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When We Were Young

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Theo barely blinks he hears the familiar sound of Stiles’ jeep pull up outside the Geyer’s house. He figures it’s just Scott and Stiles here to see Liam. It’s been happening a lot more lately now that it’s summer and everyone is back in Beacon Hills. He’s surprised when he hears them greet Liam and Jenna and then their footsteps sound on the stairs, stopping outside his bedroom door.

“Should we knock?” Scott whispers, causing Theo to roll his eyes.

“I’d say yes but he can probably hear us,” Stiles responds.

“Just come in,” Theo sighs, not bothering to get up from where he’s lying on his bed.

The door opens and Scott and Stiles step inside. They hover by the door, as if they’re not sure where they should go.

“Can I help you two with something?” Theo asks, “Because I doubt this is just a causal drop by.”

Scott and Stiles shares a look, Stiles making ‘go on’ gestures with his hands before Scott turns back to Theo, “We’re going out.”

“You and Stiles?” Theo asks, “Well that’s not surprising. I always figured there might be something there.”

“No you ass,” Stiles says, “We’re hanging out. The three of us.”

“The three of us? Together?”

“No separately,” Stiles says, rolling his eyes, “Yes together.”

“Why?” Theo asks, “Are we undercover or something?”

“No,” Scott frowns, “We’re just hanging out.”

“And you want me to come with you? Why?”

“Do we need a reason?” Stiles asks.

“Considering just a under a year ago you didn’t trust me and had me put in the ground, yeah I’d say you’d need a reason to hang out with me,” Theo says.

“Look,” Stiles says, “I know we’ve had our differences, and honestly a lot of that is on you for the messed up shit you’ve pulled, but we’ve gotten past that. Or at least we’re trying to. So this is just…”

“We used to do this all the time,” Scott says, “the three of us hanging out. We’d like to try it again, as a way to work on trying to fix things.”

Theo really isn’t sure what to say. He knew the pack had sort of gotten past what he did. They hadn’t forgotten but they’ve forgiven him and have accepted that he’s not that guy anymore. He was honestly expecting it to be a lot harder than it was.

He knows everything can’t be fixed with one night out, but if Stiles and Scott are willing to try then so is Theo. He sits up and throws his legs off the bed, “Let me get dressed and I’ll meet you downstairs.” He looks over at them when they make no move to leave, rolling his eyes, “I mean it. I’m not going to slip out the window the moment you leave the room. I just can’t go out in sweats and a ripped shirt.”

Scott nods, giving Theo a small smile before pulling Stiles out of the room and closing the door. He listens until he hears them both downstairs before turning to his dresser. He hears Liam making his way up the stairs but ignores it and focuses on getting dressed. He’s in the middle of putting his shirt on when the door opens and Liam slips inside before closing it again.

Liam makes his ways over to Theo and wraps his arms around Theo’s middle, nuzzling into his back, “So you’re going to hang out with Scott and Stiles?”

“I am,” Theo says, turning in Liam’s hold, placing his hands on Liam’s hips.

“You think it’s a good idea?” Liam asks.

Theo shrugs, “They want to try and work on fixing things. Which is what I’ve been wanting Liam. I’d be stupid to pass up this chance. I know we were just going to hang out here…”

Liam shakes his head, “No it’s okay. You go. We have plenty of time to hang out together. And I’ll be waiting here when you get back.”

“I’ll look forward to it,” Theo smiles and leans in and kisses Liam softly before pulling away.

Theo takes Liam’s hand and the two make their way downstairs. Scott stands up from his chair when they enter the room, “You ready.”

Theo nods, “Yeah, let’s go.”

He kisses Liam goodbye and then follows Scott and Stiles to the door, waving over his shoulder when both Liam and Jenna call out “Have fun!”

Theo isn’t really sure where Scott and Stiles are planning to go. He just sits in the backseat, looking out the window as the familiar scenery of Beacon Hills flies by. They wind up in town, parking outside one of the more rundown buildings on Main Street. There’s an old neon sign in one of the windows of the building flashing in a way that’s meant to draw people in. It reads out “R ADE”.

It takes Theo a moment to realize they’re at the old arcade he used to frequent as a kid with Scott and Stiles. He turns to the pair with a look of disbelief as they make their way up to the building, “The arcade? Really?”

Scott shrugs, “We thought it could be fun and a way to make us remember what it used to be like.”

The before is left hanging in the air. Theo doesn’t get a chance to respond before Stiles is speaking, “There’s nothing wrong with the arcade Theo.”

“No, I’m just surprised this place is still open,” Theo says, looking around the place in amazement when they enter.

The outside might be run down but the inside is something else. There’s an assortment of games all over the place, some old enough that Theo is pretty sure they were here when he as a kid and some newer. There’s also a pool table and air hockey table set up off to the side along with some tables and chairs, and a snack bar towards the back where they sell what smells like pizza, popcorn, pretzels, nachos, and hot dogs.

He’s hit with a sudden wave of nostalgia looking around the place. It’s barely changed since he came here last. Sure, some of the games are new and they’ve repainted but the feel of it is the same. And there’s just enough of the past to trigger all the memories. Like coming here with Stiles and Scott immediately after school most days when their parents worked

They’d spend hours here until either Scott’s Mom or Stiles’ came to get them and drive them home, at least until Claudia got sick and wasn’t able to anymore. Stiles had stopped coming as often when that happened, wanting to be near his Mom. Theo’s hit with a sudden wave of regret. He knows Claudia had died shortly after he left. He should have been here for his friend, instead he was watching his sister die and off starting to become the monster he returned as.

“I’m sorry,” Theo whispers, his words coming out slightly broken, “I… I should have been here and I wasn’t. And then I was and I did all those things. And I don’t think I’ve said it before but I am sorry Stiles.”

“Dude,” Stiles says, placing a hand on Theo’s arm, “Look at me,” he waits until Theo’s slightly wet eyes meet his own. Theo’s surprised to see Stiles’ own eyes are shining, “Even if you were here there wasn’t anything you could have done. Hell, I barely let Scott in when it happened.”

“But I still could have been here,” Theo mutters, “If I hadn’t been so stupid.”

“You were a kid,” Stiles says, “They got to you. They got into your head and made you shitty promises and it was messed up. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be held partially responsible for the things you did but a lot of that is on them. What were you expected to do when being raised by those monsters? But you feel guilty, right? For all those things?”

Theo nods, “Yeah I do.”

Stiles squeezes his shoulder slightly, “That’s how I know you’ve changed. The Theo that first came back wouldn’t be able to do that, but you can. I know you’re not that guy anymore. And I’d like to believe I’m a pretty good judge of character.”

“You saw right through me.”

“Exactly,” Stiles says, “So if you were even the slightest bit insincere I would know.”

Theo nods, “Yeah I know. I’m still sorry Stiles. For everything.”

Stiles’ eyes search his face and then he’s doing something unexpected. His hand is moving to the back of Theo’s neck and then he’s hugging Theo, pulling him close as his other arm moves around his shoulder. Theo stands stock still for a moment, taken aback by the contact. Then he’s wrapping his own arms around Stiles and hugging him back, his hands fisting in the back of Stiles shirt.

“Aww guys,” Scott says, and then he’s hugging Theo from behind, his arms circling around to wrap around Stiles as well.

Theo tucks his face in Stiles’ neck and lets out a wet sob. He’d be ashamed if he couldn’t smell the salt of both Scott and Stiles’ tears.

“I can’t believe we’re crying in the middle of an arcade,” Stiles says.

“I can,” Scott says.

Stiles snorts, “Of course you can. You were probably expecting it.”

“Well we are in someplace that holds a lot of memories for all of us,” Scott says, his warm breath fanning across Theo’s neck.

Theo’s surprisingly not uncomfortable by the whole thing. Besides Liam Theo doesn’t get a lot of contact with people. It’s nice. It makes him feel like he’s pack.

Theo doesn’t realize he’s said that last part out loud until Scott whines and nuzzles into the side of his neck while Stiles’ hand grips the back of it, “You are pack Theo,” Scott says. “You have been for a while. Some of us just saw that faster than others.”

“He’s right,” Stiles tells him.

They stand there for a while longer, just basking in the warmth and comfort of each other’s presence.

“Guys as much as this whole heart to heart is good for us, we’re kind of drawing a lot of attention,” Stiles says.

Scott sighs and pulls back, but stays close. Stiles does the same, squeezing Theo’s arm before letting go.

“So,” Theo says, clearing his throat, “Game?”

Stiles grins, “Hell yeah! We’re playing Pac Man first.”

Theo snorts, remember how much Stiles used to love the game, “Of course we are.”

“And then air hockey,” Scott says, falling in step beside Theo as they follow Stiles towards the Pac Man game. It definitely is the same one that was here when they were younger. “What about you Theo? Anything you want to play.”

“Oh I can definitely kick your ass at air hockey,” Theo grins over at Scott, “without abilities.”

Scott grins right back, “You’re on.”

“First Pac Man,” Stiles reminds them, steps faltering as they walk towards the machine. Theo can see Derek standing there in front of it, a look of concentration on his face as he plays, “Hey big guy!”

Derek barely glances over at Stiles but Theo can see his lips twitching up, “Stiles. Theo, Scott.”

“Hey Derek,” Scott says, leaning against the snowboarding game next to Pac Man, “I didn’t expect to see you here.”

Derek sighs, watching as his character gets overtaken by the ghosts, “I come here sometimes.”

“He does,” Stiles says, eyes not leaving Derek, “I’ve seen him here.”

“You come here a lot?” Scott asks, “I didn’t know that.”

Stiles shrugs, his face heating up slightly as he averts his eyes from Derek. Realization hits Theo as he looks between the two, “Well shit. You two have been coming for each other.”

“What?” Stiles asks, “No, that’s not… is that true?”

Derek ducks his head, “Maybe. I came in here the first time to see if it was just the same as I remember then I saw you here. I kept coming back to see you.”

“And I came here thinking you just liked coming here,” Stiles says, “Dude we could have been hanging out someplace else for months.”

“Hanging out?”

“Or dating, which is what I’d like us to be doing. And I think you do too if I’m reading this right.”

“You are,” Derek tells him, “And I do, want to date you that is.”

“We’re just gonna go play some air hockey now,” Theo says, grabbing Scott’s arm and starting to back away, “Give you two some time to talk.”

Stiles nods, barely looking at them as he steps closer to Derek, “Yeah I’ll catch up with you.”

“How did you know Derek was coming here for Stiles?” Scott asks, putting some coins in the machine and starting the game.

“We’re friends,” Theo says, “he talked to me about it.”

“Huh.”

And that’s that. The game starts and then they’re too focused on it than anything else. Even without his werewolf abilities Scott is really good at air hockey, but so is Theo.

“I don’t think so,” Theo mutters, knocking Scott’s pucks away and towards his goal.

Scott hits it back and Theo angles his hit, bouncing it off the wall and right into the goal, sliding just past Scott’s attempt to block. Scott curses, watching as the score blinks, signaling the end of the game.

“Tough luck dude,” Stiles says, appearing next to the table.

“But he did awesome,” Theo says, “It was close for a while there.”

“What now?” Stiles asks. Theo doesn’t miss the happiness that’s practically coming off of him in waves.

“What about that?” Scott asks, pointing to one of the two player shooting games.

“Sure,” Stiles shrugs.

“Who against who?”

“You two can play,” Theo says, “It should be interesting.”

“Alright,” Stiles claps his hands and steps up to the game. He puts his money in as Scott does the same then he turns to Scott, “Get ready to die.”

Scott shakes his head, “Who says it’ll be me that’s dying.”

Stiles smirks, “Because it will be. Just you wait.”

Stiles is actually right. Scott is the one that keeps dying. Theo’s a little surprised at how good Stiles is at this game, but something tells him he’s played it quite a bit. He finds himself watching Stiles’ screen intently and cheering for his friend.

“Come on Stiles!” Theo shouts, watching as Stiles’ character ducks around a corner away from Scott’s “You can do this! Get him!”

“What the hell man?” Scott says, sounding offended, “Why are you rooting for him?”

“He’s the better player,” Theo shrugs.

“Hey!” Scott pouts. Stiles snickers. “Then shouldn’t you be cheering me on? Trying to build up my confidence.”

“Sure buddy,” Theo says, “You totally got this.”

Scott beams over at him, “Thanks bro.”

A moment later he groans when Stiles’ character fires a shot right at his characters head and GAME OVER flashes in big black letter across the screen.

“You just can’t win today Scotty,” Stiles says, smiling over at his friend.

“I guess not,” Scott sighs, “but it’s still fun.”

Theo has to agree that it is fun. He can’t remember the last time he had this much fun with someone other than Liam. It’s a good feeling. He’s actually able to relax and spend time with his friends, without worrying about something going wrong.

After a few hours Stiles decides it’s time to stop and get something to eat. They make their way back to the snack bar, deciding to split a pizza between them. And some nachos. And a pretzel.

Theo laughs around his bite of pizza as Stiles animatedly tells a story of the time Scott got stuck in his dryer while playing hide and seek. He questions how a kid could get stuck and Stiles looks at him, face completely serious and tells him this had been at the start of freshman year.

“Holy shit,” Theo says, eyes crinkling up in delight, “How did you even get in there.”

“It wasn’t easy,” Scott sighs, “Which should have been a sign not to get in but I didn’t listen.”

“Melissa had to call my Dad to come and take off the front of the dryer so Scott could climb out,” Stiles says, “She looked like she wasn’t sure whether to yell at him or laugh.”

“What did she do?” Theo asks.

“She just sighed and told me to go up to my room and do my homework,” Scott says.

Theo shakes his head, taking another bite of his pizza. He looks across the table, meeting Scott’s eyes. Scott just quirks an eyebrow, a silent question. When Theo nods back, Scott smiles before turning his attention back to Stiles who is telling another story.

Liam is waiting in Theo’s room when he gets home later, just like he’d said he’d be. Theo toes off his shoes and socks and crawls on the bed, tucking himself against Liam’s chest. Liam takes off Theo’s hat and throws it aside and then cards his fingers through Theo’s hair, “Have fun?”

“Yeah,” Theo says, “I did. It was nice.”

“Good,” Liam says, placing a kiss to Theo’s head, “I’m glad.”

“Me too.”

And it’s the truth. Theo is glad it all went so well. Even a few months ago he’s not sure it would have. They’ve came a long way since they were kids. They’ve all faced so much and yet were able to come out the other side somewhat better for it. Theo knows he certainly has.