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You Will Remember in Time

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Normally, Alex couldn't give a shit about biology class. He got good grades without effort, so paying attention just wasn't necessary. It was different that day. The topic was soul mates, because ‘it's important for teens your age to understand soulmates’.

Alex and his adoptive brother had always been eager to learn about soulmates. They were used to being told that any day they would meet a person who lit their world up with color. The trouble was, they already saw in full color. Doctors even tested and the boys really could see everything. They were old souls, but it didn't have anything to do with it. Everyone is born seeing gray, even if they had already lived before.

The only explanation was that they must have met their respective soulmates early on in their lives. Their parents had a hunch that it must have been during daycare that they were given color.

Alex chocked it up to bad luck.

Still he was always willing to hear another opinion, or ask for potential advice. He raised his hand and began waiting to be able to ask his question.

The teacher called on someone who had their hand up already.

“ we are, statistically speaking, expected to find our soulmate during high school, yes?” asked the one French kid who people usually avoided. People said his parents were dead and he lived alone. Some said he faked his accent. It all seemed absurd to Alex. Rumours are stupid, so he and his brother kept to themselves.

“ well Marie, while some people do find their other half before the end if high school, there's nothing wrong if you don't. It's not quite like remembering a past life. Finding your soulmate is up to fate”

“ yes I know there is no rush. My concern is only because I have always seen color, for as long as I can remember. I don't know who my soulmates is. I have a hunch, and I do love who I think it is, but the idea of just loving one person for however long my soul lives is… I don't think I can do it”

Behind Alex, a few students made cruel remarks, calling Marie unfaithful, or a slut, or typical of the French. He shot them a glare but the words still concerned him because he felt similarly. He couldn't imagine eternity with one person.

The teacher thought for a moment, trying to find a way she could word a response without hearing complaints from conservative parents. “ well it isn't… entirely unheard of. There's a collection of writings that talks about historical accounts of people with more than one match”

Some girl spoke up, but she didn't look up from her phone “ but that sounds like… immoral. Dating a bunch of people never works”

“ I can't tell you how to feel about it, but these accounts exist. And even so, it's common for people to date even if they aren't soulmates.”

Finally, Alex spoke up “ not to mention the tons of people who killed their own soulmates over something stupid like homophobia. Soulmates aren't some sacred hetero love magic. It's more like, suggestions from the universe. Sometimes people live differently from you. It doesn't make them immoral. Like, Fuck, would you hate a person because they like a different fucking Dorito flavor than you? How about someone who likes a bunch of flavors and likes to mix them in a bowl and eat them that way? Doritos are just like sexuality, it doesn't matter.” Alex glared ahead but he noticed out of the corner of his eye, Marie. He was smiling at him, like he was grateful. Huh. They had lots in common.

The teacher blinked “ Alex, you'll have to watch your language in class… but the bell's about to ring. Have a nice weekend, make sure to finish your homework. Final stretch of sophomore year, it's important to keep those grades up”

Alex had a lot to discuss with his brother, so he hurried out to find him once the bell rang.

He found him sitting on the same bench he sat on everyday after school to wait for Alex.

“ Aaron! Get the laptop out, we have to look something up”

Aaron looked up and raised an eyebrow “ what's so important?”

“ just trust me, it's interesting” Alex urged, leaning obnoxiously on Aaron's shoulder.

“ alright fine” Aaron pulled their shared laptop from his bag and handed it to Alex.

Alex stated it up and googled ‘multiple soulmates’ while Aaron read over his shoulder.

“ the colors I see and how I came to see them? Well that's wordy”

Alex shrugged and clicked the first link “ fuck, can't read it here”

“ check the library”

After a bit of poking around on the local library's website, they found out that the book is in fact in stock.

The stopped there on their way home and checked it out with Aaron's card because Alex had missing books. It was bigger than they expected and the cover had six portraits. They recognized Thomas Jefferson, which they both found to be strange. Another portrait seemed familiar but they couldn't connect a name to the image of the old dead dude. Still, a founding father on the cover of a book about multiple soulmates? It was really unexpected.

“ a super famous guy was like us?”

“ I don't really give a shit about founding fathers but that's actually pretty cool”

Once they got home, they read the first section. It was by some French side with a stupid long name. Turns out he was on the cover, and probably one of the most decent looking. But there was something off about the portraits. Almost as if they weren't real depictions of people.

The section by the French dude was actually… pretty sad. He had a lot of soul mates. Most of them were guys and a bunch of them died before he wrote it all down. The boys had already heard that the death of a soulmate took color back out of the world, but they hadn't really heard anyone describe the feeling of gaining and losing color. Near the end, they were both crying. It felt stupid to be so emotionally affected by some random Victorian old dude. It must have just been one of those things that gets to you for some unknown reason.

After the love life summary, there were pages of letters written by the same guy to his soulmates. They were all incredibly tender. Alex and Aaron found themselves tearing up again once they started reading the letters written to the soulmates after they died. One particular one was written to the wife of one of the dead guys. He wrote to her about their memories with their lost mutual love and it sent Alex sobbing into the bed sheet.

Aaron patted his brother's shoulder and closed the book “ that's enough sad for one night, don't you think?”

They both got ready for bed. Neither of them had been able to sleep alone their whole lives. It was why they were inseparable as toddlers when they were adopted together. They don't remember being adopted but their parents tell them the story any time they have a disagreement.

They fell asleep and they both dreamed of blue and ivory coats.

«««»»»

In the morning, neither of them could think about anything other than that book. Aaron was the first to talk about it.

“ did you notice that one of those dudes the book talked about was a short guy named Alex?”

Alex snorted “ it's a common name”

“ I'm just saying there's a lot of similarities. Maybe every short guy named Alex is an emotional hoe”

“ you're an emotional hoe too” Alex stuck his tongue out “ besides I'm pretty sure the word is polyamorus”

“ fancy. But Hey, do you remember anything?”

“ you already asked two days ago, what's up

Aaron shrugged “ I had a super vague dream, but it felt familiar”

“ like a memory?”

“ yeah. It was just done old timey blue coats”

Alex hummed “ I feel like I've seen something like that. Should we look it up?”

“ they say you should let yourself remember naturally”

“ ugh, fine”

Chapter Text

Marie walked down the halls swiftly but carefully. He was awkwardly lanky, a recent growth spurt leaving him entirely unsure of how to handle himself. His Maman used to tell him that he'd grow into a very handsome man. She knew who he was, but wouldn't tell him. Mothers of old souls dream the previous given name while pregnant. Apparently Marie had a very long and specific given name.

Thinking about his Maman nearly had him crying, so he blinked his eyes clear and focused on the girl he was searching for in the halls. If he cried, people would be able to tell that he had traces of mascara on, and he was already nearly friendless. He didn't need another alienating factor.

He found his Adrienne (with some difficulty, she was a short girl) and gave her a greeting hug and a happy grin.

She returned both and spoke first “ is it time to go grocery shopping yet?”

“ non, I have food for perhaps three more days, if you spend the weekend with me. However there is one store I'd like to go to” he fished hits phone out from his jeans and showed her a google search he had made at the end of biology class.

“ a book about soulmates?” she smiled at him with a raised eyebrow, making Marie blush.

“ ah, oui. Plural soulmates”

She clapped giddily and took his hand “ come on, Barnes and noble isn't far”

The two of them walked hand in hand as they had since they were toddlers. The kissing was newer, something that started in middle school. At first it was curiosity until they knew enough about love to know they had it. They found the bookstore and went to the biography isle. As it turns out, the book was popular enough to be advertised and displayed on a table instead of a shelf. There was one seemingly deluxe edition, complete with a poster which showed many old hand written love letters. Marie picked it up without hesitation. The cover was bound like a Bible, and the pages edged in gold. It was absolutely gorgeous, all Marie wanted to do was read it right there but it was wrapped in plastic. He picked another up and showed the identical books to his girlfriend “ book club?”

She laughed and shook her head fondly “ the sooner we buy it the sooner we can cuddle and read”

“ I'm a slut for cuddling and reading” Marie hurried to the counter and bought both copies. The house was an even shorter walk and when they walked in, they both kissed the two urns beneath the portrait of Marie's parents. They tangled themselves together on the couch and opened the books.

They hummed at the name above the first page. Long, very specific, famous, French… beginning with “Marie”. They shared a look that simply meant “ it's a possibility”. They read further, Marie finding himself reading aloud with emotion.

It went smoothly until the third paragraph “ I saw no color before Orange. It was a strange circumstance involving my late wife. At the time we were both no older than fifteen. We had known eachother for years, each of them spent in a gray world. This is strange because in most cases, color is seen at the moment of first eye contact. We had been sitting in a tree we had climbed against the will of my grandmother, watching the grays in the sky change as the sun lowered behind a mountain. My Adrienne…” Marie stopped reading. His hands shook, the book nearly tumbling from them. His wide eyes met those of Adrienne. “ my dear I'm afraid it might more more then coincidence.”

“ Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette” she whispered the name, not taking her eyes off her love. She shouldn't have been able to memorize the whole thing after a simple glance at the page. It was a memory.

“ merde we're… we're the Marquis and Marquess”

“ you're the hero of two worlds. I can remember the sunset.” she closed the book in a hurry, also taking Marie's from him.

“ ah, wait, why-”

“ spoilers! I don't… I don't want to read our memories, you know? I want to remember naturally. Otherwise, how will he tell a real memory from vivid imagination of a scene from a book?”

He sighed and rested his head on Adrienne's shoulder. “ It's vague but I can see it. You in the tree. We kissed until it was too dark to see”

“ you scraped your knee…”

“ I love you, Adrie”

“ I love you too, Gil”

«««»»»

On Monday, in biology, Alex found himself staring at Marie. He looked nothing like the French guy in the cover of that book but… wasn't basically all of history white-washed? Thinking back, the way people where described in the letter passages didn't match the portraits either. Hell, two of the portraits were damn near unintelligible.

He didn't know why he couldn't stop thinking about that book. He had even remembered most of the names. Alex, of course. Adrienne. John. Hercules. Eliza. Robert. Gilbert. No, Gilbert seemed strange. He couldn't remember the exact order of that long French name but Gilbert was definitely not the first name. No it started with an m. Ma? Maybe an r. He thought he remembered an e. Mare. No that's fucking stupid. What the hell was that name? Marie. Oh. Huh.

The teacher called for them to choose partners and Alex crossed the room directly to Marie, who looked surprised. “ hey man, I still don't really talk to people in this class can we be partners?”

“ oh, yes of course” he politely cleared a space for Alex, who sat down.

“ so Uh… last Friday, that stuff about more than one soulmate?”

Marie blushed and looked away “ I know it sounds strange”

“ it actually doesn't. That whole deal actually hit pretty close to home. I found my colors too early just like you did. And my brother, too”

“ my girlfriend as well”

“ I'm gonna take a wild guess. Is her name Adrienne?”

Marie froze, eyes wide “ it is. How did you…?”

“ I … actually found the source material Ms. Paige told us about. The first bit of writing was from a guy named Marie-something or other-Lafayette.” Alexander spoke cautiously, knowing he must sound insane. There was any number of French guys named Marie.

“ Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette. A ten part name that I memorized without… really memorising it. I found that book too. Adrie and I tried to read it together but it turns out it's about us so we stopped” Marie spoke in a daze, not believing his words even though he knew it was the truth.

“ fuck. That's absolutely wild, man. Didn't you like, fight in the revolution”

He nodded “ I don't remember it but I know from history. I've lived in America most of my life but Papa and Maman made sure I learned history like a French student”

“ okay I need your number”

Marie's cheeks flushed “like, my phone number?”

“ yeah. It sounds crazy but I think I lived in that time too”

“ it is not crazy. Experts on reincarnation patterns say we'll have a lot of revolutionaries around”

“ you read about reincarnation patterns? It's so hard to follow”

“ I must admit, I have been trying to jog my memory subtly. Adrie says I shouldn't but I am quite desperate to remember adulthood”

Alex raised an eyebrow “ hey man, just look up porn like the rest of us”

Marie became charmingly embarrassed, the way he flushed and hurriedly corrected Alex made him smile “ non, non, it is not what you think”

“ what is it then?” Alex inquired, eager to hear more of that accent. Wow. He sure ain't hetero.

“ I live alone”, the other boy answered, looking down and fiddling with a pencil.

Alex's smile dropped “oh” he paused for moment “ If you need somewhere to stay…”

“ non, we just met. I have a nice home and a lot of money. I'm extremely fortunate, I cannot ask for anything”

“ why do you live alone?”

“ my parents passed away a year ago. I was meant to stay with my aunt but I didn't want to leave town. She said it was fine because I'm quite mature, and an old soul. The family fortune was left to me in the will, but she keeps the money and sends me an allowance”

“ my parents passed away when I was really young, and my brother's too. We're both adopted” Alex placed a comforting hand on Marie's. Both boys sat in stunned silence as they realized how familiar it felt.

“ Alex I think you might be in that book”

“ it seems very likely.”

“ perhaps we should only read it once we remember fully”

The bell rang and as they were dismissed, Marie admitted that he had no idea what Ms. Paige assigned them Alex didn't have a clue either.

«««»»»

By the time the last day of school came around, Alex, Aaron, Marie and Adrienne were good friends. They spoke openly to each other and as they each came out to the rest of the little group, they found all of them were pansexual. They talked about attractive people together. Whenever they watched a movie, they'd point out which actors they had little crushes on.

One day in early summer, while Alex was busy writing something and Adrie was busy with her family, Marie and Aaron were doing a synchronized marathon of marvel movies. They were in separate homes but they timed the movies so that they viewed them at the same time and texted all the while.

M: Loki is honestly so hot
A: Marie he's the villain
M: later, we need to have a talk about why he doesn't deserve this shit but right now I need to talk about how hot all of these characters are
M: I'd go on a date with any of them
M: I'm a horny teenager and I'm pretty sure I was horny most of last life
M: I bet I was submissive as hell most of the time. Like, yeah, the idea of someone ordering me around but not in a mean way.
M: at the same time though I keep fantasizing about stripping for people, maybe it's a memory
M: but people say stripping is empowering but I just really like the idea of someone enjoying me performing like that
M: I suppose I'm very sexually frustrated
A: I'm pretty sure most of us are

Aaron froze. The heat that had been pooling in his lower abdomen was extremely hard to ignore, and he felt incredibly guilty for feeling it while thinking about his friend. Why did he send Marie that message? He'd see through it. He'd know.

M: I don't think most of us are quite this frustrated at the moment
A: how frustrated?

There was a moment of silence were Marie debated how truthful he should be and Aaron was sure Marie would never speak to him again. But Aaron's phone chimed.

M: I just feel like my hand isn't enough

Aaron's head span. Marie worried his lip as he stared at his phone screen, movie forgotten.

A: I feel the same way.
A: maybe we should
M: my house is empty as always
M: you're welcome to visit
A: I'm on my way

Aaron found himself running to a bus stop, so that he didn't miss the route that went right to Marie's neighborhood of big fancy houses.

Chapter Text

By the time Aaron was knocking at the door to the large house, he realized he had no clue what they were going to do. Where they actually going through with it? He wanted to, but only if Marie started it.

Marie opened the door and smiled “ ah my friend, come in” he bent to kiss each of his cheeks. “ would you like a drink?”

“ no thank you” Aaron entered and closed the door behind him. As he looked around he saw the door to the cinema room open. The lights were out but the avengers was playing on the huge TV.

“we could go in there if you like. There's a comfortable loveseat and the lighting is nice. I'm always hearing about people in the backs of empty movie theaters fooling around…” Marie trailed off, realizing he was babbling “ I used to be smoother than this”

“ you probably didn't start that way. I'm sure it took practice” Aaron took Marie's hands and lead him into the cinema room. They sat down on the loveseat farthest from the screen silently. They didn't look at the movie, just at each other. Aaron's eyes fell to Marie's lips and his breath stopped. They were so close.

Aaron hadn't kissed anyone before. At the same time, he felt that this… tension relief with Marie was almost routine. As if everything they did would fall into place. Like muscle memory.

When their lips finally did touch, for a moment,Aaron could have sworn they were older. He remembered the scratch of facial hair so distinctly he could feel it. He also remembered huddling with Lafayette in the cold, and marveling at how soft his lips were even in war.

They pulled away to breathe and Aaron spoke in an unsteady voice “ we've done this before”

“ valley forge. All of us piled in my tent for warmth” Marie's cheeks burned as he remembered details of time spent warming up “ you wouldn't undress all the way in front of Robbie. But you would when he wasn't around”

Aaron blinked at the name. How had he forgotten Robert? “ he was shy and innocent. I didn't want to…”

“ risk him knowing you wanted him? Between John, Alex and I, he must have been getting used to being wanted” Marie kissed him again, before moving to kiss his neck “ Robbie wasn't very innocent. But you're right, he was shy”

Aaron shuddered and tilted his head to give him room “ do you remember how he'd go from fire to fire every time we camped to sing and tell jokes for the rest of the soldiers?”

“ I do” he nipped at the skin beneath his lips “ he was so cute. In all the years, he never stopped blushing at compliments. And I'm sure you noticed that perfect ass of his”

“ of course” Aaron swallowed trying not to be very vocal about how good it felt “ I slept in his bed every time Alex disappeared in an attempt to keep himself from falling in love with him. Robbie couldn't sleep alone after a while of being Alex's roommate”

“ I bet that dorm was full of tension” Marie pulled away and just as Aaron was missing the contract, he slipped his shirt off, which made it okay. Aaron took a moment to look at him before carefully shifting them. He guided Marie to lay back. He sat between his legs and leaned over him to kiss him. Aaron placed his hands on Marie's sides and brushed his fingers along his bare skin. He felt him shudder under his touch before Marie's hands slipped beneath Aaron's shirt.

Aaron's hands went to the button on Marie's jeans “ is this okay”

“ oui, here” they shifted to stand so that it would be easier to disrobe.

Aaron unfastened Marie's pants and paused. In the flickering light of the TV screen, he could see lace. Light pink lace and silk. To get a better look, he slid the jeans off his hips. He blinked, having trouble registering what he was looking at. “ lingerie?”

Marie swallowed, feeling sheepish and self conscious “ is it too weird? I…” he moved to pull his pants back up, but Aaron stopped him.

“ it's fine. It looks… it's really hot. I just didn't expect it”

“ I um… I like to feel pretty”

Aaron tilted Marie's chin up and kissed him “ do you want to know something embarrassing? It might help”

“ sure?”

“ I felt like I almost Uh… came. Right when I saw”

Marie's demeanor changed drastically. A smile grew on his face and he slipped the rest of the way out of his jeans, revealing matching stockings that hugged his thighs. He guided Aaron's shirt off and had him sit down before straddling his lap.

“ it makes a lot of sense. You seducing the leader of the revolution.”

“ as strange as it sounds, I'm more comfortable in this than boy clothes”

“ well do you feel like a boy?”

“ yes”

“ then all of your clothes are boys clothes. Even if you bought it at Victoria's secret”

“ thank you, mon ami” he kissed his neck and rolled his hips against Aaron's. As that motion continued, neither of them lasted long.

After Aaron came, he immediately regretted the fact that he was still in his pants and boxers. “ oh ew”

“ yeah you're right. Come on” Marie took him by the hand and lead him to his bedroom “ merde, do you have spare underwear”

“ no I'm horrendously unprepared.”

“ um… I only have this kind of underwear. I am tall but skinny so it should fit you…”

“ yeah anything but this would be great. God, if memory serves, we won't fit into the same underwear in a few years. You fill out”

Marie grinned as he looked through his underwear drawer “ yes I'm very pleased with how puberty is treating me. To be entirely honest, I couldn't have seduced Papa without an ass like that” he grabbed a burgundy pair and a sky blue pair, tossing the first to Aaron.

Aaron caught it, “ yeah, man, great ass-... I'm sorry, Papa?”

Marie froze, about to remove his lacy boy shorts “ um. George. He's… well I… Alex and I called him Papa. Actually, Alex called him daddy I think.”

“ you had a daddy kink?”

“ so did George and John! They liked hearing it as much as we liked saying it” he slipped out of his underwear and Aaron hurried to look away and change.

Once Aaron was in clean underwear and had his jeans back on, Marie got a load of laundry in the wash.

“ Aaron will you not be expected home for dinner?”

“ oh fuck you're right. Uh… I'll see you tomorrow” Aaron awkwardly patted his shoulder and hurried to grab his shirt and go.

«««»»»

Aaron successfully hid the underwear from Alex for long enough to return them to Marie.

A week later, their parents were out for the night. Aaron and Alex talked until they fell asleep, and the last thing Alex told Aaron was that he remembered meeting Lafayette. That was the first day he ever saw red. Laf was one of Alex's soul mates.

They only slept for two hours before Alex woke up screaming. When Aaron tried to comfort Alex, it got worse. He shoved him away and red stained his shirt.

“ Alex, you're bleeding! Shh, Shh, come here I-”

“ no, no no no not you, you fucking shot me” Alex scrambled backwards away from him.

At first Aaron had no idea what he was talking about. But then he saw it. He saw a gun in his hand. He saw the sun rise as he pulled the trigger. With shaking hands, he called Marie, thanking whatever god when he heard his friend's sleepy answer.

“ ah, my friend, it is so late “

“ I need you to come here. Alex is bleeding and he won't let me near him”

“ fuck, I'm on my way”

Aaron heard the slam of a door being opened in haste before the line went dead.

Alex had found his way to a corner of the room, where he curled up defensively. It made Aaron's heart ache but he couldn't blame him. Be couldn't believe what he had done either. He put himself in the adjacent corner, as far from Alex as he could be. He kept his hands empty and visible.

The front door opened shockingly soon and Marie ran upstairs to the bedroom. He was still in his pjs which apparently was just a huge T-shirt and a cute pair of underwear. His feet were bare and bleeding from running all the way there. He kneeled in front of Alex “ Alex, Alex, look at me, shhh. What is it?”

“ Fae? My love, I've been shot. He shot me, I'm dying”

“ Alex, you're not dying. It's a memory. And a phantom wound. Come, dear, who shot you, there is no gun”

Alex climbed into his soulmates lap and clinged to him “ Aaron shot me. I fired at the sky and he shot me, my precious Marquis, I thought you were in France”

“ I… merde. No, I'm here. It's July of 2015. It is our second life. We go to school together, my dear. We're sixteen years old and we're safe. There is no gun in this house. I'm here. I love you”

“ fuck I… Marie I thought…”

“ ssshh I know. It was only a memory. Here, may I look?” he indicated the blood on Alex's shirt and waited for him to nod before lifting the fabric. “ just a phantom wound. Scars from before that reopen from emotional strain. I have one, on my leg. See love, it is already closing”

“ it hurts…” he rested his head on Marie's chest.

“ the bleeding will stop but the blood will not go away. There was a boy I knew in daycare, he would bleed whenever he was bullied”

“ we were in daycare together. I remember him.”

“ here. Let me get that shirt off you “ Marie lifted Alex's shirt off of him before wrapping his arms around him “ the only thing that can help is comfort”

“ I'm glad you're here, then. I'm glad you're my soulmate”

“ I… I'm glad too” Marie looked around. He didn't see Aaron anymore. He must have slipped out. Marie picked Alex up and carried him to the bed. They curled around each other and cried until they fell asleep.

Chapter Text

It was raining when the sun rose and pouring when James woke up alone in his best friend's spacious bedroom. The empty alcove bed was a common morning sight when he slept over. What wasn't common was the figure standing in the downpour on the balcony. James stood and opened the door while rubbing the sleep from his eyes, “ Thomas, what on earth are you doing out here?”

The taller boy rubbed at his eyes before turning around. It looked as if he was going to pretend nothing was wrong. He tried, but his full lip trembled and he looked away in a hurry “ we broke up”

James couldn't understand for a minute. It didn't make sense. “ why would she do that?”

“ no, I called her, told her I can't see her again”

“ Tommy, you love her”

“ I remembered something in my dreams. I… I ain't her soulmate anyway. You know she's color blind.”

“ did you remember something about her”

“ Jemmy, I owned slaves”

There was silence for multiple tense seconds, until James reached out to pull Thomas inside and Thomas stepped away from his hand.

“ I can't. You'd hate me if you knew. -I- hate me”

“ that's ridiculous, you love yourself” James took a small step forward.

“ not anymore, honestly”

“ no, come on” he grabbed Thomas and pulled him into a hug “ you're shaking”

“... it's cold” Tom relaxed at the touch, though they hadn't been this… openly affectionate in a long time. They were best friends but the amount they cared for eachother was unsaid. When they were kids, they held hands all the time. Until they were told boys shouldn't act that way with their friends.

James pulled Thomas back inside “ you'll get sick”

“ I'm more worried about you”, Tom pointed out, but when he spoke, James just walked into the hallway. In a moment, he came back with fluffy towels, and he handed one to Thomas.

“ put that on your shoulders, you're soaked. I'll dry your hair” James sat in Thomas' desk chair and had Tom sit on the ground in front of him.

As they sat in silence, James gently drying Tom's hair, Tom continued to think about what he had remembered. He felt sick. He really thought he had loved her. He thought he was a good person. When he started shaking again, and crying this time, James didn't say anything about it. Instead, he just wrapped his arms around his shoulders and held him.

“ breathe, buddy. You're okay”, James soothed, feeling a heavy weight of concern. He knew Thomas would need a lot of reassuring. Normally, Thomas' girlfriend could always cheer him up… with her not an option any more, James was fully prepared to fill the position. Thomas needed contact like he needed air. James could live without cuddling but… he honestly couldn't live without Thomas. Thomas kept James' life interesting and dynamic. Without him, he'd be just staying at home with nothing but studying. Beyond that, Thomas studied with him. They challenged each other intellectually and James loved every second of their life long friendship. “ you're a good person”

“ but-”

“ Tom, you can't hold yourself to something you did in a past life”

“ fuckin watch me”

“ shut up man. Just look forward, okay? Notice that it's a different world now? You're different too. I've known you forever, and in this life, you volunteer for charity. You're just a tall rapping nerd now. Leave the past where it is, alright?”

“ I can't make her see me anymore”

“ I get that. Don't worry. But I won't let you push me away. You're stuck with me”

“ that's comforting.” Tom rolled his eyes, but he still trembled, clearly still close to tears.

“ would a bad person be this upset about something bad they did?”

“ I called people property”

“ and now you're crying over it” James paused as Tom hurriedly wiped his face “ no, it's fine. Cry as much as you need to”

Tom let the towel on his head hide his face “ it's weird”

“ you don't have to sit there, I just wanted to help”

Tom shrugged “ it's comfortable, just. I ain't used to being like this with a guy”

“ yeah but I don't see a reason not to be. We know each other better than anyone. If it seems a little gay I think that just means we're good friends. And I feel like you deserve to have someone you can be like this with. Someone to dry your hair when you're dumb and stand in the pouring rain. Even someone to hug you when you're needy. I know you think those are things only a girlfriend can do but honestly, isn't it better with someone you've known this long?”

“ yeah I guess. Like, dude, no homo, but I trust you with my life”

James snorted “ I trust you too, you walking mess”

“ damn, callin me out”

«««»»»

That same morning, across town, a married couple returned home from an old friend's wedding. They had enjoyed themselves, but they were eager to see their adoptive sons again. Grace opened the door and Henry followed her inside the house.

He was concerned when his wife suddenly stopped moving, staring at the floor. He leaned over her shoulder to find what she was looking at. Footprints. Bloody footprints leading up the stairs.

Chapter Text

Grace called her sons’ names, her voice tinged with fear and concern, as her husband ran up the stairs, following the trail of blood. He found Aaron huddled outside the bedroom that he shared with Alex. He wasn't asleep, as Henry assumed, but instead he looked up and sniffled.

“ dad, Alex remembered dying. I did it last life, I shot him”

Despite his shock, Henry knelt and pulled Aaron into a hug “ hush Aaron, it's okay… it's… Aaron, my boy, can you tell me who's blood is on the floor?”

Aaron looked to the side at the footprint right in front of the locked door. It was smudged by hurry. “ Marie's”

“ who's Marie?”

“ he's the Marquis de Lafayette” Aaron answered distractedly, trying to wipe away his tears.

Grace and Henry shrugged at each other before she cautiously opened the door. “huh.”. That was about the last thing she expected. Well, she'd be a lot less surprised any other morning. If she didn't know better, she would have thought Alex had a significant other and that was the end of it. He was cuddling close with a tall… person his age, whose legs were as bare as Alex's chest. It might have been sweet or amusing if it weren't for the blood soaked shirt on the floor and the cuts on the young person's feet. “ is this Marie?”

“ that's him. He's our friend and I called him over because Alex was bleeding and he wouldn't let me close enough to help” Aaron curled in on himself.

The parents couldn't think of something to say to make it better. They were living their first lives. When they went through puberty, it didn't include remembering dying. Really, they should have planned for this. They should have stocked up on books with titles like “raising old souls for new dummies”. Still, even if they had prepared, books like that probably wouldn't have told them what to do when their son remembers being shot by their other son.

Henry did his best. He sat on the floor with Aaron and held him silently, because he had no words to sooth him.

Grace, for her part, set out to locate a first aid kit. She found one under a bathroom sink she brought it to the boys’ room. Since she didn't want to wake them, she took the time to take a look at Marie's feet. She was thankful she couldn't see any rocks or gravel. She sighed and stood, walking to the dresser to pull out a clean shirt for Alex. A glance at the sleeping boys reminded her to look for pants or shorts as well. Alex's and Aaron's should fit him, but pants would be noticeably short. She grabbed multiple for Marie to chose from.

It was when she closed the last drawer when there was stirring from the bed. She looked over and saw her restless son looking at her and Marie in confusion. She held a finger in front of her mouth and whispered “ good morning, sweetie. How's your chest?”

He glanced down at himself, his hand brushing over the scar over his rib cage. “ just a little sore. Nothing like last night…” he blushed when Marie snuggled closer in his sleep

“ I bet. I'm glad your friend got here”

Alex likes at him and nodded “ so am I…. I love him. I knew him last life and I want to remember every detail but right now I just remember the feeling”

“ you will remember in time, dear”

“ I'm dreading remembering. If there's any other memories like last night…”

“ I think I have a guess as to who you are. Something from a milk commercial. Would you like me to look you up so that I know what to expect? Your can talk to me when you remember and by then I'll know what to say to help”

“ yeah, mom, that sounds good. Thank you. Could… could you do it for Marie too? He's the-”

“ Marquis de Lafayette, yes. I'll research all three of you, and we can all be here for eachother”

Alex swallowed and looked away “ mom, can I move into the guest bedroom? I don't think I can be around… him”

Grace's heart broke but she nodded. “ of course sweetie, whatever you need. Now, Marie's feet need to be taken care of. May we wake him up?”

“ yeah Uh, hey Fae? Marie, we need you to wake up” Alex coaxed in a set voice and Fae stretched away.

“ mon petit lion, are you well?”

“ yeah… bud. But what about you, your feet are all kinds of messed up”

“ ah merde, I am sorry, I must have made such a mess, I will clean it” Marie started sitting up but he paused when he saw grace. It took him a moment, but he figured it who she was “ Mrs. Johnson, I'm sorry I'm”

“ no, Shh, you're okay. I'm really glad you came to help my son, now please let us help you. I think you forgot shoes last night”

“ I was so worried, he was bleeding”

“ I understand. If Henry was bleeding across town I'd run do him too” she kneeled at his feet and pulled the first aid kit closer. “ I promise to be gentle”

Marie blushed at being compared to a married couple “ I am sure it can't be worse than getting a bullet removed by an old timey war doctor”

Grace tried not to show shock or concern at that bit of information. It was strange to be around children who used to be adults. She began gently cleaning the wounds, surprised that Marie barely twitched.

Out in the hallway, Henry decided it would be best to get Aaron out of the house for a while “ how about we go to a bookstore, hm? I'm sure you've read all of your books”

Aaron wiped his eyes and nodded. He wanted to give Alex space.

«««»»»

Over the next few weeks, Marie stayed in their home. He spent most of his time helping one of the boys sleep. They couldn't be in the same room after that memory, but neither could sleep alone, so Marie helped. Whatever time wasn't spent as a space filler in a bed was spent cleaning and cooking, because he needed to feel like he was repaying Grace and Henry for letting him stay. He accidently called grave Maman once, but he pretty much ran from the room after.

Grace and Henry tried their best to hide how all three of the boys broke their hearts. They wished they could fix all the trauma of their last life. There was one thing they could fix.

They sat Marie down in the living room once day to discuss their offer. “ now dear, you've mentioned before that you live alone. We don't doubt that you're capable of taking care of yourself, but we think you might be happier where you aren't on your own. And I know Alex and Aaron would love to have you around with them”

“ you are so kind. I will pay rent and continue doing the chores-”

“ no, Marie, really, you don't have to. We want to make your life easier, not harder. You have so many other things to worry about”

“ would you allow me to pay rent? I would like to”

“ if you really want, we can't stop you.” Henry shrugged.

“ merci. Thank you, very much. I'm so glad I can stay to help them sleep”

“ speaking of, do you know if Alex has remembered anything… redeeming?” Grace had read everything she could find about the three. She jaw cried through a lot of it, but she knew there was hope for forgiveness.

“ nothing. He still refuses to see him. They used to be so close”

“ I hope it doesn't last. I don't know how much longer you should spend sixteen hours a day laying down”

Alex rested his head against a hallway wall as he listened out of sight. His parents were right, Marie shouldn't be spending so much time helping. He really felt like he didn't deserve him. Maybe he could get Marie to realize and give up on him. Wouldn't that be better?

Chapter Text

Alex knew what he wanted to do but it was hard. He only wanted Marie to stop working so hard for them. He had made sleep into a chore and Marie deserved better. But Marie was also stubbornly helpful and kind. If Alex told him he didn't need to be helping if it made him unhappy, he'd say nothing was wrong.

He could remember himself sitting in a tent across a table from a tall, sturdy man, talking about Lafayette. “He never admits discomfort, your excellency. If it's a bullette in the leg or… a death in his close family, he is unlikely to complain.”, he had said to the man.

In the present, Alex sighed inwardly at the sight of Marie buying flowers to give to Grace for letting him stay. As they walked home, Alex started the conversation he knew would end in the hardest thing he had ever said. “ Fae, why are you so forgiving?”

Marie didn't seem caught off guard by the question but he took a moment to formulate an answer “ I think each life is too short, and eternity is too long for grudges. Besides, everyone who I have forgiven is worth forgiving”

“ you think there's good in everyone?”

“ I know there is. Everybody is going to fuck up. But most people regret fucking up. It doesn't fix what they broke but it shows they're good”

“ what, so terrible people are okay as long as they're sorry?” Alex forced himself to sound scornful, and didn't drop the act even when Marie stopped smiling.

“ if this is about Aaron, he isn't terrible”

He already sounded sad. Alex only had to say one more thing to hurt him enough to get him to stop putting up with him. He stared directly ahead as he walked. “ why are you stupid enough to think that?”

Alex could hear Marie stop walking. He didn't look back, he couldn't. He just continued forward. He passed the turn into the street hits house was on and headed right to the library. Once he was there, he found a secluded nook and let the guilt wash over him until he cried. He told himself over and over again that it was good in the long run. Marie might be hurt now, but years down the line he won't be tied down to a soulmate who wasn't worthy.

Time went on and Alex was vaguely aware of the setting sun. He must have been there for at least three hours at that point. Maybe Marie would have moved back by now, or moved in with Adriene. He decided to wait longer just in case. If he came home and he was still there it would ruin him. He could imagine the hurt expression he would see.

Calling Marie stupid was just factually incorrect but it was the biggest insult Alex could bring himself to give. Unfortunately, Alex lived with many smart people. People who knew exactly where to find him. He was only half surprised when his mom sat next to him.

In a gentle voice, Grace coaxed, “ I want to hear your side of the story”

“ I called him stupid.”

“ why?”

“ because it's better for him if he doesn't keep helping me. You said yourself, sixteen hours in bed is too much-”

“ Alexander” grace interrupted firmly “ you need to stop this self sabotage”

“ I'm just trying to set him free”

“ he is free. He's his own person capable of his own decisions. There's no reason you both need to be unhappy. You don't need to push people away. Especially not your soul mate. You're young and you've remembered traumatic events, it's not easy, but you need to let your relationship with him be easy. Something in your life has to be.”

Alex wiped his face “ what do I do, mom?”

“ come home. Let him be around you when he's ready”

“ is he still there?”

“ yes. Your brother calmed him down.” Grace stood and helped her son up.

“ I need to write something down when we get home” Alex began formulating the best words to use to apologise. It would take at least thirty pages, of course.

«««»»»

Returning home was surreal for Alex. Not necessarily because his dad hugged him and told him how worried he had been. Not even so much because of the pristine flowers in the vase on the table. It was surreal because it was the first time he had seen Arron since….

Aaron's door had been open. Alex only glanced inside as he hurried to his room but he made eye contact. Aaron was awake, holding Marie close. It looked like Marie had cried himself to sleep, his cheek stained with mascara trails. Alex slammed his bedroom door closed in his haste to be alone again. Aaron seemed so gentle and his heart ached.

Nothing felt right. Being alone in a room with generic interior design. It didn't feel like his bedroom, it was like a hotel in a different state. There was no familiarity, no comforting movie or game posters like in Aaron's room. They always bickered over which posters should be put where. He missed Marie already. Since when had Marie gotten close enough to Aaron to cry in front of him? Was Marie even safe with him?

Alex knew sleep was out of the question, so he began writing. By morning, he still hadn't really slept. He had dozed but each time, he was woken quickly by nightmares of storms, corpses, and duels. The smell of breakfast is what finally made him come out of his room and head downstairs. He hoped one of his parents had made it, but just his luck, the only two people awake were Aaron and Marie.

Marie had made a plate for Alex, but he wouldn't look at him. Aaron, though, stared right at him. He didn't even glare like people who hate each other do, he just looked at him like he was trying to figure something out.

Marie ate quickly, which he hated doing. The brothers both whinced as their friend washed his dish and went back to Aaron's room without a word.
“ you know he didn't deserve that” Aaron pointed out quietly.

Hearing his voice after nearly a month was weird. Alex tried to be angry at him for pointing out the obvious but he couldn't be “ I know he deserves a better soulmate.”

Aaron got up and walked to the sink to wash his plate “ we both know what he wrote. Loving who he loved was the highlight of his incredible life. I know you think you're not good enough but you are.” he slipped out of the kitchen and headed upstairs.

Alex waited until he heard the bedroom door close before he dealt with his plate and went back to the room he didn't feel at home in.

«««»»»

At dinner, Alex could barely keep his head up. Marie was silent again, but it was the first time all of them ate dinner together at the table. The parents were glad to see their sons in the same room but the silence from all three boys was an unsettling anomaly.

Grace told Marie not to help with the dishes that night, so Alex did instead. When he trudged back upstairs, rubbing his tired eyes, he found Marie in his bed, facing away from the door. The young man held himself, and the empty space next to him made it clear that he was there because he knew Alex hadn't slept. Again, Alex's heart ached.

“ you don't want to be here”, Alex noted, his eyes catching on tiny movements that must have meant Marie was shaking. His chest fluttered more than it rose and fell, and a few of his tied back curls quivered.

“ you need to sleep” his voice was quiet, and he was clearly trying to hide how devastated he was.

“ it doesn't have to be your responsi-”

“ just hold me so I can pretend you still love me”

Alex had already known he upset Marie. Hell, it was kind of his goal. But for some reason, hearing that was surprising. More than surprising, it felt like everything was shattering. “ you think I don't love you?”

When Marie didn't answer, Alex swallowed.

“ of course you think that, I made you… I'm so sorry. I just… I don't think you're stupid. You're the genius who won the war. Fuck, I'm the one who's stupid. I was just so scared that you were giving up too much for us. The fact that you can forgive people like you do, it's amazing. You're amazing. And I'm worried that I'm not” Alex nearly bit his tongue. Knowing Marie, he'd push away his own hurt and try to make Alex feel better.

Marie looked up at him “ I'm sorry you think you aren't amazing. You deserve help-”

“ hey. No. fuck That. I've been a dick, now isn't the time for you to be comforting me. For once, please just let me be the helpful one. You don't always have to be okay. Let me comfort you”

“ I… I really do want you to hold me”

“ of course I will” Alex climbed into bed with him and wrapped his arms around him “ none of this is your fault. You never need to apologise for the things I feel because you've never hurt me. But could you please be more honest about your feelings?”

“ I am honest. I'm not lying when I say I love you”

“ no. not that. You always say you're okay, but you go through a lot of shit. You don't always need to be the one who's smiling to help the rest of us. You aren't failing or letting us down when you need comforting. We want to help you”

“.... we?”

“ I guess I've been wanting to say that for two hundred years”

Chapter Text

Silence filled the room- a pause that spanned almost half a minute. After so many stupid teen emotions all in one conversation, neither of them knew where to go from there. Marie let his hand trail to where Alex’s rested upon his midriff just before Alex laughed at his own thoughts.

“ Wearing pants to bed this time? That’s a new look” Alexander squeezed Laf’s hand, trying to remind him he loved him, even though he had told him not fifteen minutes ago. He didn’t want either of them to forget their bond again and if that took him reminding them both constantly, then he was happy to do it.

Marie giggled more than he laughed “ They’re actually yours. I figured panties weren't proper attire for such a dramatic move. But of course, I own no pajama pants”

“imagine me trying to hide a boner but we’re both just fuckin sobbing. It’s difficult enough with us both in great moods”

“ my dear, you don’t need to worry about hiding it” Marie purred, causing Alex to shudder.

“ oh fuck… It wasn’t always like this. I mean, obviously you used to turn me on daily but it was never this embarrassingly easy to get it up”

“ it is the damn hormones, no? Right now, we’re about two to three years younger than when we met. I think this early in life, two to three years makes a lot of difference”

“ is reincarnation always this weird?”

Marie hummed in thought before answering “ being a teenager is definitely always this weird”

“ It’s like the whole concept of ‘awkward’ is -happening to me-. It’s the weirdest shit cause I can remember how it felt to be forty-nine”

“ ha! Try seventy-three. I heard a crack every time I moved it was terrible”

“Hey babe?... How did you die?”

Marie swallowed “ I don’t remember yet. I’d look it up but…”

“ yeah, of course, I get it” Alex pressed a kiss to Marie’s back. “ I’m glad you got old enough to go senile or something”

“ You will too, this time. No ‘if’s ‘and’s or ‘but’s, mister. We all will. George said each of his lives had been longer than the last. I think it’s the wisdom”

“ George?”

“ Merde, should I tell you?” his playful smirk could be heard in his voice “ I don’t think I should tell you”

“No wait let me guess. Was he tall and handsome with blue eyes and-”

“ non but this is interesting. The man you are describing- did he wear part of his hair in a thin blonde braid?”

“Right behind his ear”

“ Not george. Though whoever that man was we definately fucked him”

“ oh, oh, fuckin clue right there! We fucked George”

“ That doesn’t narrow it down very much, we fucked our way through the war” Marie added thoughtfully. Apparently that fact only just then dawned on him.

“ okay let me try again. Did he roll up to valley forge in like, a sleigh with a bunch of twinks and a purse dog?”

Marie burst out laughing “ oh god, I can’t wait to remember that. What a hero.”

“ shit i think I have it this time. Was he big, buff, and bald with the thickest eyebrows in America?”

“ You got it! Oh I can’t wait to find him he was so sexy”

Alex was quiet for a moment, searching for more memories of the man. His face heated up “ I called him Daddy.”

“ He’s not the only one. There were at least two. Fuck, maybe three? I definitely remember having a conversation where we ranked men as ‘daddy’, ‘daddier’, and ‘daddiest’”

“ three daddies?? Marie, that’s too many daddies!”

“ we where papa collectors”

“ wait, okay, I need to know- was George the daddiest?”

“ surprisingly not. He was only daddier”

“ I really wanna know what our basis for that conclusion was. Cause like, I’d let that man bend me over the instant I so much as hear his voice…”

“As delightful as this conversation is, you really should sleep” marie pulled Alex’s hand up to his lips and pressed a gentle kiss on each of his knuckles.

“Fuck, youre right. But uh… in the morning, we need to talk”

“ Well I just got instantly nervous, but okay” his hesitant laugh proved him right.

“ No, don’t worry. It’s how we’ll fix things”

<<<>>>

When Marie stirred in the morning, Alex held him tighter. “ dad can make breakfast, don’t worry about it today”

“But…”

“Ssh. It’s what adoptive parents are for, nerd…. So about that talk,”

“Oh, right into it, then?”

“ You know me. Listen I… I actually wrote you an apology letter but it’s all kinda moot now, you know? Hell, looking back, I should have phrased everything differently, it could have just made things worse I was being stupid-”

Marie sat up and turned to look Alexander in the eyes “You are not now, nor have you ever been stupid. I still believe everything I said that day. Mistakes are part of life. I’d much rather date a wonderful person like you than a flawless robot. Do you know what a synonym for flawless is?”

“Immaculate?”

“ boring”

Alex got off the bed and walked to the desk, where he picked up a thick thesaurus “ wanna fuckin bet?”

Marie laughed and took the book from him “It doesn’t have to be accurate to be meaningful”

“ fine, you sappy dork”

“I’m french”

“I think it’s more because you’re super gay”

“You got me there. Now, my love, do you want me to read the letter? It’s up to you”

Alex picked up the stack of paper from the desk and pondered the writing “ nah, fuck it. I like what we said last night better” he put the letter in the little garbage bin, which was full of crumpled rough drafts of various writings.

“You said last night that we would talk about how to fix ‘things’. What did you mean?”

“I still don’t think you should be forcing yourself to help us sleep so much. I uh… The bed in Aaron’s room is big enough for three people” his face heated up with shame “ And as shitty as it is to have to admit it, I miss him…”

“ Amour, it’s okay to miss him. He was your first friend. Twice. There’s a bond there that you can’t ignore. I know what you remembered was scary but… I think you need each other. You were never true advisaries, you’ve always been brothers”

Alex nodded solemnly and was once again quiet in thought. With a bit of a humorous quirk to his voice, he informed his boyfriend “Ima chug a nice tall glass of bleach if I find out I fucked him”

Marie laughed “with our track record, the odds are not in your favor. But um…” he shifted nervously on his feet. “I feel I need to tell you, a month ago, he and I fooled around”

“Oh. I’m uh, not really surprised. You seem close and all…”

“It was just- we were talking and i was so frustrated and I really wanted someone to touch me-”

Alex put a hand on Marie’s cheek “hey, you don't need to justify yourself to me. I love you and I won’t ever be mad at you for something like that. I’m pretty sure the two of us have always been huge hoes anyway”

Marie giggled “ absolute sluts.”

“Exactly. I’m sure we’ve both fucked worse anyway”

“ I think I had sex with one of your political rivals”

“Nothing is sacred, god is dead” Alexander lamented with over the top drama “you killed him when you let a southern democratic shitty republican touch your butt”

“After so many federalist hands on my butt, I needed to mix it up a bit. I had this little log, you see. I wanted to see how much presidential dick I could get in one lifetime”

“Classic. The whitehouse marathon. A noble goal, no wonder they call you the hero of two worlds.”

They laughed together for a while before Alex looked at the wall that separated them from Aaron. “Babe, I don’t know what i’m going to say to him”

“Have you spoken at all since the memory?”

“A little,Yesterday. It was about you”

“Nothing bad, I hope”

“Of course not, he has enough sense to think the world of you. It was about what you deserve. He might be mad at me for hurting you”

“Oh, love…” Marie sighed “Don’t tell him I told you, but he misses you a lot. He’s so worried that you’ll never forgive him, and I’m worried he will never forgive himself”

Alex swallowed and nodded in understanding. “Could you ask him if he’s willing to talk?”

“Anything for you” Marie kissed his forehead before leaving the room to wander down the short length of hallway between the doors. He knocked “Aaron, may I come in?”

The door opened “of course, are you okay? I know that must have been a rough night”

“We made up actually. It was nice” He entered the room when Aaron stepped aside for him. He could see Aaron giving him a contemplating stare, his eyes quickly looking at Marie’s neck. Checking for hickeys, probably. He probably didn’t even realize he had looked.

“I’m glad. This is already stressful enough for you”

“Actually, Alex is much more stressed than I am at this moment. He wants to talk, but only if you’re willing”

Aaron bit his lip nervously “oh. Is this going to be bad?”

Marie smiled gently and shook his head “He misses you”

Aaron’s eyes went wide “How soon can I see him?”

“Right now? He’s as ready as he’ll ever be”

With an eager nod, Aaron followed Marie to the guest room. There was tension in the air as the boys gathered in the still unfamiliar room. All three of them were nervous but so fucking glad this was happening.

Though the plan was to talk, when Alex and Aaron saw each other, they hurried to embrace. They held each other tightly, whispering a mantra of apologies.

Chapter Text

The boys walked by Adrienne's house to pick her up. They hadn't seen her in a while, and they were all definitely due to hang out like they did at the beginning of summer. They decided to go to a coiffure shop they had found with a cozy atmosphere and great drinks. As they waited for their orders, Alex nudged Adrienne with his shoulder. “What the hell have you been up to, Adrie?”

“A lot of flirting. I still do shifts from time to time at the cinema and there’s a pair of girls who work there with me and they’re fucking beautiful” her cheeks warmed up “One has nice curly hair and crazy hot bedroom eyes and the other is the sweetest girl I’ve ever spoken to”

“Girls you knew before?” He couldn’t help the hope in his voice. All he knew was that one of Adrie’s soulmates was his wife and he wanted to find his soulmates easily if he could.

“I can’t be sure, I don’t remember them, but I don’t remember most things.”

Aaron tilted his head “ Are either of them named-”

“ROBBIE!” Marie yelled across the caffe, waving an arm above his head. He was positive, he knew that norse-god hair.

Still, Robbie didn’t smile and say hi, or run to him. He didn’t even look politely confused. He tried to hide himself in his hoodie and avert his eyes from Marie.

That was enough cause for worry. Marie hurried to the corner of the room Robbie was hiding in, vaguely aware of Alex fallowing and Aaron trying to think over any and all actions. Almost putting a hand on Rob’s shoulder, Marie asked “Robbie are you okay?”

“I… I’m not alowed to use that name… Please, I’m breaking the rules just being here without him knowing”

“Without who knowing?” Alex nearly demanded, already looking for someone to fight for Robbie even though he only vaguely remembered the boy.

“My dad”

Aaron finally joined them at the little table so that he could gently ask “what name -are- you allowed to use, dear?”

Robbie frowned “ Alice. Dad says we can’t talk about reincarnation at all. Mom dreamed the wrong name, it doesn’t fit my…”

“Papillon, ‘Robbie’ is the right name.” Marie soothed “ I recognize you, we fought together and we’re soulmates. My name is Lafayette and I hope you believe me”

“ I have a soulmate?”

“Three. And we fell in love with you and you looked just like this”

“I stole my brother’s clothes…”

“It is not the clothes I recognize” Marie reached out to put a hand on his shoulder but Robbie pulled away.

“No, I don’t want you to make a mistake. I can’t be the boy you remember”

“but your eyes…” Alex furrowed his eyebrows, trying to understand.

“ they're just gray. And” he swallowed “they don't let stupid little girls go to war”

“merde” Marie sat across from the blonde, pulling Alex, Aaron, and Adrienne down with him. “ who told you that, petit papillon?”

“my dad. The doctor said I showed symptoms of ptsd really early on, like people who were in wars in past lives” he shook his head “he doesn't let us talk about reincarnation in the house at all. He said it's bullshit”

“fuckin transphobe” Alex growled “for once, I wish Robert got a decent father”

“sweety” Adrienne put her hand on Robert's “put aside what everyone tells you. Who do you feel like, Alice or Robbie?”

“I… I feel like Robert but I'm worried I'm a mistake. What if the universe reincarnated the wrong soul? Or the wrong body?”

Marie almost reached for Robert, but he stopped himself, worried he'd scare him “I don't think you're a mistake. I know your face, I've spent hours kissing it. And sure, you're younger than I remember you, but that's the only difference I can see”

“sometimes, people are reborn with a different assigned sex than a previous life.” Alex explained, thinking back to something he had read “Some of these people, who were trans in their first life tend to be happy with the change. Others… aren't so lucky. But you're not a mistake. You're our soulmate. Well, not hers. Or his” he waved a hand at Aaron and Adrie.

“I um. I actually recognize you two” he nodded at Alex and Laf “ I remember thinking about you when I…” his cheeks went red and he looked away.

“don't worry, we did too. Thinking about you. I think there was a long period of sexual tension” Marie smiled, wondering if he could tell Robbie how cute he was being.

“You and I were roommates and we kept the fact that we're soulmates secret from each other. There was only one bed in our dorm. I spent every night spooning you, hoping I didn't stab you in the ass.” Alex smirked at the memory.

“ I can't imagine people having feelings for me. Or even… wanting me”

“We know. Your self esteem was disproportionately low back then too. But I guess we're here to tell you a bunch of things you didn't think we're true. You're a boy, you're lovable, you're sexy-”

“ Alex, you're too much too fast”

“ I don't want him thinking lies are true, Aaron” he retorted.

“last time, you waited years to tell him how you felt”

“yeah and it was stupid, I don't want to wait for years while he thinks nobody loves him”

“guys, stop arguing, you always do this” Robbie pleaded before blinking “oh my god I remember you guys fighting about me before”

“do you believe us then?” Alex asked, hopeful.

Robert looked at all four of them in contemplative silence. His hands trembled “it's dangerous but… yes I believe you.”

“oh thank god. Now all we need to do is get you away from your dad”

“does it help that my mom is thinking about divorcing him?”

“oh, oh, Aaron was a divorce lawyer! He helped my wife's soulmate divorce her abusive husband, this is right up his alley”

“Alex, I'm legally a child”

“just get registered” Alex waved a hand “it wouldn't be too hard to prove you're you”

“how do I prove I'm me if I'm not sure I know my old last name?”

“Burr” Robbie whispered, in awe that he could remember.

Marie took off his jacket and put it on Robbie.

«««»»»

Robert needed to be home by two, so he had to run off before anyone has finished their coffee. Thankfully, he hasn't left before giving them his mother's phone number. He promised that if they didn't have to watch what they said to her. She enabled his disobedience of his father's rules and orders.

“unjust laws need not be followed” was apparently her motto.

So Alex sent a long text her way. He tried to explain everything to her. The soulmates, the book, the worrying meeting in the coffee shop.

She answered quickly, with a boundless supply of kindness. The four of them learned her name was Karen. Her husband was Joseph, and she swore he hadn't always been terrible. Still, that was more to defended her past decision to marry him then to defend him. She seemed excited that her son (yes, she called him her son) had “such nice soulmates who care about him”.

What stuck in their minds the most from the conversation was the promises she made. On Friday's, Joseph was at work the whole day, but Karen wasn't. She promised to bring Robert to their house every Friday. They couldn't wait.

Marie started research that night. He watched ten videos and read twenty three tumblr posts discussing the experience of trans men. He focused on the binder part of the equation, remembering how Robert had slouched and folded his arms in front of his chest. He found what was acclaimed to be a pretty bomb ass binder, GC2B. The website said it was designed by trans guys. He bought six. Three different sizes (just in case, since he was guessing on those measurements), two different colors (because black is practical but Robbie looked great in blue).

The first day of junior year came as a surprise to them. Marie passed a guy who looked eerily similar to him in the hall. Alex and Aaron met a cute white haired British dude in history class. Adrie got a class with both of the girls from her work. All in all, it was alright, nobody died. Still, the four of them couldn't shake the feeling that things would keep on changing at an alarming rate.

Chapter Text

“this is ridiculous I'm going to talk to him”

“Angie, no!” Phillip grabbed his friend's arm as she stood, his blush spreading to his ears.

“He's your soulmate, Pip, no point in wasting time”

“Shhh” he glanced around worriedly. Nobody was close enough to their lunch table to hear, thank god “I've never even talked to him! What if he's not even-”

“He's looking at you” Angie smirked and waved over Phillip's shoulder.

Philip turned his head so fast, his neck popped. It was true. Georges has been looking at him, but when they're eyes met, both boys hurried to look away. “oh crap, Angie, is this what dying feels like?”

“probably not.” she deadpanned, “But it is what finding your future husband feels like”

He covered his face with both hands and sighed “he's not-”

“what color is this textbook, Pip?” she slid her seventh-grade science book to him. It looked gray to her.

“Green” the lovesick boy groaned “point taken.”

“so talk to him”

Phillip braved another look at his soulmate. He was so cute, with his corkscrew curls dyed blue. And he was so tall. Philip had passed him in the hall and he had to look up at him. “I can't”

“why not?”

“look, he's not even alone, his sisters are there” he gestured to Anastasie and Antoinette, who were whispering conspiratorially to their brother.

«««»»»

“what's so scary about talking to him, he's just a boy” Anastasie prodded Georges with a pencil.

“but he is so cute with his freckles… I can't. Angelica keeps looking at me”

“I'm not sitting through another year of this” Antoinette grumbled “all last year, lunch and snack were just opportunities for you to stare at him, it's getting old”

“heck this mess, I'm going to talk to Angie”

“Ana, no, he'll know something's up”

“something -is- up, dingus”

“what if he's not gay?”

Both girls paused and looked at Phillip in thought before declaring “he's gay” with finality.

It was after this that Anastasie made eye contact with Angie, gesturing to an open space under the cafeteria awning. They nodded at each other and stood as Georges felt his soul leave his body.

And thus began the middle school romantic parley.

The two girls came face to face, each already bored of the situation. Angie began the conversation “He’s too nervous to talk to him.”

Ana sighed “So is Georges. He’s worried he’s not into boys, but it’s stupid, they’re soulmates.”

“I know a lot of nerds around here who would love to meet their soulmate this early.”

“To avoid misunderstandings: he likes him, right?”

“Desperately. He doesn’t stop staring, it’s been like this for a stupid long time”

“Likewise”

“Pleasure doing business with you”

With a curt nod, Anastasie turned and walked back to her siblings.

“What happened?” Georges asked, his voice tinged with anxiety.

“He likes you. Will you talk to your soulmate now?”

“I don’t know, Ana…”

“Looks like Angelica knows” Antoinette hummed, watching Angie drag Philip through the Cafeteria. Philip was struggling and blushing, whispering harshly to his friend. When she made him sit down, he avoided eye-contact with the other boy.

“Say hi, Georges.”

“Hi” he greeted shyly, causing Philip to look up and smile.

“Hi. It’s uh… nice to hear your voice for the first time”

“You too, your voice is… nice”

Anastasie sighed “Wait until Henriette hears about this.”

«««»»»

It had been far too long since Laf and Adrie’s last date night. Sure, they were both busy with other romances, but they were still soulmates and very much in love. The first Friday the new school year, Adrie brought her boyfriend home with her. Alex and Aaron were getting along again, but Laf made them promise to call if anything went wrong.

They decided to spend their date inside, cuddled close in her room, watching whatever Netflix had to offer. Neither could remember what they chose to watch since they didn’t pay attention. Instead, they made out. Adriene straddled Lafayette’s lap, where she lead the kiss with eager movements. It was leisurely and slow for about an hour before a particularly effective hip roll made Laf gasp.

Kissing his neck, Adrie giggled “I missed you, baby”

He laughed lovingly in response “I missed you too”

“Mariah agreed to go on a date with me”

“Holy shit what are you going to wear?”

She grinned and climbed off his lap “I’m glad you asked. Wanna help pick something?”

“Why would the answer ever be no?” he stood and walked to her closet “She’s the lady in red, oui? Curvy, pouty lips?’

“That’s her”

“She seems like the type to take you on a flirty date. Something tight. Maybe a low neckline. Definitely something lacy under it, just in case” Laf winked at her as he began to lay out outfits and dresses. After a while, they both heard the quiet sound of the front door opening and Adrienne's parents calling their names for dinner.

They fixed each other’s clothes and hair to hide the majority of their make-out session before heading downstairs. Her parents knew they were soulmates, but it was just easier for everyone if they didn’t know their activity.

When Adrie’s dad hugged Laf, he found himself lost in a memory. He saw Adrienne in an ornate gown looking on as her father -a different man entirely- pulled Gilbert close to whisper something in his ear.
“I should have married her off to someone less worthless”

In the present day, Marie pulled away from the hug, his hands shaking “I'm sorry, sir, I can do better…” he blinked as he looked around. He took in the bright light bulbs. The television in the living room. The man in front of him was kind, and he looked nothing like Adrie’s first father. Everyone looked at him with gentle concern. Nobody around thought he was a failure. He reminded himself of all of these facts. It was a memory. A shitty one, but it was long passed.

Adrienne grabbed his hand, holding it steady through his trembling. “bad memory? You're doing well, love. Nothing to apologize for”

He nearly apologized again for worrying them, but instead he let his girlfriend and her parents hug him and reassure him.

One thing Adrienne said felt hauntingly familiar.

“we're fortunate to have you, Lafayette”

Chapter Text

The more lives you live, the quicker you remember everything. George remembered every moment in rome when he was a twenty three year old knight in the tenth century. When he was fighting in the seven years war, he remembered everything that lead him there. In 2015, when he was starting his senior year in high-school, he had three lives worth of experience. He knew who he loved, who he hadn’t much liked, who he had killed. He knew every story behind the scars he was born with. Only two other people knew that much. And he was sure they’d remembered by then.

It had to be his most surreal life so far, and Martha agreed. Life had never been so mundane for them. In their first life, George had already began raising in the ranks of the roman military. It was strange to remember those battles while babysitting the neighbor kid with his girlfriend who used to be his wife (even though they were only a year older than the boy). Stranger yet was the fact that the neighbor kid was Thomas Jefferson.

And he knew Thomas Jefferson last life too, obviously. He was a colleague. An employee. The soulmate of two of his soulmates. They still hung out. George had to be careful to keep his conversation modern, because Thomas had clearly not remembered a thing (he thought he was straight, for one). James was the same as ever. Reserved, thoughtful, and deeply in love with Tom. He just didn’t know it yet.

Martha lived across the street and ever since they held hands in third grade they’d been inseparable. She was still short, and beautiful, and so much more observant than george that he wondered why they didn’t make -her- the first president. She always had an eye out for everyone they had been bound to in the last life, especially while walking through the school halls. “Think about it, George, Tom and James go here, and they’re not too much younger than us. And we got all our colors when we were super young. They can’t be younger than 15, I’m sure of it”

He nodded “Yes but you’d think we’d have already seen them by now if they go here”

“Not if you keep to yourself like you do” she pointed out, “You sit in the same spot for lunch every day, babe. You can’t expect to see everyone on campus from that little corner, it’s like you’re not trying”

“Martha, what if -he’s- here?”

She paused and looked up at him with an unreadable expression. “George, he’s not some life-ruining monster,”

He shrugged noncommittally “I’m sure on some level he is a human,”

“Don’t do that” she gave him a soft shove on his shoulder “ If you’re going to be like that, don’t even think about him, alright? What about our boys, hm? I know you miss them. Wouldn’t it be nice to be with them, exactly as young and wild as they are?”

“Hey what if -they’re- fifteen years older than -us- this time?”

“Don’t even joke like that, I can’t live with that. Nothing would be worse than thirty-three year old laf walking up and calling you papa right now”

“Unfortunately, I’m quite sure I was older than thirty-three when Laf was eighteen” George’s eyebrows drew together at the thought “wow, I’m creepy”

“I mean, they were the ones sending you revolutionary era nudes, not the other way around”

He laughed to himself “You saw those? I think the most troubling were the ones signed by John André.”

“I thought he was executed”

“He was, but if you recall, when he was court-marshaled Alexander was his defense. I trusted Ben to be a professional influence on the other boys but…”

“When Alex and Fae put their minds to getting someone in their bed, not even a very good boy can stop them”

He tilted his head in thought, trying to clearly remember the interactions between his aides and his spies. “I can’t be sure ben even wanted to stop them. Though I -can- be reasonably sure that his Brewster friend wasn’t much of a help”

“George”

“Should I say Caleb? I’m not in the military anymore, but is there still a certain amount of propriety expected?”

“George”

“I know, I worry too mu-”

“George look!” Martha reached up and manually turned his head to look down the hall. He thought it was just Thomas at first, but Thomas hates tying his hair back. And why would Tom stop in the middle of that hall to look at them in stunned awe?

“Fae?”

George watched Laf drop his bag and run to him, and he only had seconds to prepare before they collided and he had his arms full of a lanky frenchman, who was crying and giggling. “George, George, I have missed you so much, my love, Ah Martha you are here too! Mon dieu how i’ve missed you, please tell me you remember me”

He smiled and held Laf tightly while Martha patted the boy’s back “Of course I remember you, sweet boy, I remember completely”

“Oh.” Fae pulled away, biting his lip in worry “I don’t yet”

“We wouldn’t expect you to, love this is the first time you’ve had to remember a past life” Martha consoled “But we’re glad you remember us. Do you remember anyone else?”

He nodded “I live with Alex and Aaron, I’ve known Adrienne for years, and we bumped into Robbie a while ago. Fuck, you look so young”

“Fae, language please. Gentlemen don’t swear in this… army..” he trailed off and laughed at his own habitual light-hearted scolding.

Laf hugged him again, if only to whisper in his ear “still all about those rules, aren’t you Papa?”

Last life, in the beginning, he was never ready for phrases like that. As time went on, however, and he learned how to best handle Alex and Laf’s advances. Instead of shuddering at the sudden interest he felt, he hugged the french boy back and whispered in return “Well I need rules to keep you in line, don’t I, baby boy?”

Gilbert shuddered and giggled “Aw, but I’m a good boy, papa, Alex is the rule breaker”

“Yes, you’re very good at that innocent act.”

Laf pulled away to grab Martha and George by their hands, acting as though the whispered conversation never happened “Would you come sit with us? Please?”

“We’d love to, sweety,” Martha patted his hand “but first, how much do they remember?”

“They all remember who you are. Adrie remembers some sort of orgy” He shrugged “I wouldn’t worry. They know your faces”

Only barely recovered from the flirting, George nodded “We’ll sit with you. I’d love to see you four again”. He wasn’t sure he was being entirely truthful. He hadn’t even considered what he’d say to Burr yet. Did they even know what had happened?

Chapter Text

Alexander, the horribly curious young man that he is, couldn’t help but seek information on the strange British boy he sat next to in history. Each day, he started conversations with small casual comments. He found that it was easy to get Frederick’s (that’s the guy’s name) attention through patriotic jokes. The Boston tea-party seemed an unreasonably personal subject. All mentions of salt water tea elicited such snark and sass that Alexander wondered if he used to be a redcoat.

He once asked about his hair. The white clearly wasn’t natural, so Alex asked how much bleach it took. Fred told him “Not a lot since the stress turned it grey.”

“You went gray already? What are you stressed about?” Alex squinted, trying to see any amount of color in Frederick’s roots.

“It’s some carry-over from my last couple of rounds. People couldn’t much see the grey bits under a powdered wig though, so I decided white worked for me.”

“Powdered wigs sucked, I gave my boyfriend so much shit when he wore his” Alex smirked to himself, waiting for the other boy to get excited upon meeting someone else who remembered life in the 1700s.

“Fuck off, a well-made wig looks great” Frederick waved a hand dismissively, smirking “damn fashionless colonists.”

Alex scoffed in exaggerated offense “I'll have you know I designed a bomb ass uniform for my regiment.”

“I bet it was a recolor of the British regulars coat. I can't blame you if you saw the beauty of the design, but you can stand to show some creativity.”

"Oh come on, Fred, you don't know shit. It's easy to fight a war against an inferior army and you still lost."

"Boys," the teacher sighed. He was an older gentleman who seemed uptight but his desk was decorated with a photo of him with long hair and a surfboard. Alex didn't mind him. "This is a history class, not a reenactment."

"Sorry, Mr. Mellor" Aaron muttered, despite having no part in the disruption.

Interactions between Frederick and Alex continued in that manner. Alex found out more and more about the boy, all while feigning disinterest. He found out that Frederick had to move in with his grandparents in the states, but he hadn't been told why. He also learned that since his grandparents moved to the U.S. before he was born, Fred spent every Christmas of his life in America. Frederick had a cat named Regina, who he referred to as his best friend. He had mentioned a guy he left back home named Johny who was a great artist.

That's what gave Alex and Aaron pause. They tried describing the John they knew to Frederick- short and freckly with curly hair. Frederick had said "No, that's an entirely different bloke. My John used to be called John Andre."

He had said it so casually that Alexander assumed he couldn't have been talking about the famous spy.

Still, something about Frederick seemed… vital. As if he was unspeakably important in the universe, and by extension, he seemed important to Alex and his family. Their banter was simultaneously meaningless and natural. It was a strong feeling similar to completing part of a puzzle with no idea as to what the finished image will be that Alex was already familiar with. He felt it every time Aaron rolled his eyes at him and every time Marie held his hand. To some extent he had even felt it when he bled in his room and felt a bullet in him that didn't exist.

Frederick was different from every person from his past life that he had met. While Marie, Aaron, Rob, and Adrienne reminded him of moments he could only remember seconds of, speaking to Frederick was like speaking to a person who reminded you of a person you couldn't remember at all.

It was strange and convoluted to Alex as he tried to put words to the feelings. Maybe there were no words to describe the experience a poly, bisexual teen in trying to remember the time he was a revolutionary soldier. He was certainly going to try to put words to it. If it was impossible to articulate even to himself he didn't want to feel it. He hoped they once he could put it into words, he could finally be sure it was real.

What definitely was real was the stupid little crush he couldn't help forming. He couldn't say there was something particularly attractive about a guy who liked to tell stories about the time he tried to break into a can of tuna with a knife because he couldn't find the can opener. Despite being a pretty unflatteringly stupid story, Alex felt butterflies when he heard it. He liked sass and wit, it was a good look on any gender, and Frederick had both. He was also flamboyant and weird but honestly all of that -did it- for Alex.

Alexander blinked his way out of that deep thought when he felt Aaron tap his shoulder. The other students were busy packing their bags to head to lunch, so Alex followed suit.

“you stared at him for at least five minutes” Aaron pointed it once the subject of conversation has left earshot. “I'm pretty sure psychologists would say you either want to murder him or bang him”

“who the fuck could blame me?” Alex grumbled.

“he's seriously not that bad, just because he fought on the other-”

“ fucking, Aaron, not killing” he laughed and slung an arm over his… friend's shoulder “you have such dark expectations”

“I'm not sure there are any ways I could respond to that without sounding edgy” Aaron shrugged as they entered the cafeteria, scanning for familiar faces. “holy shit, look who they found”

Alex followed his line of sight and his jaw almost dropped. Between Laf and Adrie, who looked incredible as usual, was an equally gorgeous guy. He looked strong and resigned, and he looked to be responding to Laf. Laf, who no doubt was flirting since their shared soul mate was blushing lightly. “daddy as fuck”.

“Alex, that's the first president of the united states” Aaron shook his head.

“not the only president I've fucked, don't worry” Alex winked with a click of his tongue before striding directly to George, who he greeted with a long hug. George was so happy, Alex might have even seen tears.

“you found the Tomcat!” Martha, younger than ever, grabbed Alex's face to kiss his forehead the moment he was out of George's embrace. “sweet boy, you're so small”

“thaanks” Alex deadpanned before breaking into laughter and hugging her. “I missed you two. I thought about you every time I fucked up after you died. You would have known what to do. God, look at you two, you're so young. You're not in like, freshman year right? Cause I don't think I can handle Aaron being the oldest here that can't be right. He can't be group mom. If your name isn't Theodosia, he's not nurturing. So cold. He's glaring at me”

George, who had waited patiently for a pause in Alex's speed babbling, spoke up “we're seniors, dear. I'm 18, she's seventeen.”

Alex and Laf made eye contact, and they were sure they were thinking the same thing. Surprisingly, Adrie was the one to voice it “does that Romeo and Juliet law apply to past lives or do my slutty husband and his hoe boyfriend have to wait?”

Chapter Text

The binders were delivered just in time. Laf had them arranged on the bed when Alex walked in. “I think he’ll like the blue ones”, he said as he wrapped his arms around Laf’s waist. They both giggled when Alexander turned his head and licked his boyfriend’s cheek.

“Gross” the Frenchman whined as he used the towel from his recent shower to wipe his face. When he felt a strange friction against the fabric, he ran a hand over his cheek. Alex seemed to know exactly what he felt.

“Peach Fuzz.” he smirked, leaning against Aaron’s dresser “it surprised me too. I guess you’re growing into the boy I met 250 years ago” he reached up to cup his chin. “Too fucking tall.”

“We made it work, non? Even though you were cursed with multiple tall soulmates, it was not the death of you.”

“John and Robbie were around to balance that shit out. The rest of you have no business being over six feet.”

“Ah yes, speaking of the rest of us, we should choose a day for Papa to visit.”

Alex tilted his head “What do you mean, I thought he was coming today”

“That was the plan, but Karen told Aaron that today is a good time to bring Robbie over” Laf gestured to the binders on the bed “I didn’t want to surprise him with more people than just us, especially since he doesn’t have a binder”

“Makes sense” he sat next to the garments and picked up a blue one. He thought back to the many trans-masculine blogs he had read. Some guys didn’t bind. “do we know for sure if binders are his sort of thing?”

“Oui, I learned from Karen that he’s uncomfortable with his chest. I told her that had ordered a few and she said it was a wonderful idea. He doesn’t like his hips either, but I’m not sure what to do about that yet” Laf’s eyebrows drew together.

“One step at a time. Otherwise, he might be overwhelmed”

“You’re right” he sighed “I know there’s no use in being angry at the universe, but we were making progress last life. He was really starting to like his body and now he’s been given this.”

Alex pulled Laf down to curl up with him “I know. I know, baby, but this isn’t all new to us. We’ve reversed what a shitty dad taught him before, we can do it again. We can help him with every step he wants to take to transition. I think that all things considered, this will be easier than last life. We hid the fact that we love him for like three years or some shit. We don’t have to do that part. We have more years ahead of us this time. And he’s strong. He got through war and my dumb ass getting shot, so I know he can deal with this too. And you’re doing great. You just… you can’t solve every problem. And baby, that’s okay.”

Laf nodded and snuggled closer to Alex before quietly reminding himself “Problems are a part of life”

“They are. And sometimes people we love are sad and that’s fine. It’s also fine that sometimes -you’re- sad” Alex started fluffing Laf’s ponytail.

“Naaah” he laughed when Alex rolled his eyes and kissed his chin “I’m working on it.”

“Yeah, work on that scruff while you’re at it, it feels weird”

“I can shave if you’d like”

Alex shrugged and ran his thumb along Laf’s jawline “what I want is for it to grow. I want it to stop being a weird facial hair purgatory and just get to the point”

“Well, I’m pretty sure I remember it growing quickly. Overnight. Adrie didn’t recognize me one morning”

“Bullshit”

“Facial hair: coming soon to a face near you”

“And a face near you! You’re not the only Scruffy Boy” Alex rubbed his own chin and frowned “Okay, you are now but not for long.”

“I believe you” Gilbert moved Alex’s hand to put kisses in its place “for good luck”

Robert and Aaron stood in the doorway. Rob had his eyes on the boys in the room as he stood unmoving. Aaron watched with concern. “Hey Robbie, you alright?”

At the sound of his voice, Alex and Laf looked up and pulled away slightly.

“I’m fine” the blonde boy assured “I just… could have sworn we were somewhere else. I’ve been feeling that a lot since the coffee shop. Lately, all I want to do is remember everything I can about you guys”

Alex patted a spot on the bed next to him “Come here, nerds. We didn’t even here you come in”

“You seemed preoccupied” Aaron commented as he lead Rob into their room and to the bed.

As Robbie settled between Alex and Aaron, he asked “Can we cuddle? We used to all the time..”

“Of course, hun” Alex smiled and lifted the arm that Laf wasn’t already nestled under “You better get in this too, Aaron”

After Rob rested his head on Alex’s chest next to Laf, Aaron put an arm around him even as he said “You don’t own me”

Robbie grinned “I missed this. Which is weird because I only remembered this a week ago.”

“We’re a cuddly group. And you’re very good at it, we’re lucky to have you” Laf winked at him.

“The feeling is extremely mutual” he giggled and brushed his fingertips over Laf’s hand, blushing when laf laced their fingertips together over Alex’s belly. “If I cry, please understand”

“We understand” Aaron assured him “And it’s likely that these two will start crying before you”

“Shut up” Alex sniffed, causing the four of them to laugh.

“The craziest thing is, as great as this is, I know it will only be better when it gets colder out”

“Fuck, winter cuddles are my kink” Alex hummed.

“Petit Lion, your kinks are far less innocent.”

“Don’t come for me like this in front of Robbie, I’m trying to impress him”

Rob shook his head in disbelief “I’ve been impressed, don’t worry. I’m actually kinda in awe, I feel like -I- should be trying to impress -you- guys”

“well don't. Cause I've done every dumb thing. And Gill stepped on Marie Antoinette’s foot or something in front of the whole French court. And Aaron bought a coconut for a lot of money”

“we don't talk about that coconut. It was instant buyer's remorse. The money left my hand and so did my self-respect”

“I never lost my self-respect,” Robbie said proudly “my strategy is to not have any. Can't lose what you don't have” he tapped his temple a few times.

Alex laughed “you've got it all figured out, don't you?”

“Indeed I do, take notes” he looked at the foot of the bed, which was still decorated with binders “those look like armor”

“they can be. They're binders” Laf pulled away from Alex to grab one. He stretched it in his hands before giving it to Robert and laying back down.

They watched Rob turn the garment over in his hands in confusion. He looked at the inside lining and seemed to only get more confused “the front doesn't stretch. I don't…” his eyes widened “oh my god, is this what I think it is?”

Alex grinned “you should go try them on”

He crawled off the bed in record time, scooping up all three of the blue ones, since they seemed like different sizes. As he left to change in the bathroom, they heard him say “fuck, I love you guys”

«««»»»

The middle size was just right. He had been wearing it for half an hour when Alex noticed something. At first, he thought Robbie had grown taller, but he quickly realized that he just wasn't slouching anymore.

All they did that day was cuddle and watch Disney movies, but Alex would still say it was productive. He and Laf had both gotten to kiss Rob, which was a blessing. When Robbie had to go, his mother promised to smuggle the binders home.

When Robbie had to go, he was still grinning.

Chapter Text

James avoided questions of sexuality. Inquiries about crushes were deflected and ignored. He never had romantic gossip to share with Thomas. He never had interesting answers in “truth or dare” and he always won “never have I ever”. He never answered the questions because he just wasn't sure.

How could he know what his sexuality was when girls didn't make his pulse race when they smiled and boys didn't make him blush when they showed off skills in sports? Well, not anyone that mattered- just Thomas. Because of course, his pulse raced when his best friend smiled and when he won races. Or when he wrote new raps with insane tongue twisters that didn't seem to phase him.

He was just proud of Thomas’ achievements- excited for him. Thomas amazed him. But that was just the nature of him. Amazing was his natural state.

Tom gave James his full attention when he spoke. His head would tilt in interest and he didn't interrupt him. That was always how he treated James. He was sincere. James felt extremely fortunate to have such a close friendship with a great guy.

It's why he didn't often worry about his lack of romance. He didn't need it. He especially didn't need a second person he had to tell everything to. It just seemed like too much work to maintain a committed friendship and a relationship. Besides, an s.o. would want to be even closer to James than Thomas, which was extremely unappealing.

But he couldn't articulate any of that, when Thomas casually asked what his sexuality was, he just shrugged. “I've never wanted to date anyone”

“well, sometimes people don't want the emotional part”

“I don't really want any part”

“oh. Cool. Asexuality is fine”

He hadn't considered that word. “what about you?”

“Jemmy, I thought by now it would be pretty clear I ain't asexual”

James snorted “I know. But are you just straight or something else?”

“to be completely honest, I don't know”, Thomas tapped his chin, seemingly in thought “cause like, if I had a clone- like from time travel or alternate dimensions- I'd fuck me. Is it gay? I don't fucking know”

“Tom promise me you'll never make another person hear that collection of thoughts with their ears” James deadpanned “it's inhumane”

Tom laughed loudly, which he only did alone with James. “I’m jokin. I need some romance before I get down”

“I don’t really need to know any of that” James got up from the couch to wander into the kitchen. His throat felt scratchy and he hoped he was just thirsty and not getting sick. He saw Thomas fallow him out of the corner of his eye.

“It’s about time for dinner, ain't it?” Tom opened the fridge, apparently just to stare at its contents.

“Not your cooking” James reached around Thomas to grab apple juice. He ignored the pout on his face as he stood on his toes to retrieve a glass.

“But jemmy-”

“I don’t want macaroni again, you menace. Nobody wants macaroni three times in one weekend.”

“I do.”

“Because it’s the only thing you don’t burn” he ducked under Tom’s arm to look in the fridge. He sighed when he couldn’t find anything but condiments. “We’re ordering pizza”

“Domino's has decent macaroni”

“I will kick you out of your own home. You’re not ordering pasta from a pizza place.” James sighed again and pulled out his phone. He thanked technology for the fact that he didn’t have to call to order. “Is pepperoni deep dish alright?”

“Pepperoni bacon” Thomas corrected.

“I knew I love you for a reason.” He paused before finalizing the order “is one enough, or are you going to get high again?”

Tom shook his head “I’m out of Kushy punch”

“I assume that’s edibles?”

“Yeah, and I can’t smoke here, George and Martha will smell it”

James raised his eyebrows “your babysitters?”

“I mean I guess. I never think of them like that.”

“Well, what kind of pizza do they like?”

James ended up ordering an extra pizza while Thomas texted George and Martha. James liked them. They were calm and mature and they always had stories to tell about growing up with Thomas. It had been a while since the four of them last had a movie night. James saw them as proof that love exists every time he doubted.

Ten minutes later, when they arrived, Martha hugged both Thomas and James. James didn’t mind. George, always more resigned than his girlfriend, just gave them a nod and a small smile in greeting.

The moment everyone had greeted each other, Thomas sprinted to the living room to grab the remote. Nobody argued when Princes and the Frog began to play.

«««»»»

After George and Martha left, James could see his friend falling asleep next to him. This meant that it was bedtime for both of them because after the morning James found Tom standing in the rain, they started sharing the alcove bed. It made Thomas feel safe and it didn’t bother James. “Get up, Tom, we have to go upstairs.”

Tom rubbed his eye as he nodded and stood. James went to the bedroom to grab pajamas and head to the bathroom to change. They’d have school the next day, and James was thankful they had finished their homework on Friday.

Thomas was already changed and asleep when James got back to his room. He had thankfully left easily accessible space on the bed for James this time so he crawled in next to his friend. It felt nice to be close to him like that again. James wished people had never told them that boys shouldn’t show friendly affection. If they hadn’t stopped holding hands and taking naps together, maybe Thomas wouldn’t have been so desperate to get into a relationship in freshman year. Maybe he wouldn’t have had to go through two and a half years falling in love with a girl who didn’t see color. Tom used to text him huge paragraphs worrying that she was his soulmate but he wasn't hers.

Since that relationship ended, and they started showing each other that affection again, Tom hadn’t flirted with anyone. He hadn’t desperately sought out a girlfriend like the last time he felt alone. James hoped that the next time Tom dated it would be better. He truly believed he deserved a happy love life. Tom was just a huge nerd who wanted to be held and it fucking sucked that he might never find his soulmate. It sucked that Thomas already saw color. All Tom seemed to want was a big soulmate moment where his world would flood with color and he’d -know- but he couldn’t because he met whoever she was too early.

James saw color too. He just assumed it must have been a platonic thing, because sometimes a person’s soul mate was just a friend. He always assumed it was Thomas. But Thomas wasn’t the kind of guy that was fine with a platonic soulmate. Maybe once Thomas remembered more of his past life, he’d find her. He’d find her and he’d never have to cry over love again.

James fell asleep when Thomas wrapped his arms around him.

«««»»»

Snow fell outside and James sat by the window to watch. The sound of a violin playing in a nearby room was a beautiful accompaniment to the sight. Each snowflake danced on its way to the New York street below. Few people were out. Just a woman watching her children play in the cold powder. She was dressed in the latest winter fashion of 1790.

The townhouse was warm, thanks to the fire crackling in the main room. Green tinsel adorned the walls. It had been far too high up for James to do himself and as he looked at it, he was thankful for his companion. He hadn’t realized the music had stopped until he felt long arms wrap around him from behind. Scruff tickled his neck above his cravat and he shuddered when full lips kissed the skin there.

“Merry Christmas, Jamie” Thomas purred. “I know what present you should open first”

When a small glass jar with a ribbon tied around it was placed in his hand, James rolled his eyes even as he felt himself grin. They had been running low, but Thomas could have at least tried to be subtle. “You know as well as I that this is just as much a gift to yourself.”

James could feel Thomas shrug behind him. “ most of my soulmates wouldn’t complain. I’ve been told my ass is a fantastic gift.”

James turned around in his arms so that he could reach around Thomas and cup his ass “That is certainly hard to argue against.” he used his other hand to thread his fingers into Thomas’ curls and pull him down to kiss him. He could hear Thomas let out a small, happy hum and when he gave his hair a soft tug, that hum turned into a moan. He pulled away to take Thomas’ hand and lead him to the bedroom. He glanced over his lover, pleased to see him in just a blouse and britches. His fingers found the buttons on the blouse beneath two layers of ruffles. With each, he unfastened, more umber skin was exposed. Thomas was rightfully proud of his body. Each curve of his muscles and every trail of hair reminded James why Thomas was the only person who could excite him. When Thomas tossed his blouse aside, James’ eyes fell to the dark hair under his belly-button that immediately disappeared under his britches.

«««»»»

For the first time in his life, James woke up hard next to his best friend. That realization sent him rolling out of bed in a hurry. As he all but ran to the door, he realized too late that Thomas -always- wakes up first.

“What’s wrong, Jem?” Thomas tilted his head, his eyes trailing over James for sign of injury. Thomas’ gaze made James tug on his shirt, trying to cover his crotch with the fabric. Apparently, that was all Tom needed. “Oh. OH! James! Did you have a sex dream? I'm so proud!”

James let out a short, unintelligible scream before running to the bathroom. He slammed the door and sat on the ground, taking deep breaths in an attempt to calm down. He could still remember the end of the dream so clearly. He couldn’t believe he dreamed about undressing Thomas like that. In some sort of pirate shirt. He couldn’t believe Thomas made him -hard-. The panic seemed to have fixed the physical problem for him, but he still couldn't go back out there.

The details of the dream were already fading from his memory like most dreams did. But the knowledge that his first sexual dream was about Thomas was still there. What if Tom found out somehow? James didn’t want to lose him. He could feel his eyes stinging with tears at the thought.

Fifteen minutes must have passed before there was a soft knock at the door behind James. Thomas’ voice was just as tentative “Jem? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to freak you out… I’m sorry.”

James felt a pang of guilt. Of course, Tom thought he had done something wrong. He was always so worried about messing up socially. James stood up and checked his reflection. He, fortunately, hadn’t cried. He just looked like he woke up recently. He took a deep breath before opening the door. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Tommy. I was just… embarrassed.”

“I get it. But you don’t gotta be embarrassed.”

James shrugged before stepping out of the bathroom “Go ahead. I know you want to ask.”

Thomas’ face lit up with a big, gorgeous grin “guy or girl?”

“Guy”

“Was it hot?”

“Probably. I can’t remember much of it”

“Dreams are weird like that. Are you good to get ready for school?”

“Yeah I'm good”

Nothing interesting happened for hours. Nothing until James was walking with Thomas to their third class of the day and a boy in a green hoodie grabbed Thomas and kissed him. The guy was short, with long dark hair. His eyes were big and brown with long eyelashes. They were too stunned to do anything as the guy said “See you at lunch, baby” and walked away confidently.

“Who the fuck was that?” Thomas asked, his hand covering his mouth and his cheeks flushed.

“I have no idea”

They, in fact, did not see that guy at lunch.

However, across the cafeteria, Alexander stared at Laf. “I thought you had your hair untied”

“Mon petit Lion, when was the last time I’ve worn it untied in public?”

“It was all out and poofy right before third period. Remember, I kissed you in the hall?”

Laf tilted his head, looking extremely confused “I haven’t seen you since this morning”

Chapter Text

“I … must have remembered wrong. I guess I was just thinking about you too much” Alex rested his chin on his and winked up at Laf.

Laf giggled and leaned over George’s lap to kiss Alex.

George pretended to somehow not notice their twinkly antics in favor of continuing his conversation with Martha. Something about their friend next door.

Aaron politely waited for Alex to be done before speaking. “there's an essay due next period, please tell me you kept it at a five-page minimum”

Alex grimaced “it's seven pages-” he was interrupted by Aaron groaning “fuck off, listen, I had eight more points to make by the time I hit the end of page five, it's amazing it was that short”

“you know the Mr. Mellor has other students, right? How many teachers need to refuse to grade your papers before you learn?”

“but it's history” Alex whined “-revolutionary- history. Our life story”

“stories we remember roughly 12% of” Aaron exaggerated.

“be thankful for that boys,” Martha said, patting Aaron's arm “George and I remembered our whole third life before last year, A.P.U.S.H. was weird”

“world history was strange as well.” George added “They showed us this painting of Roman senators and one of them was in a red sash and I swear he looked like…” he trailed off.

Laf tilted his head “did you know a senator in your first life?”

George ran his thumb over the back of his own hand “he was just some rude man I met in Pompeii”

Adrienne was about to ask a question, likely regarding the preserved city, but the bell rang, signifying the end of lunch. Alex kissed Laf once again, and then George, before following Aaron to history.

Frederick looked like some sort of Gryffindor kid in a red sweater with a gold heraldic lion. Alex laughed openly, complete with a pointed finger. Frederick seemed delighted by Alex's rude behavior, which Aaron was once again confused by.
“it's a bloody good sweater, Alex. Regina happens to love it”

“Freddy, I need to know- do you say bloody because you're worried people will forget you're British?” Alex smiled and leaned closer. “and do you always let your cat choose your wardrobe?”

“yes to both, love. She's my everything.” Frederick mirrored his flirtatious body language.

Mr. Mellor took his spot at the front of the class “good afternoon, class. As always, we'll start off with an interesting fact. This one I only recently found. You remember King George III, he was the last king to rule the colonies. Well, when he died, they found a letter in his coat pocket. This letter was already twenty-six years old and it was from one of America's founders, Alexander Hamilton. And the weirdest thing was that all the letter said was “as you wish, your majesty” and then his name. Now, because of this document, people wonder if Hamilton was a-”

The door slammed behind Frederick before Alex even realized he wasn't next to him anymore. He had been too busy with a sudden rush of memories. Years worth of letters sent to the king. It started because he wanted to know why George corresponded with him, but the royal shit never told him anything regarding him. “I was just flitting,” he said quietly to himself before speaking to the whole class “I wasn't a traitor! I was just thirsty!”

The only thing he heard before he ran into the hallway was “-you're- Hamilton?”

He ran to the right, hoping it was the route Frederick took. He ran for ten minutes, praying each turn he took was correct. He eventually made his way to the quad where he sighed heavily and sat on a bench. The end of their correspondence had left too much unsaid. An abrupt end to years of burning secret flirtatious letters from across the sea. Years of signing his responses with requests to burn, even though they both knew the routine. He hadn't written a request to burn on the last one, he has been too angry. Too sad.

“I knew where he was going with that” Frederick said, startling Alex out of his memories. “I didn't want to sit and listen to anyone call you a traitor. You were extremely loyal to your country.”

“why did it freak you out so much? Me having feelings for you” he nearly frowned deeper at his own crass words. He could have gone about that better.

Frederick sat on the other end of the bench. Looking at him, Alex felt stupid for not seeing it before. He just never expected George III to be that fuckin cute. “you thought you had feelings for me.” the late king corrected.

“if I wanted to hear that shit I wouldn't have burned that letter. But -you- kept one. Did you happen to have it in your coat the day you died or did you carry it every day?”

“it was the first time you told me your name. I never planned for you to know I kept it. I never planned to see you again.”

“but I'm here” Alex reached for his hand but Fred pulled away.

“it was my intention for those letters to be the end of that. It won't continue.”

“you can't keep my signature next to your heart for twenty-six years and tell me you didn't feel anything. You can't flirt with me in high school after everything. And tell me it ended in 1798.”

“it's just not possible for some people, Alex. If I was meant to be loved it would have happened before my third life. And you hadn't even met me”

“we sent letters since the war. How is that not enough to like you?”

“because only my cat likes me.”

Alex sighed “do you always have a cat?”

Thankful for the change in topic, Frederick nodded “I always have Reg. Her soul is… maybe it's a piece of mine.”

“you have a fucking familiar? I thought that was extremely rare.”

“I guess that's one word for her. It's just what happens when a person and an animal take their first breath at the same moment close enough. She was born outside my mum's window in my first life. We grew up together four times. We'll die together too.”

“she's seventeen? Is she old and frail?”

“well last life, she lived to 82. She's only old and frail when I am.”

“I can understand why she's your best friend.”

“she's literally my everything”

“will you please let me try to date you?” Alex looked at him, and continued when he didn't answer “I'd be really fucking nice to your cat, George.”

“Frederick.” he sighed “And fine.”

«««»»»

After school, Alex got to hold Frederick's hand. Frederick even agreed to meet Marie and Aaron with him and tell them the news. Unfortunately, the first of Alex's group Frederick saw was George.

“Oh, hi Georgie” Frederick grinned mischievously.

George openly glared daggers, nearly growling his name “Frederick”. Martha grabbed his wrist, seeming displeased.

“you know each other. I forgot.”

Chapter Text

George was no longer permitted to speak about Frederick. This was enforced by Martha, who seemed the most experienced with not only George but also Frederick. Alex and Laf had noticed how she would give the ex-king sympathetic looks. She spoke about him with familiarity and it baffled the younger souls. Martha, George, and Frederick refused to speak at length about their lives before the 18th century, but Lafayette had a hunch that he voiced to Alex as they waited for George to visit.

“do you think Papa and Freddy go back farther than last life?”

Alex hummed, playing with his love’s lose hair “honestly, they might. It would explain a lot. They can't hide it from us forever, though. Especially if I stay with Fred. And if your date with him goes well” Alex winked.

Laf giggled “he's cute, I want to get to know him better.”

“does daddy know?”

“I'll tell him the moment it's any of his business,” he said with a small nod “I love Papa, but there are times that I refuse to accept his wishes. Like when he sent you home from the war.”

“well baby, I think he knows better than to misuse authority and get on your bad side”

“how much were you told of that night?”

“only that he spent a month incredibly unhappy”

“well, we have time” Laf snuggled closer to Alex, getting comfortable, “I told him his decision was wrong. He shouldn't send you home because you serve such a necessary role in the war. And he told me that John and I would do fine to make up for your absence. He was using his general voice, you know the one”

“I do. It's hot when he's not being a dick”

Laf nodded “I told him that I was no Demigod. I was sure we would lose without you. I didn't say that I would miss you dearly and so would he, but he knew. Then he did something that truly made me angry. In the same tone, he ordered me to accept that I would be without you. And he called me Gilbert. I had never been so mad at him.”

Alex's eyebrows drew together and he found himself almost angry with George “what did you say?”

Laf cleared his throat and in a cold voice that clearly harbored rage, he quoted himself “Lafayette. Marquis. Major General. These are the names you are permitted to call me. Any other is inappropriate in this army” he swallowed and when he spoke again, it was a small whisper “and I left the tent. He called me, but I didn't answer- I just… kept walking away because I knew I was about to cry.”

Alex's jaw nearly dropped. If he had been at the receiving end of that speech, he would have sobbed. He opened his mouth to speak, but before he could, he heard George from the doorway to their room.

“you were right to say that, I was out of line. But I -had- hoped you've forgiven me by now” he smiled, but it was clearly not easy. His eyes showed exactly how sad the story made him.

“I have forgiven you, Papa. I'm sorry, the memory is so fresh for me, I needed to talk about it” Laf reached for George “it changes nothing about how I feel”

George put his hand in Laf’s and let him pull him down to lay with them. “I know, baby. I'm still sorry for letting military life mix with our relationship.”

“it all history, Papa” he kissed his cheek.

Alex kissed George's chin “how did you even get in here”

“your mother. She seems kind, but she and your father left once I arrived… where is Aaron? I thought you live with him”

“I know what you're worried about, he won't walk in. He went to the library for the day, and he might spend the night at Adrienne's”

“at the very least, Papa, we have four hours” Gilbert purred.

George sighed, pretending to be stern “boys, you're both under eighteen”

“I was engaged at this age last life,” Laf said helpfully.

“I was in charge of a trading company when I was like, fourteen”

“I turn seventeen soon”

“Laf, my fairy, light of my life, I think mentioning that you're not even seventeen yet is the opposite of helpful” Alex patted Fae’s hand.

“I looked it up, boys, don't worry. Soulmates are usually an exception to that law. As long as the minor is at least sixteen.”

“yes!” Alex cheered and Laf giggled in delight.

“however,”

“oh non”

George fought a smile “however, I would like to take this opportunity to see how patient my sweet boys can be”

“fuck you, George”

He laughed “I'm joking, Alex”

“we already know Laf could probably still wait longer” Alex threaded his fingers between Gilbert's “right little Fae? You love to be teased”

“but you're impatient, Mon Amour. A trait that is, in a way, contagious. When you're eager to come, I can't help but want you to get what you want. It's so pretty to see” he straddled George to get closer to Alex, where he tilted Alex's head to make room. Fae brought his smiling lips to his Adam's apple. “you're so pretty” he slowly kissed his way to just below his ear. “if only I could have had you to myself for a moment in these past months. I miss your moans, little lion. It's been over 200 years. It's been too long.”

Alex moaned quietly, locking eyes with George “I deserve an award for holding back from you, don't you think, Fae? I've been praying for a good opportunity, but it didn't stop you from teasing me did it? Kissing my neck, pressing against me. All in front of Aaron. You knew every movement you made was seductive. You knew I had to hold back. Do you know how hard you make it with all that lace? Does Daddy know what naughty things his good boy wears?” Alex put a hand on Laf’s ass.

“I was unaware of any lace in his wardrobe,” George said with a low voice.

“well.” Alex nipped lightly at Laf’s collarbone, grinning at the giggle he elicited from the younger boy. His hand went under Gilbert's shirt, lifting the fabric enough to show a few inches of warm skin above the waistline of his jeans. “should we show him?”

“that depends, doesn't it?” Gilbert bit his lip and looked at George, obviously grinning with delight “does Papa want to see?”

George grabbed Laf by his strong thighs that rested on either side of his hips. He recognized the look in his boys’ eyes and he decided to let them hear what they wanted. In a firm, gravelly voice, he ordered: “show me.”

Laf immediately shuddered “Papa, can I give you a show? I'll try my best”

“a show?”

“like a dance. For both of you. I want to strip for you”

Alex stared intently at George “say yes”

George chuckled “I would never turn down such a wonderful offer, my sweet boys”

Laf crawled off the bed, almost clumsy in his eagerness “I've wanted to do this for so long”. He swayed his hips and turned around before pulling his shirt off. He didn't take his time, but he showed off impressive flexibility when he guided his skinny jeans down to his ankles.

George wasn’t disappointed in the least. Gilbert’s lacy shorts and thigh highs hugged him well and the light pink color reminded George of a lovely suit the boy once wore to at mnt. Vernon. “Come here, baby boy” he gently positioned laf in his lap, where he held on to his hips. “You’re gorgeous. Both of you. Such pretty boys”

“I’ve been trying to get Alex to let me buy him some underwear like this. He has such a cute ass it would be perfect”

“I mean, I'd probably wear it, but the money…”

“Let me show affection through gifts” Laf pouted and started tugging at George’s shirt, though he continued speaking to Alex. “Are you worried you’ll never want to go back to boxers?”

“Yes,” Alex answered without hesitation, his fingers joining in Gilbert's effort.

George chuckled and slipped his shirt off for them. He had the same scars as the last time they had seen his chest, but he was clearly younger. At eighteen, he didn't have as broad shoulders as he used to. There was still command in his posture, and his eyes were still wise.

“Zeus” Alex commented, his hands mapping out George's newly exposed skin.

“it's not as apt a comparison as you boys think” George pulled Alex closer with a hand on his hip. “he has a higher sex drive than both of you combined”

Gilbert pulled Alex's shirt up, kissing up his chest until it was off “you're our leader, Papa. Our Robbie had us all figured out, remember? I am Apollo, petit lion is Hermes. Hercules is himself. Eliza is Hecate, Adrie is Aphrodite. And if Martha is the goddess of mothers, you're her husband.”

“yes, but when would Ares ever bend -Zeus- over a desk?” George fiddled with the waistband of Alex's sweatpants.

There was stunned silence from the boys. Neither could remember anyone being Ares. Neither could imagine anyone bending -His Excellency Washington- over a table. Washington was Daddy as fuck. Actually, Daddier! Except…

“who's Ares? Is he Daddiest?” Alex asked.

“Well son, if you don't remember, I really shouldn't tell you his name. But. Yes” George flushed slightly “he's daddier than me, granting him the title: Daddiest.”

“was he the first person that happened with?”

“the first in two thousand years”

“I get that you love to sound ancient, but wouldn't it make more sense to only count the years you were alive for?” Alex sighed “was it Rome?”

“it was” George leaned against the headboard and he began to choose his words carefully, his voice lowering as a result “a man I had known for three years. You remember being eighteen with a new soul, three years felt like a decade. I don't think we ever liked each other. However, I wonder if what you boys are imagining is exaggerated. In both instances, all they did was stand behind me. I think, -unfortunately-. Though I trust ‘Ares’ more than the other man.”

“I love storytime” Alex joked. He leaned his head on Gilbert's shoulder and locked eyes with him “I love piecing his past together.”

Gilbert grinned “we are ever the history enthusiasts. Eager to learn about Rome and Feudalism”

“would you like me to tell you more?”

“yes” Alex immediately answered while Laf nodded.

“After. I wouldn’t want to prolong the wait.”

Alex grinned and kissed George. His arms wrapped around the back of his neck to bring them closer together. Alex moaned approvingly into the kiss when Laf began to slide his pants off. He could feel Gilbert's peach fuzz and soft lips on his shoulder blade, and George's thigh was pressed against his crotch. And George clearly knew. He shifted his leg regularly, just to hear Alex's little whine each time. The three of them fell into harmonic movements only made possible by their long history together.

George was able to pull both of the boys onto his lap, their backs against his chest. “I'm glad we can still sit like this”

“it's cause you're -big- papa” Laf purred, arching back against him. He grinned when he felt his dick hard against his ass. “very big”

Alex kissed and sucked George's neck and one of his hands teased at the edge of Laf’s panties. “you're both big. And shapely. I'm very lucky. I get a sexy daddy, and a sexy fairy”

George nearly clenched his teeth to avoid moaning out loud. “I'm clearly the luckiest” his voice was low and rough “I have such good boys. The smartest, prettiest little revolutionaries” each of his hands ran up an inner thigh, stopping at the fabric of Alex's boxer-briefs and Gilbert's panties. He paused before ordering “take the rest off”.

“you're still in your jeans, daddy” Alex whined “that's not fair”

“don't pretend it doesn't turn you on” Laf giggled “we're both exhibitionists” he lifted his hips to pull his panties down and off. He turned his head to sweetly ask “stockings too, Papa?”

“it's up to you baby”

“I think I definitely want thigh highs like that” Alex struggled out of his boxers with only one hand so that he could touch Gilbert's exposed upper thighs while teasingly avoiding his dick, causing him to whine “and you fill them out so well”

“so would you” George ran his hands down their abdomens, his fingers threading through the curls above their cocks. “my boys. My gorgeous boys”

Even though they could remember the feeling of his hands on them, their lack of experience in this life made it more intense. The moment his fingers actually -touched- them, they knew they wouldn't last.

“Oh fuck, Daddy” Alex moaned “I give it five minutes”

George chuckled “the last time you came that quickly was when we didn't let you come for two weeks”

He groaned “longest two weeks of my existence.”

“I heard you were one second away from leg humping” Gill giggled, his words coming out broken by little moans. “I wish I could have been there”

“we can always do it again. You were both so spoiled, some grounding wouldn't hurt. But at the end of the two weeks, we can do -anything- you want” he sped up the rhythm of his hands “how does that sound?”

“perfect Papa” Laf whined “please”

“Alex?”

“anything?” he asked through heavy breaths.

“anything, baby”

“you're on” he was able to get out right before Laf squeezed his hand and came, his voice getting momentarily higher and louder. Alex glanced at him and the sight of Gilbert arched and panting, clinging to George's arm sent him over the edge.

As they came down from their climax, heads resting on each other, they were vaguely aware of George laughing. His chest rumbled against their backs. “that was so quick”

Alex would have turned and glared at him if he had the energy “I'm sure you lasted the first time someone other than you touched your dick.” he grumbled sarcastically.

“the very first?” he seemed surprised.

“like, directly, yeah.”

“my butt touched his dick” Gilbert grinned lazily, handing George a box of tissues from the bedside table. “through at least two layers of fabric. I also palmed him through his pants once but we haven't had an opportunity to fool around like we wanted. The most action I've gotten has been second base with Adrie and whatever base humping until you both come in your pants is” he shifted out of George's lap to kneel next to him and start kissing his chest.

George sighed and smiled lovingly as he cleaned up “I don't think that's a base, baby”

Alex began mirroring Laf’s movements, but he paused and looked at him “I didn't know that happened. Who with?”

“Hm?”

Alex grinned, knowing full well that Laf understood him. He could even see his cheeks pinkening again. “well it's just that the sentence implied that while second base was with Adrie, but the grinding was someone else”

“it was” Laf laughed nervously, meeting nobody's eyes “about two months ago. Before any of us -really- remembered much. Before The Incident. I um. Aaron came over-”

“Oh my god!” Alex's voice rose to high above the reasonable indoor volume, but beyond shock, his emotions were seemingly impossible to read.

Laf’s deep concern was clear, however, and both George and Alex worried that his expression even showed fear. Alex was quick to recover, reaching out a gentle hand to Laf’s cheek. “I'm not angry, baby, I'm surprised. And honestly pretty amused. It wouldn't be the first time between you two anyway”

He sighed in relief and kissed Alex's hand “he was just sexually frustrated. I mean we were. Both.”

Alex sighed fondly “baby, you know that's not your whole reason”

“boys” George spoke up apprehensively “I love this conversation, but what was ‘The Incident’? The way Gilbert says it, it's obviously a proper noun”

Gilbert looked to Alexander, who spoke “it was the night I remembered dying. I dreamed about it, I thought I was back there when I woke up and Aaron was reaching for me cause I was screaming. I yelled at him or something. He left me alone and we just sat in the corners staring at each other.” he pointed at two of the corners in the room “Laf showed up- and I hadn't realized I wasn't in Weehawken until he told me. He helped me stop the bleeding and my mom woke us up to get dressed and clean his feet. He ran all the way here. I didn't see Aaron again until about three weeks later. I didn't -want- to see him”

“but you interact with him as if you don't remember”

“we made up. It's easiest with us if our mediator is someone we both want to bang”

“he was just frustrated!”

“Laf, for the record, you're most likely wrong about this”

“would you like that history lesson now, boys?”

Alex and Gilbert moved to cuddle each other while they looked up at George with undivided attention.

“I was a general in Rome”

“and you were a Knight in the 700s.” Alex finished for him “we know”

“well do you have specific questions, then?”

“your scars, Papa. Will you tell us those stories?”

“how many can I tell before you get bored?” he kissed Gilbert's head “pick one to start, boys”

Alex pointed to a rough circle on George's shoulder. George hummed “crossbow Bolt in the 700’s. We didn't know what the date was that day. That was common. I was part of a small group of knights intended to guard our king as he negotiated a treaty with a kingdom whose previous monarch died in battle with us years prior. Once he had the new monarch in a room, he angered them and their guards. He told them he had ordered foot soldiers to burn their towns. He didn't tell his army to keep the citizens safe. He had been the one who requested the negotiation. He wanted me and the other two nights to trap the monarch but we made no move to. Their guard shot at my king and missed, hitting me. He was angry. People were dying.” George shrugged “the king who knighted me died that night. I swore an oath to the queen who was the sister of the king who died in battle. The king was young, he had no children. Even though the land wasn’t England yet, I felt obligated to continue living by that oath in the next life. I wore a red coat during the seven years war.”

Alex spoke up “The king who died at war was Freddy. Wasn’t it?”

George was taken aback by the question and it seemed as though he didn’t want to answer. “Yes.”

Without looking away from George’s face, Alex said “The scar on your right hand. Little puncture wounds an inch apart. What are they from?”

He sighed “I was bitten by a cat.”

Chapter Text

He wasn't mad at George. In fact, he was happy to have more information about his past. Alex was glad he could trust the ancient soul to be wise enough to know that their pillow talk the other day has nothing to do with him not eating lunch with everyone else on Monday.

He wanted to dedicate a little time to his far less wise but no less ancient boyfriend. Who used to be the king of England. Who told him to never write to him again over two hundred years ago the moment he mentioned positive feelings. Who might be the soulmate he hadn't met the last life for all Alex knew. But that kind of thinking was the opposite of what their newborn relationship needed.

And fuck, Frederick really was a cool dude. Alex liked the way he dressed in stylish and immaculate red and gold. He liked Frederick’s stupid stories he told about himself. He liked how soft his hands were. He loved his pretty singing voice.

Though he only got to hear it once, when he noticed Frederick softly singing to himself in history. He had learned -only because Frederick lead him to the auditorium for lunch- that Frederick had been singing songs he needed to memorize for theater class. Apparently, the students milling around on the stage were the exact crowd Fred hung out with. Several of them gave him waves in greeting.

A loud, southern voice called from the doorway of the tech booth behind them. “Yo, Frederick, do you have your script?”

Fred smiled and shook his head fondly as he looked around in his backpack. He didn't even look at the guy when he answered. “did you lose yours, Dank Engine?”

Alex glanced over his shoulder, indifferently curious until he actually saw him and his throat closed up. He totally kissed him last week. Gilbert always tied his hair back. He quickly turned back away, fighting the urge to pull his hood over his head

“Nah, B, Jem did” that Southern voice drawled, earning a grumbled response from who much have been Jem.

“tech needs a script?” Frederick asked, turning around to face his friend, holding a thick white booklet.

“he's light design this time”

“so -that's- why they let you hooligans play around in there” Fred handed the booklet to the guy, who Alex could unfortunately only refer to as ‘Dank Engine’. “are you boys enjoying that little room to yourselves? Tinted windows, sound proofing”

“you're filthy, Frederick.” said a deep voice that Alex was sure belonged to Dank Engine's friend “you know full well he's straight”

Alex felt a whole new wave of embarrassment. Not only had he kissed the wrong boy, he kissed a Hetero boy.

Dank Engine confirmed this immediately, but added “but everyone knows: if I had to pick a dude, he's fuckin me”

“that's not exactly the kind of image I want in my head, Thomas” ‘Jem’ said hastily, as if he hoped to have prevented the sentence.

“Fuck, I'm sorry” his name was Thomas, and to Alex, he sounded like an attentive friend.

“it's no real harm” there was a pause “Frederick, who did you bring?”

“Oh!” he grabbed Alex's hand and pulled him into the conversation “Alex, this is Tom and James. Guys, this is Alex. My boyfriend” the last two words were clearly leaving his mouth for the first time and he seemed almost surprised after he said it.

Now that Alex could see Tom and James, he took note of their drastically different clothing and body language. James wore black and grey and he stood like he was trying to seem smaller. Thomas dressed nicely, in expensive looking magenta clothes, and he had the lazy confidence of a stoner who knew exactly how hot he looked.

“Aww shit, you're the guy who kissed me” Tom drawled “I had a feelin it was you”

“you can't prove anything” he retorted with so much venom, he shocked himself. He had no reason to be rude.

“Hamilton” James whispered to himself and when Alex heard, his heart almost stopped.

“small fucking world I guess” he sighed and squeezed his eyes shut, wondering how he had gotten so used to insane happenings in the past months. “who were you?” he tilted his head, trying to remember them.

“I wish I knew. Your last name is the first thing I've ever remembered”

“Alex Hamilton. Like the ten dollar-bill? The guy who fought like, every founding father?” Thomas asked.

“excuse you, I fought the -other- founders. I convinced the fucking country to ratify the constitution, you're welcome”

Tom raised an eyebrow and folded his arms, seeming to finally give in to the hostile tone of the conversation “what, you could do that but you couldn't convince people to rewrite it every once in a while? Shit’s outdated.”

“Fuck you in every conceivable way, I know who you are! You absolute dick.” Alex fished around in his pockets, pulling out a few coins. One was a nickel, which he handed to Thomas “I need you to fucking explain yourself about these bangs here”

“Bitch how the hell do you not see that I clearly ain't Thomas Jefferson” he grimaced at the face on the coin “his bangs are shit though I'll give you that”

“if you're confused cause he's a white guy, they did it to me too. And George and Fae and” he glanced at Frederick “not him, but some others.”

“I ain't Jefferson. You're extremely unreliable when it comes to telling who the fuck I am, so I ain't inclined to believe your shit”

“it's not my fault you look like my boyfriend”

Thomas blinked and looked at Fred. Then he looked at Alex. He repeated all three of these steps four times. “no. Nah. I ain't fallin for whatever joke you're tryin.”

“clearly not -this- boyfriend” Alex rolled his eyes and scoffed. “here, look” He pulled his phone out and held it up, showing the lock screen. The background picture was him and Gilbert huddled close and grinning.

James's eyebrows rose when he leaned around Tom to see the screen. “how did you do that?”

Alex squinted “do what- no I took a picture with one of my soulmates. His name is Marie-Joseph Paul Roch Yves Gilbert du Motier Marquis de Lafayette. He's a French queer- very different from a Southern fuckboi.”

“Thomas come help me with the lights” James grabbed Thomas by the wrist and dragged him to the deck both. Alex watched the door slam.

“I'm sorry luv, they're normally well mannered”

“I get the feeling it's a different case if I'm in the room”

“they're good blokes. Even Thomas. Closeted, but good” Fred took Alex's hand and brought him to sit on the stage.

“how do you know he's closeted?” Alex tilted his head again.

“they're in love” he answered easily.

Chapter Text

The water that swirled down the sink was tinted with various colors that mixed unfortunately into muted brown around the drain. John carefully examined the stream that flowed through the fibers of his paintbrush, waiting for it to run clear.

Seeing color leave water was different from seeing color leave grass, he was reasonably sure. Still, he couldn't help but wonder how close the experience was. The gradual fading from green to gray, or in the case of the paint, clear. He couldn't help but wonder if that's what they had to see.

“baby, it's clean” a deep, warm voice mercifully interrupted John's thoughts.

He looked up at his tall ass boyfriend. He was smiling and there was a streak of purple gouache on his cheekbone that quickly improved his mood. He grinned. “darlin, purple does wonders for you”

Hercules made a confused expression and looked down, checking his outfit “Johny, that's amaranthine”

John rolled his eyes and fished his phone from his jeans to take a picture of his boyfriend, all the while uncontrollably smiling. He showed him the picture.

Herc swore under his breath and wiped at his cheek with a wet finger. The paint dissipated. Mostly. Enough.

“Boys?” their art teacher called from across the room without looking up from a sketch that she was carefully lining with a brush dipped in ink “could you stare into each other’s eyes somewhere else? I'm about to head to lunch.”

They laughed and set their free time paintings on the drying rack. John had predictably painted several turtles and Hercules had a few fashion designs. Their hands found each other while they walked out into the hall. They walked almost autonomously through the halls, taking turns committed to memory until they reached The Spot.

The Spot was an out of the way path behind the science building which virtually nobody passed through. They spent every lunch since January of freshman year there. It started so that they could kiss in secret when neither of them were out and it was “just experimental”. But the memories started to fall into place and they fell in love.

Neither of them had gotten food from the cafeteria. The food was sub-par anyway, and even if it were gourmet, their mouths tended to be too busy. John took a hold of the front of Hercules’ fucking amaranthine shirt and pulled him down into a deep kiss. He immediately felt strong arms around him, a hand finding it's way to his tied back curls. They went at a slow pace, feeling no rush at all.

They did this every day. Sometimes it got extremely heated, leaving them to choose between pulling away to about horror movies and continuing with the threat of being caught with their hand down the other’s pants. Neither of them were particularly afraid of the consequences, considering their vivid memories of battlefields. They didn't seem to be afraid of much at all. Especially not homophobia. It was still shit but to men from the 18th century, the 21st was heaven. People were still capable of violent hated towards them but fistfights couldn't be compared to execution. Fistfights where familiar territory to them long before some of their adversaries first breathed. Bruised knuckles were common- being queer on a football team had disadvantages- but they hadn't lost once.

At times it felt As though it was just the two of them against the world. They often needed to remind themselves that their other soulmates and the rest of the family were somewhere out there. They'd find them eventually. For the time being, well they needed was football, art, and each other.

Sometimes they spoke about the others. It never went on for long- the thoughts quickly turned tragic. But all the same, they waited for the day when the revolutionaries reunited.

Their kiss dyed down. Both of them knew what was coming up that week. They knew they needed to talk about it. John sighed “three days”

“I bet he's happy it's on a weekend”

“I wonder how old he's turning.”

“John, when their birthdays pass and we haven't even met them I feel like I can't breathe”

John sat against the wall and pulled Herc down with him “yeah darlin, me too. I keep thinking ‘fuck, I gotta get baby a present’. Then I remember.”

Hercules snuggled against John “last week, I accidentally bought fabric because he'd like it. I keep thinking of things I could sew for him.”

“remember January? When we were at the fuckin bookstore and it took us thirty minutes to remember that we wouldn't be seeing Alex or Philip. They would have loved the books we picked out.”

“Fuck” Hercules pressed his palms to his eyes and took a deep breath before moving them away “I hope we find them soon”

“me too, darlin” he threaded his fingers between Herc’s.

“... hey John?”

“yeah?”

Hercules smiled “I haven't told you about the orgy Fae’s wife started, have I?”

John almost choked on air when he laughed “from what I know about her I'm not shocked she did that. Who was there?”

“all of us”

“so you, Alex, Laf, Eliza and Adrienne”

“as well as others”

John's eyebrows rose “who?”

“Washington, Burr, and Robbie”

John began to laugh loudly “babe, you really had me for a second there”

“I'm serious”

“no way. There's no fuckin way”

“there's always a way. Also, Jefferson was there”

“wait, fuckin -declaration- Jefferson?”

“that's the one”

“how the fuck would any of that even go down?”

Hercules shifted, getting comfortable for some dirty story time “T-Jeffs was Alex's soulmate, crazy enough. They hated each other for awhile but Fae came west to fix it. Because Fae had spent years in France with the guy, and they were soulmates too. So Fae brought his wife, who immediately disappeared with Betsy. Turns out, she was one of Eliza's missing soulmate- so they were just up there going at it. Apparently, Eliza hadn't even had an orgasm before. I mean, she said she enjoyed the sex she did have with Alex before that but she just never finished, y’know? And like, Adrienne thought it was hilarious. She teased him about it and shit and eventually, she ended up suggesting the orgy. So Alex invited Wash and Burr. Jefferson was already hanging out, and that's how everyone got there”

“no no no, you can't just leave out the other shit. How the fuck did Alex and Laf convince Rob?”

“no, I did. All it took was a couple hours of body worship and a blowjob”

John blinked in shock “I… wait but… I don't get it, was he a completely different dude? Hercules. Was Robert possessed? Was he replaced by polymorphic aliens?”

Hercules laughed and shook his head “a couple months before the Du Motier family showed up, Rob and I ended up kissing. We had been sharing a bed to help him sleep and he was just so cute. We ended up pretty romantically involved it was great. So I started helping Fae and Alex work with him on his body positivity. He was nervous and actually asked every person there if they were fine with him being part of it, but he did it and we were so proud”

“holy fuck. Wow, I'm so fucking glad. You two together- that sound adorable. It sounds like he made a lot of progress. I can't imagine him undressing in front of Burr.”

“even better, Burr and Rob undressed each other”

“fuck. Wow too bad I missed it. Did Eliza freak out about Wash?”

“yeah and he fingered her”

“-no-”

“yes!” Hercules laughed “he noticed petty quick that night that she was into him. It was honestly a really great day. I hated some of the people in that room at first but by the time it happened all that shit was months behind us. Or… years ahead.”

“what do you mean?”

Hercules swallowed and pulled John closer. He knew it would be a harder story to tell, but John deserved to know. He took a deep breath and began the story of what happened in 1804.

Chapter Text

James just wished he could go back to before that dream. Before the dream, he didn't care how full Tom's lips were. Before the dream, he never blushed when Tom rapped and showed off his quick mind and talented tongue. Before the dream, he could look Tom in the eyes. It was all terribly inconvenient.
Hamilton was inconvenient. Thomas hadn’t done anything wrong but Hamilton still treated him terribly and James wondered how anyone could stand to be around someone so rude- so loud. He thankfully couldn’t hear him from inside the tech booth, which meant neither could Tom. Tom who had been deathly quiet since the door shut. When James turned to look at him, he was staring at the nickel in his hand. “Tommy?”

“‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal’. That’s what he said, but he owned slaves.” Tom looked up at James “What if I -am- him?”

“It’s possible. But even if you were him, at least let yourself remember before you decide what kind of person you were”

Tom nodded and took out his phone “I’m looking him up”

“Don’t”

“... Jemmy, he wrote a book about his soulmate”

“Don’t read it!” James took the phone from him and closed the tab “If you really are Jefferson, you don’t want to read about yourself. You’ll remember her eventually, I promise.”

Tom frowned and was about to say something, but the bell rang. He sighed “Leave your bag we’ll be back here anyway”

James nodded and glanced at out the window. He didn’t let Thomas leave until he saw Hamilton leave.

“You don’t have to be so protective. I’m pretty sure I deserve his shit.”

“Nobody does. Poor Frederick.”

“He seemed fine with dating him.” Tom shrugged “I mean, he kisses well enough to make up for all the other things his mouth does.”

James raised an eyebrow and smiled “That’s not a very heterosexual sentence, Tommy.”

“There ain't a difference, lips are lips. But I’ll admit, that was one of the top five kisses I’ve had. I’m mad about it, but it’s true.”

“I think who it is matters. At least, it would for me. Maybe I’m picky”

“Or demiromantic? I’ve been doin a lot of research on that shit” Tom held the auditorium door open for his friend.

James tilted his head “Why? You’ve always known what you are.”

“For you. It seems like you feel like you’re the only person in the world who feels like you do and it fuckin sucks. You don’t deserve to feel alone.”

James didn’t answer, knowing that Thomas wouldn't be upset with his silence. He wanted to tell him that he never felt alone thanks to him, but the weight of a secret stopped him. He couldn’t risk him finding out about that dream. It was better to quietly fall in love with him than lose him.

«««»»»

The issue was, Adrienne had no idea where she would be going with Mariah. She had no idea if Mariah had a plan or if she should have made one. All she knew was that she had a date with a goddess that day. It was still two hours away from the scheduled time but she already wore the outfit Laf picked out for her. As she worked on perfecting her winged eyeliner, she periodically checked her phone.

She and Mariah had been texting continuously and they had a group chat with their coworker Eliza. If Adrie was honest with herself, she would have been thrilled to go on a date with either girl. Mariah knew this. Adrienne made a point to be honest with her since she was asked out. She knew about Laf, how he used to be her husband, how he has a number of his own soulmates. Mariah was surprisingly understanding about the complex polyamorous network, and she even said she'd like to meet them all someday.
Mariah once even gushed about Eliza with Adrie one day.

Adrienne's phone buzzed and she tapped the screen to read the message.

M: Hey sugar I know this is last minute but I ran into Eliza. We started talking and I half-joked about bringing her to our date tonight and she's actually interested. Her cheeks are so red. How does a triple date sound?
The marquess blinked once, then twice, trying to be sure she read correctly. She could imagine spending the day with both of the girls, sharing kisses. She hastily replied, hoping to answer before Eliza changed her mind.
A: yes yes yes fuck
M: my thoughts exactly. It's perfect.
M: how does a sleepover sound?
A: I like that. Whose house?
M: your parents are really chill right? You said they let Gil stay over
A: sleepovers are privacy guaranteed if that's what you're asking
M: it's exactly what I'm asking. Actually, it was Eliza who wanted to know
M: she's blushing, sugar
A: come over anytime, beautiful
M: is now okay?
A: now is ideal
M: we're on our way but homegirl needs a detour at her place. See you in half an hour
Adrienne let out a delighted laugh and took screenshots of the conversation, which she sent to Lafayette.
L:!!!
L: two ladies! In your room!!
A: two beautiful ladies, I'm so excited
L: three beautiful ladies in all! I bet they're infatuated with you, mon amour
A: I think I might have fucked them both last life
L: almost definitely. But about the name of the other girl. Eliza? Is she who I think she is?
A:?
L: petit lion's wife
A: shit
L: Oui
A: she's my soulmate, Gill
L: yes! So good!! Date those girls, Adrie!
She smiled and sent him a kiss emoji before locking her phone. She headed downstairs and found her mother, who she told about her sleepover that night.

«««»»»

Eliza smoothed her dress as she climbed out of Mariah's car. That morning, she hadn't expected to go farther than the store and now she was helping Mariah grab their overnight bags from the trunk. On the porch, Adrienne opened the door for them.

“Oh look at your dresses!” the French girl cooed when she saw them. Mariah's, as usual, was tight and red. Eliza's was innocent and blue. “ you're both so pretty”

“thank you” Eliza giggled when Adrie kissed her cheeks “you look amazing”

Adrienne began to lead them up the stairs to her room “my boyfriend would be delighted to hear that, he chose the outfit” she turned to and fro, so as to cause her skirt to flutter about her upper thighs.

“Gilbert or one of the others?” Eliza asked, used to the idea of the group after spending weeks getting to know Adrie at work.

Adrie laughed “the others are more his boys than mine”

Mariah smirked “but you've kissed Alex”

“who hasn't?”

Elizabeth felt dizzy and light. She could almost feel hands on her, eager and firm. The only thing she could smell was ink and parchment and a faint laugh was caught in her memory “Alex?”

The conversation, which had carried on, halted immediately.

“he's one of Gilbert's boyfriends” Mariah explained carefully.

“I think I know him”

“the world is smaller every life. Maybe you did”

Elizabeth hummed “I know you two, and you know him. So it would make sense. What does he look like?”

The other two girls shared a look before Mariah shrugged and Adrie spoke “He’s kind of short, he likes his hair long, it’s brown and 90% straighter than him. He’s got these camel eyes but in a good way? Like big with long eyelashes”

“God, this is so weird I definitely know him.”

Adrie swallowed “Would either of you like water?”

Mariah nodded and after a moment of thought, Eliza said “Yes, please”

Adrienne left the room and called Gilbert in the hallway. As always, he picked up the call immediately.

“Mon Amour?”

“Gil, Eliza keeps asking about Alex. She knows she’s met him before and I keep thinking about how he’ll react if we don’t tell him we found his wife.” She whispered into her phone “He’s already looking for her”

“Should we introduce them? I could debrief petit lion so that he knows she doesn't quite remember”

“does tomorrow work?”

“Oui, there's time before my party, and also time for me to meet with my aunt and uncle. But please tell both of those ladies that they are also welcome when we go to my house.”

She laughed “they might show up but I doubt they'd stay the night. Two sexually charged sleepovers in a row might be too much. Not to mention the fact that they've never met any of you”

“Hey, what makes you so sure it will be sexually charged?” Gil asked with feigned offense.

“I have seen you and Alex kissing in the halls like heteros”

“non, heteros suck each other's faces in the halls. I'm reasonably sure I even saw some guy fingering his girlfriend at lunch. But anyway- Papillon will be there”

“Oh right. And Aaron. He's back in that ‘not in front of Robbie’ mood. Anyway baby, I have to go. I'm meant to be getting them water”

“have fun, my beautiful wife”

She grinned, positive she could hear his smile in his voice “late wife. Sleep well”

When Adrienne came back into the room, she had a glass of ice water in each hand and one in the crook of her elbow. Martha was showing Eliza something on her phone, making her giggle. The girls thanked Adrie for the water and Eliza seemed to remember something she thought might be an amusing story.

“My older sister was really cautious when I told her I was going on a date. She kept texting me, wanting to know everything I could tell her about who I was meeting” Elizabeth shrugged “but she calmed down when I told her it was you two”

Mariah smirked, “oh, do you talk about us a lot?”

“you could say that” she blushed “it's all good, I promise. Like how sweet and pretty you both are”

“Aww, Liza, you’re just as pretty and sweeter” Adrie purred, telling herself she’d remember to bring up meeting the boys at some point that night. And she loved the boys dearly but at the time all she could think of was the girls. Betsy with her dark hair and darker eyes and elegantly thin frame perfectly contrasted by her angular jaw. Mariah with dramatic curves that mimicked her curly hair. She was full in her lips, her lashes, her bust and her hips- and truly whole in her presence. They both brought different yet harmonic joys to Adriene’s life. Eliza was motherly, a trait she shared, but she could be just as playful as Adrie and Mariah. Still, of any group, someone must be the shyest and she filled that role with every pink tinge that rested on her cheeks in moments of flirtation.

The girls had soft lips. She knew this from memory but was reminded of the fact by a surprising but welcome kiss Eliza gave her on impulse. And of course, this needed to be encouraged, so Adrie made sure to waste no time in reciprocating the kiss. Both of them could hear Mariah's breath hitch beside them.

Chapter Text

The young reincarnated Marquis de Lafayette woke up next to his boyfriend and… friend, as he was accustomed to, on the morning of 9/6/15. An ache was beginning to grow in his leg as it did every September. Only that year, he understood why. Centuries before, he had been shot in battle just five days after his twentieth Birthday. It was a strange thought to articulate even in his native tongue- the fact that he had been shot after his twentieth Birthday, only to later feel the wound on his seventeenth. Age was a number best not thought about when you were a teenager who remembered arthritis.

He was glad he had come to be surrounded by people who -got- it. Though his aunt and uncle, who were old souls themselves, provided guidance. Especially after his parents passed away. They had handled the funeral arrangements for him. They even helped him pick out urns.

Of course, it was expected of them to help. They were his legal guardians, after all.

Laf glanced at Alex and Aaron sound asleep beside him and sighed. He'd hate to accidentally wake either of them, but Alex had tree limbs wrapped around him and he needed to get to his phone. Uncle Louis was sure to have texted him by then- judging by the sun streaming through the window it must have been eleven already. Aaron and Alex had stayed up longer than Laf, arguing over a school project they had to collaborate on.

Marie couldn't help but wonder how Adrienne's sleepover went. He hoped they had fun. Whether that meant a Disney marathon or a three-way was up to them. He carefully untangled himself from his soulmates grasp, holding his breath as he did. Miraculously, he was able to get up and cross the room to where his phone charged. A few taps on his screen revealed that he did, in fact, have notifications. One was from his uncle as he suspected. He had messages from George, Martha, and Adrienne. Additional, it seemed Frederick had sent him several snapchats.

Frederick had apparently woken up before any of the others, and since Gilbert wouldn't be able to see him that day, he decided to read his messages first. There was a picture of an ornate porcelain teacup, with a tea infuser shaped like an orange cat hanging on the edge of the cup. The caption read ‘Happy Birthday. I've put a properly mad amount of sugar in this. You'd like it’. Next, there was a video of Regina the regal Maine Coon. She ran to Frederick, keeping her eyes on the camera as she meowed. Frederick's voice could be heard saying ‘she'd love to meet you, Gil’. Finally, there was a video of Frederick, viewed from a large vanity mirror. He held his huge cat in one arm and his phone in the other hand. His hair was still ruffled from sleep and he was singing.

Gilbert hadn't heard many renditions of “Happy Birthday” that pretty. Frederick had a really nice singing voice and Laf wondered if Alex had heard it. Had George?

Lafayette shook his head, not willing to think about everything that must have gone wrong in Rome. Instead of that troubling shit, he took a selfie. He made sure to look every bit as delighted as he truly was to hear from him. He wrote ‘thank you! I'm reasonably sure Disney owns that song. I had my suspicion that you're a Disney prince thank you for confirming<3’

Moving on, Laf read the text from Louis. ‘Gilbert, my wife and I pray your birthday goes well. Are you still free to get lunch?’

‘nothing can make today bad, never worry about me! Of course, I am free to get lunch, some traditions are too good to break. I have a lot of news to share with both of you, it is mostly good’

Marie glanced up at Aaron and Alex. Still asleep. He read what Adrie sent. ‘last night went really well! I touched boobs! Happy Birthday my husband. The girls seem interested in the party’

‘I can bring Alex (and Aaron?) To meet them once they're awake and once you're ready. Would you be able to get everyone from there to my house after so that I can meet Louis and Marie for lunch?’

Martha and George each sent well wishes, with obvious variation in romantic content. He sent back his thanks to both of them, grinning at his phone.

With correspondence done, he set himself to dressing for the day and heading to start breakfast. As normal, he was able to complete half of the necessary steps before the smell of bacon and pancakes woke his surrogate family. He was cutting strawberries into neat slices when Grace walked in. She made impressive time in crossing the kitchen to pull Gilbert’s head down to her height to kiss his temple. He nearly expected her to vault the island counter to get to him. She then pretended to sneak a strawberry slice off of the cutting board as she gleefully pronounced “Happy birthday, Marie. You know you didn’t have to make breakfast right?”. She didn’t give him a chance to answer, knowing he’d protest “God, how has it only been two months? Maybe the reason it feels like you’ve always been here is that this is where you’ve always belonged”. She smiled at him lovingly, and, not for the first time, it stopped his heart.

“Je t'aime aussi maman” he nearly whispered, his voice wavering in a way that made the tears he fought audible.

Henry was just as used to the boy as his wife. He knew which emotions he held back and which he showed freely. He knew how to spot those emotions that Marie hid in an effort to never worry a soul. And it’s because of this that when he came into the kitchen with a fancily wrapped box and saw the scene behind the counter, he stopped and asked: “Is this a bad time?”.

To Henry’s relief, his wife and not-son just laughed breathlessly and shook their heads. Grace thought it best not to bring the one word she understood in French to attention. Yet. She’d certainly gush to Henry about what Marie had called her the moment they were alone. She also hoped to tell Marie how happy she was to fill that role in his life the moment she was sure he wouldn’t think he was imposing on her good nature. “I was just telling Marie how well he fits in here”

Henry grinned “Well of course he does. The universe wants him and our boys in one place.” he placed the box on the counter “Happy birthday, stepson. Let me finish breakfast”

Marie would have insisted that he complete his work, had Grace not been already pushing him around the counter towards the box. “Open it, Gil”

He sighed out a laugh “I have not wed your son, sir”

“Color means a hell of a lot more than marriage anyway” Henry waved a hand and grabbed five plates from the cupboard.

Gilbert carefully untied the ribbon around the box, giggling at the tiny Eiffel towers printed on it “I do not remember the tower very clearly, though I do hope to visit it again out of infancy”. Before opening the box, he reached up and tied the ribbon around his ponytail. It was during this action that he noticed Aaron and Alex watching him fondly from the dining table, so he promptly smiled back at them. His fingers lifted the lid just as gingerly. The sight of aged fabric in red and white stripes immediately had him glancing from the gift to the couple with a slightly dropped jaw. Some sort of squeak left his mouth when he actually lifted the fabric to find that the upper lefthand corner was a faded blue field containing thirteen white stars arranged in a circle.

As Marie struggled to find words, Grace explained with a twinge of remorse “It’s not truly from your time, but it’s made to look a lot like what you would have flown”

“It’s beautiful- mon Dieu- it even feels like our flags” he turned his head away from the flag and tried to dab at his eyes. “Thank you so much, this is- this is so lovely. You’re all so kind”

“We know how much those colors mean to you. There's a second part to your gift, but you should look at it more like an offer” Henry put considerable effort into making plating the food exactly like Gilbert always did. “Grace and I have done some research on soul registration. Since technically you have to prove that you are who you say you are. Until recently, you would have had to go to your last place of residence, assuming it still stands as a historical building. But since technology has advanced so far I'm the last hundred years, the standard has been a registration website. Apparently, it was common practice in your time for soldiers at war to write and seal a sentence or phrase that only you would know for identification purposes. Did you ever write down an identification phrase?”

He nodded “I did, after Brandywine. George insisted. To say that me getting shot my first time in battle worried him would be an understatement”

“Well, that’s good. I’m sure the idea of you dying was incredibly difficult for him, I’m glad he considered the essentials. This phrase you wrote will act almost like a password. If a person of considerable historical significance like you boys enters the correct phrase, then the next step would be an interview with an expert to double-check. There’s even an option to have the expert come to us, and we could get all three of you registered at once if you’re interested.”

Laf looked again to Alex and Aaron, and he was glad to see his excitement reflected back at him.

“Do you know how much power I could have on Twitter with my name? All of us- we could make huge progress in queer issues and racial issues just by being us and being vocal”

Aaron laughed “Just give the interviewers a speech like that, they’ll know it’s you”

“We’ve discussed getting registered before. I think it’s definitely something we want to do. We are lucky enough to live in a time and place where people knowing who we love isn’t a death sentence” Marie faltered when Aaron’s smile fell. He swallowed and continued “The book that was published a few years ago won’t force us into hiding. I think the other five who participated in writing it are just as glad that we didn’t endanger ourselves and our loved ones to the extent that we feared. It won’t be the easiest thing we’ve done- dealing with backlash directly- but now more than ever, we have support. We have allies. And we’ve faced an empire before” he smiled down at the flag in his hands “I would love to pick up where we left off. It might even help us find the others. Everyone else. Alex’s original brother. Our other soulmates. Our children…”

“I guess I’m down for another revolution,” Aaron said with an exaggerated sigh.

Henry brought two plates to the table, while Grace and Laf raced each other to carry the others. They ate together, catching up on the plan for that day. Alex nearly cheered when he learned that Adrie found Eliza. He listened intently to the ground rules considering her memory and he promised not to mention any of their past together. However, he pointed out that he couldn’t promise to not flirt with her. He seemed glad Eliza already had two of her soulmates. As the boys headed out to Adrie’s house, Henry took the flag upstairs to hang up in their room.

«««»»»

They didn’t actually go inside her house. It would be more accurate to say that they picked the girls up to walk to Marie’s house since it was better to get the mile walk out of the way. Mariah remembered Aaron, which made for an amusing meeting. She thanked him for getting her divorced all those years ago. Eliza blushed the moment she saw Alex and to him, it felt like the winter’s ball all over again. She always looked so pretty in blue.

It wasn’t Laf’s first time back in his empty family home since The Incident, but it was still strange to see his parents again. He kissed their urns when he entered the large dwelling, just like Adriene did after him. Despite having been inside before, Aaron seemed to only just then notice the painting and the ashes. He hid his pain and concern better than Alex did. Still, they were both second-time orphans just like Laf. They got it. But they couldn’t help wishing Marie hadn’t had to live alone so young again. They at least got adopted. Eliza looked heartbroken by the sight of the young couple in the painting. The worst part was the grinning child with corkscrew curls and chocolate eyes that stood between them. It was amazing that he could still smile the same way.

Gilbert either truly didn’t notice their pitying looks, or he pretended not to with the knowledge that they wouldn’t want him to be saddened by their reactions. He led them to the kitchen, which he and Adrie had stocked two days before in preparation for the first big reunion. They grabbed snacks and drinks to carry into the cinema room. Gil had to leave before the movie started.

«««»»»

His aunt and uncle seemed happy to see him and it warmed his heart. They were a young and incredibly stylish couple, the same age his parents were when they died. Aunt Marie wore her pastel-dyed hair in an ornate braided style. She left a lipstick mark on her nephew's cheek and called him Yves since it was less confusing than their shared name. She bore a slight resemblance to her late sister. Louis was a foodie.

They asked Yves to fill them in on everything they had missed in his life as always. He grinned at the chance to tell them. “I’ve finally started to remember. It started at school right after the last time I saw you. A boy named Alex started talking to me and he has an adopted brother named Aaron. Adrie and I got really close to them by summer break. I found out for sure that Adrie is one of my soulmates. Alex is another. I ended up staying with Alex and Aaron for a while. I kinda live with them”

“Do you remember anyone else?”

“Yeah, I think I remember most of my soulmates. I met George Washington and Robert Troupe- they’re a few of them” he blushed “I’ve been getting my memories back pretty rapidly but it’s not as weird as I always thought it would be. At this point, I’d guess I remember about 50%. I don’t think I’m quite ready to be reading my old writing though. It’s so strange that now most of my memories of France are of places that have all changed so drastically since the last I saw them. Though I think I’ve read that Versailles is mostly the same.”

“It’s surprisingly similar, considering all the other changes” Louis nodded.

Yves grinned “We can finally talk about the past. I’ve always wanted to know how you two lived back then”

Aunt Marie’s eyebrows drew together “dear, if you don’t know how life was for us then I’m afraid you’re still not ready for us to say anything”

“Oh. I’m sorry I don’t remem-… merde. Are you…” his eyes got wide as he looked at them and connected the dots. “I… I’m sorry I disobeyed you”

“What, in 1777? Fate clearly wanted you in America. Honestly, we should apologize for holding you back. I was honestly concerned it was a quest for revenge since the English killed your father in the same damn continent. And losing you in that revolution would have been an end to your family line.”

“For god’s sake, Louis, just admit that you were genuinely worried about the boy and not his bloodline. He’s your nephew now there’s no point in regressing back into pseudo-indifference” Marie Antoinette turned to Yves “I’m sorry for laughing at you in front of the court dear”

He laughed breathlessly “No need, it was a funny story to tell”

She smiled “good boy. So, have you decided which of your soulmates you will marry this time?”

“I literally just turned 17, it’s a different time”

«««»»»

Gilbert returned to the happy surprise of a decorated house. Everyone he had invited was there, thanks to complex plot with Martha and Robert's mother. Robert's father thought Rob was spending the night with Martha, who promised to tutor him in math. The ruse was strengthened by Martha's performance complete with the use of his birth-name and incorrect pronouns (by his suggestion). It worked, and Robert seemed eager to tell the story through a lens that found the humor in it. He compared it to the sketchy shit they used to have to do when they fought an impossible war.

News that Gilbert’s legal guardians where once the king and queen of France received mixed reactions. George couldn’t seem to wrap his mind around the idea and Eliza (bless her heart) was amazed that Laf knew people that famous, but Adrienne was just shocked that Gilbert hadn’t figured it out yet. Apparently, it was obvious. Alex nearly commented on the amount of ex-royalty in their circles, but the topic of Frederick was best avoided.

Seeing so many of his loved ones together in one room made Fae more than a little emotional. Still, nobody could shake the knowledge that they were missing many people. The worst part is that half of them couldn’t even remember everyone that they hadn’t been reunited with. Memories had holes and some faces they tried to recall simply couldn’t take form. The knowledge that they had loved some people they couldn’t even remember the name of was especially prevalent in the minds of Alex and Lafayette. Neither could remember the first time they saw purple. Neither could quite place why they had clear memories of sobbing through a hanging late in the war. But they pushed the negative away to be thankful for all the positive changes to their lives in the past months. They let themselves be glad that they had any tangible memories from the past at all. They were thankful just to see everyone’s faces again, even if Eliza didn’t know them at all, let alone with the intimacy they used to have with her.

Eliza and Maria wouldn’t be staying the night, but they had fun watching rom-coms with everyone else. It was during “What If”, starring Harry Potter and other people, that the two of them decided it would be best to get back to Mariah’s car before the sun went down.

As much as their departure took away from the fullness of the group, it did allow for some more open discussion about the past, as well as the opportunity to make Laf open presents to see exactly how big that smile could get. They had Laf sit in the living room as everyone’s gifts were piled on the coffee table. At Laf’s insistence, cake was distributed before he untied any bows.

While they ate, Martha made a suggestion “I think we should go around the room and talk about the first time each of us met Gilbert. I can start but I confess George’s letters made me feel like I already knew him. I remember thinking that he was an amiable and courteous young man. I was definitely glad that George had another two soulmates he clearly loved. However, I confess being concerned that he and Alex had thrown themselves into such a treacherous war at such a young age. Especially since I happened to meet them at Valley Forge, where men, women, and children of every class and rank were dying…. But George had boys that brought light to the darkest winter we had seen so I knew they would make it.” she laughed softly and pulled Gilbert’s head to her to kiss his temple like grace had. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have gone on so long, I would hate to be the reason Alex talks until sunrise by setting a bad example”

“Nothing will stop me from talking until sunrise about my number one French twunk,” Alex assured her before everyone looked to Washington, who was sat next to Martha.

“Is it my turn?” at a chorus of nods, George sat up and took a moment to gather his thoughts. “Meeting Gilbert both reassured me and shook me to my core. I knew immediately that he and Alex would bring much-needed help to the war, but in truth, I considered sending them away. As a soldier, I had always had disdain for officers who pursued the company of subordinates. I felt the same to older men who… prayed on youths. Still, two geniuses of 19 and 20 entered my tent and completed my spectrum. It was troubling. The nail in the coffin at the time was that I knew I wouldn’t be able to know them without falling for them.” he sighed “I don’t mean to ruin a lovely prompt with a grim speech but at the time, most of my thoughts were grim. Both of them help remedy my gravitas just as much as Martha does and every day I wake thankful that I am permitted to be near them.” he cleared his throat awkwardly and looked at Aaron on another couch to his left. “Hopefully yours is more cheerful”

Aaron shrugged “Alexander introduced me to him. We all happened to be ridiculously drunk that night but I remember him singing with us” he smiled softly “he couldn’t keep up in English so he sang in French instead. I had never felt so close to people I hadn’t known long but that night, with Alex, Robert, and three loud strangers, I couldn’t get the word ‘family’ out of my mind” he shrugged again “I’m sure all of you have more clear first memories of him”

“Those are such sweet stories, wow” Robie smiled wistfully, caught up in the emotion “You weren’t the only one panicking, Mr. Washington. I thought I was going to die that first night I drank with my soulmates. I remember not wanting to close my eyes, even just to blink. All within an hour my world had filled with color and I had met the most beautiful people I had ever seen. I started genuinely wondering if they were gods” he giggled “I was ready to worship. Laf was Apollo, but even in that dim tavern, he smiled brighter than gold in the sun. Maybe it was his accent but I thought he was speaking entirely in poetry. Like, I knew I was queer but I never really anticipated what meeting people I’d undeniably fall for would be like. The craziest part of everything was how much I had told them by the end of the night. I think I would have still been drunker than I had ever been even without a drop of alcohol. It was the happiest I had ever been, and the most terrified. I think that’s something a lot of people like us felt back then”

Once everyone realized Robie was done and Alex was next, Aaron held up a hand “ let me set up a timer. You have a max of five minutes.”

“Fine but you best believe my gay ass is using every second of that.” Alex waited for his queue to start “Okay. I quickly realized that Laf and I were kindred spirits in a way. Immigrant orphans with a lust for experiences. I thought I would find every bit of myself in him and the thought wasn’t the best selling point for a soulmate. But he surprised me. He was the most generous person I had ever met and at first, I genuinely thought he might have been too rich to understand money. Until his generosity proved to extend past coin. He was willing to be our support the moment we all met. He was willing to be the person consoling us after every nightmare and every emotional breakthrough. He turned everything I thought I knew about the nature of humanity on its head and I loved every second of it” he kept talking as fast as he could, trying to fit as much of his adoration into five minutes as he could. Aaron’s timmer did eventually go off, however, and when it did, he was in the middle of a sentence about how Gilbert was the perfect mediator and how he hoped that he could help him in return by demanding emotional honesty when Gil’s hurt. Robert cooed and wrapped his arms around Alex.

Adrienne looked at Gilbert before beginning her story. Her eyes softened when she saw that he had apparently been crying since the beginning of the emotional sharing. She grabbed his hand and leaned her head on his shoulder “I don't remember ever meeting Gill. In both lives, he's just been a fact of life”

Chapter Text

September had been hard enough. Then December rolled by and John and Hercules could do nothing but remember every winter spent with their other soulmates. Hercules knew it was bad when one night, John called him crying. He told him how much he’d give to be back in that time. He would have lived through a thousand winters at Valley Forge just for the chance to hold Alex, Lafayette, and Robert again.

Valley Forge was hell and John couldn’t deny that he -missed- it. Hercules understood. He tried to. But the simple fact was that John missed so much of their lives in the 18th century. He had only six years with his soulmates before a bullet tore the life from him- tore the green from their world. On top of longing to see them again, John dreaded the possibilities. That night in December, when he and Hercules talked for hours, John listed those fears. “Herc, what if they forgot me”

“People don’t forget soulmates, Johny”, came the soft reply.

“What if I’m not how they remember?”

“You’re exactly how I remember”

“What if… What if we don’t get along anymore? Herc yall grew up. Yall lived decades longer, you had kids and saw them have kids. What if I’m too immature?”

“I promise you, they were every bit as immature as the last time you saw them. Do you want to hear stories?”

John sniffled and nodded before realizing Hercules couldn’t hear that “Yes please”

“Alex locked himself in his office to avoid Jefferson. Multiple times. One time, after they finally got together, T.Jeffs found out Alex hadn’t slept that night, but Alex was avoiding him so that he couldn’t be forced to stop working. So Jeffs sent this scared little intern to fucking spy outside of Alex’s office door to wait for him to go take a piss. Alex opened his door and saw this kid, and he fucking interrogated him. The way he told it- the kid was fucking crying, and he promised not to tell Jefferson he was out of his office before Alex actually left. But Jefferson was around the corner down the opposite side of the hall and he watched him leave and sprinted to the office, closed the door, locked himself inside”

John laughed and wiped his face “This is the history that matters”

“Right? That man was a president later on. Anyway, Alex got back and he couldn't open his door so he was pissed. He and Jefferson started yelling at each other through the wall and when it was clear Jeffs wouldn’t back down, Alex went and snitched on him to Wash”

“Holy shit”

“So Washington, president of the fucking united states, had to go help his soulmate with his soulmate’s soulmate, right? But it probably looked more like a long-suffering dad dealing with children. So he walked Alex back to the office door and Wash knocked. There was silence. Then fucking pasta-headed palm-tree lookin ass Jefferson -strolled- down the hallway to stand next to him. Wash thought Alex was either lying or he made a mistake but Alex was just glaring at Jefferson and Jefferson had this shit-eating grin. Washington noticed how tired Alex was and he sent him home- but the next day, Jefferson had to crawl back in through the window to unlock the fucking door for him”

“That sounds exactly like how I remember him.” he took a deep, shuddering breath “I miss them.”

“I know babe”

“... You know the daycare we went to?”

“Yes?”

“Do you think they have records?”

“Oh shit”

 

«««»»»

 

John sat in the passenger seat of Hercules’ beat-up car, rapping along with a Kendrick song on the radio. Hercules took every chance he could just to look at him. He wanted to take in the moment so that the details would still be fresh multiple lives down the line. He wanted to remember how beautiful he looked, head slightly tilted back, the sun on his freckled cheeks. His hands, with those scarred knuckles flicking to the beat as he kept time. His ripped jeans and his letterman jacket, his drawn-on sneakers, the curls that fell loose from the messy bun he hastily tied after they made out. The way his eyes slid shut in serenity, only opening briefly and slightly.

Hercules couldn’t stop smiling. “Two boyfriends driving around in their letterman jackets in a shitty car. It’s honestly -such- a look”

“The realest aesthetic” John slurred lazily, opening his eyes halfway to gaze at Hercules. “Do you know how hot you look?”

“Take a picture”

“Shit, you’re right. We really should document this a little, right?” he picked his phone up as the GPS app told them to turn right. He switched to the camera and waited for the motion in the car to settle after the turn. He took a selfie with Hercules, and then several more. He didn’t put his phone down, he just kept taking pictures. Some of himself, some of Hercules, some of both. And when they pulled up to the old daycare center that was miraculously still running, he took a picture of that too. “Do you think we’ll ever move somewhere it snows?” John asked as they got out “I mean I don’t hate California, I just crave that good cold floor slushie, you know?”

“Yeah, completely. After everything, cuddling in massive piles in the winter really feels like -us-. It’s our thing. California winters kinda take away the excuse”

John held the door open for Hercules, before walking in himself. It was Hercules who spoke to the young woman behind a counter “ hello Miss. We used to go here when we were very young. Our soulmates actually went here too, and we remember them from our past lives but we don't know how to find them..:”

Her eyebrows went up “oh… do.. you have ID?”

“Okay, yeah, right here” John pulled out his school ID and Herc produced his driver's license. Their names and ages were typed into a computer, in case the records were computerized. She frowned “ No luck boys. I can talk to my boss, she's owned the place for like twenty years”

John clasped his hands together “that would be great, thank you so much”.

The young woman pushed open a door that was behind her. “Mrs. Schultz? Some guys are here and they used to go here, they're wondering if you can help them find their soulmates..?” tree was a pause before the woman turned back to them “did you happen to be in attendance in the early 2000s”

John looked down at his hand and started counting on his fingers, but Hercules nodded, reaching over to stop him.

The woman passed on the affirmative and in moments, an older motherly looking woman came into the lobby. She handed a butter knife and some jam to her employee with a gentle “could you finish preparing lunch for tomorrow, dear?”. She then turned to the boys and narrowed her eyes to study them. Her pointer finger tapped her chin contemplatively. “James? No couldn't be. Hercules, then. And John, of course”

“how do you recognize us?” john questioned in awe.

“Well dear, it's not always we get a group of high-influence old souls in at once. It's hard not to remember you kids with all of the phantom bleeding and strong emotions. Even as kids it was clear all of you had powerful souls. I'd bet you all shaped history in your own ways. Or you will”

“high-influence Old souls?”

She nodded “it's a phrase used a lot in the study of reincarnation. Have you heard of the tapestry metaphor? Where all of history and fate is a giant tapestry, and every life is a string that helps make it. In a tapestry, you can remove some strings without damaging the whole thing, but you'll charge it. Some strings are integral to the tapestry and if they are pulled, it falls apart. Those strings would be high-influence”

John and Hercules had leaned forward in fascination “how do you tell a kid is high-influence?”

“Sometimes it's obvious. Those who have familiars, like Frederick. But they're extremely rare, only about two hundred are alive right now. With old soul kids, most of the time you can't tell they had been alive before without a phantom wound. But you kids were different. Half of you couldn't speak but you were able to convey a complex range of emotions. Some of you seemed to have grudges. Charlie bled from a bullet wound at least once a week. Most of you cuddled. You'd cling to each other like lifelines. And you recognized color. That was the most remarkable thing. You colored everything the right colors and kids don't do that.” she took a deep breath “so you remember your soulmates?”

“I.. Uh, yeah, we do. All of them”

Her eyes widened momentarily before she laughed “that explains a lot. Who do you already have contact with and who do you need to find?”

“it's actually just us so far. We'd be glad to find anyone in the group but uh” John blushed and scratched the back of his head “Alex, Gilbert, and Robert are our priorities”

Her eyebrows drew together “well now, don't I look silly, I can't remember a Gilbert -or- a Robert. What where they like?”

Hercules and John shared a confused look “well Gilbert had a lot of names. I guess his actual first name is Marie? He was French and he had like, medium dark skin and curly hair? Rob was a pale blonde chubby guy, but he only has the one given name”

“there was a Marie. He seemed to like everyone. And Alex was there, he was more selective with his bonds. He'd nap with both of you, and Marie and Alice. But he was also extremely close to his brother.”

John tilted his head “last life, Alex had a brother named James, was that him?”

She shook her head “Alex's brother was named Aaron, he was really close to Charlie and Theodosia. Alice too, but he got into nonsense fights with Alex over her…” she shrugged and grabbed a piece of paper and a pen “I'm going to give you Marie's parents' old number and Alex's parents' old numbers. I don't know if they've changed or not. Also, their addresses. I hope they haven't moved. I'd give you other numbers, but I don't know how… liberal those parents are”

They nodded in understanding and took the paper as they were sent on their way. In the car, John stared at the paper. “I thought I remembered everything”

“me too. But who the hell is Alice?”

“I don't know. Someone only Alex Burr and Fae knew? How the fuck are Alex and Burr brothers now? That sounds like a disaster”

Herc took the break off and pulled out of the parking lot, listening to the gravel under his wheels.“ their poor parents. They probably can't even get them to be in the same building as each other”

Chapter Text

Frederick was… actually happy. The realization hit him during one of his regular Skype calls with his oldest friend.

He had been on four dates with Alexander. There was a Barnes and Noble next to a movie theater and that was the only place Alex would let him take him. Nothing expensive. Just books and films. Alexander was witty and beautiful, though that he already knew. He had an ambition that could defy nature given the right goal. It was that same drive that helped to put the final nail in his coffin during the rebel uprising just over two centuries ago that Frederick admired unwaveringly. Alexander had also given him his first kiss that didn't hurt in any way in the back of the fantasy isle. The symbolism was not lost on Frederick.

He had also had the pleasure of three dates with Lafayette. Lafayette had been the gentlest person to ever look at Frederick with something other than indifference. They shared meals in high class restaurants. On the third date, Lafayette had worn heels and makeup. Apparently it was something he had been trying to find the courage to do in public and Frederick couldn't fight the pride he felt watching his date grin with confidence, dressed exactly the way he wanted to be. That night they had walked in the park, Gilbert's stilettos in hand. The moon was full and nobody was around so Frederick asked for a dance. As it turned out, Lafayette had very specific bad experience with dancing with royalty. But he tried anyway, only stepping on Frederick's foot once.

The best part of it all was the fact that since the day he agreed to date Alexander, emotions hadn't been mentioned.

Telling all of this to John Andre, known romantic, was a complete mistake. Andre grinned at Fred from his laptop screen. “Frederick you're gushing. And I can't blame you, I've met both of those young men”

“yes, quite intimately, I'm aware. But it's nothing definitive. If anything it's experimental”

Andre leaned forward in his computer chair “I think you would be foolish to think there is no way they are your missing soulmates”

“I think it would be foolish to think any soulmate the universe assigned to me might be a better fit than the first” he countered “you should know how well that went”

“better than any man fortunate enough to not have found his dear friends on the battlefield. Blood seeping through your armor and Regina in your arms… only to find that you were both still breathing. Dying. I witnessed all of this Frederick but I am reasonable enough to know that one wretched soulmate does not ruin your chance for love”

“But he wasn't wretched, John.” Frederick sighed out “you know this”

Andre resigned to this fact, but pushed on “he did wretched things to you”

“Did you know that I never told him? He never knew that I saw any color and he never received a color from me. Both of those lives I was nothing to him but a man he despised. Someone who gave every appearance of returning that sentiment. Someone to fuck his frustration out with. He was always a good man. And John… John, I'm so clearly his opposite. You know what that makes me.”

“perhaps a life of only seeing black and white has made you accustomed to such thinking, my friend. But in this life, you have a whole spectrum. Just like them.”

“most people have a full spectrum.”

“they didn't when I knew them. Lafayette could not see red and Alexander was missing pink. But they aren't missing anything anymore. Just like you, they saw the spectrum as toddlers. And they grew up in that town- the same town you have spent every December of your life in”

“you sound like my parents.”

“fine. Just finish packing.” he paused and smiled warmly “And tell Regina to be ready. I will be seeing you both for Christmas”

Frederick felt his heart soar, returning to his joyous mood from earlier “you're coming?”

“I will cancel my flight if you don't get to your car in the next ten minutes. Meeting your boyfriend's parents for the first time is a momentous occasion and being late is unacceptable” his smiling face disappeared from Frederick's screen.

Fred sighed and grabbed his overnight bag, which primarily held everything Regina needed. He called out to her to get ready to head out and she meowed in response from the bed, standing up to stretch. When she trotted over to him, he picked her up and opened the bedroom door. He said goodbye to his grandparents as he passed them.

The sun was about to set when they got into their car. Regina sat in the passenger seat, her tail wrapped around her feet. Frederick buckled the seatbelt around her before buckling his own. As he began to drive, he remembered the conversation from earlier “Hey Reg, I don’t know if you heard, but Johnny's coming for christmas”

She purred happily, making Fred grin.

“Are you excited to meet Alex and Fae?” if there was apprehension in his voice, it was only because her opinion was literally the most valuable in the world. She sneezed. “Cheers, mate, glad I asked”, Frederick deadpanned. He bit his lip when the gps informed him that he had arrived. He almost wished he could go back to his old romantic habits, where keeping emotions locked away and surviving every interaction with his partner were his only concerns. Almost, but the thought of just one more painful kiss made him sick. He had tasted fondness and he could no longer stomach the hatred he used to hold in high regard. Anything was better than an apathetic lover hungry for only his power. Nothing hurt more. He'd preferred the feeling of a soulmate’s blade in his chest to the touch of someone who didn't even care enough to hate him.

Frederick's knuckles were pale from his grip on his steering wheel as he sat in his parked car, staring at the warm light emanating from the living room window of a house the sun was setting behind. It was two stories tall and Frederick could just imagine the happy family inside. Two soulmates, their adoptive sons and one son's soulmate. Two successful pairs. Five souls that fit in where the universe put them.five souls each younger and more in tact than his own.

He felt incredibly silly. He, an ancient being, completely new to… he didn't want to think about it as love but it was becoming harder for him to keep denying how he felt. Of course, he was in love millennia ago. He was equipped to feel it but all evidence suggested that nobody could ever-

Regina glared openly at Fred, taking his attention for herself. He sighed and unbuckled her seatbelt, freeing her to hop into his lap and put her paws on his side window to stare at the house. Fred put an arm under her and opened the door. With a cat and a bag, he approached the happy family home.

The door was opened (before Fred could knock) by Lafayette. He must have seen Fred hesitate in his car, but he was too cordial to mention it. “oh, my little king, I'm so glad you came. Is this her majesty?”

Fred grinned and nodded, presenting Regina “her majesty Regina of Rome. Here, hold her, she'll love that”

Gilbert gently welcomed her into his arms, biting his lip in joy when she purred against his chest. “Madame, it is an honor to meet you. I must say, you are even more beautiful in person than I was prepared for”

“oh fuck, babe, is that -her-?” Alex asked, joining them at the door. He scratched Regina behind her ear “beautiful queen. So regal”

Frederick starred silently, his mouth slightly ajar. Part of him had hoped that they wouldn't get along with Regina. It would have given him an excuse. Some flaw he could focus on to keep himself out of love. But instead he had to watch them praise her and respect her while she purred in their arms like an engine. Really, she had Frederick under the impression that she would never trust his suitors. People Fred went to bed with were routinely hissed at, sometimes scratched and bitten. He couldn't blame her, when his death meant her death. She really did deserve to live longer than twenty-five in Rome. Perhaps she had forgotten not to trust them.

But Frederick couldn't imagine those two hurting him or Regina. They had never raised their voices at him or made him bleed. All they did was… praise and respect.

Frederick blinked, trying to lessen the stinging in his eyes “oh fuck you both, I'm in love”

Alexander and Lafayette shared a quick look, though Fred was under the impression that they communicated volumes in that moment. Lafayette grinned and Alex spoke “so are we, Freddy”

Alex pulled him inside and guided him up the stairs to a surprisingly plain room. His hands found Frederick's cheeks and gently wiped away a few tears. Lafayette gave a feather light kiss to Fred's temple and Frederick found himself on the bed with them. Instead of undressing him, they just pressed their bodies to his. He could feel their heartbeats.

Fred has spent most of his time with them joking. He rarely took anything seriously and under no circumstances did he ever talk about anything he felt. But in that moment, Frederick was struck with the realization that he was in absolutely no danger. Nobody was going to assassinate him or lie to him for political gain or try to hurt his cat. Nobody was going to use anything against him. The sound of his boyfriend's humming mixed with Regina's purr and it sent Frederick into uncontrollable sobs.

 

«««»»»

 

While Alex and Laf had their ancient royal boyfriend over, Aaron stayed in his room. He wasn't going to spend the night alone, however. Rob's mother had sent him over to wait while she made the difficult phone call to tell her husband that she won't be letting him back in the house after his business trip. But Robert didn't want to talk about it.

He had his head on Aaron's shoulder and Aaron wished he could put his arm around him. “ hey Aaron?” he asked softly, his eyes on the bookshelf “do you think we remember enough to read our book?”

Aaron thought, but he couldn't remember exactly what he had written. He knew it was sad. Specifics sometimes escaped him, but he was confident in his memory, so he nodded. “I don't think I can speak for anyone else, but I think I do. What about you?”

“I'm pretty sure I'm as ready as I'll ever be. I distinctly remember that I forgot the words I used after I sealed it and sent it to France” he chuckled “it's funny that I can remember whole passages of letters but I can't even remember what I wrote”

“I forgot what I wrote too. It makes sense though. I'm sure you read and reread those letters, but Lafayette didn't even want us to revise our stories”

“hey, don't tell him, but I didn't give him my first draft. I Uh.. I burned the first three.”

“well I'm curious” Aaron patted Rob's arm and stood up to grab Fae’s copy of The Colors I See. “I bet yours is eloquent, since you had the luxury of multiple tries”

Rob smiled and tilted his head “I don't know why you think I could write about being in love and not ramble like a dork. I bet yours is better put”

“Jefferson and Fae probably have all of us beat and you know it” Aaron sat back down and ran his fingers over the leather binding and the gold-edged papers. “I can't believe Adrienne let Gilbert get the gaudiest one”

“I think it's pretty. I definitely never expected something I wrote to be in such a fancy book.”

“Alexander would have had a book like this made from your letters given the chance. A volume for each of you”

Rob gently took the book and opened it to a random page “then I'm sure he'll love this. Gill said there'd be a collection of romantic letters in the box he put our essays in”. He pointed to the words “there, see? ‘cold in my professions, warm in my friendships’, that's all Alex.”

Aaron nodded and scanned the page “wait, he invited John to his wedding night?”

“it sounds less like a three way when you say it like that. ‘final consummation’ is a lot more direct. I don't think he ever actually took him up on the offer, but Fae did”

“I know” Aaron nodded, thinking back to times he had wondered if Eliza remembered which man she married. “hey, how many historians do you bet read this book and said ‘of course, we don't know if they were lovers by today's standards’?”

“so many. Aaron. Aaron,. Don't you know gays weren't invited until 1950?”

Aaron let out an undignified snort “we're all just really close palls, who wrote hyperbolically, using soulmates and colors as a metaphor for our deep platonic love”

“obviously. And of course, every use of words like intercourse was just linguistic inconsistencies which were, as you know, indicative of the time”

“and when Hercules Mulligan inevitably writes about nothing but sex with guys, that's metaphorical too”

Robbie giggled, his laughter interrupting his words “there's… there's no way Herc wrote about anything but sex. God, I hope he didn't go into extreme detail” Rob looked at the table of contents, then flipped to near the back of the book “oh you went last”

“wait, we're reading mine first?” Aaron asked, suddenly nervous. He knew for a fact that he had written about Robert.

“yep” Rob put his head back on Aaron's shoulder and held the book in Aaron's view.

As he expected, it started off on a bleak note. He had written about how shocked he was that Lafayette had even sent him a letter. Rob grabbed Aaron's hand and squeezed. As Aaron's eyes moved down the page, his heart dropped and his blood ran cold. The third paragraph started with the words ‘the first person I ever loved was in fact not a soul mate of mine”. Aaron wanted to get up and leave before he had to witness Robert's reaction. He must have been angry, or disgusted to find out that after everything between Alex and Aaron, that Aaron still had the audacity to write about loving him. If Aaron really did love Robert, he shouldn't have killed his soulmate.

Rob was quiet for a long, uneasy moment. His still was only broken when he lifted his hand to turn the page. He had read over multiple paragraphs detailing Aaron's love (and, undeniably, lust) for him without any noticeable reaction. Of course, Aaron couldn't see the boy's face, so he might have been every bit as angry as Aaron expected. But something curious happened, because on the next page, Aaron had written about Charlie. Rob gave Aaron's hand another reassuring squeeze. Suddenly, Rob moved the book away from himself and sniffled. “fuck, I'm sorry”

Aaron blinked “wait, -you're- sorry?”

“cause I'm crying. It's just… you never told me what he said and… fuck I miss him, but I'm not even” he wiped at his eyes “I'm sorry, cause me crying doesn't help you”

Aaron swallowed and wrapped his arms around Rob “you know you have a right to cry, right? He was your friend. You never need to be sorry about having empathy, Robbie”

“okay” he took a few deep breaths. “um… about that first part…”

“yeah, sometimes it actually -is- just old timey platonic declarations of love”

Rob nodded “I thought so”