*The following fanfiction was written by Stacey Lannigan and can be found on the AO3 website, as well as on Wattpad*
/Whilst he would never go into detail about what his imagination created in regards to scenarios involving himself and a certain genetic Chimera, standing in front of a currently armed Theo Raeken who had the gun pointing straight at him was never one of them…/
“Why are we doing this?” Liam asked, his brow furrowing as he cast a sideways glance at Theo who smiled and turned his head to look back at him as they walked.
“I told you why we’re doing this less than an hour ago: because it’s your birthday and this is your gift from me and party combined.” He started, shaking his head in disbelief. “I know you’re a year older and all but you can’t use the bad memory excuse just yet.”
“Shut up.” Liam said although his tone was a lot softer than he’d intended it to be. His eyes remained fixed on Theo’s face even as the other turned his own gaze away to look ahead. Theo smiling – genuinely smiling – was a sight which Liam was still getting used to seeing and it was one which, though he’d never admit it, he loved to see. “Besides I thought birthdays were the one day in the year where people had to do whatever you wanted, what if I didn’t want to play laser-tag?”
“No, that’s called being spoiled and if you didn’t want to play laser-tag then we wouldn’t be here having this conversation.” Theo replied in a matter-of-fact tone.
“You dragged me into your truck!” Liam reminded him, his voice raising.
“Directed you toward.” Theo corrected him, waving a hand to dismiss his accusation.
“Theo.” Liam sighed, growing irritated although for the specific reason why he didn’t know.
“Do you know what birthdays are?” Theo asked but before Liam could answer, he continued to speak. “They are the one day in the year where you should enjoy yourself and not have to worry about what’s going on or will go on the other 324 days of the year.” There was something in Theo’s expression that rendered Liam silent and it took him a moment to realise that they had both stopped walking and were standing in the middle of the corridor – the only sound coming from the speakers playing an unfamiliar techno song and the distant voices of Mason, Corey and Nolan coming from further down the corridor. “So enjoy yourself.” Theo commanded him after a moment before continuing to walk again.
“You know people don’t just immediately enjoy themselves because they’re ordered to.” Liam pointed out as he hurried to follow Theo once again but Theo simply ignored his statement, leading him into a room where Liam found Mason, Corey, Nolan and Alec standing together and talking. The conversation died when he and Theo entered the room and Mason looked from Liam to Theo and back to Liam once more.
“What took you guys so long?”
“Liam refuses to get out of bed unless he is physically dragged from it.” Theo replied simply and Liam watched as Mason turned quickly to look at Corey, the two of them sharing a knowing look that made Liam wary about what the both of them were thinking. Alec was smirking slightly and Nolan was staring between him and Theo with his mouth slightly open, dropping his gaze when Liam looked at him with a hardening gaze.
“That isn’t how it sounds!” He announced to the group suddenly, only now just aware of what kind of assumptions could have been sparked by that statement.
“Sure.” Alec nodded, although he didn’t look as though he believed Liam at all.
“I didn’t even know what was going on until we were halfway here in the truck.” Liam argued, shooting a glare at Theo before looking toward the others. “I didn’t want to do anything for my birthday.”
“And this is a conversation we’ve already had.” Theo interjected before any of them could speak. “It’s your birthday party, consider it a surprise one if it makes you feel any better.” With that he picked up one of the vests and threw it toward Liam who caught it easily.
“I can’t believe you managed to talk me into this…” Liam said, shaking his head in disbelief before pulling the vest on over his head and clasping the clips so that it was secured over his chest. His eyes widened as he looked up again to see Theo standing poised with his gun pointing straight at Liam’s face.
“ What are you doing ?” Liam asked, the urgency in his tone causing his voice to rise in pitch and he cleared his throat hastily, his widened eyes narrowing as he glared at the older boy. “Stop pointing that gun at my face.” He snapped, edging away from it warily.
“At least it’s not a real gun.” Mason pointed out optimistically and Liam turned to see him pulling on his own vest. Nolan and Alec were geared up as well and Corey was slipping the vest over his head and running his fingers over the lights on the front of it.
“What is this?” He asked curiously, confusion twisting his facial features as he looked up at them for an explanation.
“It’s your team colour.” Alec explained, “The pack that I was a part of used to be allied to another, we used to spend a lot of time with them, go on outings, spend weekends doing activities together–”
“It sounds like you were a part of the BSA.” Theo scoffed and Liam shot him a glare, although he didn’t seem phased by it at all.
“But we all have different colours.” Corey stated, frowning, and looking around at the group for a second time.
“I don’t think we’re playing in teams…” Nolan contributed nervously, glancing around as well. Liam found it ironic that despite how Nolan was among the ones here who had once held a real weapon, he didn’t seem too comfortable about holding the harmless laser gun. Liam wondered briefly what had prompted Nolan to come along.
“We’re not.” Theo confirmed, “Real world scenario, the last man standing is the winner.”
“No one is actually shooting anyone, right?” Corey asked, sounding almost as nervous as Nolan now and looking at Mason quickly.
“Not technically…” Mason replied and then paused for a moment to think of something else to say when his initial response only seemed to increase his level of concern. “It doesn’t hurt. That light on your vest goes out, that’s all. It’s completely safe.” He added, reaching out to slip his arm around Corey’s waist. Corey returned his reassuring smile with a slightly more nervous one before planting a kiss on his lips.
“It’s practice for reality, as well as a chance to have fun.” Theo informed them. “Next time, we’re going paint-balling and that does hurt but don’t worry, we heal fast so there’s nothing to be concerned about.” Theo added, looking over at Corey with a mischievous glint in his eyes that Liam knew was supposed to set Corey even more on edge than he already was. Theo’s eyes then turned to Mason after a moment, and then to Nolan, “You two, on the other hand…” He started but Liam silenced him with a warning growl.
“Come on, guys, this is supposed to be fun.” Mason cut in, “Liam, it’s your birthday! Let’s just have one day where there’s nothing to worry about and just have fun…?” Mason added, a hint of sadness in his tone despite how hopeful he looked.
“ Okay , okay.” Liam sighed, raising his hands as though surrendering, “So, let’s go and have fun.”
There is a mental list which exists in the privacy of Liam’s mind. It is a list of things which he vows never to tell Theo Raeken, no matter the circumstance, and that Theo is nearly always right is at the top of that list.
Theo had told him during his persuasive speech in his truck on the journey to the centre that participating in a game of laser tag – given that it is similar to the video games Liam plays daily – may even be a cathartic experience. Upon entering the arena, Liam wondered how much Mason had needed to pay to make sure that it was only six of them playing laser-tag and no one else – the worrying thought was eventually pushed out of his mind when the buzzer sounded from the speakers overhead and the game began.
Mason and Nolan were at a severe disadvantage, Liam knew, due to the two of them being human and having none of the perks which he, Theo, Corey and Alec had. However, Corey was able to become invisible and that gave him the greatest advantage. Liam only hoped that he at least played somewhat fairly. The arena was almost like a maze, walls here and there, directing and blocking each of them the sound of the guns firing could be heard from every direction once all of them had begun to get their bearings and Liam actually found that he was genuinely enjoying himself. An odd emotion to be experiencing considering Mason had nearly ‘shot’ him three times, he’d walked into several walls in an attempt to dodge or navigate his way around after the smoke began to fill the room, making it difficult to see clearly. He wasn’t sure how long had past until things seemed oddly quiet and he sensed himself being watched although he did not know by who.
Throughout the game, Liam relied a lot on his sense of smell and ability to hear even the heart beats of the others – using his abilities to guide him towards his opponents and also to help warn him when someone was approaching. However, his particularly keen sense of smell was rendered useless when the scents in the room began to mix and the scent of each of them came from every direction, making it hard to pinpoint a specific location. After a while, he managed to shoot Nolan who had almost dropped his gun when seeing Liam jump out on him from behind a wall – having been paying too much attention to looking behind him. Not long after, somewhere to his left, he heard Mason and Corey shooting one another. Mason’s triumphant laugh told Liam that Corey had been the one to ‘die’. Silence followed for quite some time, finally broken by the sound of firing again and Theo cursing.
Liam had been sure that Theo had been ‘killed’ then and he grinned, edging along a wall and peeking out from behind it. He could hear Mason whispering somewhere ahead now and he was sure that Corey had stayed in the arena even if only to stay by Mason. Before he had managed to find Mason, however, Alec appeared out of the smoke so suddenly that Liam had been genuinely surprised to see him and had hesitated in pulling the trigger of his own gun.
Alec shot twice. The first Liam had been able to duck to avoid and the second after Alec had taken cover behind a wall, hidden from sight once more. The second had just been about to hit Liam too, given Alec had luckily happened to fire in the direction that Liam had been moving towards in his attempt to doge the first shot.
It would have hit him too, if he hadn’t been pulled left again by… Theo.
Of course it was Theo, Liam thought to himself as he stumbled backwards. It always was Theo saving him from the line of fire, regardless if the shots were real or even fake apparently. When pulling Liam out of Alec’s line of fire he had also shot in the other wolfs direction and Liam was surprised and above all confused as to what the Chimera was doing, worrying for a moment that there was something wrong.
“Theo! You know you’re not supposed to SAVE people during laser-tag? Unless they’re on your team… What are you doing?” The confusion was evident in his voice and his eyes widened, his body freezing, when Theo’s hand covered his mouth in a successful attempt at shutting him up. Pinned against the wall with Theo’s hand over his mouth and Theo’s sincere expression, Liam could feel his cheeks growing hot again as he noticed just how close the two of them were and his heart beat rapidly as panic and confusion rose in his chest. “What are you doing…?” He asked again in a hushed whisper when Theo’s hand had finally fallen away.
“Saving your ass, like usual.” Theo smirked, his eyes meeting Liam’s in an even stare and boring into them. A voice in Liam’s mind told him that he should feel uncomfortable because when Theo did that it felt as though he could see into Liam’s very soul… Liam felt naked until Theo’s stare which – thankfully – he was not although that didn’t stop him from blushing. He tried to look away from Theo but the intensity of his stare made it hard.
“But I’m not in danger.” Liam said, surprised at how quiet his own voice sounded and he imagined Mason or Alec rounding the corner to find them any minute now, Liam backed into the corner and pressed up against the wall with Theo blocking his way escape. “Why didn’t you shoot me?”
“Why haven’t you shot me yet?” Theo asked, arching a brow. His lips tugged up again into a smirk as he waited for Liam to respond but Liam was still trying to think of an answer.
“I don’t know.” He admitted finally, managing to pull his gaze away from Theo’s eyes to glance down at the gun in his hand, pointing uselessly at the floor, just like Theo’s was.
“At least you’re enjoying your birthday.” Liam looked up again, taken aback but the look on Theo’s face. He was smiling again but this was the widest smile Liam had ever seen him give. Completely genuine and the chemo-signals which Liam could pick up from him now only provided further evidence hat Theo was genuinely… overjoyed. Nonplussed, Liam nodded slowly in confirmation.
“Yeah… Yeah, I am.” Was it just his imagination or was Theo’s face closer to him now than it had been a few moments ago? It definitely looked as though it was drawing closer and Theo’s lips were inches away from his own.
Wait, Liam thought to himself, his breath catching, why was he looking at Theory’s lips. More importantly, why was he thinking of Theo’s lips and why wasn’t he stopping what was so clearly going to happen in 3…
“Happy Birthday, Liam.”
Time seemed to stop after that. Everything seemed to stop as Theo’s lips pressed gently against his own. Well, gently at first… As soon as Liam leaned into it, Theo deepened the kiss considerably. Liam had never felt so… torn. His heart felt as though it had stopped although he could feel and hear it pounding relentlessly in his chest; his mind was racing and yet he couldn’t think and it felt as though there was no air to breathe even though he was still breathing – albeit it was more like panting now, between kisses. The make out session between the two of them seemed to last forever, however Liam still felt it was too soon for Theo to be pulling away when he did.
“Theo…” Liam breathed after several long minutes of trying to regain control over his breathing and heartbeat. He was met with silence and lifted his gaze to Theo’s face, surprised to see that Theo’s eyes were still closed. Another minute or so passed before Theo opened his eyes and Liam wondered how long they had actually been standing there. It felt like forever but no one had even interrupted them, either on purpose or by accident. “Theo?” Liam cocked his head slightly, a cease forming between his brows as he grew concerned at the Chimera’s lack of movement or speaking. Theo simply looked at him, blinking slowly as the smile faded from his face and his expression became unreadable for a moment.
He tried to ignore how his stomach was doing slips and his mind was racing. Theo Raeken had just kissed him. He had just been kissed by Theo Raeken and it had been like nothing he had ever imagined. Of course, whilst he would never go into detail about what his imagination created in regards to scenarios involving himself and a certain genetic Chimera, standing in front of a currently armed Theo Raeken who had the gun pointing straight at him was never one of them…
Theo’s smile grew into a mischievous grin and before Liam could even think about how to react, there was a sudden burst of the comical ‘pews’ breaking the silence which had fallen between them as Theo pulled the trigger.
“Hey!” Liam yelped, looking down at his vest – on which the light had gone out – and then up at Theo, his mouth hanging open in surprise. He pretended to be offended but Theo could see right through him.
“Sorry birthday boy.” He chuckled and although Liam opened his mouth again, this time to argue, he was silenced as Theo leaned in to kiss him once more, a quick peck on the lips which still managed to make Liam’s mind lose all train of thought.
Theo pulled back and Liam could see that he was trying to suppress the grin that was growing on his face once again. The Chimera’s eyes met his own once more to and then Theo turned to walk about without saying anything more, leaving Liam standing alone in the corner with his laser gun still gripped loosely in his hand and hanging loosely at his side.