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John Laurens was having a horrible fucking day to put it lightly. It all started when John’s sister tried to wake him up.

“John, wake your ass up we have to go to school,” Martha had shouted at him, leaning against his door frame and giving him a less than pleased look at the sight of him half hanging out of the window with a blunt in his hand.

John rolled his eyes at the sight of his sister and put the blunt out on the windowsill before hopping back into his room and shutting the window. “Fuck off Martha,” John grumbled, snatching clothes from off of the floor to wear for the day.

“It smells like weed in here,” Martha commented, wrinkling her nose and looking up at John with a slight sneer on her face. “Of course you’re going to school high.”

Gathering together his clothes, John shoved past his sister and made his way into the bathroom to get dressed for the day. He dimly noted the ever-growing scars on his arms, ones that his father almost religiously refused to even acknowledge existed. Tears pricked at his eyes but John furiously wiped his eyes, which were still bloodshot from the weed he had been smoking earlier.

John tried to not focus on all the shitty things going on in his life as he pulled on his clothes almost lethargically. His father was probably going to yell at him for doing drugs and he was probably going to end up either threatening his sister or get into another screaming match with her (John was 90% sure that Martha was scared of him). His thoughts were quickly broken by a harsh pounding on the door.

“Fuck off,” John yelled at whoever was at the door. Really it was only 2 options: Martha or Henry his father (who John adamantly refused to call ‘dad’). The pounding continued on the door until John whipped it open to see Martha standing there, her stance was meant to be threatening in a way but John could see the sparks of fear in his sister's eyes. John probably looked like a psychopath right now, hands gripping the doorframe and an undoubtedly angry look on his face. but oh well.

“Would you mind speeding it up a bit? I have things to do in there too you know,” Martha huffed, crossing her arms over her chest. John almost applauded her, she managed to get through that sentence without her voice wavering. John had a fucked up family to say the least. His mother was dead, his sister was scared of him and hated him, his dad refused to believe that John was depressed or gay and always screamed at him.

“Go away Martha,” John snarled trying to slam the door, but Martha was stronger than that. The two fought for a moment with the door before John grabbed Martha’s wrist in a vice grip and twisting it. “I’ll fucking kill you.” John threatened, shoving Martha to the wood floor and slamming the bathroom door shut again. If John wasn’t so high he might have felt guilty for scaring his sister. Oh well, they already hated each other anyway.

John finished getting dressed, staring at his ragged reflection in the mirror. John loathed the way he looked, tall and just a tad bit muscular, bags underneath his dull, bloodshot eyes, slightly greasy long curly hair that Henry hated, too many freckles on his face, an almost permanent scowl on his face. John tugged a hoodie over him, needing to hide another of his many imperfections; scars from himself.

When John finally opened the bathroom door again Martha was nowhere to be seen, though John could hear muffled cries coming from his sister's room. John didn’t feel too bad for Martha anyway, once they arrived at the first day of the new school year (Senior year for John, junior for Martha), Martha would just revert back to her carefree, bubbly personality she normally had at school. Martha would probably greet her friends with screams of ‘I missed you’ and big hugs. Martha was the golden child and perfect all around person, John was the psychopath, stoner brother to Martha who was dangerous and would probably shoot up the school one day.
Ignoring the crying from his sister's room, John stomped down the stairs and into the kitchen, where Henry was already on his computer, probably doing something for work.

Henry’s displeasure was palpable as he looked up at John who was wearing ratty jeans and a hoodie with chipped red painted nails and his hair covering one of his eyes. Henry scrutinized John for a moment more before returning back to typing on his computer. John rolled his eyes and grabbed a granola bar from the cupboard.

John only started to eat it when his sister thundered down the stairs, chatting animatedly on her phone with some random bitch from school. If you looked close enough you could see Martha’s red-rimmed eyes though. John sort of spaced out before a voice sliced through his thoughts.

“John Laurens, are you high on the first day of high school?” Henry practically hissed, stopping his typing for one second to, of course, notice John’s red eyes.
John rolled his eyes and was about to say ‘wow, you have eyes’ but his sister, who was apparently done with her conversation on the phone, slammed her phone onto the table and spoke up. “He’s definitely high, I went to wake him up and he was already smoking,” Martha announced with a smug smile.

The chair screeched back and fell over when John stood up quickly and jabbed a finger in Martha’s face. “You snitching bitch!” John screeched, not sounding too different from the chair that fell. A small part of him took pleasure in the way Martha flinched back.

But Martha wasn’t a person to shy away from a fight, even if she was scared. “You call me a bitch? I asked to use the bathroom and you fucking shoved me! You’re a huge asshole, I hate you, I hate you, I HATE YOU.” Martha finished screaming, standing up from the table and stomping back to her room.

Henry fixed his son with an angry stare. “John, how could you say that to your sister? And you’re getting high again?” Henry scolded, slamming his own laptop shut. “That’s it, you’re grounded from car privileges for a week.”

“How the hell am I supposed to get to school then?” John demanded, his voice already raising.

“Watch your language,” Henry snapped, going back to his computer work. “You’re going to have to ask your sister for a ride.”

John’s jaw dropped and he tried to protest but Henry just dismissed him with a wave of his hand. So that left John three options. 1. Not go to school 2. Walk or take the bus or 3. Suck it up and ask his sister, who currently hates him, for a ride to school.

He was definitely not doing 3, and 1 was probably out of the question too. So, 2 it was. Sighing, John grabbed his tattered black backpack and swung it over his shoulder.

Today was going to be a rough day.

Henry didn’t even notice John storm out of the door, he was too absorbed in his fucking work to know or care.

When John stepped outside it was pleasantly warm out, which was slightly worse for him since he was wearing a hoodie, but it wasn’t like he was going to take it off anyway. So John decided to walk to school. The school wasn’t that far away anyway.

Suddenly a person smacked into him. John whirled around, prepared to yell at whatever fucker decided to crash into his back. When he turned around it was a short, fidgety boy who looked like he was about to go into cardiac arrest.

“Shit! I am so-so-so sorry,” the boy said, having to tilt his head up to meet eyes with John who just glared down at him. The boy had the most interesting brown eyes, John noted, but he was still pissed.

“Watch it,” John snapped, folding his arms over his chest and looming over the shorter boy. Surprisingly, the boy stood on his tip toes and squared John up.

The boy suddenly had a change in personality, he jabbed his finger into John’s chest and narrowed his eyes. “I told you sorry asshole, you don’t need to be a dick about it.” the boy almost growled. John was a little surprised that this short kid had stood up to him, but he didn’t let it show.

“I’ll fucking skin you,” John threatened, not even having to stand on his tiptoes to still be taller than him. The boy didn’t back down though, instead, his lip curled up and he stepped closer to John, invading his personal space.

“I’d like to see you try,” the boy quipped before stepping away from John and walking away surprisingly fast with his short legs. John just watched the boy leave numbly, that was a first to not have someone be afraid of him. John regretted not taking the bus instead.

By the time John had made it to school the bell had just rung. John just shrugged to himself and decided that he would just skip homeroom after all. So John leisurely climbed up the school's stairwell to the roof. To his surprise, the door was already open.

There was a boy sitting on the railings, smoking what looked like a blunt to John is he ever saw one. The boy's legs dangled perilously over the edge, it was a pretty far drop if he decided to jump.

John decided to try and ignore the boy but of course, he turned around. The boy looked a lot different than the one who had confronted him earlier on the sidewalk. This boy had caramel skin with curly hair that was pulled up into a messy bun, he wore eyeliner and was a lot lankier than the boy from earlier.

The boy gave him a once over before turning back around to look into the distance like he was doing before. Before John knew it, he was taking strides over to the boy and sitting next to him on the railing.

“Mind sharing that?” John asked, gesturing at the blunt between the boy's fingers. The boy gave him a small smile and passed it to John, who took a deep breath and reveled in the good weed.

“Names Gilbert, just call me Lafayette I guess,” The boy-Lafayette said after they passed around the weed a couple of times. He had a thick French accent, he didn’t really seem the type to smoke drugs on top of the school, but John wasn’t one to judge.

“John,” John grunted, taking the blunt from Lafayette again and blew out a ring of smoke, hardly paying attention to what Lafayette was babbling about.

“-And so then I transferred here from France, I already learned English before I left though,” John just nodded along to whatever he was saying, maybe Lafayette had yet to learn about John’s ‘reputation’, or what was left of it. “Did I mention I have a girlfriend back in France? Her name is Adrienne and she is wonderful.”

“Nice,” John commented disinterestedly, taking another drag from the blunt, and another as Lafayette kept going and going and going.

John was snapped out of his thoughts once again by Lafayette saying: “Do you have a girlfriend?” John went rigid at that, his relaxed posture turning defensive.

“No,” John snapped, it came out more harshly than he intended and Lafayette flinched a little. John felt a flicker of guilt, but it was gone as soon as it came.

Luckily, before John had to apologize the bell rang, signaling the end of homeroom. John got off of the railing and waved at Lafayette awkwardly before slinging his backpack over his shoulder once more and walking back to the school’s main floor.

“Nice haircut fag!” someone shouted from in the distance. John knew that was probably meant for him, after all, who could resist bullying the school emo. John trudged on, ignoring all the pointed stares from the other people around him. In that moment John wished he could just disappear.

John watched all the people pass by almost sadly, he wished that he was normal like them. Soon the hallway was clear and it was just John. The bell rang again and John sighed, he guessed he would just have to miss first period too.

“Oh, it’s you,” commented a voice from behind John. It startled him, he thought he was alone. It was the boy who confronted him earlier, just his luck that he would be alone with him in a stranded hallway. The boy looked at him in disdain and raked his eyes up and down John, it made him feel almost exposed.

“You gonna skin me now?” The boy jeered. Was this kids goal really to get under John’s skin so much because of what happened earlier? Apparently so. John tried to ignore him and walk away, but the kid was fast.

“Leave me alone,” John hissed, speeding up his walking. “If you hate me so much then leave me be.” John almost pleaded. The kid wouldn’t stop though.

“What’s wrong? You afraid of me?” the kid taunted, matching his strides with John’s. Everything was becoming too much for John, this taunting kid, being at school in general, kids making comments. John was probably full-on panicking by now, it was kind of his fault anyway for threatening the damn kid.

John breathed heavily, bordering on laughing hysterically, God, he really was a freak. “Fuck you! Leave me alone, I already get taunted enough, I don’t need this bullshit.” John nearly screamed, turning around to face the kid. Who John belatedly realized had really soft looking long brown hair.

The kid snorted and stood chest to chest with John, trying to make himself seem more threatening John supposed. Though something in those brown eyes softened a tad John noticed, they weren’t as steely as before.

“I guess we’re both freaks then,” the kid muttered, finally stepping away from John and giving him space to breathe a little easier. “My names Alexander Hamilton,” he said with a hint of pride in his voice.

John narrowed his eyes at Alexander. “Why have I never seen you around here before, and why did you have to go after me if we’re both ‘freaks’” John said gruffly, putting air quotes are the word freaks.

Alexander shifted a little on his feet. “To answer your first question: I just came here, I just recently transferred to a new foster home,” Alex said somewhat stiffly. “And your second question is well...I got bullied a lot so I guess I just try to be a threatening as possible, I know what it feels like to be a freak.”

John gave Alexander a sort of half smile. “I get where you’re coming from, I get bullied a lot if you couldn’t tell. Apparently, I’m a fag, a school shooter, a suicidal emo kid and more.” John chuckled self deprecatingly, shifting on his feet too.

“Well at least we can both pretend we have friends now,” Alexander teased, it hit a little too close to home for John though. He winced and the smile on Alexander’s face dropped and he coughed a little to mask his embarrassment.

“Er, sorry about earlier, I probably got a little too close to you, like y’know, invading your personal space and all,” Alexander said albeit awkwardly. John smiled a little, he had gone from an annoying tormentor to a potential friend, or at least someone he could relate too.

For the first time in a while, John felt relaxed a little. Even in an abandoned hallway with someone he hardly knew but could immensely relate to. Well, there was probably no way that John would go to all of his other classes so he had a great idea. Possibly.

“So anyway…” Alexander said awkwardly, jolting John out of his thoughts. “Yeah, I just kinda wanted to get that off of my chest since we both kind of established that we’re on the same side..I guess?” Alexander finished, cringing a little bit.

John knew that feeling all too well, so he just decided to shrug. “It’s fine, I guess if you’re going to be nice now,” John said with a small grin. Alexander’s eyes darted up to meet John’s and he smiled a little too.

“Yeah, I guess I will be nicer,” Alexander said with another small cringe. John guessed that Alexander wasn’t all too familiar with people being nice to him, John got that. It was almost like now that all their issues from before had been solved, they were almost instantly connecting. I mean John and him sort of felt the same so… Then yet again, John had never really had a friend before.

John tucked his hair behind his ear and shuffled a bit more. It was awkward to suddenly be talking to someone without a single insult being said.

“Wanna ditch this shit?” John finally got the courage to ask, Alexander looked up from the linoleum floor, a bit of surprise passing over his face before he grinned widely.

“Hell yes.”

Maybe today wouldn't be so bad after all.

Chapter Text

Maybe today wouldn’t be so bad after all.

“So we’re really gonna ditch school on the first day then?” Alexander asked with a small smirk on his face.

John nodded nonchalantly. “I wanted to just skip school altogether, but then Henry would scream at me when Martha snitched on me. Then Martha would be up my ass making sure that I actually went to all of my classes.” John said with a large eye roll. Last time he had tried to skip school (last year) Martha found him on the roof of the school and of course snitched on him. John lost the ability to go out for a week. John went out regardless of what Henry said.

“Well here’s our chance to skip now, we better go before the fucking hall monitors come and scream at us for not being in class,” Alexander commented, looking down the hallways for any sign of the blue sashed hall monitors who prowled around the school looking for kids who were trying to skip class.

“You sure know a lot about this school for being new here.”

Alexander just shrugged, absentmindedly picking at his nails. “My new foster father is the principal of this hell hole,” he said like it was no big deal.

John’s eyes widened almost comically, he wheezed a little at the prospect of Alexander’s foster father actually being the principal. “Wait Wait Wait, you’ve got to be shitting me. Your dad is G.Wash?”

“G.Wash is a new one, and he’s not my dad, he’s my foster dad,” Alexander simultaneously laughing and correcting John. “but to answer your question, yes, he is, in fact, my foster dad. As it has been established like five times now.”

A shouting at the other end of the hallway attracted the two boy’s attention. “What are you two doing not in class?” said the voice. That voice ended up being Dolley Payne, a short, slightly chubby girl with sandy blonde hair and huge tortoiseshell glasses. Dolley wore the signature blue sash around her, signaling the Hall Monitors.

“Shit,” John commented under his breath, looking back at Alexander.

There was a hint of mischief in the boy's brown eyes. Almost imperceivably, Alexander nudged his head in the general direction of the doors. Dolley got closer and closer. Alexander smirked and held three fingers by his side.

“Get to class you two, do you hear me?” Dolley demanded. 2 fingers.

Dolley sped up, her face was almost as red as a tomato with anger. 1 finger.

“Run!” Alexander shouted when he put the last finger down.

John and Alexander darted towards the doors. Now picture this: a scraggly tall boy in dark clothes running side by side with a short boy in a ratty sweatshirt, being pursued by a girl in bright blue with a red ass face. Definitely, a weird sight to see.

Alexander started to speed up, unluckily, John wasn’t fit since he spent most of his time cooped up in a dark room doing who knows what. “Hurry up,” Alexander hissed at John, smacking him lightly on the arm for him to speed it up. For a short guy, Alexander was awfully fast.

Even though Dolley chased after them like an angry bull and John was grossly out of shape, he and Alexander reached the front doors of the school in record time. They pushed open the front doors and raced outside to the main courtyard. By the time the two stopped they were red in the face and heavily panting, but laughing nonetheless.

“I can’t believe we just did that,” Alexander said breathlessly, clutching his stomach and laughing so hard that it was more like wheezing.

“This has been an eventful first day,” John agreed, coughing a little bit from running too fast. The coughing fit made his eyes well up with tears, which he quickly brushed away. “First I get yelled at by my sister and Henry, then I walk outside and get practically attacked by a gremlin, then I get high on the roof, and then I make friends with said gremlin and outrun a hall monitor.” John laughed. Earning a small frown from Alexander from being called a Gremlin.
“Alexandre? John? You have met each other, oui?” A heavily accented french voice asked from behind the two boys. John turned around to see Lafayette from earlier, he was on video chat with some girl with long black hair and fake square black glasses.

Alexander turned around and his eyes lit up. “John, you met Laf? Isn’t he fucking great? Did you know he has a girlfriend back in France? She’s also great, oh yeah and on video chat.” Alexander rambled at a surprisingly fast speed.

John just nodded along to whatever Alexander was saying, in a similar way he had done to Lafayette, who was currently preening underneath the praise and translating what Alexander was saying into rapid French.

“So anyway, the point I was getting to was that me and John here are gonna skip, you game?” Alexander asked Lafayette, who paused a moment from his translating to shake his head quickly.

“I’m sorry Alexandre, but the only reason I am skipping class right now is to check up on Adrienne. She wanted to know I was safe and ok in America, at least for the first day of school,” Lafayette explained, pronouncing ‘America’ like ‘Amer-hee-ca’.

Alexander deflated a little but nodded nevertheless. “Yeah, it’s ok I understand,” he said albeit somberly. Turning back to John, Alexander pointed a finger at him. “When did you meet Lafayette anyway?”

John scratched his head. “I thought I mentioned that I smoked weed on the roof with Lafayette during homeroom.”

Lafayette looked a little embarrassed. John didn’t understand until Alexander turned around and whooped. “Laf you have weed?” Alexander laughed. “And you brought it to school? And smoked it at school? Geez man,” Alexander said in between huffs of laughter. “What would Adrienne say?”

John watched their exchange with a raised eyebrow. “I thought you didn’t have any friends Alexander, now you’re all buddy buddy with Lafayette?”

Alexander stuck his tongue out at John childishly. “Laf is my foster brother for your information,” he said with fake haughtiness. “And two, are you jealous that you’re not my only friend?”

“No,” John said with an eye roll and a puff of laughter. Did Alexander really think that he was jealous of all things? Alexander raised a singular eyebrow but left it alone, instead grabbing the phone out of Lafayette’s hand and translating the whole weed situation into French for Adrienne while Lafayette tried to grab the phone back desperately.

Adrienne, on video chat, gave Lafayette a disapproving look and said something in French that had Alexander cackling and Lafayette rubbing his neck sheepishly, a look of shame on his face for being exposed. John felt a small pang in his chest, if that had been Martha doing that to him he would have screamed at her, deep down John was a little jealous at how well the foster-brothers got along.

“Anyway, me and John gotta motor, I’m already sick of this place,” Alexander said with a wave of his hand. “Oh and don’t tell George and Martha that I skipped.”

Lafayette just nodded, but John was a little confused. “Martha?” he questioned, thinking about his sister.

Alexander and Lafayette nodded at the same time. “Our foster mother.” They both said at the same time, weirdly in sync with each other.

“Now let's go,” Alexander said impatiently, apparently done with loitering around the school. Alexander tapped his foot on the ground and motioned for John to hurry up, even though he was the one talking instead of leaving.

“Do you have a car?”

Alexander rolled his eyes for the fiftieth time. “I ran into you while walking to school, obviously I don’t have a car.”

Lafayette sighed and threw a pair of keys at Alexander. It ended up hitting Alexander’s head with a thunk and hit the gravel. He rubbed his head and glared at Lafayette mutinously who was very obviously trying to stifle a laugh.

“How in the hell does Lafayette have a car but you don’t?” John asked. This whole situation was confusing the shit out of him.

“Laf is rich and French,” Alexander said simply, “and I didn’t want a car, I prefer walking. I meet some pretty interesting people when I walk.” This statement was accompanied by a sly wink shot in John’s general direction.

John shook his head with a small chuckle and picked up the keys from their place on the ground, when he stood back up Alexander was giving him a look. “What’s that look for?”

“I want to drive,” Alexander huffed, crossing his arms petulantly. John gave him a deadpan look and moved the keys out of his reach.

“Bet you can’t even reach the pedals,” John muttered, starting to already walking away while Alexander had a mini bitch fit in the school parking lot.

Eventually, Alexander gave up trying to steal the keys, yell his way into driving, or complaining until he would get the keys and resigned himself to walking sulkily next to John. When they finally got to the car Alexander was still brooding, but John took a moment to admire the sleek Black Cadillac XTS Sedan.

“Like it? It’s like Laf’s pride and joy, he almost loves it as much as his fucking girlfriend,” Alexander said with an eye-roll. John responded with a low whistle and went to get in the car. It smelled like weed but John was used to it, however, Alexander was not.

“Why does it smell like that? I hate it,” Alexander complained, waving his hand in the air rapidly like that would make the car smell likes roses or some shit.

John ignored him and just turned on the car, though he did notice Alexander scooting his chair up almost to the dashboard of the car. John laughed to himself.

For a while the car was just silent as John drove, Alexander seemed a little uncomfortable with silence though so John casually switched on the radio. And like that it was peaceful again, the radio was at a low volume, both boys were quiet and John actually focused on the road, trying to get to a specific place that he usually frequented.

Then Alexander gasped loudly and cranked up the radio as loud as it would go. Some trashy pop song reverberated throughout the car as Alexander belted along with the song, flailing around like a fish out of water. Alexander was definitely a weird one. Not that John really minded.

“We’re here!” John shouted over the music when Alexander didn’t hear him John just clicked off the radio, which earned a glare from the latter.

“Come on,” John said a little impatiently, getting out of the car and waiting for Alexander to hurry up. John was practically vibrating with excitement, he had never shown anyone his secret sanctuary since he never really had friends before this moment.

In the spur of the moment, John ran, actually ran, up the hill. Alexander followed behind him but John hardly noticed, when he was here all he felt was euphoria with a small pang of sorrow that he didn’t bother to acknowledge. John only stopped when he got to the top of the hill, which was actually a small waterfall. John looked over the edge of the cliff and smiled softly, he and Martha used to come here whenever they got angry with their parents when they were younger. John hadn’t been here for so long.

John breathed out.

Alexander ruined the moment by tripping over a root and falling straight on his face. Alexander muttered a small ‘ow’ before pushing himself back up, John felt a little sad that his moment was ruined but it was replaced with excitement. He got to show Alexander his special spot.

“Look! Isn’t it beautiful?” John asked, sighing wistfully as he grabbed Alexander’s arm and pushed him nearly to the edge of the cliff in excitement.

“Yeah it’s nice but I would appreciate if you didn’t try and shove me over the edge of this thing,” Alexander said with a frown, though there was a sparkle of awe in his eyes as he looked over the edge, into the distance where the steady beat of water thrummed.

John plopped himself down right on the edge and swung his legs over the side. “Y’know me and my sister used to jump in here during the summertime.”

Alexander sat down next to John cautiously, raising an eyebrow at the fact that the siblings used to jump into the water. “You would willingly jump into that?” Alexander deadpanned, gesturing at the waterfall beneath them.

“Yeah,” John shrugged. “It’s not the far off the ground and the ground under the water is like sand. Besides, the water was nice and cool when it was hot.”
Alexander just hummed in agreement and looked back over the edge of the cliff.

“Maybe you can take me some time we want to ditch again,” he said absentmindedly. John tensed up a little, doing that reminded him of Martha. John and Martha. Martha and John who used to be the best of friends.

“Did I hit a nerve?” Alexander asked after a couple moments passed between them. John shrugged indifferently, not wanting to respond to the question. Luckily Alexander took that cue to just drop the subject altogether.

“Do you have any siblings?” John asked a little hesitantly, he only had limited knowledge on Alexander even if they did connect fast.

“Are we playing 20 questions now?” Alexander joked if not a little tensely, John guessed he was trying to avoid the family question.

“Fine. Favorite color?”

“Easy, green. Yours?”

“Red. Favorite animal, go.”

Alexander raised an eyebrow. “Really? Are we asking these basic ass questions? Lame but whatever, lion.”

John hardly missed a beat when he replied “Turtle” prompting a laughing/coughing fit from Alexander who was absolutely in stitches.

“Holy shit, are you actually serious?” Alexander wheezed, teetering a little over the edge of the waterfall.

John rolled his eyes and grabbed the back of Alexander’s shirt and tugging it backward. “Yes, now don’t go falling into the waterfall because I don’t want to fish you out.”

The boys sat there for hours, talking about the most random shit and getting to know each other. It felt weird for John to basically spill his life story on this stranger but oh well.
---
It was 10 pm by the time John finally got home. Alexander had to drive him home in Lafayette’s car since John had lost his fucking car privileges for some stupid shit. John pushed open the door as quietly as he could, he hoped that everybody had gone to sleep by now and nobody would be there to scold him.

No such luck. Henry was standing in the foyer with his arms crossed and a pinched look on his face, it seemed like he was waiting for John to come home.

“John Laurens, why did I get a call today saying that you were in none of your classes?” Henry practically hissed, stepping closer to John who just rolled his eyes and shut the door behind him.

“Answer me, John! Why weren’t you in any of your classes?”

“I didn’t want to fucking go to school,” John muttered underneath his breath trying to step around Henry to get to his room. Henry grabbed John’s wrist in a vice-like grip, making him wince slightly.

“What were you doing huh? Getting high with one of your stoner buddy’s?” Henry taunted, squeezing John’s wrist tighter when he tried to wriggle his wrist out.

“No, now let me go,” John hissed, trying to pull his wrist away, his father’s grip was starting to cut off the blood flow to his hand. Suddenly there was a sharp sting to his cheek.

It took a moment before John realized what had happened. His stomach dropped.

Henry slapped him.

John took a shaky step backward and pressed himself against the door. Something flashed through Henry’s eyes (Guilt? Pity? Sorrow?) but it was gone as soon as it came. Henry let go of his wrist and turned away.

“Get out of my sight.”

John bolted as soon as his dad let him. John felt tears well up in his eyes, he hadn’t cried in so long. He slammed the door as soon as he got into the room and started to cry hard. Between heaving breaths, John realized someone was knocking. John didn’t get up though he stayed laying in bed until the person let themselves in.

“Jack?”

John dully realized Martha was speaking to him, using the nickname she hadn’t used in forever. He sniffled and looked up at her. The look of pity on her face made him flinch. Martha moved closer to him and tentatively pulled him into a hug, rubbing soothing circles on his back as John cried.

John and Martha had a weird relationship, but it was perfect for John in this moment.

“I don’t...I don’t hate you just so you know,” Martha said quietly, John nodded dimly and yawned a little.

Martha let John fall asleep on her shoulder that night.

It was just baby steps, but it was progress with his sister nevertheless.