Jim hated the first day of school, making his way down the familiar corridors towards his locker. He'd literally grabbed all the books he needed for his classes when he left home that morning and his bag was digging into his shoulders. Jim stopped outside his locker, pulling out his timetable to check when and where his classes were. The best thing about turning seventeen? At least he could study the subjects he wanted to study, and that meant that he got a lot more free time between classes. Jim's eyes flickered over the timetable lazily, he'd already memorised most of it. Today he only had three classes, English Literature, Maths and Geography. These spread over the next week with his History and IT classes equally filling his time. Jim was glad when he was allowed to take on extra classes; his teachers knew he was clever even if he hadn't always put in the effort which was expected of him.

Jim almost hadn't noticed the footsteps that were coming up behind him and he had barely seconds to react before he felt a strong set of hands shoving him hard, face first, into the lockers in front of him. Jim gasped slightly, the impact of hitting the lockers winding him slightly. He closed his eyes momentarily, trying to regain his focus before he was spun around to face the group of boys in front of him. Jim stared at the school's football team, who had beaten him up at various intervals through his time at high school; this hadn't changed now they had entered into the sixth form.

"Hello Alex," Jim said politely, looking straight at the person who had slammed him against the locker and who was currently holding him in place.

"Hello Jiminy," Alex replied, a smirk on his face. Jiminy, the nickname the popular guys had given Jim when they had started high school. Of course Jim hated it, but there wasn't much he could do. It wasn't like he had any friends who would stick up for him and even if there were, it wasn't like they were going to go against the seven boys currently watching what was going on.

"Good summer Jiminy?" Alex asked, not that he cared. Alex was clearly making small talk while he decided what the best way to beat on Jim on the first day of term was. Jim shrugged; he wasn't in the mood for talking, especially when he knew exactly what was coming. It took less than thirty seconds for Alex to let Jim go, step back and forcefully punch Jim in the face. Jim staggered sideways, only just keeping his balance before standing back up straight and looking angrily at Alex.

"What was that fucking for?" Jim burst out angrily before realising his mistake; that was exactly the type of reaction that Alex had wanted.

Alex laughed but didn't reply turning and looking like he was going to walk away. Jim relaxed slightly, turning slightly to go back to his locker. Second mistake. Jim didn't even have time to protect himself before falling to the floor as he felt the full force of Alex's punch, grazing his cheek slightly and seeing spots of blood dripping down onto the floor.

"Hey!" An angry, familiar voice sounded from behind Jim. "Leave him alone, what's he ever done to you?"

"Nothing, Moran," Alex replied calmly, a hint of laughter in his voice. "Oh wait! He's a nerd. He showed us all up in class. This is just payback."

"Well leave him the fuck alone, otherwise you'll have me to answer too," Sebastian's voice was hard, disapproving of what his football team had done.

"Whatever you say captain," Alex replied sarcastically before moving away with the rest of the team who had followed Alex to watch him beat Jim up on the first day of the new term. Jim sighed, pushing himself up and turning towards his locker, not looking in Sebastian's direction as he sorted out his stuff.

"Jim, are you alright?" Sebastian asked calmly, leaning against the locker next to Jim's and studying him.

"I'm fine," Jim told him. "Now leave me alone."

Sebastian smiled slightly, moving away from the locker and standing behind Jim for a few moments before wrapping his arms around Jim's waist. "Are you okay, kitten?" Sebastian murmured quietly into his ear and kissing Jim's neck gently. Jim couldn't help but smile.

"Of course I am, tiger," Jim replied softly, turning and wrapping his arms Sebastian's neck and giving him a deep, passionate kiss before pulling away.

"Aww, I was enjoying that Moriarty," Sebastian teased, giving Jim his usual grin as he looked down at the smaller boy.

"Well tough, Moran," Jim replied just as teasingly. "I have to get to class."

Sebastian didn't reply, his hand moving to gently press against the cut on Jim's cheek. "Let me take you to the nurse first?" Sebastian asked after a few seconds. "Let her take a look at that for you?"

"Sebastian, I'm going to be late," Jim argued. "And so are you."

"I don't care," Sebastian replied, kissing Jim's cheek gently. "I just want to make sure you are alright before you go to class. And we both know your teachers won't care, you could get away with anything."

Jim smiled slightly. He enjoyed having Sebastian around, someone who actually bothered to care for the small things that most people missed. Like the bruises which often coloured Jim's skin after a particularly bad evening at home with his father. "Alright," Jim murmured. "Just this once."

Sebastian took Jim's hand, leading him towards the nurse's office without another word, glad that Jim had agreed to the suggestion without much of an argument. Sebastian allowed their hands to swing gently as they walked, only letting go once they were at the office and the nurse checked the cut on Jim's cheek before putting a few strips on it so that it would heal. Jim slipped out of the office as quickly as he could, knowing that Sebastian would follow him. Jim felt Sebastian at his side after a few seconds, taking his hand again and walking with him to his first class. Sebastian turned, spinning Jim around outside the classroom door before wrapping his arms around Jim and pulling him close.

"You look after yourself during class, alright kitten?" Sebastian said softly.

"You know I always do," Jim replied.

Sebastian couldn't help but smile before leaning down and placing a gentle kiss on Jim's lips before turning and aiming towards his own close. Sebastian couldn't help but look over his shoulder as he went down the corridor, giving Jim a wide grin before finally turning the corner and disappearing out of sight. Jim sighed, turning and vanished into his own classroom. He knew Sebastian would be right, the teacher barely noticed him enter the classroom as he slipped into his seat at the back of the room. He wasn't particularly interested in this class. Geography. It was too easy, for Jim at least. His memory exceptional when it came to remembering places and locations. Occasionally he paid attention long enough to hear a useful piece of information, but apart from that the class was useless to him. Jim gazed boredly out of the window, now and then looking down at the scrap of paper he had absently doodled on. He was glad when the bell rung and he could escape the confines of the classroom, finding Sebastian leaning against the wall outside, waiting for him. Jim still couldn't get use to it, but he couldn't help but enjoy having someone around who actually cared for him, someone who would protect and love him unconditionally.

"Good class?" Sebastian asked, he wasn't looking at Jim. Instead his eyes were flicking quickly up and down the corridor. Looking out for danger, making sure that Jim would be safe.

"Geography," Jim replied. "Pointless, as usual."

"Then why do you take it?" Sebastian queried, looking down at Jim as he did so.

Jim shrugged slightly. "It's useful."

Sebastian laughed. "We both know you don't actually need to do Geography. It's not like you aren't going to sail through that exam with flying colours. I don't understand how you find it so easy. I wouldn't."

"I don't know either, to me it's just remembering the details," Jim replied. "I guess my brain works well with recalling such small, trivial facts when it wants too."

"Well let's hope it comes in useful," Sebastian teased, ruffling Jim's hair before wrapping an arm around him and leading him down the corridor towards the library.

"You know it will," Jim teased back. "And where do you think you're taking me."

"Library," Sebastian replied casually. "You promised to tutor me remember? You know how far behind I am in Maths, plus I want to hear what you think of 'Atonement' which Miss Broad set us last week. Don't tell me you haven't read it already because I know you have."

"Sebastian, you hate the library," Jim couldn't help but point out. "And actually, for once she set a book I haven't read. I finished reading it at the weekend though."

Sebastian pretended to look horrified for a moment before grinning. "It's a brilliant book," he commented. "And yes I do hate the library, but as I said I need the tutoring for Maths before our next class."

"Alright," Jim replied, opening the door to the library once they'd arrived. He couldn't help but relax, he loved the sight of the endless bookshelves which filled the tiny space here. Jim led Sebastian over to one of the free tables in a quiet corner, pulling out his maths book from his bag despite the fact that he didn't need it for today's classes.

"What do you need help with?" Jim asked looking at Sebastian. Sebastian was quiet for a few seconds before pulling out his own book and beginning to explain exactly where he was stuck. Jim nodded, making a few small comments every so often but otherwise allowing Sebastian to explain what he found difficult. Jim only started to talk properly once Sebastian had finished, starting at the beginning and explaining as simply as he could without sounding patronising how to solve each Maths problem as it occurred. Sebastian couldn't help but watch Jim as he talked, smiling slightly at the way Jim's lips twitched in certain ways when he was talking about a certain thing, or how Jim's accent was stronger when he pronounced a certain word. Jim eventually looked in Sebastian's direction, smiling slightly.

"What?" Jim asked, his tone faintly annoyed despite the smile on his features.

"Nothing," Sebastian murmured, quickly looking down at the precise notes which Jim had made for him. "I just love watching and listening to you talk, that's all."

"Really?" Jim asked, looking down at the notes as well and blushing.

"Really," Sebastian confirmed, reaching out and gently turning Jim's face so he could look into Jim's eyes. "You are gorgeous to me, don't you forget that."

Jim's blushed deepened. "I'm not," Jim murmured. "I shouldn't be."

"Oh, but you are," Sebastian replied quietly before leaning over and kissing Jim softly before pulling away and lightly caressing Jim's cheek with his fingers.

Jim looked at Sebastian silently, not pulling away. Instead he closed his eyes at the gentle touch, only opening them again when Sebastian eventually stopped. "I love you, tiger," Jim whispered. "Don't forget that. I will always love you."

Sebastian gave Jim a smile. "Oh I know that, kitten. I've always known that."

"How?" Jim questioned, knowing it would be stupid but allowing the word to slip out anyway.

"Because I love you too," Sebastian replied. "I've always been yours. But you're mine too, you know?"

Jim couldn't help but smile. "Oh I know," Jim replied before leaning in and kissing Sebastian, not caring about the curious eyes that were staring in their direction as they kissed. And for once Jim didn't care, pushing the kiss deeper and more passionate before. Not breaking the kiss for a few minutes before finally moving away and giving Sebastian a grin. "I've always wanted to do that."

"I'm glad you finally did," Sebastian replied, returning the grin easily. "So, what did you think of the book Miss Broad set?"

"You mean 'Atonement'?" Jim asked with a laugh. "I loved it," he said enthusiastically before continuing into an extensive description. Sebastian enjoyed watching Jim as he described what he loved and what he hated. Jim didn't stop until he finally ran out of words to describe his thoughts.

"You are gorgeous when you allow yourself talk so passionately about something," Sebastian couldn't help but blurt out. Jim laughed at the comment.

"Come on, tiger," Jim replied, getting up from the desk. "And don't expect me to be as passionate during English class; you know how much I hate talking in front of the class."

Sebastian packed up his books quickly before standing up next to Jim. "You don't have too, I just wish you would show the rest of the class how amazing you are."

Jim shook his head. "I don't care what everyone else thinks. I don't care if they think I'm amazing or if they think I'm just….."

"Brilliantly clever?" Sebastian suggested.

"Which they don't," Jim replied with a shrug. "You must see how everyone else treats me Sebastian; even you can't be that blind. They detest me, why make myself more of an outsider?"

"Because you don't care what people think," Sebastian replied, using the words which Jim had spoken only a few moments before. "And they don't matter; the only person who matters is me. And I think you are brilliant, exceptional, amazing. And I will protect you no matter what. Understand?"

"I understand," Jim murmured as he led the way out of the library, the bell that signalled the end of the period ringing as they did so.

"Good," Sebastian replied with a smile, taking the lead and walking down the busy corridor. Sebastian remained relaxed as he walked, just giving a casual smile to those who stared in their direction or sending a swift comment in the direction of anyone who decided to throw an insult their way. He occasionally looked at Jim, placing a gentle kiss on his cheek as they walked, slowing every so often so that he could kiss Jim's neck as well. Sebastian wanted people to see these small signs of affection; he didn't care what the other students thought. Jim was the only person in the world he cared about at that precise moment. As Jim looked in Sebastian's direction, Sebastian couldn't help but give him a grin.

"Everything is going to be alright you know." Sebastian promised him.

"With you, everything is always going to be alright," Jim replied, turning to move into the English classroom. Sebastian stopped him, looking at Jim seriously.

"I will never allow anyone to ever harm you," it was a promise Sebastian fully intended to keep, no matter what the cost. He didn't give Jim the time to reply, spinning him around and finally leading him into the English classroom without another word.