Chapter 1: I.
"Ugh" Alexander groaned and dropped his head onto John's shoulder. John looked down at his friend sympathetically. They were two hours into a heavy study session. Midterms were coming up and they were both swamped. "Remind me again why I wanted to be a lawyer?"
"Because you have a passion for making sure people are treated fairly by our laws?" John greatly admired that his friend was studying to be a defense lawyer for populations that were so often swept under the run.
"No, that doesn't seem right," Alexander mumbled sleepily.
"Oh I know, it's because you love living off of coffee and two hours of sleep."
"Yeah, that seems about right." Alexander laughed slightly bitterly and went back to reading his law textbook, but he left his head on John's shoulder. John went back to his own studying. After a little while, he noticed that Alexander's head had grown heavy and he hadn't turned a page in a few minutes.
"Alex?" John said softly. The boy didn't stir. John couldn't see his friend's face, but he assumed that he was asleep.
John knew that Alexander would want to be woken up, but he couldn't find it in him to wake up his peaceful friend. He knew that Alex needed sleep so he decided to let him take a half an hour nap. Then he would wake him up.
John tried to go back to studying but the deep sound of Alexander's breathing and the feel of his soft hair tickling his neck was distracting. Plus, Alex's head kept slipping further down and John was afraid he would fall over.
Carefully, John leaned back and moved so that his arm was around Alexander. The young man didn't even move as he readjusted. John tucked Alexander against his side and attempted to go back to reading.
Twenty minutes later, the door to Alexander's dorm room swung open and his roommate Lafayette walked in. He froze when he saw the sleeping Alexander.
"Mon ami, how did you do that?" He asked in amazement, not even bothering to keep his voice down.
"Shhh," John reprimanded.
"Trust me Laurens, once he's asleep, it's almost impossible to wake him up. The trouble is getting him to sleep. How did you do it? I've been trying to get him to take a nap for weeks." Lafayette shook his head in wonder.
"We were just studying and he fell asleep." John would've shrugged but he didn't want to risk waking up Alexander, no matter what Lafayette said.
"Il est fatigué" Lafayette murmured. John saw concern in Lafayette's face as he looked at his sleeping roommate. It made John wonder how little sleep Alexander was really getting.
"Laf, if we move him will he wake up?"
"Alex is so tired, he could probably sleep for days straight." Lafayette said by way of an answer.
"Will you help me?" John gestured to the books and laptop covering their laps. Lafayette gathered everything up. John gently extracted himself and lay Alexander down on the bed. Once again, the exhausted boy didn't wake up. John covered his tucked his friend in and had to resist the urge to kiss his forehead. "Sleep well, Alexander."
"I'm glad to see that you like him as much as he likes you," Lafayette said from behind John, making him jump.
"I don't know what you mean," John said, although he knew his red face gave him away.
"Yes, you do." Laf said, but he didn't push the issue any further.
"Um, can you make sure he is up by his 9 am class?" John sputtered to change the subject.
"Of course, mon ami." Lafayette said
"Okay, well I'm going to go finish studying," John said, backing out of the room and away from Lafayette's knowing gaze.
"Au Revoir Laurens," Lafayette called after him. John heard his friend's laughter as he closed the door.
John returned to his own dorm room, but he wasn't able to get much studying done that night. Lafayette's words kept coming back to him. "As much as he likes you" That was what he had said. John should've questioned why he thought Alexander liked him, but he had been so thrown off by his crush being discovered that he had panicked.
Had Alexander said something to Lafayette? Or was the Frenchmen merely speculating? John decided that it was probably the latter and therefore it meant nothing.
Chapter 2: II.
"God, I need a coffee." Alexander plopped down onto the couch next to John. John was in the common room of their dorm waiting for his laundry to be done.
"Alexander, I think what you really need is a nap," John observed his friend's dull eyes and the dark circles underneath them. Normally, Alexander's big brown eyes sparkled with excitement or amusement, but today it looked like he could barely keep them open.
"Can't, I have an essay to finish."
"That isn't due for a week." John reminded him.
"Yes, but it's the most important paper of the semester. I can't afford to get lazy now." Alexander said regarding him with those serious dark eyes. John couldn't help but laugh, and Alexander's expression changed into one of offense.
"I'm sorry, I just can't imagine you ever being lazy for even a second of your life," John said. Alex's expression softened and he gave him a small smile.
"I'm sure I've been lazy for at least a second."
"I doubt it," John said with a snort. Alexander narrowed his eyes at him.
"I'm going to get coffee."
"No, wait." John grabbed Alex's wrist as he stood up. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't tease. I'm just worried about you." John said truthfully. Alexander gave him a small smile and sat back down.
"I know, and I appreciate it, but you don't have to worry, I'm fine." Alex tucked his slightly messy hair behind his ear.
"Yeah, that's not going to stop me from worrying," John said with a smile, but he didn't argue with Alexander any further.
"And, that's what makes you a great friend." Alex beamed at him. He put one of the couch pillows on John's lap and then settled his head on it. Alexander lay with his legs bent and his laptop propped against them. John bit back a sigh as Alexander began typing furiously. He knew it was a fool's errand to try to convince Alex to sleep.
John began running his fingers through Alexander's dark hair. The strands were soft and silky. Alex almost never wore his hair down, it was usually up in a bun, but John happened to like it down. Alexander's fingers slowed on the keys, but he kept typing.
"That feels good," Alex said, sinking further into the couch. Encouraged, John kept playing with Alexander's hair. He watched in amusement as his friend fought against drooping eyes. Alexander's eyes would close and his fingers would stop typing only to start up a second later as Alex forced his eyes open. John knew the boy was fighting a losing battle, he kept playing with Alexander's hair, hoping that would encourage sleep. Sure enough, a few minutes later, Alexander's eyes drifted shut and remained closed. His fingers were still on the keyboard of his laptop, ready to type away. John gave it a few more minutes and when it became clear that Alexander was fast asleep, he pulled the laptop away and set it on the table.
John continued to play with Alexander's hair. His friend gave a contented sigh in his sleep and sank even further into the couch. They stayed like that for a long time. John knew that his laundry was probably done and that it had probably been dumped onto the floor at this point and he would have to rewash it all, but he didn't care. There was a good movie playing on the TV and the boy he had a crush on was getting some well-needed sleep.
Eventually, it grew late and John knew that he had to wake Alexander up. He didn't want to, but he had to sleep as well and he knew the RA wouldn't let them crash on the common room couch.
"Alexander," John said softly, "Alex, you have to get up so you can move to your own bed." John shook his friend slightly and was shocked when he didn't stir. "Alexander," He said slightly louder. Alex's eyes remained firmly shut. "Hamilton, I can't carry you so you are going to have to wake up," John said, shaking the boy again. "Laf said you were a heavy sleeper, but damn." John knew it was a combination of heavy sleeping and pure exhaustion that was keeping Alexander asleep. With a sigh, John took out his phone and texted Hercules and Lafayette to meet him in the common room.
His friends arrived within a few moments. Lafayette whooped with glee when he saw the scene in front of him. Even that didn't wake up their friend.
"I swear you are the Alex whisperer." Laf said, "You are the only one who can get him to fall asleep."
"Maybe I'm just that boring." John joked
"More like he feels that comfortable around you," Hercules responded.
"Like I tried to say before-"
"I tried to wake him" John hurried to cut off Lafayette before he started talking about his crush on Alex again. "But he is sound asleep. And if he is that tired I would rather let him sleep."
"I got him," Hercules said with a nod, realizing why John had called them down there. The big man reached down and scooped up Alexander like he weighed nothing. John found himself missing the pressure from where Alex had laid on his leg. Shaking off the feeling, John gathered up Alex's school stuff and followed Hercules. Alexander's head lay on Herc's chest and John experienced a sharp pain of irrational jealousy. He wished he was the one holding Alexander in his arms.
"I know I tease a lot mon ami," Laf said as they walked, "but I really do think that Alex likes you a lot."
"As a friend maybe," John whispered back, even though he knew that Alexander couldn't hear them.
"As more than a friend."
"Has he said something?" John couldn't keep the hope out of his voice. The hope was quickly crushed when Lafayette shook his head.
"He doesn't have to, I can tell. He's different around you. He's less intense, more open, happier."
"That doesn't mean he likes me Laf, I don't want to mess up our friendship."
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take," Herc called out from in front of them. "For the record, I agree with Lafayette." They arrived at Alexander and Lafayette's dorm. Laf unlocked it and Hercules settled Alex down on his bed.
"Look, I appreciate what you guys are trying to do, I just don't think Alexander likes me like that." John said, "Now I have to go rewash my laundry, excuse me." He said and quickly walked out of the room before Herc and Laf could say another word.
Chapter 3: III.
John and Hercules were woken up to loud banging on their door. John looked at the clock and groaned.
"Jesus, it's 3 am."
"Who the hell is it?" Hercules shouted
"Lafayette." Was the response. Both boys sat up, immediately concerned for their friend. John got out of bed and hurried to the door. He swung it open to reveal a tired looking Lafayette.
"He won't sleep"
"Who?" John's brain was still muddy from sleep
"Hamilton. He won't sleep. He's been frantically typing for hours and I can't get him to sleep." Lafayette threw his hands up dramatically.
"You know Alex, he doesn't sleep that much. It's not unusual for him to still be awake at 3 am is it?" John asked
"No, but I'm pretty sure he didn't sleep at all last night. He claims he did, but when I woke up he was in the same position he had been in when I went to bed."
"Oh," John heard the sounds of Hercules snoring in the room behind him, indicating that his roommate had gone back to sleep. All John could think about was joining him. "Do you want to sleep here tonight?" He asked Laf, still confused as to why his friend was there.
"Yes, and I want you to go make Alex sleep."
"What?" John yawned.
"This isn't healthy, he has to sleep, and you seem to be the only one able to make him do so."
"I don't know..."
"I do" Lafayette grabbed John's arms and pivoted so their positions were switched. "Just please make him sleep," Lafayette pleaded softly.
"I'll try." John gave in. He wasn't sure he could make Alexander sleep when Lafayette couldn't, but he had to try for the sake of both his friends.
"Oh merci," Laf said with obvious relief. With another yawn, John shut the door and headed off in the direction of Alexander's room. He knocked softly upon arriving. The door was flung open a few moments later by a very disheveled looking Alex. His hair looked like it had been up in a bun at one point, but it was now half falling out and tangled. He was pale and had dark smudges under his eyes.
"Laurens?" Alexander asked in surprise. John walked past him into the room. Alexander's desk was scattered with papers, books, and coffee cups. John turned back to Alexander and found that the young man was looking at him with a worried expression. John realized that he probably looked just as disheveled as Alex.
"Lafayette came and got me." He said by way of explanation. Alexander looked in surprise at his roommate's bed. John realized that he hadn't even noticed his roommate had left. "Oh, Alexander..." John had seen Alexander overworked and tired before, but this was a whole new level. "What is going on with you?"
"I got a B on my History paper for Washington's class. We have one more paper and a test coming up and I need to ace them both." Alex said quickly. John knew it was hard for him to admit that he had gotten a B.
"Alex, this may be hard for you to believe, but a B is fine. Most people would kill for a B in Washington's class. You don't have to worry, you'll be able to pass the class just fine."
"No," Alexander shook his head furiously, dislodging more hair from his bun. "A B isn't good enough. I need a 4.0 GPA to be able to even be considered to get into the best law schools."
"You aren't getting into any law schools if you kill yourself first." John pointed out. Alexander held himself to impossibly high standards and he knew that he would never be able to change that, but maybe he could at least convince his friend to get some sleep.
"I'm not" Alexander was looking at him defiantly.
"Yes you are, now get into bed," John said, looking back just as intensely.
"What?" Alex seemed taken aback.
"Lafayette sent me to make sure you get some sleep and that is what I am going to do."
"No, I want to finish another page..."
"Alexander, I have an 8 am class. I need you to go to sleep so I can go to sleep. Now get in the damn bed." John used his most stern voice. He figured that maybe Alex would go to sleep if he thought it was for John's sake instead of his own.
"Fine," Alexander mumbled, proving John right. He climbed into bed and lay flat on his back, glaring up at the ceiling. John turned the light off and then walked back to Alex's bed. After slight deliberation, he climbed into bed next to the boy. "What are you doing?" Alexander asked, but he scooted over to make room for John.
"I'm making sure you don't get up the second I fall asleep," John said. He lay on his side facing Alex and put his arm over his stomach. John told himself that this was just so that Alexander couldn't move without waking him up, but it was mostly just because John wanted to cuddle.
"If you wanted to cuddle, all you had to do was ask," Alexander whispered.
"What?" John wasn't sure if he had spoken his thoughts out loud or if Alex had read them.
"I like you Laurens, but you sure are thick." Alex chuckled
"What?" John said again. He knew he sounded dumb but he couldn't help it, he wanted to make sure Alexander was saying what he thought he was.
"I like you, John, I like you a lot," Alexander said softly. John wished he could see his face in the dark.
"I like you too," John said, tightening his arm around Alexander, "now sleep, Alexander." Alex made a noise of protest somewhere between a whine and a groan. "We can talk more tomorrow, but first, sleep," John said, although he really wasn't sure how much sleep he was going to be getting. He kept his voice calm, even though his thoughts were anything but.
"M'kay" Alexander murmured sleepily and settled closer to John. Within moments, his breathing had evened out and John was sure he was asleep. John marveled at his ability to drop a bombshell on a person and then fall fast asleep. John tried to sleep, but Alex's words kept echoing inside of his head.
Chapter 4: +I.
"John!" Alexander practically shouted. His boyfriend looked up from the book that he had been blankly staring at.
"Alexander?" John looked at him, he seemed like he was having trouble keeping those beautiful hazel eyes open.
"John, I've been talking to you for five minutes." Alexander sighed and walked over to where John was sitting at the desk. He crouched in front of him and took his boyfriend's hands.
"Oh sorry, I must've spaced out." John gave him an apologetic smile.
"Laurens, what is it that you are always telling me to do?"
"The other thing."
"Bingo." Alex stood up and pulled John up with him.
"What are you saying?" John regarded him suspiciously.
"I'm saying that you stayed up studying too late last night and I think it's time for a nap."
"My Biology paper isn't...going to finish itself." John attempted to protest, but yawning halfway through his sentence ruined the effect.
"You aren't getting anything done. You've been trying to read that page for a half an hour." Alexander pulled John's hand and received no resistance. Alexander may be able to function on 3 hours of sleep, but John usually required a full 8 if not more. John allowed himself to be pulled over to the bed. Alexander pushed him gently down and covered him up. "Sleep babe" Alex kissed John on the head. He turned away but found a hand on his wrist.
"Stay" John mumbled sleepily, tugging on his arm. Alexander had planned on finishing researching for a project that night, but looking down at his adorable boyfriend, he simply couldn't say no.
"Move over," Alex said, scootching into the bed next to John. John immediately threw his arm across Alexander's stomach and snuggled close to his side. "This reminds me of the night I finally told you that I liked you. I had been wanting to do it for a while, but always chickened out. But between the darkness and my lack of sleep, I was finally able to tell you. I am so glad I did." Alexander looked down and saw that John was already asleep. Smiling to himself, Alex tightened his arm around John and kissed the top of his head. "Sleep well, my love."
Chapter 5: Bonus (+II)
This story has gotten more responses than I thought I would, so I was inspired to write an extra part. Thank you for all of your comments! I love reading them all. I hope you enjoy this bonus chapter :-)
Alexander stared at the ceiling. It was dark, but his eyes had adjusted so he could make out the bumps of the textured ceiling. He was connecting the dots like they were stars, trying to make constellations out of the shapes.
John shifted next to him and Alexander quickly shut his eyes just in case John woke up. He didn't want John to know that he was still awake. His boyfriend was unbearable when it came to sleep, or more accurately his lack of it. Alex heard John sigh and knew that his ruse hadn't succeeded.
"Alexander, I know you're awake." Alex kept his eyes closed at John's words, hoping the boy would figure he was wrong and go back to sleep. "You can't fool me, Alex," John said and Alexander finally opened his eyes. John was looking at him sleepily, his eyes half open and his curly hair in tangles around him.
"Go back to sleep," Alexander said, kissing the top of John's head. John shook his head and propped himself up on his elbow so he was looking down at Alex.
"What time is it? Why are you still awake?"
"I don't know" Alexander huffed in frustration. He'd been asking himself that question for hours. "I tried to sleep, I really did. My mind just refuses to shut off."
"That's what you get for having such a big brain," John said with a smile, tapping Alexander's temple.
"Sometimes it works against me" Alex grumbled. He had an 8 am class and he hated going to it when he was sleep deprived. The professor was boring and Alexander's patience for boring things decreased dramatically when he was tired. John smiled at him and gave him a soft kiss.
"Close your eyes," John said, stroking Alexander's cheek. He looked more awake now and was looking at Alex with a familiar expression of worry.
"John, go back to sleep. I'm fine." Alexander pushed John's shoulder, trying to get him to lay back down.
"Shut up and close your eyes," John said firmly.
"Geesh, no need to be rude," Alex said with a smirk as he closed his eyes. John's hand moved from his cheek to his hair.
"Don't worry, 'bout a thing, 'cause every little thing gonna be alright." Alexander's eyes flew open when John started to sing.
"Bob Marley?" He questioned. Even in the dark, he could see the blush on John's cheeks. The boy shrugged in an attempt to seem nonchalant.
"My mom used to sing it to me," John admitted, surprising Alex. John didn't talk about his mother very often. She had died when he was young and John didn't like to revisit those memories. Alexander closed his eyes again and waited for John to start singing again. When he didn't, Alex peeked open one eye.
"That was my cue for you to keep going," Alexander said. John gave him a happy smile and started singing as Alex once again closed his eyes.
"Singin', don't worry, 'bout a thing, 'cause every little thing gonna be alright." John sang as he ran his fingers through Alexander's hair.
"I didn't know you could sing." Alexander couldn't help but interrupt, although he kept his eyes closed so he wouldn't get yelled at. John's voice shocked him and he couldn't believe he had never heard him sing before. His incredible boyfriend just kept getting better and better the more Alexander learned about him.
"Rise up this mornin', smile with the risin' sun," John ignored Alex and continued to sing. "Three little birds pitch by my doorstep." To his surprise, Alexander felt himself starting to drift off. "Singin' sweet songs, of melodies pure and true." Alex wanted to stay awake and hear John sing more, but the combination of John playing with his hair and his sweet, soft voice did him in. He fell asleep to the words, "Don't worry, 'bout a thing"