The first thirty-two years of his life are monotonously plain. He spends each day in a constant barade of black, white, and thirty different shades of grey. His mother had explained it to him as a child, told him that one day the world would alight with color and he would just know.
“Everyone in this world has a soulmate, Alexander. You don’t know who your soulmate is yet, but one day you might be walking down the street and you notice that a sign that used to be grey is now a bright gold.” She had said with a fairaway smile.
“It’s a colour, Alex. The point is that whatever your soulmate touches you will be able to see the true colour of.”
He had thought this over for a long moment,“But what about the things they can’t touch? Like the sun or the sky?”
His mother’s smile was gentle as she brushed a strand of hair out of his eyes, “When you kiss your soulmate for the first time, everything will become full of colour. The sun will turn yellow, and the sky blue.”
“But before I kiss them?”
“Then you only see the true colour of the objects they have touched with their hands. The only exception is their own body. Until you kiss, their hair and skin and eyes will remain colourless too.”
"That doesn't seem fair, Ma." He had replied with a frown.
"I know, my love, but when you see colour for the first time, it's all worth it. I promise."
He wants to blame someone, but the truth is there is no one to blame. It’s not his fault, for Alex’s eyes keep moving constantly, hoping that one day there will be a flash of color he hasn’t seen before. It’s not his soulmate’s fault either. Maybe they don’t live in the states, maybe they too are searching for the color of the things he’s touched, hell - maybe they’re dead.
The only thing that can be blamed, even remotely, is the universe itself, and Alexander is cynical, but not that cynical. So he collects himself, tells himself “it’ll happen when it’s supposed to", listens to Lafayette write sonnets about the colour of Washington’s eyes, and moves on with his life in black and white.
This is how he spends his first thirty-two years.
Working for Washington is good. It’s a good job, one that Alexander considers himself lucky for having. The paycheck is more than he’s used to receiving, and he spends each day doing something that matters.
And then Washington hires Jefferson.
He hadn’t known what to expect. Of course, he had heard of Thomas Jefferson before. He was the writer of the Declaration, the first ambassador to France, the person who salvaged the colonies and declared them as a united state. But that didn’t prepare him for the whirlwind of douchiness that is Thomas Jefferson.
Washington had warned him the day before Jefferson’s arrival in DC, “Please don’t purposely piss him off, Alexander.” And from those words alone, Alex had expected the guy to be a little touchy. But, as he sits in the cabinet meeting listening to Jefferson rant and rave about the superiority of the south, he didn’t quite expect this.
When it becomes evident that the man isn’t going to shut up or make a valid point anytime soon, Alexander sort of zones out. He studies the man in front of him, the vibrant white of his suit, the black cane propped beside him, the grey gloves that Alexander has never seen him go without. The gloves in particular have his interest peaked. He had been wearing them when he stepped out of the cab in front of the White House, he had worn them when he shook hands with Alex for the first time, and he’s yet to take them off since. It’s 73 degrees in the office they’re meeting in, and yet the gloves have not vanished.
He supposes that it could be a germ thing. Thomas does seem like the kind of person to be anal about the things he touches. Or, he wonders, perhaps it’s a self conscious thing. Alex personally has never been self conscious about the size or shape of his hands, but Jefferson seems just weird enough to be. His last theory is soulmates. He doesn’t know why Jefferson wouldn’t want his soulmate to know who he is. Perhaps it’s an unrequited thing. For all intent and purposes, Jefferson and Madison seem pretty close. Perhaps Madison isn’t his soulmate, and they’ve chosen to forgo the whole idea and decide a fate of their own.
Well, Alex thinks, that’s something he can respect.
By the end of the meeting, Alexander is aching with the need to write. He has words upon words spiraling in his head, and the thought of not getting them out, not getting them written is driving him insane. When Washington dismisses them with a nod, he hurries to gather his supplies and make his way back to his office where he can lock himself away until the need to write has diminished for the day.
It’s as he’s making his way back to his office that he sees it. From out of the corner of his eye, Alexander sees the reflection of a color that is definitely not in his usual spectrum. His eyes lock on the door handle immediately, and he stops in his tracks. An intern runs into his back, almost spilling the coffee in her hand, and Alex mumbles a half assed apology, unable to take his eyes off the gold door knob.
The look she gives him is one of intense fear, and as she scoots around him with an apology of her own, Alex recalls the rumours spreading through the office about him. About how rude and terrible he is. Any other day he might call her back, apologize honestly and explain that, no, he is not actually the devil incarnate.
But today is not that day.
He waits until the hallway clears around him, and drops to his knees in front of the door. The gold gleams in the white light from above, and Alexander reaches out with shaky hands to run his fingers across the metal. He doesn’t know how he knows the name of the color, consider he could never learn them in elementary, but as he looks at the gleam of the handle, Alexander knows without a doubt that this is the colour his mom was talking about. This is the colour of gold.
This is the colour of the mineral that people left their homes in search of, the colour that people fought wars over, killed over.
Nothing else in the hallway is splashed in colour, so Alexander pushes open the door and steps inside the supply closet. It’s spacious, about the size of his bathroom at home, and the white light from above illuminates the room in shades of grey. He searches everywhere, looks for a single item that isn’t cloaked in the monotonous spectrum of his day to day life, and finds nothing.
Disappointed, he sits down on a box of files in the middle of the room and buries his head in his hands, trying to come up with a game plan.
The first, and most pressing matter, is that his soulmate works with him. They’re on the third floor, which means clearance is high enough that no tourists are allowed, which means that whoever he’s supposed to spend the rest of his life with works here. Considering this is the main supply closet for the entire staff, that leaves the possibility open to approximately 500 to 700 people. He wants to be disappointed that there’s still so many possible candidates, but on the flip size he’s narrowed it down from 7 billion to a measly couple of hundred.
The only problem is that it could be literally anyone. It could be someone who passed by and bumped into the handle, it could be an intern searching for the right room, it could be a seasoned staff member who forgot what they were looking for and left the room without touching a single thing. He considers that for a moment. Considering this is the first object in colour that he’s seen, he rules out anyone working directly under Washington. He spends enough time with the cabinet and staff, that he would have noticed the colours of the objects they’ve touched. Which means it’s probably someone new or someone he doesn’t work directly with.
Trying to narrow down the people he doesn’t quite work with is going to be an impossible feat, and just the thought is enough to give Alexander a headache. He leaves the room, pulling the gold handle on his way out. The door clicks behind him and Alexander walks back to his office. He’ll just have to keep an eye out, make sure he’s not too caught up in his own head that he’ll miss another colour. He’s only had a taste, only the smallest fraction of the possibilities, but he already craves more.
Alexander rounds the hallway into his office, and stops short when he sees a man standing in front of his desk. A second later, he recognizes him as Jefferson. The blinding white suit is a pretty good indicator, and when the door shuts behind him and Jefferson turns to flash him an annoyed smile, Alexander wants to groan.
“I was wondering if you were ever going to return from licking your own wounds.”
Alex ignores him, pushing off the door and making his way around the desk to sit in his chair. Jefferson’s holding a picture of Alex and Lafayette from college - the two of them smiling happily and tipsy at the camera - in his glove covered hands. He’s dying to ask about them, but keeps his words to himself.
“Can I help you with something?” He asks, pulling the picture frame from Jefferson’s hands and placing it back on his desk. His voice is measured, because he really doesn’t want to worsen the tension between them. When he looks back at Jefferson, the man’s paying no mind to him, his eyes are looking around the office, as if he’s soaking it in.
“Jefferson?” Alex barks.
“Sorry, your shitty office was distracting me.” Jefferson replies with a sneer, “I just wanted to tell you that you’re finance resolution will never pass, James and I will make sure of it.”
“Well thank you for coming all the way down here to tell me that.”
He has a feeling that wasn’t the only reason Jefferson dropped by. “Anything else, Mr. Jefferson?”
The man gives him a pleased smile and shakes his head, “No, Hamilton.” He somehow makes the word sound like an insult, “That’s all.”
And then he’s turning, leaving the office without a single look backwards. Hamilton lets him go, watches the way his shoulders move under the painfully white suit he’s wearing, and wonders what colour it actually is.
The rest of the day passes with ease, and Alexander easily finds himself caught up in the memo he’s typing. It’s long, much longer than any memo should be, but now that Jefferson and Madison seem content to sit around and call him out on the smallest error, Alex takes special care to make sure it’s precise and not a single word can be misinterpreted.
He doesn’t end up leaving until twenty after eleven. The secretary outside gives him a disapproving look as he locks his office behind him, and he knows that she’s, no doubt, typing an email to Washington at the very moment informing him of Alex’s too long work day. He walks down the now quiet hallway alone, and passes by the supply office. He can’t help but stare at the golden handle as he walks by, his eyes catching every speak and gleam of the light.
He walks faster, not wanting to get caught by the secretary, and hits the down button on the elevator. It whirls above him and a second later the doors ding and open. Alex steps in the - thankfully - empty elevator and presses the button for floor 1. It’s not even a second later that he notices it.
Whereas the button is usually a bright grey that signals it’s been pushed, it’s now a deep yellow. Alexander stares at in, his jaw falling open just a little, as he takes in the beautiful colour. It’s deep and rich, bordering something that doesn’t seem quite yellow. It almost rivals gold in its shade, but Alex supposes there is probably another colour it’s similar to, one he hasn’t seen yet.
The doors ding and open in front of him, and the light flickers back to black. He takes a deep breath and steps onto the main floor of the White House. His throat feels tight, and he’s tempted to get back in the elevator just to see that colour again.
Instead, he pulls his phone from his pocket and sends a quick text.
To: Group Chat - John Laurens & Lafayette
Alex (11:26PM): Want to meet at Rocky’s? I need a drink.
The replies come before he even makes it to his car.
From: Group Chat - John Laurens & Lafayette
John Laurens (11:28PM): Obviously
Lafayette (11:29PM): Meet you there in 10.
hey y'all! I'm back with chapter two (cheers for myself in the background). I finally decided to sit down and force this chapter out, as well as a rough (and i mean rough) outline for this fic. That being said, you can expect the next chapter, uh, eventually? I'm very bad at knowing my own schedule so i apologize in advance.
Love it? Hate it? Indifferent? I want to know! Comments are the fuel that keeps my fingers moving across the keyboard.
(warning for mention of suicide. But like in a "if Jefferson's my soulmate, im going to kill myself" kind of way)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Rocky’s is packed. There are people everywhere Alexander looks. Stretched across the too small dancefloor, grinding to the quick music, lining the walls, and filling the bar and open tables. The lights are dimmed, as always, and the bar is dark and smokey. The room smells like expensive shots and sweat, a smell that Alexander has long since come to fondly associate with this particular establishment. It’s not necessarily a dive bar, considering that it’s one of the closest bars to the White House and the staff members make up at least half of Rocky’s sales, but it’s not the high class kind of place you’d expect to find the Secretary of the Treasury.
But Rocky’s has been a steady foundation in his climb to the top. It was where he first met John and Lafayette years ago, where they had introduced him to Hercules, where he had first met Angelica. Where Angelica had first grabbed his arm, pulled him across the dance floor and introduced him to Eliza. It was the bar he frequented when he was Senator Washington’s intern. It was here that he found out that Washington was running for president. And it was here, in this dim lit catastrophe of a bar, that they had celebrated when Alex had accepted Washington’s offer to be his Secretary of the Treasury.
So, yeah, he had a soft spot for this place.
Given the current condition of the bar, it’s relatively easy for him to find John and Lafayette. There in the back, crowded in a small booth - the same booth they’ve been sitting in since Alex first met them. Anna, the owner, would deny it if they asked, but Alex knows she saves the booth for them when the night rush comes in.
Lafayette’s laugh is the first thing he hears. It’s loud, bright and cuts clear through the thump of base and the grinding mass of bodies. John's response is more subtle, but completely in character.
“Shut the fuck up, whore.”
Alex drops next to Lafayette and lets out an indignant huff. He rests his head on Lafayette’s shoulder and pouts. “Don’t speak to my baby like that.”
John huffs a laugh, rolling his eyes, “You wouldn’t be defending him if you heard what God awful shit came out of his mouth.”
Lafayette, for the most part, ignores John’s words completely. His smile has grown a million watts, and his arms easily find their place around Alex’s shoulders as he pulls him into a bone crushing hug.
“Alex, mon ami, it’s about time! I was getting worried about you.”
“I’m early,” He replies, unimpressed, but returning the hug nonetheless. Lafayette is a hard line against his body, spelling of coconut and lavender - no doubt thanks to the hundred different kinds of products he uses. It smells comforting, and like home.
“Your text sounded, uh, how you say agitated. Is everything alright?” Lafayette asks, his smile dipping just a fraction at Alex’s hesitation to reply.
“Dude, work that bad?” John asks, nudging his drink towards Alex. It’s dark, rolling around in a glass tumblr, and Alex drains it without a second thought.
Lafayette’s concerned expression grows, and John simply raises an eyebrow.
“Let me get some drinks in me and then we can start in on the therapy session.”
His friends say nothing, and when John leaves to get a round of shots, Alex lets his head fall back against the booth. Within every inch of his body, there is the pulsating desire - this temptatious craving - to return to the White House at once. To sit in that hallway and stare at the Godforsaken doorknob. He wants to study it, to examine every inch of it - as if it can tell him who touched it, who infused it with a colour so beautiful and rich and filling. He could sit there for hours, no doubt, intense and relaxed, just looking at it.
But that’s insane. He’s not going to return to his place of employment, buzzed off the bar atmosphere and half a jack and coke to stare at a damn doorknob.
In all honesty, this was what Alexander was afraid of. He knows himself better than anyone. He knows how intense he can get, how shortsighted and focused he becomes, how obsessive. And while he was looking forward to the first time he saw colour, to the first time he knew for sure he had a soulmate, there was a small part of him that was dreading him. Because Alexander knew who he was. He knew that the moment he saw a colour for the first time, it would be all consuming. He knew the moment he saw something other than the black and the white and the grey, he would become overwhelmed with the urge to know more.
And it wasn’t too bad yet. He wasn’t completely distracted by the desire, the need, to see more and to know more, but he could feel it creeping into his bones slowly. He could feel the way it danced across his skin, begging and pleading for just a taste more. And Alex wanted it. He wanted to know more. He wanted to know what John’s favourite color, green, looked like. What red was so he could understand Lafayette’s constant obsession with it. And he wanted to know what purple was. The colour of his mom’s birthstone.
But above all else, above thoughts of the colour of the sky and the colour of the ocean, Alexander wanted to know who it was that would give him such a gift. To know who he was meant to spend the rest of his days with. Who was going to transform his life from this grey monotonous cycle into something new, into something transformed, something reborn.
“It is more than work on your mind then, mon ami?” Lafayette asks with a small frown, his accent coming out harsher due to the alcohol on his breath.
“Yeah, it’s more than work.”
Lafayette hums considering, “Well, first we drink and then we chat.”
It’s only a moment later that a tray of shots is slapped down in front of them, and John falls back into his usual seat.
“Jesus fuck, it’s a mess in here. Too many damn people.”
“Language, mon ami,” Lafayette warns and John grins at him, “Did you seriously have to get shots that were all green? You know I despise the colour.”
Alexander lifts a glass from the tray and glares into the liquid like it had just insulted his mother. It slushes against the glass, a soft grey that parallels the grass outside. Is grass green, then?
“It’s not my fault you won’t tell me your favourite colour!” John protests.
Without a second thought he drowns the offending liquid and chokes on it. It tastes like ass, mixed with sandpaper.
“I don’t have a favourite one, John. I just have one I don’t like.”
“Come on, everyone has a favourite colour!” John says, and as soon as the words leave his lips, he flinches and casts an apologetic glance in Alex’s direction.
“I think mine’s gold.” He says offhandedly, keeping his eyes on the table. Best to just get it over with then. “I mean, I don’t really know considering I haven’t seen them all. But at the moment, I’d say mine is gold.”
It takes them a moment. Alex watches as they trade confused looks. The table is silent for a long moment, and the only thing Alexander can hear is the pounding in his own ears, and then after a beat Lafayette speaks.
“La couleur ?” He says, “Mon Dieu, Alexander you’ve seen them?”
He nods once, sharp and stilled.
“Mon Dieu ! Alexander! Mon ami , you’ve met your soulmate! Mon Dieu, I don’t know what else to say, for once the Great Marquis is at a loss for words. Mon ami, I am so happy for you!”
Lafayette’s exuberance is met with John’s much more composed loose smile, “You know who it is yet?”
“Not yet.” He responds, feeling his own smile growing with their excitement, “I don’t know if I’ll ever even put it together.”
“Well you saw something, right? Where at?” John asks, scooting closer to the table as he downs another shot. Lafayette follows suit.
“The White House. One of the third floor supply closet door handles. And then when I got into the elevator, one of the elevator buttons lit up a yellow colour. Well, I think it was yellow. It was dark, like it was almost another colour.”
“Orange ,” Lafayette says without missing a beat, “The elevator buttons are yellow, but they’re so dark you could almost say they’re orange.”
Orange. The colour of the fruit. Interesting.
“So it could be anyone?” John interrupts, “I mean, how many people could have used that closet?”
“Third floor rules out any tourists, thank God.” Alex answers, “But it could pretty much be anyone else. I think if it was someone else in the cabinet, I’d have seen something else by now. Unless they cut off their hands or something.”
“Or unless they always keep them covered.” Lafayette says, his eyes focused past Alexander in the direction of the bar.
Alexander turns, his gaze immediately catching on the sparkling white suit leaning against the bar. He watches as a glass of what he thinks is wine, grasped in a grey gloved hand, is picked off the bar. He recognizes the suit and the gloves, and when the man turns around, Alex is not surprised.
It’s Jefferson, Madison - the ever adoring pet - not two steps from him, because apparently God fucking hates him.
“God, it’s like I can’t fucking get away from him.” He groans, picking up two shots and throwing them back without a reprise between them. It’s harsh on his throat, but he’d take the burn in his throat over talking about Jefferson any day.
“Have you considered that it might be him?” John asks, Lafayette’s eyebrows raising in agreement, and Alex snorts a laugh.
“I’d shoot myself.”
Neither of them look impressed.
“No, I’m serious. I’d literally eat a bu-”
“We get it,” John interrupts him, and Alex grins.
He looks back over at Jefferson, who’s now sitting in two open stools at the bar. He looks so distinctly out of place with his meticulously pressed suit and those gloves that, no doubt, cost more than Alex makes in a month. His posture is loose for once, and he looks more relaxed than Alex has ever seen him. It’s a bizarre sight to see. For once, he doesn’t look like he’s on the prowl, waiting for Alex to slip up so he can chew him to bits. He, somehow, both looks out of place and like he’s never belonged somewhere as much as he belongs here.
But there’s no way Jefferson could be his soulmate. First off, he’s fucking hideous. Okay, well, Alexander isn’t blind. He can admit that, maybe if he squints a little, Jefferson is sort of attractive. He’s got a nice body, that’s for sure. Legs for miles that meet at a sharp curve along his backside, a firm back, and his arms are, decent. Too bulging for Alex’s taste. He prefers men that don’t look like their arms are about to bust the sleeves of their suit jackets. But, not the point. Jefferson’s physical looks aren’t terrible, but God, his personality is utter shit. And Alex isn’t shallow enough that he’d throw away all of his taste in morals and standards for someone that probably isn’t even that good in the sack. Like, come on, the man’s obviously overcompensating for something.
And besides, it’s not like precious Jefferson would dare take off his gloves and touch a doorknob! Imagine the amount of plebian germs on such a thing. If he touched it, his bank account would probably drop to zero and he’d be forced to sell one of his - no doubt - many mansions just to buy another pair of Givenchy satin gloves.
The thought makes him snort. He doesn’t actually know what kind of gloves Jefferson wears, but as he looks as subtle as he can, they look expensive. Grey or not, he definitely paid a shit ton for them.
“For a man that hates Thomas so much, you sure do stare a lot, Alex.” Lafayette says next to him, and Alex whips his head back around so quickly that he’s left lightheaded.
“Why Laf, I think our little Alex has a crush!”
“Shut up, assholes,” Alex says with a roll of his eyes. The alcohol is undeniably starting to kick in. The world tilts a little to the left and Alex blinks a few times to get his bearings. “I’m just trying to figure out what the fuck is wrong with him.”
He looks back at Jefferson, “I mean, seriously, what the hell is with the gloves? Is he trying to be a pretentious asshole, because he definitely doesn’t need the gloves for that.”
“If you’re so curious about why he wears gloves, maybe you could, Je ne sais pas, ask him?”
“No thanks,” He says around a snort, “Not tryna get my ass chewed tonight.”
Lafayette winks at that, an over exaggerated thing that makes him groan, “Well if you won’t talk to him, at least go get us another round?”
“Or two?” John chimes in.
“Are you serious?” He bemoans, “I don’t want to move.”
“You were here last, this rounds on you. And besides, you’re closest to the bar.” John tells him, taking the opportunity to scoot closer to the insider corner, effectively making him - yup - the closest one to the bar.
“Get some shots that are pink this time, would you, mon amour?”
He rolls his eyes, but manages to drag himself out of the booth. It’s a quick walk to the bar, thankfully he notes, as his legs give way a little.
There’s only one open stool on this side of the bar, and as much as he doesn’t want to sit next to Jefferson, Alex doesn’t think his legs will make it around to the other side. He drops down into the seat next to him and smiles to the bartender. Anna doesn’t seem to be here tonight, but the grin Caleb gives him is enough to make his night a little better.
“What’ll it be, Hammie?”
Alex rolls his eyes at the nickname, watches from his peripheral as Jefferson’s spine immediately straightens and his eyes stay forward, like he’s trying to pretend he doesn’t know who’s next to him.
“Just give me some shots. Don't care what, as long as they're pink."
“Can do. Give me just a minute.”
His eyes find Madison’s as soon as Caleb walks away, and the man actually smiles at him. It’s not a great smile, more like the stilled showing of his teeth, like he's never actually smiled before and only read about it in books. Still, Alex can appreciate the effort.
“Madison,” He says as a greeting.
“Hamilton.” The man responds, and Alex sees Jefferson roll his eyes, “Should have figured you’d be here.”
“Maybe you could have informed me of that before I agreed to come,” Jefferson hisses under his breath, but Alex hears it easily over the sound of the music.
“Come on, Tommy,” He says with a grin, “Don’t be like that.”
“Please leave me the fuck alone.”
Alex’s smile only grows wider, and he puts on his best impression of a Southern grandma, “Come on, sugga, don’t be like that.”
Jefferson’s returning glare is too much for his inebriated brain, and Alex can’t help the snort that literally forces its way from his mouth. His hand brushes against the smooth fabric of Jefferson’s white suit, and he watches as the man freezes. He was annoyed before, but now he looks more defeated than anything else.
Alex watches as Jefferson’s eyes dart down to where Alex had brushed against him. His lips press together as he looks down at his own shirt in disgust.
“Don’t touch me.”
“Yesh,” Alex says, his grin still in place, although the fun has mostly been bleed from the situation, “Someone’s touchy.”
Before Jefferson can reply, Caleb drops a tray full of six shot glasses in front of him. He studies the liquid in the glasses, trying to remember what shade the grey had looked like when the shots were green. As best as he can remember it looks the exact same colour as the ‘pink’ shots he has now.
He pushes the tray a little closer to Jefferson, raising his eyebrows. “These pink?”
Jefferson looks at the shot glasses, and then his grey eyes flicker to Alex’s. “I don’t know.”
“Yes Hamilton,” Madison answers, “They’re pink.”
Interesting. So Madison and Jefferson weren’t soulmates then, and Madison had met his.
But Jefferson hadn’t.
He almost rolls his eyes at that, but refrains.
“Thanks man.” He says to Madison, making no effort to say goodbye to Jefferson as he lifts the tray from the bar. It’s as he’s leaving that he hears Jefferson’s hiss from behind him.
“A ruined fucking jacket.”
Madison hums beside him.
Alex makes it back to his table, dropping the tray on top of the old one.
“Yay, they’re pink.” Lafayette says with a grin, clinking a glass against the table before tipping it into his mouth.
Alexander grabs one for himself, studying the grey liquid as it sits still in his hand.
Pink. He wonders what it looks like.
He looks back at the bar, sees Jefferson shoulder off his white suit jacket and drap it across the chair at the table behind him.
Alexander drains the shot.
When they leave two hours later, Jefferson and Madison long gone, that pristine white suit jacket is still draped across the chair where it had been placed before.
don't let the colour fool you. Pink shots are lethal.
y'all got any guesses about what's gonna happen? I want to hear them!! It might inspire me,,
Hello all! I'm back with another chapter for your entertainment. I finally finished a rough outline for this bad boy, and it's looking to be around 20 chapters, so hang on for a wild ride.
Quick warning: despite being an American, I have absolutely no idea how the executive branch functions in terms of the cabinet and budgeting. That being said, I looked up annual budgets to get some approximate numbers. So, considering my lack of knowledge, just know its fiction- all plot based. I have literally no idea what the treasury department does.
Without further ado,
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
And so it goes.
Each day is like the rest. Alexander drags himself out of bed, into some semblance of professional work attire, and gets to work before anyone else is even awake.
He’s sitting at his desk, buried in a pile of proposals from the staff, trying to figure out how the fuck he’s going to jusitfy budgeting 15 million for public transport posters. He has no doubt that the second they get hung up across the country, their esteemed President’s face will be vandalized. Alex has sent at least a dozen emails to Washington, begging him to get a new head of Public Relations. He’s about three seconds away from going down to the first floor and bitching Charles Lee out, when there’s a knock on his door.
“Mr. Secretary?” Maria asks from outside his door. She was technically his assistant, although her job mostly consisted of keeping his coffee supplied and reminding him to take a break occasionally.
“Yes Mrs. Reynolds?” He asks, not looking up from the papers in front of his desk. There was too much to do, and not nearly enough time to do it.
“Just wanted to remind you about the cabinet meeting. It’s in ten minutes.”
Ten minutes, barely enough time to make it to the second floor conference room.
“Okay,” Alexander replies, restacking the proposals into a pathetic pile at the edge of his desk, and retrieving his laptop. “Did the memo say what it was about? Or who was in attendance?”
“No, sir.” She tells him, “I have it on good authority that Secretaries Knox and Greene are in Phoenix at the moment, so I don’t believe they’ll be there.”
If Greene and Knox are both out of state, that leaves him with Washington, Lee, Monroe, Adams and fucking Jefferson. The thought makes him want to jump out of his window. The reminder of Jefferson serves only to remind him of the pristine white jacket that’s hanging in the closet next to his desk. He doesn’t know why he grabbed it on the way out of the bar that night so many weeks ago. He doesn’t know why he still has it, or why he hasn’t given it back yet.
So it sits there.
“Thank you, Maria,” He tells her on his way out of his office. “I’ll send you an email with the meeting notes, please forward them to Greene and Knox.”
“Of course, Mr. Secretary. I’ll have aspirin and coffee waiting for you when you get back.”
His fingers run along the length of her desk, and Alex forces himself to smile in response. “Thank you, I would have died long ago without you.”
Her answering grin makes it clear that she’s well aware of it.
The ride down the elevator is quick. Thankfully, nobody gets on with him. He’s usually a nice guy, but the lack of coffee he’s had today added to the stress of a meeting with Jefferson has him in a distant mood. He doesn’t want to see anyone, doesn’t want to make small talk.
Alex gets off at the second floor, and makes it two steps before he stops in his tracks. The colour is so muted, that he almost didn’t notice it at first. His eyes had skimmed past and then darted back so fast he almost tripped over his own feet. There’s a picture frame on the side corridor, and whereas the frame had once been a muted white, its been replaced by brown. He steps up to the wall, running his eyes along the length of it.
He hasn’t seen many colours so far, only three as of now, but he has to admit that brown isn’t much to look at. Of course, it’s better than the spectrum of grey he’s used to, but not by much. It’s muted, not bright in any way like the gold had been, and it’s not even as noticeable as the yellow of the elevator button. Still, he thinks, it’s something. Alex stands there for a moment, just looking at it. There’s a thought forcing its way to the forefront of his mind, one he doesn’t want to think about. Three different colours, three different places, all random and giving him no insight into who his soulmate might be.
It occurs to him, suddenly and without thought for his own sanity, that his soulmate must know who he is, and decided to - for whatever reason - fuck with him. As much as Alexander hates to admit it, it makes sense. Why else would they not come straight to him and tell him they were meant to be together? Alex makes no conscience decision to touch objects, but he hasn’t refrained from doing so. There’s no way his soulmate works in the White House and hasn’t seen the colour of all the objects Alexander has touched along the way. So, he wonders, why the games? Why not just fucking tell him?
In his course of rational thought, he comes to the startling conclusion that maybe his soulmate doesn’t want Alex to know they are soulmates. Maybe whoever it is knows Alex, and maybe they don’t want to be his soulmate. The thought sends a burning wave of hurt through his chest. He knows he’s not much to look at, argumentative, and not easy to get along with, but this was his soulmate. This was his perfect match, and if they had decided - without giving him a chance - to dismiss him like nothing, then there was nothing Alexander could do about it. It would be almost impossible to track them down, especially if they were purposely hiding.
The dismissal from his soulmate, whether real or fictional, sours his mood even more. His phone buzzes in his pocket, no doubt a universal sign to get his shit together. He checks his watch.
“Fuck,” Slips from his mouth. He’s late.
He takes two more seconds to stare at the frame, and then gathers his bearings enough to continue on. He decides, as he steps foot into the conference room, that he’ll think about it later. No sense in getting worked up at the moment. Right now, he has more pressing things to take care of. Alex sits down in his normal seat, to the President’s right and across from Jefferson.
“Nice of you to finally join us, Hamilton.” Jefferson bites, his words frosty.
Alex doesn’t reply, just keeps eye contact and raises his middle finger. He thinks he sees a hint of amusement on Jefferson’s lips, but doesn’t read into it.
As his laptop whirls to life, Alexander takes the opportunity to study the man in front of him. His outfit is the usual spectrum of grey, but his usual grey gloves have been replaced by a pair of white ones. They contrast against the dark grey of his suit in a way that Alexander can admit looks nice. For once, his gloves don’t seem to be a hindrance to his outfit, but instead serve to complement it.
But, still, Alexander doesn’t get it. Why in the hell does he wear gloves? It just doesn’t make sense to him. But despite his increasing curiosity, Alexander can’t bring himself to ask. First off, he knows it’s none of his business. He doesn’t have many moral guidelines about what shouldn’t be talked about, but the gloves affect him in no way. Secondly, it’s not like Jefferson would actually tell him if he asked. He’d probably scoff, those shimmeringly grey eyes rolling like Alexander had said something stupid, and then he’d probably mock him, insult him, and Alex would be left at square one. There was no upside to asking, so he figured it was best to leave him alone. But, perhaps, there was a roundabout way of finding out.
He’ll have to add gossip about Jefferson to his planner.
“Okay, now that we’re all here, we can begin.” Washington says from the head of the room. He’s dressed in a charming black suit, and he passes out a series of stapled papers. “We’ll be discussing the budget set out by the Treasury for this fiscal year. Secretary Hamilton, you have the floor.”
Alexander shoots a smile in Washington’s direction. Without Greene and Knox present, he’s left with a cabinet made up almost entirely of people that can’t stand him. He cracks his knuckles and stands up from his seat, making no move to the front of the room. He can speak fine from here, and it’s better to have his notes in front of him.
“The fiscal budget this year is similar to last year’s. The numbers from the 2017-2018 year are printed in the pamphlets in front of you, and a copy will be emailed at the conclusion of this meeting. However, there are a few changes I’d like to go over. First off, Secretary Monroe has requested an extra 3 billion dollars for Homeland’s new cyber security project, and given the projected increase of cyber crime, I have approved this offer. That raises Homeland Security’s annual budget to $50.7 billion.”
“Thank you, Secretary Hamilton.” Monroe says, and Alexander is somehow always surprised that he can make the honorific sound like an insult. Alex smiles, nonetheless, and tells himself it’s nothing personal.
“Secondly, Secretary Lee has requested an additional 15 million for a new public relations project, a request in which I have denied.” He hears a huff from the corner of the room, and narrows his eyes at Lee, “But, one in which I have lessened in order to accept. That makes the Presidential Reelection Campaign fund 30 million dollars.”
Lee offers his no thanks, and Alexander is glad. He didn’t think he’d be able to control his tongue if Lee had.
“Secretary Greene requested no additional funds for this fiscal year, leaving the amount for the Department of Justice the same as last year. Secretary Knox requested an additional 13 billion, and I have approved this, bringing the Department of Defense’s budget to $730 Billion dollars. I, myself, have kept the Department of the Treasury’s budget the same as well.”
When no one makes a move to stop him, Alexander takes a deep breath to collect himself. He had figured no one would call him out yet, which is why he purposely left the Department of State for last. He knows it’s going to be a shit show, and given his already foul mood, he figures he can’t be held responsible for how he acts in return.
“Lastly, Secretary Jefferson has requested an extra 30 billion dollars, and this request I also deny. Instead, I am reducing the allocated funds for the Department of State by $10 billion, bringing the budget to 80.3 billion dollars.”
For a moment, no one says anything. Alex reclaims his seat, prepared to let Washington continue, and then Jefferson speaks.
“You’re kidding me.” Alex looks up, sees the way Jefferson is watching him from across the table. His face is tight, like he’s trying to rein in his emotions.
Alexander pauses for a moment, “No, I’m not.”
When Jefferson speaks again, his voice is controlled and measured, “You’ll approve a 7 million dollar proposal for Lee, who does nothing by the way, but you cut my budget? Spoiler alert, Hamilton, some of our departments are actually important.”
“If you’re trying to imply by department isn’t important, I’ll remind you who decides your budget, Jefferson. And if your request had been reasonable, I might have considered it.” He seethes through clenched teeth, “And, spoiler alert, maybe if the department was run by someone with actual ideas, I would have improved the spending increase.”
He knows he’s just goading Jefferson at this point, trying to get him to snap, trying to get that controlled look off his face, trying to get him furious. But, it's been a boring day, who can blame him?
“You’ll watch your words, Secretary,” Jefferson breathes, his tone losing the calm, cool, and collected element it had prior.
Alexander lets his lips spread into a grin and he says, as evenly as he can manage, “Or what? You’ll slash my budget?”
It has the intended response. Jefferson’s out of his seat in a second, gloved palms pressed down onto the glass table in front of them as he leans as close to Hamilton as he can get, “Have fun pushing that assumption bill of yours through Congress, because in case you forget, it’s Republican controlled at the moment, and I swear to God, I’ll use every ounce of my influence to make sure it dies on the Senate floor.”
Bitter rage floods his chest at once. Alex pushes out of his chair, laptop getting knocked to the side, “You wouldn’t dare, you fucking egotistical asshole.”
“Watch me,” Jefferson hisses across the table, “All your ideas are trash, and they’ll end up right where they belong. And you have the audacity to call me egotistical? Says the man keeping his budget the same when we all know you had 4 billion dollars left over. Go ahead and slash my budget, but have fun getting thrown out of office when all the Northern states are drowning in debt.”
“You fucking pompus, arrogant-”
“Arrogant? Grab your thesaurus, Hamilton.”
“Hamilton!” Washington’s voice breaks through the pounding in his ears. Alexander realizes how close he is to throwing himself across the table and strangling Jefferson with his bare hands. He takes a breath, sitting back in his chair and trying to collect himself.
“Secretary Jefferson and Secretary Hamilton, I’ll remind you that this is a professional workplace, and you should act like it is such. I will not tolerate such language and behaviour from my cabinet, is that understood?” Washington’s voice is cold, bearing no malice, but only frustration and disappointment.
“Yes, Mr. President,” Jefferson says without missing a beat.
“Hamilton?” Washington’s stone gaze towards his direction.
He swallows, tries to fight the thoughts telling him to mouth off once more. After a moment, he responds, “Yes, Your Excellency.”
“Good.” Washington says, “This transitions into our second point of order. Since, in light of recent meetings, it has become clear that some members of this cabinet cannot act like adults and sort out their differences in professional ways, I’ve added a new member to be present during cabinet meetings and to mediate all business between the Department of the Treasury and Department of State.”
“Excuse me?” The words slip from Alexander’s mouth without his permission. He’s already spoken, might as well finish, “I don’t need a babysitter to meddle in my affairs.”
“Apparently you do, Alexander,” Washington says, his voice sharp, “Your actions here today have only proven my reasoning. As of two days from now, all negotiations will be run through Aaron Burr, your new mediator.”
“What?” Alexander says, “Aaron Burr? You’re joking.”
He knows Aaron Burr, went to college with the man, and Alex has to say he was not impressed. He’s never seen someone with such a distinct lack of opinions. He hates Jefferson, absolutely loathes him, but he’d work with the man over Aaron Burr any day.
“I’m not, Secretary Hamilton, and you’ll be mindful to watch your tone with me.”
“My apologies, Your Excellency.”
“As I was saying,” Washington continues, “Mr. Burr will be running interference between the two departments until our Secretaries understand how to engage in a civil conversation and find compromises. Once you learn to behave as adults, Burr will be retired of his position.”
Washington gives a sharp look in Alexander’s direction and then in Jefferson’s.
“That covers the talking points for today’s meeting. You’re all dismissed.”
Alexander hurries to save his mostly blank word document, and shoves his laptop into his satchel. He flicks the button closed, pulling it over his shoulder, and leaving the room in a hurry. Washington might not like how they speak during a meeting, but technically, the meeting is over.
The elevator’s packed when he gets to it, so Alex takes the stairs. He races up them, adrenaline flooding through his veins, at the top of the stairs he takes a moment to straighten his shoulders and smooth back his hair. Then he pulls open the door and takes a left. Less than five feet later, he stops. Deep breath. Then he pushes open the door.
“Excuse you?” Jefferson’s voice greets him as soon as he steps inside.
“You fucking douchebag.” Alexander hisses, putting as much venom and hatred into his words as possible, “Thanks to you and your fucking stupidity, we’re stuck with Burr.”
“Maybe if you weren’t so incompetent at your job, we wouldn’t be here!”
“Maybe if you could get your head out of your own ass for a moment, you’d realize I literally cannot justify giving the Department of State an extra 30 billion dollars!” Alexander yells back at him. He knows they’re being loud, knows that the people that share the offices next to Jefferson are probably going to complain, but he finds that he can’t help it.
“If you’d look past your own damn interests, you’d see that you literally could!”
“Well I might, if you weren’t such a fucking prick!”
“Fuck you,” Jefferson says, his voice almost as loud as Alexander’s now, “Fuck you and your face, and those clothes you wear that you think make you fit in. Spoiler alert: we all know where you came from.”
“Well fuck you!” He yells back because he is a mature adult, thank you very much, “Fuck you and fuck Virginia and fuck literally everything about you! Fuck your stupid ass politics, and your stupid coats, and those stupid ass fucking gloves!”
Jefferson says nothing, but his eyes betray him. He’s waiting for something, for whatever he thinks Alexander is going to say next, and he lets the words leave his mouth in a final coup de grace. “I feel sorry for your soulmate. I can’t imagine being stuck with someone like you for the rest of my life.”
Jefferson tenses almost as soon as the word ‘soulmate’ leaves his mouth. His eyes are dark, fire burning within them, completely taken aback. It takes only a moment for his armour to slam back into place once more and his expression returns to blankness.
When he speaks again, his voice is calm - bored even, “I’m sure you can see yourself out, Mr. Secretary.” And then he’s pushing past him and out the door, leaving Alexander in Jefferson’s office, alone.
Peggy Schuyler pokes her head in the door. Fuck, he'd forgotten Washington stuck her as Jefferson's assistant. Her dissapointment is obvious in the tight frown that stretches across her glossed grey lips. "Seriously Alex?"
He rolls his eyes, not bothering with a response, and heads back to his office. He'll deal with this later - or maybe never. He's yet to decide.
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Alexander knows he may have overreacted a little bit. Personally, he knows how touchy he could get when people mentioned his lack of soulmate in the past, and it may have been a little unfair of him to drag Jefferson’s into their argument. But, he thinks, it’s Jefferson. As far as Alexander can tell the man has two emotions: boredom and anger. So he doesn’t dwell on the fact that he might have overstepped an unknown boundary. He has no doubts that the moment he sees Jefferson, they’ll be back to bickering and insults.
He should have known things never turn out how he expects them to.
When he gets to the office that next morning, there’s no sign of the other man - which isn’t unusual. Alexander is usually the first person here in the mornings. He looks down the hallway in the direction of Jefferson’s office. Finds the door closed, the lights off, and the blinds drawn tightly.
His first clue comes around nine that morning. He’s been nose deep in paperwork, trying to find some way to edit his assumption bill in order to get the six Republican swing votes he needs to pass it. But the fact of the matter is, the bill favors the Northern states. More than half the Southern states have long since paid off their wartime debts, and - from the perspective of a rich Southerner - Alexander can understand why they wouldn’t want to pay more in taxes to pay off the debt of the Northern states. No matter how he frames it, no matter what incentives he gives, there’s no way he’ll convince six Republicans to vote against their party.
A knock on his door startles Alexander out of his increasingly morbid thoughts.
“Come in,” He says, placing his torn apart bill back in it’s manilla folder and turning his attention to the door.
“Mr. Jefferson asked me to drop these off.” Maria says, placing a stack of papers on the desk in front of him. A quick glance tells him it’s the projected financial numbers for the US’s aid to France. The numbers are up by 15 billion dollars.
“Did he say anything else?” Alexander asks, unable to help himself. It’s strange that Jefferson wouldn’t use the opportunity to come into his office and rub it in Alexander’s face. Alex had obviously miscalculated the increased budget needed in France, and it would be a perfect opportunity for Jefferson to bitch him out in an attempt to get the increase of funds he wanted.
“Uh, no.” Maria says, confusion obviously laced in her voice, “I told him you were in, but he was adamant that I deliver these myself.”
So not only had Jefferson dropped by and spoken to his secretary, but he knew that Alex wasn’t busy, and yet he had still chosen to have Maria give him the papers.
“Is that all, sir?”
“Yes, Mrs. Reynolds, thank you.”
She leaves, closing the door gently behind her, leaving Alexander alone with his work.
His second clue comes just a few hours later.
When it becomes clear that staring at the papers in front of him isn’t going to magically give him the answers he wants, Alexander pushes his chair back from the desk and stands up. His back cracks in a way that is equally uncomfortable and necessary. Maria is out running errands in the Capital, and Alex’s coffee mug has been empty for too long.
He walks to the break room, situated halfway between his office and Jefferson’s. Thankfully, the room is mostly empty. There are a few interns snacking on muffins brought by the Department of the Interior.He only recognizes one of them, a transfer from the US embassy in London. She had moved to the White House a few months ago, after a falling out with her superior.
“Miss. Shippen,” Alexander greets her with a smile.
He moves to fill his mug, turning around as she recognizes him.
“Mr. Secretary, it’s nice to see you out of your office for once.” She says, her voice high and charming, just a touch of the English accent she had tried so hard to ditch.
“I believe I’ve told you a million times that I prefer Alexander.” He says with a grin, picking his mug up from the counter, “And, yes, it turns out locking myself in there might not be the best way to get things done.
“Correct me if I’m wrong, Alexander, but hasn’t Washington been telling you that for months now?”
If it was anyone else, Alex might be offended. But he knows Peggy well enough to recognize the teasing tone in her voice.
“You are not mistaken, I just usually choose to avoid such advice. How are things with Mr. Arnold?”
Her smile dips just a fraction, “Things are fine. He’s running me ragged, but I can’t complain.”
“Well if you’d ever like to move to the Treasury Department, I’m on pretty good terms with the Treasury Secretary. I could put in a good word for you.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” She says, smiling returning full force.
“I should get back to work,” He says after a moment, “God knows the department would fall apart if I take more than a ten minute break.”
“It was nice talking with you, Alex.” Miss Shippen grins, “Give my regards to Lafayette when you see him next.”
“Of course, enjoy the rest of your break.”
“I’d say you too, but we both know better.”
Alexander’s grinning on his way out of the break room, his mug full of steaming coffee and a little of the stress taken off his shoulders. Sometimes he gets so into his work, so focused, that he forgets how much of a difference a two second conversation can make. He rounds the corner out of the break room, about to turn to head back to his office, when he catches a glimpse of black hair and a hideous white and grey striped suit jacket.
“Jefferson,” Alexander says as the man walks past him. The secretary makes no acknowledgement of him, so Alex says his name again. This time, Jefferson stops, turning to him with a raised eyebrow.
“I’ve been going over your numbers from France. If you can get me the projected numbers for Spain and the Middle East, I’ll be able to refigure your budget.”
“I, uh, might have miscalculated some of the foreign aid, just send me the other figures and I can compare numbers.” Alexander continues, when it becomes clear Jefferson isn’t going to say anything.
Eventually, Jefferson blinks again and nods once. “I’ll get them to Mrs. Reynolds by the end of the day.”
It’s curt, his words lacking any of their usual fire. He doesn’t even seem mad, offers no insult or jab at Alexander, doesn’t even seem to be trying to goad Alex into flying off the handle.
He makes to move, and Alexander physically cannot stop himself from saying, “Jefferson, wait-”
When the man turns around again, Alexander is frozen to the spot. Where Jefferson’s expression had once been bored and dismissive, it is now blank. He’s looking at Alexander like he’s not really there, like he’s looking right through him at the white wall behind him. His usually vibrant grey eyes are now empty, and Alexander has never seen him with his armour so tightly knit to hide whatever lurks beneath.
Even before, when they were arguing, he always had a hint of whatever it was Jefferson was thinking. Whether it was the way his eyes narrowed in annoyance, or his lips twitched in amusement at Alex’s misery, there had always been something, some clue. And now, there isn’t.
“I have a lot of work to do, Secretary Hamilton, if you’ll excuse me.” And then he’s walking off, Alexander left staring, mouth gaping, after his retreating figure.
It would be different if Jefferson was mad. If he was his usual arrogant and bitchy self, yelling at Alexander for the smallest thing. But he doesn’t seem mad, instead, he had looked weary, almost - dare he say it - hurt.
It becomes quite clear in that very moment, that Alexander’s misstep yesterday might not have been the kind of thing that could so easily be laughed off - even by someone like Jefferson. He wants to run after him, wants to confront him and ask why the fuck he’s acting like Alexander’s words had actually effected him, but the vibration from his pocket keeps his feet grounded.
Alexander takes out his phone, sees a few unread emails from Knox about the budget, and a new text message. Unlocking his phone, he reads it quickly.
From Betsy (11:48AM): Are we still on for lunch? Haven’t seen you in ages. <3
Alexander cannot help the smile that forces itself across his lips. His mood, no matter how foul or unruly, stands no match against his dearest friend’s words. Alex types a quick reply on his way back to his office. Once seated in his chair, coffee temporarily forgotten about, he sends it.
To Betsy (11:51AM): Of course. See you at 12:30.
After a moment, Alex rolls his eyes, smile still firmly fixed on his face, and sends another message.
To Betsy (11:52AM): <3
The next thirty some minutes are spent in a blur of quick paced typing, and Alexander checking things off his mental to do list. When the door to his office opens around 12:30, Alexander drops his pen and pushes back from his desk.
“Don’t stop on my account, Mr. Secretary.”
His smile grows immediately, both from her voice and the honorific. He stands from his desk, making his way to the door and pulling her in.
“Hello, my dearest.” Alexander says, taking a moment to let his eyes study her. She is as beautiful as the night they first met, the top section of her long black hair tied back at the nap of her neck. Her dress is a light grey, a corset front with a white frill along her chest, and a hem that falls just above her knees. Her dark eyes are calculating, and her smile is wide and glistening white.
“Are you ready? I do hope I’m not interrupting your work,” Eliza says, her nose bunching up as she looks past Alexander to the mess of paperwork on his desk.
He takes her hand is his own, her fingers too cold and beautiful against his own which are warm and ink stained. They fit together like they were born to, and he thinks that in a different reality, they might have been soulmates.
“You’re not, but even if you were, you know I’d never be able to say no to you.”
She laughs, a bright and beautiful melody to his ears. “Oh you charmer, I’ve missed your pretty words, Alexander.”
He allows her to pull him into a hug. Her petite arms come to wrap around his neck, and he buries his face in the curve where her shoulder meets her neck. Her perfume invades his senses immediately, the smell of lavender reminding him of college, of home, of safety. Alexander is happy to see her, he is, but with her presence comes a long train of melancholy memories.
When she pulls away after a long moment, her hands stay pressed to his arms. With one hand, she reaches up to press her palm to the side of Alexander’s face, “You look exhausted, Alexander.”
His hand covers her own and he offers her a small smile, “It’s been a long week.”
Eliza’s face grows disapproving, “Come on, my love, let’s get lunch. I know you haven’t eaten all day, and you’ll get nothing done if you starve to death first.”
He intertwines his fingers with hers, still pressed against his cheek, and allows her to pull him out of his office. They walk to the elevator in silence. She, no doubt, can feel how pensive he feels. That’s always been the thing about Eliza that he’s loved the most. Yes, she was smart and beautiful and the kindest person he’s ever met, but she’s also been able to read him better than anyone else.
The doors open, and she steps in first. Alex hits the button to the first floor, and they doors begin to close. They’re about halfway shut when someone says, “Hold the doors,”
Eliza, in all her glory, reaches out and jabs the ‘door open’ button. It dings, the doors pulling back open. And, because the universe hates him, Jefferson stands on the other side.
Alex can see his eyes calculate the situation in front of him. They dart from Alexander, to Eliza, to their interlocked hands. His face is still mostly blank as he steps onto the elevator with them.
Eliza can definitely feel the tension between them, and she offers Alex a knowing look before she turns to Jefferson.
“Mr. Secretary, it’s been so long. How are you?”
Jefferson, for all his spite and misery, must know well enough that - despite his tumultuous relationship with Alexander - Eliza is to be respected.
The smile he offers her is unlike any that Alexander has ever seen him wear before. It is bright, genuine, and makes him look even more attractive than usual. His teeth are on display, straight and white, the smile making the wrinkles along his forehead grow deeper.
“Miss Schuyler, it’s nice to see you again. I’m doing well, same old business as usual. How have you been? I heard from Peggy that your orphanage is almost up and running.”
Her smile grows even more genuine, as if she’s actually enjoying the conversation. (Considering how lovely she is, she probably does enjoy speaking to Jefferson).
“We’re almost there. It’s quite hard work, but I’m enjoying myself thoroughly and there’s no room in my heart for complaint. I truly love making a difference in the lives of children, offering them safety and love when no one else will.”
Jefferson’s eyes flash from Eliza to Alexander, and he knows what the man’s thinking. Yes, he wants to say, I’m an orphan. You want to rub it in my face too? But Eliza’s there, her hand still intertwined with his own, and he can’t imagine disappointing her by making their conversationing into something that demeans him.
The elevator dings, the doors opening on the first floor, and Jefferson nods his head at her. “Women of your integrity and ambition are rare, Miss. Schuyler. Should you ever need anything to help with your cause, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
“Thank you, Mr. Jefferson,” Eliza says as they exit the elevator together, “It was absolutely lovely to see you.”
“Likewise, Miss. Schuyler. Enjoy your day.”
Alexander watches Jefferson walk off without a backwards glance, his fingers gripping Eliza’s tight.
“Come on, love, I made reservations at that Italin place we used to frequent.” Eliza tells him, leaning further against him.
He lets go of her hand, interlocking their arms together instead, and strides out the door.
They get seated without a second’s wait, and Alexander doesn’t know if its on account of his position, or Eliza’s. Sometimes he wonders how he can so easily forget who she is, and how lucky he is to have him in his life. The second daughter of the wealthy and influential New York Senator, Philip Schuyler. He doesn’t know what he has done to deserve someone of such status and, more importantly, someone so damn kind.
As soon as their drink orders are placed and she closes the menu in front of her (no doubt going to order the chicken carbonara), she turns a knowing smile his way.
“Yes?” Alexander asks, finally deciding on the fettucini. He closes his menu, laying it on top of hers.
“Just thinking about how nice it was to run into Thomas.”
So that’s where this is going.
Alexander lets loose a sigh. “What exactly did Peggy tell you?”
Eliza’s perfect eyebrow arches, “What ever could you mean by that?”
“I know she overheard the conversation, and that she - no doubt - told you. So feel free to lay into me, I know I kinda overreached.”
“Alexander, you didn’t kinda overreach,” She tells him, “You massively fucked up.”
Her words are chastising, but the smile on her face is anything but. He snorts at her cursing and lets his head fall into his hand, elbow resting against the table.
“I know, and to be fair, I didn’t mean it. I’ve just kind of been on edge recently, and yesterday didn’t help.”
Her smile dips, and she reaches across the table to put her hand on his, “I’m sorry.”
“It’s fine,” He says, not wanting to worry her, but also not looking to talk about it at the moment.
The conversation is broken when the waiter appears to drop off their drinks and take their orders. He lets Eliza order first, unsurprised when she orders exactly what he had guessed. He orders next, handing the menus to the waiter and thanking him as he leaves.
He watches her take a sip of her tea.
“What colour is your dress?”
She looks down at her clothing, as if she hadn’t known prior, “This one’s blue.”
“I haven’t seen blue yet,” He says slowly, watching the way her smile curves and then freezes. She looks up at him with confused eyes.
He smiles at her, practically approving her train of thought. After a moment, her smile grows even wider, and her hand squeezes his. “Alexander! You’ve found them?”
“I mean, kind of,” He says, “I’ve seen a couple colours, but I don’t know who they are yet.”
“I’m so happy for you, Alexander,” She says, and he knows she means it, “Once you find them, and they give you the gift of a world full of colour for the first time, there is nothing like it. Your world changes, and they become one of the many pieces that makes you who you are, who you’re meant to be.”
Coming from anyone other than his dearest Eliza, Alexander would have scoffed. Those words, her words, were the same ones he’s been hearing for years. That meeting your soulmate was the most mind opening, world bending, romantic thing. That when you first kissed them, when you choose to give them colour, you became a different version of yourself. A better version. But this is Eliza, and he knows that she means it.
“How is Hercules, by the way?” Alexander says, trying to steer the conversation away from talk of his soulmate and towards talk of her own.
“He’s fine, Alexander, and don’t think you’ll get out of talking about this. How is it you haven’t found them yet?”
He sigh, knowing he won’t escape this lunch without spilling, “I only see colour in the most random of places. The handle of a door, one of the elevator buttons, and a picture frame. It’s totally random, and I don’t know how to track down who might have touched them, but - in all honesty - I think that’s the point. I don’t think they want me to find them.”
“Well, my dear, it is very possible you’ve scared them off already. I mean this in the nicest possible way, but you’re not the easiest man to get along with.”
Alexander considers her words. She has a point, as always. He isn’t the easiest to get along with, and half the time he’s just a complete asshole. It would make sense that his soulmate would be weary of telling him, especially if Alexander had been rude to them in the past.
“Perhaps you’re right, Betsy. But what am I supposed to do? I can’t apologize to every single person I’ve bitched at through the years.”
She gives him a smile, eyelashes fluttering, “Maybe just start being nicer in general? And even to people that you know aren’t your soulmate. There can never be too much kindness in this world, Alexander.”
“Maybe I should.”
“And while you’re at it,” She begins, “Perhaps you can apologize to Mr. Jefferson too. I know you don’t get along, Alex, but he’s truly a good man. You have different values and beliefs, but you never know when you’ll need an ally from across the aisle.”
She looks so genuine, so caring and kind, and Alexander knows she’s right. He wishes, with all himself, that he could be more like her. There wasn’t a single person that Eliza couldn’t get along with, not a single person she didn’t wish the best for.
“You’re right, Bets.” He says, “I’ll apologize.”
Their waiter interrupts with their dishes, and the soulmate conversation is tabled.
After lunch, Eliza walks him back to the White House. She gives him a kiss on the cheek outside his office, makes him promise to keep in touch more often (with her and Angelica), and shoots him a knowing look.
“Remember what I said.”
Alexander gives her a small smile, “I will. Get home safe, my love.”
She winks at him as she turns to leave. He watches her leave, grey dress swaying with her walk, leaving in a flurry of lavender perfume.
As much as he doesn’t want to apologize, as much as he wants to stew in his own self loathing, Alexander knows what he has to do. The only chance he has to get anything done in office is to compromise with Jefferson, and there’s no chance of that happening if he doesn’t apologize.
He shoulders off his jacket, hanging it from the back of his desk chair, and leaves the office.
“I’m going to have a word with Mr. Jefferson. If anyone stops by, make a note and I’ll get back to them.” He tells Maria on his way out.
She gives him a surprised look, but nods nonetheless.
He walks down the hallway, and Peggy looks up from her desk.
“Is Jefferson in?” Alexander asks, fingers drumming on the wood.
Her frown grows, “Yes, but I’m going to assume he doesn’t want to speak to you.”
“Now Pegs, why would you assume a thing like that?”
“Oh, I don’t know. It might be this email he sent earlier, telling me that if you showed up, I should send you away at once.”
Alexander rolls his eyes, “Well, I’m here to apologize, so can you just, like, let me go in?”
She looks hesitant for a moment, teeth digging into her glossy bottom lip.
“I can’t actually,” Peggy tells him, “But if I were to leave my desk for a moment and you just happened to sneak in when I wasn’t watching, well it’d hardly be my fault, right?”
And Alex knows what she’s doing. This way, she stays on his good side without threat of Jefferson getting mad that she disobeyed an order.
She scoffs, rolling her eyes, and stands from the desk. As she walks away, Alex hears her mutter under her breath, “Don’t fucking get paid enough for this shit.”
As soon as she slips around the hallway, Alexander takes that as his cue. He knocks twice on the door, pushing it open just a little and sticking his head in. “Secretary Jefferson?” He says, tagging on the honorific like it’ll make him seem more sorry.
He hears a scoff from inside the office, and figures ‘fuck it’. He steps further inside, shutting the door behind him.
Jefferson’s behind his desk, focused on a stack of papers and his laptop, both of which sit in front of him. Alex hesitates for a moment, and when Jefferson says nothing, he crosses the office to sit down in the chair across from him.
“I’m sorry,” Alexander says, forcing the words from his mouth. Jefferson says nothing, doesn’t even look up, so Alex continues on. “What I said was unfair and rude. I shouldn’t have said it, and I realize I crossed a line. We both said a lot of shitty things, but I shouldn’t have brought your soulmate into it.”
He says it all in one breath, rushed words running together as they force themselves from his throat. Jefferson says nothing, but after a moment he finally looks up from the papers in front of him. He holds Alexander’s eye contact for a second, tops, before he looks back down at his computer and continues typing.
The audacity of this fucker. Alexander can feel indignant anger rising up in his chest, and he wants to yell, wants to chew him out until he gets something in reply. Until he gets an apology in return.
But he’s a mature adult. So, for once in his life, Alexander refrains. He simply rises from the chair, marches back to his office, grabs that stupid jacket from his closet, returns to Jefferson’s office and throws it onto his desk.
It lands there, almost knocking over his Starbucks coffee cup, and finally, finally , Alexander gets his attention.
“You left this at the bar.” Alexander says, making no move to explain why he grabbed it that night, probably because he can’t even justify it to himself.
Thomas looks at the jacket, his frown growing more noticable, and then his gaze finds Alexander’s. “I left it there on purpose.”
“Why?” He can’t help but ask. In all his rationalizing, he’d never expected that Jefferson would have purposely left it there. He had looked at the tag, recognized the brand, and recognized how expensive it was. Why in the hell would Jefferson choose to leave a $600 jacket at a shitty bar?”
“I don’t like the colour.”
Alex snorts, “It’s white.”
Jefferson’s eyes flicker back to his, and he looks thoughtful for a long moment before he continues, “Well I don’t want it back.” He says, pushing the jacket in Alexander’s direction, “Keep it, sell it, throw it away, I don’t care. But I don’t want it.”
Alexander picks up the jacket, tossing it behind him where it lands on Jefferson’s couch. When he looks back, Jefferson’s eyes are on his.
“Fine, don’t accept the jacket, but please accept my apology. Because whether we like it or not, we have to get along for the sake of both our sanity’s. You might not know Burr, but I do, and you’ll hate him even more than you hate me.”
Jefferson’s face is still blank, his eyes trained on Alexander’s for a second too long. It makes him uncomfortable, feels like Jefferson is studying him just to gather information to tear him apart.
After a long moment of silence, Jefferson clears his throat. He rubs a gloved hand across his face and nods. “I’ll consider it.”
And, really, that’s all Alexander can ask from him. He nods in return, standing from the chair and turning towards the door.
He looks back over his shoulder, once more, and sees Jefferson still watching him.
“Have a good evening, Mr. Secretary.” Alexander says, not sticking around to see if Jefferson replied.
He heads back to his office, knowing it’s going to be a late night. He’s got too much to finish by the end of the week, and given that his time is going to be stolen by whatever horrendous presentation Burr put together for their cabinet meeting tomorrow, it can’t be put off.
Alex sits down at his desk, pulls his laptop back open, and gets to work.
got any theories? i want to hear them! yell at me here or over on my tumblr
i forced myself to write this instead of doing the one million other things I need to do.
Drop me a comment and feed my craving for validation
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
John drops into the seat in front of him.
“Why do you look miserable?” He asks, and Alexander rolls his eyes, pushing John’s drink towards him.
“You always give me shit about being late, but here you are,” He looks at his watch with a too dramtic sigh, “7 minutes late to lunch.”
His friend pouts, his bottom lip pushing forward. “Don’t be mad, I got stuck at the hospital. You know, where I care for the sick and injured.”
Alexander’s facade of anger cracks and he snorts, “Shut up, we both know you don’t do shit there.”
John’s chuckle makes him feel warm, “Fuck you, but you’re also kind of right.” John says with a grin, “You order yet?”
“Yeah, I got you the personal with pepperoni and olives.”
“God, I could kiss you.”
Alexander’s face scrunches up, “You really want to have a repeat of freshman year?”
John winks at him, taking a sip of his Dr. Pepper, “It was a good time.”
“It was like thirty seconds.”
John snorts, rolling his eyes, and the flush on his cheeks makes his freckles stand out, “Shut up, it was like three minutes.” He says with a smirk, “And besides, Ben doesn’t seem to mind.”
Alex throws his straw wrapper at him, “I hate you.”
John grins, boyishly and cute, and Alexander feels a rush of affection for their friendship.
That is, until, John opens his mouth again. “How’s Jefferson? You bitch him out again today?”
And isn’t that a loaded question. They hadn’t spoken the entire morning. Alex had seen him when he made a run to the break room earlier, and neither of them had acknowledged the other. He reasons that the burden is now on Jefferson. Alexander had apologized, and now it was up to Jefferson to stop being a bitch for a second and accept it.
“Who told you?”
John raises an eyebrow, “Eliza, who else?”
“Why would she do a thing like that?”
John’s smile grows, “She thinks you’re meant to be together.”
Alexander fake gags. Jefferson and him? No thanks, he’d rather fucking jump in the Hudson. Sure he was hot, but Jesus, the guy was a fucking asshole.
“She’s obviously lost her mind. As a doctor, you should have recognized the symptoms,” Alexander replies, getting interrupted as the waitress drops off their pizzas. He smiles at her, even throws in a wink, and grins when she blushes and scurries off.
“I don’t know man, y’all have that tension.”
He raises an eyebrow, “That’s not how it works.”
“Come on, you can admit the hate sex would be awesome.”
And, well, it’s not like Alexander can say that he hasn’t thought about it. Yeah, he didn’t like Jefferson. Didn’t like his smarmy personality, or his asshole-ery, or his fucking fashion sense or dumb opinions. But he was okay to look at. With a body built like a Greek God, hair that framed his (stupid) face so perfectly, that dazzelingly white smile that never got pointed in Alexander’s direction.
And he has no doubts that Jefferson would be good. He’s heard rumours of the illicit affairs he had partaken in when he was back in Paris. He’d make Alex fall apart and put him back together slowly and then all at once. (Okay, so he’s definitely thought about it.)
Enough of those thoughts. He waits until John takes a bite of his pizza before he replies, “You think he keeps the gloves on when he fucks someone?”
John chokes on his pizza and Alexander laughs.
When he gets back to the office, Maria immediately reminds him of the cabinet meeting. Alexander wants, more than anything, to skip it. But, if he doesn’t go, he can’t convince Washington to get rid of Burr.
He spends the next twenty minutes before the meeting working through the budget. He’s been staring at the numbers for days, and yet nothing is coming to him. Nothing is working out in his head. All his plans keep falling apart, and it’s starting to drive him insane.
“Hey Alex, you want to walk down together?”
He looks up, sees Henry standing at his door. Fuck, time to be miserable, he guesses.
“Yeah sure, just give me a second.”
He saves the new changes he made, picking up his laptop and following Henry out the door. The ride down is filled with small talk about Arizona. He likes Henry, has liked him since they first met. Alexander wouldn’t really consider them friends, he’d never share anything personal about his life with the man, but they can have a decent conversation without either getting pissed off.
When he enters the conference room, Washington, Lee, and Greene are already in their seats. There’s no sign of Jefferson or Monroe yet, and Alexander thinks they’ll probably show up together.
He drops into his seat diagonal from Washington, Henry taking his seat on Alexander’s other side. Washington doesn’t look impressed and Alexander feels indigant something rise in his chest. He doesn’t know if Washington had heard about his little yelling match with Jefferson, but the look Washington sends him kind of clues Alex in, that yeah, he had heard about it. The feeling rises in his chest.
Since he first met Washington many years ago, Alex has strived for his approval. Everything he does, when it doesn’t directly advance his own personal agenda, is for Washington’s approval, for his praise. As pathetic as it is, he wants Washington to be proud of him- needs Washington to be proud of him.
The door opens as Alexander’s computer is sputtering to life and Jefferson enters, followed closely by Monroe and Burr. Alex watches, not even trying to be subtle about it, as Jefferson takes his seat. He watches the man pull out a sheet of paper and a pen, and then Jefferson looks up at him. His expression is blank. After a moment of eye contact, Jefferson simply raises a perfectly arched eyebrow.
“Do we know what the kid’s going to say?” Henry asks from his side, his voice not quite a whisper. Alex leans in his chair, the back squeaking. He looks at Burr, who gives him a polite nod.
Henry’s look turns questioning, and Alex huffs out a small laugh.
“It’s kind of his thing,” Alexander tells him, “He’ll say a lot of words, but he somehow manages to say nothing at all.”
“Alright, we’re all here.” Washington addresses the room, “I’d like to summarize the last meeting real quick. Secretary Hamilton went through the proposed cabinet budget for this fiscal year. The projected budget has been emailed to you all, please review it and take any concerns to Alexander.”
“So he can insult us too?” Charles Lee says from the back of the room, and Alexander looks at Jefferson. He looks almost amused.
“Hey Lee,” Alex says with a sweet grin he doesn’t feel, “Why don’t you go shove it?”
“Moving on,” Washington says before he can get a reply. Lee shoots Alex a sneer. “I also introduced a new member of this cabinet as a liason for the departments, particularly State and Treasury. Not that I need to justify myself, but it has been brought to my attention that some of our Secretaries need a non partial voice in order to get anything done.”
Alexander rolls his eyes, scoffing out loud. If Washington could stop with the passive aggressive attacks on his character and just call him out, then maybe they could get this fucking meeting over with already.
“Mr. Burr, I believe you have a presentation for us. Please, go ahead.”
“Thank you Mr. President. As liaison, I have a lot of ideas to smooth the tension between departments and maximize productivity. It’s quite obvious that nothing can get done in the Department of State without the Treasury’s approval. As for my plan of action, the first step in solving a problem is admitting there is a problem there. Now, the United States’ involvement in France-”
As soon as Burr starts talking about French affairs - without really saying anything, Alexander completely stops paying attention, and he’s not even trying to hide it. He pulls his laptop off the table in front of him and into his lap, and opens his email. He doesn’t have time to listen to Burr drag out a bullshit presentation that wasn’t needed. Alex had legislation he needed to get through congress.
He opens a new email from Senator Schuyler.
After speaking with the Democratic whip, I can assure you that all Senate Democrats have pledged to vote in favour for Senate Bill S.1654, which gives you six votes short of a majority. I have been speaking with Angelica and she is meeting with a lobbyist this afternoon to find a method of getting the remaining votes. However, I am doubtful we can get the needed number by the 21st. If you have any other ideas, I encourage you to pursue them.
Your Obedient Servant,
And isn’t that lovely? They were still six votes short. Alexander loves Angelica, knows she can get things done, but he is beginning to doubt their ability to convince the Republicans to vote for his assumption bill before it gets brought forth in the Senate. It’s as he’s replying to Schuyler, that another email notification pops up.
He feels his brow furrow in confusion. Quickly, he exits out of the reply and opens the new email.
Okay I forgive you, Jesus Christ, just get this guy to shut up.
He huffs out a laugh of surprise. Looking up from his laptop, he sees Jefferson sitting back in his chair, arms crossed. He’s looking at Burr, his eyebrow still arched, but now there is annoyance in his face. He looks over at Alexander, like he could feel his gaze, and when they make eye contact, Jefferson’s lip twitches up.
Alexander goes back to his laptop and types out a reply
I told you.
He sees when Jefferson gets the email, because that twitch in his lip quirks even higher. Jefferson rolls his eyes as he looks at his phone, and then his gloved fingers are typing on his blackberry’s keyboard. After a moment, he looks up at Alexander expectantly.
Unsurprisingly, there is a new message in his inbox He clicks the new email, opening it up.
I thought you were just being your usual immature self, but alas, I was wrong. This is worse than I could have expected. How does Washington expect him to help anything? I’d rather listen to you talk all day, and considering that I want to drown myself everytime you open your mouth, that’s saying something.
Burr is the bane of my existence. He doesn’t have a single opinion about anything! But I agree, for once, with you. I’d rather put up with someone that was born with a silver spoon up their ass and has the shittiest political opinions alive then deal with him. I’m going to stay after (if this ever ends) and talk to Washington, please feel free to stay here and back me up. If both of us can agree on this, then Washington might listen.
He watches Jefferson read the email. His eyebrows raise in surprise, and Alex wonders what he could have said that would warrant that look. A moment later, a new email pops into his inbox.
Burr’s the bane of your existence? Here I thought that title belonged to me. And I’m going to ignore your shitty insults and tell you that I’ll stay as well. I hate that I’m agreeing with you, but going through Burr might make resign, and I like my job.
Alexander’s surprised. He looks up at Jefferson, sees the man watching him, and Alex cools his expression into a blank slate. Jefferson’s email had seemed almost playful . Since when was he anything but a dick 24/7?
Here I thought that title belonged to me.
It had seemed as though he was actually joking. Since when did he have a fucking sense of humour? Alexander hums thoughtfully. When he looks back at Jefferson, the other man is already looking at him expectantly. Alexander pushes away his train of thought before he can get too caught up in his own head, and sends another reply.
You are my arch nemesis. There is a difference.
Jefferson’s reply comes immediately.
I don’t remember voting for that.
Alexander rolls his eyes. When he looks at Jefferson, who is looking at Burr, it looks suspiciously like he’s smiling. He doesn’t understand why Jefferson’s being nice, why he’s actually being pleasant for once. Alex is waiting for the rug to be pulled out from beneath him, waiting for Jefferson to snap.
This isn’t a democracy.
Your Beloved Monarch
He continuously refreshes his email until a new reply comes in.
Hold on, let me draft another declaration really quick.
And Jefferson is really never going to let anyone forget about that, is he?
Good luck getting the people on board, on account of your terrible opinions.
Leader of the People
“That’s all I have to say on the subject.” Burr says finally, “Thank you for your time and I’m looking forward to working with you all.”
Alexander looks at the latest email.
Ignoring that too. But thank God he’s done.
CEO of Please Get A. Ham to Shut Up
“Thank you, Mr. Burr. You have some great points and arguments, which I have no doubt our Secretaries will consider. Now, if there are no other questions or comments?” When no one says anything, Washington continues, “Excellent. You are all dismissed.”
Alexander watches the crowd file from the room. Alexander sees Jefferson remain seated, looking at Washington with a blank stare. When the room is finally empty, Alexander shuts his laptop and stands.
“Sir, with all due respect, that was the dumbest thirty minutes of my life.” Alexander says, “Burr is a useless hassle, and he’ll only slow down the progress we’re trying to make.”
Washington’s face is blank. “Considering you didn’t pay attention for twenty-five minutes of it, Alexander, I don’t really think you can critique.”
“I heard enough after five minutes.” Alexander replies, “He didn’t even outline a plan for the Treasury, he just talked about France!”
“You’ve shown me why this is needed. And Burr was right, nothing will get done with this constant bickering. You, and you alone Alexander, will not convince me.”
“Actually, Sir, this is something Hamilton and I agree on.” Jefferson interjects finally. He’s standing beside Alexander now, black coat on his arm, practically towering over him. How had he never noticed how tall Jefferson was before?
Washington raises an eyebrow at this. An unusual display of actual emotion, “You do?”
“Yes, Your Excellency, Secretary Jefferson and I agree that Burr needs to go.”
Washington is quiet for a moment, thoughtful, and then he shakes his head, “While I’m glad the two of you can actually agree on something, I’m afraid it doesn’t prove anything. Agreeing on this doesn’t mean you can agree on actual problems; it doesn’t mean you can make compromises.”
“Until you can show me that the two of you can actually get something done, together, then Burr stays.” His words are stern, his tone final.
Alexander deflates. Washington nods at both of them, “You’re dismissed, Secretaries.”
Alex barely refrains from rolling his eyes. He turns on his heels, following Jefferson from the room. He gets a wave of the other man’s cologne, and frowns. So not only did Jefferson have to be handsome (and stupid), but he had to smell good too?
He stops that train of thought as they get onto the elevator. Jefferson turns to him, frowning. “That went well.”
Alexander shakes his head, “We just have to try harder.”
Jefferson shrugs, saying nothing. He’s back to his quiet self, and Alexander doesn’t know what the think of that. He had said he forgave Alexander. He had even been fun to email, but now it was like they were back at square one. He supposes he shouldn’t assume that just because Jefferson forgave him they were anything other than people that could barely stand each other. The elevator pings and the doors open. Jefferson nods to him, once, and leaves.
But there is work to be done.
He follows Jefferson towards his office. Peggy gives him a raised eyebrow and he simply smiles at her and enters the office.
The man tosses a glance over his shoulder, eyebrows raised. “Can I help you?”
“If we want to get rid of Burr, the only way we can do that is to figure out the budget.” Alexander tells him, “We have to compromise.”
He sees Jefferson sink down into his chair, running his gloved hands across his face. When he looks back up, he looks fucking exhausted. Alex hadn’t noticed before, but there were dark grey circles beneath his eyes, and when Jefferson closes his eyes, Alex thinks he might have actually fell asleep.
When he opens them a moment later, he’s looking at Alex with a pleading expression, “In case you missed the part of Burr’s presentation where he proposed we completely restructure the foreign aid in France, I’ll remind you. What he’s proposing would completely change all my plans, so I have to draw up a new comparison policy, and it's going to take me awhile.” Jefferson tells him.
“Jefferson, don’t you under-”
"Alexander,” Jefferson pleads, and it stops his words. Jefferson has hardly ever used his first name, and for some reason, it sounds so good coming out of his mouth. “Can this please wait?”
He sounds so tired, so done with everything, that Alexander can only nod. He gets his bearings back in a second and offers Jefferson what he hopes is a polite smile.
“Yeah, of course it can. I’ll email you the new changes I’ve made, and you can look over them when you have a moment.” Alexander says, turning towards the door. When he gets there, he looks back over his shoulder at Jefferson.
The man looks miserable, pathetic even, and Alexander hates the way he feels sorry for him. This is Jefferson, his rival - his enemy - he should be soaking in the man’s misery like vitamin C. Instead, all he feels is sympathy. He’s been there, hell, he’s still there.
“Have a good night, Secretary Jefferson.” He says almost as an afterthought, his words echoing those from their previous encounter the night before.
This time, he sticks around for the reply.
Jefferson looks up from his desk, a soft but tired smile on his face when he replies, “You too, Alexander.”
And there’s his first name again. Alexander swallows harshly, turning to leave before he can do something stupid, like offer to stay and help him.
He doesn’t miss the knowing look Peggy shoots him on his way out.
oooo what's gonna happen? :)
(also, tell me if u want a chapter from Jefferson's perspective. and by tell, i mean convince hehe)
in which we make a little progress
this was so fun to write!! We. Are. Getting. There.
Let me know whatcha think??
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Alexander is sitting at his desk, thumbing through his latest draft of the assumption bill. He’s supposed to meet with Angelica in twenty minutes to figure out their next plan of action. His door opens, and he doesn’t bother looking up.
“Can you grab me another coffee, and make sure the aspirin’s here when I get back? God knows Angelica is going to have some choice words.”
There’s no way Eliza hasn’t told her about the entire soulmate thing, and he knows Angelica better than to believe she’ll let it pass without comment.
“That seems like a job for your secretary.”
Alex looks up in surprise, his eyes finding Jefferson. He looks a little better than he had yesterday, the dark circles under his eyes faded a little, and the expression on his face a little less desperate. It takes Alexander a moment, and then he notices the jacket.
The same white jacket Jefferson had left at the bar. The one Alex had given back to him. The one he said he hated.
“Sorry, thought you were Maria.” He says, unable to tear his eyes from the jacket. He thinks it’s the same one. It has the same curl of the collar, the same buttons on the wrists, and it’s still obscenely white. “I thought you hated that jacket?”
Jefferson looks down at his own clothes like he didn’t realize what he was wearing. He shrugs, “I was cold.”
Alex raises an eyebrow, not believing him. But, whatever, it was really none of his business if Jefferson wanted to wear the damn jacket or not.
“Can I help you with something, Mr. Secretary?”
“Yes, actually,” Jefferson responds, walking forward and dropping a stack of papers onto the desk. He looks at the first page, and his eyebrow immediately arches. It’s the budget plan, marked up ridiculously in pen.
Alex flips through the first couple of pages, a wounded noise escaping his throat, “I appreciate that you found the time to make some changes, but this is absurd.” Alexander says finally, “I can’t slash the budgets like this, and I definitely can’t give you this much money. Even with the new numbers from Europe and the Middle East, I can’t budget this much.”
“You’re the one who said we needed to compromise, Hamilton,” Jefferson replies, although his words lack a bite. Alex doesn’t miss the return of his last name.
Jefferson smirks, and Alex can feel irritation bubble in his chest. They don’t have a choice, he reminds himself, they have to figure out something.
“I’m supposed to meet with Angelica in like ten minutes,” Alex says, “Why don’t you come back when I return, and we can work through it? That way I can shoot down all your shitty ideas.”
“In case you didn’t notice, I already worked through it.” Jefferson shoots back, and Alex rolls his eyes.
“I see that, but in case you didn’t hear what I said, I’m not approving this. So unless you want to be stuck with your current budget or go through Burr, you’ll come here when I get back and work through it with me.”
Jefferson looks like he wants to argue, like he wants to tell Alex to go shove his budget, but thankfully he’s smarter than that. His shoulders deflate and a huff of air leaves his mouth.
“Fine,” Jefferson replies after a moment - although he doesn’t look happy about it, “Fine, yes, send me an email when you get back and we can go through this shit.”
Alexander smiles because it feels as though he’s won, and nods. “Will do, Mr. Secretary.”
Jefferson just rolls his eyes at that and stalks out of the room, leaving Alex grinning after him.
He meets Angelica at a little coffee shop down on 17th street. It’s a nice place, lots of people from the Capital and the White House making up their customers, but it's not a place Alexander frequents.
He pulls open the door, a blast of heat and the smell of coffee smacking into him like a brick wall. He finds Angelica at a small table near the back. She’s dressed like she just got out of the Capital, hair pulled back into a slick ponytail, and dressed in a clean-cut grey pantsuit with white heels. She’s typing on her laptop, face a mixture of frustration and concentration. There are two cups of coffee in front of her, so Alexander skips the line and makes his way over to her.
He drops into the seat across from her and watches as she looks up from the laptop with a frown. When she sees who it is, a small smile crosses her face.
“What’s with the death glare?” He asks as he takes a sip from the cup closest to him.
“Thought you were Burr.” She says, looking back down at her laptop and typing faster than anyone Alex has ever seen- present company excluded.
“Ever since he’s joined Washington’s staff, he thinks I’ve changed my mind about him.” She says, her frown growing, “Or he’s just trying to get votes in Congress, I’m not really sure.”
“Well anyone would be lucky to have a lobbyist as good as you in their pocket,” Alex says with a shit-eating grin. He, of all people, knows how good she is at what she does.
“We’ve talked about this a million times, Alexander, I’m not a lobbyist.”
He raises an eyebrow, “Are you, or are you not, someone who influences legislation?”
“I am, but I prefer freelance consultant.”
He huffs out a laugh at that, rolling his eyes. “Whatever, Mrs. Schuyler. Do you have good news for me, or am I going to leave here in a bigger mess than I came.”
Angelica looks up from her laptop and gives him an appraising glance, “Not to be rude, but Eliza’s right, you do look like shit. So, bad news or good news, I’m not sure it’ll make much of a dent.”
And, oh, how he’s missed her candor. Alex smiles wider at that, “Stop avoiding the question, and tell me what you found out.”
“Right to business, I see. It’s not like we haven’t seen each other in months.”
“Fine, fine, Jesus. I met with Senator Maclay from Pennsylvania, and after a long dinner, in which I picked up the bill, I got him to support the assumption bill in exchange for you not cutting the Ag department’s budget.”
Confusion rushes through his brain, “The Ag department? I wasn’t planning on cutting it, I’ve written in an extra 14 billion?”
She blinks once, twice, and then it all slides into place.
“Oh,” Alex says, “But he doesn’t know that.”
“Exactly,” She says with a grin, “Once word come comes out that you’re planning on raising the Ag budget, which I already have a press release lined up for Thursday, we’re all set on his vote.”
“Excellent,” He says with a grin. Fuck, maybe they can do this. “Any other votes you think we can swing?”
Her teeth dig into her bottom lip, “Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m supposed to meet with Few and Gunner from Georgia on Friday, but with Madison’s opposition, I’m not sure they’ll budge.”
“What about Wingate? Surely there’s something we can offer New Hampshire in exchange?”
“I’m honestly not sure, I spoke with Langdon on the phone yesterday and he seemed pretty convinced that Wingate was going to vote with his party.”
“So we’re fucked then?”
“I didn’t say that,” Angelica responds with a tsk tsk sound, “Are you really sure there’s no way we can convince Madison to get on board? He’s majority leader, and on his word alone, he’d be able to give us more than enough.”
“In case you forgot, Madison kind of hates me.”
“You were friends before all this, why are things so different now?”
Alexander rolls his eyes again, “Jefferson.”
At the mention of the Secretary of State, Angelica’s eyebrows arch.
“Can we please not talk about this?” Alexander pleads, but she only responds with a smile.
“Eliza told me about your, uh, predicament.”
“He’s not my soulma-”
“I know.” Angelica interrupts him, “And even if he was, I’d tell you to screw fate.”
This surprises him. He knows Angelica and Jefferson didn’t exactly get along, but for her to tell him to screw destiny? Interesting, she’d always been pretty conservative when it came to soulmates.
“What makes you say that?”
“Alex, come on, it’s Jefferson. First off, you hate the guy. Also, he’s kind of like the biggest dick I’ve ever met, his policies are shit, and he’s made your life a living hell at the White House.”
He nods, “You’re not wrong.”
A scoff, “Of course, I’m not wrong. The point I’m trying to make is that there’s no way he’s your soulmate. Soulmates are perfect matches, your one true bond, and there’s no way you and Jefferson could stand each other long enough to spend the rest of your lives together.”
“And it’s not that I don’t want you to be happy,” She says, voice oddly comforting, “It’s just that I don’t want to see you get hurt again.”
The reminder of his failed relationship with Eliza stings a little. He’s put it behind him, for the most part. He was stupid to think that getting involved with someone who wasn’t his soulmate was a good idea, but she hadn’t met Hercules yet and they were both wild and in need of emotional intimacy.
And Alexander didn’t harbour any ill will towards either of them, but when she left Alexander for one of his best friends, his pride kind of took a hit. But they were soulmates, they were destined to be together, and he couldn’t hold that against them.
“Ang, you know I’m not still upset about that.”
“Yeah, I know.” She says, but the frown doesn’t leave her face, “I’m just saying, I know Eliza’s rooting for the two of you, but I don’t think it would work.”
“It wouldn’t,” Alex responds, and there’s some sort of sinking feeling in his stomach that he can’t name.
“And, besides,” She says with a grin, “You can always just marry me.”
He laughs at her words, knowing they’d fight just as much as Jefferson and him, but her words ring with an undercurrent of truth.
“I know you’ll find your soulmate soon, Ang. It’s destiny, remember?”
She gives him a fond look that’s not entirely convinced but nods nonetheless. “Come on, you gotta help me think of ways to get Few and Gunn on board.”
When he gets back to the office, Alexander is vibrating with energy. He’s not entirely enthusiastic about the conversation with Angelica, but she had made some important points, and she’d gotten them one more vote. It didn’t seem like that much, but five votes seemed a hell of a lot easier than six, plus it gave him the hope that their cause wasn’t completely impossible.
He’s exhausted, and it’s nearing seven o’clock, and his stomach is growling. He should have picked up some food when he was with Angelica, but the thought of actually getting enough senators on board was enough to make him forget about his stomach.
Alex drops into his seat and shoots a quick email to Maria.
Subject: It’s late, go home
Please see the subject. Have a good night.
Then after a moment, and a long drawn out sigh, he types out a message to Jefferson.
I’m back let's get this shit over with. Please bring your terrible opinions & coffee.
It’s not even five minutes later that his door opens. Alexander looks up, unsurprised to see Jefferson standing before him. Before he can even say anything, Jefferson holds out a cup of coffee in his gloved hand.
Alexander accepts it with a hesitant smile, and motions to the chair next to his desk.
Jefferson takes the seat, pulls it close to Alex’s desk and flips through his own copy of the budget.
“Page six, section four, subsection 5-” Jefferson starts and Alexander rolls his eyes.
They work through the bill, starting on page six, for a long time. Each section and subsection is reanalyzed, thinking of ways to reduce the department budget or cut spending in a more general way. Alexander’s head throbs and his stomach has been growling for the past twenty minutes, he’s ready to call it a night but knows he can’t. They’ve got too much shit to get through to go home at, he looks at the clock, one in the morning.
“Okay,” Alexander says as he shakes out his hand. He lost feeling in it about an hour ago, “I guess we can cut the Department of Interior. It might not make Gerald happy, but we can reallocate at least 500 grand from Education.”
“When was the last time you ate?” Jefferson asks suddenly, and Alexander has to blink a few times before he comprehends the words, and even then they still don’t make sense.
“When was the last time you ate?”
Alexander looks back at the clock, internally running the numbers through his head. He’d skipped breakfast and lunch, hadn’t had a snack either, so he guesses-
“Yesterday at lunch.”
He sees Jefferson inhale an inhuman amount of air and then force it from his mouth in the most dramatic sigh Alexander has ever seen from anyone, ever.
“Why?” Alex asks after a moment.
Jefferson rolls his eyes, “Because your stomach keeps growling every thirty seconds like clockwork, and it’s driving me fucking insane.”
“Sorry I’ve been a little preoccupied.” He bites back, although his tone lacks any heat.
Jefferson simply looks at him for a moment, before picking up the phone from the desk and dialing a number from memory.
Alexander watches him in confusion, until whoever is on the other side picks up.
“Yes, hi, it’s Thomas Jefferson.”
Someone speaks on the other end, and Jefferson nods to himself, “Yes, go ahead and give me two seperate orders. Yeah, thank you, I’m sure they’ll let you up. Yes, okay, yeah just charge the card on file.” He hums and nods his head again, “Yes, okay, thank you. Have a good night.”
He sits the phone back on the stand and picks up his papers. Alexander stares at him for a long moment before the man looks up again. His expression is neutral, although it’s also somewhat curious.
“What?” Jefferson asks after a second.
“Who’d you call?”
Jefferson rolls his eyes again, and Jesus that’s like the twentieth time this hour. Alexander wants to make a comment about how his face will get stuck like that, but let’s the words die in his throat. No point in trying to pick a fight when they’re getting along for the most part.
“I ordered takeout.”
Alexander blinks at him. “You ordered… takeout?”
“Yes, I ordered takeout. Your fucking stomach won’t shut up and it’s distracting me. Some of us actually want to get this done.”
“So you.. bought me food?”
Jefferson simply stares at him for a long moment before he shrugs, “I didn’t realize it was a big deal. Do you want me to call and cancel it?”
His expression is blank, but there’s some undercurrent of hurt in his words, that Alexander can’t explain. It instantly makes him feel bad, even though he knows he shouldn’t, but he’s quick to retract his words.
“No, no- its, uh, it’s fine. Thank you.”
“Stop making it weird.” Jefferson says with a huff, “Okay section 18, subsection 3. I don’t even know what the fuck you’re saying here. Either rephrase or scratch the thing.”
“What? How do you not understand that?” Alexander says, indignant, “It’s literally like 3rd grade English!”
And so it goes.
The food gets there around twenty minutes later, and Alex breaks into his styrofoam container as Jefferson chats up the delivery guy. He asks about the guy’s fucking kids for Christ’s sake, how often does this fucker order takeout to the office?
Alexander takes a bite of tso's chicken, and can’t help the low groan that slips from his mouth. He sees Jefferson look over his shoulder with a raised eyebrow, before tipping the man - rather generously - and sending him on his way.
“This is good.” Alexander says around a mouthful of noodles.
“That’s why I ordered it.”
He huffs out a laugh, almost inhaling an entire noodle in the process, “Can you not be an asshole for, like, four seconds?”
Jefferson picks up his own chopsticks and stabs into his box of food, “Sorry, I can’t help it, it’s kind of my default setting. I thought you of all people would get that.”
“I’m only an asshole like ninety percent of the time, and only to people that deserve it.”
Jefferson looks considering as he chews on his food, after he swallows he says, “I’m not sure what I ever did to deserve such, uh, spiteful treatment.”
Alex snorts, “Oh please, you insulted me and half the cabinet on your first day here. I think that entitles me to a little bit of spitefulness.”
“You were insufferable the moment I met you. You literally wouldn’t shut up, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise until the cabinet meeting.”
Alexander, honest to God, flushes at Jefferson’s reminder of that day. Yeah, he had been a little nervous and it threw him off his game. And, yeah, he has a habit of running his mouth whenever he’s nervous, but nobodies perfect, so sue him?
“Well, you’ll have to forgive me, I was a little starstruck.” He says on instinct, regretting the words as soon as Jefferson raises an eyebrow, curious.
“Starstruck you say?” He replies, his smirk insufferable and his tone smug.
“Shut up, asshole.”
“Oh no, please tell me more. Pray tell, why exactly were you starstruck?”
Alex takes another bite of his food, chewing as slowly as possible as he tries to come up with an answer that doesn’t make him sound like a complete idiot. In the end, he decides any lie is probably worse than the truth, and decides that he’d rather have Jefferson make fun of him about the truth than some stupid lie he thought of in the spur of the moment.
“Come on, I mean you’re you.” Alexander says once he’s swallowed, “I read some of your work when I was in college. You’re thee Thomas Jefferson, you wrote the damn Declaration, of course, I was going to be a little starstruck.”
“Wow Alexander,” His voice is so smug Alexander considers scrapping the whole plan and jumping out the window, “I didn’t know you thought so highly of me.”
“Trust me, you changed my opinion quite quickly.”
“Oh it’s okay, you don’t have to save face. I get it, honestly, who wouldn’t be thrilled to meet me?” His voice is teasing and obnoxious and Alex is ready to resign from his position.
“Any one of your constituents.”
“If it’s any compensation, I was looking forward to meeting you too.” Jefferson says and it stops Alexander in his tracks.
“I mean, I had read some of your stuff, and it was all shit, but you made a name for yourself. I mean, Madison and your defense of the Constitution was okay, even if you were definitely just pandering to the audience.”
“We did what it took-”
“I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.” Jefferson interrupts him, “All your opinions are shit, so naturally I was going to disagree with everything you said, but I don’t think terrible ideas make you any less of a decent writer.”
And Alexander thinks that might be the closest he’s going to get to a compliment from Jefferson, so he takes it at face value and snorts.
Jefferson’s quiet for a moment, his expression open and amused. “I can’t believe you were starstruc-”
Alexander throws a chopstick at him and laughs when it smacks him in the side of the arm.
“I hate you.” Jefferson says, but that amused smile is still on his face, and his words lack malice or ill will.
“I know.” Alexander grins in response, “Uh, can you actually hand me that back, I need it to ea-”
It smacks him in the leg and he can’t escape the snort that leaves his mouth.
“I hate you.” He says, bending down to pick the chopstick up from the floor.
When he looks back up, Jefferson’s smiling at him.
the only reason i’m able to get chapters out so (decently) fast is because of people who comment, like you.
so thank you.
*slowly makes progress so I can rip the rug out from all of ya*
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
He works late the next three days in a row. The 21st is approaching too quickly, and it feels like they don’t have enough time or people available to convince 5 more Republicans to switch sides. Angelica’s dinner meeting with Few and Gunner was mostly inconclusive, neither of them wanting to stir up drama in their party by voting against Madison.
It all comes back to Madison.
That Friday morning, Alexander takes it upon himself to set up a meeting with the Senator. He thinks, for just a second, about going through Jefferson. They’ve been getting on a little better since Monday when they had begun to work through the budget plan together. In the end, he decides he doesn’t want to jinx their newfound equilibrium. Alexander knows the assumption bill is a sore spot for Jefferson, and he decides - just this once - to leave him out of it.
Madison calls him back around noon, and Alexander doesn’t even bother trying to hide his surprise when Maria transfers the call.
“Senator Madison,” Alexander says into his receiver, “Thank you for getting back to me so soon.”
“Of course, Alexander.” James voice is nasally on the other end, and Alex assumes he must be getting over another cold. “I assume this is about the assumption bill? Some of my colleagues have mentioned that Angelica’s been speaking with them.”
Right to business then. Back before Jefferson, before Washington’s administration, he had actually been quite close to Madison. They were unlikely friends, both starch supporters of the new Constitution, and willing to do whatever it took to get the rest of the states to ratify. They had spent many nights in the office, pouring over documents, trying to write a persuasive justification for why the states needed this Constitution. They had been friends, unlikely allies, and Alexander isn’t lying when he thinks about how he sort of misses the old Madison.
The Madison that was his friend before Jefferson came back from France.
“Right,” Alex says, “I was wondering if you were busy this afternoon? I’d like to meet and try to discuss a compromise of some sort.”
He hears the flip of paper in the background, and wonders if it was Madison pretending to look through his schedule. Alexander knows - knew - him better than that. There was no way he showed up to work and didn’t immediately go through his agenda.
“I’m actually coming by the White House in a little to meet Thomas for a late lunch. I could drop by your office, although I can’t promise there will be anything to compromise about.”
“The opportunity to discuss it is all I need.” Alexander says automatically.
“Very well then.” Madison responds, “I’ll be there as soon as I get out of the Capitol.”
“Okay, see you soon.” Alexander says, gently placing the receiver back on the stand.
He had no illusions, the chances of him actually getting through to Madison and coming up with something that could work for both of them was slim to none. But he had to try. If the bill dies on the Senate floor, Alexander needs to be able to tell Washington that he tried his hardest, that he exhausted every effort, and Angelica’s meeting with Few and Gunner only further proved what he was starting to realize. There was no way he could get this bill passed without Madison.
He works through the budget for the next fifteen minutes. Surprisingly, Jefferson had actually offered a few ideas that were doable. It still hadn’t been rearranged enough to justify the 30 billion dollar increase Jefferson wanted, but it was progress. And the best part was that they’ve made this much progress, made this compromise, and they hadn’t even bothered to inform Burr. To the best of Alexander’s knowledge, the man had absolutely no idea about the under the table deal they were working through.
The thought of Burr, so ready to ride the fence to gain popularity, being left out because of his fence riding is enough to make him snort. Its as soon as the laugh leaves his throat, that his phone lights up. He rolls his eyes, picking up the receiver and listening to Maria’s voice on the other end.
“Senator Madison’s here to see you, sir.”
“Thank you, please send him in.”
Not too seconds later, the door pushes open and Alexander rises from his seat. Madison is looking as put together as he always does, a simple slim cut grey suit that looks as bland as the rest of him.
Alexander offers him a smile and extends his hand, “Senator Madison.”
Madison accepts it, his other hand curling around a white handkerchief, “Mr. Secretary, please tell me this conversation will be brief.”
Alex motions to one of the chairs in front of his desk and Madison takes it, leaving Alexander to sit down in his own office chair. The back squeaks under him and Alex’s smile twitches. He reminds himself that this is necessary. He doesn’t have another option.
“Of course, Senator. I’ll try my best.”
“Okay then, what exactly are you wanting from me?” Madison asks, and his voice is a stark contrast to his words. His tone is emotionless, reasonable, where his words - from anyone else - would have been biting.
“It’s quite obvious that as majority whip, I need your support in order to pass my assumption bill. It’s come to my attention that there’s a need for compromise, and I’m willing to work with you as much as I can.”
Madison’s face remains blank, but Alexander knows he must be surprised. Alexander isn’t one known for compromise, but here he is, all but begging Madison to join his cause.
“And what kind of compromise exactly do you think would convince me to betray the Southern states in such a manor?”
“A compromise that gives you more than I get.” Alex answers simply, “I know the assumption bill favours the North, and that Republicans see the raise in Federal taxes as a gross overstep by the Treasury Department, so I am more than willing to offer other incentives that can balance out the rise in taxes.”
Madison looks considering at this, “What incentives do you propose?”
“Senator Gunner brought it to my attention that the biggest worry about the Assumption Bill is the negative effect it might have on the agriculture industry of the Southern states. In return for the passing of the bill, I’m offering a tax break for those in the field of agriculture. Of course this means that the taxes might be prolonged, but would insure that the Northern states pay more than the South. I’d also be willing to offer a set of government subsidies to offset any downturn in profit.”
He’s giving a lot away. In fact, he might be giving away more than he’s getting, but there’s more at stake here than just state debt. Getting the Assumption Bill passed would federalize the National Bank, and Alexander would be able to set up an independent line of credit. This bill needs to pass. It has to pass.
“What percent subsidies?”
Madison nods, running his fingers along the length of the armchair. “Tax breaks and a set of subsidies? And here I thought generosity was above you, Mr. Secretary.”
Alexander grits his teeth at the backhanded comment, “Like I said, sir, I’m quite open to compromise.”
“And you’re desperate.” Madison says instinctively, “Which means you’re in no position for negotiations.”
“Are you taking the offer or not?” Alexander snaps, his patience with the Senator wearing thin. Madison might be a last ditch effort, but he’s not going to beg.
“It’s a generous offer, Alexander.” Madison says with a hum, seemingly unconcerned by Alexander’s growing anger, “However, I just don’t think it’s enough. The Assumption Bill will be drastic for all industries in the South, not only the agriculture industry. So as much as I’d like to compromise here, I simply can’t agree.”
And, in that moment, it becomes abundantly clear that it doesn’t matter what Alexander offers. He could offer half the Treasury’s fund to make up the difference, and Madison still wouldn’t take it.
It wasn’t politics, it was power play.
“Fine,” Alexander says, flinching at the sound of his own voice, “Then get out of my office and stop wasting my time.”
Madison looks down at the watch on his hand and hums quietly before standing up. He pauses at the door, looking over his shoulder one last time and throwing him a smile. “Good luck on your bill, Alexander.”
His eyes twitches, but he manages to hold his tongue until the Senator leaves.
As soon as the door shuts behind him, and Alexander is left with a pile of useless paperwork and the sinking feeling that this bill isn’t fucking going to pass, he lets his head fall against the desk. He lays there for thirty seconds, counting in his head, before he sits back up and cracks his fingers.
He has four days. Four days to convince six hardcore Republicans to betray their majority whip. Four days to write like his life depends on it. Four days before the Assumption Bill is brought forth on the Senate floor. Four days.
Like usual, falling into the headspace he needs is easy. Alexander focuses on his computer, typing, retyping, and reconfiguring the entire thing.
When he comes back to himself, finally, the sun has long since sunk outside his window, and his office is illuminated solely by his laptop.
His back cracks uncomfortably in his chair, and Alex knows it’s been hours. He had met with Madison a little after one, and the clock on his desk tells him it’s almost midnight. He doesn’t really know why he’s bothering. Alex knows that no matter what he changes, no matter how he phrases it or what he gives away, Madison isn’t likely to join his cause anytime soon. But still, he has to try. He has to keep trying.
“Why are you still here?” A voice asks from the door, and Alex blinks a few times to let his eyes adjust. He sees Jefferson, hovering just inside the door. He loosened his black and white tie, and unbuttoned the first button on his dress shirt.
“Got shit to do.” Alex responds around a yawn. Fuck it’s late.
“You working on the budget?” Jefferson asks, taking a step further into the room. Alexander watches him wary, not knowing if Madison had spoken to him about their earlier conversation.
When he’s sure the emotion in Jefferson’s eyes is only curiosity and nothing more nefarious or mocking, Alexander shifts in his chair and shakes his head.
“No, gotta work on the Assumption Bill.”
He sees Jefferson arch an eyebrow, “You’re still working on that? It’s due on the Senate floor any day.”
“I have four days.” He says automatically, the mantra he’d been repeating for the past hours falling out easily, “I still have time.”
“Have you even taken a break?” Jefferson asks, and as much as Alexander wants to snap at him, he just doesn’t have the energy to fight right now.
Jefferson comes closer, until he’s leaning against the desk to the right of Alexander’s chair, his side blocking half the screen of his laptop. “You should go home.”
“In case you’ve missed the news on Capitol Hill, I have a lot to do.”
“And you’re not going to get any of it done if you die of exhaustion before then.”
“I don’t need your pity.” Alex snaps in response, watching the way Jefferson curls his lips in response.
He’s tired and hs nerves are fried, and he feels too close to the edge to think properly. And Jefferson is here, too close, and the smell of his cologne is suffocating Alexander, makes him feel like he’s drowning in it.
He’s close enough to touch.
Alexander pushes that thought from his head and lets his head drop against the back of his chair.
“You said it yourself, you have four days. Killing yourself tonight isn’t going to make a difference. Go home, sleep, and then work on it tomorrow.”
“You’re allowed to say that because your job doesn’t rest in the hands of this Bill, Jefferson.”
Jefferson simply sighs, and scoots farther back on the desk. His hands - wrapped in those stupid grey gloves - grasp at the edge of the wood trim. “I get that, I do, but you’re not doing yourself any favours by fucking around here and making no progress.”
“Fuck off.” He says but the words lack bite.
Jefferson shuts his laptop lid and Alex thanks every God he’s ever heard of that he wrote that on Google Docs. “What if I just sit here until you leave? Bet you wouldn’t get much done, huh?”
Alexander groans, finally giving in and pushing back from his desk. He’s not going to get anything else done, Jefferson here or not. But, still, that doesn’t mean he’s not going to complain the entire time.
He packs up his satchel and rolls his eyes, biting out a, “Why do you hate me?” in the general direction of Jefferson.
When he looks up, he finds Jefferson’s eyes on him. They’re dark, full of something that Alexander doesn’t recognize. “I don’t hate you.” He says simply, “I’ve never hated you.”
Alex blinks a few times, trying to clear his head. He’s too tired for this shit, too tired to read into those words like they mean something, and draps his satchel across his shoulder.
“Alright, I’m leaving, let’s go.” He jerks his finger in the direction of the door. Jefferson pushes off his desk, following Alexander out the door. He walks him to the elevator, as if Alex isn’t a grown ass adult, and when they get to the first floor, Jefferson offers him a small smile.
The first name throws him for a loop, and he decides that if Jefferson gets to fuck with him by dropping it every so often, then he can fuck with him too.
Alex offers him a small wave, “Night Thomas.”
He watches in amusement as the man’s steps halt and he casts a surprised look over his shoulder. Alexander, in his sleep deprived state, can only grin in response.
Thomas, he thinks, might just stick with that.
The next day, Alexander is vibrating with energy. His meeting with Madison hadn’t gone great, but he’d given it his all and he was ready to talk to Washington about it. Besides, maybe he could use Monroe to lobby some support behind him.
It’s a late meeting, so he had dropped by the coffee shop on 17th to grab a pick me up before hand. It’s on his way back inside, after he’s swiped his card and walked through security, that he freezes.
He bends down, picking up the pen that lays on the ground beside the elevators. He holds it in his hands, eyes running down the length of it.
It’s a nice pen, probably expensive, but that’s not what gets his attention.
It’s a nice pen, yeah, but it's also green.
The colour is dark green, wrapping around the grippy portion of the pen and it’s vibrant. Alexander swallows and the feeling is rough in his throat. Green, he’s finally seen green. The colour of grass, the colour of leaves, the colour of the shots Lafayette hates.
He pockets the pen and promises to look into it later. He’s got places to be.
Alex scans his badge and gets on the elevator.
Everyone’s already in the conference room when he gets there, and Alex tries to calm himself down and not act flustered. He drops into his seat and pulls out his laptop.
While it’s loading up, he looks up at Jefferson- no Thomas.
Thomas is sitting, scrolling through his phone. He must feel Alex’s eyes on him because after a moment he looks up.
Alex feels something tangle uncomfortable in his stomach, threatening to rise up his stomach and suffocate him. Thomas raises an eyebrow, sharp and pointed, and Alex feels a flush rush through his cheeks. Unable to find something to say, Alex simply throws him a little wave.
Thomas snorts and gives him a little wave back.
“Great, we can start.” Washington says, his voice rumbling through the room. “It’s late, so tonight’s meeting will be short. We’re simply getting an update on the budget and the Treasury department’s plans for the rest of the fiscal year. Alexander, you have the floor so please try to keep it concise.”
“Thank you, Your Excellency.” Alexander starts, “The budget’s coming together. As of now, none of your budgets are changing- well with the exception of Secretary Jefferson’s.”
He sees Thomas give him a nod, and continues on, “As for plans for this fiscal year, I’m still working on passing my Assumption Bill to assume state debt. I’ll remind you all how vital this bill is, so if you have friends in Congress, feel free to encourage them to vote for it.”
“The bill is being brought forth soon?” Washinton says with a frown.
“Yes, Your Excellency. We have three days.”
Washington’s frown grows, “You have three days and you still don’t have enough votes?”
“We’re almost there sir, I’m doing my best. It’s not my fault the Senate is being intransigent.”
“I don’t care what it takes. Get it through, Hamilton.” Washington’s voice is sharp.
“And what happens if I can get congressional approval?” He responds, keeping his voice measured, although he’s about to burst through the seams. He’s pent up, feels the anger rising in his chest, and trying his hardest to keep it contained.
“I’d assume they’d call for your removal.”
It's the reminder he didn’t need. Yes, the entire financial system of the United States stood on the Assumption Bill, but Alexander’s career did too.
“I’m sure we can find a compromise, Sir.” Thomas interrupts before Alexander can finish his thought. Which, considering the list of curses on the tip of his tongue, Alex supposes that might be for the best.
“Excellent.” Washington says with a nod, “That will be all. You’re dismissed.”
Alexander rises with indiginat anger still simmering in his chest. He packs up his laptop and quick paces back to his office. He has too much to do, too much to do, and he has to do it now.
Alex takes a deep breath and hears the door shut behind him. He looks over his shoulder and sees Thomas behind him.
“I have an idea.” Thomas says after a moment, and Alex only arches an eyebrow in response.
“You approve the budget, as is, with the reallocation of 20 billion to the State department, and I’ll push the Assumption Bill through congress, as is.”
“As is?” Alex questions. He hadn’t added a clause about subsidies or tax breaks.
And that’s really all he needs to hear, isn’t it? His job depends on this, the country depends on this, and Thomas is handing it to him on a silver platter? The allocation of 20 billion is nothing compared to what Alexander can accomplish if he has the banks centralized.
Surely Thomas must know he’s giving away more than he’s getting, but like hell is Alexander going to question it.
“Fine,” He responds with a frown, “I’ll sign the budget and give it to Washington, but he won’t sign it until my bill passes the Senate.”
Thomas’s teeth dig into his bottom lip, and after a moment, he nods. “That’s fine with me. As long as Washington signs it once the bill passes.”
Suddenly, a wave of hunger rushes through his stomach. He hadn’t realized how late it had already grown. Thomas is still in front of him, looking back at him questionably, and Alexander realizes that this might be the longest they’ve gone without trying to strangle each other. And, surprisingly, it’s been rather nice.
Why not try to push the limit?
“What are you doing after work?”
“Well it’s seven, so after work is like right now.”
Alexander rolls his eyes, although his lips twitch up a little, “Fine, what are you doing right now?”
“Don’t really know, probably heading home.”
“Do you, uh,” He hesitates for a moment, “Do you want to go get something to eat?”
Thomas’s eyebrow arches, and it's definitely in surprise this time, “With you?”
“Yes with me, dipshit. I’m hungry and curious, so we can eat and you can tell me how you expect to convince five Republicans to vote for my bill.”
Thomas rolls his eyes at that, although he’s kind of smiling, and it sends a funny little wave of something through Alex’s chest.
“Yeah, whatever. Let’s go now though, I’m not waiting five hours for you to finish whatever the fuck you’re working on.”
Alexander grins in response, ignoring the unrhythmic thump in his chest, grabs his jacket and follows Thomas out the door.
let me know what you think and feed my need for validation
I'm so addicted to writing this fic, I feel comfortable saying you all can probably look forward to updates at least once a week. I mean the damn thing is practically writing itself, plus I live for y'alls comments. They bring me so much joy and I love reading each and every one of them.
So drop me a line and lmk what you think.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Since he was the one who had invited Thomas to join him, the other man insists on picking the restaurant. Alexander winces when Thomas says that. He knows their salaries are similar, but he knew enough about Thomas to know how the other man grew up, and how full his pockets were with or without this job.
But Alexander never had that. He hadn’t grown up with a silver spoon up his ass, and even though his salary was more than enough to sustain him, he was careful with his money. Washington wouldn’t be President forever. He had another three years, seven if they were lucky, and then he’d probably be out of a job. It wasn’t like there were many Democrats lining up to have Alexander on their staff. He was influential in the party, mostly because of his work as Publius, but his influence didn’t change the fact that most prominent politicians couldn’t stand him. So he was careful. He only splurged on occasion, and the rest was saved. He didn’t have the luxury to act entitled.
“Come on, it’s this way.” Thomas says, and Alexander quickens his steps.
As much as he hates to admit it, the other man has quite a few inches on him, and for every step Thomas takes, Alexander takes two.
“Where are we going?” He asks, again, just to see if he can get Thomas to give him some hint. It’s been awhile since he treated himself, so Alex supposes he can justify dropping twenty dollars on the cheapest salad at whatever high scale establishment Thomas picks.
“I told you,” Thomas says with a dramatic sigh and a look back over his shoulder, “It’s a surprise.”
The man in front of him veers left on 15th street, and Alex feels his heart rate pick up a little. There’s a well known restaurant a couple blocks down. It was four and a half stars, and Alex had heard from Angelica that she easily dropped over $300 there.
They hit H Street, and Alex is assuming the worst. He’s starting to tolerate Thomas a little more, but this is just another reminder of why they’re such different people. $300 dollars is nothing to Thomas, and it wouldn’t be much for Alexander either, if he seriously thought he had a career after Washington’s administration was over. Thomas has prospects, connections, he could run for President and people would vote for him. God knows why, considering his horrible politics, but he has the influence that Alex has always craved. He has the name.
Just when Alexander is ready to give up hope, Thomas keeps walking, bypassing the expensive restaurant on H. Alex’s eyebrows jump in surprise. Okay then, he thinks.
Thomas takes a right on I street, and Alexander has a sneaking suspicion that he knows where they’re going. He doesn’t want to assume, because if he’s right it’s very out of character for Thomas - although he supposes he doesn’t truly know enough about him to know what’s in character for him.
Everything Alexander has learned about the other man came from secondary sources, and was mostly hearsay. He’d read his Wikipedia page, an article about his childhood on Politico, and he’s heard rumours. That’s it. Besides knowing that Thomas had a fucking hardon for the South and small governments, and was kind of an asshole, Alexander hadn’t learned anything about the man from himself.
When Thomas stops short in front of a building that Alexander recognizes, he tries to hide his smile.
“Five Guys?” He asks, trying to keep his voice even to hide his amusement.
“Not good enough for you, Your Highness?” Thomas responds flippantly as he holds the door open for Alex. “I’ll have you know this is the best Five Guys in D.C.”
“Oh I don’t doubt it, and yeah man I love this place. Just wasn’t expecting Thee Thomas Jefferson to voluntarily eat here.”
Thomas just gives him a raised eyebrow and Alex notices, for the first time that night, that the man doesn’t look annoyed. He doesn’t look put out that he’s stuck at dinner with Alexander of all people. He looks amused, content even, and it makes something hot and shameful twist in his chest. But, more so, it makes him relax a little. Thomas wouldn’t be here if he didn’t want to. They’re here for work, this is a business outing to discuss the compromise Thomas offered.
And if Alex just so happens not to hate his life as they work together, well it’s really better for everyone. If they are here, getting along and getting work done, then it’s got to be enough to convince Washington to boot Burr’s ass onto the White House lawn, and that’s really all Alexander wants at the moment.
Alex orders first, getting a cheeseburger with cajun style fries. He goes to pay, when Thomas bumps him out of the way and starts on his own order.
“Here or to-go, Sir?” The man behind the counter asks.
Thomas pulls out his wallet before Alex can interject, “Here.”
He hands over his card, a black American Express credit card, and Alex tries to keep his knees from going weak. He can’t be completely sure, but he’s never seen a credit card that wasn’t white or grey. And it honestly wouldn’t surprise him if Thomas had an Amex Black card anyway, but he still can’t believe someone could qualify for such a luxurious amenity.
They grab a booth next to the window, and Alex’s leg bumps into Thomas. He pulls his leg away immediately, cursing the other man’s long ass limbs. Thomas doesn’t seem to notice, or even care, so Alexander says nothing and focuses his attention elsewhere.
“Full disclosure,” Thomas says after a second, “I haven’t actually read the entire Assumption Bill.”
Alex’s eyelid twitches, “You what?”
“Don’t even think about getting shitty. It’s not my fault it's too damn long for anyone to understand. All those words in your vocabulary, but you obviously never learned concise.”
“It’s an important document!” Alex says, his voice too loud. He gets a few looks from the people at the table next to him, so he lowers his pitch as he continues, “Would you rather I not write every detail so some random can come into power and use it to justify an unenumerated power?”
Thomas seems to consider this for a moment, as he runs his white gloves over his beard. “I suppose you have a point, although I’m sure you could have slimmed it down a little. I lost interest after page eighteen.”
Alex huffs a breath from his nose, “Pathetic. You only made it to eighteen? Even Adams got to thirty-six.”
The man’s nose scrunches in distaste, “I think we both can agree that Adams has the time to spare.”
A voice in the back of Alex’s mind interrupts his thoughts. He looks kind of cute like that. No time to dwell on shit thoughts like that. He places that thought in the Thomas labeled box in his head, mentally wraps it with padlocks, and promises to look into it later. Preferably, when he’s not actually with the man.
“Okay fair point. He literally does nothing.”
“Right?” Thomas agrees, his voice enthusiastic, “Do you know how many cabinet meetings he skips?”
“Like all of them.”
Thomas smiles and Alexander has no choice but to smile back.
Once they get their food, and Alex shoves a handful of fries in his mouth, the conversation turns back to business.
“Considering I haven’t read the entire bill, I need you to give me a run down so I can lobby it in Congress.” Thomas says, as he stabs his fork into his order of fries.
Alexander hums, swallowing his food before he speaks, “It’s quite simply. The Federal government will assume all the states’ debts. Once we have an accurate number of the debt, both foreign and domestic, we can start levying taxes on luxury items, like alcohol, until we have enough money to pay it back.”
Thomas breaths a big sigh through his nose, “I don’t think that warrants over eighty pages of legislation.”
“It’s called being specific, and besides this is only pha-” He stops himself before he can finish that sentence.
If Thomas knew this was only phase one, he’d take back his offer quicker than Alex could eat the remaining fries on his plate. He might not know a lot about Thomas Jefferson as a person, but he knows enough about his politics to know he’d never lobby for a bill that would - indirectly - lead to the establishment of a Federal Bank. Alexander needed to be smart about this. If he wanted his bank, he needed to get the Assumption Bill through. And if he wanted his Assumption Bill passed, Thomas was his last hope.
Alex had already tried with Madison. The man was too headstrong to compromise. They had three days, almost two, and if Alex wanted this bill to get through Congress, Thomas Jefferson was the only person that could help him. Thomas had friends in the Senate. Thomas was friends with the one person who stood in the way of his bill passing.
Thomas was the key. So, for once, Alexander backtracks.
“What I meant to say is the bill I submitted to Congress was actually an edited version.” He says, “The original was over a hundred.”
“Well I’m sure the Senators and Representatives thank you.” Thomas says with a smirk, “Although they probably wish you didn’t write the damn thing in the first place.”
Alexander kicks Thomas in the shin, under the table, and grins at the subsequent hiss of pain.
“Sorry,” Alex says, not even pretending to be, “My foot slipped.”
“You’re a little shit, and I regret buying your food.”
Alex snorts, “My foot seriously slipped!”
“Shut the fuck up,” Thomas says, but - once again - there’s nothing in his voice that would warrant anxiety on Alex’s part. He simply sounds amused, if not a little exasperated.
“Come on, tell me what your plan is to pass the bill.”
Thomas purses his lips, considering, “Do you really care how I pass it? Aren’t you just happy it’s getting passed?”
Alex’s eyebrows furrow immediately, “Excuse me for being a little curious on how you’re going to get four Republicans to vote against Madison.”
The look of confusion that passes across Thomas’s face is textbook. Eyebrows furrowed, lips tugging down in the corners. “What?”
“Madison’s blocking the bill and he refuses to budge. Everyone I’ve spoken with doesn’t want to vote against their Majority Whip. So, pray tell, how are you going to pull that off?”
Thomas’s confusion melts into a soft smile, and Alex’s heart beats particularly hard in his chest. Hell, he’ll add that to the box too.
“Madison won’t be a problem.”
And now he’s curiosity is peaked. “How exactly do you know that?”
“Your friends with the Schuyler’s right?” Thomas asks, “I saw Eliza in your office the other day.”
Alex pauses, “Yeah, we’re friends.”
“Excellent, then you won’t have a problem convincing Senator Schuyler to smash the rising movement to move the Capitol.”
“You don’t actually believe they’ll vote to move the Capitol, do you? The movement is small, they don’t even have enough members to have a quorum.”
“I’m well aware, but James wants to smash the entire thing before the public picks up on it.”
When Alex speaks, he does so slowly, like maybe he can help himself understand, “So, in order to support my bill, all Madison wants is Schuyler to make sure the Capitol stays on the Potomac? I find it hard to believe that’s all he asked for.”
“Oh it wasn’t,” Thomas says, and his lips quirk into a smile, “He wanted you to resign your position too, but I talked him out of that one. And he’s not supporting it, he’s just not going to stand in the way anymore. With Madison out of the opposition, I’ll go down and speak to the Senators whose votes I think can be swung.”
“And in return, you get your budget.”
“Exactly,” Thomas smiles, “And you get to keep your job.”
And my banks , he thinks.
“Any chance you’ll tell me what you need the extra $20 billion for?”
Thomas’s eyes narrow, just a fraction, “Let’s just say it’s phase one of my plan.”
So Thomas has a secret phase too? That makes Alex feel a little better about his lie by omission. He’s under no illusions here. He knows that both of them are relentless, willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Just as Alexander is almost positive things will return to the way they were before once the budget and the Assumption Bill are passed.
They’ll go back to ‘Hamilton’ and ‘Jefferson’, they’ll go back to fighting, they’ll go back to barely being able to be in the same room together.
He watches the way Thomas squints at him, lips quirked in that same smile. “You gonna eat those fries?”
Alexander shakes his head, pushing the basket over towards Thomas.
Yeah, he thinks, they’ll go back to hating each other.
When Alexander gets back to his apartment after the dinner with Thomas, he drops into his bed - still clothed - and groans into his pillow.
He’s been promising himself for days that he’ll set aside time to actually think about all that has happened. He promised himself he’d think about his soulmate situation, and he supposes he might as well think about the Thomas situation while he’s at it.
If he’s going to overthink himself into misery, he might as well get it all done at once.
He grabs his satchel from the floor, pulling out the green pen he had found on the floor earlier. His fingers grasp around it, and the metal is cool in his hand.
The soulmate situation seems a little less complicated than the Thomas situation, so he decides to unpack that first.
He’s seen four colours so far in the span of a couple of weeks. Gold, dark yellow, brown, and now green. He closes his eyes and feels the heavy metal of the pen in his hand. He’d seen colour in four places: a doorknob, an elevator button, a picture frame, and a lost pen. All of this leads Alexander to believe his earlier assumption was correct, and he thinks he might be okay with that.
His soulmate, for whatever reason, didn’t want Alex to know who they were. That was fair, that was fine. There was nothing Alexander could do to directly get their attention and figure out what was going on in their head, but he could take Eliza’s advice. His reputation in the White House wasn’t great, and he wasn’t going to pretend to be something he was not, but it wouldn’t hurt to stop being a complete dick to people that didn’t deserve it.
If the problem was him, if his soulmate didn’t want Alex to know who they were because it was Alexander, then he might be able to change that. He could be a little nicer. He could stop bitching out Adams’ intern. He could stop hogging the printers. He could shut the door when he argued with Thomas-
Alex shuts the mental soulmate box, and opens the one labeled Thomas.
There was a lot to unpack there.
Firstly, Alexander decides to consider their newfound alliance of sorts. It was beneficial to both parties. It was classic mutualism, because they both benefited from the interaction. Alexander gets what he needs, his Assumption Bill passed through the Senate. In return, Thomas gets the budget he wanted. And neither of them had to go through Aaron Burr. It was a compromise and it was mutually assured destruction. If Thomas went back on his deal, Alex would tell Washington to tear up the budget. And Alex didn’t have much of an opportunity to renegue. Thomas could simply tell Washington about their promise, and Washington would sign the budget into law.
So that was pretty clean cut and simple to digest. They were doing this because it benefited them both. Compromise was essential, it was what Washington wanted, and it would end with Burr out of a job.
Secondly, Alexander considers the man himself. While he had spent the past month hating Thomas Jefferson and every single thing he stood for, this compromise has brought forth some interesting revelations. Alex can admit that he has been enjoying the newfound alliance they’ve formed. It’s been, dare he say, nice. Thomas might not have been exactly what Alex originally thought he was. Yes, his politics were stupid as shit. Yes, he was an entitled asshole. Yes, they’d - no doubt - continue to have disagreements throughout Washington’s administration. However, Alexander might have underestimated him. He might be a pretentious asshole, but there was more to him than that. Alex has only seen a small bit of what he’s like behind the curtain, but what he’s seen was surprising.
He already knew Thomas was attractive. He knew he was mysterious. But now Alexander knew more. He knew that Thomas could be charming, he knew that his smile was contagious, that he ordered takeout to the White House so often that he knew the delivery boy by name. He knew that he was more than what he thought.
Which brings Alexander to a startling conclusion. He wouldn’t be opposed to getting to know Thomas better. He’d like to know what his favourite song is, how he ended up in politics, if he prefers Locke to Hobbes, and most of all - he wanted to know why he wore those damn gloves all the time.
Did he wear them at his house? Did he wear them when he went out to lunch with Madison? Did he wear them when he slept?
Alexander opens his eyes and stares at the chipped white ceiling. This want, or whatever the hell it was, brought him to the next thought.
It feels very adolescent to describe them as such, but he can’t find a better word for it. The way his heart seems to clench in his chest when he sees Thomas smile. The way Thomas’s laugh makes butterflies tumble through his chest. The way he has to physically resist the urge to walk past Thomas’s office on his way back from the breakroom.
Alexander doesn’t know exactly what it is that he’s feeling, and he’s not in a big rush to put a name to them either. For the moment, he’s content to just log the pattern and get to it when he gets to it.
Maybe it’s simply a complication of working in such close proximity to an attractive man. Maybe it's because he’s discovering more of the real Thomas, and it’s surprising him and tricking his brain into reading into it. Maybe these feelings are just excitement at the prospect of having a potential new ally in the White House. Maybe he’s just making a bigger deal out of things than he needs to.
He sighs heavily, watching the way his chest rises and falls, and stands from his bed. Alexander heads to the bathroom, ready to take a shower and go to bed.
He closes the mental Thomas box, wraps it with a green bow, and promises to investigate further once he has more information.
ALSO: There is a shit ton of symbolism in this fic. Like, I mean it is fucking full of it. So, would y'all be interested in an explanation of the different symbolism I've added? I personally think symbolism is super cool, but I didn't know if that would be something you'd like to see. (after this fic is complete as to not spoiler anything) Let me know!
also 2.0: if you have any theories about what could be symbolic, tell me. I'd love to see what you're thinking.
so yesterday was Thanksgiving. I'd like to take a moment and say how thankful I am for all of you. Every single time you (yes you) comment or leave kudos or say hi on Tumblr, I am beyond thankful. I always say I write for myself, because I love it, but knowing you guys enjoy what I write is the most amazing thing ever.
Anyway!! Let me know what you think! i don’t have a day off from work for awhile so reading your sweet comments might be the only thing that gets me through <3
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Washington gives them the 21st off. Usually, Alexander would sweet talk his way past the security guard and go in anyway, but when Lafayette asks him to brunch that morning, Alexander relented. He hadn’t seen Lafayette in weeks and besides, he could get just as much done at home as he could in his office.
They agree to meet at a little cafe off the corner of L and 17th street It’s a nice place, small business owned, cute and homey in its decor. Lafayette insisted upon going there as much as he could, claiming that the food there reminded him of France and his beloved Adrienne. Alexander liked it well enough, the coffee was better than anything he made at home and it didn’t take too much out of his pocket either.
He gets there before Lafayette for once, and considering the decent weather, asks for a table outside. The back patio is wooden plated, with a large awning casting them in shade, while the building served to block most of the East bound wind.
He orders a latte, and gives his usual waitress (Avery) an extra sly smile when she brings him an extra biscotti on the house.
He’s on his phone, scrolling through his everfull email, when Lafayette arrives. The man gives him a hug, a little awkward consider Alexander’s sitting and Lafayette stands at over 6 foot, but it’s warm and sweet and makes him smile.
“Bonjour, mon ami,” Lafayette says with a grin, pecking a chaste kiss on both his cheeks before dropping into the seat next to him.
“Hey,” Alexander responds, pushing the rest of his biscotti away. “It’s been too long, man.”
“Oui, tell me about it. I’ve heard from Angelica that you’ve been running yourself ragged. Thought we should let you relax for a day.”
Alexander’s lips twitch up at that. Of course Angelica would feel the need to tell Lafayette all about it. He only hopes she spared him the details on Thomas.
“Gotta do what it takes to get the job done. And, besides, it paid off. I think so at least.” He says with a small smile. “Oh, Peggy Shippen says hello, by the way.”
“What a sweet girl. I miss her,” He says with a click of his tongue and a shake of his head, “I really should drop by and visit her sometime. I hope Arnold is treating her well.”
“I think he is.”
“He better. She’s too lovely to be treated as anything less than the most competent of employees.” Lafayette responds, “Your bill gets brought to the Senate today, non ?”
“Yeah, hence me trying not to freak the fuck out.” Alexander says, wringing his hands in his lap.
“Angelica said you didn’t have enough votes last time we spoke. Has that changed?”
Alexander hesitates. He figures that if he doesn’t tell Lafayette about this newfound ally ship with Thomas, someone else is bound to.
“I think so. I mean, I won’t know for sure until it’s actually brought on the floor, but Jefferson and I have worked out an agreement.” Alexander responds, purposely substituting Thomas’s last name.
Lafayette raises an eyebrow nonetheless. “Jefferson and you managed to work something out?”
“Yeah, he said he’d throw his support behind the bill if I passed the budget how he wanted it. And I mean, it was kind of an amazing bargain on my part, so it’s not like I could refuse.”
“Hm,” Lafayette hums, “Who would have thought you’d be able to compromise with someone like Jefferson.”
“Don’t even, Laf, you’re friends with him.”
“Yes and that’s exactly how I know that he’s about as stubborn as you are. I am happy for you though, I know how important this bill is for you.”
Avery drops back by, and they both place their orders. Lafayette, of course, swaps coffee for bottomless mimosas and Alexander can barely resist the urge to roll his eyes. He’d like to drink, would love to even, but it’s the 21st and he’s got to keep a clear head.
Once Avery disappears with their orders jotted on her notepad, Lafayette turns an appraising eye towards Alex, “So, let’s talk soulmates.”
Alexander scoffs, “Is this you begging for an excuse to talk about Adrienne or to pry into my love life?”
“Both actually. Adrienne is well, as lovely as ever, planning a trip to the states soon.” Lafayette says with a grin, “Now, how’s your search going?”
Alex shifts in his seat, taking a pointedly long sip of his coffee. “It’s about the same.”
“You haven’t seen anything new?”
“I have actually. I saw brown the other day.”
Lafayette’s face twitches in disdain, “Brown? A gross colour, if you ask me. Was it telling about who your soulmate might be?”
“It was a picture frame on the second floor, so it could still be practically anyone.”
“Your soulmate keeps choosing, uh, interesting things to touch.”
Alex sighs, “I think I’m being played with.”
“Why would you think such a thing?”
“I mean, why else would they pick such random ass things to touch? Eliza thinks they might be afraid of me. That I’ve scared them off somehow.”
“Well, I mean you aren’t the most friendly person.”
“I know, but like I don’t even know them. They could atleast fucking tell me who they are, no? If they know who I am, don’t I at least deserve the same knowledge.”
“Perhaps. But maybe there’s a different reason. Maybe they aren’t trying to hide.”
Alex rolls his eyes, “What’s with the random things, then?”
“I don’t know, Alexander, as I am not them. But perhaps there is more to the story than you know.”
“Yeah, yeah. Maybe you’re right. Doesn’t make it any less fucking annoying though.”
Avery drops off their food and the conversation turns lighter. Alexander eats, laughing with Lafayette over eggs and avocado toast, and it's the distraction from his bill that he needs. It’s nice, needed, and it makes him feel good.
They split an hour later, Lafayette giving him a kiss on the cheek (which slips a little too close to his mouth) and a giggle of happiness. Alex promises to call him soon, and then he’s back on his way home to get some work done.
He’s walking through his apartment door when his phone, situated between his laptop and his side, starts ringing. It’s his default ringtone and it might be the most annoying sound Alexander has ever heard. He drops his shit on the couch, pulling the phone to look at the screen.
There’s a number he doesn’t recognize. For a moment, he considers letting it go to voicemail, but there’s a lingering thought in the back of his mind. What if it’s an emergency? What if someone’s in trouble?
He sighs and slides his finger across the screen, holding the phone up to his ear. He’s expecting the worst, expecting it to be the hospital or the police.
“Hey, what are you doing?” Comes a voice on the other end. It takes him a second to place, and when he does, Alex’s lips twitch up at the sides. No wonder he didn’t have the number saved.
“You don’t have my number saved? Ouch.”
Alexander chuckles into the phone, “Shut up, asshole, you never gave it to me.” He says as he drops his keys onto the dining room table, “How’d you even get my number?”
“Madison gave it to me.”
Alexander stops, unable to stop the small snort that falls from his mouth, “Madison gave it to you?”
“Yes, he did.” Thomas says with a hum, “Not the point, though. What are you doing?”
“Just got back from lunch, why?”
“You want to drop by the Capitol with me?”
Thomas snorts. “Yeah the Capitol. As in the Capitol building. As in the building in the Capitol where the Legislative branch meets.”
“I know what the Capitol is, asshole.” Alexander rolls his eyes as he sits down at the bar in his kitchen, “What I meant is why are you going to the Capitol?”
“Well, Alexander, today is the 21st and - as you know - I’m the driving force behind the Republican votes you need. So I thought I would swing by and make sure everything’s good to go, and I thought you might like to come.”
Alexander sighs into the phone. He should be working, but he did want to go. And, in his defense, making sure his bill passed was actually doing his job.
“Yeah, I’ll come.”
“Okay cool, you want to meet me or you want a lift?”
Alexander chuckles lightly into the phone, “Don’t you live in Georgetown? You know coming to get me would be driving out of your way, right?”
“I don’t mind the drive.” Thomas says, and he sounds genuine. "Just send me your address."
“Alright, you’ve convinced me. Just text me when you’re here and I’ll come out.”
“Okay, cool, see you in a bit.”
As soon as he hangs up, Alex texts Thomas his address and then turns to his laptop. He gets a bit of work done while he waits. Now that the budget and Assumption Bill are on their way to getting passed, Alexander hesitantly starts working on Phase 2.
Technically, the creation of a Federal Reserve isn’t an expressed power in the Constitution. It’s not written for any of the branches, but Alexander’s already worked around that. He has an entire defense planned. Using Article I, Section 8, clause 18 of the Constitution, otherwise known as the elastic clause, he can lobby support in Congress. All in all, it’s the most convincing point of his argument. The elastic clause is simple, it allows Congress to make laws that are necessary to carry out other laws given to them in the Constitution.
Senate elections are quickly approaching, and he’s hopeful that both chambers will be Democrat majority. Then, he can use this point to justify getting his banks. After that, its the easy part, convincing Washington to sign it into law.
The bill itself is, of course, already written. It’s been sitting on his desk for the past month, already edited and ready for Philip Schuyler to bring it onto the floor. All that’s left is the carefully crafted defense he has to write. Alexander isn’t stupid. He knows that the Republicans would never go for such a thing. Thomas, himself, had made offhand comments in the press about how he’d support the Federalization of banking.
So, in preparation for the nasty debate that is bound to happen, Alexander has been working on a defense. He’s already laid out his rationale, and now he’s thinking of every counter argument Thomas - or any of the other Republicans - could come up with, and countering them. It’s a tireless pursuit, but a necessary one, and one that he’s done before.
It reminds him of writing the Federalist Papers. Those had been a little easier because he had Jay and Madison - even if the two of them didn’t contribute as much as he would have hoped. But he’s on his own now, and it’s up to him to get his second phase passed through Congress.
Congressional approval seems to be a continuous task.
He’s halfway through an argument about how the tenth amendment does leave all unenumerated powers to the states, but the National Bank wouldn’t be infringing upon the development of State banks, when his phone buzzes on the desk next to his laptop.
Unknown Number: I’m here. Let’s go.
Alexander finishes his sentence, saving the document, then grabs his coat and heads downstairs.
Thomas is idling outside in his ridiculously expensive (and nice) car. Alex squints through the windshield to make sure it’s him, before rounding to the passenger side and climbing inside.
Alexander raises an unimpressed eyebrow and doesn’t bother hiding his laugh. “Hey yourself.”
Thomas pulls out of the parking garage with a twirl of his wrist on the steering wheel, “I’m surprised you came, honestly.”
“Oh, really? Why’s that?”
“Figured you’d be too busy doing God knows what. Probably working on some project that isn’t due until the end of Washington’s term.”
Alexander huffs a laugh, putting as much sarcasm in it as possible. “At least some of us plan ahead.”
“I didn’t mean it as a bad thing.”
Alexander hums in response, lets his lips twitch up just a little. Thomas is sending him a genuinely concerned look, so Alex gently knocks his arm against Thomas’s and sends him a knowing look.
When Thomas sends him a smile in return, the nerves that run through his stomach feel like live wire, twisting and jerking deep in the pit of his belly. It’s not entirely unpleasant, so he leans into the feeling, letting it encompass him without looking into it too much.
Business has yet to be called to order by the time they arrive, and Thomas leads him without pause through security, down the hallway, and onto the Senate floor. He makes a beeline for Madison, who’s standing by the far door, speaking with a couple pages that Alexander doesn’t recognize.
“James,” Thomas gets him with a sincere smile and a half arm hug. Madison responds with a bright smile and a greeting of his own.
It's a reminder Alexander didn’t need of their close friendship. It only makes sense, really, that they were such good friends. Both were wealthy Virginians from old money, making broad waves in the politics of D.C. Still, he couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to be friends with Madison. He’d learned the hard way that the man was a snake.
“I see you brought Hamilton too,” Madison says, his voice quiet although Alex still picks up the words, “Unless the man followed you here?”
Thomas lets out a little snort at that and Alex feels a rush of anger. He composes himself quickly, offering his hand to Madison, who accepts it in a semi-friendly handshake.
“We came together.” Alexander says, watching the way Madison’s brow arches slightly at the comment.
He doesn’t say anything further besides an, “I see,” and a small hum that makes Alex’s eye twitch.
“Play nice boys, I’m going to double check the swing votes and make sure everything’s going according to plan.”
“I could come with you?” Alex offers immediately. Not only does he want to use the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the more persuadable Republicans, but he really doesn’t want to be left alone with Madison.
“You should stay put. No need to remind everyone who they’re voting for, huh?” Thomas says, but the words are soft- almost teasing.
Alex only nods and watches him leave, following the trim of his grey coat with his eyes.
“So, you too seem to be getting along.” Madison says after a quiet moment.
There’s some kind of probing tone beneath his words, and Alexander shoves his hands in his pockets with a shrug. He feels like he’s being subtly interrogated, and knowing Madison, it doesn’t surprise him in the slightest.
“We are.” Alexander says, “Didn’t have much of a choice, I suppose.”
Madison makes a vague noise of amusement. “You both would have gotten along much sooner if you weren’t such an asshole when you met him.”
“Don’t act like you were there.” Alexander replies, his words almost a little too harsh.
“Please, Alexander, Thomas told me all about your first meeting.” James’s tone is offhand, like his words aren’t the implication Alexander knows they are, “He was quite impressed with you before he moved back to the states, you know? I had spoke often of you when we were writing as Pubilus. Even though he vehemently opposed everything you stood for, he was quite interested in what you were saying.”
It's the same thing Thomas, himself, had admitted many nights ago. But to hear from Madison, Thomas’s best friend, that he had read Alexander’s writings? It sends another pulse of sparks through that live wire in his stomach, which is - frankly - ridiculous. Sure, if someone had told him at that time, long ago, that Thomas Jefferson was reading his work, Alexander might have fangirled a little. But this wasn’t years ago, and Alexander wasn’t the naive kind of person he had been during the convention in Pensylvania. The knowledge of Thomas’s previous interest in his writing shouldn’t be affecting him so.
“We were both assholes, but compromise drives men of opposing views to allyship.” Alexander says, “And Thomas knows of my interest in him prior to Washington’s administration as well.”
Madison’s expression shifts to something new. Alexander can’t get an exact read on it, never has he been able to read Madison easily, but it looks something suspiciously close to gleeful amusement. It pushes Alexander even closer to the edge, a warning to watch where he steps, lest he get burned.
Madison hums again, that same expression on his face, “Your interest in him, huh?”
Alexander feels his face flush at the inflection in his voice, but before he can protest or cause a scene, the Pro-Temp smacks his gavel and calls business to order. Madison offers him another smile.
“If you’ll excuse me, Mr. Secretary.”
Alexander gives him a nod, watches as the Senators slowly make their way to their assigned chairs. His eyes catch on Thomas, who stands near the front, talking to a young woman. She’s beautiful, long black hair that falls around her face in loose curls and glossy pale grey lips. It takes Alexander a second before he’s able to recall her name.
Martha Wayles. The second Republican Senator from Virginia.
She laughs at something Thomas says, reaching out and laying her hand on his arm. Thomas is smiling too, his posture relaxed as he leans against the chair behind him, talking animatedly with one hand.
The Pro Temp smacks the gavel again and Thomas shoots her an apologetic look, but she only grins in responds. Alexander watches, something hot shimmering in his chest, as Thomas leans down to press a gentle kiss to her cheek. She brushes her fingers along his cheek in a gesture that seems more than friendly, and Alex’s heart twists harsh in his chest.
Thomas says something else before he’s turning away from her. His eyes catch Alexander mid step, and Thomas pauses. His face shifts, and he looks confused and almost, dare Alex say, concerned.
It takes a minute for Alexander to recognize that Thomas’s look is directed at him, and then he quickly comes to the conclusion that the feeling in his chest - something very close to jealousy he fears - is written all over his face. He schools his expression immediately, giving Thomas a beckoning wave.
The other man approaches him without a look back, but Alexander can see the way Martha looks over her shoulder at Thomas’s retreating figure.
“Everything okay?” Thomas asks as he joins Alexander, leading him out the door and up the stairs right outside.
“Course,” Alex says easily, “Everything’s fine.”
Thomas gives him a doubtful look, but says nothing else as they take their seats in the balcony. They’re right on the edge, giving them a perfect view of the floor below.
For what is the one hundredth time in the past week, Alexander feels dread creep into his stomach. He can’t believe he’s put this must trust into Thomas Jefferson of all people, the person who - not two weeks ago - was his literal rival. He wonders, only for a second, if this is all some insane ploy to humiliate him. If Thomas had actually only rounded up opposition for his bill, and tricked Alex into being here to shove the humiliation in his face.
Although, he reasons, that sounds a little extreme. Even for someone like Thomas.
And while he knows Thomas has the leeway to pull something like this off, there is still the doubt that sinks deep into his chest. Mixing with his anxiety and leaving him nauseous.
“Are you confident it will pass?” Alexander asks, leaning closer to Thomas and keeping his voice low. A wave of the man’s cologne invades Alex’s nose and it’s nice.
Thomas snorts, sending him a disbelieving look and rolling his eyes, “You know who you’re talking to, right?”
Alexander offers him a small smile, watches the way Thomas’s eyes roam across his face. Alex allows himself the moment to do the same, looks at the curve of Thomas’s nose, the crease between his brows, and then for a second, his eyes fall to Thomas’s lips. They look nice. Plump and full, a dark grey colour that makes Alex wonder what they look like in actual colour. Thomas is so close. Close enough that if Alex were to move just a little further…
He realizes with a jolt how close they are. Alexander feels his face flush, and without moving away, lets his eyes dart back to Thomas’s. Thomas, too, hasn’t moved away and he’s looking at Alex with a curious expression on his face. After a second, Thomas simply arches an eyebrow and his lips quirk just slightly.
“Alright, straight to business today y’all.” Pro Temp Henry says from the stand and Alexander quickly turns to face away from Thomas, trying not to think about the fact that neither of them have moved further away in distance.
Henry runs through a view items on the agenda, before they finally bring the bill onto the floor. Schuyler advocates for Senate bill 1654 and Alex feels a rush of affection for the Schuyler Sisters’ father. He was a good man, doing Alexander a favour because he realized how vital it was to their young nation.
The debate is bypassed, having already been brought to committee, and when one of the Senators from Rhode Island suggests they go ahead and vote, everyone is quick to agree.
“All those in favour of Senate Bill S.1654?” Henry says, and there is a collective “aye” following his words.
Once again, his words are followed by a collective “nay”. Alexander takes a deep breath, feels his hands tighten on the arm rest next to him.
“Relax.” Thomas whispers into his ear, his breath warm and comforting. Alexander relaxes.
“Spoken vote.” Henry says, “Senator Basset?”
And so it goes. Pro Temp Henry makes his way down the list of Senators, and with each vote Alexander feels his anxiety rise tenfold. Eventually they’re down to the last three Senators, all Republicans, and Alexander only needs one more vote for the majority. He holds his breath as Henry continues.
Alexander clenches his eyes tightly shut.
The gavel slams, hard, against the desk and it forces Alex’s eyes open.
“Senate bill 1654 passes with majority to the House for first reading.” Henry says, and he slams the gavel once more, and it seems like everything falls into place.
Alexander stands from the chair, hears the chatter of shocked Republican constituents behind him, but he can’t pay them any mind. His bill passed. Thomas had gotten his bill passed.
He turns to the man next to him, watching as Thomas offers him a knowing smile as he stands from his chair too.
“What’d I tell you?”
He’s shocked, although he supposes he shouldn’t be. He still can’t quite fathom that his fucking bill passed. Somehow in his disbelief, Alexander thinks its a good idea to hug Thomas. He doesn’t remember initiating the hug, but when he regains sense a moment later, he’s pressed against Thomas’s (hard, strong,) chest. Thomas is frozen against him, and Alexander flushes with mortification. They had formed an unlikely allyship, but this grosely overdrew their boundaries.
He pulls away immediately, rubbing the back of his neck with his hand.
“Sorry.” Alexander rasps quietly. He expects Thomas to make a joke or a snide comment, and he’s hesitant to look up at him. When Thomas doesn’t say anything for a moment, Alexander forces his gaze up.
He finds Thomas, lips softly pursed, but he’s not looking at Alexander. Instead, he’s looking down at his own clothes. Alex’s brow furrows, wondering if Thomas is going to make another snide comment - like the night at the bar - about how his clothing is ruined now that they have Alexander’s cooties or whatever.
Instead, when Thomas finally looks back up at him, he’s got a small smile on his face and his eyes reflect something that looks almost fond.
“Are you needed back at work?” Thomas asks after a second.
“No.” Alexander replies, eyebrow arching.
“Come on then.” Thomas says, bumping his shoulder against Alex’s, “Drinks on me. We’re celebrating.”
If you want more information on Hamilton's defense of his national bank, here's a good source.
also, bonus points if you can catch the one word reference to Hamilton's terrible spelling ;)
okay ive been reworking my outline so the chapter count is subject to addition. But, we are roughly, halfway there.
Let me know whatcha think?
(if I had a dollar for every time Madison wanted to smack these two, id take you all out for dinner)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
They go to Rocky’s.
When they get there, it is still mostly empty. There’s a couple people sitting at the bar, and a guy standing by the jukebox, but it's nowhere near as crowded as its bound to be that night. It’s not that surprising considering it's just a little after seven, and Alex easily snags his usual booth in the back. Thomas drops into the booth across from him, and Anna appears at the end of their table almost as soon as Alex’s ass hits the cushion.
“It’s been awhile, Alex. Here I thought you went sober.” She says with a grin, an empty tray balanced against her hip, her long hair hazardously tied up in a bun.
“Sorry to disappoint,” He responds with an easy smile and a flutter of his eyelashes, which only makes Anna roll her eyes, “Work’s been pretty hectic, so I’ve been prioritizing it over fun recently.”
She doesn’t look impressed. “Like you didn’t do that before? And, trust me, I’m not disappointed. You and the rest of the boys practically pay my rent with your beer consumption.” Anna tells him, “Anyway, what can I get you two?”
“Table side service now? I’m impressed.” Alexander says with a shit eating grin, “Just give me something on tap.”
“Don’t get used to it. I’m bored and need interaction.” She gives him a look before turning to Thomas, “And you?”
“Red wine, whatever you got.”
When she walks away, Alexander snorts. “Red wine at a bar like this? You pretentious fucker.”
“Hey now, that’s not very nice, Alexander. Here I thought we were getting along.” Thomas says, although he’s smiling, and he rolls Alex’s name in a way that has him swallowing rough. “Besides, I was born pretentious, and living in France didn’t help.”
And Alex sometimes actually forgets that Thomas had spent four years in France. He supposes coming back must have been a bit of a rough change of pace.
“Do you miss it?” He asks, genuinely wanting to know.
Thomas rests his head in his hand, black gloves curling around his chin, and he lets out a long suffering sigh. “Yeah. I mean, the entire time I was there, I was homesick for Virginia, but now that I’m back, I’m not even at Monticello. But, yeah, I do miss it. The food was better, the people too.”
Alex can only smile at that last part, “I heard all about the people you met in France.”
Thomas quirks an eyebrow, “What exactly is that supposed to mean?”
Anna interrupts with their drinks, and Alex takes a pointedly long sip from his glass before he answers. “Let’s just say, rumour has it you were a bit of an American slut in Paris.”
The other man rolls his eyes fondly, “American in Paris for sure, but I don’t know if I’d call myself a slut. I went out, met people and everything, but I wouldn’t call anything I did slutty.” He says, “What exactly do the rumours say?”
“Oh, the usual you know, a new bedmate every night. Women fawning over you in the street and passing out from the charming smiles you throw their way.. Lot’s of flirting and lots of sleeping around.”
Thomas laughs around the rim of his wine glass. “Definitely not true. I mean, there was a bit of sleeping around and a lot of flirting, but nothing close to a new bedmate every night.”
Thomas takes a sip from his glass, and Alex watches the way his designer gloves curl around the stem. He wants to ask if he wore the gloves back in France, but refrains. Even Alex can admit that it’s not the most appropriate time. (And none of his business, he reminds himself for the one hundredth time.)
Instead he settles on, “Hey, nothing wrong with a healthy sex life.”
Thomas snorts into his glass, “That was a long time ago, anyway.”
It’s a tell. A little bit of ‘too much information’ that Alexander is sure Thomas hadn’t meant to give away. His hypothesis is only confirmed when he looks back up from his mug and sees a dark grey blush on the other man’s cheeks.
So Thomas hasn’t had sex with anyone in awhile. And he was embarrassed by that fact. The first part has Alexander’s stomach tightening in what he assumes is relieved anxiety. The second part makes him want to do something stupid and tell Thomas he could change that.
“I know how it is, man.” Alex says, hoping to alleviate a bit of the man’s embarrassment by offering a little bit of his own. Come to think of it, Alex doesn’t know when the last time he got laid was, “Besides, you could always just be an American slut in America. There are a lot of girls around here that’d die for your attention.”
“I don’t just sleep with girls, you know.” Thomas says after a moment, and Alex feels that nervous anxiety rise further in his stomach. Thomas isn’t straight. What an interesting development.
“Well then,” Alex replies, “There are a lot of girls, and guys, that would be vying for you to court them.”
He sees Thomas roll his eyes again, and Alex can’t help but smile into his half full glass.
“Did you really just say courting? Just because I’m a Southern Republican does not mean I’m trying to ‘court’ someone. You could just say date.”
Alex sighs in faux annoyance, “Okay. There are a lot of people around here you could date. I mean you’re not terrible to look at, and I guess you’re intelligent - so if they have a shitty politics kink, I’m sure you’d be a catch.”
Thomas’s expression is amused as he takes another sip from his glass. “That sounded an awful lot like a compliment, Alexander.”
“Don’t let it get to your ego.”
Thomas is still smiling, but it dims just a little in the corners. Before Alex can wonder if he’s said something wrong, Thomas speaks again.
“I could, technically, date but things are a little more difficult now.”
Alex raises an eyebrow, “How so?”
Thomas gives him an almost sheepish look, “Let’s just say it’s complicated.”
Alexander watches the way his fingers flex around the glass in his hand, and how Thomas’s eyes seem to be staring into the sleeve of his own shirt as if it would catch on fire. Feeling a little risky and a little bold, Alexander takes a slow breath.
“Does it, uh, does it have anything to do with your gloves?”
He hears Thomas’s inhale of breath, sees the way his eyes snap to Alex’s. For a moment, he’s severely worried that he’s crossed a line. He should have known better. Talking about someone’s soulmate, especially the soulmate of someone you weren’t close with, was the worst kind of taboo. He should have just kept his mouth shut, he should have fucking learned-
“Yeah.” Thomas says simply, and he doesn’t sound mad or offended. He just sounds resigned.
Hearing Thomas’s voice, which is usually so full of some kind of passion, so empty and tired, makes Alex’s heart clench hard in his chest. He just sounds so sad and resigned, like he’s a cynic that’s given up on things getting better. Jesus Christ, was his soulmate like dead or something?
He winces at the thought. Best not to push him any further, Alex decides. But his heart is still heavy in his chest, and Thomas still has that look on his face, and Alex has to do something to make things better.
Alex takes another risk, reaching across the table and sitting his hand, slowly, on top of Thomas’s where it rests - palm down - on the wooden table. The glove is warm and soft beneath his hand, and Alex almost wishes Thomas weren’t wearing them so he could feel the warm skin hidden by the fabric.
“You don’t have to talk about it, but maybe just keep some hope. Even terrible odds are still odds.” Alex says, and it doesn’t sound like the right thing to have said, but it has the desired effect.
Thomas laughs, not moving his hand from under Alex’s, and rolls his eyes. “Jesus, these celebratory drinks got depressing as shit.”
Alex’s grin returns and he squeezes Thomas’s hand, once, before pulling his away. “You’re right. We are celebrating, and not just the assumption bill. We’re also celebrating your budget, which Washington is signing tomorrow.”
Thomas’s smile is back, not quite as bright as before, but still just as breathtaki-er, not the word he’s looking for. Just as nice, perhaps.
“It’s about time.” Thomas says, flexing the hand that Alex had been holding and looking at his glove, “Another round then?”
“Yeah,” Alex smiles, “Another round.”
The next morning comes too quick. He gets to the office around seven-thirty, which is probably the latest he’s ever come in before. He sits down at his desk, cracking his fingers, and opening his laptop. The first item on his agenda for the day is get Washington’s support for phase 2. He takes the opportunity, as soon as he finishes his coffee, to write Washington an email.
Subject: Establishing a National Bank
Now that my Assumption Bill has passed Congress, I come to you with the next step in my plan to set up the financial system of the United States of America. The next step is to establish a National Bank, which will not only raise revenue through borrowing, but will also serve to unify the currency, loan to the government, and be a place where the government can deposit their funds.
While this bill will need congressional support, I want to know that I have your support as well. Please let me know what I need to do to make that happen.
After the email sends, he dives into his defense of the bill. Elections are next week, and he needs to be ready.
It’s sometime, hours later, when there’s a quick knock on his door. Alex winces at the sound, having been so caught up in his own head. He looks up from his paperwork, and tries to settle the growing excitement in his chest.
The door opens and Aaron Burr steps into his office.
Alex grinds his teeth together, for once purposely holding his tongue. He smooths the paper in front of him and offers a smile he doesn’t feel.
“Mr. Burr, sir, to what do I owe the pleasure.”
Burr shuffles a little, looking as uncomfortable as ever, and comes around to sit far too gracefully in the chair across from Alex.
“Thought I’d drop in and check to see how things are going. You haven’t responded to my emails.”
His emails. The same emails that have been sitting, unopened, in Alex’s inbox for weeks now.
“Your emails? Are you sure you have the right address? I haven’t gotten anything.”
“I’ll be sure to check when I get back to my office.” Burr says, like it’s nothing of importance. Like he doesn’t know Alexander’s been ignoring them on purpose. “How’s your work going?”
Burr’s mouth twitches just a little. A tell he’d probably chastise himself for later. “Fine? I heard you made some important progress yesterday.”
“Oh yes, the assumption bill. I’m pleased to see it passed the Senate, and I’m sure it will pass the House easily.”
Burr looks at him for a long moment before nodding, “It’s interesting that you got it passed. I was surprised when I heard that several establishment Republicans voted in favour of it.”
“Apparently hard work pays off.” Alex says easily, “And apparently anyone can be convinced.”
Burr’s face is blank when he responds. “I have to admit, I’m quite curious how you managed to pull that off.”
Alexander allows a genuine smile. This is the moment he’s been waiting for. Even if he didn’t tell Burr himself, the man’s smart enough to figure it out once Washington passes the budget.
“Well, Thomas and Madison sure do have a lot of pull with their party.”
He sees that lip twitch again.
“Thomas and Madison?”
“Yes, you see Thomas and I were able to come up with a good compromise.”
“What could you possibly offer them that they’d agree to such a thing?” Burr asks, his voice cool but Alexander knows he must be shaken. It was his job to get them to compromise, and Alex had bypassed him entirely. It’s much more satisfying than he was expecting.
“His budget in return for my bill.”
“That’s all they asked for?”
Alex shrugs, “Yes.”
“They both gave a lot more than they got in return, you know?” Burr replies with that ever present blank face.
“Oh, I’m aware. That’s what made it so easy to agree to. And, besides, being allies with the two most powerful Republicans in the country is sure to be useful in the future. It really is great that we were able to work together,” Alexander says, keeping his voice blank, “It’s only a shame you couldn’t contribute to our success.”
He sees Burr’s jaw clench. “Well, I’m glad you were able to agree for once.” He says as he rises from the chair, “I should get going, it was nice to see you, as always, Alexander.”
Alex grins in return, “It was a pleasure, Burr.”
When Burr leaves and Alexander is left alone in his office, he sinks down in his office chair. He’s pleased with the conversation, and the shit eating grin doesn’t seem like it’s going to leave his face anytime soon, but it's a victory that isn’t his alone, and he doesn’t want to reap the petty victory by himself.
It’s almost noon, and Alexander has an idea. He types out a quick text to Peggy and then sends it.
To Pegs: Has Thomas had lunch yet????
After the message sends, he wrings his desk drawers open, searching for a specific sheet of white paper. He finds it, only a moment later, paperclipped to this copy of the latest version of the budget proposal. Alexander lets out a pleased sigh, eyes reading over the top of the takeout menu. And there, right where he expected it, is a number.
He picks his office phone up off the desk, dialing the number with lightning quick fingers. It rings a couple of times before it clicks and someone on the other end picks up.
“Tso’s, can I help you?”
Alexander furrows his brow, trying to remember what Thomas had ordered that night so long ago, “Hi, uh, this is weird but can I get two orders of whatever Thomas Jefferson usually gets?”
The woman on the other end sounds amused, “Two Jeffersons? Anything else I can get you?”
And that was easier than he expected. Jesus, how much takeout does this guy order if the restaurant knows his order by name?
“No, that’s all.”
“Okay, great. I assume you want it delivered to the White House?”
Alex smiles, “Yes, but instead of Jefferson’s office, can you bring it to office 312?”
“Of course, sir. Will you be paying cash or card?”
He thinks he has cash in his wallet, but he doesn’t know if its enough. “Card.”
“Okay, we’ll have it there in about fifteen minutes.”
“Thank you so much,” Alexander replies, “Have a great day.”
Once he hangs up, Alexander sits there for a moment. His phone vibrates on his desk and he checks the new message.
From Pegs: no, y?
Perfect then. Alex’s smile curves again, and he catches the way his fingers drum insistent on the desk in front of him.
The smile drops just a bit.
Technically, there allyship was over. The bill passed the Senate yesterday, and Washington was set to sign the new budget by the end of the day. Technically, they were no longer being forced to work together. And yet here Alex was, ordering them takeout and planning to spend lunch with the man? He knows why, but it's a hard thing to admit.
As much as it pains him to actually think the words, Alex knows they’re true. He’s not doing this because of Thomas’s influence. He’s not working on some long term plan here to keep Thomas in his pocket. He just likes being on good terms with him, he likes being friends - or whatever they are - with him.
It's a stark contradiction to the way Alexander had felt only weeks ago. Where he had hated Thomas, loathed the ground he walked on, now he’s actively seeking out his company. Alex sighs, closing his eyes and leaning his head back.
He likes spending time with Thomas. He likes the way Thomas makes him feel, likes having the entirety of the man’s attention. He wants, even with nothing political to gain, to be friends with him.
Alex can’t help the stupid snort that leaves his mouth. Hamilton and Jefferson, friends? What a completely idiotic thing to happen. But Alexander doesn’t see the harm. Thomas has been nice recently, and it's been fun being with him, and the little display of vulnerability last night just goes to prove that Thomas is more than every insult Alex has ever thrown at him from his glass house.
So fuck it. If Alexander Hamilton wants to befriend Thomas Jefferson for good, he was going to do it.
“I’m Goddamn Alexander motherfucking Hamilton, I’m an adult, and I can do whatever I damn well please.” He mutters to himself, like there’s someone else in the room he needs to convince.
There wasn’t really a downside. He got a friend, he got to spend more time with Thomas, and he got political influence in Congress.
Which brings him to another point, he really doesn’t want to think about. He doesn’t know what was happening to him yesterday, but he had obviously lost his damn mind. Not only had he hugged Thomas, but he had been jealous. The way Martha had smiled at him, and the way Thomas smiled back. He had looked so carefree, so happy. Even thinking about it causes sparks of indignant something to rise in his chest. He wasn’t jealous that Thomas smiled at her, he was envious.
He wanted Thomas to look at him like that.
Which, now that he’s actually thought that to himself, is a lot to unpack. But Alexander knows himself well enough not to read too deep into what he’s feeling. There’s nothing romantic about his feelings, he’s not jealous that Martha is a pretty young Senator from old money like Thomas. He’s not jealous that she’s beautiful and competent and would make a perfect match for Thomas. He’s not jealous. He’s just possessive when it comes to friendships. That’s it. That’s all there is.
There’s another knock on his door, and Alexander calls to them to enter.
It’s the same man that delivered their food last time, and Alex offers him a smile.
“Got your food for you, Mr. Secretary.” The man says, as Alex rises from his desk and rounds to the otherside.
He takes the bag of takeout, dropping it onto his desk and handing over his card. As the man slides it through the card reader on his phone, Alex takes the moment to find out some information.
“Thomas orders takeout here a lot, no?”
The man, Josiah his shirt reads, gives him a grin. “Every Tuesday around midnight when he’s working late.”
Alex raises an eyebrow, swiping his finger across the screen in a sloppy replication of his signature. “Every Tuesday?”
He hums to himself, handing over the phone and reaching into his pocket for his wallet. Alex thumbs through his bills, before handing over a crisp twenty.
Josiah raises an eyebrow at the tip, no doubt wondering why Alex is tipping twenty dollars on an order that was just under sixteen, but he says nothing.
“Thanks man, have a good one.”
Josiah returns his smile as he leaves. “You too, Mr. Secretary.”
Once the man is gone, Alexander grabs the takeout bag from his desk and heads down the hallway. Peggy’s not at her desk, and Thomas’s door is cracked open. He steps up to it, about to knock when he hears voices.
“I’m handling things just fine, I’d say.” Thomas’s voice says, and there’s the tapping of a pen against wood.
“I don’t know if I’d consider avoidance 'handling things just fine,’ Thomas.” Another voice says, and Alex quickly places it as James Madison’s.
“I have no idea what you mean, Jemmy. I’d say things are quite swell, no? Besides, I don’t know what else you would expect me to do about it?”
Alexander knows this isn’t a conversation meant for his ears, but he’s hesitant to interrupt and even more hesitant to actually have to speak with Madison again.
“I don’t know, maybe tell him? Don’t you think he deserves to know?” Madison says, his voice not unfeeling, but more logical than anything else. Like it was a point anyone could draw from the given information.
Thomas’s reply is instant, and Alex can hear the annoyance in his tone. “It’s my decision. I’ve already told you.”
“Why don’t you want him to know?”
“Because it’s none of his business.” Thomas snaps and Alex raises an eyebrow.
He’s never heard Thomas talk to Madison like that, but he supposes he hasn’t witnessed many of their interactions. But, he can’t help but wonder, what they could be talking about that warrants such aggression.
“Thomas, you can’t hide forever. Sooner or later it’s going to get out.”
There’s a long sigh, and when Thomas replies, his voice is resigned, “Then I’ll just pray for later.”
Madison is quiet for a long moment. “Well, when every wall you’ve built around yourself finally falls, you know I’ll be here to pick up the pieces with you.”
Alex hears footsteps around the corner, and realizing how bad the scene would look to a bystander, he bites the bullet and knocks twice - sharp - on Thomas’s door.
He hears Madison mutter something inaudible under his breath, then the shuffling of paper, before Thomas calls out, “Come in.”
Alexander pushes the door open further and steps inside. The scene is unsurprising. Thomas is behind his desk looking pensive, leaning back in his chair and tapping a pen against the desk in front of him. Madison is sitting ramrod straight in the chair across from him.
When Thomas looks up, the pen stops.
“Alex.” Thomas says, his expression softening. “What’s up?”
“Uh,” He replies awkwardly, holding up the bag of food, “I brought lunch, if you’re hungry.”
Madison raises an eyebrow.
Thomas’s eyes narrow, and Alex feels dread in his stomach. Was he going to send him away? Fuck, he hopes not.
Then Thomas says, “Is that from Tso’s?”
“Yeah, got you a Jefferson.”
Somehow, Madison’s eyebrow arches even higher.
“Perfect. I’m actually starving.” Thomas says, his smile coming back full force, “Jemmy, I’m sure we can continue this conversation at a later date. Or, preferably, never.”
Madison looks almost affronted. “Thomas-”
“Thank you for dropping by, James.”
Madison relents after a moment, standing from the chair and smoothing his suit jacket. He offers Thomas a nod of his head, “Of course, Thomas. Please don’t forget about dinner on Thursday. Dolley will kill us both if you ditch.”
Thomas shoots him a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. “I’ll be there.”
Madison nods again, turning to face Alexander - who’s still hovering by the door.
“Hamilton.” He says, and his voice isn’t rude or anything similar, it’s mostly just blank.
“Senator Madison, nice to see you again.”
“You as well, Mr. Secretary.” Madison says. He stops a moment, looking at the food in Alex’s hand. “Enjoy your,” a knowing pause, “lunch .”
And then he’s pushing past Alexander and out the door. As soon as he’s gone, Alexander shuts the door behind him, locking it, and then dropping down onto the newly vacated chair.
Thomas looks amused. “So, who are you hiding from?”
He should probably look into the idea that Thomas seems to be able to read him so well, but he doesn’t. No time for that.
“Burr.” Alex says, “He confronted me this morning about the assumption bill passing. God, Thomas, you should have seen the look on his face when I told him how we got it passed. He was like super confused, but also trying to not be angry. It was the funniest shit I’ve ever seen.”
Thomas snorts, accepting a box of takeout, “So he finally knows?”
“Yeah. He was pissed, no doubt fearing for his job security. It was amazing. I only wish you were there.” Alexander says, and when Thomas raises an eyebrow, he hurriedly adds, “To see his expression, I mean.”
Thomas’s face is amused as he opens the box of takeout, grabbing the fork from the bag and jabbing it inside. Alexander watches the way his grey gloves curve around the white spoon, and he wants to say something.
More than anything, Alexander wants to ask why he wears those damn gloves. But they’re still teetering on that precipice of enemies and friends, and Alexander is worried that pushing any farther than he did last night will knock them out of the nice equilibrium they’ve found.
For once, he can wait.
So he says nothing, only smiling at Thomas, opening his own box, and stabbing his fork inside.
When he gets back to his office, almost two hours later, there’s a new email sitting at the top of his inbox.
Subject: Establishing a National Bank
We will discuss during the next cabinet meeting.
Alexander looks at the email, closing his eyes. It was only a matter of time before Thomas found out about phase 2 of Alex’s plan. Alexander had only hoped it wouldn’t have been this soon.
i just thought of a couple really cute scenes y'all are gonna scream. Also! Who's your favourite secondary character? I think mine is Madison. He's just so done with this shit, its so fun to write hehe.
"An American slut in Paris" is a nod to one of my all time favourite Jamilton fics: Fucked My Way Up to the Top by sunken_ships
In which Thomas is loaded, and Alexander is as confused as ever.
Quick note: There is a brief mention of domestic abuse, and a murder-suicide. Nothing graphic and both characters are unnamed, and it's in reference to an event that happened about ten years prior. So if that is triggering for you, please use caution. The section is bolded and if you need to skip it, there is a quick summary in the bottom notes. Please don't feel like you have to read that part if it is upsetting for you. I love you and I need you to stay safe.
(In other news, next chapter is going to be a motherfucking whirlwind)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
That next morning, Alexander is in his office, trying and failing to make progress on Lee’s new PR proposals. They’re God awful, and he doesn’t understand in what universe anyone would allow $500 million to be spent on them. He’s working through each proposal, trying to find something decent to salvage from them, but keeps coming up empty.
Needing a break from the monstrosity that is Lee’s writing, he pushes away from his desk and makes his way to the hallway. Maria is at her desk, stapling a couple of pages he doesn’t recognize, and she gives him a smile.
“Finally taking a break?” She asks with an amused smile.
Alex hums in reply, “Lee’s trying to destroy my IQ with his shit requests. I need coffee if I’m going to deal with it.”
“Would you like me to run and get you some?”
Alexander shakes his head, “No, I’ll go. I was going to drop by Secretary Jefferson’s office anyway.”
He doesn’t miss the knowing look she sends his way, “Seems like you’ve been getting along a lot better.”
He sighs, having heard this a million times already, “We are.”
She only offers him a smile and Alex resists the urge to roll his eyes. “Please get a copy of the financial report to Washington by this afternoon.”
“Of course, Mr. Secretary.”
He gives her a smile and moves along, making his way down the hallway. Its as he’s rounding the corner to the breakroom, that he spots a long ponytail and dark grey dress that looks strikingly familiar.
“Eliza?” He calls, and watches as she looks over her shoulder.
Her face morphs into bright smile, and she turns to say one last thing to the person behind her, before she turns back to face Alexander. He walks with quick steps to meet her. As soon as he’s a few feet away, he gets a glimpse of the man behind her, and he doesn’t bother hiding his smile.
“Eliza, my dear.” He greets her, before turning to the man behind her, “Mr. Secretary.” Alex says with a sly voice.
“Secretary Hamilton,” Thomas greets him with the honorific and a pleased smile before he turns to Eliza, “It was really great seeing you, Eliza. If there’s anything else you need, please just let me know.”
She returns his smile easily, “Of course, Thomas. And thank you, again, I can’t tell you how much this will mean to the kids. The holidays are always rough, but your generous help will bring them a little joy.”
“It was entirely my pleasure. Just shoot me a list of items for Christmas and I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thank you, Thomas. I will.”
Thomas gives her another smile, and then turns to face Alex. “Nice running into you, Mr. Secretary, but I really should get back to work.” He punctuates the statement with a quick wink, that makes his stomach clench.
He offers Thomas a nod as the other man walks away, and then he allows his focus to be solely on Eliza.
“So, you and Thomas?” He asks, voice mostly joking. He knows Eliza has a soulmate, knows their chat had nothing to do with anything besides business, but he can’t help the opportunity to jest.
“Shut up, you.” She giggles, pushing him lightly on the shoulder, “He reached out and asked if there was any way he could help the orphanage since Thanksgiving is coming up.”
“And he did?” Alex asks with a raised eyebrow as Eliza takes his arm and walks with him to the breakroom.
“He did,” Eliza replies, sitting down at one of the small tables as he pours himself a mug of coffee, “He donated over $1,000 out of pocket”
Alex almost chokes on his coffee. “That’s a lot of money to feed twenty people.”
Her smile is pleased and happy, like a little of her stress has been lifted. “It is. I told him it was too much, but he insisted. Said he wanted them to have the best Thanksgiving money could buy.”
“That was kind of him.”
“He is a very kind man, Alexander. Thomas even offered to donate more for Christmas. He offered to buy every child more than a couple of gifts, pay to decorate the orphanage, and to have our Christmas dinner catered too.”
“Thomas is a good man.” Alexander allows himself to agree, “And all of that out of pocket too.” He whistles, “Damn.”
Eliza’s smile grows a little wider, “We talked about you, too.”
That gets his attention. He knows Eliza’s been rooting for the two of them, so he prays to God she hadn’t said something horrifyingly embarrassing. Alex thinks about Thomas’s parting wink and feels his cheeks grow hot.
“Pray tell, what on Earth you could have talked about?”
“Hey, don’t blame me. He’s the one who brought you up, and - you know - the usual. Just embarrassing stories and such.”
“Relax,” She chides him, “We just spoke of how you’re getting along now and such.”
He breathes a little easier, “That’s all?”
“Well, and the engagement.”
He stops cold.
Eliza continues, “Why haven’t you told him that we were engaged?”
Alexander shrugs, stirring his coffee with his finger and wincing at the heat. “I don’t know,” He says mostly under his breath, “Just hasn’t come up, and I’m not sure I want to know how it came into your conversation either.”
“He asked how we knew each other. And, well, he was quite surprised when I mentioned that we had been engaged long ago. I think his heart might have broke when I said it, until I explained that we are just friends now.”
Alex snorts. “Funny, Eliza. He was probably just upset that you were off the market.”
She gives him a knowing look, “Mmhmm. Anyway, are you coming out for drinks tomorrow? I promised Angelica you’d be there.”
Shit. He had totally forgotten about that. “Yeah, I mean I don’t have anything entirely pressing at the moment.”
“Perfect.” She says with a grin, “I should be going. I promised the kids we’d make craft turkeys when I got back.”
He grabs her hand, pressing a kiss to the back of her hand, “Best of mothers and best of women.”
Her giggle is contagious, and she quickly pulls him into a hug. “Be good, my darling, and I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Of course, my love.”
Eliza presses a lingering kiss to his cheek before pulling away. She pauses for a moment before she adds, “Maybe you could invite Thomas. I’m sure everyone would be happy to see him.”
Alex arches an eyebrow, “Everyone?”
She laughs a little. “Okay, not everyone, but they’ll learn to love him. You and I already have.”
He doesn’t bother correcting her. He doesn’t love Thomas Jefferson. He tolerates him. He enjoys his friendship. There is a difference, but he’ll allow her this.
She winks at him before disappearing down the hallway, leaving him with his much cooler mug of coffee and a grey lipstick smudge on his cheek.
Unsurprisingly, Alexander works late. He’s in his office working, and when his stomach starts growling, he finally checks the time.
He rolls his eyes in annoyance. He still has around a hundred proposals to get through, and he really shouldn’t leave until he gets them done. But, with each new word he reads, the dull pounding in his head grows.
The door to his office opens and Alexander looks up, blinking twice at the sight before him.
Thomas stands there, a small smile on his face, and then he holds up a McDonalds bag.
“To return yesterday’s favour.” Thomas says, “Can I come in?”
Alexander can’t help the smile that forces itself onto his face. “Please do.”
Thomas comes to drop into the seat across from him, pulling open the bag and throwing a cheeseburger in Alex’s direction.
“What are you doing here so late?” Thomas asks, “Although I shouldn’t be surprised that you’re still here.”
“Lee finally submitted his PR proposals, and they’re all shit. I’m trying not to panic, but at this rate Washington is never going to get reelected.”
Alex tears open the paper around his burger, watches as Thomas does the same.
“Why don’t you go home and sleep on it? You’ve still got three years before the next Presidential election.”
“Got to stay on top of these kinds of things, as one does.” He snorts, “Why are you here?”
“Burr has somehow managed to completely fuck up everything I’m trying to do in France, so someone has to fix it. Which, as Secretary of State, falls to me.”
“Fuck Burr,” Alexander says, taking a bite of his burger.
Thomas snorts, “Fuck him.”
As he’s chewing his cheeseburger, Alex watches the way Thomas places his sandwich onto the wrapper that sits on the desk, and cuts it up into smaller sections, stabbing at them with his fork before putting them in his mouth. It’s a ridiculous way to eat a cheeseburger, and Alexander thinks Thomas might be the only person in the world that does it that way.
“Why do you cut it up? Why not just bite into it?” He asks after a moment, watching the way the shitty plastic knife barely cuts through the chicken.
“These gloves were like $700 dollars, I’m not going to risk smothering them with mustard.”
“You know you could just take them off, right?”
Thomas looks up at him, and although his face is mostly blank, there seems to be panic in his eyes.
“I’d rather just cut my food.” Thomas says as reply.
And that’s an interesting development. Thomas actually seems to be scared of taking his gloves off? And now that he knows they have something to do with his soulmate, Alexander is even more confused. What reason would Thomas have to be afraid of taking his gloves off? Especially considering there were maybe only a hundred people in the building at the moment. He’s struck, once more, by the craving for answers.
Normally, he’d just shrug off his curiosity for fear of upsetting the other man, but things are different now. Thomas had taken the initiative this time, he had been the one to request Alexander’s company, the one to bring him food, and Alex thinks that means they’ve finally stumbled off the precipice and onto the solid foundation of friendship on the other side.
So he does what he’s been wanting to do for months, and he asks.
“Can I ask you something?” He says, “It’s personal.”
“I have a feeling I already know what you’re going to ask. I know it’s been driving you crazy for awhile now, so yes. You can ask.”
“Why do you wear the gloves?”
Thomas sits his knife down on the desk, holding out his gloves to look at them. His face is a mixture of longing and sadness. “I decided a long time ago that I wanted my soulmate to be with me because of me, to love me because of who I am, and not because the universe told them they should. I had a friend in high school, who was in love with a guy who wasn’t her soulmate. They had been dating for years, and they were so good for each other, like opposite halves, and everyone thought there must have been something wrong with the system. She found her soulmate a year after we graduated, dumped her boyfriend and married the new guy right away.”
Alex raises an eyebrow, fearing from Thomas’s expression that the story must not end happily. “What happened?”
“About ten years ago my sister called me. Told me the girl’s soulmate had killed her. Ran their car off the road and killed them both. It wasn’t long after that that the true nature of their ‘loving relationship’ came to light. He had been abusing her for about as long as they’d been together.”
Alex sucks in a breath at that.
“I went to her funeral. The guy she had dated in highschool, the guy she dumped for her soulmate, stood and cried over the casket. And I kept thinking, what kind of universe does that? Ripped her away from someone so good, someone who truly loved her, and replaced him with a ‘perfect match’ that ended up taking her life?”
“That’s so awful, Thomas.”
“It is. It was then that I decided that if I found my soulmate, I wasn’t going to be with them just because we were meant to be together, and I didn’t want them to be with me just because the universe told them they should. Love means nothing to me if the people in it didn’t get a choice.” The man says, eyes not looking at Alexander, “So I decided then that I’d wear gloves. I only ever buy them in black, grey, or white, so that when I meet my soulmate, they’ll get the chance to love me before the world tells them they should.”
Alexander is silent for a minute, trying to digest the new information. Out of all the reasons he had guessed that Thomas were his gloves, that wasn’t one of them. It makes sense, he supposes, but it still seems kind of unfair.
“But you’d know who they were.”
Thomas huffs a laugh, and it sounds bitter to Alex’s ears, “Trust me, if I could have them wear gloves, I would.”
His phrasing almost makes it seem as though he knows who they are. “Have you met them?”
Thomas hesitates for half a second, before he shakes his head. “Nope, my world is as colourless as it’s always been.” After a moment he adds, “What about you?”
“No, I haven’t met them. I mean, I’ve seen colour, but I have no idea who they are. At this point, I don’t know if I’ll ever know. I think they’re fucking with me.”
Now Thomas looks absolutely intrigued. He raises an eyebrow, in an expression that Alexander has become increasingly fond of, and asks, “Really? What makes you say such a thing?”
Alex snorts. “Isn’t that a complicated question. So basically, I’ve seen a couple different colours, but it's only ever the most random things. Like a doorknob once, and a picture frame, and a pen I found in the lobby. I guess I’m just worried that they know I’m their soulmate, and that they don’t want me.”
It's a show of vulnerability that, just a few weeks ago, Alexander would have balked at the thought of showing to Thomas Jefferson. But things have changed so much since then, his relationship with Thomas has changed, and Thomas had been open with him, so it’s only fair he returns the favour. And, besides, it would be nice to get an unbiased response.
Thomas looks down at desk, his lips pursed together. After a long moment, he looks back up at Alexander, and in a very soft voice, says, “Maybe that’s what your soulmate is afraid of too.”
Alexander inhales a deep breath, letting the melancholic atmosphere in the room invade him and sighs, “I suppose. I only wish I could see more than one colour at a time, you know? I just want to see them all. Or at least more than one in the most random of places, at the most random of times.”
Thomas is still looking at him, his eyes calculating and fond, and he only hums in agreement. They finish eating pretty soon after that, and Alex feels exhaustion weighing heavy in his bones. He yawns, squinting at his computer screen.
“Let’s go, I’m sending you home.” Thomas says, closing Alex’s laptop and sliding it into the satchel that sits on his desk.
“You’re not my boss. You can’t send me home.”
“No, but I’m leaving and you are too. There is no pressing financial emergency at the moment. Go home and get some sleep.”
Alexander rolls his eyes, but quickly collects the rest of his paperwork and adds it to his satchel.
“I’ll walk out with you.” Alex offers, sliding the bag over his shoulder.
“How sweet of you.” Thomas deadpans, and Alexander can only huff out a laugh as he follows him from his office.
They ride down the elevator making polite conversation, and their shoulders brushing as they walk outside. The sun has long since passed below the horizon, casting the world into darkness and making the temperature drop with it. The wind rushes past them, and Alex pulls his jacket a little tighter.
“Where’d you park?” Thomas asks.
Alexander points over to the East side of the parking lot. “Over there.”
“I’ll walk with you then.”
“How sweet of you.” He parrots back Thomas’s words, laughing when Thomas huffs a laugh and bumps their shoulders together.
They’re quiet as they walk, the noise of the city a comfortable cacophony around them. It’s nice, he thinks, just being with Thomas. Not even talking or joking, but just being near him. Once again, he’s struck by how much things have changed between them in such a short amount of time.
He sees the bumper of his shitty Mazda, and wishes he could prolong this walk just a little longer. His car appears in front of them too quick, and Alexander turns to face Thomas with a tired smile.
“This is me.”
Thomas gives him a nod, but neither of them make to move. Alex is almost leaning against his bumper, Thomas standing a little too close to be casual.
He looks down at his shoes, trying to fight a smile. A second later, when he looks back up, Thomas’s eyes are on his. Alex immediately is aware of how close they’re standing. Thomas’s face is so close, so painstakingly close, and Alexander can’t breathe. He could take one step further and physically run into the other man.
Thomas’s expression is soft and open, looking at Alexander with unabashed fondness. It makes waves of nervous energy roll through his stomach, spreading out into his fingertips and down into his toes. He feels like every nerve in his body is on fire, and the hair on the back of his neck is standing straight.
Thomas’s lips quirk, and Alex drops his gaze to them. It feels like the day at Capitol Hill, and he doesn’t think he can look away.
Thomas leans closer, half an inch max, and it steals the breath from Alex’s lungs. He looks back up and into Thomas’s dark eyes. The other man is still just looking at him, not saying anything, and Alex doesn’t want to speak and ruin whatever’s happening in front of him.
Thomas bends down, and for a second Alexander thinks he’s going to be kissed. He tenses up automatically, but Thomas’s lips don’t meet his own. Instead, his head is lowered so he’s close enough to whisper in Alex’s ear.
“Goodnight, Alexander .” He says, voice low and sounding like gravel. The name is drenched in that stupidly southern accent, and sends waves of heat down the front of his body.
He doesn’t know what’s happening. Doesn’t know if it's a power play, or a jest, or anything similar, but he hates the thought of Thomas having the upper hand. Apparently, it seems, friendship doesn’t mean Alex is willing to give up control.
When Thomas pulls away, Alexander quickly steps forward. He lets his hand press into Thomas’s chest, feels the hard muscles beneath his hand, and looks up at the man through inky lashes.
Thomas doesn’t move for a long moment, and Alex can feel the heat bleeding into his hand even through Thomas’s dress shirt. After what feels like ages, Thomas’s lips crack into a smile, and he steps even further away - effectively putting distance between them, and Alex lets his hand drop.
“I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Alex smiles back at him, “Tomorrow.”
He watches Thomas walk off, waiting until the man slips out of view before getting into his car. Once safetly buckled into his front seat, Alex drops his head onto the steering wheel and groans.
Summary of bolded parts: Thomas has a friend who was killed by her soulmate. He doesn't understand why the universe would pair them up together only for him to be a piece of shit.
Scream at me and let me know what you think. If u don't say anything, I'll assume its shitty and feel bad ;)
Last chapter, I promised you a whirlwind. I think I might have delivered. (also, holy shit this is over 8K - aka about 2x as long as the others - im so sorry, I really didn't intent for it to be that long haha.)
In other news, let me know what you think?? I kinda fangirl-ed when writing it, so I think you'll be happy?? (I hope so at least)
(also, quick reminder! once you kiss your soulmate, you can see the entire world in colour - not just the things your soulmate has touched. So that's how Lafayette can see Thomas's shirt colour.)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Alexander doesn’t think about the almost kiss.
Okay, that’s a lie. Alexander is being genuine when he says he doesn’t want to think about it, but he can’t stop. It’s a curse, running through his mind, not bothering to give him a moment of rest. The entire night is on replay, like a terrible movie playing on a loop in his eyes. He thinks about it on the drive home. He runs through the events that led up to it while he’s in the shower. He thinks about the way Thomas’s eyes had looked when he eats dinner, and it’s still on his mind when he crawls under his comforter that night.
Alex thinks about it that next morning too.
It is as he’s walking into work that he stops thinking about what happened, and starts to try and rationalize why it happened. The near kiss obviously meant nothing. It was late, they were both tired and had been running on fumes for hours. Both of them had opened up a little, let the other under a fraction of their armour, and they were feeling vulnerable. That doesn’t mean that Thomas was trying to kiss him, or that he even wanted to kiss him. The thought probably hadn’t even crossed Thomas’s mind. He, more than likely, was just fucking around with Alexander and trying to get a rise out of him.
Because what it came down to was the simple fact that they both had soulmates. They had people out there that were waiting for them. Thomas hadn’t met his yet, but Alexander was actively trying to find out whoever his was. And he’d learned his lesson, years ago, with Eliza. Getting involved with someone that wasn’t your soulmate and someone who hadn’t met their’s did not end well, because - eventually - they met the person they were meant to be with, and you ended up flat on your ass with no one. Alexander is going to go ahead and assume that the same logic applies when it comes to getting involved with someone that was terrified of meeting their soulmate too. It wasn’t worth it. It wouldn’t end well. It would end in heartbreak or disaster, and Alexander has had enough of that to last him a lifetime.
So, he does what anyone in his situation would do, and he dismisses the almost kiss from his mind at once. He bundles it, and all the confusing feelings attached, and adds it to the mental Thomas shaped box in his head. This time is different, though. This time Alexander has no intention of opening it again. He has no intention of thinking about the way Thomas had leaned forward, just a tiny inch, or the way his eyes had shone down at Alex - open and soft and vulnerable. He doesn’t want to think about the way his own heart had picked up, just a fraction, in his chest. The way it beat heavy in his ears, or the way his nerves felt raw and frayed. He doesn’t want to think about the way Thomas’s voice had sounded, the way Thomas had said his name - dipped so lovely in that accent, or the way his breath felt across Alex’s neck.
He doesn’t want to think about any of it. For his own peace of mind, he can’t. So Alexander tucks it into the mental box in his head, padlocking it this time, changes the name to, “Do Not Touch,” and promises himself that come hell or high water, he’s not touching that shit with a ten foot pole. It’s stupidity at worse and self preservation at best, but he’s not going to justify it to himself. He doesn’t need to.
He rounds the corner to his office, his eyes catching on Maria. She looks as put together as always for eight o’clock in the morning. Her dark black hair tied back in a low bun and her shirt wrinkle free. She is the exact opposite of Alexander.
Maria looks up from her desk, silently raising a paper to his eye level.
“What do you got for me?” Alexander asks, reaching for the paper.
She pulls it out of his reach just before his fingers grasp it, and raises an eyebrow.
“What?” She says, “No good morning, Maria? How was your night, Maria?”
Alexander takes in a breath and releases a long suffering sigh, giving her a too bright smile for this early, “Good morning, Maria. The light of my life, the bringer of sunshine, the sun on a cloudy day. How was your night? If you say anything other than fantastic, my heart will absolutely burst.”
He watches her roll her eyes, but there’s a twitch of her lips, so he considers his mission successful.
“Good morning, Mr. Secretary. My night was perfect, so no need to burst any vital organs.” She hands the paper over, “Washington released a statement of neutrality in the French-England war this morning.”
His smile freezes on his face as he grabs the papers from her hands. Alex flips through them quickly. It’s a short note, stating the official position of the United States as neutral. When he’s finished, his eyebrows are arched, high, on his forehead.
“Damn,” Alexander says, unable to find any other words.
“Which part exactly are you damning?”
Alexander motions to the last paragraph, “The part where he says any US citizen that chooses a side and gets caught, is no longer under the protection of the United States government.”
“I thought that was a little drastic too.” Maria says, sitting back down in her chair. “No comment from the Republicans yet, but I doubt Secretary Jefferson will be pleased.”
“Without a doubt.” He agrees, “But what else did he expect? Washington’s been pushing for neutrality for months now, he had to have seen this comin-” He cuts his words short.
“What?” Maria asks, her face confused and a little concerned.
“Thomas had to have seen this coming.” He says, an idea forming in his head. But it’s impossible, there’s no way Thomas was thinking that far ahead, right?
But Thomas had to know. He had to know that Washington would think their country too weak to aid in a war between the world’s two biggest superpowers. And he’d hate that, he’d want to back France, but an executive order couldn’t be touched. There would be no way he could work around it.
Unless he helped before the order was signed.
“Excuse me,” Alexander says suddenly, the idea growing more prominent and solid in his head, “I have to check on something.”
He turns, pushing his door open, and stops short. It’s already unlocked.
“Maria, was the door locked when you came in?”
“No, Sir. You must have forgotten to lock it.”
He frowns, looking down at the grey door handle. It’s not a pressing concern, Alexander thinks, he’d never be stupid enough to leave something important in his office after hours, so it’s not like anything could have been stolen. But, still, it is interesting. He supposes he must have been so rushed to leave with Thomas that he simply forgot.
He sits down at his desk, pulling his laptop from his bag and turning it on. Once it whirls to life and he logs in, Alexander opens the most recent email from the State Department. He scrolls down the page, eyes skimming the listed countries, until he finds it.
Alex easily finds the section he wants, and he follows the column to the right and blinks at the number that sits there. He was right. Thomas, that son of a bitch, found a fucking loophole.
There, in the last State summary, is a transfer of 30 Billion dollars - in full - to France from the United States. And the date of the transfer? Two days ago.
He leans back in his chair, eyes unable to leave the screen as a bewildered sort of laugh escapes his throat. The one loophole and Thomas found it? Fuck, Alexander had underestimated him. Here, he had thought that Thomas pushing for the extra money in his budget was a move made by greed. But he had a plan the whole time. He knew what he was doing. He had thought it through, found the flaw in Washington’s plan, and succeeded in what he wanted to do the whole time.
Thomas’s previous comment of, “Phase two,” replays through his head, and Alexander doesn’t know if he should be pissed or impressed.
He’s leaning towards impressed.
Thomas had known that Washington would drop a statement of neutrality. He knew that he’d be forced to stop sending foreign aid, stop helping France, which is why he pushed for the extra money. It’s why he got the entirety of the money transferred before Washington took an official position. Because, technically, it was common knowledge that the United States was sending foriegn aid before. They had never just sent that much at once.
So, in technical terms, Thomas hadn’t picked a side. The entirety of the funds had been transferred before Washington’s statement of neutrality. And now, even though Thomas would be forced to stop sending foreign aid, it didn’t matter. Because he already transferred 30 billion.
And there was nothing any of them could do. If they redacted the money, it’d look like they were allying themselves with England. Which means there is nothing he, or Washington, or anyone else could do to stop it.
Thomas had gotten his way. He had sent France enough money to fund the start of the war, and all of it was under the disguise of foriegn aid.
That genuis fucking son of a bitch.
In all honesty, Alexander is more impressed than anything else. He had underestimated Thomas Jefferson, and that was something he never thought he’d do. He wants to send Thomas an email, telling him that he’s caught on, but something stops him.
Yes, what he did was a little underhanded, but it’s nothing drastic. And Alexander could use this. This was prove that Thomas had a hidden agenda in their compromise, and Alex had one too. If Thomas ended up pissed about the National Bank, Alex could use this, he could explain that they both had an agenda that wasn’t explained beforehand. So, Alex decides, he’ll keep this close to his chest for now.
Alexander shuts his laptop, still a little in awe, when his gaze catches on the sight in front of him. There is a photo he keeps on his desk, one of his most prized possessions. It’s a black and white photograph of his mother, framed and perfect, from when he was a child. She looked so happy in the picture, so free of worry and fear, smiling brightly at the camera. Her grin was bright and wide, and her hair draped over her shoulders like something from a movie. It was a nice picture, a picture that reminded him of the good times they had together, of her beauty and happiness before it had all been selfishly stolen from them.
And where it had once been black and white, just like his memory of her, it is now in full colour.
He thinks, for only a moment, of his unlocked office door.
He reaches out with shaky hands to bring it closer to him. Her hair, once lifeless black, is now a shimmering black- alight by the sun above her. Her eyes, grey and plain, are now a vibrant shade of brown. Her dress is pink, a shade that looks so beautiful against her dark skin.
Alexander, embarrassingly enough, feels tears begin to prickle behind his eyes. This is not something he ever thought he would have. When she died, she took all his hope with him. The hope that he would ever know what colour her hair was, or her eyes, or the colour of the grey splotches that kissed her cheeks when she was happy.
But, now, he had been given his wish in full.
Alexander will be the first to admit that he hasn’t always held his soulmate in high esteem. He hasn’t always thought the best of them. He had been angry with them, hurt even, that they were hiding from him. He had convinced himself that they were messing with him, purposely trying to make him confused and desperate. But this, this gift of theirs, is priceless. They had given him this, this glimpse into a life he never knew- one he never thought he’d have the chance of knowing, and he couldn’t be anything more than grateful.
He brings the picture to his chest, holding it there, and lets out a long sigh. It is perfect, bittersweet even, and he only wishes his mother were here to see him now. To see what he’s made of himself, what he’s made of their life, and how he has put the pieces together in a puzzle she never thought he’d ever get the chance to see.
Alexander doesn’t get much done that day.
It’s John’s text that finally drags him out of his own mind. Hours have passed, and he’s been in a bit of a funk all day. He had finished up the rest of Lee’s proposals, but didn’t even bother trying to glean anything useful from them. It wasn’t his job. There were more pressing concerns, anyway.
He takes a moment to check his phone, sees his friend’s text, and it washes away a little of his remaining melancholy. There is nothing wrong with reminiscing about the past, but he’s careful not to spend too much time there.
John’s texts makes him smile.
John: We gettin’ fucked up whore
It makes Alexander snort, and he finally draws his attention away from that damn photo. He’s grateful they’re going out, in all honesty. It’s been too long since they’ve all hung out together. Everyone’s been so busy with their own shit, Alexander included, but he’s excited for the opportunity to finally spend time together. It’s that thought that reminds Alexander of Eliza’s words the previous day.
Should he invite Thomas?
On one hand, it is most definitely a terrible idea. In fact, he doesn’t know if he’s heard such a bad idea before. (And considering he once heard John wonder, out loud, if Lafayette could survive a drop from a second story building and Lafayette offer to try it to see, that’s saying something.) Thomas doesn’t get along with the majority of Alexander’s friends that are going to be there. It seems like the set up to failure.
Lafayette and Eliza were the only ones that really seemed to like him, Peggy too - he supposes - but that kind of comes with the territory of Thomas being her boss. And while Hercules and John were mostly indifferent to him, they weren’t really the ones Alexander was worried about.
It was Angelica.
He loves Angelica. Loves her like the sister-in-law she never actually became. She is intelligent, driven, and a staunch no-bullshit-allowed kind of person. She is intense and all consuming, and Alexander admires her endlessly for it, but he is not so impassioned by his admiration for her that he is blinded to her faults. She is intense and unforgiving, her first impression is her last impression, and once you fuck with her, it’s over for you.
Alexander doesn’t know where the tension between them first started. Eliza had never told him, and he was too scared to bother asking Angelica. He assumes, though, that it started somewhere between Thomas purposely leaving the mention of women out of the Declaration and when Angelica had bitch slapped him at a party.
Just a guess though.
He supposes, based off the assumed reaction of his friends, that he should just bite the bullet and ask Thomas to come. Five out of six of his friends were either friendly with Thomas or indifferent to him, and Alexander is positive that Peggy and Eliza would be enough to control their sister if Angelica got too intoxicated and started verbally harassing Thomas again.
But that brings Alexander to an entirely different point. Does he even want to invite Thomas?
His gut reaction is yes. Yes, of course he wants to invite him. Not only does he want additional time spent with him, but Alexander hasn’t been privy to seeing Thomas drunk yet. And, as an added bonus, it would give John and Hercules - both currently indifferent to him - the opportunity to get to know Thomas a little more.
But why does that even matter? Why does Alexander care so much if his friends like Thomas? It’s not like he’s trying to add him to the group, although he supposes, that isn’t a terrible idea- if they get the Angelica situation sorted first.
If Alexander has grown to stand the other man, enjoy his company even, then surely the other members of his circle could grow to like him as well?
But Alex’s brain is telling him that inviting Thomas to go out with them is a terrible idea. Last night had been a close call. Alexander had thought Thomas was going to kiss him. Alexander had, dare he say, wanted Thomas to kiss him. He’s not really sure what his feelings are, and he’s too confused to even try to sort it out right now.
The point is, if they had a close call when they were both sober, albeit exhausted, then how can Alexander expect anything different to come from tonight? He knows how he gets when he’s drunk. He knows he gets flirty, and touchy, and affectionate. It’s the same reason he fell into bed with John in college, why he fucked Lafayette a couple years ago, and why he almost slept with Angelica.
Drunk Alexander is always desperate for affection, desperate for love, and desperate for sex.
And Thomas isn’t hard on the eyes. He’s not too prideful to admit that, even when they first met, he had thought Thomas was attractive. He had that asshole vibe, but his looks were different. He was the definition of tall, dark, and handsome. He had that smile, that megawatt grin, that left Alexander struggling for words.
So, he wonders, is inviting the man he’s kinda-sorta-doesn’t-really-know-how-to-feel-about to go out with them for drinks a good idea? Absolutely not.
But Alexander can’t help the way butterflies crawl up his chest at the thought of seeing Thomas outside of work again, the thought that Thomas might say yes, that he might get the opportunity to spend more time with him. He feels anxious, on edge, like his chest might explode at the thought. He wants nothing more than to spend more time with him, to peel back a couple more of those layers, and to find out even more about the man.
It's that thought that convinces him.
If he wants to spend time with Thomas, it’s stupid not to. There’s literally nothing holding him back but himself, and he’s tired of leashing up what he wants because he’s scared of the way things are going to turn out. Alexander Hamilton doesn’t run from consequences, he runs towards them.
Alexander stands up from his desk, and heads down the hallway.
Peggy’s at her desk, scrolling through her phone. She looks up when Alexander approaches, only offering him a look with a raised eyebrow before she turns her attention back to her phone.
Thomas’s office is open and Alexander stands in the door jam hesitantly, knocking twice. Thomas is behind his desk, as per usual, and he looks up when Alex knocks. His lips quirk in a smile.
“Hey,” Alex supplies, feels the way nerves tighten in his stomach. Jesus, what is he, a senior girl asking her crush to the prom?
“Alex,” Thomas says, leaning back in his chair and offering Alex a smile- that same megawatt smile that leaves him a little breathless. “How can I help you?”
“Uhh,” He fucking stutters. Alexander Hamilton fucking stutters. “Some of us are going out for drinks tonight, and I thought I’d see if you wanted to come with?”
“Who’s some of us?”
Alexander shifts on his feet, hands rung together in front of him, “Lafayette and Eliza will be there.” He pauses, “And I’ll be there.”
“I’m supposed to get dinner with Martha tonight.”
Alex’s stomach drops, “Oh-”
“But maybe I can swing by later? If y’all are still there.”
Alexander nods, although his heart really isn’t in it. Thomas’s words sound like an excuse, an empty promise, like he’s just saying that to offer Alex a comfort that he doesn’t truly mean. Like he isn’t going to actually show up, like he doesn’t actually want to show up, and he’s just saying it to make Alex feel better.
“Yeah, yeah.” Alexander says and his words sound off, but he doesn’t really know how to make them sound normal, “Sure thing, but no worries if you can’t make it.”
“I, uh, I should go. Enjoy your dinner with Martha though.” Alexander says, Martha’s name falling off his lips a little too harsh. He turns on his heels, leaving Thomas’s office before he gets a reply.
When he gets back to his office, Alexander feels off centered and anxious in all the wrong ways. He doesn’t know what’s worse: Thomas rejecting his plans, or Thomas rejecting his plans because he’s having dinner with Martha.
The jealousy that rises up in his chest is infuriating. It’s unrational and stupid, and there is literally no reason why Alexander should be feeling this way. But the thought of Martha shooting that pretty grin at Thomas over dinner has him curling his fingers against his thighs.
But Alexander shouldn’t be jealous, and it's the same reason he isn’t thinking about last night’s almost kiss.
There is nothing between them. There is absolutely nothing there. Thomas has a soulmate, and Alexander can’t be jealous of that. And if what Thomas said last night was true, if he hasn’t met his soulmate yet, then that means his soulmate can’t be Martha. But, still, Thomas had said he wasn’t going to love someone just because they were his soulmate, and Alex can only assume the opposite is true as well. He isn’t not going to love someone just because they aren’t his soulmate. Which means he might like Martha. Which means they might be dating. Which means they might end up together. Which means Alexander might have to see them together.
Alexander drops into his seat, ignoring the ping of his email, and starts counting down the hours until he can check the fuck out of here and go get drunk.
Seven o’clock doesn’t come soon enough, but as soon as it finally drags by, Alexander is out the door and on his way to Rocky’s. It’s late enough that the bar is steadily filling, and Alexander gets hit in the face with a wave of smoke and booze as he enters.
Caleb’s behind the bar, mixing drinks, and Anna’s making her rounds. He tosses them both a wave as he makes his way to the booth in the back.
Unsurprisingly, everyone has beat him there. Eliza’s in Hercules’ lap, Angelica next to them sipping a beer, Lafayette and John are having what looks to be a serious conversation, and Peggy’s flicking straw wrappers at Angelica’s glass. Alexander can’t help the smile that spreads across his face as he slides into the booth next to Peggy, who wraps her arm around his shoulder.
“Didn’t know if you were coming,” She says, poking at his side with her free hand.
Alexander greets the rest of the table as he leans into her touch, “Like I could refuse, and besides, I really need a drink after today.”
She raises an eyebrow at him, grey curls falling around her face, “It got anything to do with why you literally fled Thomas’s office today, and why he came out not two seconds later and asked what was wrong with you?”
“He asked what was wrong?” Alexander says on instinct before he can bite his tongue.
Her smile only grows more knowing and he has the sinking feeling that he just solidified whatever it is she’s assuming. “He asked me what time we usually left the bar.”
“Did he?” He responds, keeping his voice light and uninterested.
“Well, he asked what time you usually left.”
“Can we not talk about him tonight?” Alex asks, voice almost pleading, “I just really want to relax and not think about- well, any of that.”
She looks at him questioningly for a long moment, as if she’s trying to read whatever’s written on his face, before she sighs. “Fine, but in return for my generosity, you have to convince everyone to do shots with us.”
And that’s really too easy.
Alexander smiles at her, clapping his hands to draw everyone’s attention. “Since this is the first time we’re all together, in what seems like forever, we’re having a round of shots on yours truly.”
Everyone lets out a cheer, Angelica raises her beer, and Alexander can’t help the way his heart is full at the sight of all of them - together - and happy. It’s been too long, way too long, and he’s glad they’re finally back in their old booth - together.
He gets a round from Anna, and they all raise the clear liquid with shaky hands.
“To a good ass night,” Alexander says, hearing the way Lafayette echoes his words.
And then the glasses get clinked against the hardwood table, and the taste of vodka floods his mouth.
And he does have a good time. Well, he tries too. Alexander does get spectacularly drunk, which is the first step to having a good time. Lafayette and John both try, and fail, to get him onto the dance floor. Alex just isn’t feeling it though, too drunk and in his feelings to grind on the dance floor with them like he normally does.
So he shrugs off their offer with a smile, and watches as his friends pair off and take to the floor. Eliza and Hercules. John and Lafayette (both of who’s soulmates are out of town), and Angelica and Peggy. His heart is heavy watching them, and he knows he should be trying to enjoy this more - he feels the time fleeting and wishes he could pull himself out of his pity party long enough to enjoy their company while he has it.
Sometime later, when the world has taken on a hue of haze and blur, John and Lafayette drag themselves back to the booth. They sit on either side of him, sandwiching him between them, and Lafayette lays his head on Alex’s shoulder.
“What’s going on with you, mon ami ?” Lafayette murmurs, the alcohol making his accent seem even more pronounced.
“Seriously, man, you never miss an opportunity to shake it on Rocky’s floor.” John says, as he lulls the head back against the booth.
And as much as Alexander really does not want to talk about it, he can’t help when the words spill from his mouth, “I invited Thomas to come, but he has dinner with Martha.”
John’s face morphs into an “oh” expression and Alex sees the knowing look he shoots Lafayette over his shoulder.
Lafayette coos softly in his ear, “Oh Alexander-”
“Don’t please.” Alexander says, “I know I’m being stupid, but I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to think about it. And I really don’t want to think about him. I just want to sit here, drunk off my ass, and be miserable.”
John’s eyes flash somewhere over Alexander’s shoulder, too far to the right to be looking at Lafayette, and his expression morphs into something that looks a little too pleased for Alex to be comfortable. “Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it looks like you might not have that luxury.”
Alex’s eyebrow furrows, and he turns to look over his shoulder. He feels some of the tension in his shoulders lessen as he takes in the blurry figure that just walked through the door.
The white jacket, the grey gloves, that smile.
Alexander’s eyes lock with Thomas’s and he sees the little wave the other man sends him, and something hot shoots through his chest. Thomas actually fucking came.
“And that’s our cue.” John says, sliding out of the booth and grabbing Lafayette’s hand to pull him back onto the dance floor.
Alexander is left, alone, in the booth and Thomas is steadily weaving his way through the crowd on his way over. Alex, stomach tightening and nerves rising, drains two shots in quick succession. The second glass hits the table as Thomas slides into the booth next to him.
“Hey,” Thomas says, shooting Alexander that megawatt smile.
Fuck, he’s too drunk for this. He feels his cheeks heat up, and his tongue feels heavy in his mouth. He doesn’t know what to say, doesn’t know how to not embarrass himself, and he doesn’t know what it means that Thomas actually showed up. He was supposed to be at dinner with Martha. She was supposed to be sipping on too expensive red wine and sending him flirty smiles over the table.
But he wasn’t. He was here. He was with Alexander.
“Hey,” Alexander says finally, and it sounds slurred to his own ears. Damn, how much did he drink? “I’m surprised you came.”
Thomas’s smile slips just a fraction, and he looks almost hesitant when he speaks, “Is that okay?”
“Yeah!” Alexander says hurriedly, his voice coming out a little too loud. A girl at the table next to them glares over her shoulder and Alex offers a sheepish smile, “Yeah, I mean of course it is. I invited you. I just didn’t think you would because of your dinner.”
“I left early.” Thomas replies simply.
Alexander blinks at him. Thomas is hot. Fuck, Alex knew he was conventionally attractive, but how had he never noticed that he was so hot? Was he always this hot? He blinks again, and the world tilts a little on its axis. He has to close his eyes for a moment to keep himself upright. The last two shots hit his blood stream and the world spins a little more behind his eyelids.
When he opens his eyes, Thomas is looking at him with a concerned face. “Are you alright?”
He can’t help the ridiculous giggle that escapes from his throat. Thomas is here. Thomas came.
“Yeah,” He says, the giggle growing into a laugh, “Shit, sorry, I’m kind of drunk.”
Thomas is smiling, so Alex assumes he must not be making a complete ass of himself, “I can tell.”
“I’m so sorry,” He says around his laugh, bringing his hand up to cover his mouth, “Fuck, I really didn’t think I drank this much.”
Alexander has to take a few deep breaths to calm his ridiculous laughter. He gets himself together fairly quickly. Did he really drink enough to be acting this fucking stupid? (The empty vodka shots in front of him say yes but Alex’s heart says no.)
Before he can say anything else, Eliza’s voice rings through the haze like a crisp bell.
“Thomas!” She says, appearing next to them at the booth, “I didn’t know you were coming!”
Thomas offers her a genuine smile, letting her kiss his cheek in a soft display of open affection.
“Alexander convinced me to drop by.”
“Well I’m so glad you did.” She says, her eyes a little dazed but Alex knows she’s nowhere near drunk, “Order whatever you want and just have them put it on the Schuyler tab.”
“Thank you, although I should limit myself. I drove.” Thomas says, his eyes darting from Eliza to Alexander’s for a split second before they return.
“Well, in that case you must come dance.” Eliza says, “Alexander is an excellent dance partner, but we haven’t been able to get him off his ass all night. Maybe you could convince him?”
Alexander sees the glimmer in her eye, and knows exactly what she’s doing. He wants to say something, tell her to leave him be or something, but then Thomas shoots him a hesitant smile and says, “An excellent dancer?”
He feels his cheeks heat just a little. “Anna named the dance floor after me after I did the splits once.”
“Well then,” Thomas says, offering Alex his hand, “Care to prove your worth?”
Alexander really can’t say no.
He should. He really should. Fuck there are so many damn reasons that he should.
But he doesn’t.
He takes Thomas’s hand, letting the other man pull him onto the dance floor.
“I should warn you, I don’t think I’m sober enough to do much more than let you lead at the moment.”
Thomas only grins at him, pulling Alex’s hand a little harder. They join the mass of people on the dance floor, some horribly new pop song blaring through the speakers. Alex doesn’t know what to do, what the boundary is between them and their newfound friendship, so he just stands there for a moment. That is, until Thomas grabs his hand again, his glove soft against Alex’s fingers, and pulls him close.
He’s a little too drunk to be graceful on his feet, so he mostly just clings to Thomas’s broad shoulders as the other man moves them around the dance floor. It’s ridiculous, he thinks, as Thomas moves them in something that more closely resembles an 18th century dance than modern day grinding, but it’s sweet and fun and leaves him laughing into Thomas’s ear.
He sees Angelica shoot him a look, a “we are definitely talking about this later,” look, but she - thankfully - doesn’t comment on them dancing together. Alexander simply holds on tight to Thomas, and let’s the other man move them around the floor. It’s stupid, but he’s having such a good time, and Thomas is here. And he’s close and handsome and he smells so good, and fuck, Alexander is drunk.
They dance for so long that Alexander loses track of the songs. He’s exhausted halfway through though, and takes to leaning his head against Thomas’s chest, his hands on the other man’s arms, and Thomas’s just above his hips. They’re swaying in the middle of the bar, some fast upbeat rap song on the speakers, but it’s nice. Ridiculously so, he’s afraid.
Everyone eventually retires back to the booth, ready for another round of drinks and a break from the dancing. Thomas and Alexander are the last two back, and the booth is packed full when they get there.
Alex sees Eliza shoot John a look and he winks at her before climbing into Lafayette’s lap. The man makes a noise in the back of his throat, before holding his hands wide and letting John situate himself. It opens up enough room for Peggy to slide to the right, and open up a spot for Thomas.
Alexander stands next to him, hesitant, before Thomas raises an eyebrow at him, and pulls Alexander onto his lap. And, oh, what a nice lap it is.
Thomas’s thighs are firm and strong beneath Alex, and he carefully arranges his own legs on the other side of Thomas’s knee.
He’s rigid for a moment, spine straight and his hands in his lap, but then Thomas relaxes beneath him - his hand on the small of Alex’s back, and it allows him to relax a little as well. And when no one at the table - Angelica included - makes comments on the two of them, Alexander sinks a little deeper. Thomas’s hand moves to rest on his thigh, halfway up, and Alex can barely keep the smile from his face.
It’s sometime later, when the bar is beginning to empty out, that Alexander is resting his head against Thomas’s chest, the other man’s hand still on his thigh as he talks quietly with Lafayette across the table. It’s some conversation in rapid French that Alex is too tired to bother listening too. He thinks he hears his name a couple of times, but neither Lafayette or Thomas spare him a glance, so he assumes he must be hearing things.
Alex’s hand is fiddling with a button on Thomas’s dress shirt, the material soft and expensive beneath his fingers, Thomas’s chest rock hard and too tempting. The alcohol is slowly fleeing his body, leaving him exhausted from the dancing and a lifetime worth of stress.
“Lafayette?” Alexander asks, suddenly, around a yawn.
“Yes, mon coeur ?”
“What colour is Thomas’s shirt?”
He feels Thomas’s hand flex against his thigh, and he nuzzles his head against the other man’s chest a little more at the touch.
“It’s blue, Alexander.”
He picks his head up, just a fraction, until Thomas looks down at him. His eyes are wide and soft, and Alexander wants nothing more than to kiss him.
“I bet you look good in blue.” He murmurs, dropping his head back onto the man’s chest before he can do something stupid - like act on his previous thoughts.
“How are you getting home, darlin’?” Thomas’s voice asks, barely breaking through the foggy haze that surrounds Alex’s head.
“How about I take you home instead?” Thomas says, his voice soft and warm.
It’s a nice voice, he thinks. It makes Alexander want to make a blanket out of it, Southern accent and all, and curl up into it. Fuck, that’s a very drunk thing for him to think.
“Awe, are you worried about me?” Alexander asks, unable to hide the smile that spreads across his face at the thought.
“A little,” Thomas says, “Do you even know your address?”
He feels Thomas’s snort of laughter, “Not even close, darlin’. Let me take you home, please? Give me peace of mind knowing you’re not dead in the street somewhere.”
On one hand, it’s a very bad idea. A truly terrible idea even. On the other, it means extending their time together.
So obviously, Alexander has to agree.
“Alas, you’ve convinced me.” He slurs the words running together, “Who would have thought, Thee Thomas Jefferson worried about me.”
“Not me, for one.”
Alexander picks up his head, his face way too close to Thomas’s, and he taps him on the cheek. “It’s cute.”
Thomas shakes his head, his smile still present, “Alright, you’re drunk. Let’s get you home.”
Alexander stands from Thomas’s lap, his legs like jello, and Thomas’s arm darts out to steady him.
“Thank you for tonight, everyone. It’s been real and it’s been fun, but I really want to be in my bed right now.” He says to the group. He listens to their replies, but hears words more than strung together sentences.
“Thomas is taking you home?”
“Let me know when you’re home.”
Alexander waves a hand at them, before placing it back on Thomas’s shoulder. “Goodnight, love you guys.”
Eliza blows him a kiss and a wink as Alexander lets Thomas drag him from the bar.
The walk back to Thomas’s car is short, but Alexander is freezing his ass off. Thomas keeps a hand on his back to steady him, and Alex’s eyes are growing heavy as they round the corner outside the bar. Thomas unlocks his (stupidly expensive) car, and helps Alexander into the passenger seat.
“My hands are fucking freezin’, feel them.” Alexander says, pressing one of his hands to the side of Thomas’s face.
Thomas covers Alex’s hands with his own for a moment, encasing them in the warm fabric of his gloves, before he raises an eyebrow in thought. Thomas releases his hands, moving to open the glovebox. He digs around for a moment, and when he comes back, there are a pair of white gloves in his hands.
“Here, put these on.” Thomas says, sitting the gloves in Alexander’s lap.
He stares at the gloves for a moment. “But, these are your,” He hesitates, “Your soulmate gloves.” Alex whispers the last part.
Thomas shoots him an amused smile. “They’re just gloves, gloves that have a multitude of uses. One of which, by the way, is to keep your hands warm.”
The other man shuts the door softly, making his way around to the driver’s side. Alexander looks at the gloves. Thomas had given him one of his pairs of gloves to wear? It’s oddly sweet, and makes Alex’s heart speed up just a little bit. Which, quite frankly, is fucking ridiculous.
They’re just gloves. Alexander’s knows this. He’s bought gloves before, wore them too, but this feels different. Since he met Thomas, his association to them has changed. They weren’t just for fashion and they weren’t just for keeping your hands warm. They were for keeping a secret, one that Thomas was - so obviously - afraid of letting out. So it makes something simmer in his chest, hot and tight, that he doesn’t know what to do with. He knows they’re just gloves, but it feels like Thomas is trusting him with a lot more than just that.
Thomas crawls into the driver’s seat next to him, and fastens his seatbelt before starting the car. Alexander takes the opportunity to slide the gloves onto his hands. They’re a little big, going too far up his wrists and hanging off the tips of his fingers, but they’re warm and soft.
He holds them up to his face, trying to warm his cold cheeks, and he gets a hint of the other man’s cologne. It smells woodsy, a little like sandalwood and a hint of leather.
“I’m sorry about tonight.” Alexander says as Thomas pulls out of his parking spot.
The other man shoots him a confused look, “Why are you sorry?”
“I invited you to come and then I got drunk off my ass before you even showed up. That seems kind of shitty.”
Thomas’s hand comes to rest on his thigh, just above his knee, and it’s the most innocent of touches, but it makes Alex’s heart race even faster.
“You don’t have to apologize for having fun, Alexander. And, besides, I had a good time. It’s interesting to see you not so put together for once.”
“Fuck you, I’m always put together.” He says on instinct, although his words lack bite, “But I am really glad you came. I had fun - with you.”
Thomas’s hand squeezes once before it disappears, and Alexander immediately misses the warmth it provided.
“If you don’t mind me asking, Eliza said you were in a mood before I showed up. Any chance you’ll tell me why?”
Alexander exhales a silent laugh through his nose and shakes his head as it falls back against the seat behind him, “It’s nothing really.”
“Okay,” Thomas says, but his words sound doubtful, “Just know, if I’ve done something to upset you, I honestly didn’t mean to, and you can tell me. I’d like to apologize if I did something wrong.”
And he sounds so genuinely guilty about the idea of upsetting Alexander, that it makes guilt curl in his stomach. Because the truth is, Thomas hasn’t done anything wrong. Alexander is just being ridiculous, reading too much into everything, and hurting his own pride in return.
“You didn’t, Thomas. I promise.”
“Okay,” Thomas tells him, “But if I ever do, you can tell me. Because I like that we’re friends now. It’s nice, and I’d rather not ruin it all over something stupid.”
Alexander can’t help the smile that tugs at his lips, despite his growing exhaustion, “I like that we’re friends too.”
Thomas shoots him a smile in the dark, and it makes his chest feel tight and heavy. Alexander simply closes his eyes, and adds that to the “Do Not Touch” box in his head.
He blinks them back open, taking in Thomas’s profile in the dark. The soft slope of his nose, the neatly cut trim of his beard, the flash of too white teeth in the dark. He has that natural type of handsome, with the charming smile and the flash of dark eyes, that Alexander had always craved. He could credit Thomas’s genes for it, or maybe his growing up in old money, but damn.
How had he never really, truly, noticed how handsome he was before?
“Well thank you,” Thomas says out of the blue and it takes Alexander a moment before the realization settles. Shit did he say that out loud?
He hears Thomas’s chuckle of amusement, “Yes, Alex, you did.”
“I’m going to stop thinking things now,” He says, mostly to himself, leaning back against the chair and closing his eyes again.
Thankfully, Thomas doesn’t bring his comment up for the rest of the ride.
When they get to his apartment, Thomas walks him inside. Alexander is still mostly leaning on him for balance as they ride up the elevator and cross the hallway. He unlocks Alexander’s door, letting the other man direct him where to go, before they arrive at his bedroom.
Alexander sits down on the bed carefully, trying not to either embarrass or injure himself. He kicks off his shoes before pulling his shirt over his head. The gloves get pulled off next, and he sits them - gently - on his nightstand.
Thomas stands next to the bed, averting his eyes as Alex shimmies out of his pants and tucks himself under the comforter. Once his body is covered, Thomas sits down on the bed next to him.
“I’ll bring you some water. I think you’ll need it in the morning.” He says, lips pulled up in amusement.
When the other man makes a move to leave, Alexander’s hand darts out and grabs Thomas by the wrist before he gets the chance. He brings the other man’s gloved hand close to him, and Thomas uses the opportunity to brush a stand of hair out of Alex’s face.
“It’s late,” Alexander says, “You could stay.”
Thomas’s hand brushes against his cheek, and Alex leans into the touch. He turns his face, feels the way Thomas’s gloves brush against his nose and lips. The fabric is soft, warm, and smell of that same woodsy cologne from before.
“That’s tempting, darlin’, quite tempting actually, but I really shouldn’t.”
Alexander’s bottom lip shoots out just a little, and God, he’s not drunk enough anymore to be pouting, “Why not?”
“Well,” Thomas says, “For one, I’ve got a hungry mouth at home I need to feed.”
Alexander’s brows furrow in confusion, and Thomas’s hand is still there, rubbing soothing circles along his face.
“My cat, Locke.”
“You have a cat?” Alexander blinks at him, “And you named it after John Locke?”
He feels Thomas’s chuckle. “I do and I did, but we can talk about her when you’re sober, okay? For now, just get some sleep.”
Thomas is looking at him and even in the dark of the room, Alexander can see the way his eyes look. It’s the same way they looked last night in the parking lot, open and vulnerable, and Alexander wants so badly to lean up and kiss him.
“I should go,” Thomas says, voice hesitant, but he doesn’t move his hand.
Alexander leans further into his hand, feels the way Thomas’s fingers strokes his cheek, almost as if he’s carassing it.
“You don’t have to.”
“It appears you’re testing all my self control tonight," Thomas says softly, "But I’d really rather you not attack me in the morning when you don’t remember extending the invitation.”
“I’ll remember this.” Alexander says, almost as if his words are a promise - one he knows he probably won’t be able to keep. Alexander’s ability to recall a previous night’s drunken events is shockingly terrible. “Eliza says I make killer pancakes.”
“Well then,” Thomas says with a smile, “I might have to take you up on that sometime, but not tonight.”
His hand brushes against Alexander’s bottom lip and Alex sucks in a deep breath to keep himself from doing something he’ll regret.
“Okay,” He relents after a moment, “But, for what it’s worth, I’m really glad you came tonight.” Alexander says, unable to let Thomas leave without repeating his previous words.
“Me too, Schatz. ” Thomas says and Alexander blinks at him, trying to translate the word in his head. He doesn’t know what language it is, and the word fails to register anything in his brain.
Instead of thinking about it, he simply squeezes Thomas’s hand in his own, feels the way Thomas brushes his fingers against Alex’s cheek on last time and then they brush another strand of hair out of his eyes, before he pulls away.
“Get some sleep, Alexander.”
He feels the bed shift as Thomas rises, and then he’s falling, peacefully and without hesitation, into the sweet oblivion of sleep.
I'm not including translations, because - technically - Alexander doesn't know what Thomas said. and since we only get Alex's perspective, we - too - don't know what he said. But, you know, I can't stop you from googling it ;)
Also here's Washington's statement of neutrality, in which he really said anyone caught aiding either side would not be protected by the United States. Which seems a little harsh, in my professional opinion.
(standard reminder that if you don't comment and tell me otherwise, I'll assume this is shitty and doubt myself as I write the next chapter)
so you might be wondering about my name change, and it is explained over on my Tumblr, which is now: writtenrevolution
but other than my name change here and on Tumblr, everything else stays the same. you still get to look forward to my shitty writing ;)
Let me know what you think.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Alexander winces at the bright, white light that assaults his eyes. He groans into his pillow, burying his face back into the darkness beneath him. It is, for the one millionth time, that he wishes he had been smart enough to close his damn blinds.
He sighs into the pillow, body waking up of its own accord, and Alex feels the last remnants of his dream slipping away from him. It had been weird, unsurprisingly so after a night of drinking. He can only remember bits and pieces, and he’s a little distrurbed by the fact that Thomas Jefferson had taken the staring role in it.
The dream is mostly a memory by now, and he barely hangs onto the last traces. White gloves, leather, Thomas saying, “darling” in that stupidly sweet accent.
As much as he wants to go back to bed, to fully enjoy the time Saturday offers him, he knows it’s impossible at this point. His head is too awake, his limbs already growing antsy and his stomach growling.
He rolls onto his side, blinking slowly to let his eyes adjust to the bright sun that shines through his window. He slings his feet out of bed and onto the floor. As soon as they hit the hardwood, Alexander freezes in his tracks.
There, sitting innocently on his nightstand, is a pair of white, leather gloves. There’s a sneaking suspicion - a whispered thought - in the back of his mind that says he only knows one person who wears gloves like that.
He reaches out, fingers brushing the soft fabric, and pulls them closer for inspection. They feel expensive and heavy in his hands, pleated down each finger into a delicate design at the base of the wrist. He closes his eyes, takes a breath, and looks at the tag that lays inside - just inside the wrist.
That voice in his head is louder now, almost screaming at him to accept the only possible explanation. Alexander thinks back to his dream. To Thomas’s light touch, to those white gloves, and winces.
There was only one person he knew that wore white leather gloves. Only one person he knew that would buy white, leather, gucci gloves.
Alexander comes to the conclusion that his dream might not have been a dream.
He grabs his phone from where it sits on the corner of his bed. Thankfully, it is still somewhat charged - although his battery hovers just over ten percent.
It’s as soon as he sees his lockscreen, that the conclusion becomes solidified.
He has new messages from Eliza, Angelica, one from both Lafayette and John in their group chat, and lastly, one from Thomas.
Alexander opens them, reading quickly through the words, as he pieces together the events from last night.
Eliza (3:49AM): You guys were so cute tonight. Hercules and I agree.
Angelica (4:02AM): Dot think we’re arenst talking about this wen im soburr.
From: Group Chat - John Laurens & Lafayette
John Laurens (4:16AM): Lafayette,,,,, am I too drunk or did Thomas just take Alexander home????????
Lafayette (4:17AM): You are too drunk, but also not incorrect.
Thomas(4:48AM): Please don’t die in your sleep. It’d look bad for my reputation.
Alexander takes a deep breath as it becomes abundantly clear that last night did happen. Thomas had come to the bar, Alexander had gotten incredibly toasted, and then nothing. He doesn’t remember much else besides drunken blur and a few mumbled words.
Alex quickly dials Eliza’s number, holding his phone up to his ear as he falls back against the bed. It rings twice before she picks up.
“I bet you feel like hell,” Her voice greets him, too chipper and sweet on the other end, and Alexander groans.
“I do.” He says, “Not surprising though.”
“You did drink a lot, but I’m sure Thomas is more than willing to take care of you. It seemed like he didn’t mind last night, at least.”
Alexander hesitates, “Yeah, about that.”
She’s quiet for a long moment, before a sigh breaks through the phone, “You don’t remember much, huh?”
“Not really. Care to fill in the blanks?”
“Well you were being miserable until Thomas showed up, but you were well beyond drunk at that point. You guys danced, which was really cute, although it was more of a sway to be completely honest. And then when we went back to the table, you sat on his lap and like cuddled against his chest and it was the most adorable thing I have ever seen.” Eliza tells him, “Then he took you home, and I don’t know anything after that.”
“Oh my God, I have to quit my job.” Alexander says, feeling his humiliation increase ten-fold at her words.
Not only had he been drunk and stupid, but he had fucking sat on Thomas’s lap. He had to resign immediately; he couldn’t bare looking the man in the face ever again.
“Oh stop being dramatic; it was cute. And besides, I’d go out on a limb and say he was enjoying your attention. You made him blush more than once, and the whole time you were on his lap, he never took his hand off your thigh.”
“He was probably just being polite.”
She scoffs into the phone, “Being polite is helping you sit down, not treating you like a priceless treasure. You guys would be so good together, Alexander.”
“Eliza,” He says like a warning.
“Besides, he’s smart, charming, and handsome. What else could you want?”
Her words bring back a memory, deep from the back of his brain, of drunken words.
How had he never really, truly, noticed how handsome he was before?
He recalls Thomas’s response, knows that he had said the words out loud, and feels mortification creep slowly into his bones. Fuck, he really hadn’t meant to say anything like that. Especially not when Thomas could hear him.
“He sent me a text. I guess I’ll reply.”
Alexander can hear her smile through the phone, “Just give him a chance, Alexander. We’ll talk soon. I love you.”
“I love you too. Goodbye, Eliza.”
She hangs up soon after that, leaving Alexander alone with his thoughts once more. He rereads Thomas’s message, feels the way heat climbs up his chest, and rolls his eyes. The only way to not make this weird is to pretend like everything isn’t weird.
He types a reply, and sends it before he can back out.
To Thomas (10:34AM): I’m alive, although it doesn’t really feel like it.
Stupidly, he stares at his screen waiting for a response. It’s not ten seconds after the message says delivered, that his phone begins to ring, Thomas’s name flashing on the caller ID. He panics, dropping the phone onto the bed before snatching it back up. He swipes his finger across the screen and holds it to his ear.
“Hello?” Alexander says, and his voice comes out harsh and uneven. Fuck vodka, honestly.
“You sound even shittier than I expected.” Thomas’s voice is smooth on the other end, “I got to say, you’re head must be killing you right now.”
“It is, and you’re voice isn’t helping.” He quips back, but there’s no heat to it.
Thomas simply laughs into the phone, his voice light and like a melody, “Is that anyway to treat the man that took care of your drunk ass last night?”
“Oh God,” Alex says, “Please don’t remind me. I have enough humiliation to last a lifetime.”
Thomas is quiet for a second, “You remember last night?”
Alexander sighs into the phone, “A bit of it. Not much, I’m afraid. Although, I’m going to go out on a limb and say the gloves on my nightstand are yours?”
“They indeed are.”
“And I have them why?” Alexander asks, trying not to sound too interested.
He closes his eyes, trying to remember anything else from last night. Words, or actions, or feelings. There’s almost nothing there, though, only those fleeting memories he thought were dreams.
“You said your hands were cold.”
“Oh,” He says in response, “Thank you then, I suppose. For the gloves and for babysitting me.”
“You’re welcome, Alexander. It really was no trouble. Plus, seeing you drunk out of your mind was actually quite amusing.” He can hear the amusement bleeding through Thomas’s words, and it makes him roll his eyes.
“I hate you.” Alex says in response.
When Thomas replies, his words are light and teasing, “Not what you were saying last night.”
“I hate you so much; I’m hanging up now. I’ll talk to you Monday when I’m not dying.”
He hangs up on Thomas’s sharp, and frankly stupid, laughter. His phone gets dropped onto the bed next to him, and Alexander falls - face first - into his mattress. He rolls onto his side, picking up the gloves from beside him and holding them in his hands. They’re nice gloves, expensive and beautiful - timelessly classic - and so fitting for Thomas’s personality.
He closes his eyes, willing his stomach to settle, and holds the gloves to his chest as he - thankfully - manages to doze off again.
Monday morning comes too quick and somehow not quick enough. He’s dreading the thought of going in, the thought of seeing Thomas after Friday night, and he tries to talk himself off the metaphorical ledge on his drive there. Thomas had seemed fine on the phone Saturday morning. He had been his usual sarcastic self, teasing Alexander about his drunken night and overall ridiculousness.
He gave no hint that Alexander had done anything too embarrassing. And, yes, Eliza had said that Alexander sat in his lap - which the rest of their friend group had confirmed - but Alex was drunk, and besides, Thomas had made no mention of it. If Alex’s drunk actions had annoyed him, surely he would have taken the opportunity to tell him.
Alex’s phone chimes in his pocket on his way inside, and he doesn’t have to read it to know who it’s from. There’s only one other person that’d be texting him this early, and he doesn’t really want to respond to it right now.
He’s managed, somehow, to put Angelica off this long. Surely, he can keep the winning streak going just a few days longer before she hunted him down.
They have a cabinet meeting today, a meeting where Washington will bring up Alexander’s Phase 2, and he’s not quite ready for it. His documents are all in order, his argument and counter argument replies ready to go, but he’s still desperate to put it off. After Friday night, and the increasing closeness he finds himself falling into with Thomas, the thought of ruining it all makes him feel a particular type of way. Alex doesn’t really know how to describe it. He’s excited at the prospect of finally getting his banks, but the knowledge that he could lose Thomas’s friendship in the process hurts.
He dives into his work, filing through whatever random financial requests make their way across his desk, and doesn’t come up for air until Maria fetches him for the cabinet meeting. It’s just before lunch when she interrupts his work, saying nothing but tossing him a bottle of ibuprofen.
He really should give her a raise.
Alexander takes two, swallowing them with a sip of too cold coffee, and packs his computer into his satchel. The trip to the elevator is uneventful, and Alex has a terribly hopeful thought that maybe he’ll make it to the conference room without seeing Thomas.
That thought proves fruitless when, just before the door closes, a too polished black shoe slips between them.
The doors open back up and Alexander looks up into Thomas’s face. The man’s expression looks annoyed, but it slips into an easy smile when he sees who’s already on the waiting elevator.
He walks inside and Alexander smashes the closed door button.
Alex takes a deep breath, and then finally looks back at Thomas.
His grin is more shit eating than usual.
Alex simply raises an unimpressed eyebrow, “Go on, get it out.”
“Oh my God, drunk you is literally the most adorable thing I have ever seen. And you were so nice too, like maybe you should drink more often. I’d make you more bearable to be around. You were tossing me compliments like candy.”
“Don’t let it get to your ego. It barely fits through the doors now.”
“Oh Thomas, you’re so handsome,” Thomas’s voice gets a little higher and Alexander rolls his eyes at the horrible impression, “Oh Thomas, your soulmate gloves! You shouldn’t have!”
“I don’t sound like that.”
“You do when you’re drunk.”
A smile cracks through Alexander’s facade of annoyance and he tries - and fails - to keep his lips pursed. “I hate you so much right now, you asshole.”
The doors ding and Thomas shoots him one last glance, “At least I’m still handsome.”
And then he’s laughing his way off the elevator, leaving Alexander sighing in his wake. He takes a deep breath and follows him off the elevator.
There is a part of him that’s happy Thomas isn’t taking the shit he said and did Friday to heart. He’d really rather not try and stumble his way through that conversation. Although, there’s another part of him that almost does want Thomas to ask about it. To ask if he meant it, if he means it, and what it means if he does. But, as Alexander drops into his seat in the conference room, he figures that’s not really up to him.
He could bring it up, tell Thomas he meant it, but he’s really not in the mood to immediately be shut down. And, besides, Alexander had been drunk. He knows that drunk words are sober thoughts, but he can’t even begin to delve into what they meant. Yes, he thinks Thomas is handsome. Yes, he likes spending time with him. But that’s all there is. There is nothing deeper, nothing that needs to be dug through and sorted out, so he’s simply going to keep his mouth shut. There’s no point in rooting around in something that’s bound to bring them both misery.
Washington’s hands clap together, and it brings the meeting together.
“Okay everyone, today’s agenda is simple. Secretary Knox has a couple of announcements, and then Secretary Hamilton has the floor.”
Alexander sees the look Thomas throws him across the table, a curious little twitch of his lips that makes Alexander shift in his chair.
Henry starts talking about a flagship initiative that in absolutely no way concerns Alexander or his department, not with the newly passed budget at least, so he sinks into his chair and sort of zones out.
He keeps his eyes on Thomas, because he can’t look away. He had known they were semi-friends, suspected it at least, but Friday night was the confirmation he needed. Not only did Thomas show up to the bar, when he was supposed to be with Martha, but he had watched out for Alexander and even taken him home. It was something you did for friends, not allies, and it makes Alex’s heart feel a little more full.
Henry finishes up quite soon and Washington passes the floor to Alexander.
“The first announcement is that I am rejecting Lee’s reelection proposals number 2 through 46. The only ones I am allocating funds to are proposal 1, and then 47 through 50, but on the basis that the PR team looks at them and makes the changes I’ve deemed necessary.”
It’s silent for a moment, and Alexander thinks he might get out unscathed, before there’s a voice from the back of the room.
Alexander turns his head, looking down his nose at Lee. He sits in his chair, expression telling Alex that he’s rearing up for a fight.
“What’s unbelievable is the President hired someone so truly incompetent at his job.” Alexander’s words are like ice. “When you learn how to create something that isn’t absolute garbage, we can discuss further steps.”
Lee takes a deep breath, teeth showing like he’s going to take a bite out of Alexander. Then, in a voice that shakes with anger, he says, “You egotistical, self-righteous prick. You think I’m incompetent at my job? News flash, Secretary Hamilton, everyone here thinks you’re incompetent at yours. You talk too much, you’re so Goddamn picky, and - worse of all - you’re a fucking asshole.”
Alexander rears back, words coming to the tip of his tongue. He feels anger pulsing, hot and thick, through his blood.
Before he has a chance to say anything, someone else speaks for him.
“You’re right Lee,” Thomas says, and Alexander winces at his tone. Had he been wrong? Had Thomas been playing him the whole time? He looks over at Thomas, eyes wide and hurt heavy in his chest, but before he can feel betrayed, Thomas continues speaking.
“There is an egotistical, self-righteous prick in the room, but it’s not Alexander. He’s proven himself time and time again, and he’s accomplished more in this past year than I think you’ll accomplish in a lifetime.” Thomas’s words are measured but his eyes are narrowed, “I think I speak for the majority in the cabinet when I say you’re the biggest fucking asshole. Keep in mind that I can and will make your life in this cabinet hell, so it’d be best that you watch your tone when you speak to Secretary Hamilton.”
Alexander, along with the rest of the cabinet, blink in surprise. Lee’s eyes are wide and his jaw literally snaps shut with a harsh click. Henry, who sits next to Alexander, laughs quietly to himself.
“I- Thank you, Secretary Jefferson.” Alexander says, once he’s finally got himself collected enough to speak. He can’t believe that he had doubted Thomas again, but the man had proved him wrong. Not only did he shut Lee down without missing a bit, but he threatened him too.
And now Alexander was taking the biggest risk of all, and possibly sacrificing that loyalty to get his National Bank. He knows Thomas is going to be pissed, knows they’re going to argue about it, but he can only hope that - even though he doesn’t support it - Thomas understands where he’s coming from. Alexander had understood why he gave the money to France, surely he can request the same understanding in return.
“I’ll remind you that cabinet meetings are for polite behaviour and you all are to act like mature gentlemen.” Washington speaks, “That being said, Alexander, please continue.”
He doesn’t look at Thomas as he stands from his chair. His hands grab for his satchel, unlatching the buckle and pulling out the papers he’d printed off. He dumps them onto the table, watches as Thomas reaches out to slide one closer to him.
Alexander sees the exact moment recognition hits him. Thomas’s eyebrows furrow for only a moment, and then his neck snaps up, eyes looking at Alexander in what can only be described as complete and utter betrayal.
Alex swallows and continues nonetheless, “After the passing of my assumption bill, I’m prepared to move onto Phase 2 of my plan to establish a trustworthy and efficiently run financial system for the United States.”
He hears a scoff but continues, “Phase 1 was the assumption of state debts; Phase 2 is the establishment of a National Bank. Of course, this will have to pass through Congress first, but once the lame ducks are voted out, I see no problem getting it passed. However, once it gets congressional approval, the motion will be in His Excellency’s hands, which is why I bring this to the table now. It’s best to be ahead of the game so I can plan accordingly. In the papers in front of you, there is a detailed argument in favour of the establishment, any and all concerns should be looked for in there first and then brought to me.”
Washington nods his head at the front of the table, leaning back in his chair, “Perfect, Secretary Hamilton. Is there any counter-argument that my Secretaries can come up with so far?”
“Can I have a few days to prepare something, Mr. President?” Thomas asks, his voice calm and collected.
“Of course, Secretary Jefferson.” He says in response, “Hamilton, do you have anything else to add?”
He shakes his head, “No, Your Excellency.”
“Excellent then. I remind you all that I need projected initiatives by next Tuesday, and that we have a press conference about the new Education project three days from now. Hamilton, I’ll need projected expense by tomorrow.” Washington says, his voice a deep and calm below, “If that’s all there is, then the meeting is dismissed.”
Alexander collects the few papers that were left over on the table, watching from the corner of his eye as Thomas talked in quick whispers with Washington.
Washington nods twice as Alexander slides the papers into his satchel and then pats Thomas on the shoulder, before he’s striding out of the room with long steps.
Thomas doesn’t acknowledge him, simply walks past like Alexander hadn’t even spoken.
He throws his satchel over his shoulder and runs after the man, “Thomas, wait, please.”
Alexander gets the elevator just as the doors were starting to close. He tries, and fails to get his foot in the door before they slam shut in front of him.
Stairs it is, he supposes.
Alexander climbs them like his life depends on it, his feet echoing in the stairwell. He swipes himself through the door and rounds the corner. He catches a glimpse of white walk through Thomas’s door, and manages to follow it inside, arms out and catching the door before it can slam closed.
“You bastard.” Thomas spits, whirling around like he had known Alexander would follow him, “You didn’t think mentioning the establishment of a bank was important when we were trying to compromise?”
“We weren’t talking about the banks yet, Thomas, we were talking about the assumption!”
“Which was phase 1 of a two part plan, you asshole!”
Alexander winces at the word, “Don’t act like you weren’t up to some shady shit too. I saw your foreign aid transfer. Am I expected to believe it's just a coincidence you transferred the full amount two days before Washington’s statement of neutrality?”
Thomas’s eyes are sharp as he stares at Alexander. After a moment, when it seems like he’s not going to back down. Then, just when Alex is sure he’s ruined everything, Thomas looks away and a deep sigh gets released from his mouth.
Thomas sits down on the couch in his office and drops his head into his hands. He stays there for a moment before one of his gloved hands run through the length of his curls.
Alexander takes a slow step forward and sits down next to him. He wants to reach out, apologize or comfort him, but his hands won’t move. It’s not his place.
After what feels like a long time, Thomas sighs again. “I’m sorry.”
Alexander can barely suppress his huff. What the hell could he possibly be apologizing for?
Thomas looks up at him, defeat in his beautiful grey eyes. Alex sees his throat move around a swallow. “For calling you a bastard, and an asshole. Didn’t mean it.”
“It’s okay, I’m sorry for not telling you everything, but I knew you’d never support it.”
The corner of Thomas’s mouth twitches just a little. “Same reason I didn’t tell you everything either. But France is on the brink of war, and I couldn’t sit by and do nothing.”
“I don’t support what you did, and I still think funding their dick measuring contest with England is a terrible idea, but I get why you did it.”
Thomas’s eyes are soft as they look into his own, and it makes something in his drunken slur from last night shake loose. It’s a memory, mostly only words and Thomas’s eyes, but the more he focuses on how those eyes look right now, the more the memory comes back to him.
“It’s late,” Alexander had said “You could stay.”
Thomas’s hand brushed against his cheek, and Alex leaned into the touch. He turned his face, felt the way Thomas’s gloves brushed against his nose and lips. The fabric was soft, warm, and smelled of that same woodsy cologne from before.
“That’s tempting, darlin’, quite tempting actually, but I really shouldn’t.”
Alexander’s bottom lip shot out just a little, and God, he was not drunk enough to be pouting, “Why not?”
“Well,” Thomas said, “For one, I’ve got a hungry mouth at home I need to feed.”
Alexander’s brows furrowed in confusion, and Thomas’s hand was still there, rubbing soothing circles along his face.
“My cat, Locke.”
“You have a cat?” Alexander blinked at him, “And you named it after John Locke?”
He felt Thomas’s chuckle. “I do and I did, but we can talk about her when you’re sober, okay? For now, just get some sleep.”
Oh my God. He had asked Thomas to stay over? That thought in among itself is embarrassing and makes heat crawl into his cheeks.
Thomas hasn’t mentioned it, but Alexander thinks it might be able to bring a little humour back into their push and pull.
Alexander scoots a little closer, Thomas’s eyes still on his, and slowly reaches out a hand. He sits it on Thomas’s thigh, intending for it to be nothing more than a light and comforting touch. Thomas tenses up at the contact before relaxing and then his hand moves and comes to rest, fabric warm, on top of Alexander’s.
It’s an olive branch.
“I can’t believe you named your cat after John Locke.”
His words a met with a laugh from Thomas, who’s hand squeezes against Alex’s.
“So you remember that?”
Thomas raises an eyebrow, “You remember begging me to stay over?”
He feels another rush of heat into his cheeks, but smiles through his embarrassment, “What can I say, I’m a sucker for a sleepover.”
“It was adorable, really.”
Alexander raises an eyebrow, “Says the man who was dropping pet names like candy.” He mimics Thomas’s turn of phrase from earlier, “I lost track of the amount of times you called me darling.”
There’s something there, Alexander thinks, some other pet name he can’t put his finger on. It was in a different language, he knows, but he can’t remember the way it fell off Thomas’s lips.
“What can I say?” Thomas responds, “I’m fond of them.”
Alexander gives up fighting against his smile, and allows himself to scoot just half an inch closer. His hand is still sandwiched between Thomas’s thigh and his glove.
“I mean, John Locke really?” He says, watching the way Thomas’s teeth shine white when he responds in return.
“I hate you so much right now.”
Alex licks his lips, smiling back, “I know.”
say hi on my new Tumblr: writtenrevolution
I didn't even realize we hit 50,000 words last chapter. That's honestly crazy to me, because this was only supposed to be a one-shot. I have you all to thank, however, for your kind words and constant encouragement. I wouldn't have made it this far without you.
Also, let me just say, the next chapter is a motherfucking whirlwind. Prepare yourself for so much pining, and drunken feels, and even more pet names.
(PS, you might have noticed the change in chapter count. I added a few more to really flush this bad boy out, and while I think it should stay the same from now on, there's a chance I might add more. I haven't decided yet.)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It’s that next morning that Alexander finally finishes up the rest of his work. He’s usually ahead of schedule, but he has finally gotten to the point that he’s more than several weeks in advance. If he was anyone else, that might be cause to slack, but he’s never been the type to stop short just because he was ahead of the game.
He scrolls through his agenda on his laptop, making notes about the few other things he can still finish working on.
His email chimes and Alexander clicks the new box, opening an email from Washington.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Senate Gala
Please remember that the yearly Senate’s Gala is this Saturday. While attendance is not required, it is certainly a great opportunity to network and get to know other members on the staff. Please remember this is a professional event, so black tie is required and I would prefer my staff did not get belligerently drunk, as has happened in years past.
Alexander rolls his eyes, knowing Washington is more than likely talking about the Gala back when he was a Senator, when Alexander and John - both interns on his staff at the time - had drank a little too much and taken to dancing on the bar while singing a horrendously off key rendition of NSYNC’s, “Bye Bye Bye.” He’s already apologized a million times, so if Washington still couldn’t get over it, then Alexander was content to let him remain bitter.
He clicks out of the email, his phone chiming in his pocket. He checks the screen, relieved to see that it's not Angelica. He still hasn’t responded to any of Angelica's messages, so he knows it's really only a matter of time. Thankfully, however, this time it’s Eliza.
From Betsy (11:47AM): Any chance I can steal you from work for lunch?
It’s nearing lunchtime, and his stomach has been growling for the past twenty minutes. Alexander knows it’s more than likely her reaching out in an attempt to throw him and Thomas together, but he is hungry, and he does miss her.
A sigh leaves his lips as he types a quick response.
To Betsy (11:49AM): Of course. Where at?
Her reply is instantaneous.
From Betsy (11:49AM): Zaytinyas on 9th. Food’s on me ;)
He sends back a simple thumbs up emoji and grabs his coat from the back of his chair.
Alexander’s first hint should have been when he left the office. He took the long way - as always - to walk past Thomas's office. Peggy was at her desk, scrolling on her phone and paying him no mind. The door is open and Alex glances inside, sees that the room is empty.
That was his first hint.
The second hint is less of a hint and more of a slap to the face. It hits him when he pulls open the door to Zaytinya’s and sees Eliza sitting at a table in the back. It’s then that he notices the tall and handsome man sitting across from her. Alex stops in his tracks, takes in the tilt of his shoulders under his too dark black suit jacket and the springy ringlets that fall around his head like a halo.
Eliza notices him theb, sends him a bright smile and a wave, and Alexander realizes he was tricked. Not into talking about Thomas with her, but getting lunch with them. He rolls his eyes, not knowing exactly what she thought she was accomplishing here, and moves towards their table.
Alexander takes the seat next to Thomas, out of spite, and shoots Eliza a glare. She simply returns it with a dimpled smile, and he feels the annoyance run out of his body. She obviously had the best intentions, even if they were completely wrong, but he couldn’t fault her for her determination in trying to find someone to make him happy.
Thomas looks up from his menu and his eyebrows furrow when he sees Alexander sitting next to him.
“I didn’t know you were coming.” Thomas says with a small smile, and its testament of how far they’ve come that Alexander isn’t immediately offended by his words.
He smiles at him, stealing the menu from where it lays in front of Thomas and shrugs, “Didn’t know you were coming either, but I’m not upset by this stunning revelation.”
Thomas snorts and Alex looks up at Eliza’s raised eyebrows and all too pleased expression. “Sorry, did I forget to mention that I invited both of you?”
“You did.” Thomas says and Alexander nods his head in agreement.
“Well,” She says, “Not important anymore.”
The waitress drops by soon after that, taking their orders. As soon as she’s gone, Alexander leans back in his chair. He feels the brush of fabric behind him and shoots a careful gaze at Thomas, sees the way his arm is draped across the back of Alexander’s seat. He licks his lips, focusing his gaze on Eliza, and pretends he didn’t notice.
“I wanted to thank you again, Thomas, for your more than generous donation to the orphanage. Your generosity will not be forgotten, I swear.”
Alexander looks up at Thomas, sees his easy smile and the way the skin around his eyes crinkle as he shifts in his seat. There is a flush of dark grey across his cheeks and Alexander actually grins when he realizes Thomas is blushing.
“It’s really the least I can do, Eliza.” He says, voice full of genuine conviction, “You have an amazing organization and I am more than willing to help any way I can.”
Eliza's lips curve at him in response, her straight white smile breathtaking and sincere. “And thank you for taking our dear Alexander home the other night too. It was hard enough trying to drag Angelica and Lafayette into the car, I can’t imagine trying to get Alex in there too.”
Thomas shoots a grin in his direction, teasing but handsome all the same, and Alexander can’t help the rush of heat into his cheeks.
“It wasn’t a problem. Our dear Alexander provided me with enough entertainment to last a lifetime, isn’t that right, darlin’?”
Alex rolls his eyes at the pet name, ignoring the way it sends his nerves into hyperdrive, and nudges his knee against Thomas’s. “Shut up.”
“He really is something when he’s drunk, isn’t he?” Eliza says, because she obviously hates him, “At least he seemed to actually listen to you. Usually, I have to literally drag him from the bar.”
“Yeah, he wasn’t too hard to take care of. Didn’t think we were going to make it up the elevator, though, he could barely stand.”
“He’s right here.” Alexander chimes in, feels the way Thomas’s knee taps into his again and hides his grin in his shirt sleeve.
“Oh, you had to help him inside?”
“I did, got you all tucked into bed didn’t I, pumpkin?” Thomas says, and the pet name comes out drenched in that ridiculously sweet Southern drawl and Alex wants to cancel this whole lunch and throw himself into the Hudson.
Eliza coos as Alex flips her the finger, hearing the way her melodic laugh echoes off the walls around them.
“Don’t worry, darlin’, it was cute.” Thomas says, his voice low and directed at Alexander.
He pulls his knee away and tries to knock it back into Thomas’s - hard - but he stops short when a gloved hand comes to rest on his own thigh. He can feel the warmth of the glove seep into the length of his pants, and then Thomas simply raises an eyebrow at him.
Alexander can do nothing but stare into Thomas’s eyes, the grey bleeding into his dark pupils, and can’t find a single word. He can’t think of a teasing insult, a single mock, or anything intelligent or useful to say. He’s lost in the swirl of greys, unable to look away.
He never thought grey was beautiful. It was too common, shading almost every object around him, but there was something different about the shades of grey that mixed in Thomas’s eyes. They were a softer shade, no set line between each colour, but rather the endless swirl of a thousand different greys blending together. And Alexander thought they were beautiful.
Thomas is just looking at him, one hand still on the back of Alexander’s chair and one hand on his thigh, but he’s not saying anything. Alex feels his eyes move of their own accord, dropping just a couple inches to Thomas’s lips. His mouth feels too dry and he licks his lips before forcing his eyes back up.
When he looks back into that shame shimmering grey as before, Thomas’s eyebrow quirks up just a little more. It's then that Alexander realizes how close they are, and that Thomas most definitely saw the flicker of his gaze down, and that Thomas most definitely knows what’s going on in his head. And then he remembers that they’re not alone.
He clears his throat, dropping Thomas’s gaze at once and turns back to Eliza. Thomas’s hand moves his thigh, and he tries to hide his disappointment as the heat from his leg vanishes.
Eliza’s looking between the two of them, her lips pressed into that same pleased smile as before.
“So, Eliza, about Christmas at the orphanage,” Alexander begins, finally able to tune Thomas out enough to focus on an actual conversation. He doesn’t miss the way the hand draped across his chair doesn’t move, however.
Lunch ends up being a decently pleasant affair. He enjoys the time spent with Eliza, as always, and has the bonus of being with Thomas too. The food is good, nowhere worth the fortune Eliza’s going to drop on it, but decent enough.
When the waitress drops off the bill, Thomas slides his black amex card on top of it before Eliza can even move to grab her purse.
“Thomas, please let me buy lunch.” Eliza says, “If only as a thank you for your donation.”
“Eliza, please. It really is no trouble, and I’d like to buy lunch to thank you for letting me join you all Friday.”
She relents after a moment, her smile returning full force. “You really are too charming. It’s like I simply can’t say no to you.”
Thomas’s grin is insufferably handsome. “It comes with the territory.”
Eliza laughs and it’s as beautiful as always, but Alexander simply cannot look away from the genuine smile on Thomas’s face.
The waitress swipes the bill and Thomas’s card, returning almost at once. Thomas signs the bill, and Alex sees him add a thirty dollar tip, before he signs his name like he didn’t just drop over $200 on lunch.
Eliza walks with them out the door, before she turns and offers them both smiles.
She pulls Alexander into a lingering hug, her perfume familiar and soft. “Be good, my love.” She says, pressing a kiss onto his cheek, “And text Angelica back.”
She pulls away before Alex can respond, pulling Thomas into a hug. She kisses his cheek, and Alex notices the way Thomas returns the gesture with a kiss to her grey flushed cheek.
“Thomas, dear, lunch was delightful. We really should meet up more. I’d love to get to know you better.” Eliza says as she pulls away, her arms still resting on Thomas’s biceps.
“I would love nothing more, Eliza.”
She grins at both of them, turning to head to her car, and only looking back once to blow them a kiss. Alexander rolls his eyes, but sends her one in return.
When he turns to Thomas, the other man is smiling softly at him. Alex raises his eyebrows in response, and Thomas makes no move to comment.
“You walk here?” Thomas asks after a minute and Alexander responds with a nod of his head.
It’s colder now then when he left the White House, and his teeth are chattering only slightly as goosebumps break out across his arms.
“You want to walk back with me?”
“Yes, please, but you better walk quick because I’m fucking frigid.”
He sees the exasperated look Thomas throws his way but decided to ignore it. That is, until, he sees movement from the corner of his eye, and then the soft, warm press of fabric over his shoulders. Alex looks down, sees his own body wrapped in Thomas’s black suit jacket.
When he looks back up, intent on telling Thomas he was fine, the man was already strolling - hands in his pockets - towards the White House.
Alexander smiles to himself, teeth digging into his bottom lip, as he follows after him.
The jacket warms him up remarkably fast, and he can’t help but pull it closer to him. It’s warm and soft, smelling of Thomas’s cologne and the restaurant, and Alex thinks it’s a nice mix of the both. He’s surprised somehow, once again, by the display of Thomas’s caring side.
He really shouldn’t be, Alex thinks. He’s seen more than once now that Thomas can be kind, caring, and thoughtful. But everytime that action is directed at him, not at something else, it still brings his mind to a standstill.
There’s a part of him that wants to look into it. A part that wants to pry open that Do Not Touch box in his brain and put all the pieces of the mysterious puzzle together.
But there’s another part, a louder part, telling Alex not to. This thing with Thomas is good, surprising, but it’s good. He’s happy for the first time in a really long time, and he’s found a friendship with someone that seems to get him. Thomas has proven time and time again that he cares about Alexander, and he thinks that should be enough. He shouldn’t rush to label things, to push too far, when everything is perfect as is.
And besides, there’s two things he doesn’t want to take into account. The first being Martha, and the second being both of their soulmates. So, if he can’t be unbiased about it, Alexander decides that he simply won't look into it at all.
“Are you coming?” Thomas asks, a few steps ahead of him and Alexander quickens his pace.
He meets Thomas just before they cross the street, and when Thomas offers Alex his arm, a single raised eyebrow in the form of a question, Alexander takes it without a second thought. His arm is wrapped through Thomas’s, heat bleeding through the jacket, as they walk across the street.
He thinks that after they reach the other side, Thomas will drop his arm and move away. However, as his feet move down the sidewalk, having long since crossed the road, Thomas’s arm is still there. Alexander is a little less than surprised to find that it doesn’t really bother him.
“What you’re doing for Eliza is really great, by the way.” Alexander says, unable to stand the silence they’re in - even if it was comfortable.
Okay, so maybe he just likes the sound of Thomas’s voice. Sue him.
“I’m just doing what anyone in my position should do. I have too much money for one person, it only seems fair to contribute to other people’s happiness.”
Alexander leans closer to Thomas, his stomach brushing against the arm that his linked around his, “Intelligent, handsome, and generous. I dare say you’re the full package.”
He keeps his gaze forward, but doesn’t miss the look Thomas sends his way, “Awe, you think I’m the full package?”
He hears Thomas’s laughter and digs his teeth into his lip again, trying to hide his smile.
“You know you can’t just tell me to shut up everytime I quote your own words back to you.” Thomas replies, his tone as teasing as ever.
When Alex finally drags his gaze away from the sidewalk and back into those grey shaded eyes, he finds that same easy smile directed his way.
“I hate you.”
“You keep saying that, and yet you also keep voluntarily spending time with me. Actions speak louder than words, darlin’.”
“Your accent is insufferable.”
Thomas hums in acknowledgment, “If that’s what you have to tell yourself.”
Alexander huffs out a loud, “It really is! Sometimes you talk so damn slow, that I honestly think I might age a decade before you get to the end of the sentence.”
“I’ve been told my accent is charming.”
Alex smirks, “It doesn’t count if it was from James.”
“Oh, it’s James now? Since when are the two of you on a first name basis? Should I be worried?”
“Oh please,” Alexander says in response, “The man despises me. I think that should be the least of your worries, dear .”
When Thomas responds, there is amused exasperation colouring his tone. “James doesn’t hate you.”
“Trust me when I tell you he really doesn’t.” says Thomas, “He’s just protective.”
This gets his attention. “Protective? Why exactly does he think I’m a threat to your friendship?”
“Let’s just say it's a long story.”
Alex huffs a breath through his nose, “It always is with you.”
“Maybe I’ll tell you someday.” Thomas responds, “But today is not the day.”
“Fine, keep your secrets.” Alexander says around a hum.
They walk in silence for a few more moments before Thomas speaks again, “You get Washington’s email about the Gala?”
He groans in annoyance, “Please don’t remind me.”
“Well, are you going?”
Alex raises an eyebrow, “Why?”
“I’m trying to figure out who will be in attendance before I decide if it’s worth my time or not.”
He weighs the options in his head. Alexander really wasn’t a fan of the boring political Galas, but he can admit that they could be quite lucrative with the connections they garner an individual.
“Maybe I’ll go, but I really don’t want to show up alone.”
Thomas is quiet for a moment, which makes Alexander think he isn’t going to say anything. He opts to fill in the silence. Which proves to be a mistake, since Thomas choses that exact moment to speak as well.
“If you wanted, we could go tog-”
“Lafayette will prob-”
Alexander stops when he realizes Thomas had begun speaking and offers the man a half sheepish smile. “Sorry.”
“It’s okay, you go first.” Thomas says.
“Lafayette will no doubt drag me as his date. Adrienne isn’t coming to the states for another couple weeks, so he’ll probably force me to go.”
Thomas doesn’t say anything in response, and when Alexander looks at him, the man almost looks - dare he say - disappointed.
“Ah,” Thomas continues eventually, “I see.”
“What were you going to say? Before I interrupted you.”
When Thomas looks back over at him, whatever emotions were on his face have vanished. He shakes his head, a polite smile curving on his lips.
“You know, I don’t even remember.”
“Well, if you remember please do let me know. I’m sure it was as enlightened as anything else you say.”
“Everything I say is enlightened, darlin’. You should know that by now.”
Alexander grins in response, feels the way Thomas’s arm is steady wrapped around his own, “If that’s what you have to tell yourself, babe.” He says, quoting back Thomas’s words from before but tacking on the pet name just to be an asshole.
It has the desired effect, and when Thomas laughs, Alexander can only squeeze his arm a little tighter around Thomas’s as he tries not to be too pleased with himself.
It doesn’t work, obviously, and Alex doesn’t bother hiding the comfortable, genuine smile that graces his lips the rest of the walk to the White House.
friendly reminder: if u don't tell me otherwise I will assume this was a piece of trash. :)
(and feel free to drop by my Tumblr: writtenrevolution)
Last post of 2019!!! It is my sincere wish that 2020 blesses you all with the love, respect, and success you need. I hope that the year is filled with blessings and happiness and whatever other things you crave. Happy New Year, my friends. Another one down, many more to go.
A shoutout to tinywhim for talking Jamilton with me and sending me pictures of Daveed. You keep me inspired and I adore you.
Without further ado,
(also I didn't proofread this, haha yikes sorry)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Angelica finally catches him on Thursday.
He’s in Thomas’s office, laying down on the small couch and flipping through some random book he had stolen from the man’s couch. Thomas is behind his desk, gloved fingers typing fast on his laptop and occasionally humming to himself. Everytime he does, Alexander has to hide his smile behind the book. If it were anyone else, Alexander might find it annoying. But it’s not just anyone, it’s Thomas, which means he finds it ridiculously endearing.
It’s as he flips through the book, some condensed piling of John Locke’s essays, that he hears the sound of heels in the hallway. At first he doesn’t think anything of it, but a moment later - as the heels become even closer - that Alexander sits up, the book falling to the side of the couch.
He recognizes that sound. The time between heel clicks is too long, the sound too confident, and he knows who it is even before he rounds the corner into Thomas’s office.
Alexander looks up as Angelica strolls into the office and winces at the look on her face. Her eyebrows are furrowed, eyes narrowed, and her lips are turned down in the corners.
“Miss. Schuyler,” Thomas says, voice surprised and eyes wide, “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
“I’m actually here for Alexander.” Her words are even, measured.
Alex feels Thomas’s eyes on him as rises from the couch, picking up the book and sitting it on the edge of the cushion.
“Angelica,” Alexander says, “What do you need?”
“You're leaving early so we can have dinner.” She replies, and her words leave no room for argument, “I already told Washington, and he gave me his approval.”
Alexander offers her a nod, turning his attention back to Thomas for a moment.
The man is looking between the two of them, confusion evident in the narrowness of his eyes and the tilt of his head. Thomas’s fingers are strumming along the length of his desk, and if Alexander didn’t know any better, he’d say Thomas was nervous.
He smiles at Thomas, and is pleased to see it returned his way in full.
“Can we reschedule this? Apparently duty calls.”
“Yeah, of course.” Thomas tells him, “Have a good dinner. I'll see you at the Gala tomorrow? ”
“Thank you, and yes. I'll see you then.” He says, waiting a second to let his eyes linger on the curve of Thomas’s lips.
Angelica clears her throat and Alex spins on his heels, following Angelica out the door without a glance backwards.
They walk to the restaurant in silence.
They enter the restaurant in silence.
They sit in silence.
Alexander is sitting across from Angelica, keeping his gaze focused on his menu as neither of them say anything. Eventually he closes his menu and looks up, meeting her stare.
They place their orders quietly, neither of them looking away from the other, but neither of them saying anything either.
The silence is stifling. Never before has Alexander been uncomfortable in the presence of Angelica Schuyler. Intimated yes, but uncomfortable? This was a first. He looks from her steel gaze to the hoop earrings hanging beside her face before he finally has the courage to look back into her dark grey eyes.
“So,” Angelica says after what has probably been a good five minutes. “You and Thomas seemed close Saturday.”
“Angelica, please. Can we not-”
“I’m not here to yell at you, or tell you that you’re being an idiot. I think we both already know that what you’re doing is stupid, but I wanted to talk to you because I love you. I care about you and I care about your feelings and I don’t want to see you get hurt again. You are an amazing guy, Alexander, and I want you to be happy.”
“Ang, I love you but you’re being dramatic. I don’t understand why it’s even a big deal." Alex’s voice is soft, “I’m a grown man, I don’t need you to tell me who I can and can’t be friends with.”
“I’m not telling you who you can be friends with, Alexander, but I need you to realize that you and Thomas are not just friends.”
He fixes his gaze on her’s, holding steadfast, “Nothing romantic has happened between us.”
Her laugh makes him startle, back sitting ramrod straight in his chair. She laughs for a moment, until she notices Alex isn’t laughing with her. Almost in an instant the smile from her face disappears and her eyes narrow. They run over Alex’s face as she - no doubt - tries to find a sign that he’s not as clueless as he seems.
Then, when she must realize he has no idea why she’s amused, she says, “Jesus, how drunk were you? The two of you were slow dancing to a rap song. You were literally cuddling with him. He had his hand on your thigh like you were dating . You had your head on his chest, Alexander. You had your head on his Goddamn chest!”
“Angelica, I was drunk. You of all people should know that I’m affectionate when I’m drunk. But, fuck, it doesn’t mean I’m in love with him.”
Her lips are pressed into a thin, unamused line and her eyebrow is arched sharp enough to kill a man. “Thomas wasn’t drunk.”
Her sigh is bewildered, like she can’t honestly believe Alexander is questioning her on this. When she speaks again, her face is less judgmental. “Are you so blind that you can’t see the way he looks at you?”
Alexander’s words are as sharp as ever when he responds, “And how’s he look at me?”
“The same way Eliza did.”
And he doesn’t know what to say in response to that. There are words, fighting their way up his throat trying to crawl across his tongue and into the world, but they are stuck there. There is nothing he can say to respond to that.
Because he remembers how Eliza used to look at him.
It was the same way he used to look at her.
He remembers the way her grey eyes would shine, nothing but peace and comfort and happiness there. It was all consuming, her love covering him completely - seeping into every inch of him. She had looked at him like he hung the moon, like she could never imagine a life without him, like she was lucky to have found him. She had looked at him with adoration, with hope, and with love.
Alexander doesn’t want to believe Angelica. He doesn’t want to look into her words and make everything more messy than it already is, but Alexander knows the look she’s talking about. It’s the look Thomas directed at him the night in the parking lot after work. It’s the look Thomas had given him as he tucked Alexander into bed on Saturday. It's the look he catches on Thomas’s face when the other man thinks he isn’t looking.
He knows the look she’s talking about, but he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do with that knowledge.
“Alexander, I get it. He’s handsome and he’s charming, and things seem like they’re different now. You think he’s different now, but he’s the same Thomas Jefferson that you couldn’t stand two months ago.”
“He’s more than I thought he was, Ang.”
Angelica’s gaze is borderline pity and he hates it. He hates that she can see right through him and his words. He hates that she - like Eliza and Peggy too - have always known him better than he knows himself.
“He is the same man you knew before. He might seem different and he might act different, but under it all he is still the same guy. He is still capable of what he’s done before; he still has his vices and his secrets.”
“You hated him, Alexander. You hated him so much. What could have possibly changed all that in a month?”
And, for once, he doesn’t have an answer.
Angelica must know this from the look on his face, because her frown grows just a little deeper at the edges. She doesn’t say anything more, doesn’t press the issue, but after a moment her hand reaches across the table. It’s laid soft on the white tablecloth, palm facing up, and Alexander relaxes in his seat. He takes his hand, placing it in her’s. She doesn’t say anything and Alexander doesn’t either, but when their food comes a minute later, Alexander knows that they’re okay again.
After dinner, Alexander mopes around the house for a long time. He watches two hours with of Netflix, drains a glass of cheap white wine, and decides to call it an early night. He knows he needs to think about the whole Thomas-situation, but he can’t bare the thought yet. He needs time to decompress, to think for himself, and then he’ll loop back to her words.
He’s in bed early for once, snuggled under the soft comforter and body loose. He’s on the verge of sleep, darkness closing in around his eyes, when he’s thrown out of the serenity by the sharp ringing of his phone.
Alexander’s hand flings out, groping obsessively on the nightstand until he feels the cool of his phone. He pulls it towards him, looking at the screen with blurry eyes. When the name on the caller ID registers in his brain, Alexander can only blink.
The time on his phone reads 1:00AM, so why the fuck is James Madison calling him?
He lets the call go to voicemail and then drops the phone on his bed, hoping that he can curl back up and find that dreamlike state again. It’s as soon as he closes his eyes that the phone blares again, the sound cutting through his head like a siren. Alex huffs in a deep breath, picking up the phone with far more force than necessary and swiping his finger across the screen.
“What?” His voice is tired, and snappy, but he’s in no mood to deal with Madison’s shit tonight. If the man wants to call and antagonize him, he can do it during normal business hours.
“Alexander, I hope I didn’t wake you.” Madison’s voice comes through the phone, along with a little static.
He wants to snap back at him, tell him to fuck off, but the use of his first name stops him in his track.
“You didn’t.” He lies, curious about what Madison could possibly want, “Is there a reason you’re calling?”
He can hear Madison’s rather long, exasperated, sigh. “I was wondering if you could do me a favour?”
What could he possibly want from Alexander? Especially at 1 o’clock in the Goddamn morning.
“What is it?”
“Thomas called me from a bartender’s phone. He’s drunk, lost his phone, keys, wallet, and he’s down at the bar, Cicero. I think it’s pretty close to your apartment.”
“And?” Alexander replies.
“He needs a ride, Alexander. I’m in Virginia or I’d get him, and I don’t know who else to call that’d be up at this hour. I know you’re not fond of me, but I also know you care about him. Is there anyway you can pick him up and let him crash at your place?”
Madison is right. Alexander is not fond of him, but he does care about Thomas. He likes Thomas, likes spending time with him, and if Alexander refused to get him and he somehow ended up hurt - or worse - he wouldn’t be able to live with himself. And as much as he wants to lie, to tell Madison that he doesn’t care about Thomas, they both know it wouldn’t be the truth.
“Yeah, of course I’ll get him.” Alexander replies, silently dragging himself out of bed and into the living room.
“Thank you Alexander. I really appreciate it.”
“No worries, James.” He says, accidentally using the man’s first name, “I’ll let you know once he’s back here.”
He hangs up soon after that, pulling on his jacket and grabbing his keys from the table by the front door.
The bar is close, but Alexander doesn’t know what condition Thomas is in, so he opts to drive. It only takes him about five minutes before he’s pulling into the parking lot, and as he turns into a spot, his lights flash across an expensive, black, car. A car that looks a lot like Thomas’s. This must be the right place then.
He opens the car door, climbing out and into the cool air that surrounds the city. The sky is dark, a shimmering black as the city lights up certain areas. Alex shoves his hands in his pockets as he walks to the door, pushing against it with his bicep and shouldering it open.
He looks around, trying to find Thomas, but doesn’t see him. The bar is packed, filled to the brim with young people laughing and downing shots. There’s a few older gentlemen in the back, scotch in hand as they trade quiet whispers. He walks further inside, eyes trailing along the corners and the floor, until he spots him.
There, on the far end of the bar, is Thomas. He’s facing away from Alexander, white jacket too vibrant as he leans over the bar. There’s a glass in front of him, along with a line of empty shot glasses, and Alex can only wince at the thought.
He steps closer, sliding into the seat next to Thomas.
“Rough night?” He says, voice even.
Thomas visibly freezes in his seat. His back, once slouched, goes rigid. His glove flexes along the length of the glass and his jaw clenches. When Thomas looks over at him, Alexander can barely process the information in front of him.
Thomas looks like shit. His hair is in disarray, as if he’d spent the night running his fingers through. His eyes are red rimmed, dull and blurred, and his clothes wrinkled.
“Alexander?” Thomas’s voice is a slur, the name almost unrecognizable on his lips. “What are you doing here?”
“Madison called me. Said you might need a lift.”
“I lost my keys.”
“You can crash at my place for the night.”
Thomas smiles at this, swaying lightly on the stool, “Guess we’re finally having that sleepover?”
He looks so earnest, so genuine, that Alexander smothers his laugh. It’s becoming quite evident that Thomas has had his fair share of alcohol, and the last thing he wants to do is to tip the man from happy drunk to angry drunk.
“Yeah man, guess we are.” Alexander agrees, “But you gotta get in my car first.”
“Wait-” Thomas says as he stands from the stool, swaying on his feet and reaching out onto the bar to steady himself. Alex reaches out too, his hand finding Thomas’s arm and keeping him level.
Thomas looks at him, confusion evident in the squint of his eyes, “What do you mean, what?”
Alex forces himself to take a breath, curving his lips in a way that feels normal. “You said wait, and then you didn’t follow it up with anything.”
“Am I sleepin’ on your couch?”
“Do you want to sleep on my couch?”
“Rather sleep in your bed,” Thomas replies, straightening his chin and looking past Alexander towards the door, “With you.”
On instinct, his hand squeezes a little too tight on Thomas’s arm and he releases it when he sees the man flinch.
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea.”
Alexander lets Thomas loop his arm around his waist, acting like a guide as he walks them towards the door. Once the cool air hits their face, and Thomas blinks a few times around deep breaths, Alexander continues.
“Like you said last time, I don’t want you waking up and forgetting the invitation. I’m not trying to get my ass kicked. Not by you, at least.”
Thomas scoffs, and then breaks out in a deep and raspy laugh that sounds too appealing to Alexander’s ears. It doesn’t help that the man’s arm is still around his waist, hand lingering just a little too far South to be completely unintentional.
“Are my self preservation skills that amusing?”
“No, no,” Thomas chides, his voice still full of amusement, “But why kick your ass when there are so many different, more fun, things I could do to it.”
His brain stops for a second.
Alexander knows there are different kinds of drunks. In fact, he’s mostly got them nailed down.
Eliza is a Motherly Drunk. She takes care of everyone, she’s openly affection, and isn’t hesitant to tell someone how much she loves them. She’s also the one roping everyone into a cab at the end of the night. Lafayette is the Stripper Drunk. He dances on poles, likes to take his clothes off, and will grind on literally anyone within a five foot radius. John is a Happy Drunk. He laughs too much, sings too loud, and is too busy having a good time to worry about anything else. Hercules is a Clingy Drunk. He wants nothing more than to cuddle Eliza and let her coo over him. Angelica is an Angry Drunk. She becomes convinced the world is out to get her, she curses out anyone she can think of, and twitter harrases prominent politicians. Peggy tends to be the Weepy Hysterical Drunk which is pretty much what the name says. Then there is Alexander who classifies himself as a Hot Mess Drunk. He craves affection, cries over cute dogs, likes going dancing, and he doesn’t remember shit in the morning.
And then there’s Thomas, who apparently fits into the one archetype not in their friend group: the Flirty Drunk.
“Very cute, Thomas.” He says, letting the man lean on him - more than probably necessary - as they walk in the direction of Alexander’s car. Before Alexander has a chance to open the door and push Thomas inside, the man uses the arm around Alex’s waist to back him up against the door.
It’s not intimidating, but intoxicating.
“I’m being serious, you know.” Thomas says, sounding a little more put together but there’s still a slur to his words. His hand comes out and presses against Alexander’s cheek, the fabric warm to the touch. “Think of all we could do, Schatz. ”
As much as Alexander would love to climb aboard that train, and finally find out if the gloves do stay on during sex, there are more pressing issues at the moment. The number one being, getting Thomas into the car. And the second being, not taking anything he says personally. He knows the Flirty Drunk type, his first roommate in college had been the same way. They flirt, and they smile, and they charm, but - under all - its nothing personal.
His roommate - Tench - had confessed his love for Alexander hundreds of times, all when drunk. At first it had startled him, because he had grown up with the belief that drunk words are sober thoughts, but after the eighteenth time, Alexander started to understand that that wasn’t always the case.
So he doesn’t read into Thomas’s words, doesn’t push where Thomas pulls, and instead simply offers him a smile. If Thomas had honestly felt that way, if he were attracted to Alexander - which he wasn’t - then the man would have said something before. This wasn’t that. This wasn’t some drunk proclamation. Thomas was drunk, and sometimes drunk people have no idea what they’re talking about.
Instead of saying something that he’ll regret, he bypasses the first part of Thomas’s words and focuses on the end. Schatz, that was the word Thomas had used last Saturday. The word he had muttered, so nice and gentle and sweet. That was the word Alexander couldn’t remember.
“ Schatz, what language is that?”
Thomas’s hand is still there, pressed to his cheek.
Alex arches a brow in surprise. He didn’t know Thomas spoke German. “What’s it mean?”
The hand disappears from his face in an instant, and Thomas takes a step back. Alex watches as his hand comes up, rubbing against the back of his own neck while he looks anywhere but at Alex.
“Nothing?” He replies, “I doubt that. You’ve called me it twice now.”
Thomas says nothing, and instead pulls open the passenger door to Alex’s car and climbs inside. It shuts softly behind him, the sound faint in the bustle of the city.
Alex pulls out his phone, sending a quick messages to Madison.
To Madison (1:32AM): He’s good.
While he’s on his phone, he can’t resist the urge to text John. He checks on Thomas really quick, sees him staring out the windshield, before typing a text with lightning quick fingers.
To John (1:33AM): You know German don’t you?
He walks around the corner and climbs inside the driver’s side, buckling his seatbelt. As he’s double checking to make sure Thomas has his on (he does), his phone vibrates in his back pocket.
From John (1:34AM): i do, why what’s up?
Thomas’s head is against the window, his eyes closed, and Alex figures he isn’t desperate to be home right this moment. He might as well quench his thirst for knowledge.
To John (1:34AM): Thomas keeps calling me something and he said it’s german. It’s pronounced like “shots” with more of a sh sound at the beginning. Any idea what it means?
His reply is immediate.
From John (1:35AM): you said he called you that?
To John (1:35AM): Yeah, you know what it translates to?
From John (1:35AM): hold on, let me text eliza.
Before Alexander can wonder why the fuck he’d be texting Eliza, the three little bubbles pop up again, showing that he’s typing, and when the new text message shows up, Alex doesn’t know what to think.
From John (1:36AM): he called you sweetheart, alex.
From John (1:36AM): is there anything you want to tell me,,, sweetheart?
If it had been a one time thing, Alexander would have dismissed the pet name immediately, for the same reason he is dismissing every other thing the man said tonight. But this wasn’t a one time thing. This wasn’t the first time Thomas had called him that. He closes his eyes, hands tight around the steering wheel as he tries his hardest to remember the first time.
His hand brushed against Alexander’s bottom lip and Alex sucked in a deep breath to keep himself from doing something he would regret.
“Okay,” He relented after a moment, “But, for what it’s worth, I’m really glad you came tonight.” Alexander said, unable to let Thomas leave without repeating his previous words.
“Me too, Schatz. ” Thomas said.
Thomas was sober that night, and his words weren’t spoken with the soft teasing the man usually used when he called him pet names. The words seemed sincere, longing even, and Alexander doesn’t know what to make of that. He doesn’t know how to read into those words, let alone if he even wants to read into them.
So he does what he normally does, what works well for him, and leaves John on read and ignores the thoughts in his head. Alexander takes a breath, then he puts the car in reverse and drives home.
Getting Thomas into his apartment is intimidating for a multitude of reasons. The first being that Thomas is bigger than him. The man’s got at least half a foot on Alexander, and he’s built wider - with large, broad shoulders. The second being that Thomas is quite literally blasted. The walk outside seemed to have sobered him up a little, but it's evident that he’s still inebriated to some extent. Which only makes the fact that Thomas is taller than him even worse.
He manages to get him out of the car without much effort. It seems as though, for the most part, Thomas can walk on his own. (Which Alexander is eternally grateful for.) He ushers him towards the front doors and when Thomas sways a little on his feet, Alexander’s hand is there resting on his bicep to keep him steady. Thomas looks down at Alexander’s hands, his expression mostly blank. At first, Alexander’s worried he’s upset him somehow, but before he can apologize or completely withdraw his hand, Thomas manages to grab it in his own. The man intertwines their fingers, Thomas’s gloved fingers cool between his own.
Alexander opens the door for him, helping Thomas into the elevator and letting the doors shut behind them. Thomas is mostly standing on his own, his fingers interlocked with Alexander’s, and he’s leaning - only slightly - on the smaller man. There’s no room in the entirety of his body to be annoyed or angry, even if he was mostly asleep with Madison had called him. He’s never been one to really calculate or evaluate his emotions, but Alexander is pretty sure the only thing he’s really feeling at the moment is fondness. He’s fond of Thomas, and it’s cute to see him so blitzed out of his mind that he’s taken to actually holding Alexander’s hand.
Alexander’s always been affectionate, even with the people he was strictly friends with, but this isn’t a situation he ever thought he’d be in.
His ex-rival, Thomas Jefferson, drunk and holding his hand as they stood in the elevator of Alexander’s apartment. It was absurd, and ridiculous, but it was real. And it was happening right then.
The elevator chimes and Alexander pulls Thomas off the elevator behind him. His apartment is the first one around the corner, and he’s thankful for it. He has to drop Thomas’s hand in order to unlock the door, and when he lets go of the man’s hand, Thomas makes an annoyed sound in the back of his throat and ends up draping himself along Alexander’s side. The sudden weight is a shock and he has to take a step back to keep the both of them upright.
“Come on now, let’s get you inside.” Alexander murmurs, opening the door further and helping Thomas to the couch.
The man drops down in a way that should not look nearly as graceful as it does and tips his head back against the couch.
“Do you want some water or something?”
“I don’t think I ever told you, but I like your apartment.” Thomas says, speaking as if Alexander hadn’t just asked him a question.
He looks around, sees the blank colourless decorations that surround them, and shrugs, “Thanks. Do you want some water?”
Thomas looks back at him, and his smile is so genuinely bright and his eyes so clear, that Alexander temporarily forgets that he’s drunk. And then Thomas speaks.
“That’d be nice. Do you have food? ‘m fucking starving.”
He winces, because he’s fairly sure the only thing in his cabinets is ramen and expired soup, “I’m not sure. I think I have ramen?”
Even drunk, it appears that Thomas still has standards. He raises an eyebrow, and it looks so similar to the mocking expression that Alexander had seen everyday when Thomas first started working at the White House, that he has to take a step back.
Before he can brace himself for the insults he expects to be slung his way, Thomas deflates. “Ramen’s fine, I guess. I mean I did take you to Five Guys.”
“And I love Five Guys.”
“I mean me too,” Thomas says with a sigh, “But it’s not really a great place for a date.”
Alex feels the surprise on his own face before he even registers it himself. A date? Did Thomas consider that night a date?
“A business date, I mean.” Thomas adds before Alex can say anything in reply, “Where you talk about business, because we talked about business. You know, a business date.”
“Right,” Alexander says slowly, “Let me make you some ramen.”
“Can I come?”
In all honesty, he doesn’t feel great about leaving Thomas to explore the apartment by himself drunk, so it’d be better if the man tagged along. At least that way Alex could keep an eye on him.
“Yeah, let’s go.”
He leads Thomas to the small kitchen, making him sit down on a stool at the bar as he boils some water or the stove. Once the water is boiling and he adds the broken up brick of noodles, he turns his attention back to Thomas.
Thomas is sitting where Alex left him, chin in the palm of his hand and his eyes on Alexander. His expression is soft, fond even, and the curl of his lips makes Alex feel almost self conscious.
He brushes a strand of his hair behind his ear and concentrates on stirring the noodles in the pan.
“You’re so beautiful.”
Don’t read into it .
Alexander looks up from the pan and into Thomas’s eyes. He allows the smile pressing at his lips to form, spreading into a closed lipped half grin.
“Is that so?”
“I wouldn’t lie to you,” Thomas says, “Not about this.”
He’s drunk and flirting.
He turns the stove off, dumping the noodles into a separate bowl.
“Thank you, Thomas.”
He mixes in the dry packet, stirring it with a fork before walking over and placing it onto the bar in front of Thomas.
“I think you’re perfect.” Thomas says, not looking at Alex as he reaches out to poke at the noodles with his fork. “Everything about you.”
Don’t fucking read into it, Alexander.
“That’s sweet of you to say.”
Thomas turns to him then, his eyes bright and his smile easy. He reaches out, slowly, brushing a strand of hair out of Alex’s face. His touch is like it always is - soft and gentle - and when his glove catches on the skin in front of his ear, Alex has to physically resist the urge to learn into it.
“Your soulmate is a lucky person, darlin’.”
“So is yours.” Alexander replies on instinct, and he means it. Whoever was blessed enough to be Thomas’s soulmate - to be his one perfect half - was beyond lucky. They were lucky to be able to have Thomas in their life, to see his smile, and his softer side, and to feel his affection. Whoever Thomas’s soulmate was would never know how lucky they were.
“Why don’t you eat a bit and then you can go to sleep?” Alex says, because he can’t find any other words.
Thomas finishes his ramen in relative silence - which Alexander is thankful for - and once he puts back two glasses of water, Alex feels comfortable enough letting him pass out for the night, content that he’s done what he can to reduce the wretched hangover Thomas will have in the morning.
He looks at Thomas’s clothes, a rumbled grey and white suit with pants that cling to his thighs. “I think I have some of Lafayette’s clothes here still. Let me see if I can find them.”
Alex does find them, stuffed in the second drawer of his dresser, and he manages to corale Thomas into his bedroom to get changed.
“The clothes are on the bed, they’re Laf’s so they should fit. I think you two are roughly the same size.” Alexander tells him, gesturing to the clothes, “I’ll leave you to get-”
Before he can finish excusing himself, Thomas’s jacket is on the floor and he’s halfway through with unbuttoning his shirt. Alexander sees the dark grey skin that rests under his white shirt, and his eyes widen. He had known Thomas was ripped, had even felt the firm muscles beneath his clothes, but seeing it was something different entirely.
He averts his eyes, trying to maintain some semblance of control, and he hears Thomas snort.
“It’s cute,” Thomas says with a shit-eating grin, “That you’re looking away.”
Alexander rolls his eyes, still not looking at Thomas, and grits his teeth, “I’m trying not to make you uncomfortable.”
“I promise I’m not. Will you help me with this? My arms aren’t working right.”
He sucks in a deep breath and looks back. Thankfully, Thomas has already changed into the sweatpants but the shirt is half on and his arm is twisted at an unnatural angle. He’s looking at Alexander with a petulant expression, his bottom lip sticking out just a little too far, and Alex is glad to know that - apparently - they both pout when they’re drunk.
He steps forward, reaching out to try and help Thomas get his arm in the sleeve. His hand brushes against Thomas’s skin, which is warm to the touch, and he feels a shiver run down his back. Once the man’s arm is finally in the right hole, Alexander grabs at the hem of the shirt, pulling it down to cover the rest of him. His hands graze the man’s abs (built like a fucking greek God) and he purposely does not comment on it.
“Okay, get in bed.”
Thomas obeys, thankfully, and climbs underneath Alexander’s comforter. His gaze doesn’t leave Alex, though, and once he’s tucked underneath the blanket, he pats the side of the bed next to him.
“You can stay here with me, Schatz .” Thomas murmurs, voice soft, “I feel bad ‘bout kicking you out of your bed.”
Alexander weighs his options. On one hand, getting into bed with Thomas Jefferson spells disaster for everyone involved. He’s drunk and flirty and Alexander is worried that laying down with him on a horizontal surface might only double that. And he would like to keep Thomas’s eventual embarrassment when he sobers up to a minimum.
On the other hand, laying down with him might get the guy to shut the fuck up for five seconds.
In the end, the need for quiet and sleep wins over his rational thought. But that doesn’t mean he’s giving up without a fight.
“On one condition. You have to tell me why you decided to get hammered at a bar, by yourself.”
Thomas looks hesitant, his eyes going from Alex to the bed and then back to Alex. Eventually, he must decide because he nods once and pats the bed again.
Alexander lays down beside him, not bothering to get underneath the comforter and rolls onto his side so he’s facing Thomas. What he’s not expecting is for Thomas’s hand to find his hair, running softly through a few strands. Alexander looks back at him with wide eyes, suddenly realizing just how little space there is between them. Thomas is mere inches in front of him, looking cute as his hair falls like a halo on the white pillow case.
And, worst of all, he’s looking at Alexander with that same look. The one Angelica told him about.
“‘m sorry if my answer is vague, but there are some secrets I just can’t tell you.”
“Tell me what you can. Explain it the best way you can.” Alexander’s voice is quiet, encouraging.
“I finally got the courage to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I was about to do it, but things kind of went to shit before I even got the chance.”
Alexander - damn him - leans into Thomas’s touch. He’s curious, trying to remember if Thomas might have previously mentioned something that might be what he’s currently talking about.
“Well how’d it go to shit?”
Thomas sighs wistfully, “Let’s just say, I thought things were a certain way, but they weren’t. I thought this- this person and I were on the same page, but we’re not.”
“So you asked this person and they didn’t agree with you?”
“Well, not quite. I wanted to ask them, but then I realized we weren’t on the same page, so I didn’t.”
He wonders, briefly, if Thomas is talking about Martha. The idea makes him red hot with jealousy, and when he responds, he has to try extra hard to keep the bitterness out of his voice.
“How do you know, for sure though, if you didn’t ask. Maybe you are on the same page.”
Thomas’s smile is bittersweet, almost forlorn, when he speaks again, “I keep thinking that. They say things, just little comments that I can’t help but read into, but then its pushed aside and I’m left confused as ever.”
“But you’re never really going to know, are you?” Alexander tells him, feels the way Thomas’s hand is moving non stop in his hair. It’s nice. He could fall asleep like this. “If you really want an answer, you have to ask a question.”
If Alexander’s advice is the reason Martha and Thomas get together, he thinks he might literally have to resign from his job. And then probably jump into the Hudson too.
“And what if the question ruins everything?” Thomas’s voice is a whisper, his eyes trailing over Alexander’s face like it holds the answer to every question he’s ever had. It’s Eliza’s look. He’s not used to seeing it on anyone else’s face but her’s.
And that’s a point Alexander can understand, because he’s been there. He is there. If he looks into things between him and Thomas, if he looks into his own feelings on the matter, he might ruin whatever semblance of friendship they’ve found.
“I know it’s scary and it seems like doing nothing is better, but trust me when I tell you this. You are never going to be satisfied with not knowing. The question will follow you around, it will haunt you, and it won’t go away. Because the whole time you’ll be wondering ‘what if I asked?’, ‘what if the answer had been the one I wanted?’. It’s hard and you can take as much time as you need, but eventually everything comes to light. And eventually you’re going to have to ask.”
It's the words he, himself, needed to hear. And even if they’re from his own brain Alexander knows he has to listen to them too. He can’t keep this thing going between him and Thomas without knowing. Angelica might not have been completely right, but she wasn’t completely wrong either.
As much as he doesn’t want to admit it, there are feelings involved. He doesn’t know what kind, doesn’t want to look into them right now, but he knows they are there.
So it’s not the time to ask Thomas. It’s not the time to press him on the soft looks, and the touching, and the German pet names. Thomas is drunk and they’re both tired and Alexander needs a real answer, not a drunken one.
He focuses on the way Thomas’s hand curves around his chin, fingers running light against the skin there.
Alex sucks in a deep breath, “Let’s get some sleep, we can talk about this tomorrow.”
Thomas’s hand grazes his face again, his eyes refusing to leave Alexander’s. He brushes a few curls away from Alex’s eyes, and then tucks the hair behind his ear.
Alex offers him a smile, curling into the pillow under his head. “Goodnight Thomas.”
He closes his eyes, feels Thomas’s heavy sigh in the dark - wistful and bittersweet, as his hand slowly moves away. And then, “Goodnight, Schatz .”
Alex blinks one eye open, sees Thomas spralwed out over the pillow beside him, and smiles.
Yeah, he thinks, a pretty good night.
a few things:
- bet you didn't think Angelica was going to be the one to make Alex realize it, did you?
- its not all happy and rainbows from here on out, im afraid. we got pining to do, baby!
- say hi on my Tumblr: writtenrevolution
- standard endnote: if you don't tell me otherwise, I will assume this is the worst thing you've ever read and that you hated it.
I said expect an update by Thursday, and it's Tuesday!! Im going to applaud myself because I honestly didn't think I would ever get this chapter out. It was a difficult one to write, because I want everything to be perfect for y'all.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It’s sometime later when Alexander blinks his eyes open. His body temperature is through the roof and he’s almost too hot. There’s a heavy weight on his chest and it’s making breathing a little more difficult It’s nice though, comfortable and somehow soothing. It takes his eyes a minute to adjust to the darkness surrounding him, and then he has to blink a few times to make sure what he’s seeing is actually what’s happening.
The first thing he sees is curls. He reaches out, slowly, and brushes them away from the face that they frame. The man curled up against him makes a low noise in the back of his throat, nuzzling against Alexander’s chest, and that’s when he remembers that its not some random hookup from the bar.
He pushes his hand a little further, just to get a better glimpse in the low light. That’s when the memory of last night solidifies in his head. Alexander wasn’t drunk. He didn’t bring home some guy from the bar. The guy curled up next to him is not some meaningless one night stand. It’s not just anybody.
His heart stutters when he realizes that not only is he in bed with Thomas, but the man is cuddling against him.
Alexander can see the clock from his position and it reads just after 4am. Which probably means Thomas is still a little drunk. Alex knows he should let him be, let him sleep off whatever alcohol is still left pumping through his bloodsteam, but the position is rather uncomfortable.
He nudges Thomas softly with his hand and he feels the way the man seems to move even closer to him at the touch.
Alex hears a groan, “Shut up,”
“Can you like move for a second?” His voice is a whisper into the night. There is a little light from the moon streaming through his open curtains, and it casts an almost divine shadow around Thomas’s sleeping form.
“‘m comfortable.” Thomas drawls, and his southern accent is even more noticeable.
He lets out a sigh, “You can get comfortable again, just let me move.”
Thomas backs off a little and Alexander blearily rolls onto his side. It’s not a second after he turns, that Alex feels Thomas’s body curve along his back. He is like an inferno, heat seeping from his body and into Alexander’s.
Then, Thomas’s hand comes out to wrap around Alex’s waist. He pulls, Alex being forced further back into Thomas’s chest. The man’s breath is hot on Alex’s neck, and he should push him away. He should move to the couch. He should stop letting himself indulge in this-
“Go back to sleep, Alexander.”
He needs to think. He needs to figure out what exactly his feelings for Thomas are, what they mean. He needs to think about his soulmate and about how long its been since he saw a new colour. Alex needs to think about Thomas’s soulmate, about what they’d think of this situation, and he needs to think of Martha.
But that doesn’t mean he needs to do that right now.
Alexander relaxes into the bed, reaches down to his waist and intertwines his fingers with Thomas’s. He hears the quiet breath that escapes Thomas’s mouth, and then he closes his eyes and lets sleep find him once more.
The next time he is pulled from sleep, it is - once again - because of the insistent ringing of his phone. Before he even has a chance to reach out and grab it, he feels Thomas move behind him and stretch over to the nightstand. When he moves back, he drops the phone onto the bed beside Alex. It’s still ringing, his ridiculous ringtone loud and annoying.
He squints at the phone and it feels like deja vu. The clock reads 1 o’clock - this time in the afternoon - and James Madison is calling him.
Thomas resumes his position immeadiatly, hand coming to rest around Alexander’s waist - and it feels so horrifically domestic. When the reality of the situation could not be further from the truth. There is nothing domestic about it. Alexander and Thomas are simply friends spooning in bed. It’s new for them, but it's not new to Alexander. He’s done this countless times with friends in the past. He’s always been opening affectionate with his friends, not afraid to lean into touches or take comfort when he needed it.
This should be no different. But it somehow feels a hell of a lot different.
Alexander, of course, doesn’t look into it. He simply swipes his finger across the screen and holds the phone up to his ear.
“Alexander, hello. Is Thomas still with you?”
Alex looks over his shoulder the best he can given the position, sees Thomas laying there with his eyes closed, curls falling over the pillow, and answers, “Yeah he’s here.”
Madison’s voice is filled with relief, “Thank God, could you put him on please?”
He nudges the man with his elbow. Thomas, however, doesn’t seem to want to be disturbed. He makes an annoyed sound and tightens his grip.
“I’m sleepin’.” Thomas murmurs without opening his eyes.
Alexander can’t help but roll his eyes. Who would have thought Thomas wasn’t a morning person? “It’s Madison.”
“Okay? Tell him I’m asleep.”
He holds the phone back up to his ear and sighs, “Thomas says he’s sleeping.”
“Tell him if he doesn’t get on the phone this minute, I’ll tell Martha what really happened to her Chanel bag.”
The mention of Martha makes the situation one million times more uncomfortable for Alexander, but he repeats the words nonetheless.
As soon as they leave his mouth, Thomas peeks one eye open. He winces - no doubt as the light assaults his eyes, but uses the hand wrapped around Alex’s waist to grab the phone from his grip. Alex then rolls back onto his back, making the position a little more comfortable, but also completely minimizing the distance between them. Like this, Thomas is practically on top of him. But, as his eyes blink bleary at Alexander and he raises the phone to his ear, neither of them bother to move.
“What do you want?” Thomas’s voice is hoarse, no doubt from being pulled from his sleep, and Alexander thinks he likes the sound.
He can’t make out Madison’s words on the other end, only the sound of his voice.
Thomas sighs again, “Technically yes, but not in the way you think.”
More of Madison’s words, and Alex watches the way Thomas eyes find his. He looks amused, even with the hangover. His eyes are soft, as they always are.
“Yeah but you don’t have to be an asshole about it.”
Thomas listens silently for a few more seconds before he sighs dramatically, “I suppose that’s good news, then. Thank you for everything, James. I owe you one, but if you tell Martha, I’m ending our friendship.”
Madison replies with something Alexander can’t hear, and then Thomas laughs. It’s loud and bright and then he winces like the laugh itself caused him pain- and considering how much he must have drank, Alex assumes it did.
“Yeah, I’ll talk to you later.” Thomas says eventually, hanging up and dropping the phone beside Alexander. And then he lays back down next to Alexander and blinks softly at him.
Alexander watches him, not knowing what the fuck he’s supposed to say in this situation. So, he sates his curiosity.
“So, uh, what happened to Martha’s bag?”
He sees the way Thomas ducks his head back into the pillow, his eyes open and looking back at Alexander. “Madison had to throw it away.”
He raises a brow, “Now why would he do that?”
Thomas squints, his eyes darting away from Alexander to the far side of the room, “It’s a long story.”
Alexander’s lips twitch up at that. A long story? It’s most definitely codeword for an embarrassing story, and as much as he doesn’t want to hear exactly how close Thomas is to Martha, he’s dying to know what happened.
“Well, it’s a good thing I don’t have plans for a couple of hours.”
“Let’s just say I had too much to drink,” Thomas begins, “And my stomach couldn’t handle it.”
His eyes widen when he realizes what Thomas is insinuated. Alexander’s laugh surprises him, and he almost chokes on the forcefulness of it, “You threw up in her purse? Oh my God, and you didn’t even tell her? That’s stone cold, Thomas Jefferson.”
“I think the obvious assumption to draw from my past ten years is that I really should stop drinking.” Thomas replies with a half smile on the tilt of his lips. It’s sleepy and tired, but it’s cute.
“So, what’d Madison want?”
Thomas breaths in a deep breath, “Bartender called him. They found all my stuff and they’re holding it for me at the bar.”
Alexander gives him a smile, “That’s good, that they found it, I mean.”
He hears the subsequent long exhale of breath, “I suppose I should go pick it up.”
“Do you want me to come with you?”
“No,” Thomas says, “I already feel bad enough about invading your house.”
“Please, you took care of me when I was drunk. It’s literally the least I could do. And besides, we’re friends. This is the kind of shit friends do for each other.”
Thomas’s smile is genuine, like he’s actually touched by Alexander’s words. “Thank you, though, really. I had a rough night, but you made it better.”
Alexander leans further back into the pillow, and if it makes him brush against Thomas even more, well no one has to know it was intentional, “Well we both have enough blackmail material now.”
He feels more than hears Thomas’s inhale of breath, “Please don’t tell me I did anything too stupid.”
Alex arches a brow, “You told me all your dark secrets.”
Thomas’s face freezes, and he honestly looks terrified. He glances from Alex to the bed - where they’re literally almost on top of each other - and when he looks back up, his eyes are wide.
He looks so panicked that Alex nudges him with his elbow, “Chill out, your secrets remain secret for now. And don’t worry, you were a charming drunk. It was very cute.”
As much as Alex wants to know what secrets he’s so worried about getting out, he doesn’t push. If it didn’t involve him, it was none of his business. And Alexander knows if Thomas knew something about Alexander that he himself didn’t know, he would have told him by now. Thomas was above keeping shit like that to himself.
“Charming?” Thomas asks after a moment, his voice questioning.
“Very. Anyone ever tell you that you flirt a lot when you’re drunk? I’m flattered, of course, but I was definitely not expecting so many compliments.”
“Shut up,” Thomas says with a small laugh that makes Alex’s heart hurt, “I’m friendly when I’m drunk.”
“If that’s the way you want to phrase it.”
Thomas is quiet for a long moment, his eyes running over Alex’s face. He looks collected, maybe a little tired, but still somehow as attractive as ever. Damn Thomas and his good genes.
“I guess I should go get my stuff.”
Alex smiles. “You probably should.”
He lets Thomas roll out of the bed, and watches as he stretches as soon as his feet hit the ground. He hears the bones in Thomas’s back crack, and he winces in sympathy for the man’s spine.
“I’ll see you tonight?” Alexander asks, watching the way Thomas looks over his shoulder at him. On instinct he sinks deeper into the bed, stretching just a little. He feels a particular flush of interest when he notices Thomas’s gaze drop to the place where Alex’s shirt has risen just a little, exposing the soft trail of hair that leads from his navel into his pants.
Thomas’s face looks calculating, maybe even a little jealous, and Alex is two seconds away from inviting him back into bed when Thomas responds.
“Yeah, I’ll be there.”
Alex doesn’t bother fighting the natural curve of his lips. “I can’t wait to see whatever horrendous thing you’re wearing.”
“Fuck you.” Thomas says as he leaves, flipping Alexander the bird for added measure as he leaves the room.
“Fuck you too!” He hollers after him, hiding his laughter in the pillow next to him. It smells like Thomas’s cologne and shampoo, and it’s yet another indulgence Alex shouldn’t allow.
But he’s already in this deep, so it’s not like things could get any worse.
Once he hears the door to his apartment close, Alexander scrunches his eyes closed and releases the deep breath from inside his lungs.
For the first time in a long time, he feels like he’s in completely over his head. It’s not very often when Alex feels like he has bit of more than he can chew, but this situation continues to prove to be more than he expected. When he first visited Thomas office, only months ago, begging for a compromise, he never expected that they’d end up here. He’d never expected that Thomas was more than exactly what Alex thought he was. He never thought he’d be good friends with him, or that he’d have these unknown feelings towards him, or that he’d be actively looking forward to seeing him again.
It’s new and exciting, but there’s so much lingering in the background that’s making it hard for Alex to sit back and truly enjoy it. He’s worried, once again, that one misstep is going to ruin the whole thing. It’s like he’s going 120 miles an hour down a dark road, and he has no idea what to expect. He doesn’t know where the lines are, where the curves are, or where he’s going.
It’s exhilarating but frightening, and it feels like he’s balances on the edge of the unknown. One step forward and he falls, but one step back and they end up exactly where they were before.
There’s nowhere to go and he doesn’t know what to do.
But Alexander knows that he has to play this as the mature adult he is. There is really only one option, and it’s talking to Thomas. Whether the man knows it or not, they’re both in uncharted territory and Alexander doesn’t want to explore it alone. And he has the feeling that Thomas is going to understand what’s going on in his head, because he thinks he might not be completely alone in whatever he’s feeling.
This crush, or whatever it is, might just be requited.
So rejection or rejoice, Alexander is going to talk to him. He has no reason to believe that Thomas isn’t just as interested as he is. So, unless he gets a sign implying otherwise, he has to talk to him, and tonight is the perfect time to do it. Hell or high water, Alexander is going to confront whatever the fuck he’s feeling and he’s going to talk to Thomas about it.
He lounges around working on random projects for the Treasury Department for the next couple of hours, until four o’clock hits and Lafayette’s texts start coming. They are insistent, every minute on the spot, and his phone vibrates until it falls off the arm of the couch.
From Lafayette (4:00 PM): When are you coming over?
From Lafayette (4:01 PM): Darling, text me back.
From Lafayette (4:02 PM): What are you doing?
From Lafayette (4:03 PM): Are we still going tonight?
From Lafayette (4:04 PM): If you chicken out on me, I will never let you live this down.
From Lafayette (4:05 PM): Come over before so we can get ready together.
From Lafayette (4:06 PM): Alexander :(
It’s after the sixth text message, the one that knocks his phone from the couch, that Alexander finally manages to pull his attention away from his laptop. He scrolls through the messages, eyes rolling on account of Lafayette’s dramatics, and types out a response.
To Lafayette (4:07 PM): I’m not chickening out, but the Gala doesn’t start until 7?
It’s as soon as his phone is facedown on the cushion next to him, that it vibrates again.
From Lafayette (4:07 PM): Some of us need extra primping.
From Lafayette (4:07 PM): And I’m not talking about me.
He scoffs out loud, fingers typing too quick on the screen in an effort to save his pride.
To Lafayette (4:08 PM): Fuck you very much.
To Lafayette (4:08 PM): I’ll be at yours around 5.
Getting ready with Lafayette mostly consists of Alexander sitting on the man’s bed as Lafayette runs around the room, strewing clothes across every available surface as he tries to find something to wear. Alex tries to help, truly, but when Lafayette turns those eyes on him and says, “Which colour goes best together?” He doesn’t really have a reply, considering he can’t fucking see them.
So he sits on the bed and scrolls through twitter, looking for an idiot politician to start a debate with. Twitter turns up empty, however, and he’s left bored out of his mind.
“Thomas stayed at my house last night.” Alexander says, dropping the words like they mean nothing.
Lafayette stops in his tracks and his gaze finds Alexander’s. “What?”
He resituates himself on the bed and looks at the grey comforter spread across it, “He got drunk and I had to pick him up.”
“So, are we going to finally talk about this?”
Alexander sighs so deeply that he feels it in his bones, “I don’t know, Laf. I don’t even know what’s going on. I don’t know how I feel, let alone what I want.”
His friend comes to sit down on the bed next to him. The mattress shifts a little and Alex finally looks back up at Lafayette.
“Maybe Thomas doesn’t know either. That’s usually why you communicate with someone, so you can find out what you both want.”
It’s good advice, the same advice that Alex gave himself and Thomas last night, and he knows he has to take it. Lafayette’s words only steel his resolve to speak to Thomas tonight, and he’s going to do it.
Or atleast, he tells himself that right up until they get out of the car and start making their way towards the Museum that houses the Gala.
He stops, his feet refusing to take another step, and he shoots a panicked look in Lafayette’s direction.
Lafayette’s hand comes to rest against his shoulder, “Relax, I know Thomas, and I can’t believe he won’t hear you out.”
And that’s all Alexander needs. He doesn’t need promises or pity, he just needs Thomas to listen.
“Well then,” Lafayette says, offering Alexander his arm. “Are you ready?”
He hesitates for a second, rethinking his decision to even bother coming to this thing in the first place. The amount of people that are going to be here that he can actually stand is unsurprisingly low, and it seems like too much effort to even bother with. But Thomas is here, Lafayette is here, and Angelica will most likely be as well.
He links his arm through Lafayette’s and follows him inside.
The inside of the museum looks beautiful. It’s decked out in decorations for a theme that Alexander doesn’t remember, and there are soft grey lights streaming from above them. To the side of the room there are circular tables topped with white pressed tablecloths and bouquets of roses. The middle of the room is left wide open, no doubt to encourage mingling or dancing amongst attendees, and to the fair left is a bar.
Alexander clings to Lafayette’s arm as he gets glimpses of familiar faces. He sees more than a few Senators, a few members of Washington’s staff, and several lobbyists as well. But he doesn’t see the man he’s trying not to too obviously search for.
“I must go say hello to His Excellency.” Lafayette says, his accent a little deeper amongst the noise of the room, “Feel free to grab a table, and I will find you.”
“You know it’s rude to ditch your date.”
Lafayette turns to him, his hand brushing against Alexander’s face as he coos, “Awe, mon ami, we both know if you had it your way, I wouldn’t be your date. Now hush, I have people to see and so do you.”
Lafayette’s head tilts a little, nodding in the direction of the tables. Alex follows the gesture, and his eyes fall upon a familiar figure. He’s turned away from them, but Alexander recognizes him immediately. Whether it's from the sharp print of his white and grey floral suit, the tilt of his broad shoulders, or the thick curls that fall around his head, he doesn’t know. But, as he looks in the direction, he knows it's Thomas.
Relief and anxiety flood through him at the sight and he barely spares Lafayette another glance. “Yeah, go ahead. I’ll find a table.”
He can hear the short laugh that leaves Lafayette’s mouth before they move apart. Lafayette intent on finding Washington, and Alex intent on finally talking to Thomas.
He sucks in a deep breath, talking himself up in his head, and then he makes quick steps in the direction of Thomas.
Thomas turns around before Alexander reaches him, and his eyes widen a little when they catch a glimpse of him. He can physically feel the way Thomas’s eyes run up the length of his body before they stop at his face. It sends another wave of something through him, and gives him a little hope that he might have been right.
“Thomas, hey.” Alexander says, as he stops short of the other man, trying to hide the way his words sound breathless.
“Alexander,” Thomas responds, and he takes half a step towards Alex. “You look good.”
His smile deepens on instinct. “Thank you. You’re looking, uh, very on theme.”
Thomas’s gaze drops to his own suit, as if he had forgotten what he even decided to wear, and then he smiles. It seems a little forced, not completely reaching his eyes, and Alexander hates that he notices it so easily.
“If that was supposed to be a compliment, you’re not doing a very good job at it.”
Alexander’s teeth dig into his bottom lip, and he watches as Thomas’s eyes follow the motion for a split second before they return to his eyes, “It was a compliment. Floral suit or not, you do look good.”
The tightness around Thomas’s eyes decreases a fraction and his smile seems more sincere when he replies, “Thank you, Alexander.”
“Listen, I was wondering if we could talk?” Alexander begins, pressing through the anxiety that begins to curl like rope in his chest, “I need to know-”
“There you are, Thomas!” A voice says from behind Alexander, and the words literally die in his throat. He blinks once, praying to whatever God exists that what he thinks is happening isn’t really happening.
And, before he can even finish his prayer, Martha walks beside him and draps her arm over Thomas’s shoulder. She looks as beautiful as always. Her hair is in loose curls around her face, and she’s wearing a dark grey dress that clings to her body in all the right places. Her smiles is straight, white, and perfect. She looks perfectly polished and put together in a way Alexander could never dream to be.
“Don’t you know ditching your date at the bar is bad etiquette?” She says, but her voice is light and teasing, and Alex almost can’t breathe.
He was wrong. He was so horribly, terribly wrong.
He was right the first time. Thomas wasn’t interested in him. Thomas had Martha. They were close, which he knew, but this is even more intentional. Thomas had chosen to bring Martha as his date to the Gala, which means he obviously had to have some sort of feelings for her. Which means he doesn’t have feelings for Alexander. Which means that every look and word and touch Alexander had been reading into. He had been projecting his own feelings onto the situation, which means he was about five words away from making a fool out of himself.
“Oh, Secretary Hamilton, I’m sorry to have interrupted.” Martha says when she notices him, and her words sound genuine.
“Please, Senator, call me Alexander.”
“Then call me Martha.”
He smiles at her, trying his best to keep the blush from gracing his face. It works well enough until Thomas turns back to him, his arm fitted around Martha’s waist and says, “What was it you needed to talk about?”
“Nothing.” He says quickly, “I mean, it’s work. But it can wait. Enjoy your evening.”
“Wait, Alexander!” Martha calls after him before he can even take two steps away from the situation. When he turns back, she gestures to the table next to them. “Why don’t you sit with us? There’s plenty of room for you and your date.”
He looks away from Thomas’s eyes and smiles back at Martha, “Thank you, but I think Lafayette might have already found somewhere else to sit.”
And then, because God or whoever runs the universe literally hates him, the man in question materializes out of thin air beside Alexander.
“I have not, actually. Martha, my darling, we would be more than happy to share a table with you two.” Lafayette says, his words coming through in a crisp coat of his accent and Alexander thinks he might actually flinch at the words that leave his friend’s mouth.
The fucking traitor.
“Excellent then.” Martha says, pulling out a chair and sitting down with an easy and delicate grace.
Thomas sits down next to her, and before Alexander can move to claim a seat far away from the man, Lafayette drops into the seat two down from Thomas. Which leaves a too wide and too intimidating space between them.
Lafayette’s gaze is knowing, and Thomas’s curious as he reluctantly sits down in between them.
“So Martha,” Lafayette begins, breaking the silence between them, “Tell me about this new education initiative Virginia is pushing.”
He manages to make it twenty minutes. Twenty minutes of Senator Martha Wayles talking about her education initiative, twenty minutes of watching her laugh as Thomas chimes in with words of his own, twenty minutes of watching Thomas’s hand hang over the back of her chair.
All of a sudden, it becomes too much. He’s jealous and watching them together - seeing the way they interact, the way they know each other so well - makes him feel completely out of his depth.
Before he even knows what he’s doing, his chair makes a sharp noise as he pushes away from the table and clambers to his feet. “I need a drink.” Is the only thing he’s able to get out before he hightails it away from their table in the direction of the bar.
The chair cushion is comfortable and smooth under his ass and he sinks into it, purposely keeping his gaze away from his previous table and his less than subtle exit.
“What can I get you?” The bartender - a woman with a sleek blonde ponytail asks - and Alex gets a particular pain in his chest at her words. He wishes he were at Rocky’s, wishes it was Caleb taking his order, and that he was far away from everyone here.
He rummages his brain for an alcohol that’s destined to get him tipsy fast, and decides on the only possible option, “Let’s go with tequila.”
The woman grabs a bottle of Don Julio off the shelf with a grin, pouring a shot in front of Alexander. “That kind of night, huh?”
“You have no idea.”
He tosses back the liquid with a wince, the taste sharp and bitter on his tongue. She refills it and he downs the second one, which is just as harsh.
He closes his eyes for a moment, and when he opens them again, Martha is sitting on the chair next to him.
“I came to get a refill,” She gestures to her empty champagne flute, “But now that I’ve caught you, I just wanted to say that I hope we can be friends. Thomas means a lot to me, and any friend of his is a friend of mine.”
He watches as the bartender fills Martha’s flute, before he stands from the chair. He drops a twenty into her tip jar and shoots Martha a smile he doesn’t feel.
“Yeah, that would be nice.” He says, before immediately excusing himself outside.
It’s not subtle, nor pretty, but he figures if Thomas or Martha asks, he can always just say the alcohol hit him a little faster than he expected. He heads for the door in the back without a glance towards Lafayette or their table, and as soon as his hands hit the bar on the door, and the cool air hits his face, it feels like he can finally breathe a little more.
He follows the wall in the dark, only a small light guiding the path, and then leans against the wall behind him.
It’s nice and calming. That is, until, he sees the glow of a cigarette in the dark. There’s the exhale of smoke, and then James Madison steps into the lights.
It scares the shit out of him, and Alex jumps, his back hitting the wall a little harder than comfortable.
“Dude, what the fuck?” He hisses, his heart beating too fast in his chest, “You scared the shit out of me.”
Madison’s expression is unimpressed as he ashes the cigarette in his hand. “Sorry, that was unintentional.”
He moves forward, coming to stand a few feet away from Alex, with his back to the same wall.
It’s then that Alexander’s brain finally catches up with his heartbeat, and he realizes James Madison is smoking a cigarette.
“Aren’t you pushing for a ban of cigarettes in Congress?” Alex asks, and while his tone isn’t harsh, it isn’t exactly friendly either.
He watches as Madison takes a long inhale from the half smoked cigarette handing between his fingers, “Yes, which is why I might as well smoke when I can.”
Alex deflates a little against the wall, because he can’t really argue with that logic. Well, he could, but it doesn’t seem like he really has the energy to do so.
A moment later, Madison reaches into his suit pocket and his hand returns with a black and white pack of cigarettes. He holds them out to Alexander with a shrug, “You look like shit, and it seems like you could use one.”
Alexander takes one of the smooth sticks from the pack and holds it up to his lips in a motion that is somehow familiar and distant at the same time. He hasn’t smoked since college, and he can even remember the very last cigarette he had.
It had been a shit week, finals week of course, and Burr had been up his ass about the article Alex had written for the student paper. It had been “too opinionated” and Alexander had been too done. He remembers sneaking onto the balcony with Lafayette and bulldozing his way through three cigarettes in the span of minutes as he cursed the very Earth that was trying so hard to make his life miserable.
And then he met Eliza the next day and he hasn’t touched one since.
Madison offers him a lighter and he flicks it with shaky hands. He feels unsteady again, and off center, in a way that seems to have become nearly a constant in the past few months. The smoke rolls across his tongue as he hands the lighter back, reaching up to hold the cigarette between his pointer and middle finger.
It tastes like ash and smoke, the taste nostalgic and soothing. It is, yet another, indulgence he should shun away from. But it’s been a shitty day, so he’s excusing this one.
Madison shrugs and inhales again, “Yeah, and thanks for taking care of Thomas last night.”
“We both know I wasn’t going to leave him there.”
Madison looks over at him, his expression passive, “And we both know we’re not going to talk about why that is.”
Alexander takes another drag, holding the breath and letting the smoke rest in his lungs until it hurts, “Good to know we’re on the same page.”
“You could always just tell him.”
Alex shrugs, “Nothing to tell.”
He hears Madison’s scoff, “And here I thought we were above lying to each other.”
“I’m not lying. There really is nothing to tell.” Not anymore.
He takes two quick and subsequent breaths from the dwindling cigarette on his lips. Alex spares a glance at Madison, sees the equally annoyed and frustrated look on his face.
“If you really think that, then you’re a bigger idiot than I’ve given you credit for.”
Alexander’s cigarette gets tossed onto the concrete below him and he stubs the still lit cherry out with the toe of his dress shoe. “It’s been a nice chat, but I’ve got places to be. Thanks for the cigarette, Mads.”
And then he’s walking back into the dark, pulling the door to the museum open and stepping back inside.
He finds Lafayette, thankfully, alone at their table. He’s scrolling through something on his phone, but he smiles when Alexander drops into the seat next to him. The smile lasts a second before it turns to confusion, “What took you so long?”
“Got caught up with a Senator.”
“Ah,” He says, his eyes looking past Alexander, “I see.”
He follows Lafayette’s gaze, craning his neck to look behind him.
And that’s when he sees Thomas and Martha on the dance floor. He’s holding her close, gently pulling her across the floor in a dance. The music is swelling around them, a symphony that doesn’t compare to their beauty, and Alex deflates in his seat.
He swallows around a painful lump in his throat, unable to take his eyes off Thomas.
“Have they been dancing since I left?” He asks, even though he really doesn’t want to know.
“Ever since Martha got back from the bar.” Comes Lafayette’s reply.
Alex watches in misery as Thomas twirls Martha across the dancefloor. He’s smiling and she’s laughing, and they look good together. Her hand is around his neck, and his hand is hanging tight on her waist. They look like they’re having fun, like they were made to be together. And Alexander can only watch like a horrific car wreck that he can’t turn away from.
“Good God,” Lafayette says from beside him, shooting a knowing look in Alex’s direction, “Why don’t you stop being a pussy and just ask him to dance?”
“Because he’s dancing with his date ."
Lafayette’s eyes narrow on the couple that spins across the dancefloor. Then, in one quick move, he drains the rest of his wine and stands from the table. The glass hits the table with a clink, and he looks at Alexander with an expression full of annoyance and exasperation.
“You owe me.”
And then, before Alexander can even process his words, Lafayette is walking towards the couple. Alex has to bite his lip to keep himself from yelling. Fuck, Lafayette wouldn’t tell Thomas, right?
Before he can panic, Lafayette turns his attention from Thomas to Martha and offers her his hand. He twirls her in his arms - away from Thomas - and shoots Alex a look over Martha’s shoulder.
When Alex looks back at the dance floor, Thomas is standing by himself. His smile is fond, looking at the way Lafayette and Martha stumble through a laughter filled dance. He is handsome in the soft grey light, and Alexander wishes he could tell what colour it actually was.
It’s the perfect opportunity. Martha is distracted, Thomas is alone, and Alexander has Lafayette - and Lafayette alone - to thank. Before he can talk himself out of it, he drains the remnants from Thomas’s abandoned glass and stands up. He takes two steps before he pauses. It’s a bad idea. It’s a terrible idea.
But that’s never stopped him before.
He keeps walking, cautiously approaching the place where Thomas stands on the dancefloor.
Thomas’s eyes find him as Alex takes the last few steps towards him.
“Did my date just steal yours?” Alexander asks, trying to hide his nerves in amusement.
Thomas looks towards the floor, where Lafayette is leading Martha in a ridiculously fast dance, and smiles. “It would appear so.”
“Well,” Alexander breathes, “Maybe I could fill in?”
He offers his hand to Thomas and sees the way Thomas’s smile grows softer as he looks down at it. Then his gloved hand is placed in Alexander’s and he uses the leverage to pull Alex close. The music playing above them is something soft and low, comfortable but somehow romantic. The lighting is low, casting shadows on Thomas’s face. It emphasises the curve of his nose and the fullness of eyelashes as Alex blinks up at him.
Thomas’s hand comes to rest around his waist, just hovering on his hip, as his other hand tightens in Alex’s. It’s a touch that Alexander shouldn’t indulge in. Martha is here, just a few mere feet away from them, and Alex can’t do this to her. He can’t indulge in the fantasy in his head with her so close.
But then Alex stumbles a little on his feet, and Thomas’s laugh is bright and beautiful, and he can’t help but lean into the firm chest in front of him. Thomas’s hand on his hip tightens just a little, probably an instinctual reaction to Alex moving closer, so he shouldn’t read into it.
“You know, this dance is a lot better than our last one.” Thomas says finally, and he’s looking down at Alexander.
He feels a small flush rise to his cheeks as he remembers that night at the bar, and him drunkenly clinging to Thomas as the man moved them across the bar floor.
“Well, I am a lot less horribly drunk out of my mind.” Alexander replies easily, although the words feel wrong on his tongue.
He doesn’t want to think back to that night, and he sure as hell doesn’t want to actually talk about it. Because that was the night that started the chain of events that lead him right to this unrequited whatever. That was one of the first times that he realized that not only was Thomas accountable and trustworthy, but it's the night that Alexander realized that he liked that about him. It was the first time he had ever called Alex sweetheart in German, and the first time that Alexander seriously considered that maybe, just maybe, his feelings for Thomas weren’t completely platonic.
So he doesn’t want to think about that night. He doesn’t want to remember the way Thomas looked at him, or the way Thomas took care of him. Alex doesn’t want to remember wearing Thomas’s gloves - the same gloves tucked away in his dresser - or the way Thomas’s eyes had looked at him in the dark.
Because there isn’t a point.
Because there is more at stake here than what Alexander wants. For once, he’s not focusing solely on what he wants or what he feels, because Thomas means more to him than that. He’s not willing to throw away everything they’ve worked for, everything they’ve compromised to get here, just to satisfy a stupid crush. Because if he did that, Thomas would leave. He doesn’t want Alex. He has Martha, he likes Martha, and Alexander can respect that.
Because whether or not he’s crushing on Thomas, it doesn’t matter. He’d rather have him as a friend than nothing at all. Alexander can’t go back to hurtful words hissed over the conference table and awkward silences in the elevator. He can’t go back to not having Thomas in his life.
So, for once, he’s willing to hold his tongue.
“You look like you’re thinking pretty hard.” The words leave Thomas’s lips and he sounds curious.
Alexander glances back up from the man’s bowtie into the mixed greys of his eyes and lets loose a little chuckle. Not because it’s funny, but because he feels terribly pathetic.
“I usually am.”
Thomas puts a little distance between them and before Alexander can feel hurt, he raises his arm and leads Alex through a quick spin. Then he pulls him back, his hand going back to Alexander’s waist and holding him close.
“Anything you want to share with the class?”
His eyes are curious, maybe even concerned, and Alexander doesn’t know what to do with it. His emotions are a whirlwind inside of him, complex and confusing and in desperate need of being sorted out. He’s stuck here, on this dangerous precipice, and he doesn’t know what to fucking do. The feeling, the confusion, is so new that it makes him almost claustrophobic. Like he’s drowning in his own skin.
But when Alexander looks into those grey eyes, colour swirling so delicately - like God had taken an extra century to get them just right - he realizes that everything is okay. There’s no countdown clock weighing on his shoulders, no need to figure everything out right this moment, no need to do anything except be here.
And Thomas looks so handsome, with the soft grey light falling down from above them, in his stupidly ridiculous floral suit and that dazzling, curious smile of his. He looks curious and attentive, and like the walking definition of everything Alexander craves in his life. But there is no jealousy, there is no envy, because - for once - Alexander doesn’t wish it was him. He doesn’t wish he had the charm or the smile or the handsome looks.
He wishes the man who had it was his.
And that right there is the exact moment he realizes that maybe it’s not just a crush.
Alexander smiles, even with the world slowly falling apart in front of his eyes from the new revelation, because it's Thomas. And he doesn’t think there’s anything else he can do.
Then he remembers Thomas asked him a question. “It’s nothing important, I assure you.”
His gaze drops a little, taking in the slope of Thomas’s nose, and then it drops a little further. Thomas has nice lips, he thinks, and he can’t help but wonder what it would feel like to lean up just a little. They’re close, closer than they have any right to be, and it would be so easy to just kiss him. He would only have to move a few inches, just a step forward and up, and his lips would brush against Thomas’s own.
But he can’t do that, because even if he’s Thomas’s, that doesn’t mean Thomas is his.
His eyes flicker back to Thomas’s and he finds the man watching him still. His hand is firm and unyielding on Alexander’s hip and his eyebrow is arched in curious consideration.
He looks as though he wants to push the issue, like he wants to ask more, but he doesn’t. Thomas simply tightens his hands on Alex’s waist as the room between them vanishes almost completely. They’re pressed together, Thomas’s body lean and taught against his own, and Alexander finds that he can’t be bothered to care.
“Mmhm,” The words are light as they leave Thomas’s tongue, “Whatever you say, darling.”
He looks away from Thomas, intent on laughing off the pet name, but before he has the chance his eyes catch on someone else.
Martha is standing a few yards away, Lafayette nowhere in sight, and she’s clutching two glasses of what Alex thinks is whiskey. She’s watching them, not making a move to interrupt but not walking away either. Her brow is furrowed and, to Alex’s surprise, she doesn’t look mad or upset.
She looks confused.
He glances away from her and looks back down at where Thomas’s gloves are pressed against Alex’s black suit.
Well - he thinks - if Martha’s confused, that makes two of them.
it's not what you think. or maybe it is, I don't know what you're thinking.
a few notes
- bam, more pining. also floral suits!!
- say hi on my Tumblr: writtenrevolution. I post sneak peeks and complain about writing chapters there. It's a fun time.
- hint for next chapter: 2 different revelations and MacBeth
- standard end note: unless you tell me otherwise, I will assume this is shit and give up writing. Then I will escape to the mountains where I will spend the remainder of my life unlearning the English language.
if you expected Alexander to finally get his shit together and stop being so oblivious, then im sorry to tell you that it doesn't happen just yet. BUT we are finally in the homestretch. Things from here on out move pretty quickly, and we see a lot of "progress" very quickly. I'm so excited to get these next few chapters out, because oh my gosh.
In other news, get your umbrellas ready folks, because I feel a storm coming.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Election day passes in an easy familiarity. The results are officially released that next Wednesday, and Alexander makes a mental note to harass all the lame-duck Republicans into voting for his National Bank bill. They’d have no need to fear repercussions at this point, and once he got the all clear, he’d have to ask Philip Schuyler to bring it to the floor.
It all was coming together as planned.
The next day, a Thursday, brings dreary weather and misery. Alexander spends the day finalizing several new governmental assistance programs and budget reports, before the lull of rain against the window finally breaks him.
He drops the manilla folder from his fingers and pushes away from the desk in front of him. It’s not often that he finds himself bored with his work, but between the rain drumming against the window and the headache that’s starting to build behind his eyes, he can admit that he needs a break.
Alex stands from his chair, making quick strides to the hallway, where he sees Maria typing quietly on her laptop.
“I have to drop by Secretary Jefferson’s office. Take any messages and tell them I’m doing something exceptionally important.”
“Of course, sir.” Maria says on instinct, not bothering to stop her typing as she shoots him a less than subtle grin.
“Thank you, Maria.”
He strides towards Thomas’s office with his hands in his pocket and an easy smile on his face, that is until he rounds the corner and sees that the man’s door is already open.
And then he hears her voice.
Alex winces immediately at the sound of Martha’s sweet inflection, remembering the way she purposely didn’t comment on their dance the night of the Gala. He remembers the look on her face when they finally found their way back to the table, and Thomas took his seat by her.
It wasn’t mad or upset or anything in between. She had been perfectly collected, and if she was thrown off guard by whatever it was she saw between them on the dance floor, she was excellent at hiding it.
He stops in his tracks outside the man’s door, at an impasse. He really doesn’t want to see her. He doesn’t want to see her perfect smile, or smell her perfume, or watch her interact with Thomas.
But there’s another part of him - a passive aggressive, petty, bitter side - that wants to see what Thomas would do. Would he send Martha away, or would he send Alexander away?
He wants to hope it would be the former, but a treasonous part of his brain reminds him that hope is not the same thing as knowing.
Before he has a chance to make up his mind, he hears her voice again from inside of Thomas’s office.
“I really should be going, but it was lovely as always to see you.” Martha says, and her voice is soft and perfect and gentle, “Just let me know about next week.”
“Yes, I will. I don’t think it should be a problem, but I’ll have to check with Peggy to see if I can swing it.” Comes Thomas’s reply, and Alexander bites the bullet and approaches the door.
It’s then that he catches a glimpse of them embracing. Her thin arms are thrown around his shoulders, and Thomas’s hands are wrapped around her waist.
A sharp stab of jealousy bites at his chest, and Alexander has to cool the expression on his face before he can bring himself to knock on the door.
He gets there in half a second and then knocks twice on the open door.
Thomas’s eyes find his as he pulls away from Martha, the smile that falls upon his face automatic, like it was a habit at this point.
“Hi, sorry for interrupting. Do you have a moment?”
Thomas nods, his eyes darting from Alex and then to Martha, “Yeah, of course. Martha was just on her way out.”
At the mention of her name, Martha turns that perfect smile in Alex’s direction, “Alexander, it is so nice to run into you again.”
He forces a smile at her, because even if she is single handedly ruining his life, she still doesn’t deserve Alexander bitching at her, “I feel the same, Martha.”
There’s a silence for a moment as Martha looks at him, her expression curious and considering, until she shakes her head once and that smile reappears, “I really must take my leave, excuse me.”
And then she’s striding out of Thomas’s office with quick steps, balanced perfectly in 4 inch heels.
As soon as she’s gone, and the door closes conspicuously behind her, Alexander turns his attention back to Thomas.
“What’d you need?” The man asks, walking behind his desk and settling into the seat. His eyes are trained on Alexander, and his lips are curved in a small smile.
“Uh, about that.” He doesn’t know how to explain that he doesn’t really have a reason for being here. He just wanted to talk to Thomas.
Thomas’s scoffs a soft laugh and rolls his eyes as he leans further back in the chair, “Let me guess, you don’t need anything and you’ve come to annoy me?”
“First off, we both know you love me being here.” Alexander says, not trying to fight his answering grin, “And secondly, I do have a reason. I’m in desperate need of a break, and I’ve come to borrow your book collection.”
Thomas raises an unimpressed eyebrow, but the smile on his face proves to make him look anything but serious. He gestures to the bookcase adjacent to his desk, “Help yourself.”
Alexander takes him up on the words in an instant, moving closer to the bookcase and looking for something to read. He’s leaning towards Shakespeare, the rainy day makes him nostalgic, and he thinks MacBeth might be the perfect read.
His eyes trace along the books lining the shelves. Each spine is a different shade of grey, and his eyes blur a little as he squints at them.
“Hey where’s MacBeth? I can’t find it.” Alexander asks after a moment, tracing his fingers along the soft spines of Thomas’s book collection.
“It’s over there, I just saw it yesterday.”
He squints harder, bending his knees and tilting his head to get a better look of the titles. His hand brushes along each book as he reads the titles to himself, “Maybe you should put this in an actual order, because I can’t find it.”
Alexander hears Thomas’s loud and dramatic sigh, “Second shelf, right next to the one with the blue cover.”
He rolls his eyes, “Not helpful, assh-” And then the words stop as his brain catches up with him. Thomas’s words aren’t helpful, but they are revealing. Because Alexander might not be able to see their colour, but apparently Thomas can.
He turns fast on his heels, eyes finding Thomas’s. And it becomes quite evident in that very moment that Thomas realizes what he said, and what he gave away.
“What did you say?” Alexander asks, and his voice is low.
“You’ve met your soulmate?”
Thomas blinks at him, his expression slipping from terrified to confused. Or maybe confused isn’t the right expression. His eyebrows are furrowed, eyes squinted, and he’s looking at Alexander like he said the dumbest thing anyone’s ever heard.
When it becomes clear that Thomas isn’t going to answer, Alexander continues on, steamrolling through the rising angst in his chest, “How’d you meet them? Who is it? Do I know them?”
There’s a voice in the back of his head, one that sounds freakishly like Burr, that’s telling him it’s obvious. It’s telling him he already knows who Thomas’s soulmate is.
It all makes sense. The closeness, the flirting, the gloves, the blue book.
The book colour would have only been visible to Thomas if his soulmate touched it, and his mind helpfully supplies an individual that he knows would have had the opportunity to do so.
The world breaks in that instant, because Alexander comes to the conclusion that Thomas’s soulmate is probably Martha. Which means they’re soulmates. Thomas and Martha are soulmates, Thomas and Martha are the perfect match. Thomas and Martha are-
It’s then that he realizes that Thomas meeting his soulmate means he’s off the table. He isn’t an option for Alexander, not anymore. So whatever thoughts or feelings he had about the other man are obsolete. They don’t matter anymore, because Thomas has a soulmate.
And it’s not Alexander.
When he speaks again, his words are whispered softly, as if speaking too loud will only further the inevitable, “You met your soulmate.”
“Alex, I really don’t want to talk about this.” Thomas replies, looking down at the papers strewn across his desk and refusing to meet Alexander’s eyes.
He takes a step forward, desperation feeling too obvious in every pore of his body. Like he might finally crack this carefully formed facade and everything will come falling down around him. And Thomas would be gone then, and there’d be no one left to help him pick up the pieces.
He doesn’t know what to say, so he says the first thing that comes to mind, “This is- Thomas, this of all things you don’t want to talk about?”
That, apparently, was not the right thing to say.
Thomas’s jaw clenches tight as he leans further back into his chair, arms crossed over his chest, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Alexander’s mouth falls open just a little bit, because of the absurdity of the situation. Thomas finally knows who his soulmate is, but he doesn’t want to fucking talk about it? He knows that Thomas has always been weird about soulmates, but considering how close he and Martha already were, Alex had assumed that he’d be past his fear already.
“You’re not going to tell me who it is?”
Thomas’s tongue comes out to brush against his bottom lip. After a second of him just staring back at Alexander, he runs his fingers through his hair and sighs, “No, Alexander. I’m not.”
And it hurts.
It feels like disappointment, betrayal, and disbelief are all coursing through his veins as he stares at the helpless look on Thomas’s face. He had thought that they were past this, that they were close enough to be able to share something so big - so monumental. He had thought he had proven that Thomas could trust him. And it’s a reminder that Alexander didn’t need. It’s a reminder that just because he’s given so much trust to Thomas, it doesn’t mean Thomas returns it. And just because he’s drawn up their friendship in his head - complete with a golden bow and a banner - it doesn’t mean Thomas feels the same way. It’s been in his head the entire time, their closeness, their trust, their dependability.
And each time he keeps thinking they are on the same page, it keeps getting shoved down his throat that they’re not. They’re not on the same page now, and Alexander doesn’t know if they’ve ever been.
“Alexander, please don’t be mad.” Thomas says, and it interrupts the spiraling of his internal monologue, “I’m sorr-”
“Don’t.” He forces the words out before Thomas can finish his sentence, “You don’t owe me and explanation, and you sure as hell don’t owe me an apology.”
He isn’t mad, he’s hurt.
Thomas still has the apologetic look on his face and it's making Alexander feel guiltier by the minute.
He forces himself to take a deep breath and drops back into the seat across from Thomas, “I’m not mad, I swear. I don’t know if you don’t want to tell me because you don’t trust me, or if it’s something else, but whoever your soulmate is, it’s none of my business. It’s personal, and I get that. I shouldn’t have pushed you to tell me.”
His words have the opposite intended effect, and Thomas looks stricken, “What? Do you really think that I don’t trust you?”
He has to glance away from the look on Thomas’s face and shrugs, “I honestly don’t know, Thomas. We used to hate each other, and ever since we became friends we haven’t really talked about trust or anything like that.”
When he looks back at Thomas, the man’s face is even worse than before. His lips are pursed, corners turned down, his eyes wide and eyebrows furrowed.
“I should just go,” Alexander says, standing up from the chair and turning towards the door.
Before he can even reach out to open it, Thomas grabs his hand and he’s spun around to face him.
“I trust you.” Thomas says and his words are spoken in a conviction that cannot be faked, “You’re one of the few people that I do trust, Alexander. Please don’t ever think otherwise. This is just- it’s not something I can tell you right now.”
Alexander opens his mouth to reply, but then Thomas’s hand - the one that’s not squeezing his wrist - comes up to brush against his cheek. The movement, the gesture, freezes him to the spot and no words are able to slip out. Thomas’s gaze drags along his face in slow strokes and that hand cups his jaw, his thumb brushing against Alex’s cheek. The gesture is so tender, so pure, that Alexander has to take a steadying breath and remind himself that this doesn’t mean anything.
Thomas has a soulmate, and it’s not Alexander.
“I want to tell you so badly. I can’t think of a single thing I want more than to tell you everything, to explain it to you, but I just can’t - not yet. Things are complicated, and I’m..” Thomas’s words fade out a little at the end, and he looks away from Alex’s eyes.
“You’re what?” Alexander finally manages to force the words out, and Thomas’s hand curls a little on his jaw.
Thomas’s eyes flicker back to his and they are full of an emotion he can’t name. Then the man takes a little breath and whispers, “I’m scared.”
Thomas’s voice is nothing like Alex has ever heard from him before. Gone is the facade of confidence and ‘holier than thou’ attitude. It’s replaced by quiet fear and the slight quiver of his words. It becomes evidently clear in that moment that Thomas’s hesitation in telling him might not be because of Alexander, but rather because he’s still so terrified of what soulmates mean.
But friends are the people you share your fears with, your darkest secrets, the things you don’t tell anyone else. And he’s going to prove a thousand times over that he can be that person for Thomas. He wants Thomas to tell him everything, even if he doesn’t like what he hears.
Alexander leans into the touch, taking a step closer so his hand can grasp the rough fabric of Thomas’s suit. He tilts his chin up further, forcing eye contact, and looking into those hues of grey. They are just as beautiful as they’ve always been, and Alexander is not surprised. Thomas has always been beautiful.
Thomas’s eyes find his, his expression morose, and Alexander doesn’t look away.
“Why are you so scared?” His voice, too, is a whisper. Like speaking too loud will break them out of this moment of intimacy- an intimacy that is not meant for Alex, but one he craves anyways.
A breath escapes Thomas’s (beautiful, perfect) mouth, and there’s a hint of a bittersweet smile on the curve of his lips as he gazes back into Alex’s eyes, “I have so many reasons.”
His hand tightens a little in Thomas’s jacket and he stares unblinkingly up at him, “You can tell me why. You can tell me anything.”
Thomas’s thumb is featherlight across his cheek, just a ghost of pressure, and Alexander swears he can almost feel the heat from his skin bleeding through.
He wants it more than words can describe. He wants to be able to feel the heat that falls from his hands, wants to soak it up in its entirety, and the thought is strange to him. Alexander has never craved someone’s touch so badly before, but the thought of it makes him feel strung out and overwhelmed. It is new and enticing, and he wants it so badly it hurts.
“What if I was wrong about it all? What if it ruins everything? What if they drive me to ruin? What if they don’t feel the same way? What if I’ve been reading into it and projecting my own feelings? What if things go to shit, and I never get to see them again? What if things don’t work out? What if-”
He reaches up with the hand that isn’t fisted in Thomas’s suit jacket, and brushes his thumb against Thomas’s bottom lip to quiet him. This time, his actions have the intended effect and Thomas’s breath catches in his throat and the words fall silent.
And then Alexander says the words that threaten to rip his heart from his chest, “I get it, honestly, I do. But she would be lucky to have someone like you. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of her love. You are kind, smart, thoughtful, caring, and a million other words pulled straight from the definition of a good man. If she can’t see that, if she can’t see how truly incredible you are, then she doesn’t deserve your love or your time. And I know it sounds cliche, but I mean it, Thomas. You are worth so much, and you deserve so much in return.”
Out of all of his words, out of all his poetry, Thomas fixates on a single word.
“She?” He asks, eyebrows furrowed as his gaze flickers between Alexander’s eyes.
“It’s okay,” Alex murmurs in response, brushing his thumb just a little closer to the shadow that falls under Thomas’s lips because he can’t help himself, “You don’t have to tell me.”
“I’m not mad.” He reassures him, “It’s your secret Thomas, and something that doesn’t concern me is none of my business. So, if you need to keep it to yourself for now, I won’t be mad. It’s not my concern, and I’m sorry if I made you feel like I thought otherwise.”
Thomas’s expression shifts then, to something that Alexander can’t really name. His tongue comes out to drag against his bottom lip and Alex’s eyes follow the movement.
When he looks back up, Thomas’s eyebrows are knitted together - like he’s confused. But then he drags that thumb across Alex’s skin and says, “I promise one day I will tell you everything.”
Alexander leans up, just a little, and the distance between them becomes even more scarce. “I’ll wait.”
Thomas leans closer too, and they’re so fucking close - literally just centimeters between them - and Alex can feel his soft breath as it fawns on his face and if he were to just lean a little clo-
Someone knocks on the door.
His first thought is that it’s Martha. His second thought is how bad this would look to literally anyone.
Thomas still has his hand on Alex’s wrist, pulling him close and keeping him there. His other hand is still cupping his jaw, angling his head higher and keeping their mouths so damn close. Alex has one hand fisted in Thomas’s suit jacket and the other pressed against his lip.
Yeah, he thinks, not a great thing for someone to walk in on.
He jumps back before the person knocks again, straightening his jacket and shooting Thomas a panicky half smile. Before he can say anything else, the door gets pushed open and Madison walks in.
His attention is focused on his phone, far away from whatever it was that was just happening in front of him, and for that Alexander is grateful.
“Hey you ready to go-” Madison looks up at the end of his sentence, and the words die on his lips. He shoots Thomas a look, and then that same look is turned Alexander’s way. He doesn’t really know how to describe it, the way Madison’s brow is arched and there’s a hint of a smile on his lips, but it makes him very uneasy and gives him the sense that there’s something vital he doesn’t know.
“Forgive me for interrupting.” Madison says slowly, his eyes dragging up Alexander’s body like he’s looking for anything amiss. Alexander stares back unflinching, even if he feels otherwise, and simply raises his own eyebrow in response.
“It’s alright, James, we were just finishing some work.” Thomas replies for the both of them, his voice calm and collected. It’s exactly the opposite of how Alexander feels.
“Of course,” Madison says, and it sounds genuine but Alexander can see the skepticism in every line of his body.
“I should go.” He says before Madison can shoot that knowing glance in his direction again, “I’ll, uh, email you all my notes.”
“Right, yes, thank you, Alexander. Have a good night.” Thomas says on instinct and Alexander returns the sentiments, offering him another half smile in his rather unsubtle efforts to flee the room.
The door shuts behind him with a click and Alexander presses his back to it in an effort to let his heartbeat return to normal. When it finally does, and he feels like he can walk without breaking into a sprint and screaming, he shakily pulls his phone from his pocket and types out a message to the group chat he shares with John and Lafayette.
To: Group Chat - John Laurens & Lafayette
Alexander: I need to drink. Can we go out tonight, please?
It’s nowhere near the time he usually leaves, but he’s already ahead of his work, and besides, Washington would probably encourage him leaving early for once.
He starts the walk back to his own office slowly, trying not to think about anything in particular, and before he even reaches the door, his phone chimes twice in his hand.
From: Group Chat - John Laurens & Lafayette
Lafayette: Sorry babe I have to pass, I’m working late tonight!
John Laurens: sucks to suck, laf. alex, i’ll meet you there in ten?
He shoots back a confirmation, before throwing his laptop and this morning’s paperworks into his satchel. Alexander tosses it over his shoulder, hears a joint in his arm pop, and finally lets out a breath he’s been holding for too long.
Alcohol is what he needs. It’ll take the edge off, it’ll make him feel a little less confused, and maybe he’ll be able to sort out some of the more confusing thoughts in his head.
It's not perfect, but it is a plan.
When he gets to Rocky’s, which isn’t too full on this Thursday night, he finds John in their back booth. He’s nursing a beer and scrolling through his phone. Alexander drops by the bar, sitting at one of the stools near the corner, and smiles when Caleb’s eyes find his.
“Aye, Hammie, what’ll it be tonight?” Caleb says, and his Eastern accent has never been more prominent than it is in that moment.
“Shots please, lots of very potent shots. I want to be dying in the booth.”
Caleb sends him an amused look as he grabs a bottle of tequila from the shelf behind him, “You look like shit.”
He watches as the shot glasses get poured in front of him, not a single drop of alcohol getting dropped on the table as Caleb goes down the line filling them.
“I feel like shit.”
“Well then,” The man says as he places the shots on a tray, “Consider these on the house.”
“I have never loved you more than I do right now.”
The answering smirk is enough to make Alexander smile, and it feels nice. He feels a little less off center, and the world - while still falling down around him - has slowed its pace a little.
“Go get sloshed and let me know when ya need a cab.”
Alex shoots a grin back to him, grabbing the trays and a few limes, and making his way to the corner where John waits.
When John looks up from his phone, his eyebrow arches almost as soon as he sees the shots Alexander has with him.
“That kind of night?”
Alex doesn’t even bother responding first, just downs three shots in quick succession and savours the burn in his throat. It hurts, feels like someone forced acid down his lungs, but it's a burn he relinquishes in.
“Today was shit.” Alexander says as his third glass hits the table, empty.
“You want to tell me why?”
He opens his mouth to respond, but the words taste bitter on his lips, so he throws back one more shot for good measure. If he’s going to get drunk and talk about why his life is turning into a shit show, he’s going to be fucking hammered when he does it.
He drops the empty glass with the others and bites down on a lime wedge to dull the burn in his mouth. When he moves it, Alexander simply sighs and drops his head into his hand.
“I want to kiss Thomas.”
John doesn’t say anything as a reply, and after a long moment, Alexander finally gets the courage to look back up at him.
John’s face is blank and passive. He blinks once when Alex makes eye contact with him, before his eyes go wide, “Oh, is this supposed to be shocking? Oh my God, Alexander, you want to kiss Thomas! How could you?”
Alexander rolls his eyes at the overdramatic tone, “You don’t have to be a dick about it.”
“Then why don’t you tell me why it’s such a problem that you want to kiss Thomas? You’ve practically been begging for it since you’ve met.”
“I have not!”
John scoffs, “Alright then.”
He sighs, deep and to the core, and rubs his fingers across his forehead as if it would make his impending headache go away. “It’s a problem because Thomas found his soulmate.”
John doesn’t even blink, so Alex continues, “I think his soulmate is Martha.”
Saying those words out loud is worse than tequila, so he throws back another shot.
“So you want to kiss a guy who has a soulmate? You’ve wanted to before, and it’s never been this big of a problem. I’m sorry, but I’m really not following here, Alex. You’re going to have to spell it out for me. Why is having a harmless crush such a world-ending thing?”
“I mean, I think I really like him.” Alexander says quickly, forcing the words from his mouth, “I mean, I’m kind of disappointed. I haven’t given it much thought, but now that I know Martha’s his soulmate, it makes me kind of wish that, well, she wasn’t.”
John winces in sympathy as he finally comes to the conclusion that Alexander can’t say out loud just yet, “Ohhhhhh.”
“So you want him to be your soulmate?”
Alex toys with the empty shot glass in front of him. “I mean, maybe? I don’t really know. Now that I’m thinking about it, being his soulmate wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world.”
“Welcome to the world of unrequited feelings. It sucks, I'd know. Before I found Ben, that was my hometown.”
“What the fuck am I even supposed to do?” Alexander bemoans, poking at the lime wedge in front of him.
“Well getting drunk is the first step. The second step is moving on. You’re young, you’re hot, go out and get laid, man. Or, at the very least, go on a date with someone. When was the last time you went on an actual date?”
“I don’t know,” He shrugs, feeling as the tequila slowly begins working its way into his bloodstream. It dulls a little of the pain in his chest, “Probably with Eliza.”
“Then that’s what you need to do.” John tells him, mouth pursed like he’s fucking Dr. Phil, “Let me set you up with someone.”
“You know I don’t want to get serious with someone that isn’t my soulmate. Not again.”
John takes a sip of his beer and Alex watches the way his throat works around it, “I’m not saying it has to be serious. Jesus, I’m not saying you should fucking propose on the first date. Just put yourself out there again. Have a little fun, stop thinking about Thomas, and relax a little. It’s the best way to get over someone.”
As much as he doesn’t want to see anyone else, John has a point. Thomas isn’t his, he’s never been his, and if Alex doesn’t try to get over this shit soon, then he’s going to be in deeper than he already is.
He pushes a shot towards John and picks up one for himself. John clinks their glasses together and says, “Fuck it.”
Alex huffs a laugh, leaning back as he dumps the shot down his throat, and slams the shot glass back on the table.
“Yeah, fuck it.” Alexander agrees with a conviction he doesn’t feel, “Fuck it all.”
a few notes:
- Alexander choosing to look for MacBeth is a symbolic choice by yours truly. Anyone want to guess why?
- Hmm, I wonder where Thomas's white jacket is?
- I think this fic is going to be longer than TAOTC, which is insane
- come yell at me in the comments and tell me what you like about this fic/what you hate. drag me or hype me up, the choice is yours.
- standard end note: unless you tell me otherwise, I will assume this is shit and probably cry. (in all seriousness, if y'all want to drop me some nice comments, It would make my day. Uni starts back up in a few hours and ya girl could use some happy vibes)
Insert John André.
I said I was going to wait to post this but I lied. Anyway, here ya go! (two chapters in like 3 days?? who am I?)
Also, check the end notes. I have some news you might like to hear ;)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Alexander is finally pulled out of the peaceful blackness that surrounds him, it's because of the turning in his stomach.
He blinks a few times, trying to drag up whatever memories he still has from last night, and takes a second to catalog where he is. The apartment is familiar, but not familiar enough to be his own.
He looks at the heaviness on his chest, and finds John draped over him. The man is a heavy and uncomfortable weight, much opposed to how Thomas had felt across him, and Alex can’t help the groan that leaves his mouth at the discomfort. John’s face is squished against his neck, and too sharp elbows stabbing into Alex’s ribcage. He can feel John’s leg between his own, knee dangerously close to Alex’s delicate parts, and he’s too hot and the rolling in his stomach is only increased by the heat.
“Jesus fuck, you’re heavy.” He huffs, using the arm not trapped by John’s torso to shove the man off. His voice is a croak, hoarse and dry, and he has nothing but the tequila and his own bad decision making to blame..
He can breath a little easier now that John isn’t crushing his lungs, and he rolls onto the other side of the bed to hide his face in the pillow case. The sheets smell like John’s detergent, and he comes to the conclusion that they must have gone back to John’s apartment after the bar last night.
The light streaming in from outside is dimmed, thankfully by the curtains drawn, so when he peeks out from the sheets, he isn’t immediately blinded.
He jabs at John’s sleeping form with his arm and the man makes a wounded noise in reply. Then he pulls a pillow over his head and mutters, “Leave me alone, fucker, some of us are trying to sleep.”
“Get up, you have to take me to my car.” Alexander replies, rolling over further to grab his phone from the nightstand.
There are a few news alerts, a snapchat from Lafayette, and a new message from an unsaved number. He blinks at the digits, before unlocking his phone and reading the text.
From Unknown (9:34AM): Hello, Alex. This is John André, Laurens gave me your number and said you might be up for dinner? I was thinking we could go out tonight, if you’re not busy? Just let me know, and we can work out the details. I look forward to hearing from you.
He blinks once.
He blinks twice.
“You absolute fucker.” Alexander says once he rereads through the message again, “You actually gave my number to some random guy and told him I’d go out with him?”
This gets John’s attention. He rolls out from underneath the pillow and sprawls out further on the bed, popping the bones in his back as he stretches. There is enough white sunlight slipping through the curtains that it falls down on the stray freckles littering John’s face, illuminating them and making them more prominent against his grey skin, “First off, he’s not some random guy, I work with him. Secondly, you’re the one who encouraged me to send it to him.”
He closes his eyes, trying to fight the nausea that turns in his stomach, and thinks back to last night. Everything after his sixth shot is empty and he groans out loud. God, he really wishes he was the type of person who could remember what he did when he was drunk.
“Great, so I’ll just tell him that I can’t make it.”
John’s sigh is so loud, so exasperated, that it makes Alexander wince. “Alex, we already had this conversation. You should go out with him. André is a really great guy, he’s handsome, charming, and he has a British accent, not to mention that he’s one of the smartest guys I’ve ever met- present company excluded. You two would be really good together.”
“You’re right, we already had this conversation and I told you that I didn’t want to date anyone that wasn’t my soulmate.”
John licks his lips, looks like he’s barely holding back an eyeroll, as he continues on, “You want to know something?”
Alexander narrows his eyes, “What?”
“It’s been five years.” John says slowly, measured and even, “Five years since you called off your engagement to Eliza.”
The mention of Eliza, of their relationship, makes him startle. Then, almost as soon as he gets where John’s going, his shackles rise and he’s on the defensive.
“We’re not talking about that.”
“Of course we’re not. We’ve never talked about it Alexander. We didn’t talk about it when Eliza first met Herc, we didn’t talk about it when she begged you for advice, we didn’t talk about it when you pushed her away, and we sure as hell didn’t talk about it when you decided to end your engagement to her. It’s been five years, Alexander, and we haven’t spoken about it once.”
“We haven’t talked about it because there is nothing to fucking talk about.” Alexander’s words are hissed as he pulls himself from the bed, trying to put as much room between him and John as possible, “It’s done and over, John. It doesn’t matter anymore.”
“Don’t you ever wonder if the reason you’re so afraid of getting attached to someone is because of her?”
“Of course it’s because of her!” Alexander’s neck whips around to stare at John where it’s sitting up in the bed, “I don’t have to wonder, because I already fucking know.”
“Then why don’t you stop pretending like you’re over what happened? Why don’t you just talk to me, let me help you?”
“How can you fucking help me? You have literally no idea what it was like.”
John’s hands are up in surrender, his expression cool and composed, “Ale-”
“There’s no way you could ever even imagine what it’s like. I loved her. She was everything I’ve ever wanted, John. I loved her so much, like she was a part of me.” Alexander’s words are spoken harsh and biting, “Do you know what it's like? To love someone so fully and completely. To think you’re going to marry someone, to think they’re going to be the mother of your child, to think that you’re going to grow old together? Do you know what its like to finally, finally fucking think that things are different? To think that you finally have a chance at happiness with someone?”
“That’s not what I meant-”
“And just when you think that everything is good, it all gets ripped away from you in a second.” Alexander’s voice loses its edge as he remembers that night, “Do you know what it’s like to have your fiance come to you and tell you that she’ll give up her soulmate, her one true chance of happiness, for you? Do you know what it’s like to have to make that decision?”
It has been five years. He’s had five years to put this shit behind him. But Alex knows he hasn’t. It’s not that he’s still in love with her, because he isn’t, but he’s never going to be over the way they ended. Alex tries to blink away the growing pressure behind his eyes. He will not cry over Eliza, not again
“No,” John says softly, “I don’t, and that’s why I want you to tell me.”
The fight leaves his body in an instance and he takes a step closer to the bed. Alexander sits down on the side, keeping his body turned away from John as he closes his eyes. “She would have stayed if I asked.”
“I know. She loved you."
“I couldn’t do that to her. I couldn’t do that to Hercules.” Alexander says slowly, feels the way tears are starting to gather in his eyes as he unhashes something he’s kept hidden for so long, “I saw the look on her face, you know? When she first met him and saw colour. And I had never seen her look so happy before, I couldn’t deprive her of that.”
Alexander squeezes his eyes shut, letting the memory play across his eyelids for the first time in years.
He remembers how excited he was that Hercules was flying in from New York. He remembers picking him up from the airport, talking about wedding plans and what kind of suit he would wear. He remembers walking Hercules to the kitchen.
Alexander squeezes his eyes tighter.
He remembers Eliza walking around the corner and stopping dead in her tracks. He remembers the look of awe on her face as she saw colour for the first time. He remembers the sobbing, desperate pleas that came after that, when she asked Alexander what she was supposed to do. Her plea wasn’t an ultimatum, it was worse, it was a decision he had to make. A decision about his happiness, about Eliza’s, and about Hercules’.
He didn’t take a second to think about it. She had loved him and he had loved her, but she wasn’t his to love, not after that day.
A tear falls down his cheek as he remembers calling off the wedding and the engagement. He remembers John’s hand on his shoulder as he tried to explain why they weren’t going through with it.
He remembers Eliza’s simple, watery and tear filled request, “Please don’t hate me.” A request that he still fulfills to this day. He could never hate her for that. He could never hate her for a decision she had no choice to make. Alexander had loved her, all consuming and indefinite, but that meant he loved her enough to let her be happy. And, in this case, happy wasn’t with him.
Alexander had loved her so deeply. He had dreamt and fantasized about their future, about what they could do together, and then he had suffered the aftermath of their love alone.
He blinks a couple times, reaching up to wipe the tears from his cheeks, before he turns to face John. “I don’t think I can do it again. I don’t think I could survive another heartbreak like that. That’s why I’m so scared of getting involved with someone that isn’t my soulmate again.”
“That’s understandable.” John’s words are gentle, supportive, and he reaches out to place his hand on Alex’s shoulder.
“But that isn’t the problem; I’ve known that for years now. The problem is that everytime I close my eyes and think of trying again, with someone that isn’t my soulmate, there’s only one person I can imagine it with.” Alexander finally forces the words he’s been thinking for a long time from his mouth, “And that person just found their own soulmate.”
“Are you saying if Thomas didn’t have a soulmate, you might actually date him?”
“Maybe,” He shrugs, “I don’t really know. The thought of getting involved with anyone that isn’t my soulmate scares the shit out of me. I don’t think I’d ever actually be able to go through with it, but in theory - if I did - I’d want to do it with Thomas.”
“Listen, Alex. If you really don’t want to go out with André, I can explain the situation to him. But you don’t even have to think of it as a date. It’s just two people with a lot in common going to dinner. Even if you don’t want to date him, I still think you two could be great friends.”
Alexander lays back down on the bed, his head hitting the pillow as John curls up beside him, “I’m just scared.”
The words remind him of yesterday. They remind him of Thomas, of the way he had stroked Alexander’s face, of the way that Thomas wasn’t his. Thomas wasn’t his, and he never was going to be his.
Because Thomas had a soulmate, and Alexander had a trunk full of issues.
“It’s okay to be scared.” John says, his hand running through Alexander’s hair.
He leans into the touch, into the softer side of John’s personality that he barely puts on display, and closes his eyes. He has to get over Thomas and whatever pesky little crush he has on him. He has to.
“I’ll go.” Alexander says after a moment.
John’s hand stills in his hair for a second, before he resumes the soft movements, “Okay.”
He blinks open to look at John’s smiling face. He offers a smile of his own in return, “It’s a date.”
John’s grin grows even wider, his cute dimples more prominent and his freckles on full display. He leans up to press a soft, feather light kiss to Alex’s forehead before he tucks his nose into the crook of Alexander’s neck.
“I love you.” John murmurs against the skin there.
Alexander looks down at the man’s hair, feeling fondness and love sweep through his chest. Then he looks back up at the ceiling and says, “I love you too.”
He ends up leaving John’s at a quarter till eleven. He is showered, shaved, and dressed in one of the many suits stashed in John’s closet that the man will never wear. John drops him off at his car, parked at the bar, and Alexander’s stomach quivers at the sight of it. Last night had been too much too fast, and he was paying for it this morning.
Once in the driver’s seat, he double checks his email to make sure his meeting with MacClay is still on. There’s no new email or cancelation, so he throws his car in reverse - listening to the way his brakes squeal in protest- and heads towards Pennsylvania Ave.
When he arrives at Marcel’s just as the clock strikes 11:30, because of Washington’s damn traffic, he fixes his tie in the rearview mirror and proceeds to give himself a pep talk. This was a business lunch to convince MacClay - and in turn the rest of the lame duck Republicans - that they had nothing to lose by voting for his bill. There would be no backlash from their constituents, no backlash from Madison, or from their party. That was the entire point of lame duck representatives, they had nothing left to lose.
Alexander holds his chin high as he enters the restaurant, eyes immediately finding MacClay seated at a table near the corner of the room. It was a smart move, hidden from the windows and far enough away from the main dining room to give them privacy.
He takes a breath and keeps an easy smile on his face as he approaches the table.
MacClay looks up from the menu as Alexander carefully sits in the seat across from him.
“Senator MacClay, thank you for meeting with me.” He says, the words rolling off his tongue just as he had practiced. He wasn’t a fan of MacClay, but this was business and he could be professional.
“Alexander, I’m glad you could make it. I didn’t even think to ask if you could afford this particular venue.” MacClay responds, words monotone but he can hear the bite beneath them.
And he’s reminded, once again, at how good this man is at being a passive aggressive asshole. While he really isn’t looking forward to dropping 140$ on a five course meal, he’ll do whatever it takes at this point to get his banks. He is desperate, and so damn close, and he’ll drop his entire savings if that’s what it takes to pass his bill.
“It’s really no problem,” Alexander says immediately, fisting his hands under the table to keep his anger at bay, “I’m sure you know why I asked you to meet with me. Now that you’ve been voted out of-”
“Let’s not talk work just yet.” MacClay interrupts him seamlessly, “Let’s enjoy a nice lunch and then we can talk about politics.”
And so it goes.
An hour later, when he’s stuffed full of Spanish red prawns, Prince Edward mussels, foie gras, seared lamb loin, coconut rice pudding, and too much wine to be acceptable before one in the after, they finally move onto the good stuff: the politics.
“I know you and Senator Morris were both hesitant about my plan to build an economic structure fitting for our new country, but I assure you that now is the perfect time to take action. My bill to assume state debt passed, and you - along with the other lame ducks - have nothing to lose by voting in favour of part two.” Alexander says carefully as he places his mostly empty wine glass down on the table. God, he needs to stop drinking.
“Except for the ruin of our country.” MacClay’s words bite back, “The only reason your assumption bill passed was because Secretary Jefferson - for whatever reason - lobbied on your behalf. I must ask what he thinks of this part two.”
As much as he wants to throw Thomas under the bus, to use the man’s influence for his own gain, Alexander knows it wouldn’t work. Not only would Thomas feel betrayed, but MacClay is smart enough to see a bluff when there is one.
“Secretary Jefferson isn’t entirely supportive of my plan, but his opinion has no hold over you anymore. I stress again that this is the best plan for the United States. The banks are not for privatization, but rather for the steady security of our currency. Banks will raise revenue to pay off the overwhelming debt from the war, and will allow for a harmonious currency across the states.”
MacClay sighs loudly as he leans back in his chair, pushing away what’s left of his Creme Brulee. “The creation of a National Bank isn’t mentioned in the Constitution. Am I right to assume that you have a defense of your banks? That you have proof the creation is constitutional?”
Alexander straightens in his seat. This is the make or break moment. “Of course I do, Senator.”
MacClay taps his finger against the table and Alexander holds his breath.
“I suppose I can talk with my fellow lame ducks and see if they’re on board.”
Alexander breath leaves his mouth. “Thank you Senator,”
“I can’t promise anything, but if I can get the rest of them on board, then I’d say you’ll have enough votes.”
It isn’t perfect, but it’s progress, and he’ll take whatever he can get.
He raises his wine glass in a toast, hears the clink of the glass in the quiet of the restaurant. Then he smiles, “That’s all I ask.”
After lunch, and his rather promising meeting with MacClay, Alexander finally has enough confidence to compose an email to Philip Schuyler. He sits at his desk, typing quick across the keys of his laptop.
Subject: National Bank Bill
I have just returned from lunch with Senator MacClay. He has agreed to talk to the rest of the lame duck Republicans in the Senate to see if they are willing to vote yes on the National Bank Bill. I will consult with Angelica to see if we can make more progress, but you have my go ahead to start preparing the bill for the floor reading.
It’s as soon as he signs his name to the email that he’s interrupted by a knock on the door. Alexander looks up, squinting at the door, before he leans further back in his seat and says, “Come in.”
The door pushes open and Thomas steps into his office.
Alexander sits straighter in his seat and tries to arrange his face into something that resembles a smile. He’s still a little thrown off by their talk yesterday, and he isn’t entirely sure how to act. “Hey.”
Thomas’s answering smile is easy and relaxed, like the conversation in his office never took place, “Hey yourself.”
“What can I do for you?”
Thomas shifts on his feet, “Well a few of us are going out for drinks after work, and I thought I’d see if you wanted to tag along?”
Alex arches his eyebrows, “And by a few you mean?”
“Madison’s going and a couple other people, Lafayette's thinking about it.”
He doesn’t want to ask the question on the tip of his tongue. He doesn’t want to ask if Martha is going to be in attendance too. Because it’s none of his business, and he really doesn’t want to know if the answer is yes.
Alexander looks down at the papers littering his desk before finally forcing himself to meet Thomas’s eyes, “That sounds like a nice time, but I can’t tonight. I actually have a date.”
Thomas’s smile seems to literally freeze on his face for a moment. Its then that it disappears completely, and his lips dip down in the corners. “You- you have a date?”
“Yeah,” He says with a sigh and an air of self deprecation, “Believe it or not.”
Alexander blinks. “Is that, uh, is that a problem?”
Thomas shakes his head, looking at the floor rather than at Alex, “Of course not.”
“Okay?” Alex says in response, watches the way Thomas slowly moves back towards the door, like he’s about to flee, “Wait, is everything okay?”
“Yeah, everything’s great.” Thomas says, but the tone of his voice makes it clear that everything is definitely not okay.
“Maybe I can drop by afterwards?”
“Yeah, I mean if you want. It’s whatever, honestly.” Thomas replies and his tone sounds, it sounds almost hurt. Which is ridiculous. “Have a good time on your date.”
“Thomas, are you sure everything is okay?”
Thomas gives him a smile that doesn’t look genuine, nor does it reach his eyes, “Everything is fine, Alexander.”
“Well, I’ll see you later then?”
“If you can swing it, then yeah.” Thomas’s words are distant, “Later, Alex.”
And then he’s walking out of the office, leaving Alexander sitting there, looking after him and trying to figure out what the fuck he did wrong.
By the time six o’clock rolls around, Alexander feels the telltale signs of anxiety rising within him. He’s supposed to meet André at a nice place down the street at six thirty, and the thought of actually having to go and see him is starting to make him more nervous by the minute.
He drops by the Oval Office on his way out, purposely walking by Thomas’s office and finding it empty. When he gets to Washington’s office, the door is open and wide. He knocks twice to be respectful, and sees the moment Washington looks up and his gaze finds Alex hovering anxiously at the door.
Washington’s lips spread into a hint of a smile as he beckons Alex inside with the wave of his wrist, “Alexander, my boy, what can I do for you?”
“Your Excellency, I know I was supposed to work late tonight, but as I’m sure you’re aware, I’m already weeks ahead of my work and I met with Senator MacClay this morning and everything's coming together on my bank bill and-”
“I’m going to stop you right there.” Washington interrupts him with an arched eyebrow, “Are you trying to ask to leave early?”
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
Washington’s expression grows even more surprised - but by his standards it is still remarkably passive. “By all means, my boy, take the night off. I will admit that I’m quite curious what has convinced you to leave early for once. Most of the time the janitors have to force you to go home.”
Alexander forces down his smile, “I have a date tonight, Sir.”
A beat of silence.
“You have a date?”
And Alexander really doesn’t understand why that is so shocking to everyone.
“Yes, I do.”
Washington’s lips are pressed into a thin line, his brow furrowed in a way that looks pensive. “Well then, son, I sincerely wish you the best of luck.”
“Thank you, Your Excellency.”
“Have a good night, Alexander.”
He offers a genuine smile in return, “You too, Sir.”
And then he has no other excuse to force him to stay at the office any longer. Which means he might as well bite the bullet, and go get his ass charmed off by some Brit.
The Palm is a nice steakhouse on 19th street that Alexander has only ever frequented with Lafayette. It is rather upscale and is often used for business dinners and fine dates. Fine dates that Alexander is not entirely accustomed too. It’s been years since he went on a date, and Eliza had always understood that he prefered lowkey places over restaurants that charged 7$ for water.
He steps inside, eyes darting over the people already seated, as he tries to recall the way John had described André. Handsome and charming were first on the list, followed by the fact that he was British.
Alexander is greeted by the hostess, a beautiful woman with long black hair tied behind her neck. “Good evening, Sir. Do you have a reservation?”
“Yes, it’s under André.”
She runs her eyes over the tablet in her hand before returning his smile, “Your party has already arrived. If you follow me, I’ll show you to your table.”
Alexander takes a deep breath and lets her lead the way. They walk through the dining room and then take a sharp left before she turns back to face him. Alex looks at the man sitting at the booth she’s next to, and his eyes widen on instinct.
“Your server will be with you shortly.” She says before disappearing again, leaving Alexander standing there staring at the man seated before him.
It would appear that John was not lying. John André might be the textbook definition of handsome. He’s looking up at Alexander, a beautiful smile on his lips, and the incline of his chin only serves to make him look even more breathtaking.
André’s hair is long, not quite as long as Alexander’s, and it’s tied back at the nape of his neck. There is a single strand of hair, braided delicately, that is left out of the ponytail and it hangs behind his ear.
“Hi there, you must be Alexander.” André says, his accent coming out crisp and vibrant and hot, “I’m so glad you agreed to meet with me.”
Alexander offers him a genuine smile, immediately feeling himself relax as he takes the seat across from his date, “I’m so glad you asked. Laurens speaks highly of you.”
André laughs at that, his lips pulling apart to show even more of that beautiful smile, his eyes vibrant grey under arched eyebrows, and Alexander has to bite into his lip to keep from smiling too hard at the beautiful melody that greets his ears.
“I find it hard to believe that Laurens could speak highly of anyone, let alone me.” André responds, that same curve of his lips on display.
Alexander allows a little laugh to creep out of his mouth as he relaxes further in the seat, “I’m serious, I swear.” He says with a grin, “He didn’t tell me much, but he said you were a great guy.”
“Well, he told me a little about you as well. He said you were intelligent and handsome, but he failed to mention how utterly breathtaking you are.” André says with a wink, and Alexander feels a flush creep onto his cheeks.
“He told me you were charming, but I was hesitant to believe it. Good to know he wasn’t lying about that part.” Alexander says without missing a beat.
“Well my charm is one hundred percent genuine. Your eyes are absolutely stunning. The most beautiful hazel I have ever seen.”
“Oh,” Alexander says, surprise obvious in his voice, “You can see colour?”
André licks his lips, looking down at the table for a moment, before his eyes find Alexander’s again, “I suppose I’ve given myself away already, haven’t I?” He muses, “I met my soulmate a few years ago, but she’s passed away since.”
Alexander’s heart constricts at those words, “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s alright, I’ve had plenty of time to lay that part of my life to rest.” André says in response, his words light, “I suppose I should be apologizing, I hadn’t intended to bring it up just yet. Doesn’t seem like a first date conversation.”
“Please don’t apologize. We’re getting to know each other, and I want to know all about you.”
André leans forward a little, his eyes steady on Alexander’s, “And I want to know all about you too, Alexander.”
Dinner is perfect. John André is perfect, but there’s still that little voice in the back of his head that says, perfect or not, John André isn’t Thomas Jefferson.
Alexander finally allows himself a moment to forget about why his life is such a shit show, and just enjoys the moment. He puts aside the worry of his bank bill, his worry about Thomas, and his worries about his own soulmate. He listens as André tells stories of his time in the army, talks about college in London, and about how he ended up working at the hospital. He is engaged, charming, interested, and when Alexander speaks, André’s full attention is on him, completely enraptured.
It’s nice, and easy, and by the time they finish dessert, Alexander hates that their time together is coming to an end.
It’s as he watches André grab the check that Alexander finally gets the courage to say what he’s been thinking since he first agreed to this date in the first place.
“Uh, I don’t know if Laurens mentioned it, but I’m not really looking for anything too serious right now. Things in my life are kind of, well, they’re complicated right now. And you seem like a really great guy, like I think you might be perfect, but I just don’t know if I can do anything more than friendship right now.”
André signs his name on the check with a flick of his wrist, before he looks back up at Alexander. “Laurens did mention it, and I’m willing to take things as slow as you’d like. If all you want right now is friendship, then we can just be friends. I think you’re intelligent and interesting, and I’d love to have you in my life, even if it’s just as friends.”
“You literally are the perfect man, John André.”
André smiles at that, and Alexander doesn’t hesitate to smile in response.
They leave on excellent terms with André promising to call him as soon as he’s available to get dinner again. Alexander walks back to his car in silence - enjoying the cool D.C. wind on his neck.
As soon as he finds his way back to his car, he climbs into the driver’s side seat and shuts the door behind him. It’s a little after eight, which means he still might be able to make drinks.
He pulls his phone from his pocket, typing out a message to Thomas.
To Thomas (8:09 PM): Hey what bar at you at?
As soon as his message says delivered, it shows that Thomas has read it. He waits a moment, sees the little bubble in the corner pop up to tell him Thomas is typing, and then it disappears. He waits, staring at the screen for the message to come through.
Only it doesn’t.
He sits there for ten minutes, before he realizes it. Thomas wasn’t going to respond. He was leaving Alexander on read.
So he does the only rational thing he can think of, and he selects Madison’s number from his contacts and calls him instead.
When Madison picks up, Alex can hear the noise of the bar behind him. There is music playing, people talking, and the sound of laughter in the background.
“Hey Madison, Thomas invited me out for drinks earlier but he didn’t give me the name of the bar.”
Madison is silent for a moment, and Alex can hear quiet whisperings on the other end. After a moment, his voice returns, “Hey, yeah, we’re down at The Passenger.”
“Okay cool, I’ll be there in a bit.” Alexander says, and then he tacks on, “Thomas is still there, right?”
Madison sounds amused when he replies, “Yeah, he’s here. And he’s, uh, eagerly awaiting your arrival.”
Alex is quiet for a moment, trying to figure out what the fuck that means, before he repies with, “Okay, see you soon.”
He hangs up the phone, backing onto the street, and praying that this isn’t the worst idea he’s ever had. (Because, for some reason, it sure feels like it is.)
Alexander gets to The Passenger within fifteen minutes. He enters the bar, the smell of alcohol and sweat greeting him like a slap to the face. It takes only a second to find Thomas and his table, and it’s because of Lafayette. The man’s laugh is echoing through the bar, high and loud and drawing the attention of everyone close to him.
Alexander sees Thomas, who’s facing away from him, and he starts in that direction. He makes eye contact with Madison, who simply raises an eyebrow at him, before he drops into the seat next to Lafayette, who happens to be sitting across from Thomas.
“Alex, dear, you made it!” Lafayette says as soon as he sits down, throwing an arm around his shoulder, “You must fill me in on the date. How was it?”
Alex manages a smile, even with the eyes of several Republican Senators on him, and looks at Thomas. The man doesn’t meet his eyes.
It throws him off his game a little, the way that Thomas seems to be trying so hard to look anywhere but at Alex. He brushes it off and turns his attention back to Lafayette, “It was good, really good actually. John wasn’t lying when he said André was charming. Maybe it’s the accent, but everything that comes out of his mouth sounds like the best thing I’ve ever heard.”
“André is a good man, Alexander, you could do much worse. Are you going out again?”
“Yeah, he’s supposed to call so we can get dinner again.” He doesn’t mention that it’s strictly as just friends for the time being.
“I am so happy for you, my dearest Alexander. You deserve all the happiness the world has to offer.” Lafayette says, voice soft and slurred.
His eyes glance to the several empty beers in front of Lafayette, but before he can mention his friend’s lightweighted-ness, Thomas pushes away from his seat and stands up. Alexander looks up at him, and Thomas finally looks back at him.
The man’s face is strikingly blank. He doesn’t look mad or annoyed, but rather it’s like someone has wiped all traces of emotion from his face. It’s a mask of blankness, of coldness, and it sets Alexander even further on edge.
He wants to ask, wants to beg to know what he did, but as he opens his mouth to say the words, Thomas walks away.
Alexander blinks, watches the way he disappears from view and sighs. He leans back in his seat, Lafayette oblivious beside him, and turns to face the rest of the table.
It’s then that his gaze finds Madison’s and the man raises an unimpressed eyebrow, lips pressed in a thin and unamused line, before he looks away.
It’s later, when Thomas is still gone and Alex has stolen a few sips of Lafayette’s beer, that he decides to hunt the man down and figure out who exactly pissed in his cereal that morning.
Finding Thomas is rather easy, and Alexander drops down into the seat next to him at the bar without saying anything.
Thomas glances at him from the corner of his eye before he speaks first, “If your date with the perfect John André went so well, why the fuck are you even here?”
Alex feels his hackles rise at the harsh biting tone of Thomas’s words. He reels back, hurt by the unexpected coldness, “ Excuse me?”
“Why the fuck did you even come here, Alexander?”
“Because I like spending time with you? Because I like hanging out with you?” Alexander bites back as soon as the words leave Thomas’s mouth, “Is that so hard to believe?”
Thomas takes a sip from his glass and mutters something that sounds suspiciously like, “Could have fooled me,” before he leans forward and rests his hands against the bar.
“Do you think I’d come here, where I’m surrounded by people that literally hate me if I didn’t want to see you? Newsflash, Thomas, you and Lafayette are the only two people at that table that I can stand. And I didn’t even know, for sure, if Lafayette was coming, so don’t pretend like I’m here for any other reason than to see you.”
He sees Thomas’s frown deepen in the corners and the man blinks a couple of times before he shrugs.
Alexander can feel the brush off, but powers through anyway, “Are you going to tell me why you’re so pissed at me? Did I do something that I’m unaware of?”
Thomas - honest to God - has the audacity to roll his eyes, “Nope.”
Alexander doesn’t know if the response is a reply to his first question or his last one. He feels off center again, and he doesn’t like how quickly things between them are spiraling. The whole point of everything is that he’s desperate to keep his friendship with Thomas. It’s the only reason he ended up going out with André tonight, and it’s the only reason he’s at this Godforsaken bar when he can’t stand the majority of the people he’s with.
He’s desperate, so he finds the only thing he can think of, and runs with it.
“That night you took me home from the bar, you told me that if you ever pissed me off I should tell you. Because you liked that we were friends, and you didn’t want to ruin it over something stupid. The same is true now, Thomas, if I did something to upset you please just tell me. I’m sorry if I did something, and I’m sorry that I don’t know what I did, but please just tell me what it was. I like having you in my life, and I don’t want to lose our friendship. Just tell me whatever I did that upset you.”
It's his words that gets Thomas to turn around to look at him. His face is defeated, a textbook look of misery, and he simply shakes his head.
“That was very poetic, but you didn’t do anything wrong, Alexander.” He says, voice quiet, “It’s just been a long day.”
It seems like a copout. Like something Thomas is just saying to put Alexander at ease. Like it’s just something to say so he doesn’t actually have to talk about what’s actually on his mind.
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’m sure.” Thomas’s words are polished and put together, like he hasn’t drank very much. His eyes are looking at Alex, a little sad and a little tired, and then he gives him a shrug, “I’m sorry too. I shouldn’t have taken a bad day out on you.”
“It’s okay,” Alexander says, even though he doesn’t think it is, “Are we good then?”
Thomas bumps his shoulder against Alexander’s, a half smile on his face that doesn’t reach his eyes, “Yeah, we’re good.”
Alexander looks back at Thomas, slumped over the bar and defeated, and can’t help but wonder where exactly he fucked up and how the fuck he was going to fix it.
a few things:
- as you might have noticed, I added a few more chapters to this fic. in case you're curious they are for 1) Thomas's POV chapter, 2) the epilogue, 3) a chapter dedicated to explaining the symbolism of this fic.
- also I know I keep saying, "things move pretty fast from here on out," but let me just say it again. Because we get some SERIOUS character development (and 2 revelations) next chapter. just saying.
- hints for next chapter: an apology, too much wine, and Eliza.
- come talk about your headcannons for this fic on my Tumblr (writtenrevolution), ask me questions, or just scream at me.