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Stay for me

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Liam curses as Theo kills his character again, and throws his controller across the bed, turning his head to glare at Theo.

"Dude! That's like the 10th time you're killing me, give me a break," he moans, crossing his arms over his chest; yes, he doesn't like losing, sue him.

"Well, if you want to win maybe you should at least try a little, Liam," Theo teases, a stupid - and absolutely gorgeous - smug smirk tugging at his lips.

"Fuck off," Liam says and can help but laugh as he punches Theo's shoulder playfully. Theo grins triumphantly and once again Liam is reminded of the reason why he keeps playing with the chimera even if it means facing defeat after defeat.

The wide carefree smile Theo has on his lips after every game that makes him look young and happy and relaxed is almost enough to make Liam forget about the game. Almost.

"I know that you're cheating somehow," he says thoughtfully, narrowing his eyes as he looks at Theo. "Wait, is being good at video games a chimera ability or something??"

Theo laughs at that, head falling back as he cackles in a way that should probably look unattractive but Liam can only describe it as adorable.

"Yes, Liam, it was one of the top priorities of the Dread Doctors'," Theo replies as seriously as he can between his chuckles.

"Well, that would explain why I can't win," he says, losing any hope to maintain his glare with the wide grin that's making its way to his face.

"You can't win because you suck, Little Wolf."

"You can't win because you suck," Liam mutters under his breath mockingly, stopping when he sees Theo shifting, ready to climb out of the bed. "Hey hey, where do you think you’re going?"

"It's getting pretty late, Little Wolf, I should get going," he says, reaching to take his phone from the nightstand where he's left it.

Oh, it's this time of the day again. Liam hates this part.

Ever since they started getting closer and Liam found out about Theo's living situation he's been trying to convince the stubborn chimera to move in the guest room of his house, at least until he can afford a place to live that's not his truck.

Of course, Theo brushes him off every time with a 'No need to worry about me, Little Wolf. I'll figure something out,' that's being said with way too much confidence to be even remotely convincing.

So, Liam decided that he'd at least do his best to prolong Theo's stay in his house, which as it turned out is not easy. Theo still struggles to accept any kind of help even now that they've become friends.

Well, friends with the promises for something more; Liam's not stupid he's seen how the chimera looks at him, he notices the supposedly subtle glances at his lips, but after having thought about it, a lot, he’s come to the conclusion that it's more important to be Theo's friend at first, to remind him how it is to have one, before they're ready for anything else.

So he tries not to forget that Theo hadn't had anyone for ten years and therefore of course he needs time to get used to having people that care about him, to learn to open up to them and let them help him.

It's still extremely frustrating though, and sometimes he just wants to punch the chimera and knock him out so he stays right where he is, instead of going back to his stupid truck. But since that doesn't sound like a very good idea he settles on doing what he actually can do to help.

"You don't have to leave, you know" he says, not surprised when Theo gives him a look that most likely means 'We've talked about it, Little Wolf'. "Come on, at least one last game?"

Theo sighs and then nods and Liam can't stop the wide grin from creeping onto his face. It might not be much but small victories, right?

They settle back on the bed, controllers in hands and small smiles on their faces as they start yet another game.

Unfortunately, it's not long before it ends - with Liam losing, once again - and this time he can't stop Theo from leaving.

"Uh... text me if anything happens. No matter what time it is, okay?" He says, like he does every time. Just the thought of Theo being alone out there and sleeping in his truck in Beacon Hills of all places is enough to keep him awake in worry at night. Theo should at least know that he can count on someone in case something goes wrong.

"Nothing will happen, Little Wolf," Theo replies nonchalantly even though the small fond smile forming on his lips shows that he appreciates that Liam cares about him enough to worry. "Goodnight."

"Night," Liam mumbles and watches with an ache in his chest as Theo gets in his truck and starts the engine before driving away.

Chapter Text

The closing credits of the movie appear on the screen and Liam sits up to reach for his laptop and click 'pause'.

"You can check another movie off of your watch list!" He says enthusiastically, turning to look at Theo. "So, what's next? I'm thinking Frozen. Oh, or maybe Tangled, you'll love it! Ugh, you have so many movies to catch up on, we should make a plan or something-"

"Hey hey, Liam, breathe first," Theo chuckles and Liam feels his cheeks heating up as he smiles sheepishly at Theo. Okay he can get a little too excited sometimes. "We'll watch whatever you want the next time. I should probably go now, you said you had some homework to do," Theo mumbles and Liam doesn't know if it's just his wishful thinking but Theo sounds a little reluctant to leave.

"Oh no, wait wait! I actually wanted to ask if you'd like to stay for dinner?" He says, offering him an innocent smile and earning a raised eyebrow in return. "Hey, don't look at me like that, it was my mom's idea, I swear," he explains, raising his palms in surrender.

It's the truth; his mom suggested it and, of course, he immediately agreed. Who knows when the last time Theo ate homemade food or just anything decent was, apart from the few times they ate something at his house.

Theo looks taken aback, this time his eyebrows raised in surprise before being drawn in a slight frown. "Oh... uh, th- that's very nice of her," he mumbles, sounding weirdly emotional. Once again, Liam's reminded of how strange it is for Theo the concept of having people that just want to do something good for you without expecting anything in return.

"Yeah, she's the best. So, you'd better agree to stay because if you don't she'll think that you don't like her cooking or something," Liam says matter-of-factly, watching as Theo's eyes widen.

"What? No, that's not true. Her cooking is amazing-"

"Well, then it's settled, you're staying. Awesome," Liam exclaims and shoots him a smug grin.

Theo opens his mouth, looking ready to disagree but then he closes it again and just nods.

"Great, come on, let's go see if she needs any help," he says and crawls out of the bed, heading to the kitchen with Theo following behind.

As it turns out his mom really is the best because she has the table already set, the smell of steak making Liam's mouth water.

"Ah, Theo you're staying. Wonderful," she says, smiling widely when she sees them entering the kitchen. "Liam, honey, aren't you gonna offer a drink to your guest?" She asks in her mom voice, raising her eyebrows in the way that let Liam know that he doesn't have a choice anyway.

"Sure, mom," he mumbles and rolls his eyes fondly before turning to look at Theo who's standing awkwardly behind him. "Come on," he says and guides him to a chair, gesturing for him to sit.

"So, we have water - I mean, yes obviously -, orange juice, uh… I'm pretty sure we have apple juice, too, unless my dad finished it - wait, let me see-"

"Liam! Just some water, please," Theo interrupts his rambling, smiling, "thank you."

"Right, yeah okay. Water it is, then."

Liam decides to bring Theo a glass of orange juice, as well, mumbling 'Just in case you change your mind' when Theo frowns at him.

They finally settle on the table and start eating, making some small talk with Jenna asking Liam about his day and his lacrosse practice ealier that afternoon, giving time to Theo to feel more comfortable.

And indeed, it's obvious that Theo feels awkward and shy, at least that’s the case until his mom decides to tell him all about the embarrassing things Liam did as a kid. The traitor.

Like when he sleepwalked to Jenna's room and decided that it was a good idea to sleep on the floor, curled up like a puppy and Jenna almost walked over him. Or that he was a complete mama's boy and Jenna couldn't even go to the bathroom without Liam clinging around her legs like a tiny koala.

Liam doesn't remember any of this, he's sure that his mom is lying - only that he can hear that her heartbeat stays steady as she speaks. Whatever.

After all, it's not like he really minds. What matters more is that Theo is laughing, his expression open and free, like he only is when he's with him and Liam feels his heart swell with affection at the fact that Theo already feels so safe around his mom.

Even though, it shouldn't be a surprise; his mom is always amazing and sweet and kind, of course Theo would be comfortable around her. Still, it warms his heart watching them talk and laugh like that together.

As if Theo can hear his thoughts he turns to looks at him, a bright smile on his face, eyes crinkling up at the edges and Liam can’t help but grin back just as widely.

Eventually they finish their food and then the dessert, as well, and once again Theo has to leave.

"Thank you so much for having me, Mrs. Geyer. Everything was really amazing," Theo says in a formal voice, sounding sincerely grateful and Jenna offers him a kind smile.

"You're always welcome to join us, Theo. And please, call me Jenna," she replies before going back to picking up the last dishes and leaving Liam to walk Theo to the front door.

"You're sure you don't want to st-"

"Liam," Theo stops him with a small smile, ending the discussion before it even begins."Thank you for today. Really." He sounds so grateful for such a simple gesture that it makes Liam's heart melt and ache and break all at once.

"Hey, like my mom said, you're always welcome here. No need to thank me," Liam reassures him, smiling. "Text me if anything happens. Or call me. You know, whatever."

"Will do, Little Wolf. Stop worrying about me. Goodnight, see you tomorrow," he winks at him and steps out of the house, heading to his truck.

"Stay safe," Liam says quietly, even though Theo's already in his car and probably can't hear him. "Please, stay safe."

Chapter Text

Liam opens the passenger door and throws his lacrosse bag to the back seat before climbing into the truck.

"Hey, thanks for picking me up. Again," he greets Theo as the chimera starts the engine and pulls out of the school's parking lot.

"No problem, Little Wolf," Theo says, glancing at him and offering him a genuine smile before returning his eyes on the road.

"So… are you working later?"

Theo's been doing a few shifts at a small coffee shop these past weeks and even though Liam guesses it doesn’t pay nearly enough money to cover someone’s basic needs, it allows Theo to buy gas and some food and therefore to keep living in his truck.

"Nope, I just finished my shift actually."

"Perfect," he grins widely. "So, tonight is pack night - well, you know, pack night meaning that Mason and Corey will come over at my house to watch movies and eat junk food - and since you're free tonight you should totally come, too," he says as casually as he can even though his heartbeat gets a bit faster than normal.

"Who said I'm free?" Theo says and smirks, looking at him from the corner of his eye with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh." Liam feels his heart drop and his cheeks burn. Theo isn't free tonight. "Uhm… Right, yeah okay, sorry. I just assumed... Anyway, sorry," he mumbles, sinking back in his seat.

"Hey, I'm just joking, Little Wolf. I'm not the most popular guy around here if you haven't noticed," Theo says softly with a chuckle and Liam feels like he can breathe again.

"Asshole," he mutters and lets out a relieved laugh, turning in his seat to look at him. "So, you're coming, right?"

Theo parks in the driveway of his house before killing the engine and finally turning to meet his eyes. "I think I'll pass on this one, Little Wolf," he says, offering him an apologetic smile.

"What, why? Oh, are you tired? You can totally sleep during the movie if you want to; Corey does it all the time. I'm sure he'll be fast asleep and drooling on Mason's lap before we're halfway through the movie," he grins, not able to hide the hope in his voice.

Theo lets out a small chuckle, slightly shaking his head. "It's not that. I just- I don't think I should come at a pack night, you know?" he says and the almost constant underlying scent of guilt now gets stronger, making Liam realise what Theo's problem is.

"You know that you're pack right? I thought I'd made it clear with all the times I asked you to help us... And trusted you to keep Mason and Corey safe... I wasn't just taking advantage of you because you were available..." he explains, his eyebrows drawn together in a frown. It's his turn now to feel guilty; is that what Theo has been thinking all this time?

Judging by the unsure shrug Theo gives him in reply, the answer is yes.

"Okay, well, apparently I hadn't made myself clear, but you are pack, Theo. At least, you are to me. And I'm sure that Mason and Corey would agree, too, if they were here. We can even ask them if you want. So, if that's the reason you don't want to come, please reconsider."

Theo sighs, looking like he struggles to hold the eye contact between them. "I don't know, Liam."

"Come on... for me?" He says and pouts, looking at him with his best puppy dog eyes, hoping that it’ll work like it usually does; the chimera seems to have a soft spot for his eyes. "Oh, and we can order that weird pizza you like," he adds, just to be sure.

"What? It's not weird-'"

"Uh, yeah it is! It has too many peppers. Pizza isn't supposed to have vegetables, Theo!"

Theo rolls his eyes fondly, a smile tugging at his lips. "Fine, I'll stay. But I'm doing it only for the pizza, just so you know," he says and then immediately blushes a little when he realises that Liam can hear the lie at his heartbeat.

Liam decides not to comment on it and just grins. "Great, come on. You're on pop corn duty."

**

Two hours later they're all settled in the living room, Theo and Liam sitting on the one couch, and Mason and Corey curled up on the other.

The pizzas are long gone by now and as Liam predicted Corey is lying on the couch with his head in Mason's lap, his eyes close, as Mason runs his fingers gently up and down his arm.

Liam gets up and goes quickly upstairs - telling Theo and Mason to not stop the movie - and returns with two blankets. Mason mumbles a 'thank you' when Liam throws it over Corey and him before going back to his seat.

He motions for Theo to come closer and Theo shuffles on the couch until their thighs are almost touching. Liam spreads the soft blanket over both of them and Theo snuggles up a little closer to him, their sides now pressed together.

They keep watching in a comfortable silence, only the sounds from the movie filling the quiet room. Liam glances at Theo a few times, catching him struggling to keep his eyes open, looking tired and in need for sleep if the black circles around his eyes are anything to go by.

It's only minutes later that he feels Theo’s head fall against his shoulder and he doesn't have to look to know that Theo has fallen asleep.

Liam smiles to himself, feeling a little proud that he's managed to make Theo feel comfortable and safe around him that he's relaxed enough to fall asleep.

He feels Mason's eyes on him and he tilts his head to look at him, finding a small knowing smile on his lips. Liam chuckles quietly and gives him a wink before returning his eyes on the movie.

By the time the movie ends, Theo has moved and is lying almost on top of him, curled up in his lap with his head on Liam's thigh, his face buried into Liam's hoodie and his hands gripping the soft material in their fists.

He hears Corey yawning and then his voice, sounding rough and kind of dizzy from sleep. "Did I fall asleep again?" He asks sheepishly, sitting up on the couch.

"Mhm," Mason hums in reply and kisses his cheek.

"Sorry," he apologises, not that he needs to; he works most days after school so Liam knows that there's no way he gets as much sleep as he should.

"It's okay, baby," Mason reassures him like he does every time and gives him another kiss.

Mason and Corey get up eventually, gathering their things to leave.

"See you at school," Liam says in a low voice as he absently keeps playing with Theo's hair.

They both nod, whispering a 'good night' before heading to the front door.

Theo barely stirs, his breathing and his heartbeat staying steady even at the sound of the door shutting close.

Liam glances down at Theo and feels an affectionate smile creeping onto his face as he takes Theo in, noticing how soft he looks right now and the need inside him to keep him safe and cuddle him and hold him close grows impossibly stronger.

He lets out a sigh and reaches for the remote control, clicking on an episode to start playing. There's no way he's moving and risking waking Theo up, so he stays there and keeps caressing his hair as he tries - and fails - to follow what's happening in the show while both his mind and body are focused on the warmth coming out from the chimera lying on top of him.

He's just started the third episode when he hears Theo's heartbeat peeking up. He looks down at him, finding Theo's confused eyes already on him.

"Hey," Liam says softly, stopping the movements of his hand but letting it rest gently on top of Theo's head.

"Hey," Theo murmurs, frowning and looking around him with an even more puzzled expression. "What happened?"

"You fell asleep during the movie. I don't think you can handle food comma," he teases and ruffles slightly his hair.

"Oh," Theo mumbles before he seems to realise where he's lying and his eyes widen, cheeks turning an adorable shade of pink. "Oh- uhm, sorry," he says sheepishly and sits up, shuffling a bit away from Liam and not meeting his gaze.

"It's okay, dude. You're not that heavy," Liam replies in a tone that he hopes sounds casual and reassuring.

Theo just nods and grabs his phone from the table, cursing when he sees the time. "Fuck, it's late and you have school tomorrow. You should have waken me, Li," he says as he grabs his things hastily and stands up. "Sorry for falling asleep on you… I should probably leave now-"

Liam grips his wrist before Theo has the chance to walk any further. "Or you can just keep sleeping here?"

Theo smiles and apparently decides to completely ignore what Liam just suggested. "Thanks for the pizza, Little Wolf. I- it was fun, thanks."

"I'm glad I convinced you to come," Liam replies, smiling, even though he doesn't bother to hide the hurt in his voice from Theo's rejection once again.

He walks Theo to the front door, taking slow reluctant steps, not ready to let him leave just yet, but unfortunately the distance is short and before he knows it they’re standing in front of the door.

"Goodnight, Liam," Theo says and then leans in and places a small kiss on his cheek.

Liam's taken aback and apparently so is Theo whose mind seems to catch up just now with what he did and there's a deep blush spreading across his face and ears, reaching even down his neck. Before Liam even has time to reply Theo mumbles an awkward "bye" and is out of the door.

"Be safe," Liam yells at him just before Theo climbs into his truck and drives away.

Liam closes the door and leans with his back against it, brushing his fingers over his cheek where Theo has just kissed him.

Theo just kissed him! Only a small brush of soft lips against his cheek and it was more than enough to make his heart stop for a few moments, his stomach clenching with emotions. There's no way he's getting much sleep tonight and judging by Theo's reaction, neither is he.

Chapter Text

It's been two days since the incident as Liam decided to call it and after a few awkward moments of silence in Theo's truck the past couple of days, today they finally seem to be back to normal. Well, apart from the constant fade blush on Theo's cheeks, but Liam would be lying if he said he's not enjoying that.

It's Saturday afternoon, now, and they just finished their second movie for today; yes, Liam's plan to make Theo watch all the movies he's missed is going really well.

"So..." Liam starts as he they’re looking for a movie to watch next and Theo is already looking at him with a raised eyebrow like he knows where this is going. He probably does. "My parents are out of town for the weekend and I kind of wanted to ask if you'd like to stay here until tomorrow that they'll be back?"

As expected, Theo fixes him with the same look he always does when Liam tries to find excuses to make his stay in his house last longer and longer. Only that this time it's actually different.

"No no, It's not about that, I promise. I'm being completely selfish this time," he says and nods his head like it'll help convince Theo; it doesn't.

"Liam... come on," Theo sighs, disbelief clear in his voice.

"Look, it's just- I don't..." he groans in frustration, struggling to make the words come out from his mouth. It's just that he hates being alone. Especially at night. Listening to a familiar heartbeat in the house always helps; it makes him feel safer and knowing that he’s not alone is usually enough to prevent any potenntial nightmares.

Maybe he can ask Mason and Corey. But then again, it's Corey's day off today and he knows that they haven't gone on a date for way too long and Mason was really excited for this Saturday.

He, also, knows that his friends would be more than willing to spend their Saturday with him but it'd be really selfish to ask this of them.

He shakes his head and tries to make his voice lighter when he speaks. "Nothing, it's stupid. Just- just forget I asked. So, what are we watching next?"

He'll just have to suck it up and deal with it. He can do it. Maybe. Probably not.

"I'll stay," Theo says firmly even though his expression is much softer than before.

"What? Really?" Liam's surprised for a few seconds before he realises that Theo can probably smell his chemosignals and knows that it's not nothing. And of course, Theo wouldn't say no- not when he knows that Liam needs him.

"Mhm. Anything for you, Little Wolf." Theo's tone is playful but Liam can hear the truth in the steady beat of his heart.

"Thank you," he whispers and squeezes Theo's forearm. "Seriously, you're the best." He means it. At least, to him, Theo is the best.

Theo lets out a small chuckle, shaking his head. "I'm far from it, Little Wolf." Liam hears the guilt and self hatred in the statement, along with the little hint of hope of 'but I'm trying to be better' and he feels his heart clench. He hates that he can't make Theo see how different he is now. How truly good he is. "So, pick a movie, we have a lot of hours to kill."

They spend the next hours alternating between watching movies and playing video games, taking a break only to order some food. They end up eating way too much chinese and they both just fall on the bed, limp and sleepy.

"Hey, I'll get the guest room ready when I'm able to move again," Liam says and then yawns, pulling the blanket over his body and then Theo's.

"Mm okay," Theo mumbles sleepily, his eyelids already fluttering close as he turns to his side so he's facing Liam.

"Thanks for staying," he whispers and brings his hand to Theo's face, cupping gently his cheek and brushing his thumb against the light stubble there.

Theo just smiles and leans into the touch, shifting a little closer. Not long after, Liam lets his eyes close as well, eventually falling asleep.

**

Liam feels a weight resting on his chest, an almost cold body writhing next to him and smelling like a horrible mix of guilt, terror and sadness.

Blunt nails dig into his side and he hisses, finally cracking his eyes open.

The first thing he sees is Theo squirming against him, his face that rests against Liam's chest being wet both from tears and sweat.

Liam's had enough nightmares since... well, since almost forever really, to know when someone is having one.

"Hey hey, Theo. Wake up, T. Come on, listen to my voice," he says and pulls slightly away to grip Theo's shoulders and hold him still, stopping him from moving, not wanting to risk Theo hurting him or, even worse, himself.

Theo keeps struggling just for a few more seconds as Liam keeps repeating his name, before he finally seems to be waking up, eventually opening his eyes.

"There you are," Liam breathes out in relief, allowing himself to relax a little as he gently holds Theo’s face in his palms.

Theo's green eyes are open wide and he looks lost and afraid, looking around him and trying to take in his surroundings. He finally relaxes a bit when he realises where he is, his eyes now looking at Liam in recognition.

"Theo?" Liam keeps his voice quiet and gentle, not wanting to scare him off, smoothing hesitantly Theo's hair back from his forehead.

Theo nods before slowly pulling away from Liam's touch. "Uh, sorry for waking you up," he mumbles before he simply turns around so Liam's facing his back.

Liam frowns and stares at the back of Theo's head, not sure what he should do now. He knows that Theo never lets himself be vulnerable in front of anyone, but he'd like to believe that by now Theo trusts him enough to not feel the need to hide from him.

After contemplating it for a few seconds, he places a hesitant hand on Theo's shoulder, squeezing slightly as he speaks. "Theo? Are you okay?"

He winces the moment the words leave his mouth; that was definitely a stupid question, he can tell from Theo's chemosignals that he's far from okay.

"It was just a nightmare, Liam. I'm fine," Theo says with an impressively steady voice and Liam would have believed him had he not known better by now; his scent is enough of an indication after all.

Still, he doesn't want to pressure him; he knows that even when you trust someone it's not easy to open up to them.

So, instead of saying anything else, he shuffles closer until his chest is almost flush against Theo's back and wraps a loose arm around him. He finds Theo's hand, clenched tight into a fist, and takes it in his own, drawing slow circles on the skin with his thumb.

He might not want to force Theo to talk but he at least wants him to know that Liam's there for him if he needs him, so he settles for offering him just physical comfort, hoping that Theo will find the gentle touches soothing.

He's not sure, however, whether the closeness is welcome or not; Theo hasn't made a move to pull away but he's still tense, not seeming able to feel safe and relax his body. Liam just hopes that he isn’t making things worse for Theo than they already are.

Eventually, though, Theo’s heart beat starts to slow down, returning back to normal and Liam lets out a small sigh of relief, feeling like he can finally breathe again.

Theo shifts a bit under the blanket and Liam stills, almost sure that Theo will pull away. Instead, Theo settles better in his embrace and actually leans closer against him before brushing his thumb over Liam's, letting him know that it's okay.

"I'm here," Liam whispers, hoping that Theo can hear everything Liam wants to say with these two simple words; you're not alone anymore, you're safe, I won't let anything happen to you, you're cared and loved.

He doesn't expect an answer and doesn't get one. It takes them some time to fall asleep, but eventually they both drift off to sleep.

**

They don't talk about it the next morning even though Liam really wants to ask; if he doesn't know what's exactly the problem he can't fix it or at least try to help. But he also wants to give Theo space, wanting him to know that if he'll speak it'll be his decision so he doesn't say anything.

They wake up and make breakfast and they eat without exchanging many words. The silence between them is a bit tense but still not uncomfortable. To his surprise it's Theo that brings it up.

"Sorry for last night," he murmurs, his eyes focused on the now empty plate in front of him.

"You have nothing to apologise for. You didn't do anything," Liam says, keeping his tone casual, hoping that Theo will understand that he really doesn't have anything to be sorry for.

"Well, I did wake you up," Theo mutters and tilts his head up to meet Liam's gaze, offering him a small smile that doesn't reach his eyes.

"Dude, do you know how many times I've woken Mason because I had a nightmare? It's okay, it happens. To be honest, it'd be weird if we didn't have nightmares with all the shit we see here," he replies and it's the truth; he doesn't know what Theo's dreams are about but after everything Theo's been through it'd be quite concerning if he didn't have nightmares.

"Really?" Theo asks, his eyebrows drawn together in a frown, even though he sounds a bit relieved.

"Yes, really. So, like I said, you have nothing to apologise for. All good." Liam smiles at him and he's happy to see Theo return his smile.

"Thanks, Liam."

Liam nods and after a small pause he asks, "Do you wanna talk about it?"

"No, not really," Theo says, slightly shaking his head and looking at Liam with an apologetic expression.

"It's okay. Just know that I'm here in case you change your mind. You'll be surprised at how much talking to someone can help even if it feels impossibly hard at first."

With a final nod and a thankful smile Theo ends their conversation right there.

**

The rest of the day passes pretty quickly; they play video games and they joke, their attempt to cook pasta is surprisingly successful and so they eat and watch movies, enjoying a perfectly lazy Sunday.

The only difference is that Liam finds himself wanting to be closer to Theo than usually, wanting to feel his warmth against him like he needs the reassurance that Theo is there with him and that he's safe.

The need to protect Theo feels almost overwhelming by this point, making him want to reach out and wrap him in his arms and keep him there forever so nothing and no one can hurt him. He doesn't want to see him look so scared and helpless ever again.

Which, of course, can't happen because he can't protect him if he's not there with him and Theo once again rejects him when Liam suggests that maybe he should just stay there tonight.

Unsurprisingly, nothing has changed in the last 24 hours or so and Theo's beautiful stubborn smirk is back as they're heading to the front door.

"Liam, come on. You know, I'll be fine, you won't get rid of me so easily, don’t worry" he jokes and even though Liam rolls his eyes, he can't hide the fondness in his expression. "We'll talk tomorrow, Little Wolf. Goodnight."

"Goodnight. If anything happens-"

"I know I know, I'll call," he says and then he's out of the door and soon further away from Liam, leaving him even emptier than all the times before.

Chapter Text

Liam feels like he has too much energy and no energy at all, at the same time. They went running in the preserve with Theo and despite being exhausted from chasing a black wolf - because Theo is totally a show-off and likes to run in his wolf form - for almost two hours he still feels restless. It might not be as bad as it first had been, but full moons still suck.

He hopes he can convince Theo to stay for the night, even though he does feel slightly bad for basically asking him to babysit him.

He hears the door of the bathroom open - thankfully, Theo has accepted the shower offer after they returned from their run - and then Theo enters his room, his hair a bit wet and messy, making him look absolutely adorable.

"So, I was thinking... maybe you can stay over, tonight," he says as soon as Theo is inside his room. "It's just- it's easier when you're here," he adds, knowing that Theo will understand that he's referring to the full moon without him having to explain it.

"It is?" Theo looks genuinely confused for some reason, disbelief and surprise clear in his voice.

"Of course, it is, Theo. You know, anchors tend to do that," Liam says, chuckling, only to get confused as well, when Theo gapes at him. "Wait, you didn't know?"

"No," Theo whispers, still slightly frowning.

Well, this explains his reaction.

"Huh... Don't worry, I didn't know either at first. Mason had to tell me." It's true; Mason had pointed it out, casually mentioning it one day like Liam was supposed to already know, which he kind of was, but whatever. "Anyway, will you stay?"

"If you think me being here will help, sure. I'll stay," Theo says and moves to sit on the bed with him.

"You know... you being here helps the rest of the days, too," Liam mumbles with an innocent smile but decides to shut up when Theo raises an eyebrow at him, daring him to continue. "Okay okay, I'm not being greedy. So, I have to study a bit for a biology test for tomorrow but you can do whatever you want. Watch TV or take my laptop or sleep, I don't know," he rambles as he shuffles to his desk to grab his book.

"Do you need any help?" Theo asks instead, gesturing to the book in Liam's hands.

"What, really?"

"Mhm, I can try if you want," Theo shrugs, settling better on the bed so he's sitting with his back against the headboard.

"Well, if you're sure, I certainly need some help. No, actually I need a lot of help, I'm warning you," he says, because it's true; biology is not his strong suit. In his defense, the teacher didn't really help much either.

As it turns out Theo definitely doesn't even have to try because he just knows everything and Liam should probably focus and stop staring at him, but he can't help it; Theo's so pretty when he explains things.

Pretty and a good teacher because Liam is actually beginning to understand things.

"Dude, you're really good at this," he comments, sounding impressed which he totally is.

"Oh, thanks," he mumbles a little shyly, looking surprised. "Is it helping?"

Liam nods and hums. "Mhm, Keep going."

Theo smiles and starts explaining once again another weird thing that somehow Liam understands. He is sure that if he weren't already in love with Theo he would definitely have fallen for him right now.

It's all going great for the next two hours or so; they study and laugh, Liam gets more and more impressed by Theo and decides to express his amazement by telling him how smart he is. Theo pretty much ignores the compliment but the blush on his cheeks is enough to let Liam know that he appreciated it.

It's about 9PM when Liam feels the pull of the moon getting stronger and starts having trouble focusing, his wolf inside him feeling restless. His vision gets kind of blurry for a moment and he tries to focus on Theo's steady voice but the only thing he seems to be able to hear is his own heart pounding in his chest.

He squeezes his eyes shut, feeling his claws digging into the flesh of his palms and breaking the skin, the scent of blood hitting his nostrils. He can hear Theo talking to him but his voice sounds distant.

Then, strong hands are holding his own, coaxing his fists open and he winces in pain when the claws slip out of his flesh.

"-iam? Liam!" Theo growls his name and it's like he's suddenly being pulled back, his senses returning to normal.

"Fuck," he breathes out, his eyes immediately finding Theo's worried expression. "Sorry," he mumbles sheepishly, relaxing a bit when he sees that at least he didn't hurt Theo.

"It's okay, Little Wolf," Theo tells him and gives him a reassuring smile, his hands leaving Liam's, seemingly reluctantly.

"I hate it," he grumbles and falls back on the bed, laying on his back and closing his eyes. "You, know, having to fight for control every day because of my IED fucking sucks but I think I'm finally getting better at it, I haven't had an episode in forever... But, man, sometimes in full moons I feel like I have absolutely no control over myself. It's scary," he sighs, not bothering to hide his frustration.

"I'm sorry," Theo whispers and lies on the bed, too, on his side and Liam turns as well so they're facing each other.

"Do you feel it at all?"

"Not really," Theo replies, sounding actually apologetic that he can't understand.

Liam nods and offers him a small smile.

"Are you feeling it now?" Theo asks, his tone a little hesitant.

"Yeah," he shrugs and motions down to his hands where his claws are out again.

"You said that I'm your anchor, right? What can I do to help?" Theo asks, biting his bottom lip nervously like he's afraid that he's overstepping.

"I'm not sure, to be honest. I think that just having you close helps."

"Oh," Theo seems to consider it for a moment before opening his arms in an invitation. Liam frowns at first and Theo just shrugs his shoulders at him. "You said being close helps... Well?"

Liam wouldn't have said no even if it weren't for the full moon so he shuffles closer and buries himself in Theo's embrace. He tucks his head under his chin and lets Theo wrap his arms around him, his body feeling cold against his own heated one.

"Shit, you're hot," Theo murmurs into his hair, his voice a bit muffled.

"Thanks. You're really hot, too," he replies in a teasing tone- not that it's not true.

Theo laughs and Liam is absolutely sure that he's blushing right now. He's tempted to pull away just to see the pretty pink color on his cheeks but he's too comfortable to move.

He can't help but breathe Theo's scent in, nuzzling his neck with his nose. "You always smell so nice, you know. I could stay here forever," he mumbles, feeling much calmer than he did all day.

Theo's heartbeat picks up a bit and he tightens the embrace in reply, making him smile. Liam feels himself relaxing even more as Theo starts stroking his back soothingly, his fingers tracing up and down his spine, making shivers rise all over his skin and his eyes flutter close.

He doesn't know how long they lay like that, curled up together until they finally fall asleep, but he's sure that he's never slept so well at a night with a full moon.

**

Theo's not there when he wakes up the next morning but, thankfully, he doesn't have much time to freak out; the text on his phone from Theo explaining that he had to get to work earlier is enough for him to relax again.

Everything is fine, Theo stayed with him all night like he had said he would and Liam can't help but smile. It's not ideal but still, it was one more night that Theo didn't have to sleep in his truck and that's what matters.

Now that Theo seems slightly less reluctant to accept help, maybe he'll find a reason for Theo to stay tonight, as well, and the night after and all the nights that will follow. It might not be easy, but Liam's sure as hell determined to try.

Chapter Text

A weird smell hits Liam's nostrils, strong enough to wake him and make him grimace and frown. He rubs the sleep out of his eyes as he focuses his smell, noticing a familiar scent along with the first one. His mind - still dazed from sleep - struggles to recognize it even though he knows that he knows it.

It's when he hears the fast heartbeat that his mind finally catches up; he would recognize this heartbeat everywhere. He jolts up and climbs off his bed, before all but running down the stairs. By the time he's at the front door he knows that the first smell was blood and he has his claws and fangs already out, ready to fight if needed.

Only that when he opens the door the only person there is Theo; Theo covered in blood and with a pained expression on his pretty face that has Liam's heart clenching painfully in his chest.

He quickly goes to him and Theo seems to notice his presence only when Liam touches carefully his shoulder. "Theo? What happened?" He asks, his eyes searching for wounds on Theo's body in case they need to go to Deaton. He can see a wound on his one shoulder, where probably most of the blood is coming from, but other than that he's not seriously hurt.

"Hunters," Theo replies with some difficulty, leaning on Liam as they head inside the house. "I didn't kill them, I swear. I just scared them away," he explains and Liam wants to punch him for feeling the need to explain himself like Liam would be suspicious of him or blame him for defending himself. The idiot.

"I know, Theo, I know. It's not what matters right now, anyway. Come on," he reassures him and helps him slowly climb the stairs; the blood loss and the fight must have left him exhausted.

"I didn't know where else to go, I'm sorry... I came here but then I realised that you were probably sleeping and I didn't want to wake you. I'm- I'm mostly fine, anyway..." he says and it's probably the less believable lie Liam's ever heard, but still what hits him is that Theo felt bad for coming to him for help. Like Liam hasn't told him to do so a million times before.

He sighs once they're in the bathrom and brings his hand to Theo's face, cupping his jaw gently and making him tilt his head up.

"Hey, Theo, look at me," he says softly, waiting for those beautiful green eyes to meet his own before continuing. "I've said it before, I'm saying it now and I'll say it as many times as I have to until you finally get it. I'm always here for you and I care about you. You can count on me for anything. You understand?"

Theo gives him a small nod, a single tear rolling down his cheek as he blinks the rest of the tears that threaten to fall back. Liam wipes it with his thumb, offering him a reassuring smile. "Now let's get you cleaned up, okay?"

Theo nods and Liam guides him to sit on the edge of the bathtub. "Just take your shirt off so I can check the wounds and make sure we don't have to go to Deaton and I'll leave you to take a shower, okay?"

Theo hums and obliges, slowly pulling his shirt over his head. It looks better than Liam expected; Theo's healing, apparently, has already kicked in even though the arrow wound on his left shoulder still looks pretty deep.

"Does it hurt?" He asks, bringing his hand on Theo's bicep and holding him gently, stroking the skin with his thumb.

"No," Theo murmurs and Liam sighs when he hears the stuttering at his heartbeat.

"Hey, werewolf, remember?" He motions to himself and Theo shrugs, looking a bit sheepish, and a quiet relieved sigh escapes him when Liam starts drawing some of the pain.

"Thanks. You didn't have to," Theo mumbles, his voice coming out in a whisper.

"I know. I wanted to," Liam says firmly. "Get in the shower, I'll bring you a towel and some clothes," he tells him, cupping the back of Theo's head with his hand and leaning down to place a kiss on his temple. He hears Theo breathe out an 'okay' as he exits the bathroom and heads to his room.

He chooses something comfortable that he thinks will fit Theo and grabs a soft towel before going to the bathroom to leave them and then return again back to his room.

It's not long before Theo opens the door and shuffles hesitantly inside. "Thank you. Uhm... for these and the shower," he mumbles, motioning down to the clothes and sounding uncharacteristically nervous.

"Anytime. How are you feeling?" He asks and pats the mattress next to him, gesturing for Theo to come sit.

"Better. The shower really helped." He does look better; his movements don't seem to pain him as much as before and his heartbeat and breathing are perfectly steady. He settles next to him, only a few inches of empty space between them.

"Good, I'm glad," Liam says and places a gentle hand on Theo's knee, giving it a reassuring slight squeeze. "So, you're gonna sleep here for tonight - I hope you don't mind - and tomorrow I'll tell my mom to get the guest room ready."

"What? Liam-"

"No, stop," he says firmly, not giving Theo any chance to protest. "Just listen to me first. " Theo frowns slightly but nods. "I don't want you out there where anyone can hurt you. I thought that you would have changed your mind by now but apparently you haven't and I just can't carry on like this. Every night that I go to sleep all I can think is you and if you're safe, if you found a spot to park your truck and get a few hours of sleep in the fucking back seat, or if you're feeling cold, hungry, lonely..." he says and takes a deep breath before continuing.

"I care about you, so much, and I love you-," Theo makes a choked sound at that and looks at him with wide eyes but Liam continues, feeling like if he doesn't say everything he wants right now he's gonna explode-, "and I don't want you to get hurt. So please, please, if you don't value your well being enough to do what is best for you then at least do it for me. Stay for me," he whispers the last part, looking at Theo with a hopeful open expression.

Theo stays silent for a few moments, his lips still slightly parted in shock. "You... you love me?" He asks with so much disbelief that makes Liam wonder what he's been doing wrong all this time if Theo has such a hard time believing it.

"Of course, I do. How could I not?" He smiles softly, shuffling a bit closer. "You're amazing, Theo. You're smart and funny and kind. You're always there for me. You make me smile and laugh. You make me better and you never stop trying to make yourself better. No matter what happens you keep fighting. Of course, I love you," he says in one breath, feeling like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders now that Theo knows. It feels good to finally tell him all this.

Theo, though, is still gaping at him adorably like his mind can't process the information it's been given, his eyes stormy with emotions.

Liam sighs and pulls him closer and in a hug. "Come here," he says as he wraps his arms around Theo and lowers them both so he's lying on his back with Theo in his arms, Theo's head resting on his chest.

"Everything will be okay, Theo" he whispers, caressing Theo's hair and kissing the top of his head. "I've got you, if you let me."

They're silent for a while, only their breathing and heartbeats echoing in the quiet room. Theo's body relaxes eventually in the embrace and he brings his hand to Liam's arm, running his fingers up and down his bicep.

Theo props himself on one elbow, his eyes immediately finding Liam's. He just stares for a few moments, biting his lower lip a little nervously like he expects something from him. Liam's eyes follow the movement, unable to look away, watching as Theo frees his lip and then licks it with the tip of his tongue.

Liam smiles and nods once and apparently that's all Theo needs before he closes the distance between them, their lips brushing together softly, slowly, carefully.

"Does this mean that you're staying?" He whispers against Theo's lips, holding his face with his hand and stroking his cheek with his thumb, not bothering to hide the vulnerability and hope in his voice.

"Yeah," Theo replies, a small smile creeping onto his face. "It also means that I love you, too, Little Wolf."

By the time they finally go to sleep, their lips are red and swollen and they have matching giddy grins on their faces. They curl up in one another's arms, the warmth and the scent of each other being comforting and soothing.

Liam can hear Theo’s steady heartbeat as he drifts off to sleep and can’t help pressing a soft kiss on his forehead, feeling a bit overwhelmed with relief and happiness because Theo is right there, in his arms. Because Theo stayed and, for the first time, he isn’t planning to leave anytime soon.