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The Liberty Behind Deliberation

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With Hamilton sleeping on the couch in the living room downstairs, Thomas contemplated what he had just seen.  

He thought about seeing his enemy, the boy with whom he fought with practically every other day (whether verbally or physically), broken and beaten and begging on his doorstep.

And while Thomas Jefferson could be abrasive, and combative, and even downright cruel at times, one thing he was absolutely not was oblivious.

Which was why he was lying in bed at 5am on a Sunday, unable to fall asleep, because how the hell was he supposed to reconcile the Hamilton he saw last night- weary, frightened, broken- with Alexander Hamilton, the epitome of stubbornness and wittiness and independence and everything else that made him almost formidable? What could explain what had happened to his enemy besides the one thing Thomas was trying so hard not to think about?

Because it was one thing to suggest that Thomas had needed to practically carry Hamilton into the house, to hear him gasp in pain with every other step, almost cry out when he finally hit the couch, just because of the actions of some random stranger, but another thing entirely to suggest that maybe something was really fucking wrong and he had to get Hamilton out-

But how could he do that?

Thomas supposed he could talk to Hamilton’s friends, let them know what was going on, but could he really break Hamilton’s trust like that (trust? Really Thomas? The boy you’ve been punching and fighting with practically every other day?)? And besides, couldn’t he be endangering the boy just by telling anyone (well you’d sure be endangering him by just leaving him there), couldn’t he be left in a worse situation (what could be worse than this?) than he was already?

Although he was aware that, rationally, he really knew nothing about Hamilton and that in all likelihood this truly was a one time thing (because god knew that Thomas was nothing of not a raging pessimist, prone to planning out the worst possible scenario in any situation), Thomas was unable to get it off his mind.

So Thomas Jefferson tossed and turned, never coming up with an answer, until finally falling asleep.

———

“Get up, we’re leaving for school.” Upon hearing Hamilton’s voice, Thomas almost jumped out of bed, forgetting last night’s events until they came crashing back to him and-

“What the fuck?” Thomas spat, voice rough from sleep but still hopefully conveying how fucking ridiculous it was that Hamilton was even considering school right now.

Hamilton raised an eyebrow at him in the only response Thomas knew he was going to get, and huffed while turning into the corridor to leave.

Thomas followed after him, decidedly ignoring Hamilton’s flinch as he grabbed the smaller boy’s arm to stop him (and when did Hamilton get so thin?). “You can’t possibly think I can let you go into school right now,” Thomas hissed, because what the hell did Hamilton think he was doing?

”Let me?” Hamilton questioned, incredulity soaking his words. “It’s not like I need your permission to-“

Thomas sputtered, cutting him off. “Have you even seen yourself? You have a black eye, you’re limping- I have no idea what the hell happened to you last night but it’s not something you can just brush off! You have to- I don’t know- just, fucking hell- you need to rest, you need to actually eat something, to just- you can’t just go to school!”

Hamilton’s eyes narrowed, his expression becoming defensive before he turned around, effectively bringing the conversation to a close before tying his shoes, readying himself to leave.

Thomas stood in the doorway for a moment before realising what was happening, and making his way over to the other boy.

”Fine. If you don’t want my help or whatever that’s fine, just... let me make you breakfast or something. We don’t need to leave for like half an hour, and you look really thin, and even though I hate you, I can’t just throw you out. Just... I won’t ask questions if you don’t want me to, I swear, and although I hate this I just really need to know you’ve at least eaten.”

And while Hamilton could’ve turned and left right then, or taken the piss out of Jefferson’s protectiveness (Jefferson? Protective? Over him?), he just couldn’t in that moment. Reluctantly, he nodded at the taller boy, and followed him to the kitchen.

———

Jefferson and Hamilton walked to school in silence, Hamilton ignoring Jefferson’s concerned gaze as he winced at every few steps (because last night really had been worse than most) and could barely focus on his surroundings. The tense silence continued throughout the journey, neither boy willing to break it (what the hell could they say anyway?).

Just as they reached the school and Hamilton breathed a sigh of relief (free from both Jefferson’s newfound protectiveness and the pain of walking), Jefferson pulled the other boy aside, ignoring Hamilton’s indignant glare.

”So I know I said I wouldn’t ask questions, but if I don’t ask I’m just gonna be freaked out all day and no offence, the last person I wanna be freaked out over is you-“

Hamilton rolled his eyes, cutting off Jefferson’s rambling. ”Get on with it.”

Thomas threw him an exasperated look before continuing (because of /course/ Hamilton couldn’t let him be concerned without interjecting somehow). ”Ok, Ok, I was just... Look. Are you, like, safe? I mean at home or whatever, are you safe?” Jefferson looked up at Hamilton to see an unreadable expression pass over his face. After a moment of silence, the other boy raised one eyebrow sceptically before scoffing and walking through the school doors.

Thomas sighed, and entered the school a minute later. He hadn’t expected much of an answer anyway.