longer deny himself the feeling of Liam’s hand on his, of his mate’s lips against his “No. No, I don’t want to wait, I don’t ever wanna know what it would be like to be starved now that I’ve felt you”

“Good” Liam whispered, smiling, his hand letting go of Theo’s to hold the side of his mate’s face, thankful that the table wasn’t big as he reached over to attach his their lips. And Theo moaned, open and ready to take whatever Liam gave him “What do you say we get out of here?”

 


 

Despite the freezing wind and the lack of sunlight, they decided to walk. There was a Starbucks two blocks down the street and they made their way over, taking their time and letting their shoes leave prints in the snow that had fallen thirty minutes before. Their hands touched and their fingers intertwined, soft smiles on their faces when they turned to look at each other. This was good. This was okay. The touching. The kissing. It was okay.

“Just… if it ever gets too much, just talk to me, okay?” Theo whispered, knowing he had to say these words in order to sleep at night. He would never forgive himself if Liam worked himself too much. Theo knew what it was like to juggle school and work, he could never be the thing Liam hated doing because he was exhausted all the time “You don’t have to spread yourself thin for me”

“I know, I didn’t mean to scare you with those words, I just want you to know I’m gonna try” Liam smiled, leaving a kiss to Theo’s forehead when his mate’s other hand held on to his arm, tightening his hold on Theo’s hand “I’m one year away from graduating, but I have already started searching for ways to get my career going. I just want things to go smoothly, I guess”

“What exactly do you want to do? With your career, I mean”

“Write, mostly, about History” Liam shrugged. He had made all these plans based on a life he thought he’d have to face without a mate. Now that he had Theo to think about, he didn’t think they’d go down the same roads they had planned for themselves. All Liam knew for sure was the he’d graduate and hold on to Theo with everything he had “I like researching, teaching people about stories they grew up not knowing”

“Would you like to teach? Maybe at UCLA, in the future” Theo teased, squeezing his arm and getting a rosy cheeked smile in return “Lord knows I was lost when I finished college. I thought about beginning my own company, but I had absolutely no clue how to do that , so I got a job and focused on being good at whatever they would have me do. Designing luxurious hotels had never been part of the plan”

“I never thought about teaching, to be honest” Liam said, his other hand coming to hold his coat closed in front of his chest, feeling naked in that harsh wind “I mean, maybe? I guess I’d like to, but I don’t feel ready, in any way, to stand in front of a class. I don’t think UCLA, or any other university for that matter, would want to dedicate a whole subject to the parts of History I love and think should be learned”

“Yeah, I was invited once, by one of my Architecture teachers, to stop by and talk to his class” Liam smiled at Theo’s laugh, his mate looking heaven sent in the pale daylight reflected by the snow “It was horrifying at first, but I focused on what I had rehearsed and adapted to how they responded, I guess you could say that’s what I did”

“I hate public speaking, I gotta work on that if I ever want to be a teacher” Liam joked, hand reaching for the door knob and holding the door open for Theo walk in. Those two blocks had seemed surprisingly small since they had been lost in conversation. It was warm inside Starbucks and they decided to order before finding a spot to sit. It wouldn’t be too much of a problem, since the place was pretty much a desert at one p.m. “What would you like?” Liam asked, making their way towards the counter.

“A large hot chocolate, please. Oh, and white chocolate chip cookies too” Theo politely smiled to the girl taking their order, aware of Liam’s foolish grin at his choice of beverage “Just two is fine, thank you”

Liam ordered himself some coffee, rolling his eyes when Theo smirked, happy he had been faster and had paid for their drinks before his mate had the chance to. They sat as far away from the other people as possible, Theo happily nipping at his cookie as Liam texted his friend back.

“You told him about me?” Theo asked, brow furrowed. His hot chocolate was way too hot to drink, so he just blew on it, lifting his gaze to meet Liam’s apologetic eyes.

“Well, yeah. He’s my best mate, we don’t keep things from each other and you…” Liam smiled, biting his lip as he reached for Theo’s hand across the table “... You’re not a secret, I felt like I wanted to shout at the top of my lungs, but, like you said, it was four in the morning”

Theo was surprised to find out how easy it was to smile and laugh whenever he was with Liam. Though he wasn’t a huge fan of Sundays, this particular one was being everything he had ever dreamed of and then some. Finding a mate wasn’t something Theo had planned on happening. But Liam was somehow gluing all his broken pieces back together.

Chapter Text

'Fearless child. Broken boy. Tell me what it's like to burn'

 

It didn’t take long for their bond to be put to the test. It had been three days since the last time Liam had seen Theo and, despite waking up to a text from his mate, Liam found himself sweating, limping as he walked, his hand reaching for the wall so he wouldn’t fall. His vision was blurry and there were goosebumps on his skin that just didn’t seem to go away.

Oh, his skin. His skin was the worst part of… of whatever it was that was happening to him. Liam bent over the sink in the bathroom, aware of his roommate’s barefeet, making his way over. There was a ringing in Liam’s ears, his body way too hot for it to be anything even close to normal.

It was like his body had forgotten how to function, everything happening at once. He was cold, running hot, breathless with a sore throat, coughing, headache. But the worst was right under his skin. It felt like his blood was reaching boiling point, his muscles ready to untangle from his very bones.

“Dude, what the bloody hell happened to you? It’s almost eight thirty, you’re gonna be late for practice if you…” His friend, Matt, shut up as soon as he saw Liam shivering, the sweat dampening his dirty blonde hair, stopping by the door and wiping the sleep from his eyes, as if he didn’t believe what he was seeing “What’s wrong? Man, are you sick?”

“Theo…” Liam found his voice to be frozen inside his achy throat, his mate’s name making a heat wave travel through his sore muscles, immediately making him feel better, yet longing for the man even more. Liam groaned, his knees weak and his back stiff. It was hell, right there, in his bathroom and he knew what could save him. Or who, rather.

What? Dude, you’re not making any sense” Liam loved Matt, the guy was like a brother to him, but his friend could be a real douchy asshole sometimes, even when he didn’t know he was doing it “Do you want me to call Coach? Or the school? I mean, I’ve never seen you like…”

Theo! I want you to call Theo” Liam set both his hands on the sink, lifting his head to look at Matt, regretting it as soon as he did it. Liam’ stomach seemed angry at him, for some reason, forcing him to stay just like that, hovering, like gravity had taken a special interest in Liam “Call. My mate. Now!” Liam hissed through gritted teeth, a chill so strong traveling through his body he could barely stand, feeling like there were needles sinking into every inch of his skin.

Then there was darkness.

All around him.

 


 

Theo had been making his way back to his office when he heard his phone buzzing on his desk. He thought about not looking at who it was, he was already nervous enough. The last thing he needed was to bitch at some poor telemarketing girl and feel guilty for the rest of the day. This meeting was going to kick his ass, had been the reason he hadn’t seen Liam the day before and he needed to be focused if he wanted to make sure his clients were pleased. This was his firm’s biggest project yet and Theo had stayed up until three in the morning making sure his presentation was straight up perfect.

But whoever was trying to reach him, really wanted to talk to Theo. Liam. Well, that’s odd. Liam knew about the presentation, Theo knew his mate wouldn’t bother to call if it wasn’t truly important. That’s just the kind of man Liam was, Theo knew. Theo sat on his chair, lifting one finger to his secretary, who had touched hers to her fancy, golden wristwatch on the other side of the glassed walls of his office, gesturing with her head towards the conference room with an annoyed, disapproving look.

Fuck, Liam had already called him five times. Five. And, in those seconds Theo held his phone, before he could really do much else, a text came in. One that made his blood run cold. One that made him stop breathing. One that made him hope he was still asleep.

Please, pick up. Something’s wrong with Liam. It’s an emergency.

It was then that Theo’s brain shut down to the outside world, his hands steady as he pressed his phone screen with controlled force and pressed it against his ear, standing from his chair. Theo held his phone with his shoulder, not stopping when his secretary hissed at him once she saw him pack his things.

“Theo? Fucking Christ, dude, I’ve been calling for like ten hours!

“Who the fuck is this? Where’s Liam?” In the back of his mind, Theo was aware of how weirdly his secretary was looking at him. She kept looking back and forth, her black hair waving as she did so. Theo slid his laptop into his bag, closing the lid and zipping everything closed, letting his fingers work as his brain focused on whoever it was that he was talking to.

“I’m Matt, Liam’s roommate” The voice spoke and Theo knew he was telling the truth because he heard a groan coming from the other end of the line. Theo knew deep inside his core that it was Liam, his stomach growling in dread at how pained that groan sounded “Look, you gotta get here like, A.S.A.P, bro, there’s something… I think Liam’s starved, like… touch starved”

Theo’s feet stopped moving, frozen right where they were, in the middle of the reception hallway. No. That was not possible. They had done plenty of touching not three days before. Could… could their bond be that strong? Theo had heard of connections that could kill if the couple spent simply longer than 24 hours apart, but they were pretty much speculation. Three days was… possible, though still surprisingly short of a period of time.

“I’ll be there in 10” Theo spoke, hanging up and carelessly tossing his phone into his trouser pocket, along with his car keys, which he made sure twice he hadn’t forgotten.

“No, you’re not going anywhere” Carrie, his efficient, though hot headed secretary, spoke, or rather growled, following him with her clicking heels on the company’s marble floors. Theo grabbed his coat from the closet behind her desk, throwing it over his arm as he, once more, touched the outside of his pocket, in search of his car keys “There are twenty executives from the biggest company we’ve ever been hired by, waiting for you, you can’t leave!

“This is my project, I’ve been working on it for weeks now. But my mate needs me and I honestly don’t care if the fucking President is in that room, I am leaving” Theo turned to look at the 5’6 woman, his secretary stopping before she could stumble into his back, her loud voice dying inside her throat at the fiery determination in her boss’ eyes “If they’re still interested, then have a meeting scheduled for Monday, first thing in the morning. Don’t bother to call before then”

 


 

“Wow, you… you weren’t kidding when you said ten minutes, huh? He’s on his bed, last door on the left” Theo nodded, aware of the guy’s, Matt’s, bulging eyes on him. Yes, Theo was older. Yes, Theo was taller. Yes, Theo was a businessman. But he didn’t care. All he did was drop his bag and coat on the floor, agile fingers working on the buttons of his suit jacket and throwing it on the couch “Can you tell if he’s really starved?” Matt whispered, not wanting to scare Liam, in case he heard them.

“Yeah, I felt it in the elevator” Theo spoke, hearing Liam faintly snoring in his bedroom. Theo could smell how feverish Liam was, his agony a metallic taste on the back of his tongue “Can you, please, make sure his teachers know what happened? And that I’m here now? I’m not sure what Liam’ schedule was for today, but I know neither of us are moving from this bed until he wakes up, at the very least”

“Yeah… yeah, I can do that. Call me if you need anything, Liam has a copy of all the keys, it’s probably in his Lacrosse bag” Theo thanked him, unbuttoning his shirt as Matt grabbed his jacket and bag, shutting the door lightly, hesitantly, as if the sound alone could hurt Liam even more.

“Liam?” Theo used his hand to push the door to Liam’s room open, finding his mate curled on his side on his bed, a bundle under the covers. Theo knew the stages of touch starvation by heart. First your body burns, like you’re constantly running and can’t stop. Then everything runs cold, like you’re standing naked in the middle of this fucked up Winter Los Angeles was going through. Then your body shuts down, organ after organ, but the feelings are all at once, your brain tries to ignore the pain by making the organism work when it shouldn’t, when it’s not strong enough to. Theo had never felt pain like the kind he knew Liam was in, though he shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be this damn fast.

“Theo…”

It was a faint whisper, but Theo heard it. It wasn’t too late. Theo closed his eyes for a second, calming himself down before venturing further into his mate’s room. Theo knew he needed to be strong to help Liam recover, no matter how long it took, no matter the costs. He didn’t allow his eyes to leave the figure he saw under the blanket, not for a second. He couldn’t. Liam didn’t move, almost as if doing so would make more pain shoot through his already agonizing body.

“I’m here…” Theo kicked his shoes off, his trousers a pile on the ground as he adjusted his boxers. Theo was perfectly aware of the blush overtaking his cheeks, but he didn’t have time to think about that now. Carefully, he moved the blankets, hearing the soft, breathy whine coming from his mate “It’s gonna be okay, I’m gonna make the pain stop… Come here”

It was Liam’s Heaven. Theo’s fingers left burning paths on his freezing skin, his flaming palms caressing every inch they could find, from Liam’s back and stomach, down to his thighs, making goosebumps rise on his skin and not hurt, for the first time in what felt like an eternity. Theo glued his body to Liam’s, holding his mate as close as he possibly could. It was mesmerizing, warmer than any blanket Liam could wrap himself in, how Theo’s touch ignited his whole being, every frozen muscle turning to jelly under his hands, his soft kisses and murmurs against his neck, behind his ear, the soft love bites left behind on his shoulder.

All Liam did was whimper and let Theo build him, from the ground back up. Liam had absolutely no idea what Theo was saying in that moment, too afraid that moving or even trying to use his senses much would bring all that pain back, but it sounded perfect, like a lovesong, a lullaby. Liam knew he'd die if the pain returned, on any level, but Theo felt so good he just couldn’t help but want more.

“No, no, no, don’t move, Liam, I’m here” Liam whined louder, using whatever strength he had left to move sides. His skin no longer felt like it was coming off his bones, though he still struggled to finally lay facing Theo, almost as if his arms and legs no longer obeid the same brain “Shh, I’m here, it’s gonna be okay”

“Theo…” Liam was almost asleep again, too weak to smile like he wanted to when he felt the kisses Theo was leaving on his forehead, rushed lips making his skin come alive, fingers gentle on his hair as his mate engulfed him in a bear like hug he never ever wanted to leave “This is not how I pictured our first time sharing a bed, you know?"

Theo couldn’t help but laugh, his arms closing even more around his mate. No, this was nothing like what Theo had pictured, but it was happening anyway. And he was there, he’d make the pain go away. He’d make sure Liam would never go through this again. They’d have to figure this out, make sure their schedules fit together, but, for the time being, laying down would have to do.

“You’ve pictured us on a bed together then, huh?” Theo whispered, feeling Liam’s body relaxing bit by bit against his, their legs tangled up, his mate’ skin finally warming up.

“Yup…” Theo smiled, resting his chin on top of Liam’s head, finally relaxing, feeling the tension in his shoulders dissipate for the first time since he found his phone ringing earlier that morning. Maybe forty minutes passed before Theo actually fell asleep, he wasn’t sure, but, by the time he woke up, there was sun pouring in through the blinds and two gorgeous blue eyes already looking at him.

Chapter Text

'Long live, that look on your face

Long live, the magic we made

I had the time of my life

Fighting dragons with you'

 

“I’m sorry” Liam whispered, once again laying against Theo’s chest, sighing happily when his mate hugged him tightly in return “I’m so, so sorry, Theo”

“You got nothing to apologize for, this wasn’t your fault” Theo pushed the blankets back, now that Liam’s body temperature was back to almost normal. Though it felt truly nice to just lay like that, Theo knew they would have to get up eventually. It was surprisingly alarming how fast Liam had recovered, all things considered. It was a rollercoaster and Theo was worried there’d be consequences “Neither of us could’ve known this would happen, how are you feeling?”

“Like I’ve been hit by a truck and like my legs will give in if I try to stand, but I’m… okay, I guess” Liam sighed, breaking their hug to look at Theo “I know the presentation was today, I’m sorry I had…”

“Don’t apologize, if anything those assholes will dissolve the contract, though it’s highly unlikely that they will, since they invested a lot of money in this project” Theo smiled, his hand pushing the strands of Liam’s hair back “For real, it’s okay. I’m far more worried about you and how the hell this happened, to be honest. Screw them”

“I don’t have words to describe how awful that felt” Liam smiled, biting his lip when Theo moved on his bed, his mate resting on his elbow, hand going down his side and squeezing his hip. For the first time Liam was fully aware of how they were touching, how naked they were and he couldn’t help but feel stupidly turned on by the whole situation, now that the worst had passed, laying on his back, so open to his mate “But the more we touch, the better I feel, so, whatever you’re doing, keep going”

Theo huffed, removing his weight from his elbow and hooking his arm under Liam’s, hugging his mate before snuggling closer and kissing him. Liam moaned at the touch, unable to stop himself from opening his legs and pulling Theo closer. In that moment, it was like all the pain slipped to the back of his mind, every second spent in pure agony vanishing into the atmosphere as Theo poured into him nothing but devotion and warmth, care and desire.

It was there, in the air, how much they wanted each other. They had taken things slow so far, but it was impossible to ignore the desire and lust right there, like electricity travelling between their bodies. Liam opened his mouth, shamelessly moaning as Theo pushed him further into the mattress, hands that had been so soft were now powerful and demanding, caressing Liam’s exposed skin like it was a map and Theo was desperate to find the treasures he hid.

Theo gasped, groaning when Liam softly scratched his back, palms exploring every inch. Theo closed his eyes, biting his lip as he let Liam’s wet ones go down to his clavicle, leaving open mouthed kisses on his neck, making him shiver in the most delicious way possible. With a hand to the back of Liam’s neck, the jock laid back on the bed, smiling upon noticing how blown wide Theo’s pupils were. It was a good thing they were already stripped down to their underwear, making it extremely easy to explore and mark.

“Theo, I…” Liam stopped kissing Theo for a second, biting his lip as he tried to catch his breath, letting his mate open his eyes and focus on him as well “I… I’m not a bottom” Theo smiled, licking his lips before letting his hands find Liam’s and hold them above his head.

“Good thing I’m not a top” Theo whispered, letting his mouth kiss away Liam’s grin, swallowing every soft little whimper that escaped his mate “But… is this okay? Are we moving too fast?” Theo let go of Liam’s hands, moving his own so he could keep his weight off of his mate.

“Fuck no, I want this” Liam smiled, hugging Theo closer with his legs, the two of them moaning at how delicious it felt to be so close, every inch of their bodies touching “Do you?”

“Yes…” Theo spoke, breathlessly “Fuck yeah” Theo couldn’t help but smile at the happy, satisfied look on his mate’s face, gladly letting Liam pull him closer and kiss him, even wilder than before.

“I swear, you should never hide this under a shirt, like never” Liam whispered, letting his nail trace the hard abs on Theo’ stomach, making the man huff and bite his lip, his hand grabbing Liam’s wrist in a quick movement, making Liam’s breath hitch, the jock biting his lip, looking up at his mate through his long lashes “Scratch that, keep that body dressed at all times, you’re mine”

“Yeah? And when did we establish that?” Theo smirked, moving Liam’s hand and touching the palm to his stomach, just beneath his belly button. Liam’s eyes moved from Theo’s to catch the movement, his brain overheating, desperate to memorize what it felt like to touch his mate like this. Despite keeping his hand on Liam’s arm, Theo gave him the freedom to touch his skin in whatever way he wanted, closing his eyes and biting his lip when Liam ventured further south “You keep going in that direction and I guarantee you, you’re playing with fire”

“Then, for fuck’s sakes, Theo, burn me” Liam whispered, in a breathy plea that made Theo’s cock hard in the blink of an eye.

“You know I fucking want to, Liam” Theo kissed Liam’s mouth, moaning when his mate refused to let him pull away “But you’re not a hundred percent yet, baby and I refuse to let this go any further until I know for a fact you stand on your own two legs”

“Part of me loves that you are taking care of me” Liam smiled, sighing. He knew Theo was right, he still felt pretty much like mush, despite the adrenaline rush from kissing and touching his mate, but having sex in that moment wouldn’t be everything it could between them “And the other half hates that you can turn me on and just leave me like this”

“It’s for your own good, Mr. Dunbar” Theo whispered, bumping their noses softly, making Liam smile “Trust me, I know how you feel” Liam chuckled, moaning and biting his lip when Theo moved to plant noisy, wet and delicious kisses to his pecs. Oh, how the two of them growled when Theo’s phone started ringing in the living room, the sound so annoying all Theo wanted was to trash it so no one could ever find him again “And reality sinks back in”

Theo left one more kiss to Liam’s chest, the Lacrosse player smiling, arm behind his head to better take in the masterpiece that was Theo’s body from behind. Well, from any angle, really. His eyes were lost in the way the muscles on his back danced with each step when a wave of heat and nausea took over every inch of his being, like a bullet to his chest it was so fast, his vision going blurry just like it had that morning, only five times faster.

“Theo… Theo, stay” Theo turned to the sound of Liam’s voice, finding his mate half hanging from the edge of the bed, his stomach burning at the sight of Liam barely being able to lift his head from the nausea. Fuck, this is getting out of control! “Come back, please…”

“I’m right here, jeez, you’re running hot again” Theo knelt on the bed, arms around Liam to keep him safe and their bodies touching. The calculating part of Theo’s brain started working, knowing he’d have to find a way to get to his phone because there was no way in hell he’d leave Liam like this. Considering how fast the starvation progressed within seconds of being separated, and that it had only taken three days to hit Liam, it was easy for him to come up with how fast it would take for him to be affected too, if, for some reason, they had to be apart. They’d both be dead by the end of the week “From now on, if we can’t see each other every day, then every two days is the limit, alright? We’re not gonna survive if we keep suffering this hell every three days”

“Tomorrow’s Friday, I got a game on Saturday that I probably won’t be able to attend, what about you?” Liam asked, breathless, his forehead tucked against the side of Theo’s neck, arms hanging loose around his mate’s waist, all of his weight supported by Theo.

“Well, the second I show my face they won’t let me go until I salvage the situation, that is if I still have a job, of course” Theo chuckled, hands caressing his mate’s back, squeezing his waist and kissing his shoulder slowly, taking his time “I don’t really care if I don’t, I was never the type for designing hotels anyway, a change in scenery would be nice. So, I’m obviously gonna stay here with you”

“I know this wasn’t my fault and all, or yours, but I’m still sorry it happened” Liam sighed, nuzzling Theo’ skin “What about Sunday? Nothing? Really?”

“Well, I guess we would have spent it together, but change of plans, huh? How are you feeling?” Theo spoke, hand going up Liam’s back and measuring his temperature from the back of his neck, keeping his fingers around it “You’re not hot anymore, this is ridiculous”

“Jeez, thanks” Liam whispered playfully, hating how angry and upset Theo sounded, softly biting onto the skin of his mate’ shoulder. Theo shivered under him, his hands squeezing his back and thigh down hard, groaning at the feeling “I’m fine again, it’s gone, just as fast as it came”

“Okay, let’s just stay close to each other, what do you say?” Liam felt too tired to answer, just nodding against Theo’s throat “I know you’re tired, but can you try standing for me? I gotta get to my phone and clothes before your roommate arrives. And get us some food”

“Matt won’t be home before ten, he had a date with his girlfriend, though I’m sure my voicemail is full at this point” Liam huffed “He’s such a good friend”

Liam had a hand on Theo’ chest the whole time they walked to the living room, his own glued to his mate’s back. Theo kept his arm around Liam’s back, keeping him up in whatever way he could in case Liam’s legs gave in. Which they didn’t, thank you very much. As long as Theo was with him, he was fine, he was functional. He still wasn’t back to full potential, but he was getting there.

Theo ordered them food while keeping both his eyes on Liam, his mate sitting on the couch. It had been a long time since Theo had had to take care of anyone and he was thankful Liam had him. If Theo had gone out of town or hadn’t answered his phone in time… Theo couldn’t finish that thought. He couldn’t. Theo folded his clothes quickly, leaving them on top of his bag and sitting next to Liam as soon as he was done.

“Gosh, 41 missed calls” Liam whispered, his thumb hovering over the screen of his phone “At this point, every single person I know knows that I have a mate” Liam rested his head on Theo’ shoulder, the architect’s hand on his thigh “I mean, I don’t mind it, it doesn’t bother me, you’re not my secret. But I still hate they didn’t hear about you from me. If there is one thing I hate is people prying into my life, our life”

“I don’t care who knows, only that I got here in time” Theo whispered, moving a bit to plant a kiss to Liam’s head. Liam sighed, his hand reaching for the one Theo kept on his leg, their fingers intertwining “If I hadn’t…” Liam knew how much that thought haunted Theo simply by how tight his hand squeezed his. Liam moved, passing his arm around Theo’ shoulders, his mate gasping as he moved, fast as lightning, to open up and pull him into a hug “I can’t imagine what would happen to me if…”

“Hey, hey, hey, let’s not go there, okay?” Liam lifted himself, his legs around Theo’s waist on his couch. With the tenderest touch, Liam made sure Theo had his eyes focused on him “You got here in time, you made the pain go away. And you’re still here, worried about me. You’re everything I always wanted, can’t you see that?” Theo closed his eyes, smiling as his arms passed around Liam’s naked back, returning the hug and pulling his mate even closer “So let’s not go there, alright? We’re here and we are gonna get through this”

They ate on the couch, not bothering to try and see if they could get to the table without any hiccups. Liam turned on the tv, letting Theo tune the channels as they drank water and had Chinese for dinner. They chatted while eating, exchanging ideas and laughter at whatever caught their eye.

It wasn’t long before Theo checked his phone. He had ignored the texts and missed calls and went straight into ordering food for Liam, ignoring everything once more as soon as he had hung up that call. But now Liam was laying on the couch, while talking to his Coach about Saturday’s game, almost asleep as Theo gently rubbed his head, which was resting on his thigh. Theo’s heart skipped a beat everytime a sleepy Liam smiled up at him, murmuring some response to his Coach, completely entranced by Theo’s fingers.

Theo handed Liam his unfinished bottle of water, asking his mate to drink up. Liam made a face, totally unhappy with the idea, but drank the water anyway. He was feeling better and he’d do anything to keep it that way. Liam lifted his tired eyes when Theo gasped, finding him to be rolling his eyes at whoever it was that was yelling at him on the phone.

“Who is that?” Liam whispered, now that he was done talking to his Coach. He had tried to bench Liam, but that meant actually going to the game and he wouldn’t ask Theo to do that. Especially when they could spend that time together alone.

“My secretary” Theo whispered back, groaning as he let his head fall back against the couch. Liam watched and listened, amused, as his mate groaned every ten seconds, rolling his eyes. Liam had spent a lot of time listening to Theo explaining his passion for architecture, he knew the man loved it deeply, but why the hell was he working at a place he didn’t like?

“So… does that mean you still got a job?” Liam asked, watching as Theo turned off his phone and rested back on the couch, his hand again working wonder in his hair, relaxing him.

“Yup. Kinda wish I didn’t, though” Theo shrugged, suddenly exhausted after that call. Apparently, their clients were very pissed off, but wanted the project presented anyway. Which meant Theo would have to stand there and smile as they threw ‘subtle’ insults at him and he was not looking forward to that.

“Why do you work there if you don’t like it?” Liam asked, moving to stand from his position and sitting again next to Theo. His mate just wasn’t someone who would accept this sort of thing, Liam knew it. Theo was strong minded and knew what he thought and wanted. It made no sense to Liam why he kept working there if it made him so unhappy.

“It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s just…” Theo shrugged once more, lacking what to say “I’ve been working there for six years now. Started as an intern, got hired after I graduated. I helped build that firm, I’m their oldest associate. Even my secretary, Carrie, has been with me since the start, we went to school together and I recommended her when they were looking for a secretary for me” Liam smiled, already knowing he wanted to meet the woman. Theo wasn’t one for opening up, Liam had already picked up on that and he also knew that Theo was putting an effort to share. Liam wanted to know everything, and he loved that Theo was sharing it with him, his passions, his frustrations, his memories “And it pays well. Not a lot of twenty six year olds make what I make and I guess that’s a huge part of why I stay. It allows me to do a lot in my free time and I like that. And I get clients who invest a lot, so I have the financial freedom every architect dreams of, I can explore new materials and defy the very laws of physics and make something that someday will become historical landmark in whatever city it’ll be built and awe people, which is all I ever wanted to do in my career. So… I stay”

“Well, fuck, Theo” Theo opened his eyes, which he hadn’t even noticed he had closed, to find a mesmerized Liam looking at him “I can only hope to be as passionate as you about my career” Theo smiled, his arm pulling Liam closer. Liam sighed, resting himself against his mate’s chest, glad to relax. IT had been a long time since he had felt this… loved.

“How about we go to bed, huh? You seem really tired still” Liam nodded, though his eyes shot open the second Theo moved. With an agile hand, Theo grabbed Liam’s leg, standing from the couch. With a single movement, Liam circled his mate’s waist with his legs, arms around his shoulders and laughter bubbling out of his chest.

“Is this what it’s like to date you, then? Cause if it isn’t, then you should stop, I might get used to it” Liam asked, intertwining his fingers with Theo’s hair, a sly smile on his lips. Theo scoffed, making his way to the bathroom and sitting Liam on the counter gently.

“It’s not, actually” Theo answered, both his hands against the counter, beside Liam’s hips, still standing in between his mate’s legs. Liam was still hugging his shoulders and Theo took that as an excuse not to step away, but instead stay right where he was, mere inches away from his mate’s lips, Liam’s warmth, his skin, his smile “But it is if I’m dating you” Liam could feel himself blushing, biting his lip through a smile he couldn’t contain when Theo rested his forehead against his “There’s hardly anything I wouldn’t do for you, Liam, that is the truth, the only thing I’m certain of”

Liam wasn’t good with words and his brain had already been deep fried that day, so it was understandable that he couldn’t find anything that could even remotely describe what he felt for Theo. More than just someone he was dating , Theo was his mate. His other half, his better half. It was inside those eyes that Liam found happiness, found his North, found a future worth fighting for.

So, instead of using words, Liam kissed him. Liam kissed Theo with everything he had. Theo smiled, his hand holding on to the back Liam’s neck, opening his mouth and letting his mate have his way with him. It was exhilarating, freeing, kissing Liam. Theo wanted to do it for the rest of times.

Theo handed Liam his toothbrush, the only one he found amongst the products on the counter. He stood there, planting kisses to Liam’s neck and shoulder as the jock brushed his teeth, their hands meeting as Liam dried his mouth once he was done. He put more toothpaste onto his toothbrush and, with a smirk and a wink, handed it, still a tad wet, to his mate.

Or rather, he didn’t hand it to Theo. Liam lifted the toothbrush all the way up to Theo’s mouth, keeping it not an inch away from his kissed raw bottom lip. Theo’s eyes stared at it for a moment, only to slowly glaze up at the deep, expectant blue eyes already on his. It was like taking a shot of the most expensive Tequila Liam had ever tased, the way Theo looked at him. Lust, desire. Like a man walking through the desert, a man who just found his oasis.

And Liam almost fucking came in his underwear the moment Theo parted his lips and accepted the toothbrush, his pink tongue curling around the head slowly . Something so simple, the man made sexual and intimate. Theirs. With slow, tender movements, Theo began to brush his teeth, an everyday task made sexy and Goddamn provocative in the way Theo’s fingers traced the muscle of Liam’s thigh, all the way up to the hem of his boxer briefs.

And fucking fuck, Liam wanted Theo to keep going. He wanted to see where those fingers would end up, what they would do to him, but no. Theo simply set it back on the counter, much to Liam’s dismay. He groaned like a five year old, making a soft, amused hum travel Theo’s chest. Liam rested himself against his mate, arms around his waist as they just stood there for a few more moments.

“You know, all things considered, I am thankful that we got to spend the day together” Liam spoke, his cheek against Theo’s naked pec “I mean, it started fucking awful, but it certainly didn’t end that way”

Theo dried his mouth, his fresh lips immediately reaching for Liam’s. Liam smiled, accepting the kiss with an eager mouth and eager hands. It wasn’t long before Theo let him go, though, knowing they had to stop. They still had to sit and talk about this. Was this a step they wanted to take? Now? They both craved sex, craved touching their mate, but that would seal the claim between them. Forever. And forever required at least a conversation, huh?

 


 

“Theo? Come on, wake up” Theo blinked his eyes open, hand squeezing Liam’s waist in questioning. It took him a few moments to find Liam in the darkness, the jock resting on his elbow, hair falling in front of his eyes “I wish I didn’t have to ask, but I really need to go to the bathroom. It’s all that water you made me drink before bed”

Theo chuckled, standing from the bed and reaching his hand out for Liam’s. They shared a awkward laugh as Theo rested against the bathroom wall, eyes closed as Liam peed. Theo didn’t mind it, the domesticity of it all, despite the fucked up reason behind it. If it hadn’t been for the starvation, Theo doubted things would have developed this fast between them. But he was thankful for the moments they had gotten to share, he couldn’t deny that. He liked where things were going.

“What are you thinking about?” Liam whispered, going to wash his hands, feeling Theo’s eyes on him as he did so.

“You” Theo answered with a smile, knowing very well Liam could see him due to the heavy, dense moonlight pouring in through the high window inside the bathroom. Liam smiled, poorly drying out his hands and, with a single step, passing his arms around Theo’ shoulders.

“You make it hard for me not to just jump you, you know?” Liam whispered to the dimly lit bathroom, smiling at the feeling of Theo pulling him closer by the waist, his hands ever so slowly venturing south.

“You know I want that, don’t you? Don’t think for a second I don’t want to just give in and get lost in you on that bed for the next two days straight, I just…” Theo sighed, licking his lips as his palms fit perfectly with Liam’s round bubble butt. Theo was sure it wouldn’t take much more than Liam’s breath hitching just beneath his ear for him to shut his mouth and get down to it, right there “... we have to talk about this. I know what I want, Liam and it’s this. This. Bathroom kissing at three a.m. Is this what you want? Am I what you want? We’re not in a rush, though you don’t make it easy for me either, you know that very well”

“Oh, you are what I want, Theo, you’re everything I want” Liam whispered, pulling Theo down for a long, sweet kiss “And I actually like this game of ours, the teasing, stretching the band”

“Let’s see who snaps first, then” They both felt the weight of the confessions and the promise they had just made. And it was zero. There was no pressure, no second thoughts. They belonged to each other, in every sense of the word. There were no other hands they wanted to hold, no other lips they wanted to kiss. They were each other’s.

Chapter Text

" Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you're first falling in love"

- Untranslatable Words

 

“I’ll go to the game with you” Liam turned his head back to look at Theo, sitting on his breakfast table, wearing nothing but his underwear and bare feet. They had tested how far they could go and Liam had been very pleased to find he could move around in his kitchen, with Theo sitting about 7 feet from him. Still around, obviously. They weren’t ready to be apart just yet.

“What?” Liam asked.

“I’ll go to the game with you” Theo stood, making his way to Liam, who had just set on the counter two large mugs, waiting for the coffee to brew “Like I said, I don’t care who knows about us, only that we are together. If you want to go, we’ll go. I’m not leaving you, so you’re just gonna have to take me with you”

“Oh fuck, man, just when I thought I was finally getting rid of you” Liam couldn’t even finish the joke without breaking into a smile, Theo pushing him against the counter, one of the cups falling and making a loud noise against the marble, without cracking. Liam gasped, his legs being forced open by one of Theo’s, almost lifting him off the ground, making him stand on his tip toes.

“Oh no, you’re stuck with me” Theo whispered against his mate’s mouth, close enough to touch, but not quite “We’re not gonna take our chances and risk being only God knows how far away from each other”

“I guess you’ll have to do, then” Liam smirked, hands coming up Theo’s naked back, pulling his mate even closer.

 


 

They considered stopping at Theo’s apartment so the man could change into a fresh pair of jeans and a shirt or something like that, but they decided against it. In the end, all they did was laugh and try to see if Theo could fit into one of Liam's many Lacrosse jerseys. One of them kinda did and Theo decided to wear it under his black suit jacket, which wasn’t too wrinkled. Liam’s jeans wouldn’t fit Theo, no matter how hard they tried, so the Architect did his best to save his trouser pants for that evening.

Liam was sitting on his bed, feeling incredibly aroused by the beautiful sight in front of him. The Architect turned around once he thought he looked decent, finding a smile on his mate’s face, a light blush showing on his handsome face.

“So… go, Bruins!” Liam threw his head back, giggling happily, bringing a smile to Theo’s face. It was still much to early to head to the game so, technically, they still had plenty of time for Theo to shower at his house and change into more comfortable clothes, but they were so incredibly okay with how things were going that they didn’t care about anything else.

But time passed anyway. And, before they knew it, Theo was driving them to the game. Though Theo wasn’t exactly nervous, there was a part of him that wished they had chosen not to show up. But Theo would face this, for Liam. This was part of his academic life and Theo would be damned if he ever jeopardised it by asking him to turn around and head back home. Liam simply smiled and reached for his hand, the spark in his eye all the reassurance he needed.

It was obvious then Liam was quite popular, given how many people greeted him. A lot of people smiled at him, plenty of hi’s and hey’s. And then their smiles would vanish at the sight that was Theo following right behind. Theo was only four years older, but after so many years wearing a suit and the fact that he was kind of wearing one at the moment, plus sitting behind a desk had definitely made him look older. Theo stood a bit taller than Liam, which wasn’t really that big of a problem, it simply made him stand out.

And Theo knew Liam saw it too, how people would say hi then immediately turn around and start gossiping about them. It was also obvious to Theo Liam didn’t like the kind of attention they were getting. Not that Theo liked it in any way, but maybe he had prepared himself better for it.

So, with a motherfucking smirk to those obnoxious bystanders and a nod to Liam’s coach, Theo let go of Laim’s hand, only to pass his arm around his mate’s waist. And Liam smiled up at him, leaning into the man’s side as they walked towards his teammates. Theo knew those guys were his mate’s closest friends, but still the Architect was surprised to find out Liam had asked Matthew to keep everything a secret, or at least, keep the details to himself.

But Theo understood why and that made him look at Liam under a brand new light. These were the people whose opinions really mattered to him and Liam wanted to tell the real version of the story, not the one everyone had twisted and taken out of context. So, with a smile on his face and a kiss to Liam’s nape, they made their way to the bleachers, cokes in hand, to watch the game.

 


 

Theo was going to go insane. His desk was covered with his notes, his office’s temperature down to 60°F so he wouldn’t ruin his shirt by sweating. Cause that’s what he did whenever he got nervous like this, he’d forget to eat and start sweating as time passed by.

After the game ended, they ordered food and thanked Matthew for offering to sleep over at his girlfriend’s house. It was around ten p.m. and, while they waited for their food, with Liam lazing on his bed, with a smile on his face, Theo had practiced his presentation, checking and fixing whatever bumps he could find. Liam couldn’t understand half of those fancy words, but he nodded and paid attention anyway.

Saying goodbye had been difficult. Theo had woken Liam up before the sun had come up, kissing his lips and hugging him one more time before heading out. They had both felt it, the pulling inside their stomachs, but it wasn’t pain exactly. It was longing, wanting to tell the world to go to hell and just hold onto each other.

And, to top it all off, Theo’s boss stopped by his office, crucifying him for missing out on the meeting, talking about how horrible it could’ve been for the firm and blah, blah, blah. Theo knew what could’ve happened, he just didn’t think his boss would ever understand why he didn’t care. Well, of course he cared, he just hated how everyone was making a fuss and elevating his nervousness to a whole new level.

Calling Liam hadn’t been part of the plan, but it had proved to be his saving grace. Liam stared down at his phone once they hung up, knowing he had symbology studies for his last class of the day, then practice. And yet all he did was grab his bag, text Matt and get into his car. Theo had skipped out on work and had almost lost his job for him, this was the least Liam could do. The blank emotion and pure tension in his mate’s voice had been enough to drive him crazy with the need to just hold him.

And Holy blonde cheerleader Batman! the firm was huge. But, somehow, he was able to overlook the glassed outside of the building, heading inside. There was something so incredibly open and just plain clean about the place, Liam’s Lacrosse jacket a yellow dot in a sea of whites and greys. Oh, how people stared at him. Liam repeated to himself those were Theo’s workmates and that none of them knew Theo even had a mate, let alone what he looked like.

“Excuse me, where is Theo Raeken’s office?” Liam asked the reception lady, though she had been looking at her computer screen like it was some sort of door to another dimension, the Upside Down probably.

“Who would like to know?” She asked, her tone pleasing, though she didn’t bother to look him in the eyes, or at him in any way, for that matter.

Oh, he was going to enjoy this.

“His mate”

Yup. Just as awesome as I thought.

Liam answered with a shit eating grin, standing there like the cat that ate the canary, watching as the girl’s eyes went wide, looking over to some other place over his shoulder before walking around the counter to stand in front of him.

“Liam, I take it. I’m Carrie, Theo’s secretary” Theo had told Liam all about Carrie, just how close they had become over the years, so he shook the hand she had offered him with a much nicer smile on his face “I trust you’re feeling better”

“Yes, I am, indeed. I’m sorry for the comotion I caused, neither one of us anticipated how strong our connection would be” Liam smiled, hands in his pockets. Jeez, it was cold in there, for some reason “Perfect timing, huh?”

“Oh no, I understand” Carrie made a face, almost as if she wanted to say a lot of people at the firm understood, but refused to speak for certain people “It’s so good to know Theo has found you”

“And I’m very lucky to have found him, it’s why I’m here, actually” Liam spoke, trying to spot Theo’s office from where he stood, but it was of no use “He called, told me he’s having the meeting today. I’d like to see him before it starts”

“Of course, his office is just down the hall to the left” Carrie smiled, pointing him in the right direction “I’ll take his phone calls, give you two a moment”

“Thank you” Liam smiled, already making his way over. He knew they still had a couple of minutes, but, still, he wanted to see Theo as fast as possible. Liam couldn’t help but smile when he saw Theo fumbling with his notes, looking like a lost pup. Liam knocked on the door, pushing it open before Theo could answer “Got a minute for me?”

Liam would’ve loved to just snoop around Theo’s office, but it was the look of pure disbelief on his mate’s face that told him Theo needed all his attention. Theo’s face was a mixture of happiness, surprise and fear. And Liam didn’t like that last bit. Not at all.

“What are you doing here?” Theo whispered, afraid he was losing his mind and Liam wasn’t really there. But the Lacrosse player smiled and all Theo could do was watch as his mate walked over to him, all pretty eyes, long legs and overflowing confidence.

“You sounded… well, a lot of things on the phone” Liam couldn’t help but bask in the glory of Theo’s eyes eating him up, aware they were in the man’s office when he passed his leg over his mate’s knee in one swift movement, straddling his waist and sitting comfortably on Theo’s lap “I didn’t like that”

“You’re skipping out on school because of a phone call?” Theo wanted to sound somewhat angry, but all he heard was surprise and a hint of pride. His hands slid up Liam’s thighs, hating the feeling of denim under his palms, wanting to touch that smooth skin so bad he could barely breathe for a good minute.

“No, I’m here because of my mate, who’s having a bad day” Liam smiled, resting his forehead against Theo’s when he felt the Architect huff under him, his hands squeezing him, going up to Liam’s waist “You’re scared they’re gonna give you hell for the last meeting”

“To say the least, yeah” Theo sighed, immediately forgetting Liam was skipping school and just appreciating the fact that his mate had gone through all the trouble just to make sure he was okay “My boss already made sure I knew how much we need this investment, as if I didn’t know I have to fucking nail this presentation”

“You are going to nail it, I was there when you rehearsed it last night, you just have to remember why you couldn’t be there the last time” Theo smiled, closing his eyes once Liam passed his arms around his mate’s neck in a hug “Maybe they won’t give a damn, it’s your choice to explain yourself or not, just take a deep breath and go for it”

“Well, it does sound that easy, with you sitting on my lap like this” Liam smiled, lips itching to kiss his mate’s “I don’t know what I’m gonna do when you leave”

“Do you want me to stay? I can call Matt, have him replace me at practice” Liam whispered, not caring about anything other than how tight Theo’s throat seemed to be, his voice pained.

“No, baby, I’m gonna be okay, I’ve done this a million times before” Theo sighed, his hands brushing Liam’s hair back “Besides, I do feel better and you came all the way here, that’s more than I could have ever asked for”

“That’s the point of having a mate, isn’t it? You’ll never have to ask, not with me” Liam smiled, unable to hold back any longer when Theo relaxed under him, leaving a long kiss to his mate’s mouth “There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for you, you’ll never be alone for another day in your life”

Theo was standing in front of his office, somehow perfectly aware of every single one of his workmates staring at them, yet completely lost in Liam. Of course, until his boss decided that was the perfect time to show up, unannounced, as always.

“Theo?” the man spoke, his eyes were on Liam, on their hands and eyeing their proximity. But Theo was surprised when Liam took a step forward, a smile on his face, watching as his boss’ face actually went from a frown to a half smile.

“Mr. Whittemore, hello!”

Theo watched as his mate engaged in a conversation with the man he called boss, the man every single employee of that very firm feared to death, even making him laugh, for crying out loud.

“Mr. Whittemore’s son, Jackson, and I go to college together, you met him at the game last night” Theo nodded, though he couldn’t say he saw any resemblance between them. Liam squeezed his hand, bringing him back to the conversation “He’s one of my best players”

“Well, if you had told me Liam was your mate all of this awkwardness could’ve been avoided” Theo opened his mouth to reply, but his brain came up empty. But Theo was very pleased to know somehow Liam knew what to say, the right words and gestures, easy going smiles and laughs pouring out of him in a way Theo couldn’t believe was real.

“Oh, I should’ve recognized the name when you told me this was where you worked. I hope I didn’t cause too much damage” It was Theo’s turn to squeeze his mate’s hand. They had talked about this guilt thing, it was useless to feel like one of them was to blame for the starvation “Theo can handle anything, I know he’s gonna be okay, I just wanted to check in, give him my… well, encouragement”

Theo couldn’t hold back the smile that appeared on his face, not caring, for the first time in his life, that he was under the scrutiny of every single person he had to see and talk to on a daily basis. Liam passed his arm around Theo’s waist, kissing the Architect’s cheek, smiling up at him.

“I gotta get going, can’t be late for practice” Liam turned to ‘Mr. Whittemore’, not that a single person ever called the man that, with a smile on his face “Please, get Jackson to work on his diet? I need him up and running for the next season and I can’t have him benched for injury, he’s my best Defender”

Theo ignored all the stares as he guided Liam outside, desperate for five minutes alone with him. He rolled his eyes at Carrie, who simply smiled at him. Liam smiled when Theo pressed him against his car, mouth on his the second they were alone in the parking lot.

Liam finally allowed himself to touch Theo the way he had been wanting to, hands in his mate’s hair, though trying not to make too much of a mess there. Theo sighed, leg in between Liam’s, getting more and more of their bodies to touch, though all those clothes surely made it difficult.

“Thank you, baby” Liam smiled, breathless once Theo’s mouth let go of his. But Liam pulled him right back in, not having had enough quite yet. They had kissed that morning and Liam found he was already missing that contact, the fact that it was okay for him to kiss his mate whenever he wanted to “Have dinner with me tonight”

“Well, I’d love to take a shower first, if you don’t mind” Liam laughed, biting his lip once Theo hugged him, scenting him and kissing down the side of his neck softly, slowly.

“What time does practice end?” Theo mumbled against his skin, making Liam smile and hug him tighter.

“Around six, I’ll get home and text when I’m off the shower, I’ll get dressed in a minute” Liam whispered, eyes closed as he enjoyed the last few moments they would get together for the next few hours.

“Or you could just shower with me” Theo knew where this was headed and he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t nervous, but he’d be damned if he ever let Liam slip. Theo knew what he wanted, he prayed Liam wanted the same “I gotta take one myself, we could… save the water and shower together”

Liam couldn’t stop the happy laughter that escaped him, feeling like there was nothing that could possibly take that happiness away from them.

“I’d love that, I guess I should bring some clean clothes with me then” Liam bit his lip again, feeling it puffy under his teeth, smiling wide when Theo moaned at the idea of them together like that “I’ll drive the truck home and get myself some clothes and wait for you to text me”

“Sounds good to me”

They both smiled, foreheads rested against one another as they took deep breaths and prepared for the unavoidable. They were going to have to break this hug and spend some time apart. But it was easier than it had been that morning, in the end. Theo stood there, after kissing Liam one more time, watching as his mate got inside his car and blew him a kiss, driving down Sunset Boulevard.

Chapter Text

"When is a monster not a monster, Liam?

When you love him"

- Theo

 

Theo walked back into the firm to find one hell of a lot of teasing and congratulations from his workmates. Theo couldn’t say he was particularly close with any of them, they all talked amenities and work related stuff, but he was still glad everyone was being nice about Liam. He owed none of them an explanation, of any sort, and it was surprising how much their acceptance meant to him.

“Why didn’t you tell me he was so hot?!” Carrie whispered through gritted teeth, squeezing his arm as she followed him back to his office. Theo smiled and laughed at the teasing, ignoring his friend’s need to know every detail.

“Because being Mates didn’t mean we were going to be together and I tried to keep him at arms length and look how that turned out” Theo turned to Carrie once they turned the corner to his office, whispering to each other like they used to do back in high school “I’m deaf to him, okay? And that meant he knew about me, but I grew up believing he didn’t exist, had already died or hadn’t been born yet. I was cold and disbelieving at first and he managed to show me he was a good guy and wanted this to work. Fuck, Carrie, he just showed up here! Because I sounded nervous on the phone. He faced everyone, even Whittemore, for me”

Carrie smiled when her friend hid his face in his hands, knowing she’d have a lot to tease him for to last an eternity. Truth be told, she was happy for her boss, happy to know he finally knew what it was like to be Mated and to know there was someone who would always be there. It wasn’t unheard of for Mates to do these kinds of gestures, but it was surprisingly refreshing to see it still, how Liam had seemed eager to get his hands on Theo, calm him down and reassure him and how Theo had looked surprised one second and relaxed the next.

“You do know he just heard you cursing, right?” Carrie whispered, hearing her boss huff, the two of them leaning against the wall just outside Theo’s office.

“Lord knows I’d give anything to hear him too” Theo sighed, knowing he only had another ten minutes before the meeting started, but still needing a few more seconds to himself “If anything had happened to him, Carrie, if I had gotten into the meeting and missed that call… I don’t know what I would’ve done”

“Hey, all of that is in the past now, he’s fine because you cared for him, you protected him” Carrie’s squeeze was a different one to go with those words, her almond eyes soft on his “I like him, he treats you right” That’s it, a smile. Theo was smiling and that was enough for her. Liam was right, there was nothing holding Theo back but himself. He could do anything “You know I’d kill for a Mate who’d drop everything to come check in on me. Now, get your act together and you’ll be just fine. Brush your teeth, do whatever it is that you do, I gotta go and make sure those investors are well caffeinated”

Theo could only stare, wondering how on Earth someone could say all that in just one breath, Spice Girls reference included. Carrie had lost her first Mate to alcohol poisoning, three years before. She had called him in the middle of the night on a Saturday, yelling and making no sense at all until a nurse picked up the phone and explained what had happened.

Theo would never be able to erase from his mind the horror that had been watching his best friend lose her Mate. It had been like watching her be consumed by a fire no one else could see or put out, no amount of hugs and ‘it’s alright’ could’ve stopped her from sobbing and cursing. When she calmed down enough to sleep, her head dropped onto Theo’s shoulder from exhaustion. Because he hadn’t left. He stayed, no matter how much he had wanted to leave, curl into a ball and just pretend he had never seen her in tears and in pain like that.

Theo couldn’t possibly live through that. And after finding Liam? Hell to the fucking no. He’d do anything for Liam, he couldn’t bear the thought of either of them going through that kind of pain. And the worst part about it was Carrie hearing her Mate the next day. That’s how it goes, there’s always a second chance when it came to Mates. She had cursed and had gotten angry at the universe for giving her someone new, but, in the end, she saw reason. Theo may or may not have had something to do with that.

Carrie still hadn’t found her Mate, but she could hear him, which is more than Theo had had before that cold ass three in the morning encounter. Theo nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard someone clearing their throat, turning to find his boss there, hands behind his back with a stern look in his eyes.

“So, your Mate is the captain of my son’s Lacrosse team” Whittemore said, standing there as if waiting for Theo to come clean about something. But if he planned on talking shit about Liam, he changed his mind once he saw the look on Theo’s face.

Theo was not only his best Architect and Designer, but also his best closer, bringing the firm millions of dollars every year with the most eccentric and marvelous projects. He needed Theo to be at the top of his game and, if having a Mate would suddenly get him to drop out of meetings and start slacking, then they were going to have a serious problem.

But he couldn’t deny the effect that boy had on Theo, he wasn’t blind, after all. He had stood there, watching as Theo smiled, joked and laughed along with everyone, a relaxed feel to how he walked and smirked that the man hadn’t seen in years. The nervousness, it was all gone.

“You seem better”

“I do feel better” Theo huffed, straightening himself and taking a deep breath, a pretty fucking huge smile on his face, if he could say so himself. Fucking Liam and his everything, his mouth, his smile, his hands on Theo. Everything “I got this, sir”

And he did. Of course he did. He quickly ran through the meeting while he checked himself in the mirror, knowing Carrie had already set the conference room he liked best with everything he was going to need. He handed her his phone before leaving his office, reassuring her that if Liam called him or the firm, she shouldn’t hesitate to interrupt.

Theo didn’t let those men get in the way of his process, never leaving three seconds open for them to slide in questions and stupid remarks about him skipping out on the previous meeting they had scheduled. And by the end of their very brief forty five minutes, Theo brought home the best deal their firm had ever closed, settling on fantastic 8 billion dollars for three projects Theo would design, sign for and go about himself.

If there were an Award for best investment deal in the world of real estate and construction, Theo would’ve certainly just won it. As soon as their newest investors were out the door, the firm called it a day, despite it being four o’clock in the afternoon, on a Monday. None other project that year could possibly even come close to bringing them that kind of cash and workflow, new contacts and fame, so why bother? At least, for one day.

But in the middle of all that fuss, of celebratory toasts and cheering, of last minute food deliveries and loud conversation, Theo cleaned up his desk and found it was time to leave. He grabbed his bag, coat, wallet and car keys, smiling when he felt his phone buzzing inside his trouser pocket.

I’m all yours <3

Theo smiled, shaking his head amusedly at his company. No one seemed to care as he made his way to the front door, the coldest L.A. air he had ever felt rushing through him like a wave. Theo would get paid the big bucks for these projects, knowing he’d get to do whatever he wanted, at least for a little bit before the rush of meetings and stationary runs to Home Depot started. He planned on enjoying that time with Liam.

 


 

Theo parked just outside Liam’s building, honking twice before setting his bag and coat on the back seat and getting out. It seemed like it was getting colder by the minute, but Theo wanted to hug Liam, forgetting all about putting his coat back on. After those few, brief moments they had had, Theo had felt this tingly sensation on the palms of his hands that refused to go away, no matter how many times he washed them or used them to smooth down his trousers.

Until, of course, he slid his hands under Liam’s worn out UCLA hoodie and finally touched his Mate’ skin. Liam had dropped his overnight bag on the floor, by their feet and had wrapped his arms around Theo’s neck in a tight hug, smiling and laughing when he felt those chilly, delicious hands on him.

They were reaching their limit, they both could feel it, the symptoms not going unnoticed. Not only were they attracted to each other, they were Mates who still hadn’t bonded. Couples who choose not to be together go through some discomfort, but they move on, eventually. But the constant touching, fighting the starvation and the emotional bond they clearly already shared made it harder and harder for them to keep their hands to themselves.

But before they could drown in one another, at least for the night, Liam pulled away, feet back on the ground, though he still felt high from how good Theo smelled and how relaxed and happy he seemed. Something must have gone right, then.

“So? How did it go?” Theo smiled at Liam’s excitement, allowing himself another second to just take those blue eyes in before answering “Tell me, baby, how did it go?”

“My company is 8 billion dollars richer than it was this morning” Theo spoke with a bright, snug smile adorning his face. Liam’s expression was priceless, surprise in the form of a smile appearing on his face “Thanks to you, of course”

“8 billion… thanks to me? What do you mean, thanks to me?” Theo smiled at the way Liam’s forehead wrinkled, a confused expression that made him even cuter, if that was even possible “I didn’t do anything”

“You did everything, Liam, you got me to focus again, not to mention the way you calmed me down” Theo bumped their noses together, a smile back on Liam’s delicious mouth “Besides, I knew I had it in me, you just helped me find it”

Liam bit his lip softly, his breath hitching at the feeling of Theo squeezing his waist and pulling him closer, a smile playing in the corners of his mouth. With a hand to the back of Theo’s head, fingers through his hair, Liam pulled his Mate in for a kiss, warm and slow, like their first. They stayed just like that, in each other’s arms, for another few seconds, the wind howling all around them, but still unable to put out their flame, instead working as fuel.

“So, I want us to celebrate” Theo smiled when they pulled away, feeling Liam’s need to chase his lips one more time just as wildly, curling inside him like a snake chasing its tail “Just the two of us”

“You better not be planning to take me anywhere other than to that shower you promised, because I’m anything but decent in these clothes” Liam joked, knowing Theo wouldn’t shy away from that promise, they both craved it too much for that, but still, it was obvious Theo had plans for Liam and that was enough to make butterflies come to life inside his stomach.

“Well, who said we have to limit the celebrations to a ‘one night only’ kind of gig?”

 


 

“Why do I suddenly feel like Anastasia Steele walking into the Escala for the first time?” Liam joked, letting his bag by the door near his shoes. It had begun to snow while they had been standing there on the sidewalk, their clothes and hairs a tad damp after only a few moments.

“Did you just compare me to Christian Grey?” Theo spoke with a touch of pride and disbelief in his voice, walking back from the closest bathroom, barefoot on the surprisingly warm floor and throwing a towel over Liam’s head, drying out his hair.

“I can’t believe you understood that reference” Liam spoke through laughters and giggles, knowing he looked even worse now with his hair standing up in every direction “And why are you drying me if we’re going to take a shower anyway?”

“I have a sister, what’s your excuse?” Theo joked, eyes soft and tender on Liam’s blush and wide grin. Oh, how right this felt, to stand in each other’s space, kissing every few moments “Because I was planning on giving you a tour of the place and dinner first, I don’t want you to get sick”

“Oh, come on, Theo, I do want the tour and food, but let’s take a shower first” Liam spoke, dropping the towel to the floor and venturing further into Theo’s living room, head back almost as if his eyes were worshipping the high ceilings and the wall long windows “I mean, this place is… damn, I don’t even have words, but I stink from practice and I refuse to wear these clothes any longer, not when you’re wearing... what? An Armani suit? So… yeah, shower first, please”

“Careful, babe” Theo smirked, hands on Liam’s waist from behind, guiding his awed Mate through the living room and up the stairs “For a second there, I thought all you wanted was some sexy times with me in the shower” Theo laughed when Liam nearly tripped on the last step at the words and they both got this close to falling to the ground, the two of them a mess of limbs and loud laughter.

Liam stopped laughing once he noticed where they were. This was Theo’s room, his bedroom, the only place in the apartment, that Liam had seen so far, that didn’t look straight out of a design magazine. It was personal and lived in, with his personal laptop on the nightstand, along with a tea mug and candles. They had never talked about Theo being in Liam’s room, the starvation being a pretty damn good ice breaker for that, but it was different, this time around. This had been where Theo had spent his nights, thinking Liam didn’t exist. After all his success and his achievements, he came back home to this empty apartment, this empty bed.

Liam was going to change the memories Theo had of it, they were going to create new ones. Liam couldn’t erase the days, months and years Theo had suffered through, but he could and would make the days, months and years to come worth the fucking wait. Theo was good at pretending to be confident, undoubtedly a result of being frowned upon by society, year after year as he grew older and Liam failed to make an appearance, but the truth was as clear as day. Liam didn’t blame himself, knew Theo didn’t either, but if only they had met maybe ten years, five years before even, it could’ve spared them a whole lotta pain and misery.

And as it turned out, they both blushed while taking off their jeans and trousers, sweatshirts and Armani suit jackets. Though this was what the two of them wanted, they were both perfectly aware of each other, standing in Theo’s fancy ass master bathroom, with a whole world of possibilities hidden away behind the frosted glass and under the warm water. Liam wasn’t dying, fading away from being touch starved and Theo wasn’t worried sick about him, lying next to him with nothing but fear gushing through his veins. They were both okay, happy and desperate to leave everything behind.

“Did your boss talk shit after I left? I hope me being there didn’t get you in any trouble” Theo was thankful for the conversation, agile hands turning the shower on and getting towels ready for them after kicking their clothes off to the side.

“Well, maybe he planned on it, you going to college with his son or not, but he changed his mind, that’s for sure” Theo smiled, remembering the sour look on his boss’ face. The man simply hated being wrong “It was impossible not to see how much better you made me feel about the whole deal, so there was nothing for him to say. You’re welcome to stop by anytime you want”

They remained in silence after that, with Liam smiling at how nervous Theo was. But it was a different kind of nervous, one that made him focus on Liam and nothing else, unlike at work, where everything seemed to be a distraction for his already overdriven brain. Standing in the shower, merely a foot away from each other, hands itching to reach for naked skin and just touch and kiss and claim…

It was the same rubber band still, only that much closer to being overstretched, ready to snap and set them completely free. May the world end in fire, may the world end in ice, they were both together and there was nothing that could stop them. It was like their clock, which had been ticking down for twenty something years, was finally coming to a stop.

0:05

0:04

0:03

Time itself had somehow lost its meaning between them, with their eyes locked together, their fresh, clean and still wet bodies falling onto the perfectly made bed. Theo’s back stuck to the cover, bouncing on the mattress right back into Liam’s chest, his Mate all over him and it was like Theo had just found a little piece of Heaven right in the middle of his own lifelong personal Hell.

“Gosh, you’re so beautiful, Theo…” Liam’s hands traced down every curve, desperate for only a couple more minutes, for the chance to map and memorize every inch of his Mate, but they couldn’t allow themselves the luxury. Not yet. Soon, they would have all the time in the world. Theo smiled, breathless, a soft pink blush seeming permanent on his cheeks, pulling Liam closer as he opened his legs.

“I was so blown away by you, Liam, when we first met” Theo whispered, biting his lip at the hum of Liam’s chest against his, his Mate’s lips dragging along his neck, kissing him with lavish desire, their bodies pressed together “Suddenly you were standing there, all Heavensent with your long, long fingers and your lips… It was so unfair, babe, I dreamt of your fingers on me for days after that, your mouth on me”

“My mouth on you where? ” Liam smirked, pulling away so he could look at Theo, his Mate so debauched and ready under him it was hard to focus on anything other than their bond being settled into stone, a reality, tangible, theirs.

“Your mouth on me…” Theo’s hands caressed their way up Liam’s strong arms, feeling the man’s eyes burning with unrestrained passion for him, for his body, his soul and mind “... all over”

That’s when the band snapped.

Liam would never be able to comprehend how he pulled back, but he broke through the hazy surface and took a long, deep breath, fighting the instinct to just bury himself inside Theo, claim him and tell the world to just fuck the hell off. He found himself pulling Theo closer, his hands demanding and his breath hitching desperately. No. No, he wasn’t going to ruin this. He loved Theo far too much for that.

He loved…

Yes. He loved Theo far too much to lose control, not after all the teasing and the chance to finally have his Mate for the first time, drink him in, drown in Theo’s everything, give him his everything, in all the ways they both had ever dreamed of.

“Stop, please, stop” Theo’s hands stilled, worry finding its way to his Mate’s beautifully blown pupils, panting as Liam pulled away slightly, leaving way too much space in between their burning hot bodies “I almost lost control right there, I don’t want to ruin this for either of us”

Theo smiled, biting his lip as he gave Liam another moment, unable to hold off on the flames licking his insides for very long, making him want even more to kiss and claim every inch of his Mate. Liam’s eyes were different when he opened them again, not in the slightest controlled, but aware of how all of this amazingness could be destroyed by one single wrong move.

“I don’t mind going a little rough, Liam” Theo whispered, his arm bringing Liam in for a hug, opening his leg and using it to pull Liam back in, the two of them moaning in relief when their bodies, their dicks, finally touched again, sending electric sparks up their spines.

“Me either, but I refuse to cause you any pain” Liam spoke, breathless as he did his best to keep the bond at bay. Oh, Theo was going to be his when he was done, but Liam would never hurt him. He was going to do this right “This is the beginning of our life together, you’re allowing me into your body, Theo, I refuse to take this for granted”

“I love you” The words came out in a whisper, but they were out anyway. It was the best reply Theo could have possibly given to Liam’s sweetness and desire to turn this eventful night into a perfect memory. Their clock stopped, the two of them staring at each other for a long, very still second before diving in, laughing and exchanging sweet, whispered words, with warm kisses and with their hands all over each other “I love you, Liam…”

“Fuck, I love you, Theo, Jesus” They both laughed through kisses, hands pulling each other closer and closer on the bed. Liam moaned when Theo rested back, pulling away from their kiss to open his legs for his Mate, a devilishly encouraging smile on his face “Gosh, okay, hold on” Liam spit on his hand, working himself a bit before lining up with Theo’s ass, eyes on his Mate all the time as he supported himself on one hand, resting it beside Theo’s head “Like this…?”

“Fuck, I want nothing more than to ride your dick, Liam, but fuck yeah, just like this” Liam smiled, the air getting knocked out his lugs as he pushed in, slow and steady. Theo groaned at the feeling of his body expanding and changing, accepting Liam like it had never opened up for anyone.

There was a moment of pure peace and numbness, like they were both holding onto the eye of the storm, the air still and quiet all around them. The bond wouldn’t be complete until they both orgasmed and, after that… well, it was different, from couple to couple. Who knew what the next hour had in store for them.

“Jesus, Liam, yes” It had been months since Theo had felt the need to have sex, like actual sex. He preferred his own company, his hand getting him to cum more and faster than most people ever could. But Liam was the exception, Theo craved him, his touch, his cock, his mouth, like never before. Liam’s hands were like fire against Theo’ skin, his tongue leaving cool trails behind wherever they reached, his Mate panting by his ear, moaning sinful words to him… All that on top of their bodies, their very souls, becoming one.

And Theo knew Liam felt the exact same way. Liam felt like he was about to enter Heaven or some shit, Theo’s body, moans and hands swallowing him up, taking Liam to a place of pure passion and tenderness, no matter how much they both were dying to speed things up and chase their bond like two love birds chasing away the sunrise.

“Oh, Theo, Goddamn it, baby” Liam could feel his balls curling, his orgasm pooling inside him like a hurricane ready to take on the world. There were beads of sweat rolling down his back, along with Theo’s nails scratching down his skin, palms on his ass to spur him on “Holy fuck, baby”

Theo smiled, knowing exactly how Liam felt, the inability to come up with words good enough to describe that divine moment. It wasn’t just sex, it went deeper than just fucking. They kissed and whispered each other’s names like they were composing a symphony together, one they planned on practicing over and over until they achieved perfection.

Outside these walls they were a normal couple, but on this bed they were Mates, leaving behind coffee runs and college exams, what tie matches what shirt and Lacrosse gear, hours spent hunched over designs and sweat pooling on eyebrows whenever the team was a goal away from winning. None of it mattered, not in moments like that, when they finally could leave it all outside and bask in the glory of the bond that ensured them of their connection and life together.

“Tell me it feels this fucking good to you too, Theo, because I’m…” Liam moaned against the warmth of Theo’ skin, unaware of how they were breathing at the same time and how their hearts were beating as one. Theo scratched his back a bit more, just because he could, licking up the side of Liam’s neck, falling back on the mattress when Liam hit that fucking delicious spot inside him and not once did his Mate miss it after that.

Amazing, Liam” Theo whispered, his vision going blurry from tears he didn’t bother blinking away. This felt too good and he knew his body was seconds away from shutting down from this much pleasure and stimulation. His heart felt too big for his chest and Theo owed it all to Liam, the one thing keeping him alive and breathing in that very moment “You feel so fucking amazing, baby, I need your cum, Liam… Yes, give it to me, inside me, cum inside me”

“Oh, fuuuuck” Liam closed his eyes, his senses exploding like fireworks all around him, hearing how their bodies slapped so perfectly together, their sweaty skins sliding against each other easily, his cock engulfed and secure inside his Mate, inside his lover “Hell yeah, I’m cumming, Theo”

“Yes, yes, yes, Liam, yes"

0:02

0:01

0:00

And there it was. They were one, complete and united for life, down to their very core. They finally belonged, in how their hands clasped each other, fingers intertwining, gasping each other’s names, screaming into the night air as they came, claiming each other’s bodies and souls for all eternity.

No words were needed, Liam resting on top of Theo, the older man’s arm around his back, fingers tracing down his spine, legs relaxed around Liam’s waist. Liam sighed from time to time, unable to hold back a satisfied grin, squeezing Theo in their hug.

It was slow and tender, and who knows how long they stayed like that. But by the time they moved, all the sweat had already dried and Theo’s stomach growled, in a way that wasn’t perhaps the sexiest, if that was even a thing, but was still stupidly endearing. Liam chuckled, lazily lifting himself, despite still being perfectly settled inside Theo, to look at him, at his Mate.

Theo had his eyes closed, nose crinkled and a pink blush adorning his cheeks as he opened one beautiful blue eye to look at Liam, a smile spreading itself across his handsome face. Liam was ready to tease him, but the words disappeared from his mouth when his eyes got lost inside Theo’s. Damn, he was lost in Theo, that’s it. They loved each other, they belonged to each other, what the hell even was his life? Theo couldn’t honestly find a time in his life he had even come close to being this happy.

“Fuck, Theo, I love you” Liam laughed, a smile on his face, his fingers going up to brush Theo’s hair away from his forehead. But all his Mate did was lay there, with a astonished look taking over his beautiful eyes, his mouth opening, but the words failing to make themselves heard “What is it, baby? Did I… did I say something wrong?”

Theo shook his head, his hands covering his mouth as he laid there, under Liam. The Lacrosse player saw tears appear in Theo’s eyes, wondering where he had gone wrong, replaying everything in his mind but all Theo did was set his hands on his shoulders, pulling him closer, his legs circling Liam’s waist once more. No, don’t move. Don’t leave me. Ever.

“I… Say it again, I heard you” Theo laughed, trying to hold back the stupid tears that insisted on coming, but feeling too damn happy to bother with them. When it was clear his Mate was completely lost, Theo rolled his eyes with a smile on his face, his hands squeezing the muscles of Liam’s shoulders “I heard you, Liam. As in heard you cursing, heard you, just now”

“What…?” Theo laughed, head back in pure delight at the smile appearing on Liam’s face “You heard me? Like, Holy motherfucking shit, you just heard me? In your head?”

“Yes, I heard you! Inside my head, I heard you” Theo shook away the echo in his head, laughing through the kiss Liam gave him, moaning when his Mate’s excitement moved them on the bed, feeling cum dripping from his ass and his cock press harder against his overstimulated prostate. Oh, but he loved it anyway, sighing happily, smiling “I heard you, baby, I did”

“I love you, Theo” Liam whispered with a smile, hands back in Theo’s hair, the Architect biting his lip, feeling butterflies take over every inch of the space under his skin, the flapping of their wings helping his heart beat a thousand times faster “I didn’t say it just because we were in the heat of the moment”

“I know you didn’t, I love you too, Liam” They shared another long kiss, foreheads rested together while they enjoyed the pulling of the bond and the brand new page they had just flipped, had already started writing their masterpiece on “And I want nothing more than to go again, baby, but I’m sticky and starving, as you could tell moments ago and in desperate need for a few hours of sleep”

Liam chuckled, leaving another quick kiss to Theo’s pectoral before getting on his hands and knees, slowly pulling out. Theo groaned in complaint at the loss, bringing a smile to Liam’s face. They had another quick shower, full off warm kisses and cold water, with Theo showing Liam around the apartment once they were done, their food already on their way.

“I swear I actually know how to cook, I don’t just live off of take out” Theo defended himself, warm eyes on his Mate as Liam threw himself on the couch, satiated and happy. Well, never satiated, not when it came to Theo, especially not now that they had tasted each other “But this past week was so crazy, with the starvation and the meetings…”

“It’s okay, I won’t hold it against you” Liam joked with a smile, hand on the back of the couch once Theo sat, his right leg over his and sitting straddled on his lap “After all, since the food is being brought to us, that gives us more time alone, huh?”

“You really have something with sitting on my lap, don’t you? Not that I’m complaining, of course” Theo smiled, resting his head back and letting his hands touch Liam’s thighs, squeezing the powerful muscles. Perks of Mating an athlete, that’s for sure “I really want to give you a massage one day, take my time letting my hands touch you all over”

“You don’t need a massage, you know that” Theo smiled, angling his head so he could kiss Liam once his Mate bent forward, their lips deliciously slow “I know we rushed it today, we were both on edge, but I like it when you touch me, that’s a given”

“I just had this idea, maybe before or after, maybe before and after your next game, I could give you a massage” Liam bit his lip, spreading his legs a bit more so his mouth got closer to Theo’s, his hands going up his arms, up to his neck and hair “If anything, it’ll help you relax and allow me to cross out something from my list”

“List?” Theo chuckled, somehow his normal shyness and awkwardness when talking about this sort of things were gone, all thanks to his bond with Liam “What list?”

“Well, during my teenage years, in all the nights I spent daydreaming about my Mate, I wrote a list” Theo shrugged, letting his hands get under the soft shirt Liam had brought from his apartment “Of all the things my Mate and I would do to each other… in bed”

“So… you have a list for me? A sex bucket list kind of thing?” Liam would maybe be surprised if he didn’t have one of those himself. It wasn’t so much a list, but a bunch of things he knew he’d only ever feel comfortable enough even talking about with his Mate “And where does giving me a massage go?”

“It goes with the uncertain ones, it’s not exactly sex related, I just want to do that for you, that’s all” Theo shrugged again, unable to find the right words. Back when he was a horny teenager, thinking about being Mated and what his life would be like with a partner, he saw himself doing this sort of thing, romantic conversations, getaways, a massage here and there. Without ever asking, knowing or talking about it, Liam had already given him many of those things, but, with Liam as his Mate, the list changed a bit and massages had definitely gone up in rating “You play on weekends, next Saturday or Sunday you could come stay with me and I can get my hands on you”

“Sounds pretty damn good to me, baby” They groaned halfway through their smiley kiss when the intercom buzzed, pulling away from each other with reluctant sighes and laughs. Liam bit his lip, watching as Theo got up from the couch and made his way towards the door. Theo managed to look good no matter the clothes he wore, which wasn’t fair at all, though Liam had to admit he could totally spend the rest of his life admiring Theo’s half hard cock barely being contained by his sweatpants. Poor delivery boy, Liam thought with an amused huff.

In the end, they were Mated, with take out containers on the coffee table, whatever show playing on the tv merely for light while they talked, legs intertwined on the comfy couch. They both had work and school the next day, so eventually they made their way upstairs once more, Theo going to change the sheets and covers on his bed.

Liam smiled when Theo walked inside the bathroom, knowing it’d only take the man a second to figure it out. And when he did, Theo rolled his eyes, hip resting against the marble counter, his hand going up Liam’s back, his neck, all the way up to his hair.

“You know, if you weren’t my Mate, I’d find that incredibly disgusting” Theo spoke in a teasing tone, watching Liam wash his mouth and turn to look at him, all fresh minty and smiley.

“It’s good to know you don’t let just anyone brush their teeth with your toothbrush” Liam smiled, arm passing around Theo’s waist, fresh lips locking with his Mate’s before making his way out of the bathroom “Now, come join me in bed, I’m exhausted”

“What the hell did I get myself into, Dunbar?” Theo joked, shaking his head amusedly as he put more toothpaste on the brush, resting against the counter and watching as Liam stripped out of his clothes and got under the covers, making heart eyes at him from across the room.

Theo took off his shirt, throwing it on the pile Liam had made on the floor with his. He pushed down his sweats, forgetting about everything and anything, focusing on Liam and his sleepy yawn and smile. They reached for each other just like they did when they shared a bed for the first time, thank  the Heavens for the drastic change in circumstance. Liam rested his forehead against Theo’s chest, sighing happily as he hugged his Mate, their bodies warm and tangled up as close as possible.

“Looks like your stuck with me, baby” Liam joked, eyelids already getting heavy and voice low with sleep “I love you, Theo…” Theo smiled, pulling Liam closer even more before kissing his Mate’s forehead, closing his eyes and getting ready to drift into his dreamworld, knowing nothing his mind conjured up could be as perfect as the man he held.

“I love you too, baby”

Chapter Text

"The truth is:

I would've followed him anywhere.

Over continents and oceans,

For months and years.

Because as the stars shine

In the night sky

(Even galaxies away)

My heart?

Has always been his to hold"

 

Liam was sure he was dreaming. He woke up to a warm feeling everywhere and, as his brain woke up, fighting the haze of sleep, he recognized those were kisses. Kisses, open mouthed, wet kisses left behind on his neck, under his ear, a warm tongue on his nipple, hands on his hips and a hard, warm cock rubbing against his.

Oh.

Oh.

Liam heard a soft chuckle above him, opening his eyes to find Theo’s playful smile, groaning and moaning against his skin. Liam couldn’t help but smile, unable to believe this wasn’t in fact a dream, but him, being woken up by his Mate’s tender and delicious tongue and hands.

Theo moaned when Liam’s hands went down to his ass, urging his hips to keep their cocks together, rubbing as they kissed and scratched skin. They were both panting within seconds, Liam licking Theo’s nipple once he sat better against the pillows, biting his Mate’s pec softly while spreading his asscheeks, middle finger just softly pressing down on his rim, caressing it in circles.

Theo moaned, his legs straddling Liam’s waist as they rocked their hips together, pushing back onto Liam’s hand. Liam grew harder and harder by the second, waking up to the amazing view that was Theo on top of him. Liam kissed Theo’s ab, sucking on it, his hand testing his hole, wanting to push a knuckle in, bringing his waist down into his rocking hips with his other hand. Theo blinked to keep himself in check, they didn’t have time for the things Theo wanted to do, wanted Liam to do to him, but if his Mate kept teasing him like this, then they wouldn’t be going anywhere.

“Liam, baby, we don’t have time to go much further, so please get your hands away from my ass before I keep us in this bed all day” Liam moaned louder, his kisses getting wetter at the though of spending the whole day buried inside his Mate. It was going to be hard for the two of them, saying goodbye mere hours after completing the bond, but Liam knew Theo was right.

“Tell me we still have time for whatever it is that we’re doing ‘cause it’s working for me” Theo laughed, moving to rest his weight on the bed frame and bend to kiss Liam’s mouth, but pulling away with a moan the second Liam push his middle finger in up to the second knuckle, making his toes curl and a smile appear on his face.

“Liam…” Theo wanted to sound pissed or annoyed, but all he heard was his Mate’s name escape his own lips in a strangled, pleading moan, almost begging for him to not stop working his fingers just like that “ Fuck …”

“Still want me to stop?” Liam teased, lips moving to suck a bruise on Theo’s pec, teeth grazing a nipple, making the Architect hiss in a delighted fuss, his hips buckling at the feeling, Liam’s finger dragging against his insides “I don’t think you do, baby”

“No… No, I don’t” Theo surrendered, letting Liam tease and finger his hole as much as he wanted, their cocks pressed together, rubbing against each other’s hips. Theo’s moan grew exponentially louder when Liam’s hand got down to his sack, squeezing his balls not so gently and out of the blue, surprising him by ripping a low growl out of his throat “Fuck, I really don’t want you to stop...”

“You’re so hot, Theo… I wanna wake up to you everyday” Liam whispered against his Mate’ skin, feeling himself get closer and closer, watching Theo shudder and moan on top of him, feeling his tight ass squeeze around two of his fingers, feeling the delicious heat of Theo’s own cock against his “I guess tomorrow’s my turn to wake you up, huh?” Liam whispered, biting his lip through a smile when Theo groaned.

“Fuck …” It was the best Theo could come up with at the moment, his brain deep fried and malfunctioning at this point. All he did was moan, drag his cock ever more against Liam’s, pressing his asshole further back onto the fingers his Mate was using on him “Yes, Liam, with you everyday”

“Goddamn it, baby, I’m gonna fucking cum…” Theo opened his eyes, looking down to find Liam’s cheeks flushed and his abs twitching, cock ready to burst as he lost the rhythm he had been fucking Theo’s ass with.

“Inside me, baby…” Theo’s hand moved to hold Liam’s arm in place, the man under him lost as Theo moved to grab his hard dick and touch the sensitive tip to his blinking hole, sinking slow and steady, smiling at how fast Liam reached for his waist, throwing his head back in surprised pleasure “Cum only inside me”

Theo gasped when Liam moaned, feeling shot after shot of hot cum up his hole, Liam’s fingers digging deep into his flesh. Theo held his own cock in his hand, eyes focused on the show Liam was putting on just for him and cumming mere moments later, still riding Liam through his orgasm.

“There’s only two places you’re allowed to cum in, baby” Liam lazily opened his eyes to look at him, Theo panting, cheeks red as he bent down to plant kisses to his Mate’s face, cleaning drops of cum from his skin “... my mouth or my ass, nowhere else”

“Holy fuck, Theo” Liam chuckled, hands sliding to Theo’s back pulling the man closer to him and flipping them on the bed, Theo gasping loudly in surprise “You’re setting some really high standards for mornings, you do realize that, right?”

“Oh, this was nothing, I’m still going to ride you properly one of these days” Theo smiled when Liam groaned, his Mate’s forehead resting against his chest as they just held each other for a moment “How about a shower? I’ll drop you off… Well, actually you should drop me off at work and take my car, since you left the truck at the apartment”

“You sure? I can get a ride, that won’t be a problem” Liam felt the same flip in his stomach, feeling safe and protected with everything Theo said and did.

“Of course I’m sure” Theo smiled, moving his leg so he could loosely wrap it around Liam’ waist, fingers in the Lacrosse player’s hair “You’re gonna have to pick me up too, though”

“Then we can come back here and do this all over again…?” Liam teased, sliding his nose against Theo’s cheek, making his Mate smile. Theo wrapped his arms around Liam’s back, laughter bubbling from his chest at how happy he was. Liam was in his arms, with eternity at their feet… it was all perfect.

“Deal” Liam pulled away with a smile on his face, reminding the moment that same exact word came out of his Mate’s lips, back when they had first met, amazed at how much that single word could hold. Theo pulled Liam down into a kiss, the two of them sleepy and ready to fall back into bed, but Liam slid off the mattress, hands reaching for Theo’s and pulling him up to his feet.

“Come on, sleepy head, you just got yourself a bunch of fucking expensive projects you gotta deliver” Liam whispered against Theo’s nape once they stood, sighing when his Mate’s rested back against his chest “I want you to look badass when you walk into the firm today and get down to work. So go, do your thing and come home to me”

“Always” Theo whispered with a smile, eyes closed in pure delight.

 


 

No matter how horrible it had been to say goodbye, with Theo’s car parked outside the firm, with the two of them taking their time to just breathe and get themselves ready for the day ahead, coming back to each other made it all better again.

Just like Liam had said it would, walking into the firm that morning had been like walking down a catwalk during a rock concert, with spotlights and the crowds eyes on him. He felt good, relaxed and ready. Theo felt focused, like there was absolutely nothing for him to worry about outside those walls. He could hear his Mate, his firm was buzzing with excited noise and overcrowding with  passionate people, Liam was safe with him. Everything was okay, for the first time in twenty years. There was nothing wrong.

Until lunch hour came around and his sister showed up, not bothering to knock on the door to his office or even text him beforehand. She found Theo with a pencil in between his teeth, a soft wrinkle on his forehead from concentration, bending uncomfortably over his desk to get closer to his sketch, switching between five different colored pencils he held in one hand. The second Theo looked up, a bone popping back in place somewhere in his back, he knew he was in trouble.

Tara always checked in with him, a couple times a week whenever they couldn’t actually see each other and Theo could remember all the times he ignored his phone the day and night before, already knowing this would take a lot of apologizing, on his part. He dropped the different sized pencils, lifting his hands and cracking his knuckles before getting started on his explanation.

“Before you fulminate me any longer with that stare of yours, let me explain” Theo smiled at his sister’s exasperated eye roll, knowing she wasn’t really angry at him “Things have been crazy around here, as you can see, and on top of it all I just got myself three huge projects. And, of course, mating with Liam last night”

Theo spoke the last piece of his sentence, his fingers fast and agile, with a smile tugging at his lips when he saw the utterly shocked look on Tara’s face. There wasn’t a single detail of the crazy roller coaster that had been Liam coming into his life that he hadn’t told Tara, but mating with Liam had been sudden and so incredibly theirs Theo wanted to keep it to himself for as long as he could. Oh, but the expression of pure disbelief on her face was so worth telling.

Tara closed the door behind her with practiced ease, pulling out the nearest chair and sitting across his desk from him. She dropped her college bag by their feet, her posture perfect from years of etiquette classes, green eyes looking all lit up with excitement as she waited for him to go on.

“We just couldn’t wait any longer, you know? We had talked about it before, but we weren’t in a rush” Theo was glad for the break he was getting from work, even if it meant he had to get all touchy-feely with his sister. Theo could be open with Liam, it was easy and comforting to do that, but Tara knew all of his deepest and darkest secrets, had seen how not having Liam in his life had affected him, so it was difficult for Theo to find the right words to say “He was perfect, Tara, all of it was perfect. I feel him, even when he’s on the other side of town, I feel him through the bond. Fuck, Tara, I can hear him”

“As in… you can hear when he curses?” Theo laughed, nodding when his sister squealed, the sound weak inside her throat and yet so telling about how happy she was for her big brother “So, the starvation didn’t speed this up?”

“Of course it did, I… thought he was going to die, Tara” Theo sighed, brushing his fingers through his perfectly combed hair, knowing he now looked like the busy Architect he really was “No one will never understand what it is like to finally have the one thing you wanted your entire life, just to have it nearly taken from you a month later. But when he recovered and smiled at me, just so happy to have me there to take care of him, that I had actually dropped everything for him, I knew I was his. There’s… really no other way to put it”

“You do realize this means I have every right to meet my brother’s Mate now and you can’t keep him all to yourself anymore, don’t you?” Theo rolled his eyes, smiling when his sister moved to stand, kneeling by his side, next to his chair “I’m happy for you, brother, this is the man you’ve always deserved, I can already tell. But I’m still your sister, which means it’s my job to embarrass you and start getting the photo albums and yearbooks out”

Tara stood, grabbing her bag and making her way towards the door before Theo could do anything. There was a devilish smile on her lips when she turned to wave him goodbye, her amusement only growing when she saw how pink Theo’s cheeks had gotten.

“You’re gonna use my awkward adolescent embarrassing memories against me?” Theo wore his best betrayed expression when she looked back at him, nodding vehemently “You are pure evil, you know that?”

“Gotta pull out the big guns, big bro” And with those words, she flicked her hair over her shoulder, waving Carrie goodbye before exiting the firm with the confidence that she had won that argument. Theo huffed, already knowing Liam would freak out over the prospect of meeting his sister.

 


 

“There’s something different about you” Matt spoke, resting against his locker, in the middle of the room, obviously attracting a lot of attention with his exaggerated gestures. Liam rolled his eyes, wondering where the hell Mason was. Probably making out with Corey somewhere. Mason and Corey had transferred together over to Los Angeles and had immediately become friends with him and Matt “Spill it, Dunbar, we gotta get out on the field in a couple of minutes”

Liam turned to find most of his teammates still in the locker room and, apparently, being team captain wasn’t going to get him out of this one. Liam loved these boys, and he knew they were just teasing, but still, Liam wanted to keep the night before a secret, even if for just a second longer.

“Theo and I completed the bond last night”

The comotion that followed was such that Liam left with an amused huff as the guys stumbled over themselves to follow him, heading out into the field with the strongest blush of his life adorning his cheeks, he could feel it. He grabbed his helmet and stick, hearing his buddies trash talk him, yelling at the top of their lungs, attracting the eyes of people who really didn’t have to hear about Liam’s sex life.

“Wait! Liam, hold up! So, does this mean you ain’t a virgin anymore?” Matt knew very well Liam wasn’t a virgin, but the joke worked to get everyone laughing. Matt squealed in surprise, trying to dodge the hit aimed at his groin from Liam’s Lacrosse stick, not being fast enough. Hey, there was a reason for Liam to be the first ever UCLA freshmen to ever make it to captain.

“Ha, ha, very funny, asshole” Liam showed everyone the finger as they kept on laughing, using his leg to make Matt fall, not that it did anything to the guy. Matt was big on martial arts and was back on his feet in no time. This was who they were and Liam was happy to know being mated wasn’t going to change how his friends treated him. He had someone to go home to, but this was Heaven for Liam just as much “At least I made a move, not like Matty boy over here”

“Did you really have to go there?” Matt’ shoulders got tense as they sat down on the smooth grass to warm up and stretch, with Liam bumping their sides together “You know I like her, it’s not as simple as falling in love, like it was for you and Theo” Liam knew this was a sore topic for his friend, talking about some chick he had met a couple months before who turned out not to be his mate. Liam hated how the teasing had turned into this conversation, but this was as good a time as any.

“Okay, first of all, there was nothing ‘simple’ about me falling for Theo and second” Liam crossed his legs, feeling his muscles still pretty relaxed from Theo giving him so much attention the night before and that morning “You know I want you to be happy and I know you wished it was that simple, but it isn’t. You two are holding on and it’s gonna hurt more and more if you keep this up”

Matt’s ‘girlfriend’ had known all along she had a mate and that it wasn’t him and yet, they decided to give it a go. But now she had bumped into the guy and she wanted to play them both, Matt and her mate, which drove Liam borderline insane. No one had the right to hold on like that, no matter what you had to give up. Matt’s real Mate was out there somewhere and this Samantha person had no right to hold on to him, making him believe they stood a chance. She would give in to the bond, Liam knew that for sure.

“I know, I just wish it was me, I guess” Matt fell on the grass, stretching his arms up high, sighing. Liam got up, grabbing one of his ankles and helping his friend stretch his leg, wanting to keep him, and everyone, injury free “She’s been distant, you know? She takes half a century to return my texts and calls… you’re right, we’ve been avoiding the unavoidable”

“I’m sorry, dude, that’s all I can say” Matt smiled, though his usual happiness regarding pretty much everything didn’t really return to his posture once he stood up, with Liam giving him a helping hand “No matter what, I got your back, you know that, right?”

“I know” Matt bumped their shoulders back, getting Liam by surprise “Just promise me that, if all this mess goes to shit, your rich Mate is gonna buy me all the rounds” Liam faked being shocked, slapping Matt’s ass to keep him in check.

“If this mess goes to shit I assure you, brother, the two of u s are going to be having many drinks” Matt chuckled, flipping his helmet in hand and placing it over his head “I mean, remember that douche who really wanted to sleep with me? From English class? I had such a bad case of blue balls, the bluest balls ever that I was actually considering it, believe it or not”

“You’re kidding, right?” Matt spoke, lifting the grid from his helmet to make sure Liam was capturing how astonished he felt “Dude, no matter how horny you are, your hand will always be better than spending the night with that”

“Well, thanks, Sir Mix-A-Lot” Matt threw his head back, straight up cackling at the name, Liam unable to keep the same serious expression he wanted on his face “My point is, the same day I decided not to sleep with him, that I was going to wait for my mate… boom, there Theo was, after we won the championship. And, trust me, after last night, I felt so guilty for ever sleeping with other people, thank God I never dated anyone”

“You serious? Why guilty? It’s not like he didn’t either, I’m sure” Matt grabbed the bucket full of Lacrosse balls, the two of them making their way to the area they were going to be practicing that day.

“The only reason I ever slept with other people was because my father died and I hated how much that destroyed my mom” Liam sighed, hands on his hips as he grabbed the clipboard, scanning his line up and making sure he didn’t want to make any last minute changes “She loved him like he hung the moon and I hated how I much I wanted to have that too, so I broke my number one rule and had sex with the first guy I felt mildly attracted to. And fuck, he could never come close to Theo, he’s everything I ever wanted. You’re gonna have this too, dude, I know it”

“Jesus, could you be any more in love with the guy? It’s fucking pathetic, it’s what it is” Liam hit the back of his helmet with the clipboard just like their coach used to do, moving to go call everybody from the bleachers.

“Come talk to me when you find your mate and this stupid fling of yours is what sounds pathetic to you” Liam turned to look at him over his shoulders, already halfway across the pitch “Until then, you’re gonna have to listen to me pathetically proclaim my love for the rich Mate who’s gonna take you clubbing when all of this mess goes to shit!”

 


 

“What was all the cursing today about?” Liam chuckled, turning to find Theo resting against the counter, shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows, exposing his perfect smooth skin, barefoot in his kitchen, watching Liam wash some vegetable for dinner “Were you having some sort of fight?”

“No, no fights for me today” Liam smiled, placing a kiss to the corner of Theo’s mouth “Did hearing me bother you? I don’t want to get in your way” Liam smiled when Theo’s arm circled his waist, not letting him continue his way to the fridge.

“Hearing your voice inside my head is a gift, Liam, you could never bother me” Liam smiled, melting against Theo’s firm body, the Architect nuzzling his forehead, before leaving a kiss to it “I’m just asking”

“Matt and I were just joking around for a bit, but we ended up having a pretty serious conversation, not an easy one either” Liam sighed, resting his head on Theo’s chest “Remember his girlfriend? Well, she found her Mate. And it isn’t Matt”

“Jeez…” Theo hissed under his breath, hugging Liam tighter against himself, kissing his hair, loving that it smelled already so much like him, his apartment, his shampoo.

“Tell me about it, he was torn up. But they didn’t break up, can you believe it? She won’t let him go, they’re avoiding getting hurt, but this is gonna fucking kill Matt and no matter what I say, he won’t take action” Liam sighed, resting himself against Theo’s chest, nuzzling the shirt that fit him so well.

“All you can do is be a good friend, I guess. And remember he can make his own decisions” Theo spoke, resting his chin on top of Liam’s head “And buy him round after round of tequila when this is over”

If Liam didn’t know better, he’d say Theo had heard that part too. Liam kissed Theo’s mouth, moving back to continue with dinner, sighing at how domestic and normal all of this was to him. Making dinner, talking about their day… What else could Liam possibly ask for?

“That’s pretty much what he said too, I agreed, obviously” Liam chuckled, washing his hands one more time before starting to work on the chicken “Besides, you showed up when I least expected you to and it was by far the nicest surprise ever, so...” Theo smiled, touching his chest to Liam’s arm, hand on the small of his Mate’s back. Liam turned to him, his head against Theo’ shoulder, leaning against the man completely “You do know that, right?”

“Yes, I know that” Theo smiled, hand climbing to the back of Liam’s neck and angling him just right so they could kiss, sweet and calm. The perfect ending to the topic, no one could say a thing about it. On to the next topic, shall we? “So… my sister wants to meet you”

Chapter Text

"Two souls don't find each other by simple accident"

Saturday came along and Liam was glad it was game day. Theo asking him if it would be okay to meet his sister wasn’t the problem, but really the size of such a gesture. Tara was the center of Theo’s world, no matter their bond and meeting her was feeling pretty damn close to meeting his mother-in-law and he was so fucking nervous he could barely breathe. Damn.

He knew he was doing a poor job at hiding it from Theo, but he wouldn’t voice his fears either. Theo knew just by looking at him, there was no point after all. But during the game, he forgot all about the shirt he wanted to wear, if his favorite dark jeans were clean and all the sign language he had asked Theo to help him remember that morning.

“You know, Tara learned how to read lips a long time ago, you don’t have to stress about this” Theo had said, a fond smile on his face as he watched Liam go through the alphabet and the sentences they had already gone over in that short of a period “She is deaf, but she can talk. She just chooses not to, most of the time”

“Yeah, but I don’t want her to think I don’t care, you know? She’s your sister, Theo, she’s gonna interrogate me” Theo huffed, sliding across the couch, closer to his Mate “Besides, I don’t want you to have to help me with everything, that would just get too tiring. I want to do this, for all of us”

“Goddamn it, I love you, Liam”

Liam had rolled his eyes, but had circled Theo’s neck with his arms with a fond smile, hugging him back. Now, he was faintly aware of his Mate, knowing the Architect was watching from somewhere to his right, along with all those people. Theo had worked his magic in the early hours of the afternoon, his hands firm and experienced on his Mate’s shoulders and back, down his thighs and calves, stopping for a good thirty minutes to worship Liam’s ass, making laughter bubble out of him, though there was a spark to his blue eyes that gave away just how turned on he truly was. They had crossed a surprising amount of fantasies off their bucket lists that day alone.

And the results of such attention were clear, Liam’s tosses were aimed perfectly, his thighs powerful and ready to get him running, fast like a lightning bolt. No matter how many guys came at me, they all ended up on the muddy ground. This was why Liam had gotten so many scouts wanting to sign him, being the talk of his town, suddenly popular in school and all that jazz.

Theo had had the craziest week, ever since the presentation. He had found himself staring at the clock on his computer screen way too many times, his eyes getting blurry from drawing and his fingers felt heavy with the weight of his professional pencils. But it had been okay, for when said clock struck six p.m. Theo would be up and ready to go. Liam had texted one day, asking him for some ingredients for this recipe he wanted to try on Sunday, if he ‘survived meeting Tara’, that Saturday night. Theo had taken fifteen minutes to call Liam at those words, reminding him everything was going to be okay.

Theo had also spent a good forty minutes shopping for a couple interesting and different bath bombs and body lotion. He wanted to get Liam relaxed for this game, especially since they were going to have dinner with his sister after it. Tara had already texted, saying she had arranged everything for the three of them, photo albums included. Theo rolled his eyes with a fond smile, being witness to the nervousness both his sister and Mate were already suffering through, knowing he was going to be completely ignored during said dinner and it was okay.

Liam had been so understanding that past week, always finding ways to make Theo relax, smile and forget everything regarding work, paper thickness, computer programs and looking presentable in a suit as soon as he walked inside his apartment, as soon as they were in each other’s arms. They had had some ridiculously hot sex that morning, with Liam getting Theo all hot and bothered with nothing other than his hands and sweet voice, the dirtiest of words being whispered into his ear to wake him up as Theo laid on his stomach, Liam sitting straddled on the small of his back.

And Theo sat there, on the bleachers, surprised that that many people had showed up to the game. Liam had explained it wasn’t that important of a game, once he came back from the locker room, helmet under his arm and enjoying his last moments with Theo before he had to go and start stretching, the four o’clock sun warming them all up. Theo knew Liam was that much more of an athlete because he was able to shut everything out, the people watching, the cheerleaders who didn’t seem to get it that he just wasn’t interested, the band drumming away next to the field, their coach whistling like a maniac to get them in order.

And with Liam there, Theo saw no one else either. There was something so incredibly hypnotizing about Liam in his uniform, looking so relaxed and just plain comfortable in such a noisy environment. Theo’s perfect lax rat. Liam had laughed, a wet kiss full of endearment to Theo’s mouth when his Mate looked at him, confused at the slang. Lacrosse addict, to put it simply.

Theo was seated a step higher than Liam’s coach, hearing everything they had been discussing prior to the game starting, though he was barely able to understand a word they said. Liam had explained slangs were constantly changing, to make sure team strategies remained a secret from opposing players and prying ears.

A couple minutes before the game was supposed to start, there was a commotion on the field and Theo stood once he saw someone from the other team throw a punch at Liam, or at least try to, since Liam was just that much faster and dodged before any damage could be done. The Zebra had run there, pulling the fight apart, Liam being a good captain and reprimanding his player for starting a fight before the game had even begun.

Theo sat on the edge of his seat when Liam approached his Coach. Liam winked at him, though there was tension to his walk, his shoulders broad and chest puffed out under his uniform. Out of every other conversation he would have rather understood, this one he had been able to keep up with, much to his unhappiness.

“You gotta give me as many around the world ’s as you can, Liam” The words were out of their coach’s mouth before Liam had knelt, helmet in hands, stunned look on his face “That’s the only way we can survive the game, we need these extra points”

“Coach, I want to live, okay? If I even attempt an around the world here, I’m dead. Stevens won’t let me near his goal” Liam sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose, hand running through his hair before looking back to the clock behind him for a second “The guy’s a black hole, we gotta get murder passes going and focus on the cage. Most of us are taller, so we gotta be faster, we have to outrun them. Stevens has a canon none of us can compare, as much as it pains me to admit to that, so I’ll do my best to play as a backbreaker, just get me dimes I can fucking play with”

“You’re our crispy with the rock, Liam” Liam rolled his eyes, standing up and reaching for Theo, who grabbed his hand and helped Liam up “Don’t turn your back on me, young man, this is gonna be the toughest game of the season! No popcorns or possession shots!”

“You’re not.. actually gonna die, right?” Theo whispered, somewhat aware of people staring, whispering about them. His neck was angled strangely so he could look up at his Mate, the player smiling fondly before sliding a hand to grab the side of his face “That’s all I understood from that conversation”

“You gotta learn some Lax slangs, baby” Theo inhaled deeply once Liam attatched their lips, his Mate sighing as his hand moved to hold the back of Theo’s head however pleased him best “Stevens, number 73, is larger than me, so I’ll try to be faster. We play the same position, which is why we’ll butt heads all game” Theo nodded, feeling his chest tight when Liam didn’t answer his question directly. That meant Liam didn’t know, he couldn’t promise Theo he’d be fine, so he chose not to, not something he couldn’t give his Mate for sure.

When Liam spoke again, he was standing closer, kneeling in front of Theo in the small space, holding onto him so he wouldn’t fall, his voice soft and low, deliciously raspy.

“I’m gonna try and top ched as much as I can, that means top of the goal, which is where I’ll be aiming, see how small the goalie is?” Theo nodded, resting his chin on Liam’s shoulder and keeping his eyes on the people on the field “I’m what we call a wizard, it means I’m agile with the stick and, given my reputation, I’m gonna try and pull a rusty gate on Stevens, that means making him lose his stick. It’s hard to achieve and it might take me a few tries, but I’ve done it before”

“Just be careful, alright?” Theo whispered, watching the minutes tick by on the large clock near the field, Liam’s hands going up his back “I’d love for your face to remain beautiful and intact”

“I promise, baby” Liam chuckled, leaving one more kiss to Theo’s mouth before sighing and standing, jumping to the grassy ground and stretching his arms. The coach threw him his gloves, standing to whisper some things in Liam’s ear. Liam closed his eyes for a moment too long for Theo to think it was anything good, before sighing and using his cleated foot to throw his stick high in the air and grabbing it, swinging it over his shoulder and making his way towards the field.

And Liam had been right not to promise Theo anything other than what he already had that day. Because, despite surviving a long while and actually pulling a... whatever on Stevens, the guy got angry and, in a blur of motion, Liam was flat on his back, stick broken in two, helmet flying off.

Theo couldn’t help but stand, his hand reaching for the handrail because suddenly there was a sharp pain going up his spine, making tears come up to his eyes. The longer Liam just laid there, motionless, the more horrified Theo got. Liam’s teammates crowded over him, some getting pissed at the dick move Stevens had just pulled, yelling at their opponents.

Their coach roared and time was granted to them, Liam being helped back to the bleachers. Theo couldn’t care less at the outraged look the coach gave him, but all Theo did was focus on Liam. He sat closer to Liam, legs open and hands immediately resting on his Mate’s chest. Liam coughed, looking up and smiling faintly, still breathless, returning the touch to try and reassure Theo some.

“Uuh… and who are you?” The coach asked, looking at the other players for an explanation, since Liam didn’t seem to bother to answer him, just breathing into the sleeve of Theo’s jacket.

“His Mate, so you better make good use of the time you have ‘cause I ain’t moving from here” Theo spoke, voice sharp as his neck snapped to look at the man “And yes, it’s against the rules for me to be here, so I suggest you get to talking before someone realizes I’m not supposed to be here, within ear range”

Theo made a point to look at the other players, hands fisting the fabric of Liam’s uniform, knowing none of them would even dare to try and get him to back off. Liam was benched for a good ten minutes, still having trouble breathing, not even bothering to fight it when the paramedic told him to sit his ass down and relax. Said paramedic gets Liam out of his uniform and out of the gear he’s wearing underneath, his chest open to the cold Winter air.

“You know you’re not supposed to have your Mate in this section, right?” The paramedic, a thirty something year old woman, sighed defeated when all Liam did was whine high in his throat, hand squeezing Theo’s tightly “Recently bonded?” Liam nodded, resting back and complaining at the pull in his sore muscles. Fuck, he was hurting everywhere “Fine, get over here, honey, help me with him”

Theo was way too old to be called honey by a doctor, but he did as he was told, hand brushing Liam’ sweaty hair back after the paramedic instructed him to rub some aloe vera into Liam’s chest, loosening the tightness the impact had caused on his muscles. In a few minutes, Liam was hugged to Theo’s chest so his Mate could work on his back. Liam moaned lowly in his ear, Theo’s arm hugging tighter, shushing him with kisses to his shoulder and soothing words whispered into his ear.

Liam felt brand new by the time he slipped his uniform back on. He thanked Theo with a long kiss, sure his Mate would never want to watch another game in his life. He grabbed a new stick, enjoying the look of pure disbelief on Stevens’ face when the fucker realized Liam was indeed coming back in. And Liam alone put an end to the game not twenty minutes later.

 


 

Liam couldn’t have asked for a better way to end that shit show of a game. He was rested against Theo’s chest, the man humming some melody into his ear, playing with his fingers under the strawberry colored water from the tub in the downstairs bathroom. It had only taken Theo three minutes to get the bath going, helping Liam strip from his sticky clothes after bringing him a large cup of water and two pain killers. Liam gave him a look of pure gratitude Theo couldn’t help but kiss him.

They remained silent, with Theo adding warmer water to their bath from time to time, just holding him, slowly massaging him, wherever he could get his hands on. Liam would only moan and whimper, nuzzling the side of Theo’s neck, kissing the skin softly before settling back.

“We should cancel dinner tonight” Theo whispered, the words so unexpected that Liam pushed away, feeling relaxed now that the pain had been reduced to a dull throb “You should stay home, resting”

“No, baby, I’m fine” Liam rearranged himself, passing his arm over Theo’s shoulders, snuggling closer to his Mate in this new position “I’m better, thanks to everything you’ve done for me today, I want to go”

“Promise me we’ll come home if it gets too much” Theo whispered, knowing better than to fight Liam on this topic. Honestly, Theo had already made his peace with how he never wanted to deny Liam anything, simply resting their foreheads against one another and sighing at the tight squeeze Liam gave to his nape, scent marking him, despite all the soap and body wash they had used “Promise me”

“I promise, Theo, of course”

And that’s how they found themselves in Tara’s living room, chatting away on her large, comfy couch, with Theo resting against his Mate, sighing contently into his nape. It made Theo proud to hear them laughing, talking and realizing there had been no reason at all for nervousness. Theo could stay in that moment forever, with the two most important people in his life right there with him.

They had had an amazing dinner, with Tara and Liam getting together after to get the dessert ready while Theo put the dishes in the dishwasher. It was so incredibly endearing to stand there and just watch his Mate and sister get along, laugh and talk like old friends. Liam had caught him staring, feeling his smugness and happiness through their bond. Tara had lifted a hand to her throat, making a gesture like she was puking in the trash can next to the sink once Liam had pulled Theo in for a kiss, chuckling into his Mate’s mouth.

It was all perfect, until Matt was there, banging on the door to his sister's house. Theo stood from the couch at the sound, fast to get on his feet, his glass forgotten on the coffee table as he stood protectively in front of his Mate and sister, things happening too quickly for his brain to process anything. Tara grabbed his arm, confused at the sudden frown on his face, but Theo was too alert to turn around and explain it to her.

"Is that... Matt?" Liam stood a moment later, hearing his friend's voice outside. Liam pulled his phone out, finding there four missed calls and several capital lettered texts from the man "What on Earth is he doing here?"

"I'm more concerned with how he found out we were here" Theo spoke through gritted teeth, willing himself to calm down now that they new this was Matt and he wasn't a threat. Theo turned to his sister, realizing, once he had calmed down, that she would probably be scared and confused.

"Well, I told him, of course" But talking to his sister is once again forgotten once Liam says those words, feeling the phone vibrating inside his pocket. Liam looked up to find Theo's confused and somewhat incredulous stare, rolling his eyes at his Mate "Don't look at me like that, he's my best friend, has been for twelve years now. This is something we do, we keep each othe up to date on things and this? This is pretty fucking huge"

Tara couldn’t help but chuckle, understanding everything now, also rolling her eyes fondly at her big brother, who looked betrayed at her, hand on his shoulder. It's okay, it’s what she’s saying. She had fallen in love with Liam, mostly because of the glazed over, blissful look on her brother’s face that she knew to only be there because of his Mate. Besides, she thought it ridiculously endearing that he trusted his friend like that.

Theo and Tara walked towards the front door once they heard Liam yell, the Lacrosse player had said he’d deal with it, grabbing his coat and going to talk to Matt. It's nothing serious, thank Heavens, but Theo struggles to get himself under control, rushing over anyway. Matt and Liam were arguing in heated whispers and Theo had a pretty good idea why. Samantha had apparently decided she wanted her Mate, leaving Matt to pick up the pieces of her mess by himself. The mess being Matt’ shattered heart.

But all Liam and Theo did, could possibly do, was stare, standing side by side as Matt and Tara stared... at each other.

"You know you can't go back again

To the world that you were living in

'Cause you're dreaming with your eyes wide open.

So come alive"

Chapter Text

"First,  he touches you and you light on fire. Your wrist blazes where his fingers meet your skin.

The burns don't show, but it's hard to breathe with the ash in your lungs. It's so hard to breathe.

You're suffocating daily.

 Second, it hurts to watch him. He shines. He's brighter than the sun, he's too beautiful for your eyes.

It's hard to look at him. It's even harder to look away from him.

You're going blind.

Third,  your ears are tuned to his voice. You could pick him out in a sea of thousands.

His voice makes pretty singers who sing pretty songs sound dull.

His voice makes everything else sound ugly.

Fourth, the color of his eyes is blue enough to drown in. He is turning you into a clichéd love-wrecked being.

You're drowning, always sinking. Down. Down. Down.

Fifth, you know him. You love him. Through a thousand lifetimes, across millions of stars, you'd find him.

You'd never leave him. You love him.

Till death do you part" 

 

But all Liam and Theo did, could possibly do, was stare, standing side by side as Matt and Tara stared at each other, heads slowly turning, eyes wide in realization. Tara had decided to join them in front of her house, but had slipped on the snow on her front step, cursing under her breath. She obviously wasn’t wearing the right shoes for this kind of weather and she was quick to make a funny face, lightening up the mood about nearly falling.

But it doesn’t really work with Matt, her gently whispered‘fuck’ sounding funny on her inexperienced tongue, on her barely used voice, but it does the job. Matt’s fears and anger disappear, leaving him to feel the shock ripping through his veins. All he can do is gasp, eyes shut tight at the echo Theo and Liam knew very well by now.

The hateful words for his now ex girlfriend died inside Matt's throat and, when he opened his eyes, all he could focus on was Tara. It took him a few moments to remember her name, sure that Liam had mentioned it at some point. And it was like suddenly nothing had ever sounded better to his ears than her name. Matt knew he’d be interrupting a big night for them, Liam had talked about it nonstop in the locker room earlier that day, but he had been so hurt, so out of it that he showed up anyway. He needed Liam, his friend, his words, his advice, even his bitter “I told you so”.

Theo watched in pure awe, unable to believe he was getting to witness this as his hand immediately reached for Liam's, finding it already outstretched for his. Matt made his way over to her with unsteady steps, standing there, hands fisting and relaxing, trying to stop himself from reaching out and touch her skin. It was a burning need, the one to touch and feel, mark her as his own now that he had found her, but her wide eyes and the anxiety pooling inside his stomach were enough for him to restrain himself, to think about all of it for even just a split second.

Liam had a hand covering his mouth, squeezing Theo's in his, eyes not leaving the brand new couple in front of them. All four of them remained silent, the last of the howling winds of Winter the only sound they could hear. Liam eventually started tugging Theo gently towards the car, thankful that the keys were still in the pocket of his coat. But Theo refused to move, standing tall and ready to interfere if his sister asked him to, feet frozen on the snowy ground.

"Come on, let's go home" Liam whispered against the fabric of Theo's sweater, lips to his Mate's large shoulder, squeezing his hand a bit more to get his attention "They have a lot to discuss, let's just give them some space, alright?"

Theo knew Liam was right, of course. Theo knew both his sister and Matt were consenting adults and could figure this out on their own. But Theo had taken sign language classes at the age of six for his sister, had tucked her in night after night, had told her countless stories of how amazing it would be to have their mates one day. 

And she was finally experiencing everything Theo had told her finding a mate should be and realizing how Theo had miserably failed at finding good enough words to describe it. There were no words in the English language to describe it, finally belonging, like all the billions of starts in the galaxy, the sun and moon were yours for the taking, like you were invincible, as long as their love bloomed inside your heart. And it was blooming inside both their hearts and Theo didn’t know what to do, stuck between being happy for Tara and going crazy with overprotectiveness. The world had already hurt his sister enough to last for a lifetime.

Theo only moved when he heard Matt's shaky voice, a breathy and mumbled "Mate" escaping his lips. Tara hadn't been able to hear him but, given her expression of astonishment and her faltering nod, the tears coming up to her eyes, it was safe to say she felt the pull of the bond, just as strongly as her Mate did. When their hands unsurely reached for each other, only one finger touching at first, eyes locked, the two of them exhaling in relief at how good it felt, Theo allowed himself to look away, get in the car and finally let Liam drive them home.

 



Liam was already up by the time Theo found the strength to get out of bed. It was a fucking cold ass Sunday morning and Liam had a steamy pot of coffee already brewed for his Mate, going through his exam notes while zipping on a hot cocoa he had fixed himself. Theo moaned at the smell of coffee, making Liam lift his head from his notes and smile, turning and opening his legs to allow Theo enough room to near him and plant a moany, delicious good morning kiss on his mouth.

Theo moved to get himself a cup of coffee with no words being needed between them, yet completely unaware of Liam’s expectant eyes on his back. Liam knew very well what was going on through his Mate’s head, they had talked about what Tara encountering her Mate would be like for her, whispering to each other in the darkness of their room. Matt being her Mate had definitely surprised the hell out of everyone, but even so it brought a new sense of family to the whole thing. They all knew each other, somehow and it had worked to get his Mate calm enough to sleep.

“Matt already called” Liam whispered, eyes open wide to capture his Mate’s reaction, mouth behind his hot chocolate mug to hide his grin. Theo’s hands nearly dropped the now full cup of hot coffee on the counter, turning to Liam with eyebrows shot up so high they nearly were introduced to his hairline. Theo forgot all about his drink, coming back to stand near his Mate.

“What?!” Theo’s voice sounded weird even to his own ears, but he knew Liam would let it slide. After his Mate had stayed up to hear him through the night, a night he should’ve spent asleep, recovering from the events of that afternoon, Theo knew Liam understood him, his fears and worries “When? Why didn’t you wake me?”

“Because he called not ten minutes ago and tomorrow’s Monday” Liam spoke, a snug smile on his face as he allowed his hands to slowly circle Theo’s waist, pulling his Mate closer. Theo huffed, looking down at his sneaky Liam, unable to resist him for all he was worth “So, I wanted you to get as much rest as you could. I would’ve… woken you, I mean, if anything had happened”

"I love you, baby. For being so awesome and caring so much about me" Liam smiled, closing his eyes in pure delight when Theo stepped closer, arms around his shoulders, bending forward to kiss his lips once more "But what in the holy hell did he say?" Liam chuckled, finding his new side of Theo incredibly sweet and telling about the man he was. Liam didn't think he could fall any more in love with the man, honestly.

“Everything is okay, they talked for hours, just getting to know each other, experienced their fair share of awkwardness at first, you know the drill” Theo, in fact, knew the drill, could still remember it very well, thankful for his Mate’s choice of soothing words as he breathed out in relief “You should have heard him, talking about Tara as if she were a Goddess. They slept close together, but that’s all. They decided to obviously hold back on bonding”

Theo smiled at Liam pinching his nipple softly, despite his shirt, the Lacrosse player squeezing his Mate’s waist in a reassuring manner that he probably didn’t know just how much Theo truly needed in that moment. Theo would never forget the thrill of it all, holding Liam in a hug for the first time, how they were tense for all of five seconds before straight up melting into one another, how butterflies had swept him right off his feet at having Liam slide their hands together. It had been a whirlwind, a fairytale that had everything to just be a really good, vivid dream, but ended up being real, much to their happiness. It made Theo happy to know, from experience, what his baby sister was going through.

“They’re going to be okay, baby” Theo knew they would, of course he did. Liam held Matt in a place reserved to brothers, speaking so highly of the man it was weird they still hadn’t had the chance to sit together and have a chat. But it was more than enough to settle Theo and his restless mind down, assured everything would be fine. Liam massaged Theo’s back as they stood there, their drinks cooling on the counter, hugged, caressing and kissing each other slowly.

It wasn’t until a couple of minutes had passed that either of them noticed how the need in their touches grew, ever so slowly, their kisses lasting longer, tasting sweeter. Theo let Liam mad handle him a bit, sighing comfortably against his Mate, standing chest to chest with Liam.

“So, what do you say, baby? A lazy Sunday in?” Theo felt a shiver run down his spine at Liam’s sultry, sexy voice, biting his lip through a smile ‘cause he knew what was going to happen next. And fuck, did he want it “We can head over to the couch, let me use my tongue, my fingers to open you nice and slowly for my cock. You can choose what we’ll watch, I’ll make your favorite for lunch and then tonight I’ll fuck you again, on our bed, however you want me to, so we can start the week off the right way”

Theo was panting by the time Liam was done working his magic, the Lacrosse player’s hands pushing Theo’s sweatpants down as he spoke, caressing and squeezing his asscheeks over the fabric of his boxers, the tip of one of his fingers just close, but not close enough to adding pressure to his eager hole.

“It sounds perfect, Mate” Theo whispered, swallowing thickly around his arousal, needing, almost begging for Liam to get started on his promises right where they were standing. Liam smiled brightly, slowly standing from the counter stool, his body so close to Theo’s the Architect felt dizzy with his scent and warmth, drunk on it in the matter of seconds.

“Then lazy Sunday it is”

The sex is nothing if not mind blowing. They went slow, lasting longer than ever before. Now that there was nothing for them to worry about, want pouring into their kisses, it was easy to let go and get lost within one another. There’s plenty of teasing, open mouthed kisses on sweaty skin, dirty dirty talk and just the right amount of saliva for it to be anything short of memorable.

They had both known it would be like this, the more things they faced in their life together, the more grounded and full of emotion their lovemaking would become. For them, at this point, it was easy to give in to their bond and get washed up in whatever they were feeling, moans and gasps, skin slapping on skin, growls and curses being thrown into the air around them as they etched more and more stars into the galaxy that was their mating.

Liam had to carry Theo back to bed, their afternoon plans being changed a bit once Liam found out his Mate’s legs were weak and he was pretty sure Theo had blacked out after cumming. Which did all sorts of things to him, Liam couldn’t deny it. Theo came to a few minutes later, cheeks blushed, but heavy lidded, satiated, like the good Mate that he was, showing just how Liam had pleased him with pride.

But what doesn’t change is how fast the time flies by. Suddenly they’re saying ‘see you later’s on Monday, Theo leaving first so he could stop by Tara’s and have breakfast with her. Liam was then alone in the apartment, getting ready with his eyes on the bed. They hadn’t had a second round the night before, but they had spend the whole day lost in each other anyway, whispering to each other in between episodes of whatever tv show was passing on their tv, laughing, kissing. It was a high unlike any other;

When Liam finally finds Matt, the smile on his friend’s face is enough to tell Liam everything he needs to know. Still, they both skip their first class of the day, getting themselves coffee and a cupcake they wanted to share and sitting in the back of the cafeteria. And Matt had gone into the longest, most clichéd monologue about how stupidly lost on Tara he already was and Liam had sat there, chin rested on his hand, watching with an amused smirk on his face as his friend spoke with a smile he knew he had worn for a long time as well.

“Fuck, man! I never thought it would feel like that! Tara being deaf doesn’t change anything, she’s so cool, Liam, I can’t even” Liam had thrown his head back, wanting desperately to record this and send it to Theo “Was it like this for you too? This… need to be together?” Liam only nodded, smiling wide at Matt's groan “God, I mean… it’s amazing, definitely. It got amazing, after the first fifteen minutes of awkward silence passed, did you experience that part too?”

“Nope, but, then again, we bumped into each other at three in the morning at a convenience store, neither of us wanted to stay on the street any longer than we had to, if you know what I mean” Matt rolled his eyes, but nodded “But I… I couldn’t let go of him, you know? I… he was right there, after years of yearning, dreaming of him, he was right in front of me. I needed to make sure he was willing to give me a chance, after all, he had lived his whole live not hearing me, thinking I didn’t exist. It was… a shock and he was shy, at first, guarded”

“Tara was like that too, in a way” Matt nodded at Liam’s words, understanding them now more than he had ever thought he would be able to when Liam had spoken them before, telling him all about Theo when he got to the party, all dopey eyed and smiling like a fool, three bottles of booze hugged to his chest “She did everything very clinically, you know? Like I was a guest in her house, served me water. I felt guilty, so fucking guilty”

Liam smiled, knowing very well what that was. The guilt of not waiting, the guilt of being rebellious and now having to tell your Mate, the person the universe had made just for you, that you didn’t wait for them. That, at some point in time, you thought of someone else, you had someone else. Mates were under no obligation whatsoever to wait for their other halves before indulging their teenage hormones and fucking like rabbits, but the bond made them want to come back in time and tell their old selves to wait. That it would be so damn worth it.

“She’s just… precious , you know? Delicate, deserving of someone far better than me” Matt shook his head, knowing there was no way he’d make it through life without Tara, not now that they had talked about things and had, indeed, decided to give this a go “Telling her about Sam was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, she didn’t look… betrayed, exactly. Like she had already been expecting that of whoever her Mate turned out to be and I hated it, I hated proving her right”

“You gotta let that go, Matt, none of it matters now” Liam brought his voice to a whisper, resting his elbows on the table and shifting closer so only Matt could hear him “Can I be blunt? Probably over share a bit?” Matt nodded, shifting closer as well, needing this conversation far more than he could ever put into words “When I was inside Theo, when we were too horny, just too in love to wait any longer, when I finally slid inside my Mate, everything, everyone disappeared. Nothing mattered but him. I felt guilty too, but I was also experiencing the best sex of my life! With my other half, I mean, the bond completing... it’s addicting, it… it fixes anything, really”

“Yeah, that was definitely some oversharing right there, but thanks, man” Liam rolled his eyes, though he knew he had gotten his point across “I just… we deserve this, Tara and I and I refuse to let some bitch take this away from us”

“Glad to know you finally see things my way, though I’m sorry it had to come to this” Liam sighed, checking the time on his phone and smiling at the sexy, sweet text Theo had just sent him. Liam looked at Matt, knowing his buddy was happy he had found Tara, but was still insecure in this new territory. It’s not like they taught this shit in school, alright? “When you get to look at your phone and find things like this…” Liam spoke, holding the phone up for Matt to read, his best friend grinning and rolling his eyes at the fond look on Liam’s “... that’s when you know you’re doing things right. I know you’re terrified right now, like I was when I decided to take the lead in our relationship. Theo was scared and he needed me to be insisting, to show him I was here for good. I don’t think that’s the case with Tara, but, still, it doesn’t hurt to go that extra mile. It’s like my dad used to say ‘don’t assume they know…”

“... tell them’” Matt nodded, smiling at Liam. Matt had been there when Liam’s father had passed away and he hadn’t been surprised at all when Liam had told him that was the only thing Theo still didn’t know about him. How much it had hurt him to lose his dad. Because it had nearly killed his mother, losing her Mate and partner, the father of her child and Liam couldn’t bare to think someone out there had the power to do that to him. It’s not the kind of thing you dump on the guy who turned out to be the love of your life. Because that’s how Liam addressed to Theo to him once, tone nonchalant like he had just stated that the Earth circled the Sun. He’s the love of my life, man.

And that was some pretty heavy stuff right there. Yes, Matt wanted to have that, but up until less than twenty four hours before, he had been desperate to have Sam in his life forever, no matter the cost, no matter what he would have to live without. Finding out that it was Tara he had been willing to go through life without? It had nearly destroyed him, drowning him in a guilt so huge Matt had lost the ability to speak. Or function at all, for that matter.

But Tara had simply smiled at him, whispering to him once she slid closer to his side on the couch, once he was done telling her all about the woman that had tricked him into loving her. Matt had finished talking with his voice nothing but a whisper, realizing just how close he had gotten to fucking up bad.

Can you give me a chance?

Matt had stared at her, stunned, dumbfounded, feeling disgusted with himself, for many minutes. Because his Mate, his perfect and sweet Tara, who wasn’t to blame here, was asking for a chance. A chance to be deserving of her Mate, she had said, a chance to prove she was also worth loving. Matt had cried, his heart heavy and on the verge of shattering right there, on her couch, hazel eyes staring right into his very soul and somehow not hating what she had found in there. Tara had smiled, pulling him into a hug so tight, so warm and gentle, all at once, that Matt had seriously thought he was gonna pass the hell out.

But he didn’t. Instead, Tara took him to her bed, laid him down slowly, took his shoes off and slid under the covers with him, jeans and sweaters still on, always gentle in the way she moved closer to him, one of her legs in between his, engulfing him in love and warmth unlike anything Matt had ever experienced before. His hands had slid around her waist in one swift motion, making her giggle into his ear and Matt was then convinced he had never heard anything more beautiful.

He was terrified, but he’d do this. He’d do this for his chance to deserve Tara. And that’s why he took his phone out, aware of Liam smiling at him as he typed a text to his Mate, hoping to bring to her face the same smile Theo had been able to. He was trying to go the extra mile, but it was tricky when Tara had already gone some good, extra five miles for him the past night alone.

It was then that Liam decided not to mention that Theo and Tara were having breakfast before work and school started. What was the point, anyway? Liam knew Tara was a strong minded girl, who had gone through hell already and had come out on top. If there was anyone who could bring out the absolute best in Matt, it was Tara, Liam knew for a fact.

And, at first, Theo had wanted to grab Matt by his shirt and have some one on one time with the man his instincts immediately labeled a douchebag. He had imagined it couldn’t be easy falling for someone you weren’t supposed to have in the first place, only to be stabbed in the back by them, but still. Tara deserved a man who would kneel in front of her, a man who would be thankful to have her, a man who would know just how lucky he was.

But as Tara continued, Theo realized Matt was, indeed, that man. Because he hadn’t seen Tara smile like that since… well, ever. Theo knew Tara was keeping major details to herself and Theo was hella okay with that, just like he had done, but Tara was the only family he had left so he didn’t care if he had come across as closed minded and overprotective. Tara had walked over to his chair and had sat on his lap, just like she used to do when they were little and had nuzzled his neck in a request for comfort and support, nothing more.

Tara didn’t need Theo to fight her battles for her, though she was immensely thankful for her big brother never allowing her to be in situations that would have scarred her for life. It was only because of Theo that she had been able to listen to her Mate tell her he was in love with someone else. Had it hurt? Probably not as much as it had hurt Matt.

Tara had sat there and listened to him talk about some woman who he had met and had fallen for, just to have her walk out on him. It had been doomed from the start and, as fucked up as it sounds, it made things easier that Matt knew that. So, when she saw just how angry at himself Matt was, how upset and scared Tara would push him away now that he had come clean, she had grown a pair, so to speak, and had said the words her Mate needed to hear.

And there was adoration in his eyes, awe, shock, devotion even. Tara could only smile, wanting to strip them both naked and just touch, but she knew they’d get there, eventually. There was no longer the need to rush, they had already found each other. And she stopped on her way to class, hugging her book tightly to her chest as people passed by her in the busy hallway.

What do you say we go on a proper first date?

Last night wasn’t ideal, to say the least. I really want to make it up to you.

So? Pick u up at 7? ;)

If anyone noticed the stupid smile on her face as she walked into her classroom, found her usual seat and opened her book almost on autopilot, no one said a thing. Tara closed her eyes for a moment at the things the butterflies were doing to her stomach, grabbing her phone and texting Matt that she’d love to. His text came not three seconds later, making her smile at his eagerness to see her again.

"Sixth, he loves you too"

Chapter Text

"Find a place inside where there's joy.

And the joy will burn out the pain"

It was just a matter of time before their bubble burst. Liam had bit the inside of his cheek, trying his best not to let anyone see just how much he absolutely hated the fact they were going to have to play in another state. He knew he should be happy, grateful even for another opportunity for the team, but he couldn’t will those feelings into his chest. Because that meant the team would have to go on a field trip. And a field trip meant time spent away from his Mate, from home. And that meant there was a huge starvation risk.

It bugged the hell out of Liam for the rest of the day and telling Theo had been the worst part of it all, the man’ smile disappearing as soon as he walked inside the restaurant they had decided to meet in for dinner that night. Liam got up from his seat in a hurried movement on experienced feet, immediately hiding his face against his Mate’s neck in a hug. Theo’s posture changed right there, throwing his bag and coat on the plush seat of the booth Liam had gotten for them, arms around his Mate in one blink-and-you-missed-it kind of moment, fear dripping from his voice when he spoke.

“What is it, baby? Is something wrong?” Theo whispered into his ear, rubbing his back up and down the way he knew Liam liked, voice heavy with concern. Liam didn’t like it one bit, worrying his Mate, but now he had to attend a game outside California and only God knew what kind of hell that would put them through “Liam? Baby, talk to me”

“Sit, I’m okay, we’re okay” Liam smiled, hand brushing Theo’s hair back, trying his best to unwrinkle his Mate’s shirt, but Theo grabbed his hand, pulling him closer so they could sit together on the same side of their booth “You’re not gonna like what I’m about to tell you”

“It doesn’t matter, just tell me” Theo rested their foreheads together, eyes glued to Liam’s sad face, his frown and the knot inside his throat Theo had felt from afar “We’ll deal with it together, I promise”

“We got a game in Phoenix in two weeks”

Oh, but Liam had underestimated what those news would do to Theo. In his Mate’s blue eyes, Liam saw everything, all the fear and hurt, the need to kidnap Liam so he couldn’t go. Theo stared straight into his eyes, but Liam knew he wasn’t there with him anymore. Instead, he was back in Liam’s old apartment, reliving those horrible moments when Liam was close to spontaneously combusting.

When Theo’s eyes started filling with unshed tears, his bottom lip trembling with barely contained emotion, Liam pulled him in for a hug. The one thing Theo seemed to be able to focus on was how Liam couldn’t skip out on the trip, his scholarship depended on him not only maintaining nearly perfect grades, but also attending all Lacrosse related events. Outside state games included, unfortunately. But in that moment, there was only pain, shooting through him like fire.

“We’re not ready for that, Liam… I’m” Theo choked on a sob, fingers digging into the meat of Liam’s thigh, nose buried into his pulse point “I’m not ready for that, Mate”

Liam closed his eyes, feeling through the bond the panic and despair growing inside his Mate, right in front of him. And there was nothing Liam could do about it, his hands were tied so tight it hurt, though there were no shackles around his wrists. They had experienced very different kinds of pain that day, with Liam nearly dead from burning too hot, his organs failing one right after the other, Theo having to watch the minutes crawl by, not knowing if what he was doing would be enough. Theo was right. That day had been hell and they weren’t ready to live it again.

“We still have time, baby, two whole weeks” Liam whispered, desperate to get his Mate to stop smelling so sad and in pain, waiting for that same bright smile to adorn his handsome face once more, but it never did. Liam knew it just wouldn't happen in a moment like that “I’ll talk to coach, ask for any advice, we’ll see a doctor if we have to. Hell, I’ll skip out on the game if I have to, there’s gotta be a way we can make them understand, this is our bond, I’m not…”

“Don’t, please… just don’t” Theo pulled back a bit, taking deep breaths to try and be more rational about this whole ordeal, desperately trying to shut out his instincts. Theo looked out the window, the warmth from Liam's body next to his distracting him, yet his brain always found a way to drift back to the horrible bomb that had just been dropped on him “This is your last year, Liam, I won’t let you jeopardize it in any way”

“You do remember one of us could die, right? Nothing could ever be more important to me than you, baby” Theo closed his eyes, biting his lip. Theo knew Liam would do anything for him, for their bond, but they had to think this through and Theo was in no shape to do that. He was losing the fight with his emotional side and in that moment all he could think about was Liam curled into a ball on the bed, whimpering in pain, calling out to him, miles away from his touch “Theo…”

“Let’s just go, okay? Or maybe order some food to go, whatever” Theo pulled away completely, wiping a hand across his face to clean the tears he could still feel on his skin, sighing heavily with the sudden rush of worry and pain. He hadn’t seen it coming and it had felt like a punch to the gut, making his long day even worse. Liam’s soothing hand on his back wasn’t helping at all either, just reminding him that sometime in the next weeks he wouldn't feel it there, or anywhere. Maybe ever again.

It wasn’t until they were both in bed, their food untouched inside the fridge, fresh from a shower Theo had pulled Liam into that the Lacrosse player's heart settled. Theo had been pacing, jumpy and easily grumpy ever since their ‘talk’ at the restaurant, snapping at Liam and every instinct he had told him to do something, anything to get Theo to stop and come back to him, snap out of it. But Liam gave him time and space, knowing it was the right thing to do, and even though it hurt him to spend almost two whole hours with that much tension and distance between them, Theo slid closer to him on the bed, their bodies tangled up together under the warm blanket.

“I’m sorry” Theo slurred, bringing a soft smile to Liam’s face, sighing contently at finally being able to hold his Mate in his arms “I reacted badly, I just… I love you, Liam and I can’t imagine life without you anymore” Theo’s hands slid up to Liam’s back once the Lacrosse player shuffled closer, feeling warm and protect, though still somewhat helpless. And Theo knew the feeling wouldn’t go away, not until Liam was home again and this was all over. But he’d take what he could get for now, which was cuddles and kisses from Liam.

“Don’t talk like that, okay? Just don’t” Liam whispered against his Mate’s mouth, after kissing it for a long moment “You remember, back when we first met? When I said I’d do anything to have you in my life?” Theo nodded, glad to be lost in Liam’s cinnamon scent, those good memories washing over him making his head spin “Well, I have you now. And I love you too, baby. If this game proves to be harmful to us, then I am not going, do you understand? I don’t care, I will do some research tomorrow, ask the school staff, I will do whatever it takes to keep us safe, okay?”

Theo believed every word that left Liam's mouth, which is why he kissed it.

 


 

Liam spent three extra hours searching for a doctor that could help them when he came home one night, two days after their disastrous dinner and Theo was all over him. Liam didn’t think much of it, glad to have them being a normal couple again. It had been a long day, two exams plus their coach being a jackass. So, having Theo pick up on it and come take care of him was just perfect, what Liam needed .

But it wasn’t until they were spooning, cuddling after some really intense orgasms that Liam heard it, just as Theo was drifting asleep. It was just a mumble at first, Liam's hazy brain having to be kickstarted and aching to try and understand the whispers. And then his heart sunk, all the sleep gone from his eyes.

“Mate… Mate… Mate… Mate…”

It took Liam a few seconds to understand and, at first, it hurt. Just a sharp, white hot pain. But then he realized neither of them were to blame in that situation. The sex they had just had, the love they had just made to each other… It hadn’t been… real, in a way. It was a response to the imminent threat to their bond, an attempt to strengthen it before the unavoidable happened. It didn’t help when he looked it up and it was actually possible for Mates to subconsciously induce the sexual act when distressed. And Theo’s train had left the distressed station behind two days before.

Liam tried going back to bed, he wasn't angry at Theo or anything like that. But things were speeding out of control, seconds sometimes dragging on and on and hours that seemed to vanish before his very eyes. Liam felt light headed, desperate to erase that conversation at the restaurant, wanting to hold onto Theo with everything he had.

Which was why, the next day, Liam found himself talking to his coach. It wasn’t an easy conversation, since his coach was an skeptical son of a bitch but, once the man realized Liam wasn't just fooling around or pranking him in any way, things turned serious. And sourly bad.

But it took Liam a long time for them to get there. And somewhere along the way he lost his temper, the tension that seemed to have been stitched into his mating bond finally making his snap.

“I understand your concern, Liam, but don’t you think you are exaggerating a…” Liam leaned forward, rage bursting through his very being as he rested his hands on his coach’s desk, eyeing the man in a way that could only be described as daunting, authoritarian and overall protective over his Mate.

“Have you ever been touch starved, Coach? Cause I have” Liam didn’t wait for the man to speak, this was his Mate they were talking about, his future with the man he had always dreamed of. The least this fucker could do was show some damn respect “And it’s hell for both the Mates. My skin was seconds away from igniting and Theo was going insane with fear and concern by the time he walked into my room and saved my life. And I’m only here today because he saved my life. All of this shit happened and we hadn’t even bonded yet back then” There was a hint of pride inside Liam’s chest at how wide his coach’s eyes got at the words “It only took three days for the starvation to settle”

“That’s… nearly impossible, I mean… I believe you, it’s just…” Coach just sat there, finally understanding, in the fire of Liam’s eyes for this Theo guy, his Mate, that if they didn’t find a solution, Liam wouldn’t be joining the team on this trip, scholarship be damned “Okay, okay, I get it. Well, okay… how often do you have sex? And don’t look at me like that, I’ve been your coach for the past three and a half years, now spill it. I need you in this trip and I’ll be damned if I let starvation get in the way”

“Pretty often” Liam knew the answer just wasn’t gonna cut it, but it was against everything he believed in to talk to another man about his Mate, their privacy. His coach rolled his eyes, clearly unimpressed and Liam told himself this was way too important for him to be foolishly proud about their sex life “Okay, fine... at least, twice a day”

“Twice… a day?” Liam rolled his eyes when his coach shifted closer, elbows rested on his desk as he arched his eyebrows in surprise, suddenly very interested “And your dick hasn’t… fallen off yet?” Liam barked out a laugh, biting his lip at the thought of Theo beautifully blushing at those very words. Oh, no. His dick was proving to him right there that it was still doing just fine “Fuck, I don’t even remember what that's like, being in your twenties, having so much...”

“Coach, talking to you about my sex life with my Mate is already pushing the hell out of all my buttons, can you just…” Liam sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose for what felt like the millionth time that week alone “Can you please just help me find a way to play Lacrosse, keep my scholarship and still have a Mate to come home to?”

In the end, it wasn’t until the doctor’s appointment that Liam got some real, useful information. Browsing online hadn’t gotten him anywhere and not a lot of people he knew or felt even the slightest comfortable enough talking to about this crap had experienced touch starvation, let alone one that could strike as fast as the one he had experienced with Theo.

But stumbling upon Dr. Cunningham had proven to be their best shot. Dr. Cunningham had published a lot of papers on touch starvation and had already tested many methods on how to prevent it. In the end, every bond was different down to its very core, so even a well known method wasn’t 100% foolproof. Liam had watched endless YouTube videos of the guy, eyes glued to his explanatory slides, his Tedx lecture being what had convinced him he had to talk to this man.

That night, before sliding back into bed with Theo, Liam wrote a somewhat desperate email to said doctor, praying that he’d read it. Liam knew it was a long shot, fired in the dark. The guy was probably swimming in work, being so renowned and all, so Liam told himself not to get his hopes up and get back to his research the next day. But Liam had nearly fallen off the bed the next morning, groaning at the alarm clock and checking his phone, hand in Theo’s hair, his Mate curling into his side and purring like a kitten at the touch.

Good morning, Mr. Dunbar. Your email has intrigued me, to say the very least. I had never heard of a bond that could be affected by starvation in only three days and I would be delighted if you could come in today so we could have a chat. I see you mentioned your matter being very urgent, so anytime this week, I will find a spot for you and your Mate”

Liam looked down at Theo, knowing his Mate well enough to know he wasn’t quite sleeping, but hadn’t fully woken yet. Gosh, Liam loved him so much… It was when those beautiful eyes looked at him and his Mate smiled, sleepy and all delicious, that Liam decided he’d go to the appointment alone. Though his body had been the one hit by the starvation, Theo had been the one hurt by it the most, haunted by visions of Liam suffering no one would ever be able to erase. Liam wouldn’t risk giving his Mate false hopes though, because there was still a chance this doctor wouldn’t be able to help them in the end.

So, he fired back an email, arranging a time to stop by his office after school later that day. He knew his coach would understand without threats or maiming of any kind this time around. He told Matt the truth that day, asking him not to tell Tara until later that week. Theo needed to hear all about this from him, otherwise it would only strain their relationship unnecessarily. Who knows what would happen that afternoon and Liam needed all the advice and help they could get.

“Of course, dude, I got you” Matt had said, promising to take his place as captain during practice, the two of them quickly going through Liam's plan for the day “Go, do what you have to do, pick Theo up from work, I got you covered”

Dr. Cunningham had been sad to realize Theo wouldn’t be joining them, but was still happy to see Liam, though picking up on his urgency right away. He was a very tall man, the doctor, yet still very gentle and subtle in his movements, bringing Liam into his office, all very organized and so very him, Liam noticed.

“So, Liam, let’s start from the beginning, shall we? Your Mate” Liam smiled. Theo was indeed his favorite subject to talk about and, though it wasn't easier talking to this man than it had been his coach, this was too important, Liam kept repeating to himself once more “I’m gonna have to ask you some very specific questions, since he’s not here, so try and be as thorough as you can, okay? Go ahead”

“Well, where to start? Theo is… Theo is my everything, doc” Liam sat down more comfortably on the large chair he had been led to, taking a deep breath. And he told the doctor everything leading up to the starvation, from taking it slow and how that horrible day had brought them closer together than anything else ever could. He answered the sex questions with a large lump in his throat, images of Theo swimming behind his closed eyelids as he all but forced himself to just keep talking.

How long did your first time last? Are you the one topping? Or are you the bottom? Did you feel the bond take shape right away? Did you use protection? All those were questions Liam couldn't seem to understand the need for, hating how the truth kept slipping past his unwilling lips simply because he had no other choice.

“Wait, you two weren’t bonded yet?” Liam shook his head, not seeing why that was so astonishing to people, the doctor stuttering right across the wooden table from him “That is… incredible. Do you understand what I’m saying? Sorry I sound so fascinated, I understand it feels like hell, having felt it myself, but…” Liam followed him as he moved, watching the man write that fact down along with other information about his claim over Theo “There aren’t records of unbonded Mates experiencing starvation, Liam, you and Theo are… unique, to say the very least”

It took time for those words to settle in. Liam’s mind was racing, though clearly not enough, with the doctor shooting question after question at him, apparently chasing some medical breakthrough that was beyond Liam’s comprehension. Liam sat there, suddenly scared, not knowing what that piece of information would mean for them.

“And what made you come to me? What changed this time?”

“Well, I’m gonna have to spend four days away and, as you know, that could be deadly to our bond” The doctor nodded, writing that down as well without looking down at the paper. For some reason that had always freaked Liam out, staring at someone without blinking while you write something “I know there is nothing we can do to stop it from happening for good, I’m just trying to find a method to slow it down enough so I can be home again with him”

“Well, there are a few things we can try, but unfortunately, we won’t know if they are effective until you two spent at least 36 hours apart” the doctor smiled briefly at the sour look that took over Liam's face, like he had sucked on a lemon “And I know neither of you want to try that, so I’ll talk you through each one and let’s go from there”

They talked about numerous test results and the most efficient methods, with Liam hoping that at least one or two would be fitting for them. Basically all of it meant tricking their brains into believing their Mates hadn’t left at all, using their heightened senses when bonded and leading them astray, turning them away from the lack of touch.

“But, since you and Liam as so physically connected, in my professional and personal opinion, if I may” Liam made a gesture, nodding with his head hurriedly. He would take whatever insight he could get his hands on “I’d say sex toys are our best bet, along with some heavy touching before you leave and lots of scent marking. You can, uh… get creative with that last one”

Liam remained silent for a second too long, not knowing if he should be blushing, terrified or straight up offended at the thought, at how horribly the doctor wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

“You’re kidding me, right?” When the doctor shrugged, meaning he actually wasn’t, Liam huffed in sheer disbelief “You want me to get Theo what? A dildo? Want me to rub my cum onto his skin like lotion?”

“If you think it’ll work, then yes. This is about keeping the two of you alive, Liam, healthy enough until you come home. You know his body, Liam, just as well as you know your own” Liam couldn’t deny that, he couldn’t. Throughout the days and months, Liam had gotten to know their connection in every possible angle, knowing what Theo loved and hated inside and out “You know what turns him on, where and how he likes to be touched, what boundaries you can and can’t push. It worked wonders for me and my husband, that’s for sure”

“Did the toys ever prevent the starvation, though?” Liam was desperately trying to stay on track, wanting nothing more than to get this conversation over with and go home to his Mate “Why would a toy help in the first place?”

“That’s how my research started, actually. My husband had gone to visit his family for Thanksgiving, it was only a week long trip, but around the sixth day it started getting bad” Liam had already known that his experience with the starvation had been wildly different, since it had hit him within minutes of waking up and had progressed dangerously in just a couple of hours. For most people, it took almost a whole day to get to same level “And thank God he got home in time, but yes, I had been using a toy most of the afternoon. And we never stopped using them after that and us exploring that was what led me to the research you probably read online and that led you here. I know it may sound like I’m oversharing, but your situation is very much like my own was. The toys are very likely to help, I’m afraid”

“And what do you suggest I do?” Liam sighed, not believing he was asking a doctor, a full grown man, for sex toy suggestions. Liam had only ever experimented with a plug and, though it had been truly something, he had no clue how to even start searching for toys for his Mate. But Liam was willing to do anything, that was the whole truth and if this was really going to help them, he’d find a way to convince Theo to do it too.

“Well, warm up to the idea. Using toys doesn’t mean there’s no more spark in your relationship or anything like that, it’s just a means to an end. I see you love your Mate very much and, the truth is, since this is very important, I will be very blunt here” Liam held back a scoff, he was pretty sure there was no way that conversation could get any more blunt “Getting a little... frisky with your choices would make all the difference in the world. Choose some things that you and Theo always wanted to try and get into researching it, how to go about it safely, since you two would have to be very serious about keeping yourselves entertained, so to speak, during those days”

And so, that’s what Liam does. Finding a way to bring up the topic of Theo’s sex bucket list, in the hopes that toys would come up had been tricky, but Liam prayed he had made it sound sexy and nonchalant. They got lost into the conversation, with Liam feeling a huge weight come off his shoulders the second Theo smiled at him and ended up sucking him off slowly and deliciously, kneeling on the kitchen floor.

With his hands lost in Theo’s hair as he fought not to fuck into the wet heat of his mouth, Liam had an idea for what he wanted to try. Though Theo hadn’t really known much about what toys he thought he’d be into, Liam knew all he had to do was maybe give himself some time to focus on their bond and the ideas would come flooding in.

But it didn’t happen, not until a few days prior to his trip. Theo had been getting more and more on edge about the whole thing, being clingy, touchy feely and stupidly horny. It’s a reaction he couldn’t control, no matter how hard he tried to keep his feeling at bay and his hands away from Liam. Focusing on work had become nearly impossible and he only felt himself relaxing whenever Liam got home.

But Liam is so, so good! He’s always there, offering hugs, kisses, slow sex, rough sex, blow jobs, slow warm showers, breakfast before work and classes, calls all throughout the day they weren’t supposed to be making, texts and even pictures just to brighten up his day and all of it was taking Theo’s breath away with how much he loved Liam. And he knew Liam was trying to find a way out of their suffocating situation, but Theo honestly believed they would have to do it with sheer will power, nothing more.

The day before Liam was supposed to leave he wanted to tell coach he wasn’t going, but he couldn’t back out anymore, it was too late for that. Their bond would okay, he kept repeating to himself. He kept repeating to himself as he walked into the sex shop he had been working up the courage to become a costumer of for the past twenty minutes. He had done research, had watched porn even, had read reviews and watched instructional videos on certain toys and had decided which ones would work better for Theo and himself. All he had to do was grow a pair and buy them.

And he arrived late at practice, but he had double checked to make sure no one would look through his things and be shocked to find his and his Mate’s brand new collection of adult toys poorly hidden inside his Lacrosse bag. All the guys were taking their time walking to the locker room once their last practice before the trip was finally over, so Liam all but ran out of the pitch, grabbed his bag and ignored their teasing when he didn’t bother to shower.

Liam smiled at Theo, the Architect’s body trapping him deliciously against the door as soon as he walked in, before he was even done locking it behind himself. Theo was still in his suit trousers, shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbows, barefeet silent on his expensive Italian marble floors.

The Lacrosse team captain carelessly dropped his bag to the floor, glad to forget about it for a bit. His hands aimed for his Mate’s waist as soon as he pulled the man’s shirt from under the belt and pushed it up, toes curling at how Theo went straight for his throat, pushing his back even more against the door.

“You didn’t shower…” Theo practically purred the words into Liam’s ear, licking a stripe of skin from the base of his neck up to his chin, mouthing his jaw. Liam heard the sound of his own breath hitching at how their hips had started grinding together, chuckling and biting his lip. Theo groaned softly when Liam bared his throat even more for his desperate Mate to mark and taste.

“Figured my Mate would like to smell me like this” Theo merely rumbled in agreement, he did like it, continuing his kissing and touching. Liam hugged Theo close against his body, the two of them getting lost in the moment, able to lock out of their apartment all of what would be waiting for them in just a couple of hours “I… I brought you something”

Theo took his time letting go of Liam and his Mate didn’t try to rush him in any way, knees nearly giving in at the hickey being sucked into the base of his neck. Liam hissed, squeezing Theo tightly in return, making his Mate smile playfully. Liam hoped Theo would be able to stay in that mood for a little longer, grabbing his bag from the floor and setting it on one of the kitchen island stools, zippering it open.

“For you to use when I’m not here” Theo merely stared at the plug in its original packaging, feeling all of the tension touching Liam had been able to send away returning to his body. Liam held a four inch butt plug in his hand, a bottle of ‘hot-then-cold’ lube in the other “You ever used one of these?” Theo merely shook his head at Liam’s whisper, eyes unable to look away from it “Well… I have. Not one this size, but I measured it with my dick so that you could take it with close to none resistance, the lube is to make things a bit more… interesting”

“Wait… is this ‘cause of the bucket list talk we had the other day?” Theo stood up straight once more, brain kicking back in and still being unable to understand why they were suddenly talking about sex toys.

“Yes, well… yeah. The only reason I led us into that conversation is because I’m about to leave for four days and the last time we spent time apart nearly ended with me dead” Liam started whispering towards the end of his sentence, forehead against Theo’s broad chest as the man barely breathed, eyes closed at the horrible memories they both had of that day “And I spent a lot of time researching ways to trick our brains into believing we’re not really apart, hence the plug. I got myself some things too, it’s supposed to go both ways”

There was something relaxing about the words Liam had chosen to use to explain the situation to his Mate and Theo found himself listening to it more carefully, letting his walls fall back down. Theo could feel it, the worry and the love Liam had put into this, no matter how unorthodox most people would find his methods. Theo focused on Liam breathing against him, his hand going up his Mate’s arm until he could wrap his own around his shoulders, smiling at Liam’s groan of pleasure.

“What do you mean ‘trick our brains’?” Liam sighed at the question, glad to see Theo was at least open to talk about it.

“Recent studies show that stimulating yourself, with things that remind you of your Mate helps to keep the starvation under control when distance is required” Liam explained calmly, doing his best to remember the calm, clinical words the blog posts and medical papers he had all but devoured had used to describe Dr. Cunningham’s research “I researched it enough to believe it’s effective or I wouldn’t be talking about this, though I think it’s perfectly normal. And hot, if I may say so myself”

“What’s hot about this?” Theo asked, cheeks still flushed at the thought of Liam spending so much time worrying about his sexual needs, caring about what Theo would feel once he walked out the door. It did make Theo feel warm all over and, apparently, it had a similar effect on Liam, this whole sex toy plus distance kind of thing. Theo could totally get lost in the new vibe they were wrapping the starvation around with.

“The thought of you, spread out on our bed” Theo closed his eyes, biting his lip as Liam pulled him in, hands on his waist, leg in between his as his knee touched the bulge that had started to form in Theo’s pants “Fingers up your delicious hole, loosening yourself up to thoughts of me, wearing nothing but my uniform, getting ready to take the plug” Theo’s smile got wider on his face, throwing his head back once Liam started nosing his neck, giving him all the space his Mate could want “Mumbling my name, begging me to fuck you as you slowly slide it past your…”

“Okay, okay! I get it, Jesus” Liam smiled against his Mate’s neck, hands gripping Theo’s waist tighter when the man started shuffling his weight from foot to foot, getting some friction going for his sore dick against Liam’s thigh “Fuck, Liam, point taken”

“This is our sex life, baby, there’s nothing for us to be embarrassed about” Theo hummed, Liam smiling at the feeling against his tongue, placing it for a moment longer on his Mate’s Adam’s apple “I didn’t like actually going to the store to get these, would’ve much more appreciated buying them online, but… that’s besides the point. I want you to feel good when I’m not here and, if you feel like touching yourself or, Heaven forbid, the starvation starts settling in, I want you to have everything you could need. Also? When I’m back, we’re having a serious conversation about this”

“About sex toys?” Theo spoke, his Adam’s apple bobbing against Laim’s lips. Honestly, Theo wanted to just thank Liam for once again being the perfect Mate and stash those away for when he really needed them, but still, it felt good to have Liam sound so secure about their relationship.

“Damn straight. This isn’t me saying we need toys for me or us to feel sexually satisfied, that’s ridiculous and you know it” Theo nodded, swallowing hard as Liam’s lips traveled more and more further south “You know how addicted to our sex I am, but this is because I’m scared you’re gonna be the one starved this time around, if it comes to that and I need you to have plenty to keep yourself healthy, full and thinking of me”

“What if you are the one hit first again?” Theo smiled, understanding and feeling over the moon with joy with the need in Liam to keep him safe “Me touching myself thinking of you won’t be enough for both of us”

“That’s where these guys come in” Liam snorted, pulling the two plastic packages from his Lacrosse bag and holding them up so Theo could look at them “One of them quite literally goes in”

“What is it, exactly?” Theo recognized the cock ring Liam was holding, its golden color surely being perfect to blend in with Liam’s smooth skin. Wearing it would keep Liam hard, though unable to cum, as long as he kept his hands to himself, in a constant state of half hardness if he focused hard enough.

“It’s called Aneros, it’s a… prostate stimulator” Liam bit his lip, really wanting to try it out and the thought of Theo’s fingers reaching for the toy and getting it in him wasn’t helping his case at all “Using these two would be kind of a slow burn torture, I can program the Aneros to work as a slow vibrator, while using the ring to keep me from cumming. If it gets too much, I’ll just slow things down a bit more”

“All of this just so we could control the starvation, huh?” Theo sighed, eyeing the objects that looked so foreign on the counter. Liam sofly grabbed his chin, bringing his attention back to his Mate.

“Let’s think of this as us exploring this new layer to our sex life” Liam stepped closer still, hand climbing to Theo’s combed through hair “We’ve both felt it this week, a sneak peek at what the distance will do to our mating. If you’re not into the plug or find that your hand works better, that’s okay too” Theo closed his eyes, sighing as he rested his forehead against Liam’s “But it’s a given we’ll miss each other and only God knows how we’re gonna react to that. So, I wanted us to be ready”

“I… I want to try the plug, I promise I will, just… don’t use the ring” Theo grabbed the metal object in his hand, not liking the thought of it restraining Liam in any way “I know I said you should only cum in me or my mouth, but this? This isn’t healthy, stimulating and then holding back” Theo discarded the ring on the marble, making the metal cling slightly before pointing to the stimulator “Just go for the white thing, the…”

“Aneros” Liam smiled, biting his lip in adoration at Theo worrying about him. True fact, Liam had never worn a cock ring before, but it would be helpful if he decided to use the stimulator or if things got too strong for him to go through the trip without touching himself.

“Yeah, that” Theo nodded, letting his arms circle Liam’s shoulders “Use it, forget the ring”

“You sure, baby? What if I like it?” Liam smiled at how fast Theo opened his eyes “Aren’t you even just a little bit afraid you’ll lose me forever?”

It’s the wide smile on Liam’s handsome face and the teasing tone to his words that stop Theo from losing it at the thought of Liam suddenly not wanting him sexually anymore. There’s just no way that would happen, the rational part of Theo’s brain told him. He forced a chuckle past the lump in his throat, knowing Liam didn’t mean it like that. They were both on edge, desperate for these next days to fly by and be back in each other’s arms.

“Please, you worship my ass, Liam” Theo spoke, head once again moving so he could give Liam the necessary space to work on his neck “I think we’re good”

“Hmm, baby” Liam hummed, poking his tongue out and flattening it against the surface of Theo’s skin, pushing it firmly against his Mate’s throat “So very cocky, Mr. Raeken” Liam chuckled under his breath, after leaving a long kiss to Theo’s neck.

“Quite literally, thanks to you” Theo couldn’t help but joke, holding the penis shaped plug up for Liam to see. And it takes them about three whole minutes to stop laughing, Theo diving in to kiss at Liam’s smile.

"Quiero ver bailar tu pelo, quiero ser tu ritmo.

Que le enseñes a mi boca

Tus lugares favoritos.

Déjame sobrepasar tus zonas de peligro

Hasta provocar tus gritos

Y que olvides tu apellido"

Chapter Text

"You say you love the rain, but you open your umbrella.

You say you love the sun, but you find a shadow spot.

You say you love the wind, but you close your windows.

This is what I'm afraid"

 

It’s cold at five in the morning and it hurts Theo’s everything to stand there and say goodbye to his Mate. They had known the moment was approaching them fast, but it hadn’t hit them until the alarm clock started buzzing. The team would be heading to Arizona by bus and they had a scheduled departure point just outside the school campus.

After parking the car, Liam was thankful for the hand that Theo automatically slid into his own, grabbing Liam’s Lacrosse bag and walking with him towards the large group getting their baggage ready to go. They stopped only to say hello and good morning to everyone, stepping aside after adding Liam’s bags to the large collection already by the bus.

Theo smiled, chest warm in a mixture of pain and relief at the sight of his sister. Tara was there to accompany Matt, but ran to her brother, pulling him into a tight hug. It was the first time Matt and Theo saw each other ever since that first game Theo attended, after their starvation fiasco. Matt figuring out he was Tara’s Mate didn’t count, in Theo’s books. Tara held Theo’s face in hands, expression of pure concern as she stood there, unsure of what to do, but Liam only smiled, pulling Theo closer.

They had spent the night awake together, kissing mostly, holding each other. Theo had fallen asleep for about forty minutes and all Liam did was lay there and watch him, only moving to plant soft kisses into his hair. Two hours, though, before they were supposed to leave, Liam made Theo cum one more time, using his cum to rub it into his own lower abdomen, some onto the back of his neck. Liam would never admit he had actually done that, but after some thorough research, it had turned out to be the most effective way to share scent. Damn you, Dr. Cunningham.

That small action made their connection tingle deliciously and turned Theo on ridiculously fast, even after cumming, being oversensitive and grumpy, fisting Liam’s cock. Liam was straddling Theo, thighs on both sides of his navel, his Mate jerking him off the rest of the way. Liam smiled despite panting, watching Theo rub his cum all over his own hairless chest, blue eyes dark with desire for his Mate.

It’s a painful goodbye, the one they share. Their kisses are slow and full of promises and fear, despair pooling inside their stomachs. Everything was good to go, they had a good plan and were willing to make it work in order to survive the next few days. Theo had even gotten a rush of creativity the night before, finding strength to move Liam didn’t know from where.

“This your bag for tomorrow?” Theo asked, eyes on Liam spread out naked on their bed, pointing to the extra smaller bag next to Liam’s Lacrosse one. Without so much as waiting for a confirmation from Liam, Theo brought it to the bed and opened it, under his Mate’s curious gaze and made some drastic changes to it, removing everything he had put in there, apart from clothes.

They decided that switching pretty much everything couldn’t possibly do them any harm at this point. They switched as many items as they could think of as the night rode in, underwear, favorite clothes the other liked to wear, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, cologne, aftershave. The list was endless and Theo kept walking hurriedly back and forth between the bed and their bathroom, making Liam dizzy just from watching him.

When Theo didn’t return from the bathroom one more time, Theo stood from the bed, feeling a strange tightness to his chest. And he found Theo resting against the counter, clutching something is his hand as he tried to contain sobs that rocked his body violently, head bowed low.

Liam pulled him in as soon as he recognized what it was that his Mate held so tightly in his fisted hand. It was their toothbrushes. Oh, Liam’s brain was flooded with memories of how he had driven Theo halfway inside with using his toothbrush, sighing at how tight Theo hugged him back, sobbing uncontrollably now that he had turned to his Mate, knees weak from emotional exhaustion.

“It’s just four days, why does it have to be such a nightmare for us?” Theo spoke, his chest tight and a lump inside his throat that made it difficult for him to speak “Why does it hurt so bad?”

“Because I love you, baby” Theo huffed, fingers combing through Liam’s bed hair, sighing against his delicious skin. Liam rubbed circles into his back, trying to send away some of the tension in his Mate’s shoulders “And nothing that truly matters is easy to lose”

Matt had to touch Liam’s back to bring him back to the real world. By now, he had a suspicion everyone understood the situation between him and Theo, so no one really said anything when he only nodded, bringing Theo in for one more kiss and another tight hug, glad Matt hugged his shoulders so he wouldn’t fall while walking away from Theo.

“I can’t do this…” Liam whispered to his friend, feet already slowing down to turn and run back to his Mate, but Matt forced him to keep headed in the right direction, voice sharp when he spoke “Matt, I can’t…”

“Yes, you can” Matt whispered back, not allowing Liam to say anything else or try to move if it weren’t towards the bus “This feeling will pass, you’re not thinking clearly right now. You took good care of him, he knows you’ll come home to him” Liam sure as hell hoped so.

Theo could only watch, in horror at how much it hurt. He knew, he knew they would survive this, but it didn’t make leaving any easier. It felt like suddenly Theo’s body had shut down, eyes fixed on Liam’s back as he turned to look at Theo one more time, blowing him a kiss as best as he could with Matt pushing him towards the bus.

“Get me out of here” Theo used only one hand to speak once he heard his sister’s characteristic steps on the cemented sidewalk, eyes closed as he told himself to just keep breathing. It’ll pass, just breathe “Get me out of here before I pass out”

 


 

“Oh, my God! Liam!” Theo spoke into his phone while chewing on a bite of green apple, so fucking happy to hear his Mate’s laughter on the other side of the call “Did you guys get there okay? Where are you?”

“Hey, baby, we just finished checking into the hotel right now” Theo heard Liam’s teammates through the phone, closing his eyes at how right it felt to have a such a loving Mate. Liam had probably already thought about calling Theo before he finally decided it was already a reasonable hour to do so and the thought alone made Theo happy, smiling like a fool, sitting alone in his office at home “Well, if you can call a bunch of guys singing along to the radio at three in the morning and having absolutely no sleep after some real wild sex with you last night merely an ‘okay trip’ than hell yeah, we got here okay. How are you? Did you have it as rough as me?”

“Probably rougher, since I came home to our apartment and all, but it got easier, little by little” Theo smiled, being able to picture Liam nodding to his words, though they were miles apart “The truth is it already feels like hell, but I’m counting my blessings, since I know how much worse it can get”

“I know, baby, but I’m coming home to you in no time” Theo hummed, resting back on his chair and sighing. He had some work to do, nothing serious, but felt more like browsing the internet instead. He really needed something to get his mind off of his empty apartment, though he knew Tara would find a way to keep him entertained “Watcha doing?”

“Procrastinating the hell out of this blueprint. You?” Liam wholeheartedly laughed, head resting back against the wall of the fancy hallway they were waiting for the elevator in. It was so good to hear Theo’s voice it fixed everything, how his back hurt and how sore he felt everywhere from hours travelling on a small bus seat, his empty stomach and slight headache.

“We’re waiting for our room keys so we can drop our bags and go see the city. Fuck, we’re desperate for some lunch, we’re starving” Liam had never been to Phoenix, but had searched some cool places he wanted to visit, stores he wanted to check out. It’d be a good distraction, especially since some of the guys had decided they wanted to tag along “We won’t practice until after lunch tomorrow, at two. The game is Monday evening, we head back home first thing Tuesday morning”

“Okay, then. I don’t wanna bother you, I see you guys got everything sorted out and that soothes me” Theo sighed, resting his elbows on the wooden desk, knowing their call had to end at one point, might as well be during a high rather than wait for it to go sour “Enjoy the city and take care of yourself after practice, okay? I put the massage oil in your bag this morning”

“I promise, though I’m sure my hands will not feel as good as yours, baby” Liam smiled at the soft groan he heard from his Mate “I love you, Theo. Promise me you’ll take good care of yourself too. For me”

“I promise” Theo breathed out, never ever wanting for the call to end “I love you too” And the call stayed connected for another extra minute before Liam whispered his love once more after a long sigh, not knowing his Mate was still there, the soft click echoing in Theo’s mind far longer than his Mate’s voice ever had.

 


 

Theo tried to avoid using the plug with everything he had. He hadn’t lied, he did want to try it, he just wanted Liam to be there for that. Though they talked pretty much all the time, there were moments of the day Theo knew Liam wasn’t available and that’s when he had too much time to focus on the bond. Sunday passed in the blink of an eye, with Theo’s glued to the blueprint he had to finish before Tara knocked on the door.

His sister didn’t say much, just offering company and love, in case Theo needed any. Which he did, of course he did. They spent the evening together and Theo ordered them dinner, but ran to his phone once it rang. Tara laughed softly at the sight of her brother’s flushed cheeks, shaking her head fondly and going back to eating her Chinese food.

On Monday, Theo walked into his company to find it nearly burning down in the flames of despair. Apparently there had been some drastic changes to the project and every single department had been going crazy to redo tests, calculate budgets for different companies already under their contract. It was a mess Theo had no idea how to even begin fixing.

He sighed, cracking his neck, only to realize how hungry he was. It was already three in the afternoon and he found himself reaching for his phone with a grunt. He had somehow missed hours of the day, lost in between phone calls, sharpening pencils and going through calculations until his vision went blurry and his back ached horribly.

There were four missed calls from Liam, one from his sister, two voicemails and a handful of texts he hadn’t checked yet. He knew it’d be useless to try and call Liam, knowing he’d already be out on the field. Theo rubbed at his eyes while he focused on Liam’s first voicemail, thankful for his voice and lovely words. But the second voicemail was pained and Theo immediately paused it, knowing it wouldn’t do him any good to keep listening.

Hey, I’ve been trying to call you, is everything okay? Please, call me back, okay? I’m not feeling much, so it can’t be the bond. Tell me it’s no the bond, baby.

“Hey, baby, I’m so so so so so sorry for not answering your calls, I’m fine, I swear” Theo sighed, knowing Liam wasn’t focused enough on his practice and was probably going crazy, yelling at his teammates because he hadn’t been able to get ahold of his Mate “I’m okay, no starvation so far. I arrived at work today and this place looked more like Wall Street than an architecture company. But we’ve got it under control now, after spending the last six and a half hours going through every step of our process all over again. Hell, I even missed lunch, I’ve been running on coffee Carrie’s been constantly bringing me since I stepped foot in here. Anyway, don’t worry about me, I’m fine. Call me before the game begins, okay? I’ll be waiting. I love you”

Theo sighed, hanging up and moving on to calling his sister, blowing a kiss to Carrie when she handed him a bag with his favorite Subway sandwich. That was by no means part of her job, but she was his friend and she needed a break herself. Theo huffed as he bit into the cheesy bread, noticing Carrie had already gotten rid of her Jimmy Choo heels and walked barefoot back to her desk.

“Tara, hey, yes. Yes, I’m alright…”

 


 

Liam felt it as soon as the game was declared finished and his team exploded in victory. They were all celebrating, taking a picture at the end of the game to indicate they were finally headed to the last bit of their second and final competition of the season. Not only that, this was Liam’s final semester, so it was definitely special that they had won so easily over this other team. If his team won these next two games, he’d be the first UCLA student to remain invictus all throughout his fours years attending.

But before they could reach the locker room, Liam stopped, hand going straight up to his stomach. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the last time, but he immediately knew what was happening. Theo had assured him everything was okay, that he had only been overwhelmed with work, so Liam had given all of his attention to the game they had just won.

But now that he didn’t have to focus on so many things at once, there it was, curling in the pit of his stomach. It was rather faint, a contraction of sorts that needed to strike twice before Liam even took notice of it. Mason and Corey exchanged a knowing look of worry, turning to see that their captain looked like he had seen a ghost.

“Is it starting already?” Mason whispered, hand going to Liam’s back, other up in the air and gesturing towards Matt, attracting his attention and pointing to their teammate “Can you tell if Theo feels it too?”

“It’s too faint, but I’m guessing he picked up on it as soon as it started” Liam took a deep breath, once again making his way inside. If the starvation held on a while longer, they could do it. But he needed to talk to Theo, make sure his end of the bond only felt it so mildly, like him “I was focused on the game, so I didn’t feel anything”

“Okay, let’s head to the showers, you can relax there and call your Mate, alright?” Liam nodded, glad that his friends were so concerned about him and his well being. Corey and Mason had known right away they were Mates and had jumped into the bond without a second thought, unlike most couples. Back when they were still Juniors in high school, they had already decided that they wanted to be together and Liam admired them hugely for making that decision work.

Liam was so happy the starvation had only started as a tight feeling in his chest, something that he could ease his mind into believing was just longing. Longing for his Mate, for Theo in nothing but his pajama pants, barefoot in the kitchen, eating Ben & Jerry’s at one in the morning.

It was due to their own efforts, obviously. With the changes Theo had made to his bag, Liam had only worn articles of clothing that belonged to his Mate, from head to toe, sleeping in the soft t-shirt Theo had already been using, not letting it be washed. Theo had blushed deeply at that, but hadn’t been able to fight the grin that took over his face. It was a part of who they were, the need to smell like each other. What better way to do it, then?

Liam slowly grabbed his toiletry bag, balancing it on one knee as he waited for the call to connect. It was only half past seven, so Liam didn’t bother heading towards the showers immediately. That would allow his buddies to joke around and celebrate, giving Liam some sense of privacy and quietness once his turn came.

“Liam? Are you okay?” Theo sounded like he had been dozing off, probably on the couch and Liam smiled, closing his eyes and letting that image wash over him. His imagination worked to fill the image with details, how Theo was most likely smelling like him, every inch of his skin scrubbed clean with the soap Liam liked, hair still a bit damp and looking like a mess, wearing nothing but Liam’s UCLA hoodie “Can you feel it?”

“Yeah, baby, I’m fine” Liam sighed, resting his now naked back against the cool metal of one of the lockers that didn’t belong to him. He could hear their coach arranging their return to the hotel and knew that he’d have to get into the shower soon, but still he gave himself another couple moments with Theo “I feel it, but it’s stupidly weak. How bad is it for you?”

“Same for me, actually” Theo sighed in relief, slouching against the expensive cushions of his couch. Theo had been worried that, while exercising, Liam would end up speeding the starvation up by keeping his metabolism working, but it was safe to say they were both okay, just missed each other “I love you” Liam chuckled under his breath, still amazed at what those little words were able to do to him. He suspected it had something to do with the fact that it was Theo saying them to him “We can make this, tell me we can”

“Of course we can” Liam smiled, biting his lip, glad to know their odds had changed “‘Cause we just won the game. I fucking love you too, Theo. I’m coming home, baby”

 


 

Just not fast enough!

Liam knew he had to keep his cool, there was nothing he could do anyway. Liam knew he couldn’t simply will the clock to tick faster, but that didn’t mean he hadn’t tried already. He bought himself a cup of tea after dinner and headed to the hotel room he and Matt had agreed to share. It was already eleven and their coach and the school staff that had traveled with them had all already gone to bed.

Talking and having a good time with his friends kept him busy, kept his mind from tuning to the outstretched bond inside his chest. Though he was vaguely aware of what the time did to his childish stomach ache, he was thankful it had only progressed so little in the past three hours. Theo had promised to keep him updated until he fell asleep and, if anything woke him up, then Liam would be the first to know. And not only because of the texts Theo had promised to send.

But because, after everything they had gone through together so far, it had become easier to pinpoint what they were feeling and what washed over their brain from the bond, from their Mate. And Liam groaned, hand wrapped carefully around his cup of peach tea, forehead against the fancy wood of his room door.

Liam could perfectly see it if he concentrated hard enough, how Theo was in bed, getting himself comfortable and relaxing, letting himself think of his Mate and that made a soft growl erupt from deep within his chest. Oh, what wouldn’t Liam give to get his hands on Theo…

After downing the last of his mug and lying down with a raspy sigh of relief and letting tiredness wash over him, it was easy for Liam’s brain to drift back home. To his notes he had forgotten to collect from the dinner table, the dishes they didn’t wash from the last meal they had had together. Oh, fuck, Liam missed home, missed everything that made that apartment his home. They had never talked about moving in together, not once using such words or actually having a conversation. But suddenly Liam had his copy of the keys and the doorman greeted him warmly, his uniform smelled divinely like Theo’s clothes. It was… natural.

Liam groaned, turning to lay on his chest and keep his hands away from his half hard cock. He wanted to touch himself, get rid of some of the tension accumulated from actually surviving three whole days without seeing Theo, but he chose against it, willing his hips to stay still and not hump the bed like a fucking teenager.

They had done everything within their power to slow this down and it was working. Liam would never forgive himself if he risked doing this too early. They had kept each other in mind at all times, had worn each other’s closes, used each other’s aftershave and cologne. So far, there was no need to get physical, but there was certainly a sting there that nothing seemed to ease. It was manageable, but fuck!

Theo wasn’t in better shape, truth be told, still awake at two a.m. But Liam had texted, saying they had stopped to fill the tank and get some more snacks, he was close! So Theo did everything he could to keep himself in control, somehow cleaning the apartment up a bit when all his mind could focus on was how his chest suddenly was feeling too tight, his skin crawled, his senses into overdrive with the need to see, smell, hear Liam, hold his Mate in his arms again.

When he looks around and is actually satisfied, everything smelling softly like lavender and lime, Theo feels his control slipping. And making his way upstairs is remarkably easy, considering his mind seems to be shutting down way too quickly. He wanted to text Liam, let him know the starvation was getting stronger, but he told himself Liam was probably feeling it too.

And as he sat on their perfectly made bed, Monday fading into Tuesday with his phone held loosely in his hands, his blue eyes drifted to the drawer he had so embarrassedly stashed away Liam’s shockingly welcomed… gifts. And the funniest thing happened when his mind drifted back to that evening, Liam’s tongue against his throat, his hands tight around his waist... Theo blinked and he was reaching for the drawer, pushing his things aside before settling his eyes on the toy.

When he wasn’t embarrassed as soon as his eyes landed on it, it was confirmation enough that Theo was really going to use it. No matter how much he wanted to wait, try it only when Liam was finally there, their bond needed to be tended to and it sure as hell needed some attention in that moment.

So, counting down the minutes and hours before Liam got home, Theo’s feet took him to the closet, pajamas piling up on the floor as his hands steadily reached for Liam’s neatly folded Lacrosse uniform. His Mate had plenty of them and had given Theo the largest one he owned, from back when he was still in his Freshman year at UCLA.

2 hours and 47 minutes, Theo told himself, climbing on the bed, with nothing but Liam’s uniform on, just like in his Mate’s fantasy. Just another two hours and he’s here, Theo told himself as his hands reached down.

"You say you that love me too"

Chapter Text

'Sometimes home isn't just four walls. 

Sometimes it has blue eyes and a heartbeat'

Just another two hours before Liam was finally back home, but Theo couldn’t stand the sting running through his veins like hot magma. He just couldn’t stand the distance anymore. Theo knew he should’ve read the instructions, given how he had never actually used a sex toy before, but considering it was shaped like a Goddamn dick , it was safe to assume there shouldn’t be a problem there.

Theo tried dragging it out, tried buying Liam some more time so he could arrive home and join the fun, but the more his hands indulged his needs, the more he craved. Theo had never known he had such a dirty and creative mind, though Liam had given him the perfect scenario to play out while he touched himself.

“The though of you, spread out on our bed”

Oh, God, this was gonna be fun. And stupidly hot and embarrassing when he finally came all over himself, but there was just no turning back at that point. Theo bit his lip and he only had to let his mind drift to his Mate. He thought of Liam’s hands, his strong fingers around his cock as Theo’s hips began to grind the mattress and sheets, sobbing brokenly into the pillow at the relief the touch provided.

Theo, with one leg open to the side as he fucked the mattress, a hand squeezed in between his own body and the sheets to tease at a sore nipple, closed his eyes in his sweet surrender and slid the plug into his mouth. The bottle of lube Liam had gotten him was large, but if there was one thing Theo had desperately wanted to do those past few days was get his mouth on Liam, so this would have to do.

His mouth all but devoured the toy as he would Liam’s cock were his Mate there. He moaned around the head, before sinking back down, working his nipple until it was red and hard, sensitive against the sheets. But it just wasn’t doing it for him, it just wasn’t enough, his body greedy in its haze.

“Fingers up your delicious hole, loosening yourself up to thoughts of me, wearing nothing but my uniform”

Theo squeezed some of the lube onto his hand, only slowly testing his own hole with the tip of his fingers. He was closed tight, result of his abstinence of the man who kept him open, loose and fucked out. So Theo worked himself with lubed up fingers, his knees bringing his body up so he could rest on all fours, with better access to his own body.

Pressing the cold gel to his ass, Theo knew how much he could take, no matter the sudden lack of sex. He pressed down onto his rim, moaning at the feeling of being touched again. And knowing Liam had thought of these gifts for that particular moment only worked to get his body to run hotter. Not a couple of seconds later, Theo slid two fingers inside and started fucking himself.

God, it had been ages since he had done that himself, Liam loved getting Theo ready, teasing the living daylights out of his Mate for as long as he could before Theo started cursing his name. The lube kept getting warmer and warmer, aiming for straight up hot inside his already burning, feverish body. Theo moaned louder at the sensation, mouth swallowing around the plug as he added another finger to his hole. And, fuck, did it feel good. Not remotely close to being as good as Liam, his cock, his hands, but it was working pretty damn well.

“Mumbling my name, begging for me to fuck you as you slowly slide the plug past your…”

The lube was already getting cooler by the time Theo finally touched the wet tip of the plug against his blinking hole, elbows moving so he could rest his chest on the bed, uniform rolling up to his armpits. His stomach flipped in anticipation, wanting it, needing it more than words could ever describe. Theo sobbed as he bit down into the pillow case, pushing the cyberskin head of the false penis inside.

And Holy fuck! It wasn’t as thick as the real deal, but Liam had certainly been thorough in his search for a good match to his cock. It was enough to confuse Theo’s bonded brain, just like Liam had said it would.

“Oh, fuck, Liam…” The breathy moan escaped him before Theo could stop himself, but once he was moaning, the words poured out of him. The plug was in and Theo was on his hands and knees, squeezing his asshole tightly, testing, moaning low in his throat “Goddamn it, baby”

The plug wasn’t long enough to touch Theo’s prostate, a fact he was sure Liam had kept in mind while purchasing such toy. It was supposed to keep Theo healthy and wanting, until his Mate arrived. Nothing else.

 


 

The one thing Liam didn’t tell Theo about stopping at the gas station was the fact he had bugged the shit out of everyone on the bus. They were all tired, Liam understood that, but he needed to. He needed to have five minutes of privacy, five minutes to just get his hands on himself! Was that too much to ask?

It had finally started for real and they were a little over three hours away from home. His phone had remained silent, so Liam guessed everything was okay at home. So, once they stopped to refill, Liam grabbed the bag he had insisted on bringing with him into the bus and made his way to the surprisingly clean bathroom with hurried steps.

Liam had been hard, rock solid hard, for the past forty minutes and he came not a minute after he locked himself inside one of the tiny stools, hand on the wall in front of him, ass rested against the door as he worked his cock fast. Liam tried not making a mess as he panted, thankful that no one had followed him into the bathroom, ‘cause he sure as hell hadn’t been able to keep himself from moaning.

With a long relieved sigh, he closed the toilet lid with a foot, resting his bag on top and getting the ring out of its hidden spot among his clothes. He had gone relatively soft after coming, but not all the way, shaky fingers closing the ring tight around his girth. Liam tugged at the head with a deep breath, immediately feeling the blood flow slow down and his cock to pick up on the sensitivity, though his mind was clear again.

Liam eyed the Aneros, knowing that this was his chance to slide it in if he truly wanted to. But he chose against it. That was a sight he wanted his Mate to behold, committing the event to memory forever.

And Liam arrived just before the crack of dawn, unsure if he had mumbled some greeting to Jerry, the doorman, in his hurry to get into the elevator and get to his Mate. Liam could feel it, the pull, the pain starting to attack his skin. It was getting so much he nearly tripped on the ‘Oh, fuck! Not you again!’ doormat he had gotten Theo, his bag dropped to the floor before his shaky hand could slide the right key into the lock, his free one palming along his sweats to get his cock to feel less like lava against his stomach.

Oh, fuck, the sounds! Liam recognized those sounds, Theo’s moans lost somewhere upstairs, filling their soundproof apartment sweetly and devilishly, all at once.

He followed the scent of lube and arousal up the bedroom after locking the door and dropping his bag once more on autopilot, mind focused on getting one foot in front of the other without tripping. Liam could already feel the pain subsiding the closer he got to his Mate, feeling like he was finally breathing again.

And there’s a wide smile on his face at the sight in front of him.

Theo’s eyes were shut tight, resting on his chest and knees, pushing his ass back, the plug settled deliciously between his plump asscheeks. Liam bit his lip at the words Theo kept mumbling, not knowing where he found the resolve to just stand there on the doorway and not jump his Mate right away. Liam knew the plug wasn’t enough and he found himself giving in not a moment later, aware his Mate was so lost in his haze of want that he hadn’t smelled Liam yet.

Liam was already kneeling on the bed, his body finally rid of all those layers of clothes. His hands reached for Theo’s wrist as the Architect crazily tugged at his cock, making his Mate jump in surprise, a long and pained moan at how the movement made the plug move inside his hole.

And Theo melted at the sight of his Mate, everything sliding back into place, all the rush and despair vanished when Theo rested his gorgeous eyes on his Liam. His lover was home, at last. Home to take good care of him and give him just what he had been wanting.

“It’s not me, is it?” Liam whispered, smiling at the vehement shake of head he got from his Mate. He bent forward and Kissed Theo’s back, hands going up and down his sides, forcing the uniform up and out of his body, throwing it on the ground. But he took his time touching anything else, letting their bond tie itself back into place, just breathing. Liam sighed in relief once he reached down and got his cock free from the ring’s tight hold.

Thank Heavens he hadn’t needed the stimulator, but earlier in the trip Liam had used every chance he had gotten to rub at the swollen head of his cock, his mental map of the city of Los Angeles reminding him just how close to home he was. And he didn’t just mean the apartment.

He kept a steady hand on his own dick, taking deep breaths and finally allowing himself the pleasure he had been so desperate to feel. His other hand  slapped Theo’s asscheek softly, playfully, reaching for the plug and his Mate moaned loudly when Liam didn’t pull it out. Instead Liam applied pressure on it, shaking it roughly from side to side and getting all sorts of groans and curses out of his surprised Mate.

Then the plug was out and finally, finally, Theo got the real deal, his Mate, his lover. His Mate’s cock slid inside his stretched hole, closing around him like a vine with Liam draping himself to cover Theo’s back. Their fuck was fast, hard, rough and loud. It was delirious in a way and Theo’s mind failed to keep up with everything Liam did and how his body reacted so willingly to those hands, that mouth, that cock!

Liam was touching him all over, hand on the mattress next to Theo’s head and pounding so hard the bed hit the wall with each movement. And it was Liam’s hot cum inside his thoroughly fucked hole that did it for Theo. It ripped an orgasm so animalistic out of the Architect Theo couldn’t think, growling as the orgasm kept going once Liam started milking his cock, moaning into his ear the dirtiest of words.

“Fuck, I missed you, baby” Theo couldn’t reply for the life of him, but he hoped Liam had gotten the message, considering Theo whimpered, making him smile “Come on, my perfect kitten, let’s get you ready for bed”

But Liam didn't get to go anywhere, Theo’s hole keeping him in place as his cock soften after cumming, a growl out of his chest and eyes fighting to stay open. Liam smiled down at him, nodding simply and arranging them away from the mess of lube and cum they had made on the sheets.

“Missed you too…” The words were barely out of Theo’s mouth, his Mate in such an exhausted state it took Liam a second to decide if he had actually heard it or not. But Theo squeezed him ever so lightly before his body relaxed, a sign he had lost the fight and drifted into a relaxed and quite orgasmatic sleep. Liam sighed at how large his heart felt, warmth spreading all over his body as he settled to spoon the hell out of his Mate, nose buried into his nape.

“You’re perfect…” Liam planted a soft kiss to the back of Theo’s neck, biting his lip through a smile “You’re perfect and I couldn’t love you more than this very second”

 


 

Except Liam found himself falling even more in love with his Mate. Liam had panicked for a second, the haze of sleep so thick around his brain he had been unable to remember he was home and that the body next to his was in fact Theo. They had somehow found their way under the filthy blanket, legs wrapped around each other, with Theo’s forehead against Liam’s ribs.

But when he turned to look at the digital clock on the nightstand, having to squint a lot since this was Theo’s side of the bed, he nearly woke his Mate up trying to get out of the bed. He texted Matt and Tara, saying they were both alive and kicking, but had clearly overslept. Like, a lot. It was almost noon, if the numbers on the microwave clock and Theo’s phone on the coffee table, buzzing softly, were anything to go by.

Well, that was just one of the 47 calls Theo had failed to answer, apparently. He picked up the next, thankful it was Carrie calling, not his boss or anyone he hadn’t met before. Liam was surprised they hadn’t woken to anyone banging on their door at this point. And she sounded pissed, though she apparently knew about the whole situation and had done her best to keep Theo alive whenever he failed to look after himself. Liam thanked her immensely because, while Liam had the day off on Wednesday, Theo had been expected to go to work.

And just like all those months before, Theo woke up to Liam’s beautiful blue eyes already looking at him. And if Liam had thought he couldn’t possibly love Theo any more than he already did, the smile he knew to only be there for him certainly proved that theory wrong.

Chapter Text

"Loving you tastes like coffee and math equations on Sunday morning.

Loving you feels like fireworks under my skin.

Loving you first came to me in a daydream.

Loving you became real, on a cold December evening, without warning"

- Marco

And Liam laughed at how his Mate stared at him, wide eyed and beautiful at finally remembering Liam was actually there. Liam immediately responded to the hug Theo pulled him into, moaning into his Mate’s neck, kissing and nuzzling the soft skin like he had missed doing those past days. Days that seemed to have disappeared now that they were together once more.

They stayed like that for a long moment, the only sounds they made were of kisses and soft moans, gasps and chuckles, happy sighs filling the air around them. Liam was thankful for the closed windows and blinds, he wanted to bask in that moment before his Mate found out there was actually no longer the need to go to work that day. Which counted as a win for Liam, since it meant they’d get to stay at home, after everything, for another day.

“Morning…” Theo whispered against the skin of Liam’s pectoral, kissing it for a few seconds, nuzzling it before pulling away only a bit. Theo looked blissed out, high and exhausted, all at once. He looked like he hadn’t eaten in a while and Liam then understood what Carrie had meant by ‘keep Theo alive as best as she could’ “Fuck, baby, I totally blacked out. How was the trip? How was the game? Tell me everything”

Liam laughed, resting his weight on an elbow and smiling at Theo pulling him closer, almost until Liam’s body covered his completely. It felt so good  and right to be close like that, after all the long minutes their skins had felt like melting. Liam's fingers caressed their way up and down the thigh Theo still kept wrapped around his waist, kissing his chest for a long moment before answering.

“Well, we crushed them, basically” Theo smiled brightly, hands going up Liam's back and squeezing his Mate in delight “I’m actually really surprised we got the results we did, since, you know... half the team had gotten drunk out of their minds the night before” Theo chuckled at Liam’s exaggerated eye roll “I didn’t drink, but hell,  they did. And I nearly killed them for not getting up on time and missing most of practice on game day. But we won, so it just doesn’t matter anymore”

“I’m just happy you’re home” Theo sighed, smiling at how softly Liam bumped their noses just because he could “I know you believed we could make it, but I was just straight up scared that we wouldn’t”

“I was scared too, baby. I guess I had my own doubts too” Liam sighed, hands slowly caressing their way up Theo’s waist and chest “But let’s think of something else, okay? Something like... the fact that I spoke to your secretary maybe... an hour ago and told her you won’t be showing up for work today, how's that for a distraction?”

“What?! What time is it?!” Theo hissed when he moved, his arms and legs still under the effect of the starvation and hell, the orgasm from the night before. His body and mind had just gone through something akin to hell, so he sighed, relaxing back down on the mattress "What do you mean, I'm not going to work?"

“Cause it's way too late to even think I would let you leave my side” Liam spoke, biting the smile that wanted to show on his face, looking forward to a relaxing day with his lover “You’re stuck with me for the day, baby”

 


 

Theo had told himself it’d be okay if he missed work one day. He even thought maybe he’d get to lock himself in his office for an hour or two and get some work done so he wouldn’t feel so guilty. But when Liam set the table for them to eat together, forgetting all about the afternoon sun already on its way towards the horizon through an orange sky, Theo found he didn’t care. About work, about anything outside those walls. They deserved this, a quiet evening just for the two of them, before reality came crashing back in when the morning came.

So no. Theo didn’t even go near his office, not that Liam would have allowed him to in the first place. Theo’s body felt abused in the best way possible, his heart kept on beating full and heavy with emotion and the need to be in constant contact with Liam was clearly mutual. So their only discussion was regarding what show they wanted to start watching and what to have for a late dinner, with a quick shower in between episodes. No other words were spoken that night, low chuckles and sweet moans that disappeared into kisses filling the air.

It was the perfect ending to a fucking long week and a better beginning than most people got to have before Mondays. Theo left Tara a voicemail, with their bags already prepared for the following day, laundry done, blueprints by the car keys and homework checked. Theo softly chuckled, dropping his phone lazily on the floor with his tank top, his eyes getting lost while tracing the paths the hard muscles on Liam’s back left behind on his Mate’ skin, the Lacrosse player already half asleep, spread out like a starfish on their fresh sheets. Theo snuck under the covers with him with slow movements, not wanting to wake him up. Liam immediately lifted his arm so Theo could slide closer, yawning largely before kissing Theo’s forehead, whispering him a sweet, slurred goodnight.

It was probably the sweetest thing Theo had ever seen, simply another one of the many things he hoped to have until the day he died.

 


 

Waking up next to Liam, though, was always an adventure. Everyday, there was a new surprise waiting for Theo in Liam’s eyes. It was, sometimes, very simple and welcoming. Easy. On other mornings, it was trickier to understand his Mate. Still, Theo had never woken up next to someone he knew as well as he knew Liam and that was reassurance enough that that surprise would be another reason he’d love Liam for, by the time they were back in bed.

Today, that surprise was the worried, nervous haze that haunted Liam’s gaze. And, thankfully for Liam, Theo knew just what to do to help his Mate shake those feelings off. Theo smiled, his italian shoes smooth on the soft carpet of their closet, taking him closer to Liam, who stood in front of the mirror, unmoved for the better part of the past half an hour.

“Baby, we’re gonna be late” Theo bit his lip so he wouldn’t laugh at Liam’s exasperated groan “Here, look at me” Liam groaned once more, hands dropping beside his body, annoyed at the stupid bowtie he couldn’t seem to get right and letting Theo’s hands on his waist spin him around “Let me help”

If there was one thing Liam wasn’t good at in this life was hiding his anxiety. But then again, Theo couldn’t judge or blame him, having gone through all of this himself. You know, graduating college wasn’t easy, especially for someone like Liam, who was so hard on himself.

There had been endless nights where all Theo did was hold his Mate and reassure him life would come together when he least expected it to. They were together and, starting there, they could go anywhere they wanted. Liam could be anything he wanted. Frustration was the hardest part, days came and went and nothing seemed to be falling in line.

Just like he had told Liam all those months before, Theo himself had been lost after graduation. That very night had marked the end of an era for him, but also marked the beginning of a time full of doubts and being neck deep in debts. Liam had been as stubborn as a five year old when Theo offered for him to go to whatever school he wanted to so he could specialize himself, now that he had a degree. Liam kissed him when his Mate reminded him they were one, that their bond was just as valid as marriage and that meant everything Theo owned was also his.

And Theo knew he was maybe pushing his luck in that department, but he told himself Liam would be so fucking happy there’d be no room left for him to be pissed at Theo. Because, as Liam’s graduation date neared them, Theo had struggled to find him a gift. It had to be something special, but nothing seemed to pop into his mind.

After an evening they had spent silently together, with Theo in his office, working on a mile long blueprint, his office door open so Liam knew all he needed to was walk in, his Mate giving his final essay the last few touches before the presentation, something had, indeed, popped into Theo’s mind.

Liam had hesitated before walking into Theo’s office, standing by the threshold with his iPad and pajama pants, a two day old stubble on his gorgeous face. It took Theo a moment to see him there, smiling and welcoming the kiss his Mate bent down to give him. And Liam just decided to spill it, knowing Theo would easily pick up on his feelings.

“Is that offer still standing?” Liam spoke, coming to sit on the chair opposite from Theo’s desk, legs up and crossed on the seat “The… the money offer, I mean...?” Theo smiled, letting go of his pencils and metal ruler, stretching his hands and arms before nodding.

“Of course it is, you know it is” Liam nodded, biting his lip, but didn’t go on. Theo knew he shouldn’t find it so endearing that Liam felt nervous talking about money with him, but he did. Theo stood, coming to stand behind Liam’s chair and nuzzling his Mate’s neck “We’re as close as husbands to the law, Liam, I’ve told you this before. There’s no reason you should feel embarrassed talking about these things with me. I know you want to work and be independent and I know you are going to be the best at whatever you decide to do with your degree, but you have to understand that I want for you to have the best and only the best”

“My entire life, Liam, all I did was work. I only started to live once you showed up and changed everything” Liam smiled, closing his eyes and resting further back into his Mate, who passed his arms around him “I thought I had everything I needed to know figured out, but you showed me it’s okay to want more. Everything I have is yours, Liam and that is not something bad. You are free to use it as you see fit”

Liam sighed, biting his lip at how his stomach did somersaults at Theo’s words. The man had spoken them more than a couple times over the past few days and still they did wonders to their bond. Unfortunately, Liam had always been well aware of how much his mother had struggled financially after his father had passed so spending money, even if he hadn’t been the one working to have it, was still something he planned thoroughly.

“I know” They stayed in comfortable silence for merely a heartbeat, Liam sighing once more after Theo kissed his nape sweetly “Well, there’s this school…”

And that’s when everything had turned sour.

Liam’s graduation had only been a week away and they hadn’t heard back from this really fancy History institution yet. After an hour long conversation through Skype, they had been delighted to find someone as talented and being honored in their graduation as Liam to both become their student and half time employee. But still, they needed the school board to come to an agreement about Liam, since they weren’t exactly looking to expand their staff in the first place. And yet, nothing. Nada. Not even a 'fuck off' from them. And that only added stress to Liam’s already nervous behavior.

Liam had been hesitant to bring it up because the school wasn’t in Los Angeles to begin with, but of course Theo had been understanding. Liam knew it had been stupid of him to worry, but they had gotten that out of the way already. Despite not knowing a lot about the History job market, Theo knew just how dedicated Liam was and how deserving his Mate truly was of everything good in this life. If moving to another city or even another state would allow Liam to fulfill a life-long dream of his, the what kind of partner would Theo be if he were the one to hold him back?

“Thank you” Liam had mumbled after another sigh, eyes closed as he enjoyed how Theo’s perfume calmed him down, how his touch kept him focused “Let’s get this over with, shall we?”

“Hey, hey, hey, I’m not done here” Theo smiled, hands sliding around Laim’s waist, mindful of his perfectly smooth suit jacket, pulling his Mate closer there in their closet. Liam smiled softly, sighing happily again “Everything’s gonna be okay, baby, I feel it. I know it’s frustrating, at best, but try to remember this is your graduation. No matter what tomorrow holds, tonight we are celebrating the end of a crazy four-year journey, okay?”

“I know, I am happy for that, I am” Liam let his hands adjust Theo’s tie in return, though it looked perfect the way it was. Theo was a natural at dressing up, taking responsibility over how Liam would dress for this occasion. He looked both wedding ready and fuckable in his three piece suit and it was a mixture that did all sorts of things to Liam “I’m just being me, you know...  nervous”

“Well, I have a feeling it’s all gonna turn out okay, in the end”

Oh, Liam knew that look. Ha! And that grin! Liam squinted his eyes, hands on Theo’s chest as he took a step back, which only seemed to work to put an even larger smirk on Theo’s face. It was when Theo licked his lips and freaking broke eye contact that Liam knew there were tons more to that line, not just his Mate trying to ease his tensions.

“There’s a lot you’re not telling me, isn’t there?” Liam whispered, not really angry. There was something about Theo’s posture, with the way his hands tightly held onto his waist, pulling him that step back in, that calmed his heart and eased his mind a lot, somehow.

“I may have a couple of tricks up my sleeve for tonight, yes” Liam rolled his eyes softly, biting his lip at the long, wet kiss Theo set on the corner of his mouth, resting his forehead against his Mate’s “Do you trust me, baby?”

Well, duh. Of course Liam did. But then again, Theo’s question wasn’t like that.

“I do” And he meant it. Liam meant it with every fiber in his being. He had trusted Theo from the moment he realized he had fallen hard for the man. And the smile Theo threw at him, right there in their closet, would have brought Liam to his knees.

“Then trust I know for a fact that everything’s gonna be okay, baby” Liam nodded, doing his best to relax and will some of Theo’s energetic excitement into his moody mindset. Theo started pulling him gently by the hand towards the door, wiggling his eyebrows and with a smile on his face worthy of the Cheshire cat. A good Cheshire cat, that is “I got a handful of surprises for you, Liam. Buckle up, baby, you're in for the night of your life"

"Loving you feels like stolen glances and smiles when people aren't looking.

Loving you feels like catching on fire, just like I always do when I catch you watching me study.

It's a fire that doesn't hurt me, though it lights me up completely.

Loving you? Loving you wasn't a choise I made, but it's the one thing I've done right.

Loving you has put my demons to sleep. Loving you has turned my open wounds into brand new scars.

Loving you, I now know, was easy. Easy like hearing you hum Bon Jovi in the car.

Or easy like packing a batch of those cookies of mine you like for work.

Loving you came at a price. 

Because, to anyone else, I now am blind"

- Marco

Chapter Text

"When you're drowning, you don't actually inhale until right before you black out.

It's called  voluntary apnea. 

It's like no matter how much you're freaking out,

the instinct to not let any water in is so strong that you won't open your mouth until you feel like your head's exploding.

Then when you finally do let it in,

that's when it stops hurting. 

It's not scary anymore"

“Okay, okay, wait! Wait, I gotta rest for a second” Liam wheezed, bending forward to rest his hands on his knees. It’s not like they had been doing anything but walk from the pub to the street corner where their Uber would be picking them up, but all the alcohol in his system sure had decided to start kicking in right there.

“Liam, you’re the athlete here!” Theo spoke through laughter, hand still in Liam’s, locking his phone screen and stashing it away in his trouser pocket. It was three a.m. and the Grove was still on fire. People came and went, there was laughter and loud music all around them.

The bright lights sure would tempt just about anyone. Theo and Liam bailed on their dinner reservation after making out like teenagers once Liam was off the stage, diploma in hand and robe still on. Theo had laughed when Liam pressed him against the outside building wall, letting the warm L.A. air take them whole while they kissed.

It was a ‘thank you’ kiss on Liam’s part. Knowing Theo was there for him had helped more than words could ever express. But it was also a ‘I wonder what else this night has in store for us’ kiss, for both of them. It was excited and fun, loud and full of shushed giggles, followed by the two of them struggling to find Theo’s car in the middle of thousands in the poorly lit parking lot.

After wiping tears of laughter from the corner of his eyes once they found the car, in the few seconds before Theo unlocked it and they got inside, Liam found himself overtaken with emotion. Not because he had graduated and his teammates had all but humiliated him with a two minute long video telling all of his worst, most embarrassing moments to a four thousand people crowd. Not even because the ceremony had ended up dragging for hours and hours like Liam had thought it would.

But because he was in the middle of a parking lot with his Mate, without another soul in sight, laughing like they had already gotten started on the celebratory drinks. And it felt right. Liam felt powerful, right there. He felt like Superman, ready to take the world by storm and make good with the time he had been granted on Earth. By Theo’s side. He then was sure whatever came next for him, he’d face it. He had Theo, he had it all.

Oh, but the drinks had just kept coming! And fuck, Liam had never known Theo was that good of a drinker. Shot after shot and Liam’s sight was quite hazy, but all that looked different about Theo’s greek god looks was that his cheeks looked a little flushed. His suit jacket was thrown over his shoulder, his sleeves were rolled up to his elbows and again, Liam wanted to jump him, no matter the millions of people all around them.

“Not when I’ve found the bottom of, at least, three bottles of vodka” Theo laughed, shaking his head and moving closer to set a kiss to Liam’s sweaty cheek. The night air was humid and honestly, Liam was sure he looked like quite the mess of a men, but at least he hadn’t forgotten his diploma or suit jacket at the pub. He wasn’t that drunk.

“16 shots” Theo whispered to him, not having stepped back after kissing Liam’s cheek “16 shots, split evenly between us, baby. You had 8 shots, Liam. That’s hardly a quarter of a bottle”

“Are you sure about that? Cause I don’t feel so good” Liam laughed, knowing Theo would never let him live this down. Theo looked around for the black Mercedez they had called for, smiling when he let go of Liam’s hand to snake his arm around his Mate’s waist.

“Yes, I am sure, baby” Liam smiled at their half hug, arm around Theo’s shoulders as he took a step forward himself “Are you sure you’re not up for your next surprise? Because it’s the second best one of the night”

“I’m good. Really, all good here. Nope, not drunk. Of course I’m not, I’m ready” Liam was sure there were words missing in that sentence, but he wasn’t gonna take it back now. Yes, alight, he was a lightweight when it came to drinking, but hey, 8 shots wasn’t that bad, right?

“Goddamn it, I love you” Theo laughed, mouth wet and smooth against Liam’s as he pulled his Mate in for a long kiss. It tasted like lemon, for some reason, and Liam loved it. Sighing and pretty much melting against his Mate, Liam squeezed Theo in their hug, their bodies flushed together right there, under the streetlight on that corner. And Liam all but growled when they heard a soft honk and ‘Theo?’ being called out near them “Come on, we can continue this and your surprises at home”

 


 

“Okay, my impatient Mate, hold up” Theo laughed, throwing his suit jacket over the kitchen counter and struggling to toe his shoes off while Liam demanded kisses and pulled him further into their apartment. Theo had barely been able to keep a drunken Liam from sneaking a hand down his trousers and doing only the Heavens knew what to him, much to Liam’s distaste “I’m not denying you sex, Liam, this is your night. But I rather like this shirt so can you please spare me a minute to get it off before jumping my very bones?”

“You’re no fun” Liam growled softly, pink bow mouth a beacon to Theo’s delirious lips. They barely made it to their bed, barely got their clothes off too. Theo didn’t get to take his shirt off and, with all honesty, by the time he had Liam jackhammering his cock up his ass and hitting, with spot on precision, his prostate in less than three thrusts, Theo couldn’t care less about said shirt.

They had laughed like two idiots once Liam had rearranged them lazily on the bed. The orgasm, added to the alcohol, was lulling Liam to sleep and, no matter how hard Liam tried to stay awake, it was of no use. Theo sighed with a smile on his face. The surprises would have to wait, then. Everything else could wait. It was the perfect ending to a fantastic night. All Theo did was wrap his arms around Liam’s back and close his eyes. Sleep took him in less than a minute.

 


 

Liam woke up to a loud bang coming from the kitchen, quickly followed by the characteristic sound of glass shattering and Theo’s voice cursing under his breath. With a quick check to the clock on the nightstand, it was just twenty past seven in the morning. The startling sound easily erased the pounding in Liam’s head from his mind as he rushed to his feet and made his way out the bedroom door.

Liam found Theo in the kitchen, murmuring to himself after being done picking up the pieces of whatever he had dropped moments before. Theo heard his steps, turning to throw him an apology, probably, but addressed his nakedness with an amused wink before anything else.

“Well, it’s nice to see you too, baby” Liam rolled his eyes softly, well aware he was sporting his morning hard on. Theo had them too, most men did, but they always joked about it, whenever they didn’t get right on to taking care of said hard ons for each other “Sorry I woke you up” Theo sighed when Liam pulled him into a warm hug, at first unaware that the whole mess had been started because Theo had actually cut himself.

Theo had been in the middle of preparing breakfast for Liam, definitely one the surprises Theo had in store for his Mate. He was almost done chopping up the strawberries he knew Liam liked when his finger got in the way of the knife. His elbow bumped into the bowl with the oranges he wanted to chop up next with the scare and pain and it smashed into large pieces on the floor.

“Oh, it’s alright” Liam’s eyebrows shot up in alarm once they pulled apart, seeing the trail of blood already going down the side of Theo’s hand. The hug had been an immediate response to Theo’s distress, even though Liam had no clue what had happened. He had just wanted to make his Mate feel better. And it had worked, obviously. Liam was definitely the rational one when it came to this sort of things, which is why he grabbed the nearest clean dishcloth and wrapped it around Theo’s finger and hand “Is it bad? Is it hurting?”

“I don’t think so” Theo smiled at Liam kissing his forehead, the two of them standing in the messy kitchen at seven thirty in the morning on a Sunday, with Liam’s hands pressing the cloth down on Theo’s wound, keeping it safe against his naked chest “It stings, I’m not gonna lie. But I’m okay”

“I’m gonna go get the first aid kit, alright? You keep holding that tight” Theo nodded, a smile on his face as he watched Liam, in all of his naked glory, walking quickly to the guest bathroom to retrieve the small white container with the red cross on top “Okay, so let’s have a look at that finger”

Theo couldn’t help the smile from showing on his face while he sat and let Liam take care of him. After cleaning the cut and applying some ointment to it, he wrapped it with gauze and taped it neatly, like a pro. The sweetest part about it was the way Liam’s tongue poked out in concentration and how his forehead had a worried wrinkle right in between his eyebrows. It was so endearing Theo’s heart felt like it was going to burst.

Once he was done, Liam set everything back inside the container, pushing it aside and balling up the dishcloth he wanted to throw inside their barbecue pit, on the balcony. He turned to Theo before moving, though, brushing his hair back with his clean hand and kissing the bridge of his nose, making his Mate’ smile grow wider.

“Thank you” Theo sighed, watching Liam brush it off and continue with whatever he wanted to do. Theo was thankful for this part of Liam. If Theo had been alone, he wouldn’t have known where to begin. Liam set an old towel over the mess on the floor, spraying some sort of cleaning detergent on it and rubbing it around on the sticky sweet floor “You know, this is not how I planned for this morning to start”

“Yeah? And what had you planned?” Liam spoke with a knowing grin once he came back from tossing the towel into the laundry room sink. He’d deal with it later. He washed his hands quickly and then he was all Theo’s, to hug and kiss.

“Well, I was gonna get breakfast done and then I had planned on waking you up nice and slow before we came to eat” Theo sighed, resting his cheek on Liam’s chest, since the athlete stood taller than him, who was sitting down “I had wanted for you to read something before breakfast”

“Read something? What could you possibly have for me to read on a Sunday morning?” Liam spoke, hands in Theo’s hair, glad the apartment was a lot cooler than the sunny day outside. Though he was cold, standing butt naked there in the kitchen “It’s not like I read the newspaper or anything like that”

“Well, I guess now that the surprise was ruined, this is as good a time as any” Theo sighed, kissing Liam’s pectoral before standing, wary of his now bandaged finger while he searched for the papers he wanted inside his bag, resting on one of the bar stools, on the other side of the kitchen counter “Just, uh… why don’t you put some clothes on? Boxers, at least”

“Don’t see how that relates to the envelope you’re holding, but I’ll humor you” Liam knew that had to be the surprise Theo had been telling him about the night before. Liam hadn’t even had the time to think about the fact he had fallen asleep and ruined his Mate’s plans for them, given how he had been kickstarted to full awakeness.

And Liam couldn’t lie and say he didn’t hate the horde of butterflies that overtook his stomach once he saw Theo, standing in the middle of their living room, tapping his open palm with a relatively large envelope in hands. No matter how hard Liam thought about what it contained, he couldn’t seem to come up with anything decisive. He would just have to wait and see.

“Okay, no more nakedness for me” Liam tried to lighten the mood, gesturing the pair of black boxer briefs he had put on. Theo smiled, but soon looked back down to the envelope, almost as if he wished he could make it go away. He seemed… nervous “This is what you meant as a ‘surprise’, isn’t it?”

“Well, both last night and today were your graduation present, but I guess you could say this is the most important part” Theo shrugged at Liam’s confused look, a nervous smile on his gorgeous face “This arrived two days ago”

Liam’s voice disappeared as soon as Theo turned the front of the envelope so he could read the name on it. A cold chill ran down his spine. That was the letter he had been waiting for. That History Institution he had been in contact with had finally replied, after their long chat. Liam wanted to immediately grab it and tear it to shreds until he got to the information inside, but he found he couldn’t move.

“Why… why didn’t you tell me?” Liam asked, seeing in Theo’s eyes a bit of guilt. Standing in their living room, for just another second, Liam took a step forward. He knew why Theo hadn’t told him. Hell, he had been a mess without knowing what was gonna happen next. But Theo had been able to take it all out of his mind and make his graduation fun and memorable, in a great way. If Liam had gotten his hands on that letter, it could’ve been catastrophic “I mean… I know why you didn’t, I just…”

“I need you to understand, baby, that no matter what is inside this envelope, I got you, okay?” Theo spoke softly, taking the last step toward his Mate and setting the envelope delicately against his chest “Whether they accepted you or not, it doesn’t matter”

“What if they did say yes to me? We never talked about that possibility, Theo” Liam sighed, hand reaching for Theo and hugging his Mate’s shoulders. He grabbed the envelope, seeing his name written by hand on the creme colored paper. Fancy “We can’t possibly split our time, our lives, in between Los Angeles and…”

“We won’t have to, I promise” Theo smiled, placing a kiss to Liam’s cheek, pulling the man closer until they were touching chest to chest, nothing but the letter in between them. And Theo couldn’t help but smile widely when Liam eyed him suspiciously “But before we get to that, why don’t you just open it? Let’s not think ten steps ahead quite yet”

What?

Oh.

Oh.

Theo bit his lip and squeezed Liam in their hug once he saw realization hit his Mate. And Liam groaned in contentment, ignoring the letter and pulling Theo further in, hand on the back of his head and touching their mouths together. Theo’s arms wrapped around his back, deepening the contact and they both moaned into each other’s mouths.

“You’ve got it all figured out, don’t you?” Liam said with an awed tone to his happy sigh, his forehead rested against Theo’s as they took a deep breath after kissing, hugged and softly swaying from side to side in the living room “You’re gonna suggest we move there, aren’t you? I mean, move our life there. Together. If they take me in, that is”

“Well, it’s not like I could ever go a day without being with you” Theo whispered matter-of-factly, nose pressed softly against the side of Liam’s, hands sliding down to palm his Mate’s ass, making Liam laugh “And I don’t mean it from a starvation point of view. I love you, baby. There’s no life for me in L.A. if you’re not here”

“But what about the firm? You’ve got a reputation here, I still remember the look you got on your face when you first told me about your work” Liam smiled at Theo’s lovely words. But this also brought another problem, one that scared Liam “Fuck, I didn’t even think about this, Theo. This is your career, I can’t ask you to give it up for me”

“Good thing you’re not ” Theo smiled, his hands coming to hold both sides of Liam’s face, his Mate’s eyes wide and scared “Liam, when we first met, I was a selfish bastard. Back then, it hadn’t really sunk in what you meant to me, what having a Mate really meant”

“You changed everything for me, too” Liam spoke with a smile, biting his lip and laughing when he wasn’t fast enough to respond to Theo’s swift kiss “Jeez, I love you”

“I love you too” Theo smiled brightly, happy that he had been given the chance to have Liam in his life. Just taking a second to take in that large smile, his light freckles, the way his eyes seemed to be transparent in the morning sun… he was breathtaking. And Theo’s, to have and to hold “Baby, I could go on and on about all the reasons why nothing in my life compares to you, but let’s talk about all of this once we know what’s on that letter, kay?”

“I know, I know, you’re right” Liam took a deep breath, not moving from where he stood in Theo’s embrace as he prepared a finger to start tearing through the paper “I just… really appreciate you saying those things”

“You are always the one who finds the way out, Liam” Theo smiled, kissing the bridge of his Mate’s nose once more, making him hum in approval of the sweet contact “Allow me to do it for you, this time around”

Without wasting another second, Liam found himself ripping through the top of the envelope and easily sliding a folded sheet of the fanciest paper he had ever held out of it. Not even Theo used that fancy of a paper brand for his intrinsic designs.

And Liam was, somewhere in the back of his mind, thankful for how Theo squeezed him that much harder in their hug once he noticed Liam had started reading the letter. And Theo didn’t miss how Liam had stopped breathing altogether, blue eyes running through the lines like he was a starved man.

It was a tense couple of seconds, for the two of them. It was surreal how a sheet of paper could hold that much power over their future. Theo had known this could go sourly bad in just a couple of lines, words even, and had tried coming up with ways to cheer Liam up and comfort his Mate if this went south. But, in the end, it needed to happen. These few moments of uncertainty were necessary for them to move on.

Where they were headed from there was a much harder question to answer.

"It's actually kind of peaceful"

-Mieczyslaw 'Stiles' Stilinski

Chapter Text

'Can I get a hallelujah?

Can I get an amen?

Feels like the Holy Ghost runnin' through ya

When I play the highway FM.

I find my soul revival

Singing every single verse

Yeah, I guess that's my church'

 

“Holy fuck” Laim covered his mouth after the curse slipped, eyes wide in shock as he moved to look at his Mate “Holy fucking shit, Theo!” Liam couldn’t help but laugh, loud and hysterical in a way, eyes going back to read those words again, hand again aiming for Theo’s neck.

“Okay, was that a good ‘holy fuck’ or was it a bad ‘holy fuck’?” Liam laughed even louder, all of the tension slipping away from both his body and mind and he held onto Theo, ‘cause his legs felt like they were going to give in.

“Oh, it was definitely a good ‘holy fuck’

Liam laughed louder after catching Theo’s wicked, proud grin a second too late. Liam squealed, hands holding onto Theo in whatever way they could as he found himself thrown over his Mate’s shoulder. There was even a playful slap to his ass and Liam moaned at Theo’s sharp breath intake. Butterflies were a thing when Liam realized Theo wasn’t taking him to the table for breakfast.

The food would have to wait.

 


 

“Lemme see if I got this right” Liam spoke, taking a step back to admire his work. Theo smiled, biting his lip as he stood right where he was, doing a little ‘ta-da’ gesture with his hands to get his Mate to laugh. Liam rolled his eyes sweetly, moving back closer so Theo could plan a kiss on his mouth “We’ve arrived back in L.A.... what? Less than two hours ago for the opening and they didn’t even bother to walk you through it in advance?”

“What can I say? I don’t really mind that they didn’t, I’ve done this a thousand times before, babe” Theo smiled, letting Liam’s agile fingers work on his collar and then on his cufflinks “I’m just glad I’ll get to see Carrie again and fuck, I miss my sister so much. And, of course, getting to show you off. Obviously, that’s gonna be a highlight for me”

“It still bugs me that they were so cold to you” Liam shrugged, sighing when Theo looked just perfect. His black tux was bespoke, from one of Theo’s favorite brand, not that Liam had bothered remembering which one “I guess I expected more of them, after having worked with them for so many years”

“I’m happy where I am, where we are” Theo bit his lip, unable to stop himself from thinking their roles had reversed. Theo felt just like Liam had, prior to his graduation. He was nervous, no matter the fact he had done this a thousand times before. And Liam. Fuck, Liam looked nothing short of stunning, large shoulders relaxed, vest hugging his toned frame perfectly. He looked sinful, almost. It made Theo’s mouth water, it was torture not to touch him “If I had known a change in scenery would do us this much good I would’ve suggested it a long time ago. Sure, I miss my sister and I know you miss your friends, but I doubt I’ve ever felt this happy before in my life”

“I love you” Liam whispered, suit jacket thrown over one arm as he stood before his Mate, hair styled to perfection, smelling like everything Theo loved, every flavour of his favorite candy put together in a perfect combo “I’m so happy I’m here to witness tonight. This is huge and I’m so incredibly proud of you”

 


 

“Why are there so many photographers here?” Liam smiled, wide eyes staring at the rapidly flashing lights outside their car window. They had gotten lost reminiscing about Los Angeles and had been brought back to the present when the car slowed down to a near stop, people screaming on the street.

“It’s a big event, I’m sure they’ve done a good job with the guest list” Theo sighed into Liam’s neck, not bothering there was a big chance their suits would wrinkle up if they kept touching the way they normally did “Back when  I was looking for possible locations, this street immediately was one of top favorites. Anywhere you look, this street is full of everything life in L.A. has to offer. Stores, restaurants, pubs, clubs, museums, gyms, banks, office buildings. It was perfect. I took an entire day just taking notes so I could design a hotel that would suit the atmosphere in a way it would become irresistible, to tourists, business people and even celebrities”

“Have you met any before? Celebrities, I mean” Liam laughed “If I could possibly afford a hotel like the ones you design, then I’m sure I’d naturally gravitate towards this one, there’s a standard with your name on it that is irresistible, there’s no denying it. I’m sure it’ll be seeing lots of famous names”

“Well, I met former president Obama and his family, that was pretty awesome” Theo smiled at Liam’s dumbfounded expression. He shrugged, hating how long it was taking for them to get to the hotel “But I’ve met a bunch of people, I can’t just think of one that really made me make a fool of myself”

Liam laughed, kissing Theo’s cheek. He knew making silly jokes was Theo’s way to deal with stress, so he just made sure his Mate knew he was there for him, no matter how crazy it got out there. Liam knew it all would change once they were, quite literally, under the spotlight, knew his Mate would relax and take the entire night by storm. Also, it helped that they were going to meet Tara and Matt at the opening, Theo had been talking about it for two whole weeks now.

Liam missed his best friend, though he had met lots of people at his new school-slash-job. It was a lot happening at once, but his days were fun and his nights with Theo were quite magical. They were far from home, from the people who had made Los Angeles their home, but still, they were happy. And glad to be back, even if just for the night. After brunch the next day, they’d be heading back, for lack of a better word still, home. Liam was sure they would get to feeling at home, no matter where they go, it would just take some time.

When their car parked, the noise outside stopped them both from talking normally. Theo kissed the back of Liam’s hand, getting a smile and peck in return. It would be a long night, Theo could already tell. He held onto the good things he knew were to come with that event. His sister, another job well done, Liam. He held onto those things and shoved his anxiety to the back of his mind.

It got easier once they were in front of the flashing lights of the hotel. There were, at least, 400 people there for the opening, all dressed in long gowns and bespoke suits, posing together and trying to have their 15 minutes of fame.

But they were all forgotten the second Theo’s name was announced. ‘Theo Raeken and Mate, Liam Dunbar’. Theo had felt a rush of emotion when Liam’s wide smile didn’t go by him unnoticed. Liam slid his hand into Theo’s, having been told what to do and where to go on their improvised red carpet. The reception was nothing like a movie premiere, but Theo’s old firm had always insisted on making extravagant openings whenever projects this big happened.

Theo’s eyes got lost on the building once they got through security and the photographers. He had told Liam their pictures would end in architecture magazines and blog posts by the end of the night, so he shouldn’t be surprised if he saw his name scattered across the web. But he had to admit he had done a good job. He could still remember how hard it had been to convince the developers to invest on the marble floors and florists, but hey, Theo usually got things done his way. This time wasn’t different.

 


 

“He seems to be doing alright” Theo nodded, agreeing with Matt’ statement, not once taking his eyes off of his Mate from across the ballroom. Liam had kissed his cheek, adjusting his tie, before grabbing Tara’s hand and making their way to the dance floor. The party had taken a twist after the clock struck one in the morning, with most of the older folks having already left “I know you’re taking great care of him and all, but I was worried”

“I was too” Theo sighed, downing the last of his glass and setting it back on the table “But he’s strong, beyond my wildest believes. Moving out of L.A. was hard, but it did us a whole lot of good too. Apart from you guys, there was nothing left for us here”

“Speaking of which, there is a… something I wanted to ask you” Matt said, after clearing his throat. He shifted his weight from foot to foot, eyes on the ground and Theo knew what was coming, right off the bat. He tried to hide his smile, having come to terms with his sister having found her Mate and being the happiest she had ever been. Matt was actually a pretty cool guy and that was all that mattered to him “Is it okay… if I do? Ask you about Tara, I mean. I don’t wanna make this weird”

“Go ahead, I know her better than anyone” Theo rested his elbow on the table, wondering for a quick second where Liam has put their suit jackets a couple of moments before “Besides, you’re Liam’s best friend. If there was anything I had to ask about him, you’d be the first person I’d come to”

“Oh, that’s nice of you, man. Thanks” Matt straightened himself up a bit, feeling refreshed by Theo’s confidence boost “Okay, so… our anniversary is coming up and I guess I was just wondering if you could help come up with a surprise for her. I tried coming up with something, but I just can’t think of anything”

“Well, Tara usually keeps the details of your relationship to herself, but she is happy with you, that’s a great start” Theo thought about it for a second. He and Liam hadn’t done much on their anniversary, just spending time together and it had been enough. But Tara sure was one for grander gestures and Matt was right to be already thinking ahead “But can I be candid here and ask you something?”

“Sure, anything” Theo didn’t think Matt would’ve answered him that quickly if he knew where Theo was going.

“Are you planning on fully mating with her? Cause I know you two haven’t yet” Theo allowed himself a devilish smile when Matt straight up choked on his own spit, coughing and his cheeks reddening quickly “Oh, please, you think she wouldn’t tell me about that if it happened? Besides, I know Liam told you all about our first time, so go on and answer me. Is that what you want for your anniversary? I understand where you’re coming from, wanting to do it on a special day and all, but is that what she wants? Have you two talked about it?”

“Well…” Matt cleared his throat, knowing Theo was right “... yeah, we’ve talked about it. We both want to take that step, but it’s hard planning for something like that to happen. This isn’t my first time, unfortunately, but I know it is for Tara and I want it to be just… great”

“Liam and I never planned it, like talked it out and settled a date” Theo shrugged, finding his Mate among the people on the dance floor, his sister only a step away from him, a large smile on Liam’s face “We’d already been pretty intimate before that night, but it wasn’t planned. We just let the need and tension between us snap. It happened the night I got this very deal, actually”

Theo smiled when Matt’s eyes went a little wide, a goofy smile on his face. People always got that look on their face whenever they got to hear a little of their story, though Theo never understood why.

“He’d gone to visit me at the office, knowing it was a big day for me and I invited him to sleep over at my place that night” Theo shrugged once more, unable to describe just how right it had felt to be with Liam that night, how they had slotted into place like magic “One kiss, that’s all it took, for us to know it was time. And, just like that, we were Mated”

“Liam said it’s life changing…” Matt’s voice trailed off, having heard everything Theo had said, just lost in his own mind, wondering if he and Tara would get to have something like that.

“It is, he’s right about that” Theo sighed, still remembering how it had felt to have Liam resting on top of him that night, hair sweaty, eyes dazed from pleasure and his cute bow mouth leaving wet, open mouthed kisses to his collarbones and chest “It’s like coming home, if it makes any sense. You feel… safe. Like everything you have ever lost had just come back to you. Every color looks brighter, though he’s the only one that matters. Every scent is heightened, but his is the one I could never live without”

“Gosh, I wanna have that so bad” Theo laughed, thanking with a nod the waiter who had only stopped by to hand him another drink “And I wanna give Tara that, but how? How do I tell her that she’s become my entire world?” Matt could feel his shoulders slouching a bit as his mind still couldn't seem to come up with something good enough for his Mate. And Theo would be damned if he stood there and watched all that moping around for another second.

“Okay, buddy, come here. I’ll tell you what you’re gonna do” Theo spoke after a dramatic pause for effect, even sighing, knowing he was probably having way too much fun with this, standing from his seat and leaving his icy cold drink back on the table, in the sea of already empty glasses. He passed his arm around Matt’ shoulders, making the man stand up as well “You’re gonna go over there, grab my sister and get her the hell out of here. Take her home and swipe her off her feet. Tell her you love her, let her know that you love her, in every way you can possibly think of. Just Mate with her, dude. No plans, no schedule”

“But our anniversary isn’t until September” Matt spoke, suddenly feeling his stomach doing somersaults. Gosh, Matt couldn’t lie and say he hadn’t wanted Tara before, craved her even. It was thanks to her being gorgeous and amazing, but also because they were Mates. There was attraction there they couldn’t keep on denying. The worst part about it was the fact that Matt wasn’t a virgin. He had been sexually active before being with Tara and, though he didn’t regret their decision to not Mate right away, the first few months had been hard on his body. Not once did he cheat, fuck no, but he had had to find ways to manage without putting pressure on their relationship.

“So? If you both want this, it doesn’t have to be on your anniversary” Theo spoke, gently encouraging Matt to take the first step and start making his way over “Get this one out of the way, connect with her in every way humanly possible and I’m sure the ideas will flow. Just don’t be late for brunch tomorrow or I’ll be forced to tell Liam all about this”

 


 

“I saw you and Matt talking, you two seemed invested in the topic” Liam spoke through a yawn, head resting against Theo’ shoulder on the backseat of the car taking them back to the hotel. Theo hadn’t wanted to stay at the hotel they were opening, something Liam could understand. He hadn’t parted ways nicely with his old firm, so the less he saw of those people, the better “Is it some secret I can’t know about?”

“Babe, I’m sure Matt is gonna tell you all about it, he just… wanted some advice on what would be a good gift for Tara for their anniversary” Theo smiled, head resting on top of Liam’s and sighing. The night had turned out better than anything he could’ve hoped for, so it felt good to just relax and enjoy these last few moments in L.A.

“Oh, that’s sweet of him” Liam laughed, remembering all the moments Matt had done his best to catch him up on all things Tara. And Matt was head over heels in love with her. Liam knew it wasn’t hard to be, but it was on one of the nights Mat and Liam were skyping and Tara arrived home and had smiled and waved at him through the camera. Liam had been witness to the way she had turned to look at Matt, hand climbing to the back of his neck and kissing him, though chastely, firmly on the mouth. She had smiled and turned to blow Liam a kiss before leaving, but all Liam had been able to do was laugh at Matt’s totally gooey look as he watched her go “Hey, I know we both recently started new jobs and all, so vacations will take a while, but what are we going to do for our anniversary? Any ideas?”

“A couple, yeah” Theo smiled brightly when Liam immediately pushed away from their semi hug and turned to look at him with wide eyes and a large smile “But I’m not telling you about any of them”

“Oh, come one, Theo!” Theo simply laughed, arms wrapping around Liam’s body when his Mate threw himself at him.

Chapter Text

Tara opened her eyes with a startle and kept her them focused straight up into the ceiling. She heard Matt as he groaned and cursed under his breath… like what in the holy hell? She heard him. She couldn’t hear much else, only the way Matt sat back on the bed, sighing. Then heard him cursing again, his hand warm on her uncovered thigh.

His handsome face was the next thing she saw, coming in between her and the white ceiling above. He smiled brightly when he noticed she was already awake, hand coming up to brush her mess of a hair back.

“Hey, baby, good morning. How are you feeling?” Matt kept smiling, his other hand coming to caress her check as she just kept staring at him with wide, shocked eyes “We’re gonna be really late if we don’t get up now and how about we just… Tara? Tara, talk to me, what’s wrong? Did I hurt you last night? Fuck, I’m so sorry, baby, If I did, I didn’t mean to. Please, don’t regret this, okay? I love you”

There were tears in Tara’s eyes, shaking Matt’s very core. In one second, everything had been perfect, their night had been perfect. They were one, a pair, Mates. And Matt just sat there and watched as the tears started rolling freely into her hairline, a hand coming up to cover her mouth and muffle the sobs.

Matt was about to apologize again, say anything really, when Tara lifted her other hand, shaking with uncontained emotion, to touch the side of his face. She seemed at a loss for words, but wet her lips anyway, not once taking her eyes away from his face. Matt set his larger hand on top of her, keeping it right where it was, warm against his skin.

“I… I can hear... you” Came the tiny whisper of her soft voice.

Matt just sat there, dumbfounded. What? Like… the fuck? How was that even possible? It wasn’t like there were known cases for them to compare things to, but Tara sure as hell looked like her entire world had been shaken, down to its foundations.

“What… are you serious right now? Can you hear me? Don’t fucking mess with me, Tara, please” Matt knew it was pretty insensitive of him to say that, but he couldn’t risk it. It had always been there, unspoken between them, how much it sucked that Tara couldn’t hear him, no even when he cursed, which was how Mates found each other. This was… there was nothing either of them wouldn’t give for Tara to be able to have this too “Are you serious, baby?”

“Y… yes” She spoke through the sob that escaped her mouth, closing her eyes and immediately reaching for her Mate. And Matt was ready to hug her, pulling Tara up and into his chest, her naked legs against his body, circling his waist, arms tight around his neck “I… I would never…”

“I know, baby, I was just surprised” Matt smiled, kissing her cheek and hugging her tighter “Fuck, Tara, I love you so much. You’re the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me”

Tara laughed, happiness unlike anything she had ever felt before taking over her body and she just held on, held onto her Mate, her lover, to whatever this crazy ride had in store for them.

“I love you too” She could barely talk, emotion tied together in the form of a knot inside her throat, but she whispered those words anyway. Matt smiled, his large hands coming from her back to hold her face in place, their foreheads rested against one another “I love you, Matt”

“Am I the only thing you hear? Can you hear the cars outside?” Tara shook her head, but it didn’t affect her. Nothing else mattered. She could hear Matt, which went far beyond her wildest dreams. It was enough, more so than enough “Oh, baby…”

“It’s okay, this is perfect” she whispered, a large smile on her face as she left a soft, warm kiss to her Mate’s lips, feeling butterflies at how Matt’s hands squeezed her thighs, pulling her closer still. Matt smiled against her lips, lifting her up and setting her back down, sliding slowly and deliciously back into his Mate, surprising Tara as she threw her head back and laughed, groaning at how deep it felt to have Matt inside her like this “Perfect” she whispered, breathless, before diving in for another kiss.

 


 

Matt and Tara are almost two whole hours late to brunch. And, with each time Liam complained about how rude his friend was being, all Theo could do was smile. He bit back his knowing grin when his sister ducked her head, with Matt’s arm around her shoulders.

“Keep the details to yourself, alright?” Tara looked at her big brother with wide, shocked eyes. Theo knew, just by looking at her, that Tara’s brain was working to fully comprehend that her brother was, indeed, a step ahead of her in this “Are you happy?”

“I can hear him, Theo”