Adam didn’t mean to scry during class, but the small light beside his laptop’s camera was so bright, and he was so tired, and the drone of his teacher summarizing last night’s reading was just so boring, and before he knew it he was falling away from the physical world. He wasn’t tied to the ley line anymore, not in the way he had been in high school as Cabsewater’s magician, but when he let his mind wander between worlds like this he could still feel the steady thrum of it through his whole being, settling in time with his heartbeat. It was comfortingly familiar, and even as a part of him complained that he needed to pay attention to the lecture, he couldn’t bring himself to drag his mind away from the gentle drifting hum.
He wasn’t looking for anything in particular, so he didn’t see much-- a glimpse of Opal running through the forest, a warm, loving feeling that reminded him of the way Ronan felt, but turned sideways-- that was Declan, he realized distantly, probably spending time with Jordan. There were no hints of demons, of world-ending catastrophes (at least, none that were magical ), and so he just let his mind wander through the comforting emptiness.
When he came back to himself with a jolt, he didn’t at first understand why. The world registered itself in pieces: the absence of his camera light, the darkened laptop screen, a hand on his shoulder, a body pressed against his side.
There was someone cursing at him in a fond sort of way, “C’mon, shithead, are you back yet?” And this was when he put everything together and realized that Ronan was sitting next to him on the floor, and his class was over, and he had spent nearly an hour scrying instead of paying attention to the lecture.
“Fuck.” He leaned heavily into Ronan’s side.
“There he is.” Ronan sounded half-annoyed, half-concerned in that particular way that reminded Adam of Gansey. “Did you see anything interesting or were you just being creepy to be creepy?”
“I missed my class.” Adam was aware this wasn’t quite an answer to Ronan’s question, but he was having trouble remembering how to form concrete thoughts and words so soon after existing in the nebulous landscape that he did when scrying. Ronan, long since used to this sort of thing, seemed to understand anyway.
“You zoned out so hard you just started scrying?” Adam nodded. “Fuck’s sake, Parrish, you know that’s dangerous.” Adam didn’t respond to this, because he didn’t quite know how to express that yes, obviously he knew it was dangerous to scry alone, especially for so long, but he had done it on accident. At least some of this must have come across in his expression, though, because Ronan softened, drawing him a little closer. “How much sleep did you get last night?”
“Didn’t what?” Adam didn’t respond to this because he knew that Ronan would not like the answer. “ Adam. ” Ronan clearly was not going to let it slide. “Did you not sleep at all last night? You said you were coming to bed right after me.”
“Yeah, and then I realized that I had barely brushed on utilitarianism in my ethics paper, and so I had to go back and add it in, and then I had to edit all the other sections down before I turned it in so I could make sure I didn’t go over word count,” he shrugged, “and then it was morning, and it didn’t seem worth it to sleep for an hour or two before this 8 am, so I just didn’t.”
He couldn’t see Ronan’s face the way they were sitting, but he swore he could feel the stare leveled at him nonetheless.
“You just decided not to sleep.”
“It’s not like I haven’t pulled all nighters before. I can handle it.” Ronan sighed deeply, this being an argument they had had several dozen times, with each of them on either side. Neither of them were very good at regulating their sleep schedules or taking care of themselves in general, but they made up for it the past couple years largely by calling one another out on their bullshit.
The additional presence of the other Lynch brothers and the Hennessy’s all lumped together under one roof for the past several weeks had lessened this routine a little, as Ronan had the extra help around the farm and Adam had more people to remind him to take breaks from studying every once in a while, but the introduction of midterms had thrown Adam back into old habits of ignoring his body’s needs if it meant an extra hour to get an assignment exactly right. Clearly, though, the additional chaos of trying to take his courses online had proved too much for him to handle without something giving, even if he would never admit it.
“Come on,” Ronan stood up without warning, pulling Adam up with him. “We’re going to bed.” His tone allowed for no argument, but Adam put up the token ones anyway as he was tugged up the stairs.
“I have another class at eleven, I’ll be useless if I’ve just woken up form a nap, I might as well just stay up until then.”
“That’s intro to criminal law, right?” Adam nodded. “That professor has been recording the lectures since you guys went online. You can miss it.”
“I can’t just--” They reached the door of the bedroom, and Ronan, still holding onto Adam’s hand, turned to face him.
“If I have to, I’ll log on without the camera so the professor thinks you’re there and just not saying anything. I’ll even take notes, but you’ve been up for over twenty-four hours, and you’re accidentally scrying into your webcam. You’re taking a nap.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“I will, if that’s what you need.” Ronan’s voice was so gentle, so understanding, and Adam was overcome with a rush of emotion at Ronan, who would rather be caught dead than attending class, let alone taking notes, offering to do such a thing for him.
“Thank you. But it’’ll be okay. Like you said, he records them anyway.” Adam hated watching the recordings and taking notes from that, but he would never ask Ronan to do something he hated so much, even if he was offering. “Stay with me instead?”
Ronan’s face split itself into a smile, a small, delicate thing.
“Yeah, I can do that.”
They were both in sweatpants already, so getting ready was only a matter of closing the curtains, of turning down the blankets, of crawling onto the mattress and curling around one another, Adam’s head on Ronan’s chest, an arm slung across Ronan’s waist, Ronan’s hand tangling itself in Adam’s hair.
Adam thought it would take him a while to fall asleep, as it often did, but as tired as he was and listening to the steady rhythm of Ronan’s heartbeat, he was out before he even realized he was drifting off.
When he next came aware, it was to voices-- Ronan’s and Declan’s, quiet, so as not to wake him up.
“Is he feeling alright?” Declan asked. Ronan’s hand smoothed through his hair, and between that and Adam not fully being awake, he wasn’t bothered about being the subject of conversation.
“Got busy with class, forgot to take care of himself. He’ll be okay.” Declan hummed in acknowledgement.
“Jordan and I are making a stir fry for lunch, if you would like any.” Ronan continued to stroke Adam’s hair.
“Save some? We’ll eat when he gets up.”
Nothing else was said after that, and Adam assumed Declan had left. He didn’t really care, not with Ronan still stroking through his curls like that, and especially not when Ronan started to hum an old lullaby, so softly Adam could barely hear it.
He drifted again, feeling safe, and cared for, and so, so loved.