Thomas knew that John’s father wasn’t exactly the loving sort, but this was something he never expected. Especially not by text.
[Thomas, I need you to pick me up. I can’t stay at my house anymore.]
[Why? What the fuck happened?!]
[Long story short, I fucked up.]
[John. What happened?]
[I promise I’ll tell you, but I need you to come get me. Now.]
Thomas didn’t stall any longer. He got up and got in his car, driving over to John’s house. When he got there, he found his boyfriend sitting on the front porch with a few bags at his side. “Johnny?.. What happened?”
John got up and grabbed his bags, still looking down at the ground. “Can I move in with you?.. I need a place to stay…” he muttered.
Thomas sighed and took the bags from him. “Of course you can, baby. Tell me later.” John was clearly in no state to be interrogated like that. He put John’s bags in the car and drove them to his apartment, which he’d moved into just over a year earlier, soon after turning sixteen, like poor John was now. The drive was silent besides the quiet music that John put on. He never could stand complete silence. When they got the apartment, John insisted on carrying his bags and didn’t give Thomas a chance to argue before heading upstairs with them all. Thomas couldn’t do much more than sigh at his boyfriend’s independence and follow him inside, showing him up to the apartment even though John knew exactly where to go.
“You don’t have to baby me like that… I’m alright…” he muttered once again.
Thomas frowned, starting to get suspicious. “John, look at me.”
“No. I’m fine.”
Thomas had been so busy worrying that he didn’t realize that he hadn’t even seen John’s face, until then. He stepped forward and pulled John’s hood down, gasping at the sight. His eye was swollen shut, his lip was busted, though it had stopped bleeding, his cheek was cut, and, to top it all off, Thomas could see a hand shaped bruise just over the top of his collar. “Oh, John…” He didn’t even bother asking who did it to him. He just pulled him into his arms and held him. It was just what he’d needed, too. John went limp in Thomas’ arms and broke down, sobbing violently.
“He said I can’t see them again…”
“See who?” Thomas asked, though was more concerned with John’s health since he clearly wasn’t.
“My siblings! All four of them… I can’t go back and I can’t see them again…”
“O-Oh…” The siblings that John had practically raised… That he loved more than anyone… That monster that was his father was tearing him away from them and that seemed to hurt him more than any bruise or broken bone. “Don’t worry, sunshine… You’ll see them again someday…”
“How?! He’d sooner kill me than let that happen! I’m never going to see them! I-” John was cut off as he started hyperventilating and coughing, looking up at Thomas with helpless eyes.
The Virginian scooped the poor boy up in his arms and sat on the couch with him, gently stroking his hair. “Hey, calm down there. It’ll be alright, sunshine. Just take some deep breaths. Deep breaths.”
It took a few minutes for John to finally calm down, but Thomas made sure that he did and that he knew he was not going to be alone. “Thank you.. I just…”
“Shh.. It’s going to be okay, sunshine. They’re going to be just fine and you are not going to be alone. I’m going to keep you safe.” He kissed the top of his head and let him sit up, the smaller boy yawning as he did. “Do you want to go take a nap? I know you get really tired after an attack.”
John nodded and stood up, his legs still shaking from his panic attack, and made his way to Thomas’ bedroom, collapsing on the bed and falling asleep in seconds. He only woke up hours later to the feeling of his stomach growling. That’s right, he never had a chance to eat that day. He got up and trudged to the living room, hearing hushed voices murmuring just quiet enough for him to not be able to understand it. It was no mystery what they were discussing once he stepped in and the two went quiet.
“John, you’re awake. How are you feeling?” Thomas asked, though John was more focused on wondering what James Madison was doing there. Or, rather, what Thomas was doing talking about the situation with him.
“Uh.. I’m fine… Just kind of hungry…”
“There’s pizza in the kitchen. Come on.” Thomas put a hand on his boyfriend’s back and led him over to the kitchen, letting him eat before insisting that he went back to bed. The last thing that John wanted to do was argue in front of James, so he listened and went to bed.
The next morning, he was glad to find Thomas right there beside him, holding him as he slept. He tried to get up without waking Thomas only for him to do exactly that within seconds. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up.”
“Don’t worry about it, sunshine. Now, are you feeling well enough to tell me what you’re doing here?”
John nodded and buried his face in Thomas’ chest. “It’s stupid, really… I accidentally came out to my dad…”
Thomas pulled away and looked at John with a slightly bewildered expression. “And he did all of this for that?!”
“Kind of… We were in another yelling match and he said I acted like a stupid faggot and I told him that’s because I was and that I had a boyfriend…”
Thomas sighed and held his boyfriend close, but he wiggled from his grip.
“You don’t have to do that. It isn’t like this is a surprise or anything.” He shrugged it off. “I knew he’d react this way when I came out. I just panicked last night because it was so sudden…”
“This isn’t okay, sunshine.”
“I know that. I know…” John sighed. “Whatever..” He got up and went to the kitchen, getting some breakfast.
Thomas followed and did the same, sitting with him on the couch as they ate.
“…. What was James doing here last night?..”
“Nothing. We were just talking.”
John shook his head. “Yeah, about me.. Why were you talking about me?.. He doesn’t have the right to know about anything…”
He put his plate down on the coffee table. “It’s my life. Why couldn’t you have just talked to me about it?”
Thomas furrowed his eyebrows. “Are you.. Jealous?..”
John scoffed and stood up. “I’m not jealous. I just don’t want my boyfriend discussing my life when I’m trusting him to not do exactly that! I don’t want anyone knowing all of this stuff about me and, sorry, but that includes James.” He started to walk off, but Thomas grabbed his wrist, stopping him.
“Hey.. I’m sorry… That was stupid…”
“Damn right it was..” John muttered as he sat back down.
“This is stressful for me too, but not nearly as stressful as it must be for you. You’re right, I shouldn’t have told James anything. It’s for you to tell, if you even want to.”
“Thank you..” John leaned against Thomas and shut his eyes, just letting him hold him.
Thomas kissed the top of his head and ran his fingers through his hair. “You’re safe with me, sunshine. I won’t let anyone hurt you ever again.”