Theo glanced at his passenger. He was still asleep, slumped against the window, mouth slack and hair mussed. His eyes traced down his chest, softening at the way his hands were tucked in under his head, bracing it from the rattling of the window.
He looked back at the road, feeling his heart flip in his chest. God, he was such an idiot, catching feelings for the other boy. He was reckless and naive and stubborn, and all the things that Theo wasn’t, but that was only part of his charm. It was refreshing to see how life could be when you didn’t plan every tiny aspect of every interaction with another person, when you didn’t have to play a part or pretend.
Liam didn’t expect him to be anything other than himself.
The other boy stirred a few minutes later, groaning and smacking his lips. He sat up with a deep sigh, like he resented the fact that he’d woken. Theo could understand the feeling. In theory anyway. Personally, he avoided sleep as much as possible.
“Where are we?” Liam asked, voice rough with sleep.
“Nearly home,” Theo said, flashing him a quick smile. “Thirty miles to go.”
“Thank God,” Liam muttered. “I can’t wait to sleep in a bed again.”
Theo winced at that, trying to hide the movement with a cough. “Yeah, a bed would be nice,” he agreed. He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, staring resolutely out at the road and ignoring the way Liam frowned in confusion.
He silently prayed for him to drop it.
No such luck. “You know,” Liam said a moment later, sounding suspicious, “you come over all the time, but you never invite me to your place. Why is that?”
Perceptive. Theo had forgotten to add perceptive.
“You’ve been to my house before,” he said lightly. “You spied on me with Stiles, remember?”
Liam stared at him. “You don’t live there,” he said with complete certainty.
Theo said nothing. He could twist and alter the truth here and there, but when it came to Liam, he couldn’t lie. Not to him.
“That place was sold a while back,” Liam continued when it was clear he had no intention of explaining himself. “It’s still empty.”
Theo could feel his cheeks growing warm. His stomach sank. He didn’t even have to say anything, Liam was figuring it out all on his own.
“Your parents moved away,” Liam finished.
Theo sighed. “I don’t have any parents, Liam. They died when I was eight.”
He glanced at Liam. He was frowning, and his blue eyes were sharp as he searched Theo’s face for the truth.
“So who was staying with you then?”
“A couple I hired to pretend to be my parents. They bailed when the money ran out, sold the house and made off with the proceeds. Any more questions?” He asked, hearing the defensive tone to his voice but unable to do anything to prevent it.
“Then where do you live?” Liam asked.
There it was. The million dollar question.
Theo huffed, looking away, fingers tightening on the steering wheel. He said nothing, and the silence grew longer and longer.
Liam’s heart stuttered. “Here?” He breathed. “You live in your truck?”
The breath wooshed from his lungs. Why had that felt like such a punch to the gut?
“Yeah,” he croaked.
He couldn’t look at Liam. He didn’t want to see the pity in his eyes. Couldn’t bear it. His shoulders hunched in, heart pounding in his chest.
Liam didn’t say a word. He didn’t need to. Theo could smell his roiling emotions. The anger, the frustration, the guilt, the sadness. He pulled apart each scent and catalogued it, like he’d been trained to do.
“Pull over,” Liam said.
Theo’s head whipped towards him, eyes widening. “What? Why?”
“Please?” Liam asked. “Just, just pull over.”
Theo did as he asked, slowing down and then pulling off to the side, switching the truck off. The dash light didn’t come on, leaving them both sitting in the darkness. He looked at Liam, unnerved by how close he suddenly was.
“You’ve been back for months,” Liam said quietly. “You’ve been literally homeless. You didn’t tell me.”
“No,” he agreed quietly, gaze dropping.
“You felt like you couldn’t tell me?” Liam asked. His voice was gentle, like he expected Theo to run at any moment. He wasn’t wrong. Theo felt trapped, vulnerable, open. He wanted nothing more than to open the door and slip out, taking off into the night.
“I didn’t want you to pity me,” Theo said eventually, stubbornly pushing back the urge to flee. If he couldn’t lie to Liam, he certainly couldn’t run from him.
“I don’t,” Liam said firmly. “I’m angry with you. You’re so bloody stubborn.”
“Says you,” Theo scoffed.
Liam gave a low growl. Theo looked at his hands, finding them curled into fists. A quip or two and one of those fists would be snapping into his nose. That was another thing Liam was. Predictable. He always lashed out when he was pissed off.
“Is that really where we’re at right now?” Liam asked angrily. “Like two little kids bickering?”
He could already see the script laid out in front of him. He would make a dig at Liam being little, Liam would snarl and punch him, Theo would hit him back. Their aggression dealt with, he would then drop Liam off at home, and be right back where he started; in the preserve, in his truck, trying to find what little rest he could before he was found by one of Stilinski’s deputies and moved along.
Theo missed his cue, instead turning away and sighing. The script was flipped, and he noticed Liam leaning back, studying him with a new intensity.
“Why?” He asked.
He looked at Liam, frowning. “Why what?”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” He held a hand up, stopping Theo before he could interrupt. “The real reason.”
Theo studied him in turn, finding the determination shining in Liam’s gaze. Nothing was going to stop him getting his answers. Even if Theo managed to defer this conversation, the light in Liam’s eyes told him that he’d be back again tomorrow. Relentless.
He sighed deeply, shoulders slumping. “I’m a burden,” he said, sounding defeated. “You’re just a kid, Liam. You shouldn’t have to worry about me. You have enough to worry about already.”
“You’re my responsibility,” Liam snapped.
“No, I’m not,” Theo said, shaking his head. “I’m my own person, and I can figure my own shit out.”
“That’s not-” Liam grit out. He shook his head, letting out a frustrated growl. “You don’t have to do this on your own. We’re friends, Theo. Pack.”
Theo stared at him, stunned. “What?” He breathed.
Liam’s eyes widened. “Wait, seriously?”
“We’re not,” Theo said weakly. “I’m not pack.”
“Of course you are,” Liam snarled. “What the fuck, Theo?”
His own ire grew in the face of Liam’s anger. “I killed Scott,” he yelled back. “What do you mean, I’m pack? What’s wrong with you?”
He had to get out. He wrenched his door open, walking away from the car and rubbing his face, trying to suck in some of the cool night air. The passenger door slammed as Liam followed him.
Theo held a hand up towards him.
“Just, god, just leave it, Liam. Please,” he begged.
“No,” Liam said, grabbing his arm and forcing him to turn around. He searched Theo’s face, his expression pained. “I don’t understand, Theo. Help me understand this.”
He looked at Liam, heart in his throat. “I’m the bad guy, Liam. You don’t know even half of what I’ve done.”
Liam’s mouth turned into a thin line. “You think I care about that shit? You already suffered for all of it. You were in hell for months, Theo. You’ve done your time. And look at what you’ve done since you’ve been back.”
He stabbed Theo in the chest with a finger, making him step back. He followed, eyes narrowed. His stare was intense and Theo was entranced, completely unable to look away.
“Time and time again, you’ve run into danger to save me,” Liam said. “You keep saying you’re evil? Well, I don’t see it. That’s not you, not anymore. Not since you’ve come back.”
He fell silent, and Theo’s gaze dropped, like it so often did, to Liam’s lips.
His eyes flicked back up, finding a strange new light in Liam’s eyes as they flicked down as well, and then back up. Theo scented the air automatically, tasting Liam’s uncertainty and confusion on his tongue.
“Okay,” Theo said reluctantly.
Liam frowned. “Okay?”
“I should have told you,” he admitted.
Mollified, Liam nodded. “Yeah,” he said, though he still looked a little confused. “You should have.”
“Come on,” Theo said. “I’ll drive you home.”
Liam followed him back to the car, saying nothing. Theo climbed back in, feeling strangely nervous now. It felt like something was different now, something he couldn’t quite put his finger on.
He started up the truck, pulling back out onto the road. At this time of night, the road was eerily empty, like it was only the two of them in the whole world.
They were on the outskirts of Beacon Hills when Liam took a shaky breath, turning towards him. “Pull over,” he said.
He didn’t question it, just doing as Liam asked, giving him a quizzical look. He gasped as Liam surged forward, grabbing the front of his shirt in one fist and tugging him closer, planting his lips on Theo’s. He froze, feeling Liam’s lips brushing over his, trying to coax him into a kiss.
Liam pulled away slowly, looking anxious. “Did I-” He hesitated, licking his lips. “Did I read this wrong?”
“No,” Theo said. His hands were shaking. “You didn’t read anything wrong. I just, uh. I was surprised.”
“Oh,” Liam said. He worried at his lower lip with his teeth. Theo found himself reaching up, gently pulling it free and smoothing his lip. He felt Liam’s shuddery breath and he leaned in, closing his eyes as he hovered just out of reach, their breaths mingling.
“Are you sure?” He breathed.
“You idiot,” Liam said, but his voice was gentle. “Surely you’ve noticed the way I look at you.”
He’d noticed. Of course he had. But he’d pushed it aside.
Liam sighed, resting his forehead on Theo’s. Theo breathed him in, feeling his pulse slowly settle. Once he was calm, he leaned in, pressing a soft tentative kiss to Liam’s lips. Liam sighed, kissing him back.
He kept it light, slow, exploring Liam’s lips and learning the feel of them against his. It was new, so different from what he’d imagined kissing Liam would be like, but no less precious. There would be time, hopefully, for fire and passion. But for now, this was perfect.
His lips were tingling when Liam finally pulled away. He opened his eyes, feeling a little dazed, finding Liam looking at him with a tender smile.
Liam let him go, moving back into his seat. Theo watched him for a moment longer before turning the car back on, moving almost on autopilot to Liam’s house, pulling into the driveway next to his step dad's car. He glanced at Liam, waiting to see what he would do.
“Are you coming?” Liam asked, searching his face.
Theo blinked. “You want me to come inside?”
“Well I definitely don’t want you sleeping in your truck,” Liam said evenly. “For tonight at least you can stay with me. Beyond that, let’s figure it out in the morning. I’m wrecked.”
“Yeah,” Theo agreed with a sigh. “Yeah okay.”
He turned the car off, grabbing his bag and pillow from the back seat, following Liam into his house, hovering by his bedroom door. Liam moved around the room, clearing a pile of clothes from his bed and fishing out some sweatpants.
“You good?” Liam asked, arching an eyebrow at him.
“Yeah,” he said, swallowing nervously as he stepped into the room, quietly closing the door behind him. Liam went into his bathroom, returning a minute later with the sweatpants hanging low on his hips, showing a distracting amount of skin.
Theo struggled to pull his eyes from the jutting v of his hip bones, flicking up his chest. Liam smirked at him.
“You getting changed?” He asked.
He nodded, brushing past Liam and stepping into the bathroom. He leaned over the sink, splashing water on his face, smoothing his hands through his hair. Could he really do this?
Fishing out a pair of shorts from his bag, he quickly changed, leaving his shirt off as well. It felt freeing, to be able to strip down and be comfortable. He gave a longing look to the shower, but he was far too tired from driving all night to do anything more than stumble into Liam’s room and flop down on the bed beside him.
He groaned, nuzzling into it, completely surrounded by Liam’s scent. Liam chuckled at him.
He hummed his agreement, reluctantly tucking his own pillow under his head. Liam nicked it from his hands, shoving his own at Theo. Theo sat up slightly, watching as Liam snuffled into his pillow with a low growl, rubbing his cheek against the fabric.
Possessiveness flared in his chest. He pushed it back down. It was far too late for that sort of nonsense. Instead, he wriggled under the covers and sighed, sinking into the soft mattress. His eyes grew heavy, but he fought to keep them open, watching as Liam rolled onto his side.
They looked at each other, eyes searching.
He couldn’t say who moved first, but suddenly their lips were brushing in a slow, lazy kiss. Theo melted into it, pulling Liam closer and rubbing his hand up and down his side.
Liam’s kisses got more urgent, and Theo put a hand on his chest, gently pushing him back. “Hey,” he said quietly. “It’s late. Let’s not start something we can’t finish.”
Liam pouted, sticking out his lower lip. Theo nipped at it, smirking as Liam gasped, mouth opening under his. It would be so easy to pursue this, to lick into his mouth and devour him, but instead he pulled back even further, snickering as Liam hit his arm.
“Tease,” Liam complained.
“Whatever, come here,” Theo said, holding up his arm.
“You want me to be little spoon?” Liam asked, sounding offended.
“I’m taller,” Theo pointed out.
“By like, a centimetre,” Liam argued quietly. “You be the little spoon.”
Theo considered him. Did he care enough to push this? Every one his muscles ached with tiredness. “You know what?” He said. “I don’t even care, fine.”
He rolled over, closing his eyes and letting his muscles relax. Liam hesitantly moved closer, wrapping around him. Theo gave a happy sigh, enjoying the feel of Liam’s chest pressed against his back. He was warm, and his animals purred inside him, pleased with this turn of events.
With Liam holding him close, Theo slipped into sleep with little effort. For the first time in a long time, his demons let him rest.
Liam was many things, but he was also home.