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How We Got This Far

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Prologue

 

Here we are at the end of the road

 

How long ago had you met him? 5 years ago? 6? It felt so much longer than that; like a lifetime had gone by.

 

A road that’s quietly cavin’ in

 

Yeah, there were struggles, but what kind of person doesn’t have those? You went through more than most people, but he had always been there. Even when he barely knew you; he was there.

 

Come too far to pretend that we don’t

 

You’d come a long way from the girl you used to be. You were a whole different person now, but it was a change for the better. You had met so many people on the way and done so much. But sometimes-

 

We don’t miss where we started

 

-sometimes you wanted to go back to when days were easier. When you had first met him and died of shock and excitement. When all the worries you had were about that late assignment you completely forgot about and how your friends were doing. Then again, things had never really been that easy for you.

 

Looking back, I see a setting sun

 

How you met him seemed extremely cheesy. In fact, everything in your life seemed like some cheesy drama movie. The things you went through were all cliches in some stupid movie that nobody wanted to see, but you had enjoyed it and its ups and downs. It had led you to the person you were and who you had met and what you had done and everything you loved about life.

 

And watch my shadow fade into the floor

 

Back then you were told that you were nothing and thought you were nothing. You had people who cared about you, but they thought that they themselves were nothing, too. Back then, you simply watched yourself fade away and didn’t try to change how things were. That was until you met him. He turned your world completely upside down.

 

I am left standing on the edge

 

In the end, you were standing on a cliff with the choice between fighting back the darkness or jumping into it and disappearing into it forever. Lucky for you, life decided to give you a little bit of a helping hand, because it knew that you couldn’t do it alone.

 

Wondering how we got this far, how we got this far…

 

It was true. Every day you wondered how things had turned out the way they did. Would they be any different if you hadn’t met him? Clearly. But how much would’ve been different if you hadn’t had them? They had been there for you longer than he had, but somehow you looked at them as equals. Maybe it was how kind he was and how much he’d done for you. You had no idea.

 

They left us alone,

 

Honestly, you had no idea how you’d gotten here, but he was definitely a huge part in that. You wonder what it would be like if you never met him in the first place. He had blown you away and the world was wider and brighter now.

 

The kids in the dark,

To burn out forever,

Or light up a spark,

We come together,

State of the art,

We'll never surrender,

The kids in the dark,

So let the world sing,

"What a shame,

What a shame,

Beautiful scars

On critical veins, "

Come together,

State of the art,

We'll never surrender,

The kids in the dark,

The kids in the dark…

Chapter Text

You and your siblings had never had the urge to go outside, excluding the four years you lived in Europe, when you and Parker had actually played sports. Sports meaning soccer, and soccer meaning another way for you to live in his shadow, while others were blinded by the sun.

 

    The urge didn’t appear for the entire time you had lived in Nyack, New York, a small town an hour outside of NYC. That was until you find the quaint park just a 5 minute walk from your home. With a lake filled to the brim with fish and ducks, a large selection of flora to view, and the most perfect shady spot for reading, the lot of you couldn’t resist visiting at least once a week. Most of the time, your sibs, siblings, were playing Frisbee, running freely around, or sitting near you and just talking. Today, they were playing Frisbee and you sat on the wooden bench beside the one cherry tree in the park, like you always did, reading.

 

    You had recently become obsessed, and I do mean obsessed , with a Broadway musical called Hamilton, the story of Alexander Hamilton, the United States’ first Secretary of the Treasury. It sounds horribly boring, but mixed with the hip hop and rap music of today, the musical was a national phenomenon. Since learning of Hamilton, you had listened to the entire soundtrack (multiple times, multiple being thousands of times), watched every animatic/animation available, followed every cast member on all their social media, and even tried to convince your parents to get you tickets and take you to see it. The only thing you hadn’t done was read the book that started it all; the Alexander Hamilton biography by Ron Chernow. After reading the book, Lin Manuel Miranda, the writer of Hamilton: An American Musical, was so inspired that he began to write the masterpiece that Hamilton is. After six years, he had finally finished and it was more amazing than anyone could’ve thought, including you.

 

    It was around 5:00, just after school, and Parker had successfully convinced your parents, along with a small amount of help from Scarlet, to let you all go to the park. Then again, your parents did everything for Parker.

 

You knew that you didn’t have a lot of time here, since dinner would likely be ready in a half hour. Your parents tried to cook dinner early when you went to the park, so that you would come home and actually get homework done. The sad part? You finished your homework while waiting for your mother to pick you up every single day. You were a smart kid, and talented, who knew her way around the teachers. You knew what every teacher loved to see in an assignment and you were also the fastest writer you knew.

 

Once, one of your best friends, Pegs as you loved to call her, had forgotten to do an assignment, so she asked you for help. She had the basis of the five paragraph essay on character names from a novel you were reading in English, but she needed help editing it and rewording. You retyped the entire essay within 20 minutes and she scored a 90/100. It was technically plagiarizing, but Pegs had enough stress on her that week.

 

Writing wasn’t your only talent, though, because reading was just as easy for you. So far, you were 200 pages into Alexander Hamilton’s biography, and you were loving it. You were surprised by the fact that there were still 600 pages left in the book, yet you were already through half of the man’s life. Usually historical books weren’t your style, but this one was so well written and intriguing, considering how Hamilton went from a nothing to a huge something. It was incredibly inspiring.

 

Little did you know, someone noticed what you were reading too, as they passed by you on the bench. You always became extremely immersed in the world of your books and didn’t notice when people came up to you, until they tapped you or said something to you. Most of the time it was the first, while the latter was rarely useful, unless their voice was easily recognizable.

 

“That’s a great book you’ve got there.” In this case, the voice sounded extremely familiar, yet unfamiliar at the same time.

 

You looked up with the biggest look of shock on your face. It was him. Lin-Manuel Miranda. He started to laugh as he noticed your expression, and you snapped your book closed while standing up to meet him.

 

“Holy night. You’re-” A million thoughts ran through your head at lightning speed and all at the same time. I HAVE DREAMED OF THIS DAY! Is that fricking Lin Manuel Miranda in this tiny town?! What is he doing here? Is this a dream? Am I dreaming? Someone pinch me please! What do I do?! He’s like ultra famous oh my gosh what do I say? Do I go ultimate fangirl? Shoot, I don’t have anything for him to sign!

 

“Lin.” He introduced himself cheerfully, holding out his hand for you to shake. You happily took it and gave it a quick shake, still in shock.

 

“What in the world are you doing in Nyack? I thought you would live closer to the city..” It wasn’t a great way to start a conversation, but considering you already knew who he was and what he did for a living, it was okay.

 

Lin laughed, “Most people wouldn’t expect me to be living out here, so it seemed like a good idea.”

 

You laughed with him, “Yeah, Broadway legends don’t usually live in the area. Or anywhere this far from the city.”

 

Lin rubbed his neck self consciously “Our little secret though, huh?” He smiled playfully as you nodded vigorously.

 

“Oh, shoot!” You exclaimed, “Sorry! My name’s Catherine! My friends usually just call me Kat, though.”

 

“Well, it’s nice to meet you, Kat. I couldn’t help but notice what you were reading. Are you enjoying it?”

 

Your smile brightened as he mentioned the book. “Am I enjoying it? Enjoying is the biggest understatement of the century!” You both laughed, “Hamilton did so much, even more than mentioned in your musical!”

 

“Right?! It was hard to compress it down into 46 songs, or 2 and a half hours, but I didn’t even tell half of what he did!” The both of you were completely nerding out, until you noticed your sibs walk up behind you.

 

Scarlet spoke first, “Is that-”

 

“Yup!” You pulled her arm and brought her forward enthusiastically, “Lin, this is my sister; Scarlet! Scarlet, this is Lin!”

 

Scarlet waved shyly and Lin waved back. He spotted your 6 foot 3 brother and shook his hand, too. Lin looked so tiny compared to Parker, it was hard not to laugh.

 

“Parker.” Your brother introduced himself. “Kitty talks about you a ton.”

 

Lin laughed, “I guess you’ve heard it all by now.”

 

“Basically.” You punched your brother’s arm, as Scarlet stood still, clearly in shock.

 

She whispered to you as Lin was talking to your brother about something, “We just met someone famous. Right here. In Nyack.”

 

You giggled and gave her a quick hug, but she shoved you off. She loved you, but she didn’t love hugs. Or anything related to physical contact, really.

 

You turned your attention back to Lin, a little nervous. “Hey, could I get a picture?”

 

“Of course! It would be my pleasure.” You pulled out your brother’s phone. Your parents would never in hell give you your own phone, so Parker let you use his occasionally. After snapping a selfie with Lin and Scarlet, you spoke a little more.

 

“How long have I been into Hamilton? I’m not sure, actually, at least a couple months.”

 

Lin smiled, “Do you have a favorite song?”

 

“Gosh, how can I pick a favorite? That’s like picking a favorite animal or color, there’s always a couple more that you like the same!” You laughed, then thought for a moment, “I really like The Story Of Tonight.”

 

Lin was surprised, though pleasantly, “That’s one I don’t hear too often.”

 

You smiled, “It’s so foreshadowing and yet so beautiful in that aspect. I love the way it sums up what they’re fighting for and how this night is the last night of peace they’ll have for a while. Especially the part where they explain that their children will speak of this day for years to come, which is just so amazing in itself. I don’t suppose you can pick a favorite.”

 

Lin shook his head, “No way! That’s like picking your favorite child.”

 

You laughed a little under your breath, with a bit of spite, hoping that Lin didn’t notice. After a while, Lin said he had to go.

 

“Well, Vanessa expects me home soon, so I gotta go, but it was great meeting you guys!”

 

Your sibs walked off to play Frisbee again, but you stuck around. “It was awesome meeting you, too!”

 

“Hope I see you around, Kat.” He waved, walking in the direction he came from originally.


Suddenly, it hit you. You just met fricking Lin-Manuel Miranda. I HAVE TO TELL PEGS AND SAF AND GRACE AND ARI . Pulling your brother’s phone out of your blue hoodie pocket, you opened up Hangouts, preparing yourself for the biggest case of fangirling known to man.

Chapter Text

HamilKat - Kat

andpEGGY - Joy (Pegs)

HamiltrashIsMe - Safia (Saf)

LookAtMySon - Grace

Kat’sBetsey - Arynn (Ari)

GoDiegoGo(Don’tAsk) - Hope

LongLiveTheKing - Scarlet

 

andpEGGY: Look at this Hamilton animatic I found!!! (sent video link) (sent 4:23)

 

GoDiegoGo(Don’tAsk): Y u always talk about hamilton? (sent 4:28)

 

andpEGGY : Becuz it’s AMAZENG!! (sent 4:34)

 

GoDiegoGo(Dont’Ask): **Amazing (sent 4:36)

 

andpEGGY : -_- (sent 4:37)

 

GoDiegoGo(Don’tAsk): XP (sent 4:38)

 

HamilKat: YOU GUYS!! (sent 5:25)

 

GoDiegoGo(Don’tAsk): I swear if this is a Hamilton thing. (sent 5:25)

 

HamilKat: Shut up, hope, this is very important!! (sent 5:25)

 

andpEGGY: What’d I miss, Kat? ;) (sent 5:26)

 

LookAtMySon: A YO YO YO YO WhAT TIME IS IT?! (sent 5:27)

 

HamilKat: NOT NOW MY SON I HAVE SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT! (sent 5:27)

 

LookAtMySon: B-but what is more important than hamilton..? (sent 5:28)

 

HamilKat: It has to do with Hamilton, Grace! (sent 5:28)

 

Kat’sBetsey: Wait, what’s happening? (sent 5:30)

 

HamilKat: ARI!! Thank God, you’re just in time! (sent 5:30)

 

Kat’sBetsey: For what..? (sent 5:30)

 

HamiltrashIsMe: Guyyyys it’s hard to do homework when so much hamiltrash is gathered in one place…. (sent 5:30)

 

HamilKat: WAIT SAF DON’T LEAVE YET YOU NEED TO SEE THIS!! (sent 5:31)

 

HamiltrashIsMe: See what? (sent 5:31)

 

HamilKat: (sent an image) (sent 5:31)

 

HamiltrashIsMe: HOLY F**K NO WAY OMG YOU MET LIN WTF WHERE WHEN HOW WHY IS HE STILL THERE I WANT TO BE THERE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS (sent 5:32)

 

andpEGGY: O.M.G (sent 5:33)

andpEGGY: NO FRICKING WAY WHEN?!?!?! TAKE ME TO HIM!!!! (sent 5:33)

 

LookAtMySon: WHAAAAAAAAAAAT?!?!?! (reference intended) (sent 5:34)

 

LongLiveTheKing: Philip you know how your father feels about Jefferson. (sent 5:34)

 

Kat’sBetsey: What?!?! What is this?!?!?! YOU MET HIM?!?!? (sent 5:36)

 

andpEGGY: *dies* (NOT NOW SCARLET) (sent 5:36)

andpEGGY : WHAT EVEN ARE OUR LIVES?!?!? YOU BETTER INTRODUCE HIM TO US IF HE’S STILL HERE!! (sent 5:37)

 

HamiltrashIsMe: WHERE DOES HE LIVE I MUST KNOW (sent 5:39)

 

GoDiegoGo(Don’tAsk): Not creepy at all, Saf. (sent 5:39)

 

HamilKat: Sorry guys, I can’t say anything, I told Lin I wouldn’t. (sent 5:40)

 

andpEGGY: GOSH DANGIT KAT (sent 5:41)

 

LookAtMySon: WHYYYYYYYYYYY *cri* (sent 5:41)

 

HamiltrashIsMe: BUT I MUST MEET HIM (sent 5:41)

 

Kat’sBetsey: I agree! I’m not quite as obsessed but that man is an angel on earth! (sent 5:43)

 

andpEGGY: Amen (sent 5:43)

 

LookAtMySon: You can say that again (sent 5:43)

 

HamiltrashIsMe: LIN IS ThE CUTEST LINAMMON ROLL AND A GENIUS (sent 5:43)

 

GoDiegoGo(Don’tAsk): This is what I have to deal with. Why are these people my friends? (sent 5:45)


LongLiveTheKing: Tell me about it. I have to live with one of them.  (sent 5:48)

Chapter Text

HamilKat - Kat

andpEGGY - Joy(Pegs)

 

    Unfortunately, your parents called you home for dinner, so you had to put away the phone for a while. After eating dinner, you resumed talking to your friends on hangouts, but on the computer this time. Most of your friends had resigned to speaking to you about the encounter on Monday, but Pegs would not quit.

 

andpEGGY: TELL. ME. EVERYTHING. (sent 5:50)

 

    That was her first message. She sent at least 20 more to you before giving up, since you didn’t answer. You would’ve answered if you hadn’t been eating.

 

HamilKat: SORRY PEGS I WAS EATING IM REALLY SORRY (sent 6:40)

 

andpEGGY: HOW COULD YOUUUU YOU MUST TELL ME (sent 6:41)

 

HamilKat: I mean, it wasn’t much he just commented on what I was reading and i stood up, he shook my hand and we chatted for a bit i guess (sent 6:41)

 

andpEGGY: details -_- waht book? What did he say?  did scarlet see him? Parker? Did you get him to sign something??  did you get me one?! (sent 6:42)

 

HamilKat: XDDD chill, peggy! (sent 6:42)

 

andpEGGY: YOU MET FRIGGING LIN MANUEL MIRANDA HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO CHILL (sent 6:42)

 

HamilKat: XD 1. Alexander Hamilton Biography, duh 2. He said “That’s a great book you’ve got there.” 3. Yes, she was pretty shocked and parker was just… meh? I guess? 4. Sadly, nope, I didn’t have any hamilton merch with me or anything, but I probably should’ve gotten him to sign the book… maybe i’ll see him again though (sent 6:43)

 

andpEGGY: If he’s in the area mahbeh, but probs not :(  (sent 6:45)

 

HamilKat: Yeah… (sent 6:45)

 

andpEGGY: You told Melody? (sent 6:48)

 

HamilKat:  i don’t really think she’d care that much (sent 6:48)

 

andpEGGY: she may not be hamiltrash, but when ur happy, she’s happy (6:48)

 

HamilKat: yeah, okay, i’ll tell her later (sent 6:48)

 

andpEGGY: later? Are you, alexander hamilton, waiting for it? (sent 6:49)

 

HamilKat: no i just have another lecture from dad about homework scheduled in a couple minutes, even though i’ve done it all already and parker has about 3 projects due tomorrow and hasn’t even started. (sent 6:50)

 

andpEGGY: but i thought he was the ‘genius’ (sent 6:50)

 

HamilKat: he is, he just uses his shows as an excuse to turn in work late (sent 6:50)

 

andpEGGY: doesn’t Talia specificly tell us not to do that? (sent 6:51)

 

HamilKat: **specifically** and yup (sent 6:51)

 

andpEGGY: -_- you should tell her (sent 6:52)

 

HamilKat: Miss Talia is amazing, but she adores my brother. She’d never believe me (sent 6:52)

 

andpEGGY: :(  (sent 6:52)

 

HamilKat: it’s kind of the same situation with Lilah (sent 6:55)

 

andpEGGY: Kat… (sent 6:55)

 

HamilKat: look i know you don’t absolutely hate her like i do - which i don’t understand - but you have to admit some of the things she does are….questionable and kind of b**chy. (sent 6:55)

 

andpEGGY: okay, fine, i guess so (sent 6:57)

 

HamilKat: see, i told you. my dad is coming up to lecture me on homework and how i should be doing it instead of texting and how i’m lying about having no homework (sent 6:59)

 

andpEGGY: good luck :) (sent 6:59)

 

HamilKat: thanks, i’ll need it. (7:00)

 

    You looked up from your computer as your dad came stomping up to the table where you sat. Pausing the nightcore you were listening to, you pulled out your headphones and looked him straight in the eyes.

    “What?”

    “Don’t sass me.”

    S**t he was mad. Probably another bad day at work that he decided to take out on you instead of someone who actually deserved his anger or CoD or literally anything else. You took in a deep breath, trying to refrain from arguing. If you started defending yourself, things would only get worse.

    He glared at you with his famous ‘Evil Eye’ that Scarlet feared with her entire being. “Don’t sigh at me, Catherine.” He paused, then pulled your computer around to look at your screen.

    “Hey!” You shouted, turning it around.

    “What’s on there that I can’t see, huh, Catherine? What are you hiding from me?” He got up into your face.

    You couldn’t ignore that comment. “Private conversations with my friends that I would like to keep that way.”

    “If it’s private, it’s bad.”

    “Not necessarily, Dad, I talk to my friends about their private issues that aren’t your business-”

    He slammed his hand on the table, suddenly getting aggressive, “I can see all of your life, you are my daughter and I have that right. Your business is my business, Catherine, don’t argue with me.”

    Before you even knew what you were doing, you were arguing with him, “That is a lie, Dad! My friends’ personal issues are not your business, they are between me and them-”

    “Oh, if they’re not my business then how are they yours?”

    You tightened your hands into fists, “Because I’m their friend and they’ve chosen to talk to me, but said nothing about you -”

    He got closer to your face, “I don’t care what they-”

    “And if you wouldn’t cut me off, DAD, maybe I could finish what I was saying and you would understand.

    F********k you were in for it now

Chapter Text

    The night had ended worse than most others and your dad had broke his 2 month streak of not physically harming you. He ended up pulling you up the stairs by your hair and slapping you once. It wasn’t too horrible, all things considered. He had once knocked you completely down the stairs and left you with a concussion.

    As it was, you had been left upstairs on the couch below your loft bed with tears still streaming down your face. Damn you and your big mouth. It always got you into trouble, except at school. You were a goody two shoes at school; the perfect child that could do no wrong. In fact, you were so quiet that when your friends were facing harassment from other kids, you were never mentioned. When someone did harass you, it was because of something you said one time, but the people who had harassed you had left your school.

    Scarlet tiptoed up the stairs and creaked open the door. You knew it was her, because Parker always knocked and so did Mom, but Dad would just storm in and say nothing until he got in your face.

    Scarlet sat on her bed, just opposite of yours. She had a medium sized day bed with two large drawers beneath it. After plopping onto the bed, she stared at you. “Are you okay.”

    “What do you think?” You said, snapping at her. After a minute, you let a couple more tears fall. “I-i’m sorry, I just-”

    “I know. It’s okay.”

    “Thanks.”

    She sighed. “And he lasted so long, too.” You nodded, staring at the quilt below you. You held your knees close to your chest. “I brought the iPad. I figured you might want to listen to some music.”

    You gave her a little smile, not too big, but just enough to show your gratitude.

    She opened up the iPad’s red covering to show the partially dirty screen. There was a picture of some monument in Germany on the lock screen. Scarlet entered the password and started to pull up Safari, but stopped.

    “Hamilton or youtube mix?”

    You scoffed a little. “It is clearly a Hamilton day.”

    Scarlet smiled back at you. “I figured.” She pulled up Google Play and tapped Shuffle. The first song to come up was Stay Alive (Reprise), which you immediately, covering your ears in order to protect your already fragile emotions, ordered her to skip. The next song was Satisfied, which you normally wouldn’t play at a time like this, but, knowing that it was one of Scarlet’s favorite songs on the soundtrack, you let it slide.

    “Angelica Schuyler!” You motioned toward Scarlet, smirking a little. Despite being nothing like him, John Laurens was your absolute favorite character, and Angelica was Scarlet’s. The small moment where their paths crossed in this song was so precious to the both of you, as it was one of the few times you could sing together. Scarlet didn’t listen to all of the soundtrack, and this was the only one with a character that sang who you would sing their part every time.

    “A toast to the groom!”

    “To the groom, to the groom, to the groom.”

    “To the bride!”

    “To the bride, to the briiiiiide.”

    “From your sister, who is always by your side!” Scarlet smiled a little more, looking at you, while raising her glass (to freedom). “To your union!”

    “To the union, to the revolution!”

    “And the hope that you provide!”

    “You provide, you proviiide.”

    “May you always-”

    “Alwayyys-”

    “Be satisfied.”

    A couple more lines went by, and you noticed a reminiscent look in Scarlet’s eyes as she sang. “I remember that night, I just might- I remember that night I just might- I remember that- I remember that-”

    “I remember that night I just might regret that night for the rest of my days.”

Chapter Text

    After repeating the story of how you met Broadway’s latest sensation literally 40 times, you were so done with Lin. Well, not Lin necessarily, but done with telling about him over and over and over and over-And you were so close to having the day be over.

    Finally, it was 8th period, and you had Theater with Miss Talia. She immediately ran up to you and, with childlike joy, asked you every question she could think of.

    To your surprise, after suffering through at least a half hour of questions, Talia changed the topic and instead gave everyone a fifteen minute lesson on Lin Manuel. You couldn’t help but laugh to yourself.

    “I don’t see what the big deal is… I got to see him on Broadway.” Hope complained.

    “Yes but you barely remember the experience, which I don’t understand how you could forget that masterpiece.” You countered.

    Hope sighed, “It’s just not my thing, I guess.”

    Going home was awkward, especially because of your fight with Dad, but everyone would just forget it ever happened, like they always did. You were so sick of it.

    You had lived with it for 13 years and hadn’t stood your ground. Yes, you would argue, but you hadn’t told your parents how you felt and how you wished they would treat you better. It was simply out of the question, because no matter how you would try: they wouldn’t listen. You had done it once or twice, though not in the last 3 months. No matter what you did, things wouldn’t change.




    “Lin?!” You saw him again at the park on Wednesday.

    He smiled shyly, “Hey, Kat!”

    HE KNOWS MY NAAAAAAAAME!!! “Hey! What are you doing here?” You smiled brightly.

    “Well, this park is really nice, so I figured I’d come back.” Lin looked down at your book, the Alexander Hamilton biography. “Woah, you’re on page 400? You were not that far into it when I saw you last!”

    You chuckled self consciously, “Yeah, I was actually on page 200 last time…”

    His jaw dropped, “No way! You are insane! That book took me forever to read!”

 

   

    Much to your surprise, that wasn’t the last time you saw each other. Lin often visited the park, sometimes even bringing Tobi, his dog. You promised him not to tell anyone you had seen again, because it would draw way too much attention and he may have to move again. He said he loved the privacy and small town feel of Nyack.

    “Besides, I’d miss seeing you wouldn’t I?” He smiled. It took you a moment to realize that he was sincere in his comment.

    You talked about a lot, almost anything you could think of. When you couldn’t think of anything to talk about, you played the Random Game.

    “Favorite color?”

    “Lin, it’s {F/C}, you asked that last time.”

    “Oh, right.”

    After seeing each other about once a week for the last two months, Lin decided to take action. He invited you and your sibs to a local coffee shop that didn’t have too much business, that way he could stay “incognito”. (At least, those were his own words.)

    He surprised you by buying both you and your sibs drinks, saying “Well, hey, you’ve put up with me this long!”

    At the end of the school year, Parker graduated and moved out. You were secretly happy, but also slightly worried now that your parents didn’t have their ‘perfect’ child around.

    All your worry disappeared when hanging out with Lin, though. You became great friends, having known each other for 3 months. Your friends had begun to suspect things about a month ago, when you said you were busy right after school and it wasn’t a theater thing. It was always a theater thing. Technically, you could’ve said it was theater, considering, well it was LIN , but you didn’t think about that.

 

    “So, what character do you think you’re most like in Hamilton?”

    “That’s a very random question, Lin.”

    “Well, I just think I have an idea, but I’m not sure, and I just want to confirm.”

    “To be honest, probably Hamilton. Even my friends joke about me being his reincarnation.”

    “Haha, why is that?”

    “Well, when I’m writing or talking about something I’m passionate about, I just won’t shut up. I’m also really stubborn and love to argue, when you get me out of my shell that is. And when I first meet people I can be really shy. I’m also the maternal friend.”

    “Oh? How maternal?”

    “You will not believe the family tree. I have at least 15 adopted daughters and even one granddaughter. Oh and also my son.”

    “Pffft, no way! Name them!”

    “Okay, well there’s Ari, Joy, Grace (my son), my granddaughter Hope…”

    *Ten minutes later* “Wow.”



    The first day of summer, you met Lin in your regular spot, the bench under the cherry tree. He looked way more excited than usual, and that's saying something, because Lin basically looked like the happiest puppy in the universe every single day of his existence, at least in your eyes.

    You sat down as he continued to bounce up and down. “Lin are you okay?”

    He practically squealed, “I have a surprise.”

    You smiled, laughing at his excitement, “What is it?”

    “I got you a ‘Yay, you survived another year of school!’ gift!”

    “Oh?” You tilted your head, excited.

    Lin pulled two pieces of small paper from his small bag he carried with him. You immediately knew what they were and shrieked with happiness.

    “NO WAY!!!”

    Lin was laughing so hard that he was crying and Scarlet came up behind you, also curious. Her jaw dropped when she saw the tickets.

    “T-two?” She said quietly to Lin as you jumped up and down.

    Lin smiled at her, “Yep! I didn’t forget you!”

She gave him a small hug, which was a big step for her. He couldn’t help but pump his fist at the air, at which both girls laughed.

“You are the best, Lin!” You paused, “Wait how are we supposed to get there? Mom and Dad won’t take us..”

Lin smirked evilly, “Oh, I’ve got that covered. You guys are coming backstage with me.”

This only made you shriek more and Scarlet covered her ears. Lin just continued to laugh.

Scarlet, unlike you, actually took notes, “What time should we be ready? And what day?”

Lin gave her the info and spent some time with both of you before heading home. You were ecstatic and started to pick out your outfit the second you got home. Scarlet told you to leave the talking to Mom and Dad to her, knowing that if they annoyed you that things could get ugly.

You wondered if you should tell Pegs. She was your best friend and she loved Hamilton just as much as you. You had told Melody about meeting Lin the one time, but hadn’t told her either. Her and Pegs being your best friends, it would seem right to tell them, but… Lin had made you promise. Surely you would be able to secure tickets for them?

You grabbed the phone you shared with Scarlet, a recent purchase by your father, and pulled up Lin’s number.

 

HamilKat: Hey Liiiiin?

 

LinnamonRoll: Yeeeeesss?

 

    You had chosen that to be his contact name appropriately, as the internet had dubbed him their Linnamon Roll.

 

HamilKat: Do you think I could invite some friends…? *puppy eyes*

 

LinnamonRoll: How many?

 

HamilKat: I don’t think I would bring all of them, but maybe just two?

 

LinnamonRoll: Sure! *thumbs up emoji*

 

HamilKat: TANK YOU!!!! *tank text art*

 

    You immediately opened the chat with you, Pegs, and Mel, until there was a knock on the door. Poking your head over the stairwell, you saw your Dad open the door.

    He looked up at you, “It’s for you.”

    He opened the door wider to reveal the tear stained face of a certain Peggy, who had a heavy looking backpack and ripped clothes clinging to her, wet from the rain that had started when you and Scarlet left the park.

    “Pegs?!” You rushed down the stairs, enveloping her in a tight hug. She began to sob into your shoulder. Leading her up the stairs, Scarlet asked you if she was okay. You shook your head.

    “I’ll get something for her to wear.” Scarlet offered. You said thank you and she disappeared into the bedroom.

You told Pegs to wait in the bathroom a minute when Scarlet returned with the clothes. She handed them to Peggy, who had slowed down her sobbing and started to breath easier. You grabbed a washcloth from the linens closet and began to wash her face.

“Here Pegs, you’ve got dirt on your face. How in the world-?” You were so confused, but she only replied by looking down at her feet.

You went back to the linens closet and returned with a towel. “Take this and take a shower. It’ll make you feel better, so we can talk after.”

“Thanks, Kat. I-”

You stopped her, “Don’t. You don’t owe me anything, I’m just being a good friend.”

She smiled a little, “And mother.”

You chuckled and closed the door behind you. Scarlet surprised you by being right in front of you when you turned around.

“She can stay a while.” Scarlet said suddenly.

“How-?”

“How did I convince them?” Scarlet said innocently, “I’ve no idea, I guess it was my puppy eyes.”

You snorted at her, then grabbed Pegs’ bag and put it on the loft’s couch. Scarlet brought extra pillows and blankets, while you grabbed the Eevee plush that Pegs loved so much. She had borrowed it at your birthday party just earlier in the year and fell in love with it. Now, when Peggy came to your house, she always borrowed it and cuddled with it.

Suddenly, something sounded from her bag. It sounded to you like a meow. Much to your, not really, surprise, a cat climbed out from Peggy’s opened bag.

Only Pegs, you chuckled to yourself. Only Pegs.

Chapter Text

    Finally Joy got out of the shower. She flopped onto the couch and watched intently as you played the Sims 4 on your laptop, laying her head on your lap. You shifted your legs so that she was comfortable, then closed the laptop. She sighed a little, clearly not really wanting to talk about what happened.

    “Pegs-”

    “Please... I just want to have something happy for just one minute. Please?”

    You sighed. You knew Pegs would only grow upset again if you brought it up. Suddenly, Scarlet came into the room, carrying the cat. The two of them had made friends while Pegs was in the shower.

    “I heard you get out, so here she is.” Scarlet handed her over to Joy, who was smiling a little at the sight of Scarlet and the cat. “What’s her name, by the way?”

    “Mindy. And thanks.” Pegs snuggled the cat close to her and Mindy purred in return.

    You sat there for quite some time, playing the Sims and laying there in silence. After a while, Mindy left to hang with Scarlet, so you closed the PC.

    “I know you don’t want to talk about it, but you need to at least tell me why you’re at my house.” You pet her thick blonde hair. “Besides, it might make you feel better.”

    She sighed. “It’s my parents.”

    “I kind of figured.”

    “They’re fighting again and...my mom’s stress is getting worse and she’s treating me… well… like shit.” Joy looked at her feet in shame.

    You clenched your fist. “That woman.”

    “It’s not her fault, Kat, you know that. It’s my dad.” Her brows tightened at the mention of her father.

    “You mean Dick?” Both of you snorted. What an appropriate name for him. It’s as if his parents knew what he would grow up to do; ruin his family’s life. He sure as hell made life worse for Joy, and just in doing that did you despise him. Anyone who hurt Pegs was your worst enemy, even if you had never met them, which was the case with her father.

    “So you ran away?”

    She nodded grimly. “I was getting sick of it. I just don’t know what to do anymore. My mother is too stressed and busy to care for me and my dad, frankly, doesn’t care in the first place.”

    You hugged her tightly. “I’ll always care. I know I can’t replace both parents completely, but I hope I’ve been doing a pretty good job as your mom.”

    Joy hugged you back even tighter, “You’re a great mom. I can’t wait to see you and Owen’s babies. Or Lucas’s.”

    You lifted your hand to smack her lightly, but stopped. “I hate you, Pegs.”

    “No you don’t, Kat. You love me.” Pegs laid her head back on your lap.

    “Yeah, I do. But I wish you wouldn’t make me blush like that.”

    She giggled, “As if I’m going to stop.”

    “I guess you could say-” You started, before she interrupted.

    “DON’T EVEN.”

    “You’re-”

    “DON’T SAY IT.”

    “Non-stop!”

    *Facepalm*

 

    Hours later, things had calmed down a little and you were back to playing Sims before you got a text from Lin.

 

LinnamonRoll: Hey, chica

 

HamilKat: Hey, Lin!

 

LinnamonRoll: I have another surprise for you, I’ll give it to you backstage before the show, k? I ordered some for Scarlet and your two friends too.

 

HamilKat: Lin, you shouldn’t have!

 

LinnamonRoll: Hey, besides Seb I don’t have anyone to spoil, so do this for me?

 

HamilKat: *rolls eyes* Fiiiine (Thank you, though)

 

LinnamonRoll: *cheers* Yes!!! (No problem, chica)

 

    Pegs, without warning, ripped the phone from your hand. “Linnamon roll??” She gasped, “Do you have a secret boyfriend?! Why did you name it Linnamon roll?!” You attempted, and failed to take the phone back.

 

HamilKat: YO WHO IS THIS IF YOU ARE KAT’S BOYFRIEND I’M GOING TO CALL IN THE SQUAD AND GET YOU MURDERED

 

LinnamonRoll: Haha, I think I’m a little old for her.

 

    “PEGS GIVE IT BACK!” She locked herself in the bathroom, much to your dismay. You ran away to grab a hair pin and pick the lock, something you had learned on Youtube.

 

HamilKat: Wait, old for her?? Who is this??

 

LinnamonRoll: I figured the name gave it away

HamilKat: OML. ONE SECOND I HAVE TO GO YELL AT KAT FOR NOT TELLING ME AND ALSO I’M SORRY I’M WEIRD GAH IDK WHAT TO SAY HOLY CRAP, ummmm BRB

 

    Lin choked on his water while relaxing on the couch with Vanessa.

    “What’s that, hun?” She asked.

    “Just Kat’s friend stealing her phone.”

    “Oh?” She read the text, laughing with him. “Guess someone else knows, huh?”

    Lin hugged her reassuringly, “Pretty sure this was one of the two Kat planned to bring to the show, anyway.”

 

    “MARGARITA “PEGGY” JOY SIREN JEFFERSON SCHUYLER HOWELL UNDERHILL YOU OPEN THIS DOOR RIGHT THIS MINUTE.” You ignored a shout from your dad to stop shouting. Yes, he was usually a hypocrite like that.

    To your surprise, she did actually open the door. Unfortunately, you could tell that she knew who you were texting. You were going to tell her the next morning, or at 11 at night while you two would inevitably be up watching movies.

    “YOU SHOULD’VE TOLD ME!” She looked partially hurt, but more surprised and excited.

    “I’m not sorry,” You stated, not realizing the amount of involuntary Hamilton references the two of you were making. “I made him a promise, and I intended to keep that.”

    Joy looked betrayed. “When were you going to tell me?”

    “I didn’t think it would last this long. I was actually going to ask him today, when I met up with him at the park, but he surprised me with a better opportunity instead.”

    “Wait, wait, wait. How long have you two been ‘hanging out’?” Pegs begged to know.

    “3-3 months..” You stuttered, “But I think you’ll forgive me after this.”

    You dragged her back to the bedroom and pulled out the two tickets. She screamed, receiving another scream in return from your father, who was still downstairs.

    “NO FRICKING WAY!!” Peggy squealed, “Wait, but what about Scarlet and Melody and Grace and Ari and Saf?”

    “These tickets are for Scarlet and I, but Lin promised me two more for you and Melody.” You smiled brightly, happy at her happiness. Whenever she was happy, you were happy.

    After that, the night was filled with you two discussing which cast members you were most excited to meet and what you would wear, among other things. At 1 am, your father came bolting up the stairs to tell the two of you to shut up and go to sleep, but was immediately thwarted by the cat, who caused him major amounts of sneezing. Because of this, you didn’t sleep until 2 a.m.

"Here, kitty, kitty." Scarlet beckoned the cat into her room, before glancing down the hall to make sure no one saw her being captivated by the cat. She had a reputation to keep after all. "You're pretty cute, ain't 'cha?" She smiled, picking up the cat and closing the door behind her. After finding a bouncy ball and playing with the sweetheart for a while, Scarlet began to talk to her; like a real cat person.

"Meow."

"I agree. We could pull tons of pranks."

*Purr*

"Aww, thanks, kitty. You're pretty cool, too."

 

Purple_Melody: Hey, how goes?

 

HamilKat: YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS.

 

Purple_Melody: I suspected you were meeting with Lin more, if that’s what you’re going to tell me. XP

 

HamilKat: Oh… well that’s PART of what I was going to tell you but… *sent an image*

 

Purple_Melody: WOAH!! He gave you and Scarlet tickets?? That’s so cool! When are you going?

 

HamilKat: All four of us are going next Saturday!

 

Purple_Melody: Four of us? Are you bringing Grace and Saf?

 

HamilKat: Nope! You. also: (raise a glass to the four of us)

 

Purple_Melody: ME?? But I’m not as into Hamilton as them and what in the world would I do in New York City?

 

HamilKat: 1. You and Pegs are both coming, no question, because you two are my best friends. 2. I’m only allowed to tell two people and bring two people, so maybe I’ll bring them a different time. 3. We have a bit before the show to explore the city, Lin can’t take us, but he’s sending a friend I think. 4. There are so many things to do in the city! I mean… there’s nothing like summer in the city.. Hehe.. besides, even you like Hamilton a bit and have to admit it’s a national phenomenon. (phenemena) It’s Broadway, Mel! Totally worth it! Plus, we’ll meet the cast!

 

Purple_Melody: Well… How can I say no to that? ( wink wink nudge nudge ) You’ve convinced me! Though I doubt you would let me refuse anyway

 

HamilKat: XDDDDD PEGS AND I ARE SO PROUD OF YOU!!! (she’s here right now, I’ll explain tomorrow as we must go to bed) But YAY!!! G’night, Mel, I’m excited!!

 

Purple_Melody: :3 Night

Chapter Text

    Five days passed, and Pegs was still at your house. She had contacted her parents via letter and told them that she was at a friend’s house, that there was no reason for them to come find her because she just wanted a break.

    That last section prompted a “TAKE A BREAK!” from you that followed with a laugh from Joy.

    Since Lin had given you tickets, Pegs, Scarlet, and yourself had been preparing for the trip. Today, Melody was coming over to stay for 2 days so that all of you could get ready together. Usually your parents wouldn’t allow this kind of thing for you, but since it was Broadway, Scarlet, and in front of someone famous (Lin), they let it go this time.

    “Melody!!’ You tackled the short-haired, decently taller than you, and casually dressed girl before she stepped over the threshold. Pegs joined you two, laughing hysterically.

    Everyone called her Joy, except you. Pegs or Peggy seemed perfect, considering how alike to the historical figure she was. She was sweet, innocent, and always seemed to be in the background. Just like Margarita Schuyler with Alexander Hamilton, she confided in you and the two of you were best friends. Besides that, she could also be badass and brave when she wanted to. Also like Margarita, she loved her family, more often her friends, to the ends of the earth and would do anything to keep them safe. Though you were the maternal friend, she shared some of those qualities without having them to the extent that you did.

    After Melody arrived, things at home were just peachy. Your parents didn’t bother you, not even your dad. It was most likely because of the cat upstairs. You silently thanked Pegs for bringing the little sweetheart.

    Mindy was sweet and cuddly around you, Scarlet, Pegs, and Melody, but when your dad came upstairs, she turned into a tiger. She would hiss and growl at him, bringing her claws out. In fact, Mindy had left a few scars on his legs once and since then, he hadn’t come upstairs.

Most nights, Mindy would sleep on Scarlet’s bed. Pegs didn’t mind, since both you and Scarlet had never had a pet before. She said she wanted the two of you to ‘get your pet fix’ to sustain you complaining for a while. Of course that was a joke, but she really did want you to experience having a pet, even if your father was allergic to it.

“Pegs, c’mon! Lin’s ‘friend’ will be here in 30 minutes!” You shouted up the stairs to Joy, who was still getting ready. You had each packed your clothes that you would wear to the show in one bag. Lin said he would let you all change backstage before you left to see the show, just so you would be comfortable while exploring the city.

“I’m so sorry!” She cried, speeding down the stairs. “I had to clean my jeans of cat fur.” Pegs glared at Mindy, who looked up and mewed innocently.

“It’s okay.” Said Melody, “We still have a while anyway.”

Suddenly, a knock came at the door.

“Is that them??” Pegs begged to know as you glanced out the window and had a heart attack.

“No. Way.” You gasped.

“Who is it?” Mel asked as Scarlet opened the door.

Standing at your front door were THE Anthony Ramos and Daveed Diggs. You nearly fainted as Scarlet stood there stupidly.

“Hi.” Daveed smiled a little, waving. He noticed you having a mini heart attack on the side and chuckled. Glancing at Pegs, he chuckled a little more. She had sat on the stairs, getting dizzy from shock.

“Who are you..?” Scarlet said, looking at Anthony.

Anthony’s jaw dropped. “I thought Lin said something about Hamilton fans?”

Melody piped in, “That would be the two dying of shock over here. Me and Scarlet not so much.” She waved to Daveed and Anthony shyly, “Melody.”

“Joy, or Pegs, my friends call me that. I mean, mostly just Kat,” Joy rambled, looking at you, “But.. Yeah.”

“Anthony, and this is Daveed.” Anthony introduced, smiling. “And I’m assuming that is Kat, from what Lin has told me.”

At his comment, you joined Joy on the stairs.

“Scarlet.” Scarlet said simply, “Now that we’re all done saying our names, why are those two dying at the sight of you?” She said pointedly, looking at Anthony.

You stood, leaning on Scarlet. “You know..? One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, pew?”

“Ohhh, you’re Philip!”

“Aaand?”

“And what?”

You sighed, “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine! It’s the ten duel commandments!”

She looked at you quizzically, still not understanding.

You rolled your eyes again. If there was any song she would know him from, it would be Satisfied. “The maid of honor; Angelica Schuyler!”

Scarlet looked confused still, “I don’t know who says that.”

“John. Laurens.”

“Ohhh, cool.”

“And also my favorite character…” You muttered, a little disappointed at her.

Scarlet turned to Daveed, “Who are- Oh, wait, nevermind, I know.”

Anthony looked betrayed, “How did you know him but not me?!”

“The hair, duh. It’s too fabulous to be on anyone but Jefferson.” She said as if it was obvious.

Daveed smiled brightly, doing little finger guns, “I like her.”

The ride into New York was fun, filled with singing Hamilton, which with the actual actors was a dream come true, and telling fun backstage stories.

 

“So is it true that Thayne is the real cookie monster?” You asked.

Daveed and Anthony burst out laughing, “Yes. It’s hilarious how close the internet gets to the truth.”

 

Daveed and Anthony took you to all the hot spots in New York; the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, the Empire State Building, and Times Square. You had no idea how they took you all the way across and around New York City, multiple times no less, in less than a day, but they did. You guessed that being here so long had taught them how to get around.

After exploring the city, you all decided that Lin was right when he wrote the Schuyler Sisters; there is nothing like summer in the city. Finally, you headed to the Richard Rodgers Theater. The six of you stood outside, basking in its glory. Well, Anthony and Daveed were just laughing at the rest of you, but the four of you were basking.

    “I never thought I would be standing here.” You sighed with awe. Pegs nodded.

    “Pretty cool, huh?” a voice came from the stage door. It was quiet outside the theater, since there were still a couple hours til showtime.

    You glanced to your right to see Lin, “Lin!” You and Scarlet ran to greet him, giving him a quick hug.

    Pegs was wide-eyed. “They’re on a first name… what’s the word?” She looked at Mel.

    “Basis?”

    “That’s it. And they literally just hugged him. I think I’m going to die.”

    You turned back to her, “You don’t want to do that until we see the show, Pegs!”

    Lin smiled brightly at your best friends, “So that’s them, huh, chica?”

    “Yep! This is Joy, or Peggy, or Pegs, the one who stole my phone.” You added, glaring at her, “And this is Melody, or Mel!”

    Mel smiled while Pegs waved shyly, but awestruck. Lin lead you backstage while Daveed and Anthony left, presumably to find some of their friends.

    “Sooo” Lin started, “Cast or stage first?”

    “Cast.” All of you answered in synch, laughing.

    Lin chuckled, “Ay dios mio, if I had known I was dealing with this good of friends I would’ve gotten you all the same thing.”

    You all laughed with him, until realizing what he said.

    “WAIT WHAT?” Pegs raised her voice a little, until Lin brought out a cardboard box filled to the brim with merch.

    Lin pulled out a Hamilton hoodie and handed to you. Of course he knew that you loved hoodies. He then proceeded to give Scarlet a “Young, Scrappy, and Hungry” t-shirt that fit her personality and figure perfectly and handed a “Talk Less, Smile More” shirt to Mel, which you had told him the phrase was ideal for her.

    Finally, Pegs was given a shirt with the three Schuyler sisters dancing above the classic Hamilton star. She laughed hysterically and asked you if you had anything to do with this. You told her the truth; “No, but I’ve talked about you enough that Lin probably knew what would fit you perfectly.”

    But Lin wasn’t done yet, no. He gave you a Hamilton notebook and told you to write like you were running out of time. It seemed extremely cheesy and everyone laughed. He gave Scarlet a #YayHamlet mug, since she loved to drink tea, a Hamilton star magnet to Mel, and a Hamilton water bottle to Pegs.

    “Why did you get us all this, Lin?” You asked him privately, as he led you down the hall to the cast members’ dressing rooms.

    “Why not?” He answered simply, though you could tell there was a reason for it other than what he said. After a moment’s pause, Lin continued, but with a different subject. “Kat, I saw the bruise on your cheek.”

    You turned red and turned your face from his view. The damn thing still hadn’t gone away.

    “What happened?”

    “It’s fine, Lin, just forget about it.” You attempted to convince him, but you knew he wouldn’t forget. He didn’t say anything else, but you could see the gears turning in that genius brain of his.

    Then Pegs came up. “So, where are we going..?”

    Lin brightened, “Well, I figured Groff is probably here early, as well as the others, except Leslie. He’s probably late, like usual.”

    You and Joy laughed, while Mel and Scarlet looked confused. You explained how Leslie gets ready literally 5 minutes before the show, and they laughed a little too.

    “Anyway,” Lin interrupted, “I think we’ll meet Chris and… hmm… any requests?” He joked.

    You cut in before Pegs could say a word, “Renee, Phillipa, and Jasmine.”

    Peggy pouted, “I was going to say that.”

    Scarlet rolled her eyes, “Leslie would be cool.” Mel looked at her in surprise as she looked down in embarrassment. Leslie’s songs were the few that Scarlet listened to, other than Renee’s. She loved their characters and their voices; more specifically she wanted to some tips. Unbeknownst to many, Scarlet wanted to be a singer and actress as well, though she would prefer to be a movie actress. She looked up to those on Broadway and how they could perform live without making obvious mistakes, but she thought she could never do that.

    Lin smiled at her, clearly glad that she was coming out of her shell a little, “Gufeao! Let’s meet the ladies first, shall we?” He lead the charge after muttering something under his breath, “Ay, are they are going to have fun with you four.”

    Your group came to a stop in front of a door labeled with the names Renee, Phillipa, and Jasmine. Pegs practically had stars in her eyes; Hamilton; An American Musical type stars.

    “Hello, hello, hello!” Lin used his classic Ham4Ham greeting when he pushed open the door to a smiling group of shining Broadway sensations. Speaking of stars, you thought to yourself.

    Phillipa stood first, not noticing the four of you behind Lin. “Hey, Lin!”

    Jasmine noticed first and peeked around Lin so that you could see her, gasping, “Is that Kat?!”

    Renee immediately ran to Jasmine from somewhere unknown to you, presumably a small walk-in closet or bathroom. “It is! ” She shoved Lin so that Phillipa could see.

    Lin laughed, “Grosero.” You had no idea what he was saying, but you could tell he was joking about Renee shoving him.

    Phillipa approached you and your friends, “Hi! I’m Phillipa, but you knew that, or at least you two do.” She giggled at you and Peggy’s awestruck expressions.

    “Lin talks about you all the time!” Jasmine cut in, giving you a hug and making you turn a deep red.

    “He does?” You were in awe again at how much this seemed like fantasy. A fan-fiction of some sorts, maybe.

    Lin chuckled awkwardly, “Jazz, you’re scaring the poor chica.”

    Renee scoffed, “Well, lying is a sin, Lin.”

    “That rhymed really well, Renee!” Phillipa laughed.

    Scarlet smirked a little, “You should make a Hamilton diss track.”

    Renee stepped over to Scarlet, “I should! Hi, I’m Renee! Are you Scarlet?”

    “Yup, that’s me.” Beyond her cool countenance, you knew that she was actually dying inside.

    “Lin talks about you too, saying how much I’d like you. To be honest, I thought he might have been exaggerating.”

    Scarlet’s face fell a little, but only to the point where you could see it, “But?”

    Renee laughed, “I can see he was under exaggerating.”

    “Why can’t anyone just be whelmed?” You joked, referencing a TV show that you and Scarlet had watched when you were younger. (A/N: If you get this reference, you are my new best friend)

    Pegs and Mel just looked confused before they turned to speak to Phillipa, who was just like you imagined. She was just a perfect angel.

    Jazzy walked up to you, “Oh my gosh, I love your hair! It’s so long!” Your hair was down to your thighs and gave you headaches every once in awhile. Every so often, you would chop it off and donate it, but you left it growing this time, and were glad you did.

    “Thanks! I love yours!”

    Pegs immediately butt in, “I am going to die.”

    Jazzy laughed, seeing her nametag. Daveed had, strangely enough, brought nametags, because he figured the cast would learn your names easier that way. They were mostly for Daveed, though, Anthony had said. When you heard this, the four of you decided to screw with them. Joy’s read “AND PEGGY”, Mel’s said “Talk less, smile more”, Scarlet’s was “Never Satisfied", and yours said “A. Ham”.

    “This is probably weird, but Peggy is my favorite character in the whole thing and you are my inspiration.” Joy rattled off.

    Jazzy smiled, “Aww!” She spotted Joy’s hair that was just as long as yours and practically swooned. “Can I?”

    Joy spotted her gaze and nodded vigorously.

    Now, Joy and Jazzy (so poetically stated) were in one corner doing hair, Scarlet and Renee were talking in another, Mel was being shy around Phillipa, and you were in the middle with Lin.

    “It’s funny how we immediately gravitate to people we’re like, huh, chica?” He said, clearly commenting on the pairs of people around you.

    You chuckled, “So, we’re alike then?”

    “Maybe? Maybe not. Maybe we just click, huh?” He laughed, “I think we just know each other best.”

    “I never thought I’d be in here. This is insane.” You paused, “Man.”

    Lin laughed, recognizing the reference, since he knew the lyrics like the back of his hand. Considering he wrote them, you knew he would get it. “Fate has a fun way of messing with us and yet helping us at the same time.”

    Was he talking about how fate helped you with your dream of meeting the cast, and him, or just in general? “Yeah.”

    The door flew open. “I heard noise! Noise means food! Food means possible cookies!” You laughed, not even needing to turn around to know who it was. You did anyway.

    “Thayne!” Lin called out to the man, “This is Kat, Scarlet, Melody, and Joy!” He pointed to each of you respectively.

    Thayne waved and smiled, “But seriously, cookies?”

    Jazzy rolled her eyes and walked over to a vanity. She used a silver key to unlock a drawer. Inside were packs upon packs of cookies that she kept hidden for when Thayne needed cookies.

    Thayne gasped, taking the cookies from Jazzy and hugging her, “YOU. ARE. MY. BEST. FRIEND.”

    That was it. After that, he ran out. A confused Chris was almost knocked over by Thayne running out the door, probably to his dressing room to stuff his face.

    “What-?” He spotted the cookies and rolled his eyes. Then, he spotted you and the group. “Oh, hey! Lin, is this Kat?’

    You waved shyly. Holy crap it’s Chris freaking Jackson. There seemed to be a lot of those thoughts rolling around in your head today.

    “Ayy, Chris! Si! This is Kat, Scarlet, Melody, and Joy!” Lin introduced the four of you again. Chris walked over, greeting each of you.

    In the next 30 minutes, both the guy and girl ensemble showed up and was introduced to each of you. There was a loud bing from Lin’s phone that only you heard. He was on the other side of the room, so you glanced at the notification.

 

GroffSauce: LIN COME OPEN THE STAGE DOOR WE’RE LOCKED OUTSIDE

 

    You laughed to yourself and decided to take it into your own hands, since Lin was busy chatting with Chris and Pegs.

    You took to the stage door, where you could hear quite a bit of talking and shouting outside. Wondering if there were fans out there, you hesitated, listening in. Nope, that was the shouting of the one and only Jonathan Groff. You could tell that there were a couple other people out there, since he didn’t seem to be yelling at thin air.

    “IT’S NOT MY FAULT THAT OAK FORGOT HIS KEYS!” That was Groff.

    “It’s not his fault that you forgot yours either, Jon.” You couldn’t tell exactly who that was, but there were more quiet and chuckling lightly.

    “Can we please just stop arguing and text Lin?” You could’ve sworn that was Oak.

    “I texted him minutes ago!”

    “It was more seconds..”

    “Shut up, Leslie!” Okay, so the quieter one was Leslie. You were tempted to leave them out there a while longer, but Lin would surely find the message soon.

    You opened the door. “Hi.” You were strangely calm for meeting some of your biggest heroes in the entire universe. You supposed it came from being friends with one of them for 3 months now.

    “THANK. GOD.” Groff said, hugging you. “Lin’s chica has saved our poor souls!”

    You laughed, Oh my lord, he knows who I am!!

    Leslie laughed, “Groff, you’re scaring her, she hasn’t met you yet!”

    You gave him a look of thanks, then introduced yourself, “I’m Kat, but you already knew that.”

    Oak cut in, “Well, seeing as we all know who everyone is, can we go in now?”

    Leslie rolled his eyes as you all piled into the theater, “Sorry, he’s a little hangry.”

    “It’s okay.” You chuckled a little.

    “Lin said something about you and your sister coming to see the show today, but he didn’t mention friends.” He commented, stepping into the dressing room with you and seeing Melody with Phillipa.

    “He didn’t?”

    “Nope. But it’s okay, the more the merrier, right?” He smiled, just like you had seen in all the Ham4Ham recordings and live Q and As; a smile you never imagined you’d meet.

    “Scarlet isn’t as obsessed as me, and neither is Mel, but Pegs will probably recognize you and run up to you immediately.” You warned him. “Though, my sister is a pretty big fan of yours more so than the others in the cast.”

    “Really?” Leslie looked really happy.

    You laughed, “Yeah, she loves you and Renee’s numbers the most. Pretty sure she’s looking for advice, too.”

    “On singing?” Leslie brightened even more, “Or acting?”

    “I think a little bit of both,” You started, “She wants to be a movie actress.”

    As you expected, Scarlet and Pegs both introduced themselves immediately. Pegs left to meet Groff and Oak, but Scarlet stuck around to talk to Leslie. You smiled even brighter after that, knowing that she would never forget today.

    Unfortunately, Lin still hadn’t shown you the stage, so you wandered onto it by yourself. You stood on the holy grail to your hamiltrash nature and gazed out into the empty audience. It would be so wrong of you not to sing something, and you had just the perfect number.

Chapter Text

Like a small boat

On the ocean

Sending big waves

Into motion

Like how a single word

Can make a heart open

I might only have one match

But I can make an explosion

 

    You let the words flow through you so that you could put as much passion into as you could. The song was so true to you; you could relate to it. The lyrics matched your story and they matched your heart

 

And all those things I didn't say

Wrecking balls inside my brain

I will scream them loud tonight

Can you hear my voice this time?

   

    You took a fire from this song, promising yourself that someday you would stand up for what you believed in and that you would tell those who didn’t listen to you how you felt; how much they had hurt you.

 

This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I'm alright song

My power's turned on

Starting right now I'll be strong

I'll play my fight song

And I don't really care if nobody else believes

'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

 

    You weren’t done yet, you were just starting, and you planned to stay silent until it was time to fight. Sure, it wasn’t the greatest philosophy, but when you tried to fight before, no one would listen, so what was the point trying now?

 

Losing friends and I'm chasing sleep

Everybody's worried about me

In too deep

Say I'm in too deep (in too deep)

And it's been two years I miss my home

But there's a fire burning in my bones

Still believe

Yeah, I still believe

 

    Two years since you had left Europe and you were still hurting, but you were prepared to move on. You believed you could move on. Everyone; Mel, Pegs, Scarlet, and even Lin, was worried about you. You were so tired every night because you stayed up doing whatever you could, though it was usually writing. You had lost so many friends because they had never been real. They had never cared, but these friends did.

 

And all those things I didn't say

Wrecking balls inside my brain

I will scream them loud tonight

Can you hear my voice this time?

This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I'm alright song

My power's turned on

Starting right now I'll be strong

I'll play my fight song

And I don't really care if nobody else believes

'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

A lot of fight left in me

Like a small boat

On the ocean

Sending big waves

Into motion

Like how a single word

Can make a heart open

I might only have one match

But I can make an explosion

 

This is my fight song

Take back my life song

Prove I'm alright song

My power's turned on

Starting right now I'll be strong (I'll be strong)

I'll play my fight song

And I don't really care if nobody else believes

'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me

Know I've still got a lot of fight left in me

 

    You finished the song and heard clapping from the side of the stage. It was Lin.

    “Not too bad, chica.” He smiled, “Figured the singing was you, since you had wanted to see the stage earlier.”

    You looked at your feet, “Scarlet’s always been better than me at that.”

    “Maybe,” He came up to you, “But that’s just natural talent, you know? It takes more time to learn those things for some people.”

    “I wish I had the time and money to do that.”

    Lin chuckled, “You’ll get there someday, chica. Now come on, the audience will be let in soon and you’ve got to meet Groff still.”

    You laughed and followed him backstage.

Chapter Text

    The show was more than you could’ve imagined. The first time you had listened to the full soundtrack, you had cried ridiculous amounts. After that, however, you didn’t cry again when listening to it. The live show made you cry even more than the first time you heard the songs and Pegs was in the same situation as you. Even Mel and Scarlet had shed a couple tears, though more Mel than Scarlet.

    Scarlet had sat up during Satisfied, mouthing the words, and did the same with Wait For It and Room Where It Happens. You thought that she was absolutely adorable when she did that, and you would never get over the sight of your kid sister singing along to Hamilton.

    Mel had been changed by the musical, that was clear. Even if she would never love it as much as you or Pegs, she could still enjoy it. Mel could never argue that it wasn’t an amazing piece of art.

    A security guard led the four of you backstage and you attempted to clean up your disgusting face after that feelstrip. You didn’t remember signing a permission slip for that, but you had enjoyed it anyway.

    Lin met you by the entrance to backstage, “Dang, chica, I thought you told me you didn’t cry at the soundtrack.”

    You smacked his arm lightly, “The show is more… real, I guess.”

    The rest of the night was spent with the cast before Lin drove you home. Pegs fell asleep on your shoulder while the rest of you sang the whole way home. Lin said goodbye outside of your house and drove off. You had stopped on the way to drop of Melody and were finally home.

    Lin had, before he left, actually carried Joy all the way up to your room and put her on the couch below your loft, which was her temporary bed until she stopped staying at your house. Scarlet went upstairs after that to join Joy in sleeping, but you stayed awake watching Youtube on the computer.

    The day had been perfect, an absolute dream come true. Unfortunately, your dad had other plans.

 

    Days later, Lin saw you at the park and asked you about the bruises. You admitted to him what happened in tears. He wanted to claim child abuse in a court of law, but you refused, telling him that you loved your parents too much to do that to them. Besides, you would be put into foster care, and who knows how that would go. You might even be split up from Scarlet.

    Days turned into weeks as Pegs continued to stay at your house. Lin would see you often at the park, but none of the other cast members came, until the last day of June. After that day, both Lin and Chris showed up at the park regularly. Chris had talked to Pegs and they talked often, almost as much as you and Lin.

   

    “Why do you think they talk so much?” Lin asked randomly one day.

    “Pegs and Chris?” You asked, confused. He nodded. “I dunno. You would know more than me, Lin.”

    “I think they might be talking about the divorce.”

    You had told Lin why Pegs was staying at your place and what she was going through. Her mom had treated her like crap, though she was under the influence of stress. Her father was a jerk in general, as his name suggested, and cared more for himself than his children. He even refused to pay child support and was planning on selling the house that Pegs and her mother lived in, despite protests from those living in it.

    “Maybe.” You were still conflicted, “Maybe they’re just talking about random things, like you and I do.”

    “I don’t think Chris would do that.” Lin protested, “I think she’s like a daughter to him, huh?”

    “You think?” That made you really happy, since Pegs didn’t have any great father figures. You were also one of the few good mother figures in her life right now, too, but that was hard to keep up when you were dealing with troubles of your own. You cared too much for your own good, said everyone you knew.

    “Chica, I know .” Lin laughed, “Chris is basically the greatest father figure of all time.”

    You laughed, “From what I’ve seen of him, he seems like he would be.”

    Later you learned that he and Pegs had been speaking of the divorce, but also some random things, so both you and Lin were right.

 

    Unfortunately, Pegs was forced to face her parents in the divorce case that went to court. She had refused, thanks to your advice, to be placed in the custody of her mother and her father refused to take her, but she didn’t want to go there either. The case would reconvene in a couple months, so you had time to think of a game plan. Honestly, you had no idea what to do.

    The day after the case in court, you found Pegs in tears at the park. To your surprise, she wasn’t alone. Chris was with her and comforting her. You joined them, but left when Scarlet called you home, telling Pegs that you would be back soon.

    You had done a great job being a stand in mom, but you appreciated that Chris seemed to be taking care of her as much as you. Pegs had already met his family one day, when he had practically begged her to let him introduce her, and loved them to bits.

    At this point, mid June, everything seemed okay. Things weren’t great, but they seemed like they could get better. Unfortunately for you and Scarlet, fate decided not to be too kind. Two months later, fate decided it would screw you over. Two months was how long that lasted. Two months were fine before the accident happened.

Chapter Text

    Lin’s POV

 

    It had been two weeks since I had seen Kat, and I was starting to worry. Vanessa chided me, saying that everything was fine and that she was probably just busy. I knew that Kat wasn’t busy, because she never gets busy. She finishes her homework and projects on time and always has time to go to the park. At the very least, Scarlet would be there, but even she wasn’t.

    I started going to the park every day, just to catch a glimpse of them, but they weren’t there. I was considering visiting their home, but if she was okay, her parents would be pissed. I didn’t want to be the cause of any more bruises. In fact, I would do everything in my power to stop those bruises if only Kat would let me.

    When I was almost fully deprived of hope, I finally saw her under the cherry tree one day. She wasn’t reading, she wasn’t listening to music, hell, she wasn’t even writing. She wasn’t doing anything. In fact, she was just staring off into space. Scarlet wasn’t there and neither was Pegs.

    I walked up to her slowly and tapped her shoulder. “Kat? Are you okay, chica?”

    She flinched and turned to me, “L-Lin?”

    “Hey, chica. Yeah, it’s me.” Dios mio, she looked terrible. Like a car had run her over about a thousand times. I sat on the bench next to her and wrapped her in a hug. She leaned on me, sighing.

    “Are you okay, chica? I haven’t seen you in forever. What happened?”

    “Lin, it’s-” Tears came to her eyes and my heart broke for her. Even if she was going through tough things, Kat was usually happy or at least played it off like she was, but she wasn’t even smirking this time. “It’s my parents. Ther-There was a car accident and-” At this point, she couldn’t hold it in anymore and burst into tears. Her parents were gone. Gone.

 

    Kat’s POV

 

    I had tried to be strong for Scarlet, I tried. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, I didn’t do anything. I was nothing. I felt nothing. I said nothing. I simply held her while she cried and comforted her. I screamed at Parker when he came to visit, saying that he did nothing to help us and that he was the worst older brother the world had ever seen. I basically disowned him as my brother and pretended he didn’t exist.

    Scarlet still loved him. She still looked to him for comfort, despite my being open to her, while he was not. I was mad at her, but forgot this when I saw her cry. She cried all the time. Every day, every morning, every night. It was a regular thing that I never got used to. How was someone supposed to get used to their baby sister crying her eyes out over something she shouldn’t-no one-should ever have to experience?

    I had held back my tears. I didn’t have time to cry. I had to keep going. I had to keep writing. I had to keep living and surviving.

    I didn’t know what to do anymore except write. It was the only thing giving me comfort, if you could even consider it so.

    It wasn’t until I saw Lin at the park that I let go. I couldn’t pretend that I was okay anymore. I couldn’t pretend that I wasn’t partially happy or relieved. I also couldn’t pretend that I wasn’t sad. I was conflicted. I was upset that the parents I had once loved were gone, but they seemed to have been gone a long time now.

    Lin, Scarlet, Melody, Pegs, and even Mindy were the only things I had now. I had to protect Scarlet and Pegs. Melody was my rock who kept me alive through it, but I had no one to protect me . Without that, I had slowly faded.

    I had avoided Lin, knowing that he would be the one to do that for me, knowing that he would be the one that I would finally let it all out around. I had subconsciously approached the park after weeks of silent sorrow. My mind and heart were telling me that it was time to let it all out. My heart was also telling me that there was another constant that would help me. It told me that he had been there when I was lonely, when I was hurt by the social and parental expectations of my life, when I had been harassed by classmates.

    In fact, Lin had almost punched a guy when I told him that he was harassing me. Luckily, I had convinced him to speak to the principal instead, so we dodged a bullet there. Lin had helped me write essays, too, when I was having writer’s block. Whenever I needed help I went to the park, praying that he would be there. Most times, he was. When he wasn’t, he would be there after the fact and would help bandage my wounds.

    What would I have done without him? I don’t know.

    Lin’s POV

    I met with her every day at the park after that. She was so hurt. Obviously, Lin, how else would she feel when the only parents she’d ever known just died?

    I wasn’t sure exactly what to do, as I had never felt that specific pain before. I tried my best, at least. That’s more than some people can say. Cough, Parker .

    The second day was just as tearful. I held her in my arms and let her cry. Where else was she going to get that out of her system? She could never cry in front of Parker or Scarlet, I knew that. Kat felt it was her duty to stay strong.

    She had been trying to stay strong when she saw me, but she couldn’t. I had no idea why.

    “Chica?”

    “Mm?”

    “Do you feel safe enough to cry around me?”

    She sat up. “Yeah. Around my sister I have to be strong for her. With my friends I have to pretend I’m alright, because, no matter how they try, they may make things worse because they can’t understand. I don’t suppose you do either, but you- you- you… I don’t know.”

    “That makes me happy that you trust me.”

    “Of course I do, how could I not?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Since I met you, you’ve been nothing but kind. You noticed my bruises and pointed them out, when everybody else just ignored them or didn’t see them; even my closest friends.”

    “I’m just being me, chica, that’s not anything special.”

    “Exactly!” She looked me in the eyes, “Everybody has their downsides, no one is perfect, but you.” She sighed and snapped her fingers, trying to find the words. “You’re kinder than most people and you being you is being more caring than others. You know what I mean?”

    “I know what you mean, but I don’t quite see it.”

    “See, you’re modest, too.”

    We both laughed, for the first time she had in awhile. I could tell because of the expression on her face afterwards. Kat looked like she had betrayed her family.

    “Why am I laughing?”

    “Because it was funny?”

    “I shouldn’t be laughing.”

    “Why not? You deserve to have a little happiness, too, chica.”

    “Not this soon after..”

    “They would want you to be happy.”

    “I doubt it.”

    “Well… everyone else wants you happy. It'll take awhile to move on from the pain, but you shouldn’t blame yourself for wanting and trying to move on. I’m here for you, chica, I hope you know that.”

    “Yeah, I know. You’re the best, Lin.”

    “I know.”

    She laughed again, making me smile, “Not quite so modest as I thought, then.”

Chapter Text

    I talked with Vanessa that night and brought the idea to her. At first, she thought I was crazy, but then she realized that she already knew that and she also knew how sweet, innocent, and damaged Kat was, not to mention Scarlet. My lovely wife had never met the two, and neither had Seb, but I thought that it was time.

    I had asked Kat who was taking care of her.

    “Parker is staying with us for a while, but he can’t take care of us forever. We’ll probably go into foster care.”

    I immediately knew what to do. I went to Kat’s place after gaining Vanessa’s permission.

    “Lin?” Scarlet answered the door.

    “Hey, cariño.” I hugged her and she hugged back. I noticed Parker glaring from the couch. “Look, I don’t care if you hate me for being closer to your little sister-” I was referring to Kat and he knew it, “Than you have been in your entire goddamn life, because we both know whose fault that is.”

    I cursed myself for cursing and even Scarlet looked surprised.

    “I want to talk to her,” I turned back to Scarlet, “Where is she?”

    Scarlet pointed up the stairs to their room, “Pegs, Melody, and Mindy are in there, too.”

    “Gracias.” I took the stairs two at a time and creaked open the bedroom door.

    I saw Kat sitting on the loft couch. Pegs was dramatically draped across her legs and snuggling Mindy. Melody sat opposite them, on Scarlet’s bed. They were just sitting there in solemn silence and no one moved, except the gato.

    “Hey, chicas.”

    Joy and Melody looked up at me, as well as the gato.. Mindy struggled out of Joy’s arms and rubbed against my legs. I stroked her a little before speaking again, “Can I talk to Kat?”

    They nodded and left the room, picking up the cat as they went. I sat next to her.

    “Lin, what are you doing here?”

    “What, I can’t check up on my favorite chica?” I joked lightly, receiving no reaction. I sighed. “Kat, I know you’re scared. Parker isn’t going to care for you and Scarlet, and foster care won’t be great for the two of you, especially if you get split up.”

    She drew her knees up to her face, where her hair covered her eyes and cheeks.

    “I talked to Vanessa, my beautiful lawyer wife, and we have agreed to try to adopt you and Scarlet.”

    She snapped her head up to look me in the eyes, “Lin, I-”

    “It’s not a pity project nor something for internet attention, chica. I told the cast and they agree that it’s a good idea. I don’t want you to get hurt, and I sure as hell don’t want you to leave somewhere I can’t see you. Besides, I like to think I was a better father than your dad, anyway.”

    Kat sat in silence for a moment, before hugging me, “You still are. We also look more alike than my dad and I.”

    I chuckled, “You have my eyes, you have your mother’s name.”

    “I really don’t have either of those.”

    “Maybe not.” I shrugged, “But you do have that sparkle in your eye that V says I have. That sparkle that says you have a ton going on in that genius brain of yours.”

    “Yeah, I don’t mind being your daughter.” she smiled, hugging me again.

    Scarlet had walked in sometime, but I didn’t realize she had. She joined the hug, in tears. “Do I have to call you Dad?”

    We all chuckled through tears, “Nah, chica, you can call me whatever you want.”

Chapter Text

    Kat’s POV

    “He did WHAT?!”

    I was still hurting from my parents’ death, but Lin offering to adopt Scarlet and I had brightened my world a little, “He’s going to adopt Scarlet and I.” I repeated for the fifteenth time.

    Pegs was ecstatic, “This means you get to see the cast all the time! ALL the time! Chris,” I internally chuckled at her mention of Chris first. They still talked all the time. “And Groff, and Renee, Leslie, Phillipa, Jazzy, Daveed, Anthony-” I kind of zoned out after that, since she went on the name the whole cast.

    “YOU ARE SO LUCKY!” She stopped, “Well, I guess not really… but you know what I mean.”

    “Yeah, I know, Pegs.” I gave her a hug.

 

    “You never told me about you and Chris.” I poked Pegs’ shoulder.

    “What is there to tell?”

    “You guys talk a ton.”

    “So? You and Lin do the same thing.”

    “Yeah, I want to know if it’s like me and Lin.”

    “Oh. I guess it is. He’s- I don’t know. I talk and he listens. He gives his opinion on it and tells me that if I have nowhere to go, he’s always there and that he’ll help me.”

    “Damn.”

    “What?”

    “I thought Lin and I’s relationship was cheesy.”

    Pegs hit me with a pillow and I laughed maniacally.

Chapter Text

    Scarlet and I packed our things, much to Parker’s rage, and prepared to move into Lin and Vanessa’s place two months later. Lin picked us up.

    “Mijas! Ready to meet Seb and Vanessa?” He asked excitedly.

    Scarlet nodded, while I spoke, “I’m just happy that we’ll be the first non-cast people to see his face.”

    Scarlet looked confused, so I explained, “Lin and Vanessa don’t show his face in pictures online, because they want him to decide for himself if he wants to be on the internet when he’s older.”

    “Oh. Wait, Lin, what does mijas mean?”

    “Daughters. Is that okay?”

    She nodded, “In Spanish it’s a little easier to- I dunno, handle, I guess?”

    The adoption was almost legal, since there was just some paperwork left before it was official. So, Lin decided to move us in early.

    As we were in the car, I fell asleep and had another one of my dreams.

    In the last year or so, I had been having the strangest dreams. They were all the same, or at least similar. I would see from someone else’s eyes, as if they were my own memories. I would see a ballroom full of dancing people, as the person whose body I was seemingly in was dancing with someone. Sometimes it was a freckled, curly haired young man, while other times it was a man who looked eerily like Leslie. Other images I saw were from the point of view of the same person. I don’t know how I knew it was the same person, but I did.

    I would see someone holding me tight as we rode on horses in a snowstorm or a fatherly figure snuggling me by the fireplace. The images were from a time long passed; a time I had never seen and a time where women still wore corsets and men wore breeches.

    I yearned to understand the images, but no matter how much I searched and looked, I could not find anything relating to what I saw. I was thinking of telling Lin, but what could he do if I couldn’t find anything?

    I was awoken from my dreams by Lin. “Hey, chica, we’re here!” He was smiling brightly, but Scarlet was smiling uneasily.

    Lin went to the back to get our bags while we got out, so I stopped to talk to her. “You okay?”

    “Yeah. It’s just… meeting our soon to be mother and brother is kind of weird when you think about it.” She laughed a little.

    “It is, huh? I wish we could’ve met them earlier.” She nodded in agreement with my statement before Lin called us.

    “Uh, you guys have a lot more stuff than I can carry by myself...could I have some help out here?”

    We laughed and went to help him. After bringing our stuff to the door, Lin knocked. Dun dun dun dun dun dun dun. Dun dun dun dun. I rolled my eyes, realizing that he had knocked to the rhythm of Hamilton’s opening. Scarlet laughed a little, clearly realizing it, too.

    The door opened to a dark-haired, beautiful woman who was clearly recognizable to me as Vanessa Nadal-Miranda. She held a sweet little toddler in her arms who was giggling uncontrollably and a small dog followed behind her.

    The dog, Tobillo, immediately ran up to me, barking happily. She recognized me from the times Lin had brought her to the park. I laughed and pet her as she licked my hand.

    Scarlet waved shyly, and, to her surprise, Seb waved back.

    Vanessa laughed, “Hi, girls! Welcome to your new home!”

    They lead us around the home, showing us the kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and Seb’s room. Finally, the lead us to a hallway with two rooms in it.

    “And this is you guys’ rooms!” Vanessa announced, waltzing into the hallway.

    My jaw dropped, “What?”

    “We get our own rooms?!” Scarlet echoed my surprise. “It’s about time!”

    Lin laughed. Seb didn’t know why his dad was laughing, but he joined the laughing anyway.

    Vanessa chuckled, “I didn’t know how you guys wanted them-”

    Lin interrupted, “I knew exactly how you wanted them.”

    Vanessa rolled her eyes, “So I left Lin to do most of the decorating. If it’s not great, it’s probably his fault and we can fix it.”

    Lin gasped, mocking offense. “How rude.”

    I chuckled, then stepped toward the door labelled with a sticky note. Chica #1 . I laughed again before opening it and stepping into the room.

    Scarlet opened her own door with wide eyes.

    “Holy-”

    “What the-”

    I squealed, then ran around exploring everything. Scarlet explored hers in utter shocked silence.

    My room contained a large loft bed with a desk and a bookshelf underneath. I had no idea how Lin knew that this was my dream bed, but he did. The bunk on top was surrounded by blue curtains and had a shelf attached to the side. The desk had my desktop on it (my laptop was in the suitcase that was still downstairs) and the bookshelf was currently empty. The bottom was enclosed on two sides with wooden walls, but was open entirely on the longest side.

    The rest of the room was just as amazing. In the corner opposite the bed was a reading corner. It sounded really stupid, but it looked quite the opposite. With two more bookshelves, anyone who entered would know that the inhabitant was a bookworm, which was accurate. The bookshelves were mostly emptied, but had a couple rows filled with books of Lin’s choice. He had added them, knowing that I always wanted to find new things to read. There were a couple Hamilton and history books, as well as tips for writers and a couple random ones.

    The carpet below the shelves was a cute pattern covered in little owls with a mainly blue sky backdrop. The rest of the floor was wood, so it made a nice contrast. Next to the bookshelves were two beanbags; one blue and one red.

    “Scarlet might want to relax in here, so..” Lin noted as he walked up next to me.

    A third corner contained a closet and separator so that I could change easily if someone else was in the room. It would probably be Scarlet. The final corner was where the door was, so it was empty.

    The walls were covered with different decorations, including pictures of Scarlet and I as well as posters from our old house. There was also a limited edition Hamilton poster hung beside my bed, which I had never seen before. I smiled a little, knowing that it had been Lin’s doing.

    I noticed a door on one side of the room and opened it, not knowing what I would find. To my surprise, it led to Scarlet’s room.

    “Daaaang,” I said, looking around. Hers was just as insane.

    She had a day bed, almost like the one at our old house, but without the drawers. It had red sheets and white pillows; a pretty normal bed. Instead of a reading corner, Scarlet had huge speakers and no carpet. There were a couple beanbag chairs in her room as well, but with a TV instead of bookshelves. An Xbox and Playstation from the old house where there, as well as the Apple TV and DVD Player. A sticky note on the TV said: Share, please. I silently celebrated, knowing that most of my games would be in the cabinets below the TV.

    Scarlet had a walk-in closet instead of just a closet, filled to the brim with her clothes. Scarlet liked clothes, just not the girly kind. She wore a lot of dark colors like red and black, as well as yellow and orange.

She was a warm color type of girl, while I liked cool colors. This showed in the color of our rooms. Mine was a navy blue color while hers was a dark red.

Posters covered the walls of Scarlet’s room, whereas mine had some pictures as well. She was practically dying at how amazing it was.

In the last corner of the room was a small desk and laptop, one that used to be Parker’s. He had given it to her when he left for college and left me with nothing, but I didn’t care.

She would use the computer often to draw on Paint and make up stories with her OCs. It was pretty cool, even if I was the writer of the family-scratch that, of the two of us. Lin was a writer, too, and he was part of our family now, so that sentence didn’t really work anymore. I would edit her stories for her and attempt to teach her what I had learned from others, though she didn’t enjoy that aspect very much.

Lin and Vanessa joined us in Scarlet’s room, while Seb ran around giggling and playing with Tobi.

“This. Is. In. Sane.” I gawked, still not over how beautiful it was.

Lin laughed and so did Vanessa.

“No, wait,” I paused, “It’s Linsane.”

Lin snorted, while Vanessa just rolled her eyes. “Oh gosh, please not the puns.” She begged.

Scarlet flopped onto her bed and stared at the ceiling. I joined her in looking up and gasped.

The ceiling was painted with colorful streaks, like a whirlwind of color, though they were mostly her favorite colors. It was so like Scarlet.

I rushed back into my room to see what mine had. It was a night sky with stars, some shooting, and a bright moon. My jaw dropped as I gazed in awe. It was the greatest room of all time.

Lin followed me into my room, smiling, “Those were V’s idea.”

“How long did this take?!”

“Months. Two long months.” He chuckled again, “We had a lot of help from the cast, too. The girls did most of the designing, with Groff’s help, of course, and the guys did a lot of heavy lifting. They also may have played on the Xbox a little.”

I snorted, “They would do that.”

    “So I’m assuming you guys like them?” Vanessa asked, walking in with Scarlet.

    Scarlet nodded, but I spoke, “HECK. YES.”

    Lin just laughed and ruffled my hair. I rolled my eyes and shoved his arm off. He faked being shoved harder than he really was and fell onto a beanbag, sticking his tongue out as if he were dead.

    I loved my new family.

Chapter Text

    The nightmares didn’t stop. Yes, there was a Hamilton reference to be had in there somewhere, but I couldn’t think anything about that, especially not when all my time was plagued with visions of my parents’ death. Not just that, though. I had nightmares of my dad hurting me and my mother yelling at me, just like it had used to be. I still flinched sometimes when Lin or Chris grabbed my shoulder or hand or anything. I knew they wouldn’t hurt me, it was just a natural reflex.

    Lin had noticed, though he hadn’t pointed it out, and I could tell that he was hurt by it. I wanted to tell him that it wasn’t his fault and that he couldn’t do much about it, but I never got the courage to outright tell him that I wasn’t fine. I had to be strong, especially for Scarlet.

    Scarlet still had the nightmares, too, though I think hers were mostly past memories and visions of our parents’ deaths. Some nights she would wake up silently and sob until I woke up or Tobi came upstairs to comfort her, but other nights she would wake up screaming and the entire family would rush inside before Vanessa would leave to take care of an upset Seb.

    I didn’t just have to be strong for Scarlet, however. Pegs didn’t have a place to stay after our parents died, since the house went to Parker and he didn’t want her living there, the asshole. So, Chris let her stay with his family. I desperately wanted to be closer to her, but I knew it wouldn’t do her good to have the traumatic environment Scarlet and I left behind around her. It would only stress her out with trying to help us and she needed to focus on what she was going to do with her parents.

She was definitely not going with her dad or brothers, because that was dangerous. Her brothers got drunk a ton and who knows where that would go. Her dad was just a dick in general and didn’t care much for her anyway. She wouldn’t go to her mom either, because that woman was just so misguided and blinded by stress and past events in her life that the way she was treating Pegs was unacceptable.

Speaking of treatment, Parker caught Scarlet and I at the park often and would attempt to convince us to come live with him again at the house. Scarlet felt so sorry and regretful that she almost accepted a couple times. I was afraid, however, that Parker would turn into my dad again. Besides, he couldn’t ever replace our parents and there was no point trying. He had his own life to live and we needed to have a chance at ours without stressing him out about paying for us as well. Scarlet still talked to him often, but I cut myself completely off from him. I didn’t hate him, but I didn’t love him as much anymore, not with how he had acted when we left.

Difficulties aside, life with Lin, Vanessa, Seb, and Tobillo, of course, was generally great. Seb had gotten so used to our presence that he would even ask for us when he woke in the mornings sometimes. Scarlet bonded with the little guy much faster than I had expected. Then again, she had always thought about having a little sibling, even if she really loved being the baby.

Lin and Vanessa had decided to let us relax a little before getting into necessities, like school and volunteering, as our school required. I had also mentioned our old church and Lin suggested we wait awhile before having to face old memories. I agreed, though I desperately wanted to see my church family.

When Lin finally agreed to take us somewhere, it was to the Richard Rogers. Obviously. He was super excited and couldn’t wait for the cast to see us as a family, officially, now. Okay, excited was an understatement. He was practically bouncing around the house as we got ready.

“Lin!” I exclaimed, shoving him out of the room. “I have to change! Save the plan discussing for later.”

Lin started to protest, “But, chica, we gotta-”

“After I get dressed!” I closed the door in his face, giggling. I could hear a sigh from outside and some grumbling before I heard Lin walk away, presumably downstairs.

I picked my outfit for the day, though it was extremely difficult with the amount of clothes I now had. Since the adoption was legalized, and a little before that, Renee, Pippa, Jazzy, the girl’s ensemble, and even a few of the guys had sent us a crap load of clothes. According to Lin, each of them wanted to have some sort of style contribution that might affect our future clothing choices, because since we were still ‘in development’ of our personality and personal style, we might be influenced by their gifts. It was all probably just a stupid excuse to send us clothes and get us to wear what they thought would be cute, knowing the cast.

I slipped into black leggings with jean shorts on top. It would hopefully keep me pretty warm against the New York winds of September. I quickly put on a royal blue sweater and brushed my hair. I wasn’t going too fancy today, but I had to look decent for my second time seeing the cast. I slipped on a pair of black boot-like wedges and made my way into Scarlet’s room, where she was just finishing up.

Scarlet wore a thick red tank top with a black leather jacket and dark blue jeans. She had tall black boots on, as well, and wore her hair up in a ponytail. As always, her favorite red headphones hung around her neck casually, plugged into her phone that was tucked away in her jacket pocket.

“Ready to go?” I asked as she fixed her hair.

“Yup.” Scarlet was easy going and didn’t speak often, unless she was around close family or friends. Even then, she wouldn’t always speak that much.

We descended the stairs and into the living room, where Lin could be seen bouncing Seb around happily.

Vanessa shook her head, smiling, before turning to us. “Hey, girls!”

Scarlet waved, but I spoke, “Morning!”

Lin shuffled, quite literally, on the slick wooden floor toward us, zooming Seb like an airplane right into Scarlet’s arms. She laughed and took him from Lin, bouncing him up and down.

“Hey, little guy.” She cooed, booping his nose.

Seb giggled, “Hi, sissie!”

Scarlet froze in place, her mouth slightly agape at Seb’s words. Vanessa looked equally as shocked, though pleasantly so, and Lin looked ecstatic. “S-Sissie?”

“Sissie!” Seb giggled again, wrapping his arms around Scarlet’s neck.

She recovered from her shock, though tears threatened to spill from her eyes, and she smiled a little, hugging him. “Little bro.”

Lin cheered, “Are you getting emotional, mija?”

Scarlet sniffled and wiped her eyes, bouncing Seb once more. “No.”

Vanessa smiled, “Lin, don’t do that to her.”

“Do what?” Lin smiled innocently as his wife rolled her eyes.

“Whatever, you three. Just hurry and leave or you’ll be late.” She chided.

Lin snorted, “I’m my own boss, V, I can be late.”

I butt in, “Pretty sure Thomas-” (Kail) “Is your boss.”

Lin rolled his eyes, “Whatever. He doesn’t mind if I’m a little late, especially if I’m bringing my girls.” He glanced at Vanessa, “Minus one.”

“I think the term is women, Lin.” Sassed Vanessa.

We took to leaving, grabbing some small things to entertain us, just in case, though I doubted we would use them. It’s the cast of Hamilton, for goodness sake! Honestly, though, just Jonathan Groff would be enough to make the same statement true. Or any one person in the cast.

As we piled into the car, I pulled out my phone. Lin quickly stepped in, “Hey! No phones in the car, chica. This is family time.”

I groaned, “I just wanted to check in on Pegs.”

    A flash of memory and a knowing look went through Lin’s eyes, “Fine, but put it away once you’re done.”

    “Okay, gracias.” I had been practicing on using what little Spanish I knew, mostly just to please Lin, who insisted we learn it if we were to meet his family. I didn’t mind much, though it was a difficult language to learn, since it clashed with the mediocre amounts of German that Scarlet and I had learned in Europe.

 

HamilKat: Going to the theater, wondering if you’re coming

 

andpEGGY: :OOO NO WAY! Chris is taking me there now!!

 

HamilKat: :O YESSSS!!

 

andpEGGY: how much you wanna bet lin had something to do with this?

 

HamilKat: All the money I have-which is nothing, but that’s beside the point.

 

andpEGGY: Whoop, gotta go, One Last Time is on and chris wants to sing it with me

 

HamilKat: AWWWWWWWWW IM DYING PLEASE RECORD IT FOR ME

 

andpEGGY: xP fine, but no promises my singing will be any good

 

HamilKat: You’re hilarious, Pegs.

 

    “Lin!” I exclaimed, putting away my phone.

    Lin paused You’ll Be Back, much to Scarlet’s dismay, and answered. “Si?”

    “Why didn’t you say anything?!” I questioned from the backseat. Lin wouldn’t let me sit in the front seat until I stopped having nightmares. It was understandable, considering cars still slightly freaked me out.

    Lin smirked, “Where’s the fun in that?”

    I rolled my eyes and started to speak, but Scarlet interrupted. “If you two will quit it, I promise to sing with you on the next song.”

    Lin and I gasped and he immediately turned up the volume. He looked at me in the mirror above his head, mouthing something. I was great at reading lips, so we used it as our form of communication when sharing secrets or something around other people. It especially annoyed Scarlet, who had issues enough reading hand signals. Ironically enough, we were also working on learning sign language. What song should I play for her?

    I nodded, showing that I understood him and thought for a minute. Either Satisfied or Wait For It would be good, though You’ll Be Back would be hilarious. Then again, we had just listened to that.

    Scarlet loved to sing, just not around other people. She sang around me a lot, but was extremely embarrassed and nervous about singing in front of a Broadway star, even if he was our legal parent. I told her that she should, but she never listened and kept her talent hidden.

    I made my decision and held up my two index fingers, forming the number 11. Lin nodded and tapped it on his phone, since we were at a red light. He put the phone down as the light turned green again and he pushed the gas pedal.

    Scarlet recognized the song immediately and turned red as a tomato. She glared at me and I simply answered, “You promised.”

    She sighed. “I hate you two.”

    “Te amo, mija.” Lin sang lightly from the front seat.

    I laughed and Scarlet tilted her head. “Que?”

    Lin laughed, “It means I love you.”

    Scarlet wanted to speak, but I interrupted with a hiss, “Shush! It’s starting!”

    “Alright, alright! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” I said, imitating Anthony. Lin laughed at my imitation, giving a thumbs up to tell me that I was on point. “Now everyone give it up for the maid of honor: Angelica Schuyler!” I motioned toward Scarlet dramatically and saw Lin’s face light up with excitement when Scarlet took a deep breath.

    “A toast to the groom!” She sang, partially mumbling.

    I winked at Lin in the mirror and he took the hint. We would sing loudly and happily, which would encourage Scarlet to sing louder and prouder. “To the groom, to the groom, to the groom.”

    “To the bride!”

    “To the bride, to the bride,  to the briiiide.”

    “From your sister!” She sang a little louder with a slight smile on her face.

    “Angelica, Angelica.”

    “Who is always by your side-” Scarlet elbowed me a little and I scoffed.

    “By your side, by your side.”

    By the end of the song, Lin was practically bursting with bride. He burst into cheers when Scarlet finished the last note and I joined him. She blushed, “I’m not that good.”

    “Oh, silencia, mija!” Lin exclaimed, “We must get you lessons!”

    “Then again,” I noted, “You basically have an entire Broadway cast at your disposal.”

    Lin and Scarlet laughed, while Lin agreed. “Si, mija! Use us however you want! I know all the cast would be willing to help.”

    “Gracias, Lin.” Scarlet started, “But I don’t know if I can sing in front of them..”

    “Of course,” Lin waved it off, “You’ve only met them once before. It’s okay, but they’ll want you to sing eventually, especially if I brag on you a teensy bit.”

    “Lin!” She groaned, causing both Lin and I to burst into laughter.

    A ding sounded from my phone and I went to pick it up, knowing it was from Pegs, but Lin stopped me. “Uh uh, chica. No more phones.”

    “But, Lin, it’s a video from Pegs of her and Chris singing One Last-” I started.

    “WHAT?!!” He interrupted, clearly excited. “PLAY IT. NOW!”

    I laughed at his excitement and tapped play. There was a video with Chris and Pegs in the front seat singing and looking at each other cheesily that was cute, but Lin was too busy driving, so I would show him that later. Scarlet leaned over from her seat to watch in awe. Chris and Joy’s voices harmonized perfectly when they sang at the same time and Pegs acted the part of Hamilton perfectly, other than bursting into laughter a couple times.

    Lin gaped, “I didn’t know Joy could sing!”

    Scarlet laughed, “Neither did I, ‘til Phantom of the Opera.” Lin gave her a questioning look, so she explained. “She was Carlotta in our school’s production of Phantom of the Opera.”

    Lin laughed, “Really? Joy? She must be a really good actor.”

    “She is!” I vouched for her, “The entire audience was laughing hysterically at her rendition of Carlotta, which I actually liked better than the movie version.”

    “Dios mio, it was that great?” Lin sounded pleasantly surprised.

    “Yup! Tell him, Scarlet!”

    Scarlet nodded, “I haven’t seen the movie, but her performance was amazing.”

    “We’ll have to use that to our advantage sometime, huh, mijas?” Lin winked as Scarlet and I laughed.

    Today was a good day.

Chapter Text

    We entered the theater to a flurry of people who scared the life out of me and made me claustrophobic. Scarlet looked terrified, so I quickly rushed to her side. Lin immediately dispersed the crowd, saying that it had been awhile since we were around so many people. Scarlet soon calmed down and I was feeling better, too.

    Lin apologized quickly and asked, “Who do you guys want to see first?”

    Scarlet didn’t answer and I was about to, but I heard a quiet knock on the stage door. Lin kept talking, “No preferences?”

    “Uh, Lin?” I interrupted.

    “Si, chica?”

    “There’s someone at the door.”

    He looked at me quizzically before walking toward the stage door and leaning his ear against it. The quiet knock came again. “How did you-?”

    I shook my head, “No idea.”

    “She’s like part dog, part cat, I swear.” Scarlet mumbled, causing Lin to laugh.

    He opened the stage door and there stood Chris and Pegs, smiling brightly. I immediately ran to them, “Pegs!”

    “Mom!” She joked, hugging me. Chris and Lin hugged as well, laughing. Scarlet waved shyly from the other side of the room. I flinched a little as Chris hugged me, but soon recovered. It would be difficult to have everyone hugging me today, but I knew that it would help.

    “How are you, Pegs? I’ve missed you so much!! How is everyone?” Unlike Scarlet and I, Pegs was still going to school and was able to see our friends.

    “They’re okay,” She dulled a little, “They really miss you. Things aren’t really the same without you.”

    I snorted, “I don’t make much of a difference there. It’s only really different when Hope or you or Ari are gone.”

    She shook her head, “No, really. It’s been super quiet and Hope is even speaking less. It’s kind of like we lost our parent, you know. Everyone keeps coming to me asking when you’ll come back and I have no idea.”

    I sighed, “Honestly, I don’t know either. This is the first time we’ve been out of the house in ages and it’s… difficult.” I didn’t elaborate. I didn’t want to stress her with my issues.

    “You can talk to me, you know.” Pegs hugged me again, “You can tell me.”

    “I-I would, but..” I gestured to the theater.

    “Yeah. We can talk later.” She said regretfully.

    Lin interrupted, “Alright, chicas, time to go see the cast!”

    I smiled weakly and followed him into the hall. Pegs butt in, “Where are we going?”

    Lin laughed, “To the sisters of course-”

    He opened the door to the dressing room and three squeals echoed after one another, causing me to flinch a little. I felt a calming hand from Chris on my shoulder and looked down, embarrassed.

    “Scarlet!” Renee immediately dashed toward my sister, who was in awe that Renee went for her first.

    “Joy!” Jazzy met Pegs midway and they immediately started talking up a storm.

    Philippa came to greet me first and hugged me. It was a little easier with her than the guys. It was nothing against them, they just reminded me too much of my dad. “Hey, Kat!”

    “Hey, Philippa!”

    One by one we were reintroduced to the cast and one by one I grew closer to each of them. Days went by and Lin soon brought us to the theater every day, other than his break days, of course. Pegs would come by with Chris every once in awhile, but I was mostly left to the cast. I found myself to be most comfortable with some of the guys, which was surprising considering I still flinched at physical contact.

    My reactions to hugs and light touches were getting better as time passed and I was finally able to hug Lin of my own will, instead of him having to initiate it. I had less and less nightmares, though they still came. Scarlet stopped waking up from her nightmares, though they still plagued her. This was when Lin finally decided it was time to return to school.

Chapter Text

    “Alright, chicas.” Lin started as he pulled into the parking lot. “I know it’s early, I know it’s exhausting, but you two are gonna do just great. If either of you needs to come home, just text me and I’ll get here as fast as I can, kay?”

    Scarlet and I nodded sleepily, but a question came to my mind. “Lin?”

    “Si?”

    “Why are we parking?”

    “Oh, right, I forgot to tell you.” Lin snapped his fingers, startling Scarlet, who had been nodding off. “Lo siento, mija.”

    “No hay problema.” Scarlet mumbled.

    “Anyway,” Lin started again, “I’m just going to be grabbing some catch up work for both of you to bring home. Some of the cast offered to help with catching you up when V and I are busy, so that should help.”

    I nodded, before glancing out the window. It was time to go.

    “Let’s go, chicas.” Lin opened his door and got out to help Scarlet out, since she was exhausted. Scarlet wasn’t a morning person. Neither was I, but I was able to handle it a little better than she did. Lin gave us each one last hug before leaving to go to the front office, where he would presumably meet with our principal.

    I glanced at Scarlet outside the door to the Multi-Purpose Room. “Ready?”

    She shook her head, “No.”

    I shrugged, “Yeah, me neither.”

    “I don’t really have any friends…”

    “Wanna stick with me?” I offered.

    She shrugged this time, “Sure, I guess.”

    “Okay. If you want to head to the regular spot, I don’t think Ari will wait ‘til I get over there.” I smiled knowingly before leading the way into the MPR.

    My face grew serious again as I noticed immediate stares and whispers from all directions. The death of my parents wasn’t news to our school, as all of them knew by now, probably since when the accident first happened. Some looked on in sympathy, others in disgust, and a small amount in confusion.

    I heard a familiar ‘eep’. “Kat!” Ari dashed toward me from God knows where. Scarlet tugged my backpack from my shoulders before Ari arrived and I gave her a grateful look as she trudged toward out regular spot in the MPR. Ari launched herself at me in a tight hug, knocking me backwards a little.

    “Hey.” I mumbled, hugging her.

    “I missed you.” She mumbled back, choking up. “Are you okay?”

    “I’m-” I paused. “Better.”

    A wave of footsteps followed as Saf, Hope, Grace, Kaitlyn, and Reagan came up. Pegs was always late and Melody didn’t go to our school anymore, though she still kept contact. Saf hugged me, too, and soon each one had given me a hug. I was surprised to see Reagan a little emotional as she told me she was sorry and hoped I was okay.

    We sat down together, though many people were still staring. It was silent for a moment, before Hope started. “Are you okay, Kat? I mean, obviously not completely, but right now are you..?”

    I took a deep breath, “I’m doing better. I found- I found somewhere I can be safe and some people that care about me, other than you guys I mean.”

    Hope smiled, “That’s great, Kat.”

    Saf butt in, “Who?”

    “Just some people, I-I’ll explain later.” I tried to be vague. Lin didn’t want us telling anyone until he could make the adoption public. He wanted to wait awhile so we wouldn’t be overwhelmed, as well. He promised that I could tell my friends sooner than the public, but just not yet.

    My friends glanced at each other, clearly confused and possibly a little hurt. Grace started, “How’s Scarlet?” She looked in my sister’s direction.

    “She’s… okay. It’s gotten better. The nightmares aren’t as bad.” I saw each of them visibly wince.

    “Nightmares?” Reagan asked.

    “Yeah, they used to make her wake up screaming.” I explained quietly.

    Reagan looked at Scarlet again, “Wow.”

    Over the PA, someone announced that 9th grade was to head to class, so we all stood and left to our respective classes. I dreaded last period, History, because I had it with Owen and no doubt he knew about my parents.

I received a ton of condolences and apologies that day as well as people who treated me like fragile glass. Many of them were surprised to see me smile or laugh a little when my friends made a joke. Yes, my parents were gone, but it had been awhile and I had started to recover, especially with the help of Lin and Vanessa, though none of them knew about that part.

I only had one class with Joy, but we were alone in that class, so she took advantage of it.

“How are you, Kat?” She asked the second she sat down, without hesitation. “You promised you would talk to me and now is that time.”

I sighed, “I...I’m okay, but...it’s difficult.”

She tilted her head, “Tell me about the nightmares.”

“I-I don’t..” I trailed off. I didn’t want to tell her about them.

“Please, Kat.” Her blue eyes, identical to mine, ironically, bore into my soul, begging me to let the cat out of the bag. “I want to know so I can help.”

I looked down at the desk and started to describe them, “I-I have them less often, but...maybe twice or three times a week?” I estimated and watched Joy’s eyes widen in shock and pity. I didn’t want pity, but...maybe I needed it. “They’re always...violent. Either with my parents hitting-” I took a gasp of breath, afraid to say it. “Hitting-”

“You don’t have to say it, Kat. It’s okay.” Pegs held my hand tightly and smiled with that smile I had missed so much when I had been confined to the house. “What else are they about?”

“Sometimes with Parker...taking Scarlet away.” I tried to keep the tears at bay, even though I knew no one would notice or care. The class we were in, Spanish, was taking a break day, as most of my classmates had just had their big exams. Mine weren’t until later, since I still had material to catch up on. “Sometimes with him hit-...that. And others with-with Lin and-and Chris.” I was started to choke on my words, terrified to say it outloud. I knew, deep down, that they would never hit me, but my mind couldn’t seem to shake the possibility.

Pegs moved around the table to sit next to me and hugged me tightly, rubbing my arm. “Chris would never hurt you and neither would Lin.”

“I-I know that, it’s just-” I sighed, leaning into her.

“We’re gonna fix this, Kat.” She assured me, “You’re gonna feel normal again, I promise.”

In 7th period, the second to last period, Kaitlin and I had a deep conversation. “Are you really okay, Kat?”

“What do you mean?”

“You talked about finding a family, kind of, but you also said nightmares and that things were better.”

“Okay..? Are you asking if I’ve moved on?”

“Yeah, kind of.” She simplified.

I thought for a moment, “I suppose I’ll never really move on, though I’ve learned that I can be happy without feeling guilty.”

“You felt guilty?”

I paused, deciding whether or not to trust her. Then again, this was Kaitlin. If I asked, she would never tell a soul. “I did for awhile, yeah. I met up with Lin a couple weeks after and he said something funny, so I laughed, but… I felt like I was doing something wrong. I felt like my dad was glaring at me from up above, you know?”

“You felt like you still had to live up to his expectations?”

“Yeah, I guess I did.”

“I don’t think you can really move on from that.” She agreed with my statement from earlier. “But maybe you can forget?”

“I doubt it. I think I’ll always see their faces in my mind or their hand against my cheek-” I froze, realizing what I’d said.

Kaitlin looked at the desk, “I should’ve mentioned them. Your bruises. I just- I didn’t know what to say.”

“It’s okay, Kaitlin. I wouldn’t either.”

“Were you relieved?”

“What?”

“Did you feel any relief when they…? I mean, with how they treated you..”

I gulped, “I think my first instinct was relief, but then it kind of fell on me, I guess. I always feel a little sense of relief, knowing that it won’t happen anymore.”

Kaitlin nodded and we said nothing for the rest of class. I never knew that Kaitlin could get so deep into those things. It made sense, though, considering how alike she was to Aaron Burr. I always teased her for being the Burr to my Hamilton, though I swore never to keep her from presidency. We were pretty similar, yet different in a way, sort of like how I saw Hamilton and Burr. It was pretty ironic and cheesy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Last period finally came.

“Hey, Kat.” Owen approached. I looked up from my writing and blushed. Even with everything that had happened, I still blushed when he said my name. “I heard about your parents. I-I’m really sorry.”

“T-Thanks.” I stammered, “It’s okay, really, well not really, but things are getting better, I guess?” I cringed at my flustered self.

“Yeah, I see what you’re saying.” He smiled and my heart melted. He had the greatest smile. “Oh, is that the formative from a couple weeks ago?” Owen glanced at the paper I was working on.

“Yeah, it’s supposed to be about foreign policy, I think. It’s confusing me.” I explained.

“Really?” He asked and I nodded. “If you want, I can help. I’m not great at history,” He laughed, “But I remember the assignment.”

“T-That would be great. Thanks.” I smiled my best, but tried not to look too awkward as I internally exploded. I just hoped that Owen wouldn’t end up dead by the hands of my sister.

After that, the day went by quickly, much to my dismay. Owen got permission from our teacher to help me catch up with all the assignments I had missed for the rest of the week . I nearly fainted upon hearing that and tried my hardest not to turn into a human tomato. He also offered to help me with Chemistry, since we had the same class. I happily agreed and thanked him for his help.

“It’s no problem.” Owen gave a goofy grin, “Besides, it might count as volunteer hours.” We both chuckled, knowing that our strict teachers would never let it pass. They would only consider it a ‘study session’ or something. I could possibly get Lin to help us convince them, though. Then again, if I told Lin, he might end up killing Owen...crap.

I practically skipped over to Scarlet, who was solemn as she always was after school. She would cheer up when Lin picked us up, though, I was sure of it. “What’s got you so cheerful?” She asked, genuinely curious.

I smiled brightly, switching my weight from my toes to my heels and back again repeatedly. I didn’t answer and instead just shook my head. I would tell her later.

“Was it Owe-?”

“SHUSH!” I covered her mouth with my hand before she shoved it off.

“Okay, I’ll take that as a yes. You better go tell Joy or she’ll kill you if she finds out later.” Scarlet suggested.

I snapped my fingers, “Right. See you in the car.”

“See you.”

I ran over to where Joy was and she hugged me right away. She was being extremely possessive since the accident, though I can’t say I minded. She noticed my happiness almost immediately and rolled her eyes, “What happened with you know who?”

I repeated the story and she gaped. I laughed, blushing, “Who knew?”

She raised her hand, “I knew it would happen someday.”

I smacked her arm down. “Oh, shut up! Oh, and, someday, somedaaaaay.” She joined the last note with me and we harmonized before bursting into laughter.

“Kat!” Scarlet called.

“Scheisse- crap, uh, I mean- Mierda!” I corrected my German into Spanish.

Joy laughed, “Lin making you use Spanish?”

I sighed, “Yeah, he’s trying anyway. But I will not be easily converted!”

“Kat!” Scarlet called again, “Time to go!”

“Sorry, Pegs, gotta go.” I waved goodbye and climbed into the front seat. Lin wore a baseball cap, unlike his classic beanie, to hide his face from the people in carpool. Many were curious about who had taken over the care of Scarlet and I, so it wasn’t overkill, so to speak.

“Hey, mijas!” he greeted once we closed the doors and started home.

“Hey, Lin.” I was still really happy from what had happened. In fact, I could practically still feel my heart thumping in my chest.

Scarlet mumbled a greeting and Lin could immediately tell she didn’t have a great day. “Hey, mija, what’s wrong?”

“Nothing, Lin, just… dull.” Scarlet oversimplified it.

I cut in, “Scarlet doesn’t have any friends at school.” Scarlet glared at me and I chuckled nervously. If looks could kill, I would be dead from her glares years ago.

Lin gave her a sympathetic look, “I’m sure you’ll find some, chica. Besides, if not, who needs friends when you have a whole cast of them?” He joked.

Scarlet brightened a little, much to my surprise, “Are we going to the theater?!”

“You bet, chica!” His announcement was followed by cheers from both of us. “Excited to see Leslie and Renee, Scarlet?”

Scarlet blushed, so I spoke for her, “You know it.”

After a car ride with Lin warming up by singing to old 80’s music, we arrived at the theater. I hung out with the guy’s ensemble for a while, mostly just listening in to their conversation. Many times I wanted to jump in and insert my opinion, but I was afraid of someone getting mad at me, so I stayed silent.

When the show was getting ready to start, Scarlet and I stayed in Lin’s dressing room with some entertainment. Scarlet listened to her music and I pulled up google docs on my laptop to write. After 20 minutes, we each pulled out our homework and I left to work in the kitchen so she could have her space.

Chapter Text

Scarlet’s POV

I sat on the couch with a TV tray in front of me, struggling with my History homework. History wasn’t one of my stronger subjects. In fact, it bored me.

I don’t remember when Leslie came in, but he did and sat across from me. He sat silently for awhile, watching me work. Or at least try to work. I got so sick of the paper that I groaned and banged my head against the table. Repeatedly.

Leslie chuckled, “School troubles?”

“Uh huh.”

“What’cha workin’ on?” he asked curiously, looking at my papers.

“History. The irony.” I said, gesturing in the general direction of the stage.

He laughed, “Do you need help?”

“Yes. Please.”

He laughed again and moved his chair over to my side of the table. “So what do you have to do?”

“I have to write about the accomplishments of certain people during the Revolutionary War.” I explained, “And all of my useful Hamilton information is escaping me.”

Leslie smiled, “Well, lucky for you, you’ve got Aaron Burr on your side. And Washington, but he’s performing right now.”

I laughed, “Okay, Mr. Burr, Sir. Help me out, will you?”

He nodded and looked at the first question. “Okay, so; accomplishments of John Adams.”

“He doesn’t have a job, though.” I mumbled.

Leslie laughed again, “Despite what Hamilton would like to think, he did sort of have a job.”

“Really?” I looked at him doubtfully.

“Sort of, but in no way was it as important as Washington, Jefferson, or Hamilton’s positions, though that’s more of a matter of opinion.” He explained.

“What sort of things did he do?”

“Well, you see, John Adams, as Vice President, was a major player in-”

 

    Leslie’s POV

    I’ve no idea why I offered to help Scarlet with her homework. Maybe it had to do with just being nice or something like that. Maybe since Kat told me that Scarlet looked up to me that I wanted to help in anyway I could. Maybe Scarlet was just a sweet, misunderstood, mysterious girl that I wanted to get to know better. Either way, I did.

    It was fun to see her learn about John Adams actually having a job and Jefferson’s side of the argument. She may not like history that much, but I could tell that it surprised her. Whether pleasantly or not, I couldn’t tell, but it was still interesting to see that childhood curiosity that most lose later on in life.

    Scarlet was sweet and I’m glad she came to be apart of our little Hamilton family. I just hoped that I could get to know her better and, I don’t know, teach her what I know? It would be an interesting role, similar to that of a parent, I suppose. It would be interesting. I just hoped I could beat Renee to it.

 

    Kat’s POV

    “Hey, Daveed?” I asked the star prepping for Act 2 while chewing the end of my pen. I sat, or rather lay, on the couch in Daveed’s dressing room.

    “Yeah, kiddo? What’s up?” He asked, taking his hair out of its ponytail.

    “Do you know which chromosome pair when given an extra chromosome causes down syndrome?” I asked, looking at my Biology assignment.

    “21st. Why?” He glanced over at me.

    “Biology paper.” I answered, holding it up.

    “Didn’t you have Biology last year?” He raised an eyebrow. “You’re in 9th grade, right?”

    “Yeah, but we have to review.” I groaned.

    “Ew.”

    “Right?”

    “What are the other questions?” Daveed asked, sitting down next to me.

    “Uhhh…” I squinted to read my paper again. “Nitrogenous bases I can do. Crud.”

    “What?” He questioned, reading over my shoulder.

    “Pedigrees.” I groaned.

    He gave me a quizzical look, “What’s so bad about those?”

    “They’re fun and all,” I replied, “But so tedious. This one has all the criteria. Gender affected, recessive, multiple alleles…the list goes on.”

    Daveed groaned, “I got a show in 15 minutes, but I can help you while I’m here.”

    “Thanks.”

    “No problem. Right. Let’s do this.”

    The next 15 minutes of Daveed’s life were a pain in the ass, but he and I managed to live through it and finished the pedigree, too. Just before the show started up again, Lin entered and laughed.

    Daveed was sprawled across the floor groaning in relief that the experience was over and I was laying upside down, head hanging above the floor, on the couch, legs holding on tight.

    “What did you two do?” Lin laughed.

    Daveed groaned, “Next time you’re helping your daughter with her Biology review, Lin.”

    I raised my hand, “You can say that again.”

    “Next time you’re-

    “I hate you, Daveed.”

    “The feeling is mutual, tiny Hamilton.” Daveed joked.

    “Who are you calling tiny?” I protested.

    Daveed smirked. “You.”

    “Why, you-” I leapt from my place on the couch as Daveed dashed out of the room, running for his life. Lin just chuckled as we left the room, then sighed. His friends and daughters were so weird, but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

    “YO DAVEED QUIT CHASING LIN’S MIJA AND GET YOUR ASS UP TO STAGE!” Anthony yelled from across the building’s backstage section as a few audience members who had re-entered the auditorium laughed. “SHOWTIME!”

Chapter Text

    “Alright, mijas, ready to-?” Lin froze as he re-entered his dressed room post show. Leslie was there with Scarlet, who was sound asleep on the couch. Lin gasped at the cute sight of his daughter leaning against Leslie, snoring lightly.

    Leslie smiled, “Shh, you’ll wake her.”

    “Oh my god, Leslie, you two are so cute.” Lin pulled out his phone and took a quick picture, noting to himself to post that once the adoption was public. “How did she even-”

    “She was having trouble with History during the intermission so I helped. When I came back, we finished and she was just really tired, so I guess..” He shrugged lightly with his free shoulder, as if he had barely noticed her fall asleep.

    “Okay, well I’m gonna go stage door for awhile so she can rest. I’ll try to catch Kat and tell her, but if she comes in here will you tell her?” Lin asked.

    Leslie nodded, “Yeah, I will.”

    Lin waved and left the room, noticing Kat immediately. “Hey, Kat!”

    “Hey, Lin! Did you find Scarlet?”

    “Yup!” He smiled, showing her the picture. She gasped and squealed, but quietly, since Scarlet was asleep nearby. “I’m gonna stage door for awhile, is that okay?”

    She nodded, “Sure. I’m gonna go see if Thayne kept some cookies for me.” With that, she left.

    Lin chuckled to himself. The cast was already growing accustomed to his girls and Thayne was even sharing his cookies. For Thayne, that was a big step. He barely even shared his cookies with Lin and now he shared them with Kat!

 

    Okay, so I hadn’t completely lied. I was going to get my cookies from Thayne, but I wasn’t just going to do that. I might have let it slip that I had an interesting experience with a boy today and Renee, Jazzy, and Philippa wanted to know everything .

    Once I told my tale, three squeals melted into one and I covered my ears.

    Renee gave me a hug, “That is so great, Kat!”

    I blushed, “It’s not that big a deal. He was just being nice..”

    “Who was being nice?” Asked Anthony, walking in.

    “Ant!” Jazzy called, running to him and pecking his cheek. “Just someone Kat knows.”

    “Someone?” He raised an eyebrow. “And here I thought the almighty Hamil-Kat was too busy writing for boys.”

    “I am.” I retorted, “He was just being nice.”

    “Uh-huh.” Anthony looked ready to argue, but Lin burst in.

    “Alright, mija! Time to go!” He announced, followed by a few groans. He laughed, “You can spend more time with Kat later. V’s got a ton of work and somebody needs to watch Seb. I’ll be out tonight for a meeting.”

    “Scarlet’s going, too?” Renee asked, disappointed.

    “Yeah, sorry, Renee.” Lin answered, “She’s all tuckered out. Fell asleep on Leslie’s shoulder, too.”

    “WHAT?!” Renee gasped, angered.

    Lin chuckled, “He helped her with homework, too. Looks like you’ve got a bit of competition.”

    “THAT BASTARD!” Renee declared, standing.

    Lin pointed at me, “Language.”

    I rolled my eyes, “First line of the show, Lin. Go.”

    He smiled, “How does a-Oh.”

    We walked out of the dressing room, waving goodbye to our friends. Worry crawled its way into my mind, “You really trust me to watch your son?”

    Lin looked at me in disbelief. “Of course! Since living with us you’ve learned a lot about taking care of him. The matter of trust is simple, Kat. You basically mother your own friends already and I trust you more than I can say.”

    I glanced at my feet, “R-Really?”

    “Yeah, mija!” He laughed, hugging me. I flinched again and wanted to kill myself when I did. Why couldn’t my mind let me trust him?! “Besides, he’s your brother, too, not just some kid.”

    After a moment of silence, we approached his dressing room. “Is Scarlet awake?” I asked.

    “Leslie said he’d get her. Let’s see if he managed to wake the beast.” Lin joked.




    Leslie’s POV

    “Hey, can you wake the chica?” Lin asked, peeking his head in the door. “Gotta get home earlier now. V wants the girls to babysit Seb for us, since we’re both busy tonight.”

    “Sure.” I answered. I hoped she was a light sleeper.

    “Thanks!” Lin gave me a thumbs up and left.

    I placed my hand gently on Scarlet’s back, which was easy enough, considering she was leaning against my shoulder. “Hey, Scarlet.” I tried not to be too loud, just so I wouldn’t startle her.

    She groaned before mumbling, “Five more minutes.”

    I laughed gently, “I wish, kiddo. Lin’s taking you and Kat home. Something about Vanessa needing you two.”

    She sighed and finally woke up, stretching and messing with her hair a bit. “Shoot, how long was I out?”

    I smiled, shaking my head. “20 minutes, tops.”

    “I’m sorry,” She apologized, “I fell asleep on you didn’t I?”

    “It’s no problem, you were tired and I was right here anyway.” I really didn’t mind at all. “Lin thought it was pretty cute. He took a picture.”

    Scarlet groaned, “Great. Kat saw it, didn’t she?”

    I shrugged, “Probably.”

    She stood, grabbing her things. “Well, I better get going. Thanks, Leslie.”

    I smiled, “No problem, Scarlet. Take care.”

    “You, too.” She waved and left the dressing room. I silently celebrated. Scarlet was simply amazing and I was glad I had started to form a bond with her. Especially at the fact that I beat Renee to it.

    “LESLIE.”

    Shit.

Chapter Text

    Kat’s POV

    “Sebbie!” I cheered, picking him up.

    “Sissie!!” He giggled, hugging me. “Missed you.”

    “Awwww,” I cooed, “I missed you, too.”

    Scarlet had already said hello to Seb and went upstairs to spend some time alone. After being around people all day, she needed a break.

    “Alright, Sebbie.” I started, sitting him on the couch. He looked at me cutely and I smiled. “Lin and Vanessa- your Mommy and Daddy- are really busy, so I’m gonna watch you tonight, okay?”

    He nodded, then tilted his head. “Sissie?”

    I chuckled, “Yeah, Scarlet will, too, but she’s really tired right now.”

    “Okie!’ Seb giggled, rocking back and forth.

    I sighed, “You are too cute. Anyways, we have awhile ‘til bedtime, so what do you wanna do?”

    “Choo, choo!” He exclaimed, pumping his fist in the air. It was so similar to Lin’s that I had to laugh.

    “Alright, Chuggington it is.” I laughed, turning on the TV to the channel. Seb cheered and I left to grab my journal. Seb loved to watch me write if he got bored, so it was my Plan B.

    “Sissie?” Seb asked, not looking away from the TV.

    “Yeah, Seb?” I looked at him from where he leaned on my left side.

    He paused a moment, thinking of the words to say. “Why you say Daddy, L-Lin?”

    I stopped my writing. Why did I call him Lin? He was my father, wasn’t he? “I-I dunno, Seb. It just makes me think of my dad, is all.”

    He tilted his head, confused. “Other dad?”

    I laughed a little. It would be difficult to explain and, frankly, he shouldn’t know all of the story, so I simplified it. “I used to have one, but he left.”

    “Oh.” Seb said simply. “Sorry, sissie.”

    “It’s okay, Seb.” I said, hugging him. “Besides, I have you and Lin and Vanessa now, don’t I?”

    He giggled, “Yeah! And Tobi!”

    “Yeah, and Tobi.”

    Even if I could never really call Lin my dad, he still felt like a father to me and I appreciated it. Maybe I could call him something similar. That might be easier. I shook my head and the thought away. Lin wouldn’t want me to worry about that now. He would just want me to stick with what I’m comfortable with.

    Scarlet came downstairs in a half hour and was immediately greeted by an adorable toddler. “Sissie!”

    “Hey, Sebbie.” She greeted, smiling a little. We went back to watching Chuggington and Scarlet pulled out her sketchbook, ready to draw. Scarlet had always been the more talented artist, though I knew how to draw a little as well and was learning.

    Seb was intrigued by her notebook. “What dat?”

    “Oh, this?” Scarlet pointed to her sketchbook and Seb nodded. “It’s my sketchbook.”

    “Sk-Sketch?” He struggled to pronounce the word.

    “Yeah! Good job, bud.” He giggled at Scarlet’s praise.

    “What do in it?” He asked.

    Scarlet smiled, before opening a couple pages to show some doodles. “I draw.”

    Seb gasped, pointing at some of the pictures, “These pretty!”

    Scarlet laughed, “Thanks, bud. You like ‘em, huh?”

    “Yeah!” He cheered, laughing. He then pointed at a portrait of someone. “Daddy!”

    Scarlet blushed, laughing. “Yeah, that’s your dad.”

    I looked over at them. “When did you draw that?”

    “After we first met him.” She answered with a straightforward response.

    Seb gawked at the picture, before looking up excitedly. “Me?”

    Scarlet chuckled, “Yeah, I drew one of you, too.” She flipped to the middle of the book where a photo-style drawing was. It showed a certain toddler playing with Tobillo on the floor of the house. The toddler in the image was laughing as the dog licked his face.

    “Tobi!” Seb squealed happily.

    “Tobi, that’s right.” Scarlet confirmed, reaching to pet the dog that sat on my lap.

    After awhile of looking at pictures, Seb yawned and leaned against Scarlet. He rubbed his eyes exhaustingly and snuggled close to her. In response, Scarlet wrapped her arm around Seb, holding him tight. “Love you, sissie.”

    “I love you, too, Sebbie.”

Chapter Text

    I thought the cast’s gifts would stop at clothes and our rooms, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The cast had parties basically all week, both backstage and offstage, unplanned and planned. They may not have been physical gifts, but the memories and laughs I got from those parties were gifts enough. Not to mention the random backstage moments.

    “Erm, J-Jonathan what are you doing…?” I asked as he leaned over my small form, arms around me in a tight hug. It kind of freaked me out and I felt my heart start to thump faster with fear.

    “I’m hugging the innocent smol child to remind her not to grow up.” He answered simply. “And you can call me Groff or Jon, whatever you wanna.”

    I snorted, “I am far from innocent, Groffsauce.”

    He gasped and covered my mouth. “Silence! Maintain the image of innocence!”

    I giggled, “You are so dramatic. You and Lin are such actors.”

    Groff released me and leaped into a dramatic pose, feigning flipping his hair for an extra element of flair. (:OO that rhymed!!) We burst into laughter as a flurry of people entered backstage, the show finally over. Groff and I had fallen to the floor, grabbing our sides and gasping for air at his hilarious pose.

    Anthony took one look at us and smiled brightly. “I haven’t ever seen you laugh that hard, Tiny Hamilton!”

    Renee joined him, looking over us. “God, Jon, what did you do?!”

    Groff gasped for air, “I-I- She was talking about-” He gasped again, still laughing as tears formed in his eyes. “Jesus, it wasn’t even that- that funny!”

    Daveed plopped onto the floor, where I was hitting my fist against the wood, trying to breathe. “Whaaaaaat?”

    Oak finally entered, too, holding back a snort.

    “Oh, don’t you start Okieriete!” Phillipa warned, “You’ll get us all laughing!”

    “Hoooooo my god, I’ve never seen a hair flip-” I gasped for breath, “So fabulous!”

    At that, Oak was unable to keep in his laughter and burst out into fits of loud, rumbling chuckles. At his laughter, Daveed and Anthony’s rang out, causing the others in the room to laugh as well. No one, except Groff and I, knew why we were laughing, but the more the merrier, right? Besides, laughter is contagious, especially in the backstage of a Broadway show.

 

    It was now October, and despite Owen’s plans to only be my study-buddy (yes, stupid name.) for a week, we kept things up. I got to know him better and he got to know me better, even seeing the stubborn side of me sometimes.

    Scarlet and I had gotten to know the cast very well, as had Pegs. We were like a big family. Pegs’ court case was to reconvene soon and we still hadn’t decided what to do.

    Pegs groaned, “What do we do, Kat? I have nowhere to go.”

    “I wish I knew, Pegs. I’ve looked into every possible solution, but nothing stood out.” It killed me, not being able to help her. I felt like a terrible mother.

    A knock sounded on the door. “Come in.” Pegs called. We were currently at Chris’ place, since Pegs was staying there.

    Chris entered, looking weirdly nervous. “Hey, Joy, can I talk to you?” He glanced and me and I took the hint.

    “Sweet, I’ll be back.” I paused, “Soon, you’ll see!” I heard a groan from the room, as well as slow, sarcastic clapping from Pegs, and considered that a success.

 

    Joy’s POV

    I was nobody’s. I was just Joy. The girl that had no one she belonged to, except my friends of course. I was Kat’s Pegs. I was my friends’ Pegs. I wasn’t my father’s, nor my mother’s anymore. I loved them, despite them being… well, them, but I knew that I didn’t belong to them. It wasn’t safe for me to go with either and Kat, Lin, and Chris would not hear of me even considering it.

    “Hey, Chris?”

    “What’s up, Joy?”

    “Any idea where I could go instead of my parents’ place?”

    He paused, “Not off the top of my head, sorry.”

    “It’s okay.”

    “Do you have any ideas?”

    “I mean… I wish I knew someone who could take me in or at least a safe place I could go.”

    “Is this a safe place? My house, I mean.”

    “Yeah. You guys- you and your family I mean- have really taken care of me.”

    “We always will if you need it, Joy.”

    “Thanks, Chris.”

    He sprung the idea on me out of nowhere, though it had crossed my mind.

    “How would you feel if..” He had just asked Kat to leave to talk to me and my heart leapt with excitement. “If you were a Jackson?”

    I gaped a little, tears immediately flowing to my eyes. Was he serious? I could- I could belong to a family. I could belong to someone.

    “Is that a yes?” He asked, chuckling.

    “Y-Yeah.” I managed to choke out before hugging him. I wasn’t just Kat’s Pegs or Ari’s Pegs or anyone’s Pegs. Now I was also Chris’s Joy. Heh. Chris’s joy.

Chapter Text

    Kat’s POV

    “Ready, mija?” Lin asked, adjusting his tie.

    I chuckled nervously, “Ready as I’ll ever be.”

    “No hay vuelta atrás.” He replied, grabbing my hand. I flinched a little, memories flooding back. Pegs had done so much research into helping PTSD originating from abuse, but she hadn’t found the ideal solution yet.

    “Que?” I asked, confused. Sometimes Lin spoke way too fast for my understanding.

    He chuckled, “No turning back, chica.”

    “No hay vuelta atrás.” I repeated, carefully sounding out each syllable.

    “Bien!” Lin declared, hugging me. “Don’t worry, mija, we got this. The entire cast will be there. And if anyone asks you any… questionable questions, I gotcha.”

    “Thanks, Lin.”

    Scarlet stepped into the room, adjusting her favorite leather jacket. The press conference was technically a formal event, or semi-formal, but Scarlet never cared much for dress codes. She wore black jeans and a red tank top that was covered by her leather jacket, as well as a pair of black boots and her favorite headphones. It was a classic outfit that never got old, at least in my eyes.

    I, however, wore a royal blue dress down to my knees with black leggings underneath. I wore a thin black shawl to keep me sheltered from the cold blasts of air conditioning that would no doubt give me frostbite. I completed the ensemble with short brown wedges and my hair across my shoulders neatly.

    Lin sighed, hugging us both, “Mi mijas.” Scarlet didn’t flinch, though I still did. Scarlet had never been hit by our parents. They wouldn’t dare. Or I would’ve beat the shit out of them myself.

    Scarlet rolled her eyes, “Mas de dramatico.”

    Lin gasped, “I’m so proud!”

    “Pride is not the word I’m looking for-” I started and was joined by both of them in the next verse. “There is so much more inside me now.”

    Lin chuckled, “We better get going, mijas. The conference is gonna start soon.”

 

    HAMILTON STAR LIN MANUEL MIRANDA TO ANNOUNCE QUOTE ‘BIG NEWS’ TONIGHT AT PRESS CONFERENCE

   

    Hamilton writer and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda, tells reporters that big news is going to be announced tonight, though it has “been in the works” for some time now. The entire cast of Hamilton: An American Musical plans to be at the Richard Rogers Theater, their home turf, tonight for a press conference. Every news company in the city, and even farther out, plans to be there, our reporters included.

    Come back at 6 p.m. Eastern Time for Live Feed of the conference or return later for a report by our very own staff of the conference. Thanks for reading.

Chapter Text

“Hello, hello, hello!” I heard Lin announce from the stage. Scarlet and I were told to stay backstage ‘til Lin called us on, so we suffered in silence. Leslie, however, decided to stay backstage with us and keep us company.

    “Welcome, uh, to a Hamilton press conference! So, we’re gonna start with some basic questions about cast and upcoming shows and whatnot, though we all know what you’re here for.” Lin joked, basically taunting the reporters.

    They answered questions for awhile before one reporter asked, “So, what’s the big news?”

    “Right, well.” Lin started, “I should probably get to that. This is actually more of a personal thing for me, but the cast is family, so it affects them, too.”

    The crowd was shuffling, anxious to hear what he had to say. I could hear vague whispers and rumours from various people discussing what could possibly be going on.

    “So, I just wanna start by saying that, uh, I thought that Hamilton was the best possible thing that could happen to me in the last year or so, but I couldn’t have been more wrong, actually.” Lin chuckled. “About 8 months ago, so mid-February, I got the priviledge of meeting-” Lin stopped, thinking. “This is not a great way to start. Chris, help a brother out?”

    The crowd laughed as Lin handed the mic to Chris, who shook his head, smiling. “About two months ago, Lin and Vanessa decided to do something that would turn their whole world upside down. Reference intended.” He added at the end, which a groaning crowd did not appreciate, though I knew Pegs, who was in the back of the crowd, was probably grinning like an idiot.

    “Thanks.” Lin smiled genuinely, taking the mic back. “Two months ago, Vanessa and I extended our family. We adopted two girls who had been through some things and they are now- and have been for a while- part of our little, sorry big, Hamilton family.”

    The crowd erupted with questions as soon as Lin mentioned adopting two girls and those in charge of the conference had to fight hard to keep things under control.

    “I know there are a ton of questions, but I need some help with that, so I would like to introduce you all to mi mijas: Katherine and Scarlet.”

    That was our cue, so Leslie took us onstage, laying a reassuring hand on each of our shoulders. We smiled and waved to the crowd as we passed, Lin coming up to us immediately. “These are mi mijas, Kat and Scarlet.” He smiled proudly, I waved shyly, and Scarlet gave a slight head nod to the crowd. “Say hi, chicas.”

    “Hi.” Scarlet and I said in synch, before smiling a little at each other.

    Lin laughed, “Alright, you two can sit down, but expect to be answering questions. Oh! Speaking of-” He turned to the crowd, “If you would please refrain from asking too personal questions or insulting questions to mi mijas, that would be great. I’ll take social media’s crap, but I don’t want them to yet, kay? Kay!”

    The first couple questions were sweet and simple. I answered most of them, since Scarlet was trying to stay cool, or at least she looked that way. She was probably just masking her nerves.

    “How long have you been a Miranda?”

    “Two months.” I smiled, showing that it had been great.

    “How did you meet Lin?” One reporter asked.

    “Wow, uh,” I stammered, it was a doozy to explain. “At the park near our old house, actually. I was reading Alexander Hamilton’s biography, ironically, and he just sorta said hi.” The cast shared a couple laughs, knowing that it was extremely cheesy and that there was a little more to the story than that.

    “You obviously had a home, so what happened to your parents?”

    I paused and felt Scarlet freeze next to me. She clenched her fists, while I frowned nervously. “Uh..”

    Scarlet ripped the microphone from my hands. “They’re not here now, so what does it matter to you?” She growled slightly, gaining some interesting looks from the crowd.

    Lin took the mic, “I have to agree with mi mija here. It doesn’t matter now, what matters is that they’re here and they’re safe and they’re loved.”

    I smiled at him and Scarlet gave him a grateful look.

    “Who’s your favorite cast member other than Lin? That’s for both of you, by the way.”

    “Oh, wow…” I thought for a minute. How could I pick a favorite?

    Scarlet just looked terrified. Renee and Leslie were glaring at each other from the opposite sides of the stage and Lin was holding back laughter, though not very well.

    I found an answer. “It’s between Thayne, Daveed, and Groff. Sorry guys, but Thayne gives me free cookies and Daveed helped me with Biology, so…Besides, Groff’s laughter is contagious.” I explained to the cast, winking at Groff at the last note. Most of them feigned offense and disappointment, while Daveed and Thayne beamed. Not to mention Groff, who looked over the moon. I reached around Scarlet to fist bump Thayne, as he also slipped me a chocolate chip cookie. The crowd burst into laughter. “Scarlet?”

    She took the mic from me, “Uh… It’s between Leslie and Renee for me, honestly. But it’s not to say I don’t love the rest of you guys. Just don’t know you as well.” She clarified, receiving nods from the rest of the cast. Renee and Leslie didn’t stop their glares. They were… Nonstop.

    “Are you single?” One reporter asked, causing Scarlet to choke on her water that was provided for all the cast.

    Scarlet ripped the mic from my hand, “Yes, but no, she is not dating anyone at all. Ever. Unless they want to mess with me and Lin.”

    Lin had crossed his arms and nodded vigorously. I was blushing up a storm and shook my head at the two of them, blocking my face with my hands. I swear, those two were so protective back then. Still are, in fact. I still hadn’t told Lin about Owen, but I probably should have.

    The rest of the conference was smooth, though Lin had to get mad at a couple reporters for asking really invasive and offensive questions. I was nervous when we first got up there, but felt much better everytime Lin butt in to take care of a question.

    Immediately after the conference, there was a cast party. We ended up getting home really late, though it was fine, since it was a weekend. I knew that the entire school would know who was taking care of us by tomorrow, but I really didn’t care anymore. So long as I had Scarlet, Lin, Vanessa, Seb, Tobillo, the cast, Pegs, and my friends, everything would be fine.

Chapter Text

    “Guys! Guys! Guys!!!” Called Groff, trying to get the cast’s attention. He sighed as his plan failed, giving up quickly.

    Scarlet stepped in. “I got this.” She and Groff had bonded above some of the other cast, surprisingly. He was quick to make her laugh, even if she tried to hide it. He noticed her reluctance to show her emotions and immediately took to getting her to show them. He was surprisingly good at it, too.

    Scarlet thought for a minute as I suggested some things. “You could always yell: Jefferson is better!”

    “Nah, that’d start a debate!” argued Groff, “What about: Yo, losers!”

    “I don’t think that would get their attention..” I sighed, “Wait, what if-”

    Scarlet appeared out of nowhere, though I didn’t even know she had left, with someone’s phone in her hand. She was typing on it furiously.

    I leaned over her shoulder. I didn’t recognize the phone. “Uh, Scar, who’s phone is that?”

    She shrugged, “Oak’s.”

    “Why do you have Oak’s phone?!” I questioned, shocked at her thievery.

    “His is the one blasting the music.” She shrugged once more.

    Groff peeked over her shoulder, too. “How did you get it?”

    “How else?” She looked at him as if he were daft.

    “YOU STOLE OAK’S PHONE?!” I yelled, before she clamped her hand over my mouth.

    “Shush. Don’t question it.”

    “How did you even get in?!” Groff questioned, remembering that Oak’s phone had a password.

    “Fingerprint lock was easy enough, considering he was just handling the drinks.” Scarlet shrugged once more, pointing effortlessly to the formal glasses at the side of the room on the snack table. “Tape is really useful, you know.”

    “Oh my god, you did not go all spy mode to unlock a phone. ” Groff gasped.

    Scarlet scoffed, “You say that as if you doubt I could.”

    Groff and I gaped at her. Damn, she was good. She really had a knack for stealing, but that wasn’t necessarily a good thing.

    “I have an idea, but we need Leslie’s help.” Scarlet explained. “Can you get him, Groff?”

    “I dunno if he’ll want to abandon the fun..” Groff doubted.

    I scoffed, “Just tell him Scarlet wants his help and he’ll be here in two seconds.”

    With that, Groff was off to find him. Within a moment, the two of them were back at our little gathering in the corner, near the speaker. Leslie spoke first, “So, what’s this idea?”

    “Well,” Started Groff, “I need to get the cast’s attention, but they’re not exactly...listening.”

    “So, I have an idea.” Scarlet said before launching into an explanation. Leslie nodded along and I took notes. This had to work and if it didn’t...I would definitely be surprised. “I mean, there are easier ways, but this one will be more fun.”

    “Wait, wait, wait. So we’re just gonna launch into an improv version of one of the show’s songs?” Scarlet nodded at Groff’s question. “Okay. I’m in!”

    “But which one?” I asked, seriously considering.

    “Alexander Hamilton would be ideal, since Leslie could start that off.” Scarlet suggested.

    “However,” Leslie started, “It would be just me and we want to make this memorable, right?”

    I nodded, “It’s definitely gotta be important, especially because of tonight.”

    His face lit up. “I have the best idea. All your friends are here tonight, right Kat?”

    I nodded once more, “Yeah….why?”

    Groff gasped, “OH I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING, LESLIE, AND I LOVE IT!”

    “I’m glad!’ Leslie laughed, “I just hope your friends are up for it.”

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    “Okay, so Hope, you’ll be Mulligan, because Hugh isn’t here.”

    “Wait, why isn’t he here again?”

    “First, he’s Hope’s ex, so...Also, Lin said no boys. Makes sense, but... inconvenient.”

    “Oh.”

    “Anyway, Ari, you can be Lafayette?”

    “I can try!”

    “Great! Honestly, I could either be Hamilton or Laurens. I really love them both..”

    “And I’ll be whoever you don’t pick!”

    “Do you think Lin would care which one?”

    “I dunno. He’s your dad!”

    “Hmm...Okay, I’ll be Hamilton. Grace, you got Laurens?”

    “Mhm!”

    “Alright, girls! Let’s do this!”

    “Uh, do we have outfits?”

    “Frick.”

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    The music cut suddenly, though the voices didn’t. That was until the music began once more.

    Anthony spoke first, “Yo, do you guys hear that?” At the sudden play of familiar music, the group looked around the room, searching for the origin of the sound.

    “I think it’s comin’ from the stage.” Daveed said, leading the way into the auditorium.

    There, on the stage, around an old table, sat Grace, Ari, Hope, and I. We were clad in our regular clothes, with some twists. Ari had her hair pulled back in a high ponytail, as did Grace, though hers was loosely tied, and Hope had a bandana tied around her head. I had tied my hair back as well, though it didn’t look quite Hamilton-like, as I had hair too long for that.

    “I may not live to see our glory.” I sang, smiling and lifting my empty beer mug prop. I tried to act like Hamilton and not look at Lin, but it was difficult. Luckily for me, Groff was recording.

    “I may not live to see our glory!” My friends echoed, raising their glasses.

    Later, I saw on the recording that Lin looked like he was about to cry. He gasped and gawked at our little party of friends. “Dios mio, is that-”

    “Holy shit, Lin, it’s Kat!” Anthony finished his sentence, gaping. He smiled brightly. The HamFam was only getting bigger and it all started tonight.

    “But I will gladly join the fight!”

    “But I will gladly join the fight!”

    I smiled brighter, giving a look only Hamilton would, one that I had learned quickly by watching Lin practice. “And when our children tell our story…”

    Phillipa giggled a little, “Lin, she has your look.”

    “His look?” Jazzy asked, confused.

    The look.” Renee said seriously, clarifying. (Well, clarifying for the cast. Anyone else who hadn’t seen Lin singing as Hamilton would be extremely confused.)

    “Oh, yeah, that’s the look if I’ve ever seen it.” said Chris, nodding.

    “And when our children tell our story..”

    “They’ll tell the story of tonight.” I said, finishing my part. The song ran smoothly after that, Grace nailing Laurens. I noticed Anthony dying in the corner.

    “I think she could be your understudy, Ant!” teased Jazz.

    “Hell, she could take his job .” Daveed joked, laughing as Ant glared.

    The last few lines of the song, the ensemble joined in naturally. The smiled at each other, giving knowing looks. They couldn’t resist singing it: it was their job. Even the Revolutionary Squad’s actual actors, Lin, Daveed, Ant, and Oak, joined in, harmonizing.

    Cheers rang out across the theater as the song finished and my friends blushed profusely. The cast tried to get to the stage, but Groff interrupted their celebrations.

    “OH THANK GOD I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION FINALLY!!” He exclaimed, using the stage’s great acoustics. “After you all have your fun, congratulating your girl and whatnot-” He looked at Lin, grinning. “I think we should play some party games! Specifically, Never Have I Ever, because it’s just an excuse to get to know the girls, let’s be honest.” Everyone laughed as he closed and they went back to the celebrations.

    Lin didn’t care to hop backstage before getting to the main stage and climbed the front of the stage instead. “Kat!” He cried, running toward me and enveloping me in a hug. I flinched a little, but was fine for the most part. “Oh my god, that was beautiful! I am so proud of you, mija!”

    I laughed, “It wasn’t that grea-”

    “Stop that right now!” he ordered jokingly, “That was amazing !! We must have a mini Hamilton performance one day!”

    “I dunno if that’s a good idea…”

    “Nonsense, chica! It’ll be fun!” Lin stopped as he noticed the cast gathering in a circle. “C’mon, you and Scarlet can sit by me.” He grabbed my wrist, pulling me toward the circle as I giggled. He motioned at Scarlet to sit on his left while I sat on his right.

    “Alright!” Daveed exclaimed, rubbing his hands together devilishly. “Who wants to go first?”

    “Oh! Oh!” said Lin, raising his hand. “I got this, Diggs, just watch!”

    Everyone in the circle laughed as Groff stood. “Wait, wait! We haven’t explained the rules yet!” He cried, quieting everyone. “Okay, so rules. You have ten lives, which you count on your fingers. You must keep them up at all times! Whoever goes first, in this case Lin, will say: ‘Never have I ever’ then something that they haven’t done. If you have done it, then you lose a life. Last one standing wins! Got it?” Everyone in the circle nodded and he sat down once more.

    “Okay, so…” Lin thought for a moment, looking at the group around him. “Never have I ever been-”

    “Aw, don’t be cheap, Lin!” cried Ant, assuming his statement.

    “You don’t know what I was gonna say!” Lin replied, yelling and jokingly throwing his shoe at Ant. It was returned with just as much force. “ Anyway, never have I ever been to Germany!”

    A few people lost a life, including Scarlet and I, though not many. I spoke up, “You targeted us!”

    Lin smiled devilishly, “No se de que hablas!”

    I pouted jokingly, “Cabrón.”

    He gasped, “Watch your language!”

    Scarlet interrupted, “Have you listened to your own musical or do the words just flow from your mouth every single night without you actually thinking of them?”

    Lin rolled his eyes and looked ready to argue, but Daveed interrupted, laughing a little. “As funny as this is, it’s Tiny Ham’s turn.”

    “Yes!” I cheered, smiling evilly at my sister.

    She groaned, “Oh no.”

    “Never have I ever been kissed, on the lips, romantically!”

    A collective groan came from the group as almost all of them, excluding some of my friends, lost a life. Scarlet reluctantly put one of her fingers down, glaring at me. Lin leaped from the ground at seeing her lose one, “WHAT?!”

    I burst into laughter as Scarlet frantically tried to explain, “It was in Kindergarten with this stupid guy who had a crush on me! I didn’t instigate it, I swear! I didn’t even like him!”

    Once Lin calmed down, the game continued. In the end, Pegs ended up winning. Her parents had been extremely strict, so she hadn’t been able to do much. Chris swore he would change that, which made the rest of us smile. Well, almost all of us.

    *Gag* “You are so cheesy, Chris.”

    “Oh, can it, Diggs.”