Theo is a boy.
He is nine years old. He has an older sister, two parents, two best friends.
He is just a boy.
“You’re a little monster, is what you are!”
“I wish you were adopted, so we could send you back!”
“Why do you always have to break everything you touch?”
He isn’t bad. Just clumsy.
His parents aren’t bad either, just tired. They have two kids, one of which with a heart condition. Surgery would cost too much for them, they have to save every cent, and come up with always new ideas to earn more. In case Theo needs the surgery they can’t afford.
They work two jobs each, and try their hardest to make time for their elder daughter feel loved, too.
It’s not their fault if they can’t always make time for Theo.
Scott doesn’t have a dad anymore, Stiles has lost his mom. But the parent they have left pours love onto them as hard as the heaviest rain in a monsoon storm.
Theo still has both parents, technically. But they’re barely ever home with him.
“You’re not allowed to complain!” Stiles shouts, angry tears in his eyes, clutching Scott’s arm to his chest.
Theo looks at Scott, who has always mediated whatever argument rose between Theo and Stiles.
Scott knows. He knows how Theo feels. But Scott’s dad has left a wound too deep and still too raw, and he looks at Theo, and Theo knows he’s lost every sympathy he’s ever received from Scott.
The man is scary.
He follows Theo all the time, stalking him after school, on his way home, slithering inside the house and even in his dreams.
Theo isn’t even sure he is a man, at all, at first. But then the man starts talking.
The dreams turn into nightmares. Theo always sees himself, bloody hands and face, kneeling in front of bodies torn to shreds.
Stiles, Scott. His parents. Tara.
Theo wakes up screaming, but his parents are tired, too tired to comfort him. They work two jobs and struggle everyday, and Theo screaming them awake doesn’t help them. They scold him, tell him to stop trying to get their attention.
After all we are already doing for you, what else do you want. This is so immature. Grow up. Stop being so selfish.
“You’re a nasty little monster” Tara growls, trying to go back to sleep after the one too many times she’s been woken by his terrified screaming.
And then the man says, take her heart Theo. Take her heart.
A part of him always knows that it’s a lie, what the Doctors tell him. That Tara has never dreamt of giving her own heart to him. She’s always wanted to live. She’s always struggled alongside her parents, to be a good elder sister, to take care of her nasty little monster of a younger brother, whose heart was weak and could stop at any time.
She’s always wanted to live.
But Theo needs the lie, he needs to pretend, at least at first, when he still adjusts to the idea of there being any good in being bad, of there being a sense in trying, putting all his effort into turning evil.
Then, progressively, evil stops being such a bad idea, a difficult task, and it becomes easier and easier, with the passing of time.
He hates surgery. Whether it’s being done to him or he’s assisting to the one done to other. Sometimes the Doctors want him to play little helper, so they can teach him.
He learns a lot but it’s gross, and the screaming hurts his new, supernatural hearing. He’d rather curl up somewhere and try to sleep, or pretend to, until the Doctors are done and the screaming stops.
You don’t make mistakes around the Doctors.
Failure means you die.
It’s a difficult concept to grasp for a child, but it’s made pretty clear by all the bodies Theo sees, accumulating on the lab’s floor in the sewers.
He stops bothering to talking with the Doctors’ subjects, not long after that. What’s the point? They don’t survive anyway.
He’s their pride and most treasured possession, at first. He knows he’s a thing, for them, something they own, but he doesn’t mind. They groom him into the perfect killer, a machine of death, a prince of darkness.
Theo feels like a weird mixture of Sauron and Darth Vader, but one who doesn’t lose and never dies.
He loses himself to lies, treachery, starts to enjoy the killing. The animals inside of him scream in joy when he’s tearing apart his opponents, blood rushing on his claws, under his fangs.
A predator. He is a machine of death, a prince of darkness, the devil.
Until the day they tell him he’s not enough.
It’s like with his parents all over again, but this time is more dangerous, deadly so.
The Doctors aren’t satisfied with him anymore: his lying, his conning, his scheming, his killing. There is always something that disappoints them. The word failure comes up for the first time, when Theo is eavesdropping.
It’s a new low.
He’s not a real werewolf, and he has to pretend otherwise. If someone finds out he’s a chimera, they will immediately know he’s worked with the Dread Doctors, they will know what he’s done and kill him.
He pretends he is a werewolf, even being weaker than one. But he can’t make up for lacking the right scent, his own giving him away. He can’t risk leeching off protection from a pack. So he pretends being an omega.
Thirteen years old, alone, not that strong – he learns how to run faster than most, how to hide better than most. His healing rate speeds up considerably, although it can’t compensate lacking the real power of a true supernatural creature. By some miracle he risks death and rape many times, but actually always manage to make it out unscathed.
He squats in abandoned buildings, moving from city to city, always running. It’s exhausting. It’s not exactly prince of darkness lifestyle.
He works odd jobs and gets paid too little. He kills anyone trying to steal from his already low wage, or if they try to cop a feel. He’s so damn tired but he can’t sleep as much as he wishes, it’s too dangerous. He cries himself to sleep or passes out for exhaustion many times.
He stops crying the day he realizes, this is it. This is your life. This is what you get for the choice you’ve made. That day he almost dies, again. He runs to a safe shelter and cries. He thinks of his parents. He wonders, now that the Doctors don’t want him anymore, can he go back to his family?
He hesitates for a long time, not sure what to do. Then he slips back into the madness that is Beacon Hills, unseen. He’s fourteen and it’s the night of his birthday and he finds his old house, empty, abandoned.
His parents aren’t there. Have they left? He looks for them in the town cemetery, half hoping he won’t find them. But they are there: under two grey tombstones, a third white in the middle, for Tara. Golden-colored letters recite the same sentence on the three stones: a family reunited in death.
There is no place for him.
He goes back to the Doctors. He has to, really. There is no other choice. Half a year spent risking his life, constantly being on edge has consumed him. He’d take death by mercury over this all the time.
But the Doctors don’t kill him. He’s still a very good spy, has turned himself into a wild card sort of an asset. The Doctors are too smart to waste him, when he can be unleashed and wreak havoc in so man different ways. He realizes fully his potential only then.
He’ll never be the Beast, true, but he becomes an incredibly good spy. He infiltrates packs and brings to the Doctors whoever they wish as a subject: betas, omegas… even alphas. He pretends he is thousands of different people, befriends them, makes them fall in love with him, digs himself a place inside their hearts and lures them into the trap.
It’s heartbreaking, but Theo doesn’t have a heart anymore. It’s soul shattering, but he’s pretty sure he doesn’t have a soul anymore.
And if he does, he prays he’ll never see it – he doesn’t want to know in which condition it is by now.
He’s almost fifteen when the Doctors tell him they will waste their efforts on him one last time.
He knows his chances of survival are close to nihil if he lies down on the surgery table, but it’s not like he can refuse. And he’s learned to deal with the pain.
He ends up still not being enough for the Beast, but at least now he can full-shift.
He runs away again and doesn’t know how much time he spends as a wolf.
This is the best he’s felt in years.
He’s almost forgotten he is actually a human being. He remembers the day the Doctors find him.
They have a plan, they tell him. They will go back to Beacon Hills. There is a true alpha, with a pack. True alphas are extraordinary rare, and they won’t waste this opportunity. This is a gift of destiny, they say.
Theo must infilter the pack, and bring the true alpha to them. He can have the pack for himself, if he wants, they say – they don’t know what to do with a pack of standard, normal supernaturals. If Theo helps them, he can have the pack after he brings the Doctors the true alpha.
Theo accepts. He is tired of running, of being alone, of never being able to trust someone and always having to watch his back. He wants the true alpha’s pack. He wants his powers too – the Doctors won’t be able to touch him, with the powers of a true alpha. It’s the only way out Theo has.
What is the true alpha’s name?
The Doctors don’t answer, instead passing him a manila folder. They have already prepared a page for each pack member, with names and a picture for each, but it’s up to Theo to collect information to fill the description parts. This is standard procedure for Theo, he’s used to it.
He shuffles the pages to the one he knows is for the true alpha himself.
Theo looks down at the candid shot of Scott McCall, a cruel grins spreading on his lips.
Hell is brutal.
But it is also good – Theo can tell even when he still is there, even while the ghost of his murdered sister tears his chest open and digs for her own heart.
Hell is the only chance Theo has to cleanse his soul… provided he still has it, of course.
At some point, he stops running from Tara. Because he deserves it, and he knows.
The day Liam brings Theo out of the skinwalkers’ cage and raises him from hell is probably the day Theo has felt alive the most.
Liam himself – god, look at him, he’s still so naïve, and it’s like he hasn’t learned a thing from everything Theo has done to him. Maybe he needs some more screwing over…?
But, Little Beta has a plan. And still terrible tastes in girlfriends, but, hey, Theo won’t judge. Not considering what he’s done to the last person he’s allowed to kiss him. Liam’s plan is a good plan but it doesn’t work, because, guess what, Theo has lost everything he’s stolen before hell.
Theo tries anyway, but it doesn’t end well.
The Hauptmann scares him, but what makes Theo’s stomach churn isn’t the fear Mr. Douglas might (and does) hurt him – it’s the look on Liam’s face, the moment he realizes Theo can’t help, can’t do what Liam hoped he could, when he realizes that Theo is not enough.
And god, Theo is so tired of not being enough.
He ends up helping the McCall pack, even if he’s tried to tear it apart only a few months before (and not those many, either), and for two reasons. The first is survival, as he tells Liam from inside that cell: he wants to stay alive.
The second is to prove that look on Liam’s face wrong.
He doesn’t start to save Liam’s life intentionally. He just does. But he’s honest enough with himself to admit that it becomes intentional.
Liam is strictly connected with Theo’s new life goal, the only one, beside survival. And fine, yes, maybe he’s doing it a bit out of gratitude, too.
Sue him: Liam is what keeps him human.
He startles so hard the first time he reaches that conclusion, he almost swerves off the road and ends up against a tree, but, it’s true. Liam has become his anchor.
It’s only fair that Theo helps him, save shim from ghost riders, hunters and even his own anger issues. Even if it means becoming Liam’s anchor, and shouldering the responsibility connected.
Life as an ally of the McCall pack isn’t easy but it’s new, something he’s never done. He discovers sides of himself he’s never been aware of. He’s spent all his life only thinking about himself. He would, he could have never anticipated how good it makes him feel, helping protect the pack, knowing they are safe thanks to him, having a purpose. It fills his entire being, inebriating him, makes him feel dizzy and warm.
Someone needs him, finally.
Someone wants him, asks him for help. Someone wants to hear his opinion and looks up to him and at the same time always expects (and demands) that Theo acts human.
Liam is passed out, drunk on wolfsbane-laced alcohol when Theo leans over his face and whispers: “You know, you’ve saved me from more than the one hell you think”
Liam blinks his eyes open, looks at him in confusion.
Theo smiles: “You’ve saved me from myself”.