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For Your Protection

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Forth glared over the top of his laptop at his boyfriend, who was still studying. He had been studying for…Forth paused to count again. Yeah, five hours. Without a break. Beam had only eaten a snack because Forth had put it next to him and literally stuck his hand into the bowl of mixed nuts.

This had been going on for three days and Forth was sick and tired of it. Squirming, he wondered what would happen if he put Beam's hand on some other nuts, but he suspected he didn't want to know the answer to that. It would probably just depress him.

Hell, he wasn't sure if Beam was even sleeping, because he was studying when Forth went to sleep and again when he woke up.

Closing his laptop, Forth grabbed his phone and texted Ming.

What the fuck is up with them?

No idea. I don't think Kit has even looked up in the last two hours.

Did Pha and Yo have any ideas?

Nope, Ming replied. Pha said there was no special test coming up and their grades have been fine.

"Fuck," Forth said, dropping his phone on the bed next to him. Even that didn't get Beam's attention. "You need to stop and eat dinner."

Beam turned the page, scratching the back of his head and then scribbling some notes in the margin.


Beam's head shot up. "What?" He looked around wildly before finally settling his gaze on Forth. "What's wrong?"

"I said you need to eat dinner."

Beam's eyes strayed back to the pages in front of him. "Oh, I'm not hungry. I'll eat something later."

"Bullshit!" Forth scooted forward to sit on the edge of the bed. "I've been here almost all of the past three days. You've barely eaten and the only reason you've had anything to drink is because I keep refilling your water bottle!"

Beam glanced at the water and then back. "Oh, thanks for that. I didn't notice. But I'm really not that hungry."

"Have you been sleeping? Because I haven't seen it and I'm here in your damn bed."

"Yeah, I'm sleeping." Beam was giving Forth an odd look now.

"I brought you lunch, which you didn't eat."

"Well, I didn't ask you to get me lunch," Beam said, starting to sound irritated. "You didn't have to do that."

"Of course I did!"

"What? You're my mother now?"

Forth smacked his hand on the bed with an unsatisfying thud, then stood up to pace back and forth. "I thought I was your boyfriend."

"You are. I don't get what your problem is." Crossing his arms, Beam glared at him.

"My problem is that I'm tired of sitting here waiting for you to collapse because you're studying too hard."

"What the hell?" Beam glared at him. "It was your idea."

Forth shook his head slowly in confusion.

"You and Ming. The other night when the four of us were drinking in Kit's room."

"I remember going there but I don't remember anything about suggesting you and Kit kill yourselves with overwork."

Rolling his eyes, Beam said, "The two of you started betting on who would get a higher score on the final exams, me or Kit."

"We…what?" Forth sat down rather abruptly on the bed.

"And as stupid as it was, we decided to uphold your honor, so we've been studying like mad for our exams." Beam sighed. "Now that you've broken my concentration, I guess I can sleep for a while."

Forth sat and stared as Beam began preparing for bed as if nothing was wrong. It took a bit for Forth's brain to catch up. "You're overworking like this because Ming and I made a bet?" He wasn't quite yelling. Not quite.

Beam looked over his shoulder, frowning. "What's the big deal?"

Standing, Forth stepped up behind his boyfriend and put his arms around his chest, pulling him close.

"Forth, what—"

"First of all, we were drunk. Second…we were drunk. And third, rather than killing yourself over a stupid fucking bet, you should have kicked me out of bed for a week."

Beam craned his head around to stare at him.

Forth stepped back, rubbing his face. "Shit. I…" He took a breath, staring down at the floor. "I love you. I hate seeing you hurt, okay? And knowing it's my fault is the worst."

And then Beam was there, putting his arms around Forth and pulling him close. "Hey, it's not that big a deal and it's not your fault. Kit and I can be ridiculously competitive even without you guys egging us on."

"But I should never—"

Beam stopped him with a kiss, pushing him backward until he was sitting on the bed. "I said it's not your fault."

Forth grabbed Beam's shoulders and pulled him onto the bed, kissing him fiercely until he felt Beam melt against him. Holding him close, Forth spoke into his ear. "Let me take care of you."

Beam scowled against his cheek. "I'm—"

"Yeah, I know, you're not a wimp or whatever stupid shit you were going to say. I didn't say you were." Forth rubbed his cheek against Beam's. "I need to take care of you. Especially since you suck at taking care of yourself."

Beam huffed, but couldn't exactly argue with that fact.


With a sigh, Beam nodded. "Fine. But none of the sappy shit like Pha does for Yo."

Forth chuckled. "Got it."

"No flowers and chocolates that spell out 'I love you'."

"I'll make a note of that."

Beam pulled back to glare at him. "You're making fun of me."

"Yep." Forth grinned.

Beam rolled his eyes. "I don't know why I put up with you."

Laughing, Forth yanked him down until they were cuddling. Not that he'd ever admit it was cuddling. There was probably some super manly word to describe it, which is totally what he would use if asked.

But whatever it was, it felt nice to have Beam's head tucked against his chest and their legs tangled together. And it only took a minute before Beam's breathing slowed and he dropped off to sleep.

Forth sighed, trying to wiggle into a slightly more comfortable position. Ah well, eventually he'd wake Beam up, feed him, and move them properly onto the bed. For now…he yawned. Might as well enjoy it.

He kissed the top of Beam's head and closed his eyes.