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i will try to fix you

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Kongpob was helping the third years clean up the first year meeting space when the gym doors were suddenly slammed open. “Kong!” he heard Aim shout, sounding frantic. Getting to his feet, he turned to see what had his friend in such a panic. What he was met with was something out of his nightmares.

Pete was underneath Aim’s arm, still dressed in his school uniform. He was completely soaked to the bone from the rain, hair matted to his forehead and clothes sticking to his body. All of that alone was enough to send Kongpob into a frenzy, but what had him running to his side was the way his eyes were scrunched together as though he was about to break into tears at any moment.

“N’Pete,” he said, voice surprisingly calm for how not calm he felt. For Pete’s sake, he put his own feelings aside. “What are you doing here? Did something happen?” When he didn’t respond, only looked to his shoes to avoid meeting Kongpob’s eyes, he grabbed his arms. “Pete? Talk to me.”

“He hasn’t said a word since I found him outside the building without an umbrella,” Aim said. “I didn’t know what to do, but I figured he came to see you. So I brought him here.”

Shaking him a little, Kongpob said, a bit more desperately, “N’Pete, I just want to know what’s wrong. Won’t you tell me? You can tell P’ anything, you know that.”

Kongpob couldn’t say he was surprised when Pete’s reserves crumbled and he let out a loud sob. He was there to catch him when he fell forward against his chest. He ignored how wet he was, more focused on rubbing his hands over his back. “It’s okay,” he said quietly. “Everything’s okay. P’ is here.”

Arthit had a scolding on his tongue as soon as he heard the front door to his shared apartment open. Kongpob was home nearly an hour later than he said he would be, and he hadn’t even bothered to answer any of Arthit’s texts. But whatever he was about to say disappeared from his mind as soon as he looked to the door.

Kongpob was dragging a very upset, very wet Pete into their room. There were so many things he wanted to ask – like why Pete was anywhere near campus or the reason behind his red rimmed eyes – but when he saw how distraught his boyfriend looked, he felt it better not to say anything.

Pete’s head was ducked in shame, and Arthit could hear his harsh sniffles from across the room. He watched as Kongpob grabbed a spare towel as well as a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants. “Why don’t you go shower, yeah? You’ll feel better once you’re dry.”

Pete nodded numbly, sparing only a quick glance in Arthit’s direction before retreating into the bathroom. If he or Kongpob heard the muffled cries on the other side of the door, neither of them mentioned them.

Now on their own, Arthit focused on Kongpob. As soon as Pete had gone into the bathroom, his face had fallen into a tired frown. Arthit approached him silently, wrapping him into a hug. It hurt how easily Kongpob sagged against him.

“Hi,” he said, face buried in his shoulder. “Sorry for being late. I know we were supposed to get dinner tonight. I’ll make it up to you.”

“Shut up, Kongpob.” His words lacked their usual fire, but that was only because he could see just how troubled Kongpob was. He’d come to learn, after his initial jealousy, just how much his boyfriend cared for his junior. Seeing him so upset couldn’t have been easy.

They didn’t say anything after that. Arthit just continued to hold him. It seemed that the night was far from over, and before things got even worse, he’d show Kongpob that he would be there with him through it all. It was just what a good boyfriend did.

“I’m sorry,” Pete whispered. His voice was cracked from all of the crying, his throat sore.

“That’s the fifth time you’ve apologized,” Arthit said, tone soft. They were seated across from each other on the bed, Arthit running a towel through Pete’s damp hair. “And this is the fifth time I’ll tell you that there’s no reason for you to.”

Even if that were the case, Pete still felt guilty. He had intruded on his and Kongpob’s time together, and he was currently in Kongpob’s – Arthit’s boyfriend’s – clothes. It couldn’t have been how he’d seen his evening going, and Pete genuinely felt bad.

But he hadn’t known what else to do. He couldn’t go home. It was impossible to face his mother when he felt so dirty. Going to see Tin was out of the question. So this was the only place he felt he could go. He felt safe here.

“He’s worried about you,” Arthit said, catching Pete’s attention. “He holds himself together oddly well, but he’s worried. And so am I.” Throwing the towel to the side, he fixed Pete with a look. He couldn’t exactly read the emotions behind it, but it seemed to be a serious yet kind one. “We’re here to listen to whatever you want to say. So when he comes back, please tell us. So that we can help.”

When Kongpob had gone down to the corner store to get something warm to eat, Pete had been hesitant to let him go. While he’d gotten to know Arthit over the past year, he’d never been left alone with him. He wasn’t a bad person, but he was certainly an intimidating one. Hearing him sound so sincere however, Pete realized that he had no reason to worry.

He nodded, giving him the biggest smile he could manage. He had come here because he knew he’d have Kongpob to turn to. Now, he had Arthit too. It soothed his aching heart the littlest bit.

As soon as Kongpob returned, he’d tell them everything that had happened. He just hoped they’d be able to understand him through the tears he was most definitely going to shed.

“I could kill him,” Kongpob whispered as he stared up from the floor to the ceiling. He’d given Pete his spot in bed, and he hadn’t even let Arthit offer him his own. He’d dropped a pillow to the ground, and that had been that.

Arthit rolled onto his side to look over the edge of the bed. “I wouldn’t blame you if you did,” he said, voice hushed to not wake Pete. After all the crying he’d done, he had passed out as soon as he laid down. Neither of them wanted to risk waking him, not after the night he’d had. “But that won’t solve anything.”

Kongpob curled his fingers into his palms, squeezing hard. It was all he could do to keep himself from screaming. When he’d come back, they’d barely dug into their food before Pete suddenly blurted out, “I had a boyfriend.” It was abrupt, unexpected, but neither he or Arthit said anything. From there, Pete had gone on to tell them a long winded story about how he had met this guy and all of the events that led up to that night.

He’d cried through most of it, getting particularly choked up when he mentioned camera and recording, and it took all of his restraint to not track this asshole down then and there. Instead, he hugged Pete until he cried all the tears he had in him, whispering the promise of fixing everything.

But no matter how badly he wanted to, there wasn’t much he could do to fix this. Pete didn’t want to go to the authorities. Telling his mother wasn’t a possibility. He’d offered to confront this Trump kid himself, but Pete had hurriedly told him not to. He was worrying about Kongpob rather than himself, just like always. Which was why Kongpob would worry about him enough for the both of them.

“Kong,” Arthit said. “You need to relax. Freaking out isn’t going to do anything. It’s especially not going to make N’Pete feel any better.” Reaching over the bed, he took hold of Kongpob’s hand. “Just calm down.”

“How can I?” he asked. “After what that … that asshole did to him? How could anyone do something like that? To Pete?” Pete was everything good about the world. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body. So many times people had used that against him, and Kongpob was so tired of it.

“I know,” Arthit whispered, raising his hand to his lips, kissing his knuckles. “I know. But he’s going to be fine. He has you.”

“And you,” Kongpob added, looking up at his boyfriend. He was lucky to have someone as understanding as Arthit to stand beside him through all of this. “We’ll help him.”

Arthit laughed breathily. “When did we adopt a child?”

“Him and I are a package deal. You’re dating me, so you get him too. Is that a problem?”

Another kiss, longer this time, was pressed to his fingers. “Not at all.”