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help me hold onto you

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Adam was sitting in a cafe, surrounding by textbooks, notebooks, flashcards, and scattered pens. Finals were just days away and he was starting to panic. He knew he knew the material—he paid attention in class, took detailed notes, and stayed up to date on assignments—but the pressure of exams still loomed over him. He wanted to end his second year of med school on a high note.

The words on the page got a bit fuzzier. Adam squinted down at them harder, willing his eyes to focus. How long had he been here? It must have only been an hour or two, Adam though. He blearily looked at his watch and found it was nearly 4pm.

He had arrived at the cafe around ten this morning.

Shit,” Adam breathed. Somehow, quantifying his time here had made the exhaustion sink in even further. His handwritten notes seemed completely illegible; the thought of reviewing another diagram impossible.

Without consciously deciding to, he folded his arms in front of him on the table and settled his head between them. He was asleep within seconds.

He woke up to to the sounds of shuffling papers. He blinked blearily to find Ronan seated across from him, squinting at different printouts before slotting them into one of Adam’s folders. He then folded up the textbooks and carefully slid them into Adam’s backpack. Then his pens and highlighters, collecting them and wiping them into the front pocket.

“Ro?” he whispered. His voice was hoarse and groggy with sleep. He sat up, stretching his arms above his head and then rolling his neck. “What are you doing here?”

Ronna just looked at him and laughed. The cafe was practically deserted, the sky darkening outside. “Rescuing you, sleeping beauty.”

“I was just taking a quick nap,” Adam defended, though he knew that was not the case. It had to be at least 5:30, if not later, based on the set sun.

“I’ve never seen you take a ‘quick nap’, Parrish. The barista said you’ve been like this for over an hour.”

“Fuck,” Adam groaned. “How’d you find me?”

“You only study at three different cafes in a 5 mile radius, idiot. It wasn’t that hard,” Ronan said, reaching out and grabbing his hand across the table. Adam squeezed it tight. “Come on, let’s get out of here. I made you dinner.”

“You did?”

“Hmm,” Ronan nodded, helping Adam stand up and grabbing his bag for him. “I’m assuming you haven’t eaten since you left this morning?”

Adam nodded, his stomach grumbling already. “I think I had a scone at some point?”

Ronan rolled his yes. “You’re such a hypocrite. Always asking me if I’ve had enough to drink and yet here you are starving yourself for fun.” They exited the cafe and slid into the BMW, which was waiting blissfully close to the exit. The short walk had already worn Adam out.

“I know,” Adam sighed, leaning back into the leather of the passenger seat. “But did you have enough to drink?” Adam turned his head and raised his eyebrow up at Ronan in an attempt at being seductive.

Ronan just swatted his head away. “Shut up, you masochistic fucker,” he laughed.

“Sorry that I want to provide for my boyfriend,” Adam teased.

“You can’t provide me anything if you’re starving and exhausted,” Ronan noted, a bit of frustration slipping into his voice. He was staring straight ahead as he drove, eyes glued to the road. “You have to take care of yourself. I mean it.”

“Ro, I’m fine—“

“No, Adam, you’re not. I know school is important to you and you want to do your best — I fucking love that about you, how ambitious you are — but you can’t be a doctor if you can’t even take care of your own health. How can someone trust you with their kid if you’re sleep-deprived and malnourished?”

Adam knew he was right, but it still hurt to hear it. The whole reason he wanted to be a doctor was to help kids. He can’t do that if he’s barely surviving himself. “I know. I’m sorry.”

“You don’t have to apologize. Just . . . fix it, okay?”

“I’l try,” Adam nodded as Ronan parked on the side of the street, outside their apartment. They sat in the car a moment longer, both just looking forward and waiting. After a minute, Ronan turned in his seat and took Adam’s hand. “I love you, Adam. I just want you to be safe, okay?”

Adam pressed a kiss to his lips in apology. “I love you, too. Thanks for looking out for me.”

“Always, you idiot,” Ronan smirked, kissing him again before getting out of the car. “Come on; I made lasagna.”

“An entire lasagna? Really?” Adam laughed as they went into the elevator.

“Well, there’s not exactly a recipe for a single-serving lasagna and I know how much you like it.”

“Mm, you’re too good for me,” Adam smiled, burrowing his face in Ronans neck as the elevator doors pinged open onto their floor.

“I know. Extra cheese and garlic, too. Just how you like it.”

“Trying to get out of kissing me later?” Adam teased, sitting down at the kitchen table as Ronan went to the oven, grabbing a foil-covered casserole dish from inside. He scooped a large square of pasta onto a plate and went to pour a glass of water for him.

“Ha ha,” Ronan scoffed. “The garlic jokes got old, like, two years ago, Adam.”

“They’ll never get old. Just like you.”

Ronan put his hand against his heart dramatically. “Ouch, Parrish. You know that’s a touchy subject.” He was laughing but Adam knew there was some truth to it. They still hadn’t decided anything concrete about their future, though Adam was pretty set on never leaving Ronan’s side.

Adam got up from his chair and circled his arms around Ronan, “I’ll show you a touchy subject,” he whispered in his ear.

“The fuck is with these shitty jokes, tonight?” Ronan laughed.

“A mix of sleep deprivation, dehydration, and bit of horniness?” Adam answered, his nose touching Ronan’s.

The vampire rolled his eyes before pressing their lips together briefly. “Eat your fucking lasagna. Drink a glass of water. And then we can deal with the third thing.”

Adam did as he was told.