Things weren't going well. And that wasn't just Theo being a pessimist.
“Oh stop whining, it's just a few arrows.” Stiles grumbled, rolling his eyes as if Theo was overreacting. Theo grit his teeth as Derek yanked yet another arrow out of his back with no warning. His head was swimming, whatever they'd used on the arrows didn't seem to be reacting very well to Theo's body, if the thick black veins crawling from the wounds were anything to go by.
“Here's an idea, Why don't we stick the arrows in you and see how against whining you are then.” Theo growled. Derek hauled another arrow out of his back, Theo was sure the little twist he gave it to force it to slice his skin further wasn't an accident.
“Here's an idea, we fix that sword and stick you back in the ground where you-” Theo roared, eyes flashing golden as he finally let his fangs come out, before he could even move to turn on Stiles Derek was shoving him harder against the examination table.
“Stiles.” Scott warned tiredly. “Theo's been helping us.”
“Oh I'm sure he has.” Stiles said, Theo didn't have to be looking at him to know his eyebrows were doing the infuriating 'i'm better than you' wiggle. He could feel the poison pulsing through his body, leaving burning trails in his veins.
“We need to stop them. Now.” Lydia said. “If we don't..they'll just pick us off one by one.”
“Then we go after them.”
“We only have one plan and it's a stupid one.” Malia said.
“That's good. I have an urge to do something stupid.” Liam said, puffing out his chest. Theo grinned despite himself, resting his sweaty forehead against the cool metal table.
“I'm stupid. Do me.” The silence was deafening, Theo's words ringing through the room, he blinked up from the table to be met with all eyes on him wide as saucers. Theo pursed his lips, embarrassment clawing beneath his skin. “Did I just say that out loud?” he didn't need to ask it really, he could already tell by the stunned expressions. Lydia let out a huff as if she were tired of his antics. Scott's eyebrows were still climbing up into his hair line. Derek seemed to be the only one not in shock by it, his lips twitching in a smile that he tried to hide. Theo was sure were he not as emotionally constipated as Theo himself he'd be laughing his ass off.
“Well. At least we know why he's been sticking around.” Stiles said clapping Liam hard enough on the back to have him stumbling forwards.
“I uh-” Liam stuttered.
And really, Theo couldn't think of a less appropriate time to let his...affections show than when they were probably all going to soon die and he was bent over a table wearing only his boxers with lines of wolfbane spreading across his skin as the arrows worked their poison. Derek pulled the final arrow out, tearing it from his thigh with little in the terms of finesse leaving Theo's knee's buckling, his chin slamming against the metal table.
“I feel dizzy.” Theo thought nervously. Apparently, some (him) would be dying sooner rather than later.
“That could have something to do with the poison.” Malia said bluntly.
“I said that out loud too?” Theo groaned.
“I think..it might be best if Theo stayed here.” Deaton said slowly. “I don't think he'll be much help as he is.”
“I'm fine.” Theo grumbled pushing himself up off of the floor. He locked his leg before it could buckle again, hands so sweaty they threatened to slide right off of the table as he used it to balance himself. Theo blinked, cringing at the way the lights seemed to swim around the room. “how are we doing this?”
“We're not. Deaton's right. You'll just slow us down.” Scott said.
“I don't know. We could just throw him in as a distraction.” Malia said with a small shrug.
“No.” Scot said firmly. “We're not using him as bait.”
“I don't...It might be our best plan.” Stiles admitted, chewing his nail as he looked over Theo, he almost looked guilty. Almost. “Look at his Scott. Even if we win-”
“We will.” Scott said.
“You think he'll even last until we've figured out what he's been poisoned with and manage to get the antidote?”
“If he's going to die anyway, using it to help us win would-”
“M great at being the bait.” Theo hummed. He blinked as he was suddenly deposited in a chair. Mason giving him a sheepish grin as he sat him down. “When'd we move?”
“He's really not looking good.” Mason said. Theo poked out a hand, fingers swiping straight though where Mason's face should be.
“You have too many heads.” Theo said glaring at one of Masons three faces.
“Deaton can find something to help him.” Liam said, voice wavering. Theo tilted his head, squinting past mason's faces to try and figure out where in the room Liam was, something he wasn't sure he'd had to actually try to do in a while. It had been easy to find Liam the past month, he'd always been next to him. “If we go now we can finish this. We'll get every strain of wolfsbane we can find and then-”
Theo woke with a jolt. His back cold against metal making him cringe, trying to tilt away. Hands pressed roughly to his shoulders, forcing him back down.
“You passed out.” Scott's voice came, soft and careful. Theo was happy to see there was only one of everyone from where they hovered around the operating table. “You've got to stay awake alright. We'll be back as soon as we can.” Scott clapped him on the shoulder his hand burning hot against Theo's chilly skin. “Let's go.” The alpha turned to leave. Derek, Malia, Stiles and Lydia following instantly. Corey was slower, kissing Mason before shuffling after them. Theo let his eyes fall shut again, trying to block out the murmuring of voices that made his head pound.
“Theo. Theo.” Liam's voice came, Theo blinked his eyes open again when he felt a soft slap against his cheek. Liam hovered over him.
“Hey.” Theo said, feeling a grin forming. Liam's lips turned down, his heart hammering in his chest.
“You gotta listen to Scott man, you can't fall asleep.” Theo nodded stiffly at the order, lips twitching in a grin again that only had Liam looking more worried. “I'm serious. If I come back and you're dead I'll be-”
“You're leaving?” Theo slurred.
“Deaton's looking for something to help but if he can't find it then you're going to have to wait for us to get back. You can do that right? No Theo, Theo keep your eyes open.” Liam snapped, Theo hadn't even realised they'd closed again, he nodded. Forcing his eyes as wide as they could go. “Okay, okay good. Mason's going to stay you alright. So you just..just talk to him yeah? He's got a bunch of questions about the supernatural so you can answer those and annoy him and just..keep your eyes open until I come back alright?”
“Alright.” Liam said with a tentative grin. “I'll be back.”
“Do I get a goodbye kiss?”
“You saying things without meaning to again?” Liam asked. Theo shook his head, the metal rattling beneath him.
“Doesn't hurt.” Theo hummed, lips tacky. He could feel the sweat rolling down the side of his face. “Not usually a good sign, might as well try.”
“You're going to be fine.”
“You're going to be fine.” Liam said hotly. “Stay awake. Okay, you have to stay awake and I'll come back.”
“No! Shut up.” Liam growled, voice rumbling in his chest. “I'm not kissing you because you're not dying. When we kiss for the first time you're going to be a lot more coherent and it won't be in front of Doctor Deaton.”
“Liam let's go!” Scott called, his voice tinny to Theo's ears. Theo felt the way his next breath rattled in his throat leaving him grimacing and fighting the urge to cough. He was dying, all because he was dumb enough to step in front of an onslaught of arrows, to stop Scott, of all people, from dying. He was going to die for Scott and it wasn't even because of Scott. It was because he knew how much it would have hurt Liam to watch Scott die. Maybe he deserved to die if he was that well and truly whipped, all without ever even getting to kiss the stupid beta.
“Later then?” Theo asked, swallowing the liquid that threatened to bubble past his lips. “when you're back?” If he was going to die, he wanted to at least die on the idea that Liam would entertain the idea of kissing him.
“Later.” Liam said, to Theo's surprise he couldn't hear his heart jump in a lie. “So stay awake or I swear to god I'll kill you.” Liam hovered a moment longer, his fingers brushing through Theo's sweaty hair. “Mason-”
“I got him.” Mason promised. “We'll be fine. Go save our asses.” Liam nodded, eyes shifting to Theo for a moment before he was taking off out of the clinic at a run. Theo waited as long as he could before he let the cough finally escape, spurting out a small spray of dark blood.
“That can't be a good sign.” Mason said.
“Turn him on his side.” Deaton ordered, hands already grabbing at Theo to push him onto his side. Theo spat blood onto the table, heaving in breaths past the small spurts of crimson flickering out past his lips.
“You have any ideas?” Mason asked. Theo could hear the awkward pause even past his gasping breaths.
“We pray they're quick.” Deaton said in his 'cryptic' voice. One that The understood all too well currently meant Theo was about as likely to live as he was to randomly sprout wings and be proclaimed an angel. Which is very very unlikely.
“I'm an atheist.” Theo spluttered. Smirking as he remembered the last time he used the same words.
“I'll see if I can make you more comfortable.”
“Really inspiring confidence here doc.”
“I'm not trying to.” Deaton said. “I'm not in the habit of lying to my patients. I'll find him a blanket. Stay with him.”
It wasn't long before Theo was wrapped in a bundle of dog blankets, something he would have hated were his sense of smell still working. It wasn't, he knew he should probably tell Deaton that but, well, he believed the guy when he said there was nothing they could do and didn't see why he should have to explain every embarrassing stage of his death. Making him comfortable, apart from the dog blankets, consisted of hanging a bucket from the side of the table for Theo to cough blood into and Mason playing music from Theo's iPod quietly on the side. He may not be able to breath properly past the blood lingering in his lungs, or feel his legs from where he was sure the veins of wolfsbane had entirely claimed his lower body but, honestly, it was already a lot better than his first time dying.
“You're not dying.” Mason said, voice angrier that Theo had ever heard it.
“Didn't mean to say that out loud.” The admitted croakily.
“Yeah well. You can stop thinking like that. He's going to get you the antidote. Whatever it is. Alright, he's going to save you so just-”
“He didn't manage to save Hayden.” Theo said bluntly. “Pretty sure they had more notice with her as well.”
“You really think you're dying?”
“You don't?” Theo snorted. Mason's face paled.
“Alright. Alright, well. You promised Liam you'd stay awake till he got here.” Mason ranted. “So you have to do that alright. They won't be gone long. So just..Talk, you love the sound of your own voice.”
“The blood in my lungs is making it hard to speak right now.” Theo wheezed.
“Then I'll talk, but you have to listen alright?” Mason ordered. The chimera gave a small nod. “So when I was eleven, Liam and I-” Theo let the stories flow past him. Focusing more on breathing than listening. He thought he'd have to try not to panic as he felt the numbness spreading further up his body but it was actually the opposite, bringing a sense of calm.
Maybe he'd be back with his sister soon. Running for all eternity, getting his...her, heart ripped from his chest. But well, until then he had Mason muttering stories about him and Liam quietly that Theo hoped he'd be able to remember when he woke up in a cadaver draw.
“Liam texted me..They're about to go in.” Mason said far too long later fr them to conceivably get back in time to save him. Theo forced his eyes open at the sound of Liam's name.
“Say bye.” He croaked.
“Tell him goodbye.” Theo repeated. “I'll be dead by the time he gets back. He's better in a fight when he's angry so make him angry.”
“I'm not telling him you're dead.” Mason said incredulously.
“I will be.”
“They'll make it ba-”
“You promised him you'd stay awake.” Mason said.
“Wouldn't be the first time I lied to him.” Theo murmured with a bitter laugh. “Do it, he's more likely to survive if he's angry.” Mason hovered for a moment before he gave a stiff nod, fingers flying across the screen of his phone, he sent the text quickly before he was shoving his phone in his pocket with a scowl, eyes shimmering with unshed tears.
“You need.... Give me a message or something, something I can tell him when he gets back. Something to make it easier I don't..he can't do this again.” Mason begged. “If you're really dying then just..say something nice, something that he can remember.”
“Tell him it was worth it.” Theo said. “If he comes back, then it was worth it.”
“What the hell happened to selfish asshole Theo?”
“He went to hell.” Theo said with a grin. Mason grimaced, no doubt at the blood staining Theo's teeth. “Made him rethink a few things.” Theo let out another hacking cough that made his head pound. The blood hit the bucket with a splash. Mason's horrified face would have made Theo laugh were it not for the blood leaking past his lips.
“You..You should go, doubt this'll get much prettier.”
“I'm not going to leave you to die alone.”
“I don't want you holding my hand.” Theo grumbled.
“Have you seen how gross your hands look right now? I'd rather cut my arm off than touch your hand.” Mason joked lamely. Theo peered down at his hand, sticking out of the blankets. Thick black veins pulsed visibly beneath the skin.
“Good call.” Theo breathed. His lungs ached, he wanted to believe the fact something actually hurt was a good sign but he knew it was quite the opposite. Probably his body's last botched attempt at healing itself. He could feel his eyes slowly closing, his aching body luring him into sleep. “Tell him I cared, that I'd have been his something stupid.”
“If you stay awake you could tell him yourself.
“Mason.” Theo sighed. “I'm tired.” he tried to blink his eyes open again but found them too heavy.
“Get some sleep then.” Mason said softly. Theo heard a sniffle. “He'll be here when you wake up alright.” Theo couldn't hear his heart beat any more but didn't have to to know it was a lie.
“Thanks.” Theo slurred. His fingers twitched as Mason gripped his hand despite the earlier conversation. Theo let the darkness pull him under.
He could feel the cool pressure of the morgue draw at his back. The pressure of something against his chest that he didn't have the energy to fight off. Maybe she'd just kill him before he could even leave the slab this time, at least he wouldn't have to run. He took a deep breath, wondering if it would be the only one he got to take.
The smell of dogs hit him like a punch to the face. His eyes snapped open. That wasn't right. Theo jerked backwards as he saw three faces hovering above him his head slamming into the table with a loud clank.
“Theo. Hey man can you hear me?” Mason said. His voice too loud for Theo's aching head. Theo took a deep breath, it didn't rattle.
“Wha-” he pushed up, swaying slightly. Mason's hand gripped his shoulder, steadying him. “What's happening?”
“Nolan saved you.” Mason said. Nolan smiled, lips quirking uncomfortably leaving Theo's hackles rising, Nolan had beaten up Liam.
“Why?” Theo growled. He could feel the prick of a needle wound healing in his chest. The black veins receding.
“They..They said they shot you with arrows.” Nolan said, eyes shifting around the room nervously. “They said you'd die. That they'd kill all of you.”
“That's what you wanted. What you helped start.” Theo growled. Forcing himself up off of the table. Nolan stumbled away instantly, hitting a tray sending scalpels clattering to the floor.
“I just want to be safe.” Nolan said, voice high and terrified. “She said she'd keep us safe. She, lied. She lied to us, to me, Gabe's dead and I just..I want this to be over and you..you saved me.”
“So you're returning the favour?”
“I just want to be safe.” Nolan repeated desperately. His heart beat was steady, if a little fast. No tells of a lie. Theo nodded slowly, the closest he'd get to a thanks.
“You might want to sit down, your bodies still healing” Deaton started. Theo ignored him, pushing off of the table and making a stumbling grab for his bloodied clothes, bundled in the corner where they'd been dropped when he was bought into the clinic. The top was ruined, shredded from Deaton cutting him out of it. The jeans were salvageable. If Theo was okay with one side being cut from ankle to thigh. He was. Theo yanked them on, his strength already building.
“Mason. I need your hoodie.” Theo said. Mason didn't need telling twice, shrugging out of the hoodie and tossing it to Theo.
“I'm coming with you.” Mason said, Theo shrugged the hoodie on with a sigh.
“They've been gone for ages. You might need me as back up.” Mason said.
“You can keep the car running.”
“Sounds good.” Mason said easily making Theo snort a laugh, of course Mason would be happy to be the get away driver. He started moving for the door. Legs still weak making him feel oddly like Bambi when he was first born. Mason was there in a second, hooking Theo's arm over his shoulders. “Maybe I should drive us there too.” he suggested.
“Good idea.” Theo hummed letting Mason shuffle them out of the room. The waddle out of the clinic wasn't exactly graceful, or easy but Theo could feel his strength coming back with each step. By the time they drove to the fight he'd be more than ready to fight. The sun was peeking over the tops of the buildings, the rising sun coating everything in a reddish hue. Theo nodded them towards his car.
“So what's the plan when we get there?” Mason asked. “Go in fangs blazing?”
“I'd hope my fang wouldn't be on fire. Might make it difficult.” Theo said.
“Seriously Theo you just-” Mason started. Theo's head span as he heard the squeal of tires. His eyes found the stupid old beat up jeep instantly as it rattled down the road towards them. “Is that them.”
“Who else do you know who has a jeep that crappy?”
“I mean is it all of them?” Mason asked. Theo didn't bother answering. The jeep skidded to a stop, parked diagonally across three parking spots the doors were thrown open. The group hopping out. How they fit so many people into Stile's jeep Theo didn't know, it looked like a clown car.
First there was Malia and Lydia, stumbling as they hit the floor. Malia's hands stained with blood. Then Scott and Derek, and-
“Corey!” Mason said, voice a relieved breath as he ducked out beneath Theo's arm leaving him fighting to keep his balance as Mason ran to greet his boyfriend. Liam and Stiles were last out. Liam's eyes trained solely on Theo his mouth gaping. Theo was still as Liam took stumbling steps forwards. His skin was splattered in blood and his cheeks too pale.
“You..Mason said you were dead.” Liam said, voice a throaty whisper. “You..How?”
“Mason lied.” Theo said bluntly. “I told him to.”
“Technically. You did die for a minute.” Mason said 'helpfully'. Liam's head snapped between Theo and Mason, eyes wide and watery.
“I don't understand.”
“Nothing new there then.” Theo drawled. Liam's eyes finally stopped on him, his heart a confusing stuttering mess in his chest, his scent rolling off, smelling wrong from the flare off too many emotions. “I'm fine.” He said gently. “I told you I'd be awake when you got back didn't I?” He reached out, hand gripping Liam's shoulder. “I'm okay.”
“You were dead.” Liam croaked.
“It's not like it's the first time that's happened to me.” Theo said with a lopsided smirk that had Liam's heart skipping in his chest. “We should go insi-” Theo let out a startled wheeze as Liam slapped his hand away from his shoulder and yanked him into a bruising kiss, fingers clawing at Theo's hair and neck. Theo returned the kiss easily, hands curling softly around Liam's waist. He was pretty sure he was smearing blood across their lips like lipstick but couldn't bring himself to care his heart fluttered in his chest, his fingers digging harder into Liam's side's as he deepened the kiss, stomach tightening as he realised he almost didn't get to do this.
“So I guess none of you care what happened with the hunters then?” Stiles asked loudly.
The two young men ignored him, wrapped around each other. Theo in a borrowed hoodie with a mouth smeared full of blood and and jeans ripped in a way that could never be considered fashionable. Liam's fingers spread blood over every inch they touched. Theo lost himself in the kiss, death experience be damned.
“I seem to remember you saying your first kiss wouldn't be in front of me.” Deaton's said dryly. Voice barely a whisper to the two.