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Agape

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John Laurens was awakened by the rhythmic sound of fingers tapping away on a laptop. Blinking the sleep from his eyes, he shot a glance at his alarm clock. Damn, it was well past three in the morning. What was Alexander still doing up? Reluctantly, John threw the blankets off of himself and stumbled into Alex's office in their apartment, shivering as the heat escaped from his body. If it wasn't for John, Alex would forget to eat and sleep while working himself to death, and it hurt John that Alex didn't take care of himself.

The only light in the room emanated from the laptop's screen. Alex didn't even notice that John was standing there, shivering and teeth chattering. Alex's blue-violet eyes were unfocused with prominent dark circles under them. His normally tidy auburn hair was unkempt and would certainly give any hair stylist nightmares. John was certain that Alex hadn't slept for a few days. John mentally kicked himself. What kind of a friend was he? He cared about Alex's well-being but never pushed hard enough to get Alex to start taking care of himself. It was all his fault that Alex, normally so chipper and energetic, looked like death was upon him.

John took a tentative step towards Alex but stopped himself quickly. The last time John had tried to get Alex to bed, he had placed a hand on his shoulder. Alex had been so focused on his work that he had a panic attack and wasn't able to calm down for about an hour afterwards. Alex kept insisting that it wasn't John's fault, but John still continued to blame himself. He figured that if he wasn't around, Alex's life would be so much easier. Alex would be able to work and study with no distractions. He wouldn't have to worry about John's doctor appointments and therapy sessions. Alex wouldn't have to worry about having a roommate that couldn't keep a steady job either.

"John?" His name brought him away from his thoughts and back to reality. The typing had ceased, and Alex had turned to face John, eyebrows raised in question. When John didn't give a reply, Alex glanced at the time on his laptop before standing up. "Well, it is pretty late, I guess. I have to be at the firm early tomorrow. Wait a minute, John, you're freezing!"

John saw the worry in Alex's eyes and felt the guilt swell up again. "I'm sorry Alex, I noticed it was late. I thought I'd come bring you to bed, but I ended up getting distracted. I'm the worst friend ever, I know." He adverted his gaze, too ashamed to meet Alex's eyes.

"Don't say that, John. You mean the world to me. I could never have asked for a better man to be my best friend. I knew that the first time I saw your face" Alex's voice sounded hurt, and he started running his fingers through John's blonde hair, attempting to calm John down. "You cared about me enough to get out of bed and come get me. Besides, the last time you came to get me, I overreacted, so I don't blame you for being apprehensive." Alex lifted John's chin up to meet his gaze.

John sighed. He was consistently captivated by Alex. Part of John was really happy hearing Alex compliment him, but another part of him felt guilty. "Alex, I haven't been able to keep a steady job since college, you always have to remember my appointments for me, and I'm always distracting you from getting any work done! How can you say I've been a good friend?"

"What the hell, John? It's not your fault that your father was an abusive asshole! And I really don't mind remembering your appointments." Alex looked indignant. "You're an amazing individual! You care about me more than anyone else ever has, you keep me grounded whenever I'm having an anxiety attack, and you're one of the most passionate men I've ever met." Alex wrapped his arms around John and gave a reassuring squeeze.

John leaned into Alex's warm embrace and buried his nose into Alex's neck, inhaling the familiar scent of his cologne. "I'm sorry, I've just been having a really rough week. I was so upset on Monday that I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed. It also looks like I won't be able to pay my share of the rent this month." Tears stung at John's eyes, but he was too proud to let them fall. Instead, John wrapped his arms around Alex tighter.

"I've got you covered this month, don't worry about it. You should just worry about getting back on your feet right now." Alex rubbed soothing circles in John's back. "I just want you to be happy, John. I want you to enjoy life."

"I don't want to be a charity case though! I've really been trying to make it as an artist, and you know that. The last place I went rejected me, and they didn't even give me any reason why! I'm trying so hard to be happy, but life just comes along and shits all over me every time."

"Look, there'll be a place that'll accept you, I'm sure of it. And if being an artist makes you happy, then so be it. I don't want you working in a job that'll make you unhappy." Alex pressed a soft kiss to the top of John's head, but it was so light that John didn't notice.

"Alex, I don't have much hope for life anymore. Out of the twenty-five years I've lived, the best thing that's happened to me was when you walked into my life." Alex's heart fluttered. John went to open his mouth to say more, but Alex placed a finger to his lips.

"You don't give yourself enough credit, John. You're the best person I've ever met, okay? Now, let's get to bed and leave the rest of this for the morning. You'll feel a lot better then, I promise." Alex put a protective arm around John's waist and led him into the bedroom. They shared a bed because they couldn't afford another, but that didn't matter to either of them. Tonight, John was incredibly glad to have Alex curled up next to him.

"Alex?" John mumbled into the darkness.

"Yes, John?"

"W-would it be too much if I asked you to hug me tonight? Just until I go to sleep?"

"I'd be glad to, John." Alex wrapped his arms around John and pulled him close to his chest, so that John could feel his heartbeat. The rhythm was soothing, and the warmth that Alex gave off was more comforting than anything else. Just as John drifted off, Alex placed a feather-light kiss on John's cheek before whispering softly. "Sweet dreams, John. I love you."

Chapter Text

If anything, John felt worse when he woke up the next morning. Alex was still curled up around him, but even that couldn't brighten John's mood. John was supposed to be taking care of Alex, not the other way around. Last night, John had gone to take Alex to bed but ended up having Alex guide him to bed instead. An overwhelming surge of guilt and worthlessness threatened to crush him. It was all just so much at once. John's breath quickened, and he had started to shake, tears stinging the corners of his eyes. Oh God, he was going to lose control. He was going to do something stupid. If only he wasn't so hopeless, this wouldn't be happening. If he didn't exist, nobody would have to suffer anymore. If only-

Alex sat up quickly, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "John, what's wrong? What hurts? Can you hear me?" His voice was tinged with panic. The last time John got like this, it hadn't ended well. There was a reason Alex kept the scissors in a separate room. 

John barely managed a nod. He had woken Alex up. Alex needed sleep, and John was depriving him of it. Here it was again, Alex taking care of him when it should be the other way around. "It hurts everywhere. Please, Alex." He swallowed a lump in his throat. "I'm sorry... I'm so sorry." 

Alex started petting John's hair. "Don't be sorry, John. You didn't do anything wrong." He seemed to read John's mind about waking him up. "Don't worry about me. I can lose a few hours of sleep. It would be way worse if I lost you, okay? Life would be a living hell if you weren't here, you have to believe that." Alex's hands had started shaking, and tears were threatening to fall. It always hurt him when John got like this. 

They stayed like that for hours, Alex murmuring sweet nothings into John's ear and holding him like he was the most precious thing in the world (which to Alex, he was). After John had calmed down substantially, Alex stood up gently but motioned for John to stay in bed. "I'm going to go and make you some tea. What flavor would you like?" Alex had always made tea for John the week of midterms in order to calm him down when they had been in college. To John, Alex's tea was legendary. He had never met anyone who made better tea than Alex. Alex couldn't cook to save his life, but the tea he made was extraordinary. 

"Can I have oolong tea, please?" John had taken a trip to China as a little boy with his father, who had been on a business trip. John had brought back oolong tea leaves for his mother, who always loved trying different sorts of tea. Ever since then, John's mother would always make oolong tea for John on special occasions or when he was having a particularly rough day. Alex's tea reminded John of his mother, who had been gone for five years. 

"Oolong tea, coming right up!" Alex gave John a small smile and went to the kitchen. John's mood had lightened a bit. He really appreciated how Alex always tried to smile for John and help him see that the grass was greener on the other side. Alex reminded John of his mother whenever he had to take care of John. He was always so attentive and gentle, always trying to smile and cheer everyone up. 

Alex was back within a few minutes and handed John his steaming hot tea, John giving him a nod of thanks. They sat there in companionable silence for a while, but it was finally John that broke the silence. "Do you want to go out somewhere later? I don't know, I'm just kind of tired of sitting around inside."

Alex nodded enthusiastically, his eyes brimming with excitement. "Of course! The fresh air will certainly make you feel a lot better. Do you want me to call Laf and Herc to see if they can join us? We could go see a movie, or if you wanted to take a walk in Central Park, we could." Alex shrugged. "It's all up to you and what you want to do. I'm up for anything."

John finished his tea as he decided what he wanted to do. "I could really use Laf's sense of humor right now, and Herc is practically a teddy bear. Is there any particular movie you wanted to see, or do you just want to do that thing where we go, find the most horrible sounding movie, and sit in the back and make fun of it?"

"Let's find a movie to make fun of. I just shot both of them a text seeing if they're free. Herc should be fine because he gets to choose his own hours at his tailor shop, but Laf works weird hours with his play rehearsals and designing the theatre." 

Laf responded immediately with the promise to be there at six in the evening. When Alex told Herc they were meeting at six, he sent back his confirmation. John smiled genuinely for the first time in what felt like forever. He would finally get out of their tiny apartment and have some fun with his best friends in the world. John could also consider this to be a date with Alex, with Laf and Herc there for moral support. Or was it only a date if both of them knew? Dating rules are so complicated! 

Alex looked at the time on his phone. It was half past noon. "I'm thinking pizza for lunch. Does that sound okay with you? It should be relatively quick to eat, and that would leave us a lot of spare time to kill." 

"Pizza sounds awesome, and you know what to order." John smiled. "Oh, and I should probably go grab a hammer. I can't think of anything else better to kill time with."

Chapter Text

A half hour later, the pizza arrived. The two still had a few hours to mess around after they finished eating, so Alex curled up on the couch with one of the Harry Potter books, and John sketched random doodles in his sketchbook. The two sat in companionable almost silence, the only sound being John's pencil on paper and Alex occasionally turning the pages and offering commentary. When the alarm Alex set had beeped, letting the pair know that they only had an hour to get ready, Alex was very reluctant to get up. However, this outing was bound to be a memorable one. 

Alex changed his clothes rather quickly and spent what time he had left bashing Jefferson on his multiple Twitter accounts. Fifteen minutes before Alex and John had to leave, John walked out of the bathroom after fixing his hair. Alex looked up and had to do a quick double take. John looked absolutely amazing. His blonde hair caught the light and shined wonderfully, and the clothes he wore did justice to John's figure. Although upon closer inspection, Alex noticed one slight problem. 

"John, we're wearing the same outfit! How the hell did that happen?" Alex raised an eyebrow in disbelief, but a small grin slowly crossed his face. Alex had donned a black suit jacket over a white button-down shirt paired with dark jeans. They were even wearing the same colors. 

John chuckled. "No idea, it's an interesting coincidence seeing as we both own a lot of different clothes though. It's really odd when you think about it." John went to start walking to grab the stuff he would need going out the door, but Alex stopped him quickly. 

"Go change!" 

"Why?"

"We're wearing the same outfit!"

"Then you go change if it bothers you so much."

"But I wore it first." 

"Fine." John turned around and went back into the bedroom. "But I wore it better." 

Alex shook his head, smiling. "That's why you're changing..." He added in an undertone so that John couldn't hear him. 


 

The golden evening light on John Laurens was absolutely breathtaking. Alex couldn't help but throw a glance over at John every few minutes. Lafayette and Mulligan were fashionably late as per usual. It could've just been Alex, but he could have sworn that John was glancing and drinking in Alex's form whenever he thought Alex wasn't looking. For once in his life, Alexander Hamilton was rendered speechless. There was nothing to say, nothing to fill the silence with, and that scared Alex. He was known for his endless eloquence. 

To Alex's great relief, he could see the Marquis de Lafayette strolling down the crowded street with Hercules alongside them. Lafayette, who went by they/them pronouns, looked perfect with their purple winged eyeliner and sparkly eye shadow. They wore an emerald green dress over a pair of black super skinny jeans and wore a black blazer to complete the look. Hecules was wearing a maroon sweater that he knit himself over khakis. 

"Alex! John! It has been so long mes amis." Their thick accent put a lovely spin on the pair's names. When Lafayette reached Alex and John, they embraced each one and planted a kiss on both cheeks, a custom greeting Laf often employed. Laf's bright, white smile looked like it was worth a million dollars. 

"Hey guys, how's it going?" Herc gave Alex and John a classic bro hug. "Laf's right. We should should meet more often." 

Alex's words seemed to return to him. "Things have been great. I've just been so busy lately. If it wasn't for work, you know we'd be partying every night." He smirked at the thought. 

Lafayette clucked their tongue in disapproval. "Alex! What have I told you about taking a well-deserved break! You complete the workload of that equivalent to ten men, and you do it perfectly." Shaking their head, they turned to face John. "I'm so sorry, John. It must be such a pain taking care of Alex constantly." 

John just shrugged and smiled uncomfortably. "I really don't mind. I mean, I've been doing it since freshman year of college. Besides, Alex probably takes care of me more than I take care of him. I just want to make sure he doesn't work himself to death." 

Alex bit his lip and started to fidget, a sign that his anxiety was getting ready to escalate. "I'm sorry. I-I didn't realize that I was being such a-" 

John noticed the fidgeting. He could read Alex like a book. Cutting Alex off, he needed to get the subject back to something pleasant. "Please don't finish that, Alex. You take care of me, so I really don't mind taking care of you." John shot a pleading look towards Herc, hoping that he could somehow find something to change the conversation to. Herc took the cue really well and gestured towards the movie posters hanging on the walls outside of the theater. 

"Does anyone have any idea of what we're going to watch tonight? We need to find something absolutely stupid in order to have the most fun." 

The conversation ceased, and Alex seemed to calm down a little bit. John laid a hand on Alex's arm and pointed to a really crappy poster depicting a movie called Killer Clowns From Outer Space. "That looks like it could provide enough commentary, right?" Alex shifted closer to John so that they were almost pressed up against each other. Lafayette noticed and caught Hercules's eye, silently pretending to gag. 

Signature smirk on Alex's face, he chuckled. "The only thing that could be worse than this is a documentary about Trump's life." Everyone laughed at that, and it was decided that that was the movie they were going to watch. 

Throughout the movie, Alex's and John's hands were tantalizingly close. It felt as if electricity was coursing through the tiny space between them. Alex had to fight the urge repeatedly to grab John's hand and hold it. He could always pretend to bump into John's hand and pretend that he didn't notice. Alex settled for slowly inching his hand closer until they were gently touching. He kept his gaze fixed on the movie, but he could feel John look over at him briefly before looking back at what was happening on the screen. 

After the movie, the quartet headed over to the nearest bar where they proceeded to get smashed. Alex kept sending out drunken Snapchats to the Schuyler sisters and engaging in a drunken Twitter war with Jefferson. John was resting his head on Alex's shoulder, watching as Alex furiously typed. Every time he tried to sit upright, the world spun around. 

It was with great reluctance that Alex and John bid Laf and Herc good night and stumbled home. John could barely walk, the world was spinning so badly. Alex had an arm wrapped around John's waist, pulling him towards their apartment building. The night was humid, and the air felt stagnant. John buried his face in Alex's neck which made the return process even more difficult. 

The twenty minute walk took them forty-five minutes in their drunken stupor. Alex's hands shook so bad that he struggled to fit the key into the lock. After a few minutes, they got into the apartment. John stumbled, but Alex caught him before he fell. They got into the dark bedroom, John flopped unceremoniously onto the bed, pulling Alex down with him. John then passed out as soon as he closed his eyes, snuggling close to Alex and pinning him in one spot. Alex's heart flooded with warmth, but he was so drunk that it would be a miracle if he could remember the way John was pressed against him tomorrow morning. Without a care in the world at that moment, Alex drifted off peacefully. 

Little did he know that the next morning would be an absolute disaster.