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This Is What The Truth Feels Like

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In the middle of an overcast New York City night, at 3:14am on the dot, Lin-Manuel Miranda is looking at tumblr fanart of Jonathan Groff in angel wings. He wants to say that he has no idea how he ended up here or that this an unusual thing to happen, at night or at any other time of day, but that would be a lie. Lin knows exactly how this happened. Because Lin does this a lot. He has stopped actively using tumblr to post or reblog, because there are too many Hamilton bootlegs floating around. But he does track the Jonathan Groff tag. Also 'Groffsauce' (because come on ). And any and all permutations of the ship tag that is Jon x Lin. But he keeps going back to the angel wings. He knows it's weird. He knows. But every time he comes across a new piece of art, often incredible renderings of a half-naked Jon in pastel blue clouds, he feels like someone has pierced through the veil of reality, lifted the lid on our crazy, jaded universe, and presented him with the truth. That this man, this man Lin can't stop thinking about, not ever, not even at 3:14am on the dot, is an angel.

Which is obviously bullshit. Angels aren't real. But wasn't that insanely poetic for 3:14am?

 

Good morning! Let love guide you today and flow through you. Create things. Be kind. Be the Neville Longbottom to someone's Harry Potter.

- posted by @Lin-Manuel, today at 6:30am

 

Is 6:30 too early to post a good morning tweet? Are his followers going to yell at him again? Lin clicks 'send' on the tweet, sighs, and gets up to make some coffee. Because of course he hasn't slept. He's spent the last three hours lying awake in bed, his dog Tobi sleeping at his feet, letting that huge, giant, overactive brain of his just run free with capital F Feelings.

Lin can't remember a time when he was not in love with Jonathan Groff. Can't think back to what it felt like to not think about him all the time. Every day. Every morning when he wakes up, every night when he goes to sleep. Lin is the smartest person in any room he's ever going to be in and he hates that he knows that and he hates that he knows that it's true. But it is true. And yet he can't for the life of him figure out how he managed to get himself into this absolute goddamn clusterfuck of an emotional mess.

They must have been just friends at some point? In the beginning? When Jon was a bright-eyed teenager starring in Spring Awakening and Lin had just poured his blood and his soul and his pride into In The Heights. In the beginning, surely, Lin was not in love yet. Right? Because love at first sight is preposterous. Lin doesn't even believe in love at first sight. So surely it couldn't have happened to him? Surely???

One time, when they hadn't known each other long at all yet, Jon told Lin a story about how his family, on their farm, owned a goat named Lea Michele. Lin thinks about this anecdote often, because he remembers exactly where he was when he heard it and how it made him feel. He was sitting in his Heights rehearsal room, pre Broadway transfer, and had just convinced Jon to cameo and let himself be flirted with by Lin in a certain High School Musical parody video that was to become the stuff of legend in subsequent years. (subtle, Lin...)

He was already in love then.

He was in love with the way Jon told the story. Animated in the face, but trying to contain his body language, because he wasn't comfortable around Lin yet. Intimidated, he later confided (Lin seems to recall there was some eggnog involved in this confession, maybe?). But his eyes lit up, talking about the farm and the goat and most of all his family. There was so much love there. So much goodness.

Come to think about it, the angel thing really didn't come out of nowhere, did it? Jon is not perfect, of course. No one is. Perfect people would probably be boring anyway. But he is the closest thing to a heavenly creature that Lin has ever known.

Lin idly wonders whether the goat is still alive. He resolves to ask Jon the next time they talk.

 

I made some songs for a movie you might like. It is called Moana. Please go see it. Or not, I am not your mother. But it really is quite good, you know?

- posted by @Lin-Manuel, today at 7:15pm

 

Jon texts him that he loved Moana. He uses three heart-eye emojis. Lin didn't even know that Jon knew where the emoji keyboard was on his phone.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

The morning after the night of their first kiss, Lin had started writing Hamilton. He'd read the book on holiday and had big ideas already, but there were no actual words on the page yet. Until Jon came over. With a bottle of booze in his hand, hair dishevelled from the wind on the subway platform, and just about the most beautiful sight Lin had seen since he'd left the poolside in Mexico.
They got spectacularly drunk and ended the night on top of Lin's still not unpacked vacation suitcase, making out like teenagers. They were friends. Grown-ups. Both single at the time. Still a year or so to go until Jon and Zach would become a thing. So no harm done, right? What's a little casual make-out sesh among friends?

Right. Only that's not at all what it was for Lin.

So he channeled all of that into his writing. Writing, as it turns out, the biggest hit he will ever write. The biggest thing to happen to musical theater in years. A cultural phenomenon. And all because he couldn't bring himself to say the words 'I love you' to the dishevelled boy on his suitcase. So he put them in his play instead.

Lin sat down to write Angelica as the jealous woman and put the majority of his own feelings on her delicate-but-tough shoulders to carry. The longing he felt, still feels today, in his heart for this beautiful boy with the (yes, completely metaphorical, he knows this) angel wings. He transformed into Angelica in Satisfied for a while. Immersed himself in her pain. Pojected Angelica's reluctant jeaolusy of Eliza onto all the boys flocking around Jonathan. Wanting a piece of him, hoping to catch a few rays of the 'new toy' shimmer that surrounded him in New York City at the time. It was all very Studio 54 to be honest.

There were so many boys. Jonathan never really dated any, though. Said no one really ever saw him for him. Whatever that meant.

"No one gets me like you do, Lin", he said once. Jokingly. That kept Lin awake for three nights in a row.

And then Lin played the Satisfied demo to Jon. An eternity later. Years. Because it had never been quite right before. But once it was, he played it for him. At Jon's place. On a busted old tape recorder. The sound quality was the worst thing in the world, Lin remembers now, vividly. Remembers how he had held his breath because he was waiting for Jon's reaction, starving for his approval.

When Lin closes his eyes and thinks of Jon, now, today, every day, the first thing he sees is this Jon. The Jon from that day. Sitting on the couch, rapturously listening to that tinny demo. Sees the tears forming in his eyes until they fall from his face.

And then Jon bubbles up all these feelings, tells Lin that he loves Angelica, sees her, feels her, understands her and wants to protect her from all harm and pain.

And the stab that that reaction causes in Lin's heart in that moment is still the most fucking terrifying thing in the whole goddamn world.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Lin-Manuel Miranda tops PEOPLE's Most Eligible Bachelor list for 2016

- posted by @PEOPLE, today at 11:48am

 

"Lin? You up? When do you leave for London? Wanna get together before you leave? I just... yeah. I miss you. Call me back when you get this."

The voicemail notification wakes Lin right the fuck up from the troubled sleep he had fallen into after the exhausting dance class he is taking to prepare for shooting Mary Poppins in London. "I miss you."

Lin leaves for London in two days. It's too complicated, right? It's too complicated to tell this boy, who doesn't even understand the implications of 'U up?', that he's been in love with him for almost ten years, right? Yeah. He tries telling himself that, composes one last tweet, and goes back to sleep. He doesn't call Jon back.

 

Sometimes you have to put your trust into something intangible to get you through the night and make you believe that you'll be fine tomorrow.

- posted by @Lin-Manuel, today at 1:23am

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

A few days later, Lin is in London. Working on a movie he never in his wildest dreams thought he'd ever get to work on. The musical theater nerd kid grew up to be in Mary Poppins. Nothing makes sense. And yet everything makes sense. He hooks up with a chorus boy who reminds him of Jon. It doesn't help.

Back when Jon and Zach went up in flames, Jon had come to Lin's door again. No booze this time. Instead a bucketload of tears and a deep-seated need for comfort and cuddles. And a whole lot more than cuddles.
Lin had had an on-again, off-again girlfriend at the time, but he has to think real hard for a full two minutes to remember her name now. She wasn't important. None of the girls or the boys Lin dated at the time, or ever really, were important.

They had sex a grand total of three times that night. Really, really good sex. Intimate and gentle but also greedy and passionate and exhausting. They slept in each others's arms until noon the next day. Lin knew he was a rebound. Or a comfort fuck. Or whatever else Jon needed at the time.
But whenever Lin pictures that night, he thinks of two things: 1. Jon's novelty socks covered in a jolly goat print and 2. the feeling of total and utter bliss coursing through Lin's body, his veins, his blood and his soul.

They never had sex again. It's not like they don't acknowledge that it ever happened. They do. They occasionally made out in the dressing room of the Richard Rogers theater while they were both still in the play. Especially after particularly emotional shows. But ever since Jon's left Hamilton, he is out there doing his thing. Being single, shooting TV shows, meeting boys. So there's really no need to bring up that old chestnut, Lin feels. And his heart contracts.

 

Hey you. Yes, you. You're the best. I love you. Keep doing your thing.

- posted by @Lin-Manuel, today at 7:50am

 

London is beautiful. The work is exciting. But Lin misses his friends. Misses Jonathan most of all. Can't sleep sometimes because his chest is so heavy from missing him that breathing hurts.

Lin tries calling Jon, but timezones are a bitch. He doesn't reach him. It's almost like his phone is off? He talks to his other friends a lot though. When he asks Daveed whether he has heard from Jon, Daveed just breathes a very drawn-out 'ohhhh duuuuude' into the phone.

Lin decides it is better not to ask.

If you asked Lin why he hasn't ever just told Jon how he feels about him, Lin couldn't tell you. Because he doesn't know. It's not like he hasn't tried. There's been plenty of opportunities over the years to make a grand old confession, but Lin has so far always chickened out.

Lin takes these Hogwarts House sorting tests a lot and always gets Slytherin and people are always surprised. Lin is not. Other than the obvious things like ambition, knowing your own worth and being really methodical and precise about doing stuff, which are all the really good and fluffy attributes about Slytherin he possesses, there is also the one thing he's always known he lacked. Bravery. Not professional bravery. He does have that. Stepping out on a stage in front of an audience is one of the bravest things you can do (it's also one of the most selfish, he thinks, because there's an entire theater of people who've come to see you and that is just the biggest fucking rush). It's the other kind of bravery he lacks. The bravery to stand up in front of someone, say a beautiful wavy-haired farm boy from Pennsylvania, and tell them that you love them.

Lin thinks it's his brain, his big, crazy, Slytherin brain, that doesn't allow him to just own up to his feelings, because he knows alllllll the things that could go wrong. Rejection, ridicule and all of the other terrible scenarios probably also starting with an R that run through his head at all times. His brain never, ever shuts up. It's so funny, people always comment on Lin's quiet confidence when they meet him, because they expected him to be childlike and exciteable like a puppy instead. But what they never see is that his brain is actually a raging fire of confusion and fear and that he has to work really, really hard not to let that show on his face.

Because sometimes the raging fire threatens to consume everything that is good and pure. So in those moments he takes a deep breath and looks at tumblr fanart of Jonathan Groff in angel wings.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

This morning, there is a text from Jon. "Listen to this song. I like this song." The text contains a link to 'This is What The Truth Feels Like' by Gwen Stefani.

 

Oh it's unexplainable and it's so weird
Woah it's so strange, confusing and I'm so scared
But maybe I deserve this boy after all that I've been through
How can all of this be true?

 

Ok. What?

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

The Holiday season happens upon London like a pleasant, but overly cheerful hurricane. Lin hadn't even noticed that Christmas was coming up, he'd been too busy. Rehearsals, filming, writing (despite what he says in interviews, he still writes; he always writes), getting yappy little Tobi used to the London lifestyle.

Suddenly his neighbor, who is a sweet old Texan lady who up to this point had been listening mostly to inappropriately catchy country songs about gleefully murdering your cheating husband, starts playing 'Jingle Bells' on loop and puts a tacky light-up reindeer display in her window. Oh, Americans , Lin thinks. As if he's isn't himself one and has suddenly turned into a snobby Brit just from living here for a month.

 

Happy Holidays, friends! Tell someone you love them today.

- posted by @Lin-Manuel, today at 1:12pm

 

The sweet old lady rings the door to tell Lin that the postman came by (she says 'postman' in an exaggerated fake British accent – Lin really does like her a great deal) and delivered a package for him at her place because he wasn't in. Lin opens it right there. It is a small, black, velvet-covered box. In it, neatly folded, are a pair of goat-patterned novelty socks. And a card. Scented with something. Rosewood maybe?

"Meet me tonight at 8 in front of the London Eye. Wear the socks. J."

The sweet old lady smiles.

"Oh, congratulations! Isn't this wonderful? Someone truly loves you very much. Merry Christmas!"

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

Lin is in that ratty old grey sweater that he likes so much and desperately wishes he had worn something else today. Anything else. His heart beats out of his chest. On the subway ( 'Tube' , says the fake British snob in his head), he almost has a panic attack. There are so many people out tonight. Tourists, people just getting home from work, Christmas shoppers. Lin almost bolts out the sliding doors at a random station. But he stops himself. Takes a deep breath and pulls his incognito beanie deeper into his face. This is happening. Oh my god. This is really happening.

It's a chilly winter night in London, but there is no snow. At least it isn't raining.

Lin steps onto the square in front of the London Eye and immediately starts looking around. His eyes darting here, there and everywhere. He turns in circles. Paces around. Slowly walks the perimeter. Goes back to the center. He looks at his watch. It blinks 7:59pm.

That is when he sees him. Wearing a navy blue coat and a white scarf. Positioned right under a giant light-up Christmas angel. Lin's heart feels like it stops for a solid minute. He definitely stops breathing.

Then the boy spots him and smiles. And Lin snaps out of it. His boy is here. His beautiful farm boy with the dishevelled hair. His angel. Is here. And his wings are beckoning Lin to come to him.

 

"Hi", Jon says. Breathes it in. Like it is a secret.

"Hi", Lin replies. Exhales it. Like it is a revelation.

 

A moment passes.

"What are you..."

"Lin."

"Yes."

Jon takes a step towards Lin. Lin takes the other step. They close the gap. The light of the Christmas angel illuminates their faces.

"I don't really know where to start. But since I am the one who flew halfway across the world, it is only fair that I begin. Lin, I ..."

From somewhere, the smell of roasted chestnuts wafts over to them.

"I've been trying to figure out what this is. What we are. It's... it's been a very difficult year. For everyone. For the world. And it has really made me think."

Lin can't say anything. All he does is stare. At that beautiful, expressive face. The same face he's seen heartbreakingly cry, light up with joy, explode into pleasure. It is Lin-Manuel Miranda's favorite face in the whole entire universe.

"I have been flirting with you for nine years."

Wait. What?

"I thought at some point you would notice. Sometimes I thought you had. But then... you pulled back. So I tried harder. Dropped anvil-sized hints. But you didn't react. Ever. So I backed off. Dated other people. I figured you weren't interested..."

"Jon!"

"Let me finish. I've had a very long flight to prepare this speech, so now I'm going to finish it. I am an actor after all."

Lin laughs.

"I figured, this year, this dystopian hellscape of a year, can't end like this. Can't end without me telling you the truth. The truth about how I feel about you."

"Jon"

"No wait.."

"I love you!"

Lin doesn't know why the words come out now, but here they are. Here they are. They've been inside of him for almost ten years and now they're coming out together with a rush of blood to the head. Lin goes almost dizzy. Steadies himself. Breathes. There it is. The truth. And now, once the floodgates have been opened, there is no stopping the words.

"I've been in love with you ever since I met you. I... I don't know why I never told you, I'm sorry, I'm an idiot, a huge fucking idiot, there was never the right time somehow... and my brain, you know my big old brain, always working, always worrying. But I love you, so much, you are all I ever think about and I..."

"Lin?"

"Yeah?"

"Breathe."

Lin breathes. Jon takes Lin's face into his hands and gets real close. He is wearing scratchy gloves. This would be so adorable and romantic if Lin's heart wasn't just about to implode from overexertion and leave him a hollow shell dead on the cobblestones of London.

"I love you too, Lin-Manuel Miranda."

"You do?"

"Of course I do. You beautiful, big-brained idiot. I've been trying to tell you that for nine years."

Lin smiles. Jon leans in to kiss him and smiles, too. They kiss each other, smiling. Relieved. It is a very tender kiss, out in public, in the wintery cold. But it is a very good kiss. Feels different than all of their other kisses before. It feels like the start of something.

As they walk away, slowly, hand in hand, leaning onto each other and just breathing each other in, the Christmas angel lights their way.

 

Yeah I don't know about that anymore... // RT Lin-Manuel Miranda tops PEOPLE's Most Eligible Bachelor list for 2016

- posted by @Lin-Manuel, today at 9:25pm

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 

When Lin wakes up early the next morning, he is disoriented for a moment and doesn't know where he is. That happens sometimes when you move to a new place, he believes he read that somewhere. Then it comes back to him. He's in his London apartment.

Someone breathes next to him. Oh yeah. That.

Lin looks at the beautiful, sleeping form of Jon in his bed and takes a deep breath. A saturating warmth spreads through him. So it wasn't a dream. Lin gently touches him just to see if he is really real. Just to make 100% sure. But he is real. So this is what the truth feels like.

The early morning light falls through the curtains just right. It seems to have snowed overnight, so now there is a fluffy light blue tint to everything. That is when Lin sees them. The wings. Just casually there, surrounding the sleeping Jon like a halo cloud. Lin can't do anything but stare. He doesn't care whether they're real or not, whether he's hallucinating because he's the most deliriously happy he's ever been. But there is a beautiful naked boy in his bed, his boy, and he has fluffy blue angel wings.

Lin takes a picture on his phone. He decides that he is going to post it on tumblr later.