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Death of the Romantic

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May, 1806

Alex was a skinny boy. His greasy dark hair was cut short, and his nose seemed forever stained with dirt. He had a wiry frame, and was too small for a six-year-old, having been underfed for most of his life.

He had never worn leather shoes. He had always been either barefoot or had adorned cheap canvas shoes found in back alleys. But now he had new brown leather shoes, and clean socks on his feet. He played with the laces, untying them, then tying them again. Tying them using fisherman's knots, and then untying them and tying them the way George had shown him.

"How are you doing, Alexander?" George asked, turning his head around from where he sat upon his horse, seeing Alex in the little cart in the corner of his eye.

"Bueno," Alexander replied.

"In French," George reminded.

Alex took a deep breath since his French wasn't very good. "I am good, papa."

"Good job, Alexander. We are almost there." George chuckled. "Sing me something, Alexander. Something you learned at the ports."

Alex thought for a moment. "Farewell and adieu to you, Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu to you, ladies of Spain. For we've received orders to sail for ole England, but we hope in a short time, to see you again."

Alex kept singing until the horse came to a stop, the cart jolting. Alex was surrounded by fabric though, so didn't get jostled too much. He plucked out of the cart by George, set on the dirt, and then handed a few rolls of fabric. George carried the rest, smiling as he approached the door of the large and vain house in front of them, whistling through the gap in his teeth. Alex tried to pick up the tune and whistle to it as well, but he wasn't yet a good whistler.

"Papa," Alex started, looking up at the tall man. "Where are we?"

"We are at the Laurens estate. Henry Laurens has asked me to tailor a suit for him. He has a boy about your age, I hope you too will get along." George hummed. "Behave, yes? The Laurens family and I are close friends."

"Yes, papa."

George smiled at Alex. "You've got dirt on your nose."

Alex tried to wipe it off but ended up smudging more on his face.

George laughed, approaching the door and knocking. "Do not fret over it, Alexander. Martha will clean you up tonight."

Alexander had been under the care of the Washington's for just under three months. Before that, Alex had lived in Portugal, despite being born in Spain, under the employment of a port manager. Before that, Alex had been with his mother. His father had left the two of them once Alex was born, and his mother quickly turned to prostitution to pay for their needs. Alex's earliest years had consisted of him finding other places to be besides home.

Eventually, even Alex's mother couldn't afford him. At the age of four and a half, Alex was sold off to a shipping port. Alex was a good worker though, despite his age. He carried whatever he could off of the boats and into the shop. Even when big boots would step on his little toes, he wouldn't cry, just continue on.

George was in Portugal, picking up a shipment of silks from China. He was a tailor, after all, and he had been making a dress for a client and needed the fabrics. He stepped into the post office and told the man at the desk which shipment he was looking for. Then, small, six-year-old Alexander Hamilton came over a large burlap bag on his back. He was struggling under its weight a bit but managed to hand it to George without letting it touch the floor.

"What's your name?" George asked, looking the scrawny kid up and down. He was short, with messy dark hair that stuck up, and a large nose that he hadn't quite grown into.

"My name is Alexander Hamilton," the boy replied in his broken French. He had never been good at French before, but he had learned a couple of phrases from French sailors that had docked in the port. He needed to know a few French phrases, numbers, direct orders, just so he could get his job done.

"How old are you?"

Alex paused for a moment, trying to translate the French into Spanish in his head. "I am six years old, sir."

"Do you work here with your parents?"

Alex shook his head. "My father left when I was young, and my mother sold me to the port for ten Spanish dollars."

"How much for the boy?" George asked, turning to the man at the counter.

"The boy?"

George nodded towards Alex.

"What do you want with him? He's one of those Israelites, he'll just steal your money from under your nose," the counterman laughed.

"Nuh-uh, it was just my momma from Israel," Alex spoke up, crossing his arms. Now that George looked at the kid, he could see the kid obviously had middle eastern blood, from the long face to the dark dark eyes.

George shook his head. "You sir, have an unjustified prejudice. How much for the boy?"

"You're French, yes?"

"Yes, I am French."

The man at the counter paused, thinking. "Seventy Francs."

George let out a breath. "Seventy?"

"Seventy."

"Sixty-five."

"Seventy."

"Sixty-five."

The man behind the counter considered this for a moment. "Fine."

George pulled out his money bag and handed over seventy Francs, then turned to Alex, looking him up and down. "Do you have shoes, boy?"

Alex shook his head.

"Yes, well, come on." George slung the burlap sack over his shoulder and put his hand on the back of Alex's neck, walking with him. "You've never had a father, and your mother left you to work here, yes?"

"Si," Alex nodded.

"In French," George began. "You will need to learn French."

Alex nodded. "Yes."

"I will be your father, boy, and my wife, your mother. You are a hard worker, yes?"

"Yes."

"Good. You will come of use." George lead Alex to his cart and set the bag down, then picked up Alex, putting him in the cart. "The ride to home will take a week. Rest, I will wake you when it is time to eat."

So Alex rested. He never got much sleep on the ports, it was always too loud, so that week of quiet trotting on dirt roads through Europe was the best sleep Alex had ever gotten. At night, George would afford an inn, and let Alex drink ale to stay warm. During the day Alex would spend his time watching the landscape change, or singing. He had learned several sea shanties, and since they weren't a bother to George, he sang them.

George began to tutor Alex on his French during the week. He would point at everything, say the same in French, and have Alex repeat that name back. Tree, horse, cow, grass, cup, anything. Alex was getting better, and George was impressed at how well Alex was doing, promising the start of formal education in the fall of this year.

Martha, Washington's wife, was beyond happy at the idea of a son. George had been pronounced barren, so Martha's grown daughters were all they had for children, but Martha had always wanted a boy. So, when this dirty, shoeless six year old walked through her door, she was ecstatic, instantly cleaning him up and taking him to get some new clothes, as well as some shoes. She would take him everywhere she went, talking to him in French so he learned quicker. He was a good learner, especially since he had no choice but to learn. No one in France spoke Spanish, so he needed to speak French.

The door to the Laurens estate opened and out walked Henry Laurens, a large man, broader than George, with short cut black hair and dark freckled skin. "Hello, George! How good to see you!"

"Henry, it's been too long." George smiled, shaking Henry's hand. "Henry, may I introduce you to my son, Alexander. I recently adopted him on a trip to Portugal."

"Well, he looks like a fine young man," Henry laughed. "Come in, come in. Does your boy work with you, or can he go play?"

"He's free to play," George nodded.

"I'll call down my son," Henry chuckled, looking to the stairwell. "John! John Laurens! Come downstairs!"

A few seconds later, a boy came tumbling down the stairs, laughing. He had short curly black hair, and ears that stuck out too much. His skin was a light summer brown, and his smile seemed to take up half his face.

"John, you know George. This is his son, Alexander," Henry introduced.

"Don't be shy," George coaxed, noticing Alex step behind him a bit.

John offered a big smile, and Alex realized John had no front teeth, which made him more approachable.

"My God, have you begun losing teeth already?" George laughed.

John nodded. "I'th becau'th I'm th'even."

Alex smiled. "I'm six."

"You boys go play, John, be nice," Henry warned.

"Ye'th, papa," John smiled. He took Alex's hand and lead Alex back up the stairs, smiling wide. "Where did you come from? You don't th'ound French."

"I was born in Portugal," Alex told John, smiling. "Were you born in France?"

John nodded. "My Papa ha'th lived here th'ince he wa'th my age."

Alex laughed as John pulled him into a large room. "Whoa, is this all yours?"

"I have to th'are it with my little brother th'ometimes, but he'th a baby so he spend'th mo'th of hi'th time with my Mama."

Alex smiled.

"You wanna play th'oldiers?"

"How do you play?"

John was quick to teach Alex the rules, though there weren't many, and the two boys were off, playing, making a bit of a mess. Alex had never really played like this before, but he loved it. Neither of them realized how long they had been playing until George poked his head through the doorway.

"Alexander, we must be off, it's almost supper," George said softly.

"Can he th'tay five more minute'th?" John asked.

George smiled. "Sorry, little John, we need to be home in time to wash up. Your father told me to fetch you as well, your mother is downstairs and would like to see you."

John stood up in smiled. "My mom i'th gonna have another baby, you know. Th'e th'aid th'e hope'th it'th another girl, but I want a brother."

"Oh?" George nodded, listening to John ramble and making sure Alex was walking with them.

"Yeah, becau'th brother'th are much better, because they do more than cry," John explained.

"Well your sister is still just a little girl, but I'm sure she'll grow up."

John waved his little hand. "Th'till. A brother would be better. Ale'th, do you have a brother?"

Alex shook his head. "No, but I have two older sisters."

George smiled. "They're much older than little Martha is."

"How old?" John asked.

"Our oldest is sixteen, and our middle child is twelve," George told John.

"John, sweetheart, come here," Elanor Laurens called out. She was sitting on a loveseat, Two-year-old Martha on one side of her, and a swollen stomach poking out from under her dress.

"Hi, mama," John smiled.

"Elanor, as always, it's a pleasure." George took her hand, kissing the back of it. "You haven't met my son yet. Elanor, this is Alexander. Alexander, this is Mrs. Laurens, John's mother. Say hello."

"Hello, Mrs. Laurens," Alex smiled, holding out his hand.

"Hello, little Alex." Elanor chuckled. "He's adorable, George. I assume he's adopted?"

"Yes, yes, I found him in Portugal, working on the docs, just three months ago. He was a thin little thing when I picked him up, but oh, no one can stay thin with Martha's cooking." George patted his stomach, chuckling.

"He still looks skinny, let me get him a sweet."

"Oh, Elanor, please, don't get up," George gasped.

"Bah, you men think I am so weak. I can do whatever I please." She stood up and made her way to the pantry, pulling out some macarons and wrapping them in a linen cloth. "Here, Alexander, you take this. Do not spoil your supper though, save them for later."

"Thank you, ma'am," Alex nodded humbly, pocketing the linen in his deep pockets.

"Well, George, here is your money." Henry smiled. "Should I come in in a week?"

"Yes, though it won't be done, I will need to make sure everything is fitting so far. Two weeks from now it will be finished." George smiled, shaking George's hand. "Bring John when you come in, I feel as though our sons have become friends."

Henry laughed. "Good, I was beginning to worry John couldn't make a friend."

"Papa," John whined.

"Alright, Goodnight, George, I'll see you in a week's time." Henry turned to the small child besides George. "Goodnight, Alexander."

"Goodnight, sir," Alex nodded.

Alex and George left the house and went back to the cart. Alex snuck one macron out of his pocket, nibbling on it quietly. It was sweet. Alex loved sweet things. When he worked the ports, he could, every now and then, collect enough coins from the floor of the ships to buy a pastry. He would sit outside the shop and eat it as slowly as possible. Pastries were always from another world to him.

"Did you enjoy John's company?"

Alex nodded. "Si, papa."

"French," George reminded.

"Yes, papa," Alex corrected. "What is Mama making for dinner tonight?"

"Coq au vin." George chuckled. "Do not spoil your dinner with those pastries, Alexander. You can have the one, but save the rest for after dinner."

"Yes, Papa," Alex nodded. "Do you think I will ever be good at French?"

"Yes, I do, Alexander. You are very smart, and once your formal education starts, it will be much easier to learn." George turned around to look at the tuft of brown hair on Alex's head, the way the boy looked so small, curled up and nibbling on his sweet. "I have much faith in you, Alex."

Years went by. Alex grew, his French got better, and he got smarter. He was no longer a wiry little boy who didn't speak up, he was loud, he was there, he took up space. He was only seventeen, still living with the Washington's, still continuing his education. He seemed to be always moving, always doing something. He had absolutely no idea what he wanted to do, but it was just short of everything.

John had grown too. Taller than Alex, dark curls, almond eyes, and a set jaw. Freckles covered him from head to toe. He was toned, broad shoulders like his father but a cut waist. He was only seventeen, not quite grown into what he was, who he could be. He was still clumsy, trying to remember not to trip over his feet or knock down a vase. His adult teeth grew in, and he had mostly all of them, besides a back molar that got knocked out in a fight when he was sixteen.

John and Alex had remained friends. They didn't attend the same schools or even run with the same crowd, but they were friends. They would meet up after school and not come home until grace had been said and food and started to get eaten. John helped Alex with his French, which Alex didn't really need, but it was always fun for John to point at things and Alex to say what they were.

It didn't make total sense how they remained friends. A scrappy and often dirty Alex was looked down upon by John's school friends, but John never felt the need to ditch Alex. It was easy for the two of them to talk, to be together. They watched each other grow, and they quite enjoyed that.

"John Laurens," Alex mused, jumping down from the tree outside John's school. It was a warm April day in the year of our Lord, 1825, and Alex was feeling up to no good.

"Alexander," John smiled, approaching Alex, school uniform already wrinkled from the day. "What on earth could you be smiling about so late in the day?"

Alex shrugged, looking down at his feet and smiling. "Just thinking."

"Thinking what?"

"Thinking we should get into some trouble."

It was barely an hour later before they were hopping the fence to an apple orchard, one they weren't supposed to be in, and walking down a row, talking and laughing. Alex had his shoes in his hand since he liked the feeling of the dirt. John's frock coat was left by the fence and his shirt was unbuttoned a bit since the Paris air was warm that day. Alex managed to get them both apples as they continued walking, talking about the events of the day and other little things.

"Have you thought of university yet?" Alex asked.

John shook his head. "I don't believe I'll go. I'd rather be an artist, spend my days painting and drawing the Paris streets. University is overrated. None of my father's children before me have made it to this age, and I'm not going to waste my luck on more schooling. I have things I want to do."

"John, you are so morbid," Alex complained. "And your lack of work ethic is not very Calvinist of you."

John shook his hand. "Bah, you sound like my father."

Alex chuckled, taking a bite of his apple and then tossing it to the ground since he didn't really like apples.

"And what of you?"

"What of me?"

John laughed. "What of you? Have you thought of university?"

Alex let out a nervous chuckle, rubbing his arm. "Yes, actually."

"Where would you go?" John asked.

Alex paused, taking a breath, remembering what Martha said about being honest. "Uh, I actually am already going somewhere."

John almost stopped. "Oh? Where? Sorbonne? You always did like the campus."

"No." Alex looked at John. "I've been accepted to Humboldt university."

John hummed. "Where's that one again?"

"Germany."

John paused. "Germany?"

Alex nodded.

"You're going all the way to Germany?"

Another nod.

"Why?"

Alex shrugged. "Things are happening in Germany right now, John. The arts are happening in Germany." Alex stopped, grabbing John's hand. "You could come with me. You would love it, you could be an artist, you and I could live together."

John tried to smile, but his lips seemed firmly planted in their tugged down position. "Alex, I... I can't."

"Why not?"

"My mother, my siblings, my family. I can't leave them. I don't even know how you are baring to leave yours! Can schooling truly be more important?"

"John, there are things I want to know, things I want to learn." Alex swallowed hard. "There's more to this world than Paris, John. I promise. And Paris will still be here when you come back."

"I can't, Alex, and you know I can't."

Alex's shoulders slumped. "I wish you could."

John was quiet.

Alex looked back up, meeting his friend's eye. "You will write to me, right?"

"Yes, yes, of course." John smiled, though both knew it was forced. "I don't know how I'll live without you by my side, but I'll survive, yes?"

"Yes, you will." Alex smiled softly. "I do wish you would come."

John nodded.

"But, I do not leave for another three months, so we will have time together." Alex squeezed John's hand, taking a deep breath. "I will write to you as soon as I am able when I get to Germany, alright?"

"Do not fall in love over there."

"Why not, Laurens?" Alex chuckled, walking again.

"Because I fear if you fall in love I may never see you again."

Alex tilted his head back and laughed. "I do not think you have much reason to fear, John. German women are too tight for me. It's much easier to find a good loose woman in Paris. You know I can not stand my woman tight."

"You crave the pink flower of womanhood yet you reject the freshly bloomed bud, and relish in what wilts with age." John sighed wistfully, with a tone of sarcasm. "How the aged wine of a woman tastes when it is not the fresh juice of a girl."

Alex smiled. "You have not had wine nor juice, have you not?"

"Alexander, you know very well the answer to that question," John scoffed.

"Promise me, promise me, John, that you will taste the fine wine of the floor of womanhood before I return from Germany. Do you promise?"

John paused, running his tongue over his teeth. "Why do you need me to have intercourse with a woman?"

"Because I do, John. I do. I need to know you've thrust your cock into the flower of womanhood and felt your own sweet release before I get back from my education," Alex sighed dramatically. "If I could watch, I would."

"You would watch!" John laughed.

"Yes, I would." Alex smiled.

John rolled his eyes. "I do not know what I am to do when you leave. Who will be here to make me laugh as you do?"

"Oh, a face like that? You'll find someone, I promise." Alex let out a dreamy sigh. "I wrote more poetry today."

"May I hear it?"

Alex was already pulling a folded up piece of paper from his pocket. "I suppose."

"Don't play shy, you are just yearning to read your work aloud," John teased, bumping Alex. "Come on then, let me hear it. Do not leave me waiting."

"Oh, how the summer crisp air of childhood fades, and the winter gloom of an old age grow. Oh, how we set down our books and our trades, seeing the sun get low. I am no stranger to the feeling of death, it comes and goes as it should. I seem to block out all of the rest, and bury myself as I would. Do not blame me if I cannot sing, my voice is much to warn to bring, the sweetest kiss of happiness. Oh, here comes my sullen spring."

John smiled. "And what's this one called?"

"Summer Crisp," Alex decided. "Why do you never write poetry?"

"Bah, I find it mind-numbing to write, but I like listening to yours." John smiled. "When you are gone, promise me you'll send back a poem or two now and then."

"I promise," Alex nodded.

John let out a sigh, hoping Alex didn't pick up the sad tone it held. "Well, come now, let's see how close we can get to the house before that old shrew of a farmer attempts to stick us, yes?"

"Sounds wonderful."

The day of Alex's departure came too soon. John almost wanted to cry as he watched Alex load up his trunk in a carriage that the Laurens family loaned to the Washington's for this occasion. Alex was dressed in a felt blue coat, with fresh and new clothes George had tailored for this exact occasion. Alex needed to look sophisticated when he was in college, and George wasn't about to let his son look any less than that.

"Dear John, you look as though you may cry," Alex commented, stepping down from the back of the carriage. "It will only be a few years, and then I'll be back."

"Yes, I know, but... Oh, Alex, I'll miss you."

Alex smiled softly, taking John's hand. "Write to me. Tell me how home is, and I'll tell you what Germany is like." Alex stepped closer, making sure his father was busy talking to Henry, before leaning in and lowering his voice. "Please, check on my family now and then. I do worry about them. I told my sisters to come home when they can, but please, if you have a spare moment, do stop by and write to me how they are. My father would never admit it if they had begun to struggle."

"I will. And if they do start to struggle, I can help."

Alex took John's hand and squeezed it. "Thank you, John Laurens. You are truly my closest friend."

John smiled sadly. "Have fun in Germany, Alexander."

"I will."

John watched Alex's carriage disappear into the evening, blissfully unaware he was not to see his friend until the summer of 1834, nine years later.

 

Chapter Text

May 1834

Alex scratched his goatee, sighing a bit as his horse pulled him and his cart through town. It had been years since he had seen the Parisian streets. They seemed just as dirty. Alex’s frock coat had been abandoned, and his white billowing shirt unbuttoned a bit. People gave him a side-eye. His German-style saddle and the stocky horse stood out among the crowd. His books in German, Latin, and English were foreign to the streets. Even his clothes, made by German tailors, looked different than the sleek and tight French fashion. He was a foreigner in the town he grew up in, but he supposed he had always been.

The streets of the Villette were almost the same. A new shop here, a new apartment building there. It was strange. He used to know these streets better than he knew himself, but now they seemed alien. None of the faces were the same, no one recognized him. He was a stranger again. He was new.

“Who are you, boy?” A voice called out. “We don’t take to Germans around here.”

Alex turned, smiling a bit when he realized it was Auguste Mailer, the old crotchety man who had lived in the neighborhood for years. “Hello, Mr. Mailer, it has been quite a few years.”

“And who do you think you are, addressing me?” Aguste gasped, standing up and leaning on his cane.

“I’m George’s boy. I’ve been off at University in Germany, but I’ve returned home,” Alex explained. “How have you been?”

Mr. Mailor smiled. “Well, Alex, it is very good to see you again. I’ve been doing well. My bitch of a wife died!”

“Well, congratulations,” Alex nodded. “I must be headed home, I haven’t seen my father in just short of nine years. Goodbye, Mr. Mailer.”

“Goodbye, Alex.”

Alex continued his trek until there it was. Two stories, clean and tidy, with a little garden out in front. Alex stopped, getting off his horse and looking at the house. Flowers bloomed throughout the yard. Alex approached the door, finding there was a note.

‘Alexander, if you arrived before we return, do not fret. We are in the market. Come inside, make yourself some tea, we should be home by three.’

Alex pulled out his pocket watch, seeing it was only two-thirty, then walked back to his horse. “Hey, girl, you’re gonna wait here while I put my stuff away, and then I’m gonna take you to the stables, alright?”

The horse, Deutsche, snorted, nudging Alex’s body with her head.

“There we go, good girl.” Alex wrapped her reins around a fence post and then began to bring his stuff inside. Over the years he had been gone, he had gotten stronger. He was no longer just bone. His body was toned, with defined muscle and strength. His books were no longer a load to him, just something to carry.

He brought his stuff into his old bedroom and sighed, looking around. A vase of dead flowers stood on his desk. His walls were still a faded white. He expected more dust but knew Martha probably came in and dusted once a week, just like she did when he was there. Alex smiled, looking at a small sketch of a portrait of his family, still hanging up, then went back down to get his other things.

Alex’s father and mother returned just as Alex was sitting down for some tea. His mother came through the door with a basket in her arms, but almost dropped it when she saw her son, sitting at the table.

“Mama!” Alex gasped, standing up. He took the basket from her, setting it on the table, before pulling her into a tight hug.

“My boy!” Martha replied, smiling as she ran her hand over his hair. “Oh, my goodness! Look at you! Look at how you’ve grown!” Martha held him at arm's length. “You’re hair! And look at your beard!” Martha turned to George, who was standing in the doorway, smiling. “George, look at our son!”

George stepped into the kitchen, smiling and taking Alex into a tight hug. “I missed you, son.”

“I missed you too, dad.” Alex smiled. “Come, let's all sit. The tea is still hot, I have so much to tell you.”

“Yes, yes, are you hungry? Let me take out some cheese and bread.” Martha pulled out some brie and day-old bread, and the three sat down, sipping tea and eating the food. “Alexander, tell us everything.”

Alex smiled. “Germany was amazing. The people there are so different from the people here. The scenery is so…” Alex sat back and sighed dreamily. “And the education was, it was amazing.”

“How many different ones did you get?” Martha joked.

“I dabbled in everything for my first three years.” Alex chuckled nervously. “I wasn’t as devoted to my studies as I should’ve been, but every semester I switched my major, trying something new. Then, one night, in a bar, I mean a man named Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling, he’s a philosopher, and he began talking to me about philosophy, and I fell in love. I switched my major to philosophy and never got bored. It was such an interesting class, I could’ve taken it forever.”

“It felt like you did,” Martha chuckled. “Did you make friends? George and I were so worried you’d be lonely.”

“At first, yes, but I met several people through pubs and classes. I have promised to write to them as soon as I am settled.”

George smiled. “And what of John? Did you stay well in contact with him?”

Alex shifted. “Not as great as I could’ve. I got busy, and letters got short. But it matters not, because I am back, and I am sure that he is still here. I asked him to come, you know, but he said he needed to stay with his family. How is the Laurens family, by the way?”

George’s face went sullen. “Both James and Elanor Laurens passed away. Elanor died of typhus, and James fell from a tree, splitting his head.” George perked up a bit. “But Martha, John’s oldest sister, she moved to the Americas for whatever reason. Education or something. Henry Jr. is working with his father on the family business, and doing quite well. Mary is just shy of sixteen, and her studies are going well.”

“And what of John?” Alex asked hopefully. “Is he well?”

“Oh, yes, John is very well. He got his master's in geometry and is working as an architect for the upper class. He lived by the river, in his own apartment in Monnaie. You remember where Monnaie is, yes?” George gave Alex a questioning look.

“Yes! I know my way about Paris, it’s only been nine years,” Alex laughed.

“I am going to the Laurens estate tomorrow, and I’m sure John will be there, he often is. You are welcome to join me,” Washington offered.

“Yes, that sounds wonderful,” Alex smiled. “I won’t have to ride in the cart. While I was in Germany, I won a horse named Deutsche in a game of poker. I have put her in the stables for the night since she was awfully tired.”

“What kind of name is Deutsche?” Martha laughed.

“It means Germany in German,” Alex replied. “I didn’t pick it, it was a drunk and an idiot who had her before me. Should’ve seen her, she was skinny as a bone, but I fattened her up a bit, gave her some grooming. She’s a good horse, not skittish at all.” Alex laughed. “Remember Alfred?”

“That horse was afraid of his own shadow!” Washington laughed.

“And he just about killed you,” Martha complained. “Bucked you off, right into O’Haires pigpen. We’re lucky those smelly bastards only got a chunk out of you.”

Alex laughed, looking down at his arm where the big pig bite scar still remained. Oh, he remembered how he cried and cried, and how much it hurt when Martha had to pour hot water on it and bandage it as tight as she could. “This horse wouldn’t hurt me in a million years. Got a real sweet nature about her.”

“Oh, Alex.” Martha leaned forward, taking his hand. “You look so grown up. I can’t get over how grown up my son looks. George, he looks like a full adult, don’t you agree?”

George smiled. “Yes, he does, Martha.”

“Mama, Papa,” Alex groaned.

“Oh hush, you’ve been gone just under a decade, we’re allowed to gush.” Martha stood up. “Dinner will be at five, Francis will be here, but Martha is off in America, as you know, with her husband. Go, run yourself a bath, rest for a moment if you need to.”

“And shave!” George prodded, smiling a bit.

Alex gasped, placing his hand on his chest. “I happen to like my beard.”

“It’s a goatee. Now, run along, clean up.” Martha smiled, kissing Alex’s cheek. “I’m happy to have you back, my son.”

“I’m happy to be back, Mama.” Alex got up, making his way outside to the well to get some water for a small bath. He wasn’t in the mood to lounge for hours in lukewarm water, seeing as he was tired, so he gave himself a quick sponge bath, washing up, Washington his hair and making sure he smelt a bit nicer, not like the barn he paid to take shelter in the night before when it started to rain.

He spritzed a bit of perfume on himself, then put on his nightshirt. He was tired. He had been up since three in the morning, which is when the rain stopped, and he wanted to rest for at least an hour, which he had.

Alex fell onto his bed, closing his eyes, and falling asleep almost instantly.

He awoke the next day to sunlight streaming through the window. He sat up, rubbing his eyes, then got dressed, coming downstairs. “Is dinner ready?”

Francis, Alex’s sister, laughed. “It’s nice to know that he’s still the same person as he was.”

“Hey, Franky.” Alex leaned down, hugging her and kissing her cheek. “How are you?”

“I’m well, not much different from last we saw each other.” Francis hummed, leaning back. “Ma! Alex is awake!”

Martha came bustling into the kitchen from outside. “Dear Lord, it’s about time. You slept through dinner and breakfast.”

Alex blinked, staring at the table. “I did?”

“Yes, you were so tired, we thought it best not to wake you.” Martha poured some tea for Alex and then set it down, as well as a place with a scone on it. “Here, eat up. Your father has sent word to Henry, asking John to be there when you two arrive. He’s in the stables now, grooming the horses.”

“John is in our stable?” Alex asked.

“No, silly, George is,” Martha laughed.

Francis smiled. “Alex, has much changed for you in these three months?”

“Three months, it’s been nine years, Francis!” Martha gasped.

“No, no, in my travels, I’ve managed to stop by Germany every now and then. Alex and I have remained caught up. I got to see what kind of trouble he gets into when he’s not in Paris.” Francis laughed. “It’s enough to make you clutch your rosary beads, Ma.”

“Hush up,” Alex gasped.

“I do not want to know,” Martha decided. “Alex, did they feed you much in Germany? You look too skinny.”

“The country of Germany was not responsible for my eating habits, I assure you, Ma. And I ate well enough, I just was moving a fair amount. My campus was large, and I had several classes.” Alex chuckled. “Besides, what’s dinner when you could have a pint at the pub?”

Martha smacked the back of Alex’s head. “I want to hear no such thing coming from the mouth of my son. Did you continue to go to church? Or did Germany turn you into a Godless drunk?”

“Don’t worry Ma, I went to church. Me and my friends would show up with pounding heads and alcohol on our breath, but we would be there.” Alex smiled cheekily.

“And I sure hope you used confession wisely,” Martha huffed. “I told George you were to become a drunk if you went to Germany.”

“Ah, hush Martha, he looks fine,” George smiled, walking into the kitchen. “Morning, son. Stressing your mother out this early, I assume?” He laughed. “Martha, I promise, our son is no Godless drunk. He’s just fine.” George sat down. “So, tell me, Alexander, what do you plan to do with a philosophy major?”

“Write,” Alex decided. “I want to be a poet.”

“You’ve always been a fair writer.” Washington nodded. “We will leave for the Laurens family estate in two hours. For now, do you wish to help me in the stables? Your horse is being uncooperative.”

Alex stood up. “Yes, of course. She takes a while to warm up to you. She’d hardly let me touch her for a week.” Alex went to slip on his shoes. “Francis, how long will you be in town?”

“Oh, a week or so. I’m headed down to Italy after that to work in a hospital for a little while. And you?”

“We’ll see what happens,” Alex smiled. He and George walked back out to the stables and Alex began to brush out Deutsche’s mane. “How have you all been with money?”

“We’ve been just fine, Alexander. You worry far too much.” George chuckled, grooming his own horse. “And how have you been with money?”

“I’ve picked up side jobs. I worked as a typesetter for the paper for a while, and that paid good money. I’ve been fine too.” Alex picked up a handful of feed, putting it under Deutsche’s mouth and smiling as she began to eat it. “There’s my good girl. So pretty, pretty girl.”

“Speaking of pretty girls, is there someone back in Germany who caught your eye?” George asked. “Someone like Kitty Livingston?”

“I fancied her for a month!” Alex laughed. “And no, no one special. German girls lack what Parisian girls have.”

“And what do Parisian girls have that German girls lack?” George mused.

“Breasts,” Alex stated. “Parisian girls have breasts that can barely stay in their dresses, while German girls are flat as paper.”

“Lord, you are vulgar. You’re lucky your mother can’t hear you right now,” George chuckled. “But really, no one special?”

Alex shook his head. “No. I was invited over for dinner by several of my female classmates, but their fathers never liked me.”

“Why is that?” George mused.

“Because I was a charmer to every lady at the table,” Alex smiled.

George rolled his eyes. “You be polite when we go to the Laurens estate, and you stay away from Mary. She is far too young for you.”

“That talk will make me sick. I’ve known Mary since she was a baby, I don’t think I could stomach the idea of being intimate with her.” Alex smiled at Deutsche, who was bumping him with her head. “She wants to go for a ride.” Alex pet her snout. “A few more hours, girl.”

“Your mother is going to want children from you eventually. You’re twenty-six, marriage should be on your mind.”

Alex groaned. “Why should it be? I have so many other things to think about. I’d rather make love to a rattlesnake than get married right now.”

“You are so finicky, Alexander,” George chuckled. “Come, I’m sure your mother needs help with the garden, and you could do with some work that will get your hands dirty. Your clothes are far too crisp for Paris.”

A few hours went by, and finally, Alex was saddling up Deutsche to ride to the Laurens estate. The horse was excited, neighing and barely holding still enough for Alex to strap in her saddle. Finally, though, he was able to and brought her out where George was attaching his horse, Beau, to the small cart.

“Are you excited to see an old friend, Alex?” George asked.

Alex nodded. “Yes. I feel as though it’s been far too long since I’ve spoken to him. Sadly, we lost contact, but I hope that I’m back in Paris, we can become friends again. I do hope he’s not too upset about the time I was gone.”

“He’s not, I assure you. He misses you more than anything,” George replied. “Come on, let’s go.”

Alex put on his frock coat and mounted his horse. The ride probably didn’t take that long, but it felt like hours to Alex. He was anxious, antsy. He wanted to see the friend he missed so dearly. He wanted to see John again.

Oh, how he had spent many nights thinking of John. The only way he could picture John was as a clumsy eighteen year old, with ears that stick out far too much and arms that he didn’t have full control over. He could only see his skinny disproportionate John and wanted to know if he was the same, or if he had finally grown into the man he was.

“Tell me about the July revolution,” Alex requested. “Was it harmful to you?”

“Oh, no, of course not. We locked our door and closed our windows at night, and soon enough, we had a new king. I do not mind him, but you know me, I’ve never been too interested in politics. Too tiring.”

“Ah, yes. I heard much about it in Germany.” Alex chuckled. “They would always poke fun at France, saying we had a revolution every time we got bored.”

George laughed. “They may be right.”

The Laurens estate was as beautiful as ever. It was a big, multi-story house with a large yard. Alex snuck through this yard to John’s room twice a week as a kid, usually with a bottle of wine he nicked off his parent's liquor shelf.

Alex smiled, helping his father grab the fabric and other things. The two began walking to the door, and Alex could feel anxiety in his chest. What if John was mad? Alex, truthfully, didn’t mean to lose contact, didn’t mean to be gone that long, but things just happened. He needed to finish his education, he needed to see something besides Paris. John could understand that, right? Oh, Alex hoped so.

Washington knocked, and a few seconds later, Henry Laurens answered. “George, George, come in! How good it is to see you!” Henry laughed, inviting his friend in. “And I’ll be damned, there he is! You told me Alex was coming back, but it had been so long, I almost didn’t believe you!” Henry laughed a bit booming laugh. “Look at you, son. You look fully grown! I didn’t think you could grow up, but here you are!”

“Hello, Mr. Laurens,” Alex smiled, setting down the fabric on a table.

“How was Germany?” Henry asked.

“It was wonderful. My education was long but very worth it.” Alex smiled, looking around a bit.

“I know who you want to see,” Henry laughed. “Go upstairs, he should be somewhere. He hasn’t been back home for a while, so he wanted to look around. Lives in an apartment now-”

“By the river, yes,” Alex nodded. “My father caught me up a bit.”

George smiled. “Go find John.”

Alex nodded. “It was nice to see you. Mr. Laurens.”

“It was nice to see you too, Alexander.”

Alex walked upstairs slowly, taking off his frock coat and slinging it over his shoulder. The stairs were just as he remembered. The house was just as he remembered. It felt like nothing had changed. Like people had moved forward everywhere but here. Like, when Alex left, time stopped until he came back.

Alex stepped into the library, running his fingers along the spines of the books. Same as always, same order, same colors. It looked like a painting almost. Alex picked one up, flipping through it, before setting it back down. He felt like a stranger. He felt out of place. He had been feeling like that ever since he arrived back in Paris. Like he didn’t belong here anymore. He felt as though any minute now, he was going to be banished.

“And just who do you think you are?” A voice pierced the silence, sounding almost angry.

Alex jumped, turning around to see who was scolding him. In the doorway stood a man, tall, with a broad build. Long curly black hair tied up. A long dark coat, sleek tight pants, a shirt that fit his form. He had warm, summer brown skin, with freckles, dotted all over his face and hands.

Upon seeing Alex’s face, the man softened. “I know you.”

Alex smiled, setting down on his coat on a nearby table. “Hello, John.”

John paused in the doorway, staring Alex up and down. “Is it really you?”

Alex looked down at himself. “Yes, yes, I think so.”

“You look different.”

“It’s been nine years. And it’s humorous that you, the pot, are calling me, the kettle, black. Have you looked into a mirror lately?” Alex chuckled.

John stayed quiet. “You were gone for a very long time.”

“I know.”

John looked around for a moment. “Are you staying?”

Alex nodded.

“Do you promise?”

“I promise, John.” Alex smiled. “I missed you.”

John walked over, pulling Alex into a tight hug. “I missed you too.”

Alex let out a deep breath. It had been so long since he had touched his friend, and God, it felt good. The way John’s strong chest pressed against his own, the way John smelt, the way he held Alex. It was reminiscent of their childhood.

“John, what are you-” Alex was cut off when John swept Alex’s legs a bit, dropping him to the floor and pinning him down. “John!”

“Come on, Hamilton, you gonna make me let you win?” John teased.

“Let me win? Ha!” Alex hit his knee against John’s ribs, jerking his hands out of John’s grasp and flipping the two of them, squeezing John’s hips with his thighs, holding down John’s hand. They knocked over a table in the process, but neither of them cared. “Come on Laurens, you know you can beat me. Give up.”

“Oh, you wish.” John leaned his head up, smiling. “You underestimate me, Alexander.” In seconds, he had the two flipped back. This time, John’s knees were pinning down Alex’s thighs, and his grip on Alex’s wrists were unbreakable. “You sound like a German.”

Alex laughed. “I’ve been speaking that language and only that language for about nine years, so yes, I assume I probably do.”

John smiled softly. “God, Alex.” He shook his head, staring down at his friend. “I missed you so much.” John got off of Alex, sitting on the floor. “Tell me everything.”

“Everything? Everything is a lot,” Alex pointed out, sitting up. “You might have to buy me a pint first.”

“You can’t buy your own pints?” John chuckled.

“I’m a philosophy major who’s been in town for less than twenty-four hours, of course, I can’t buy my own pints.” Alex laughed. “I heard you are working as an architect. What happened to your dreams of being an artist?”

“I am an artist.”

“Not a real one. You do it for other people. That’s not art.”

John laughed. “And I suppose your fancy German education makes you the overseer of what real art is, yes?”

Alex nodded. “Yes, it does, actually.”

John stood up, helping Alex up. “Come, if we leave now, we can beat the crowd.”

“Yes, it’s the perfect time to start drinking, seeing as it is…” Alex pulled out his pocket watch. “One in the afternoon.”

“Well you have to tell me everything, don’t you? How will we have time if we start later in the night?” John asked.

Alex hummed, pulling on his frock coat. “Yes, that is a fair point. I do not think my father would mind if I left.”

John laughed. “You’re twenty-six, Alex, you don’t need your father's permission.”

“Fair point.”

The two of them walked downstairs, mentioning little things as they stumbled over their own feet. John found his frock coat by the door, slipping it on. “Father! Alexander and I are to get a pint together!”

“Yes, you both have fun!” Henry called back from the living room.

Alex walked over, sticking his head in the living room to see George and Henry drinking tea together. “Pa, I’ll be home late tonight or early tomorrow, tell Ma not to worry.”

“Be safe, son,” George smiled.

Alex nodded and rejoined John, walking outside. “Did you take a horse or did you walk?”

“I walked. Why? Do you have a horse now?” John laughed.

Alex gently elbowed John. “Yes, that brown furry one, right there. I’m sure my father will be fine with taking her home.”

“That’s a very German horse. Why don’t we just bring her to the stables near my apartment? She can spend the night with my horse.” John smiled. “And then, if you stay at my place, you won’t have to stumble home with no horse.”

“Yes, you have your own apartment now.” Alex took the reins of his horse and began walking with her. “What is it like?”

“It’s… refreshing. I’m glad I’m out of the house. It was too big, not enough people in it anymore. I used to love how big it was as a kid, but now…” John shook his head, letting out a small sad chuckle. “Now I can’t stand it.”

Alex clapped John’s shoulder. “You sound like you could use a pint more than anyone.”

John nodded. “You have no idea, Alexander.”

 

Chapter Text

“And so, so there I am, lying in the back of a pigpen, in nothing but my drawers and my stockings, and here comes along my professor, drunk as a skunk, and he looks at me and says ‘looks like you’ve got yourself into quite a situation, my friend’ like I’m not surrounded by a bunch of murderous brutes!” Alex threw his head back, laughing. “I managed to get out with my life!”

“Nothing like that time you got bucked into a pigpen,” John teased. “They got a good chunk out of you at that time!”

“Oh, hush up!” Alex leaned into John more as they walked down the Paris streets. “Where are we going, John? I am afraid I have no idea.”

“We’re going to my apartment,” John decided. “I think that has been where we were always going.” John thought. “Yes, because this is usually the way I take home from the pub.”

“What is your apartment like? Messy no doubt. You were a messy boy, John,” Alex laughed.

“Me? That’s rich coming from you.”

The two of them were drunk, very drunk, walking home from the pub at ten. They had spent hours there, drinking and talking. Earlier, they just sipped their beers, letting them go warm as they talked, but as the night grew darker and the pub filled up, they started drinking more, faster. They caught up, talked about every little thing. Despite the pub filling up, they had more privacy than most, seeing as their table was far in the back.

John had kept his arm around Alex the whole night and Alex loved it. He had missed John so much, and he didn’t want to stop touching the man. The whole night he could smell John’s cologne, the liquor on his breath. He could see every freckle, every little detail of John’s face. The way the hair on John’s upper lip and chin could barely grow, the way John’s dimples poked out when he smiled.

“Yes, this is where I live. Come in, come in.” John smiled, pulling Alex into an apartment building. “I’m on the third floor. I can put on some tea if you want, I’m not exactly tired yet, and I’d like to talk to you a little longer.”

“Tea, yes, tea sounds wonderful,” Alex nodded. “In Germany, they would always throw a shot of whiskey into the tea, and the first time I had it, I choked!” Alex laughed, walking with John up the stairs. “I thought I had died!”

“Christ, whiskey in tea? It sounds like something those Germans would make up. Were you only surrounded by them? I’ve found the few German people I’ve met to be quite loud and brutish, and I would hope you haven’t just lived your last ten years around personalities like that.” John got to his door and opened it, letting Alex in first.

“This is nice,” Alex complimented, looking around. “Not as messy as I expected.”

“Sit down, sit down,” John laughed. “I’ll put on the tea.”

Alex plopped himself down in a chair. “No, it was not just Germans. I met a man from Sweden, and then another from England. Asked how he felt about losing the Americas. Said he could care less.”

John laughed. “You know, good Americans, when they die, they go to France.”

“Oh?” Alex mused, cocking an eyebrow. “And where do bad Americans go?”

John turned, smiling. “They go to America.”

Alex tilted his head back, cackling. “Lord, John, you better not let an American hear that! I’ve met several oh if you think Germans are bad. That country is doomed. I say it’s too fall into chaos in the next ten years. At least in our lifetime.”

“Have you so little faith?” John teased, sitting down.

“Any country that values labor over human rights is doomed,” Alex decided, lounging back on his chair and slipping off his frock coat. “Tell me, John Laurens, did you make love to a woman while I was gone? Did you plunge your cock deep into her precious flower, feel her around you? Did you taste her sweet juices? Feel her warmth? Feel your own sweet release and you thrust forward your hips into pure bliss?”

“Good Lord, aren’t you a Catholic?” John gasped.

“I am, but the way a woman feels around me.” Alex closed his eyes, letting out a sound from his throat and tilting his head back. “It’s beautiful. So tell me, John, did you uphold our promise? Did you lay with a woman?”

John stood up, fetching the now boiling water. “Yes, Alexander, I kept my promise.”

“And how was it? Was it just as splendid as I can imagine?” Alex laughed. “Was she a brunette? A blonde? A redhead? Tell me, describe her to me.”

“She was tall, with a bit of a gut. Long curly brown hair, large thighs, and breasts, light brown skin, with wide lips. Why do you care?” John asked.

“Oh, because I want to picture you with her.” Alex laughed, taking a deep breath. “How did you do it? Was she on her back, you on top of her? Or did you get her on her hands and knees, pounding into her from behind? What was it like?”

“She was on top of me,” John mumbled shyly.

“Oh, yes!” Alex laughed, looking at John. “I can almost see it. Tell me, John, did you feel your own sweet release? Was it beautiful?”

“How am I to know if it was beautiful?” John laughed.

“You just are,” Alex shrugged.

John paused, setting the tea down on the table. “If you must know, I did feel my own release, but not into her flower, no.”

“Then where?” Alex asked, eyes wide.

“Her throat.”

Alex threw his head back in a fit of laughter. “Yes!”

John scoffed, pouring Alex some tea. “I do not see why it is so important to you, whether or not I have laid with a woman.”

“Because when I was alone at night in Germany, I would close my eyes and picture you laying with a woman, and I would touch myself so I did not feel as lonely.”

John scoffed. “You are telling stories.”

“Am I?”

“You are.”

Alex laughed. “Maybe I am, John Laurens.”

“It seems only fair that since you asked me about my frolics around town, I get to ask you who you laid with in Germany.” John smiled. “How many?”

“Too many to remember,” Alex sighed dramatically. “I took up a lover for several years.”

John gave Alex a curious look.

“I did not fall in love since I promised you I would come back, but yes, they were a lover. We laid together many nights, oh, God, the way he’d touch me, and-”

“He?”

“What?”

“You said he.”

Alex’s eyes widened. “I did?”

John nodded.

“Oh, Lord. I meant she. I apologize, I must still be drunk.” Alex laughed a bit. “I should drink some tea to sober up.”

John smiled. “Yes, yes. So really, there was no one you fell in love with?”

Alex shook his head. “I knew if I fell in love, I would never come back, and I wanted to come back and see you again.”

John smiled softly. “I’m glad you came back, Alexander. I missed you very much. For a very long time, I thought you might never return.”

“I do not blame you.” Alex chuckled. “If I had known what I wanted to do, I would’ve been back sooner, but I just kept… I kept switching majors, changing my classes. Do you know how many credits I have?” Alex laughed. “I just… kept switching until I found something right for me. Of course, that took about three years.”

“Where did you stay for the summers?” John asked.

“My lovers home,” Alex smiled. “It was us and a few other people we knew. They all called me sweetlips because I spoke German with a French accent.” Alex laughed. “Oh, I think you would’ve liked my German friends, John Laurens. I think you all would’ve gotten along splendidly.”

John laughed. “Maybe.”

“Now, you must tell me, how are my parents really doing? They would never tell me in a million years, but you did check on them, yes?”

John nodded. “They are truly, doing well. More than anything, they missed you.”

Alex smiled softly, sipping his tea. “John, I must tell you, I heard of what happened to your mother and brother. I truly am sorry. They were both wonderful people.”

John swallowed hard and looked down. “You know, the reason I don’t live at home anymore, it’s because I couldn’t. My brother, he, he was under my watch the day he died and I just, I couldn’t face my dad anymore. I can barely look him in the eye during Sunday dinners.”

Alex sighed softly. “I’m sorry, John.”

John looked up, smiling almost. “It’s okay. It’s better now that you’re here.”

Alex chuckled.

“Now, you must tell me, where are you living? You cannot just stay with your parents,” John asked.

Alex shrugged. “I haven’t found any more of interest.”

“Come stay with me.”

Alex looked up. “Stay with you?”

John nodded, smiling eagerly. “Yes, yes. I missed you, Alex, and I would truly love to have you stay with me.” John stood up, pulling Alex into another room. “This is the only bedroom, but we could share the bed. We’ve done it before. You could live here and write your poems, yes?”

“John, I couldn’t possibly ask this of you,” Alex chuckled.

“You’re not.” John smiled. “Please, I would love to not be so lonely all the time.”

Alex sighed, walking around the room before falling back on the bed. “How would your Protestant church feel about you sharing a bed with a Catholic?”

“I think there’s no harm in not telling them,” John replied, falling onto the bed next to Alex. “Besides, think about it, you’d have the house to yourself most of the day, I would be making enough money to where you wouldn’t have to work if you didn’t wish too. We could drink and laugh all night. No more sneaking through yards to be together.”

Alex smiled, turned his head to look at John. “You are sure you want me to live with you?”

John nodded. “Yes, yes, I am sure. Never been more sure of anything.”

Alex laughed. “I bet you have.”

“What do you think I’ve been more sure of?” John asked, smiling at Alex.

Alex took a deep breath, looking at John’s face. “You were sure about staying here, not coming with me.”

John sighed. “Are you still hurt I didn’t come?”

“I just missed you.” Alex swallowed hard. “I missed you so much, John.”

“I missed you too.” John brushed Alex’s cheek with his fingertips. “I would’ve regretted coming. My mother would’ve died without me close to her.”

Alex nodded. “I’m sorry I did not come back for the funeral. I got no word of it. My father did not write of it, and neither did you.”

“You would not have wanted to come, it was a sad affair.”

“I would’ve liked to be there for you, John Laurens, and it would’ve been nice to see your face again.” Alex sighed. “I suppose it matters not though.”

“It does not.” John chuckled. “Are you hungry? I have just realized we did not get a bite for dinner.”

Alex nodded, sitting up. “Yes, John, I do believe I am.”

John stood, walking out of his room. “Come, I’ll pull out some bread and jam.”

“That would be wonderful, John Laurens.” Alex followed John back into the kitchen, downing the now cold tea. “Is there anything else that is new with you? We can’t have talked it all in one night.”

John hummed, laying out some bread and jam, as well as some cheese. “Not much that I can think of at the moment. I’m working, I’m living well. I have no lover, and you know of my family. Not much has happened.”

“You are much more handsome than the last time I saw you,” Alex pointed out. “And now that you’ve grown your hair out, your ears don’t look as if they stick out as much as I know they do. You’re much stronger, at least you look it, and you seem to have grown into yourself.”

“You still haven’t grown into your nose,” John snicker.

Alex gasped, bringing his hand to his face. “How rude!”

John laughed, tilting his head back.

“In Germany, they called me Schnabel,” Alex laughed.

“Why so?”

“Because it means beak in German.”

John smiled. “I think Schnabel suits you.”

Alex raised an eyebrow. “Oh? Do you? How kind.”

John sighed, leaning back, and Alex couldn’t help but stare at the man for a moment. The way John’s shirt fell open just a bit and Alex could see the start of John’s firm chest, almost hairless. The way John’s eyes scanned the room, as if he was checking to make sure everything was normal, and this wasn’t a dream. His hair cascaded over his shoulders, his lips were curved upwards in the most beautiful way.

“My Lord, John,” Alex started. “You are absolutely stunning.”

John tilted his head back, laughing. “You flatter me too much, I am afraid, Alexander.”

“I do not think it is possible for a man such as yourself to be flattered too much, I think, if anything, you are not being flattered enough.” Alex took a bite of bread with cheese. “It must not have been hard to find a woman, yes?”

“It was not.” John reached forward, beginning to spread some jam on bread. “I simply said a few words to the woman I fancied most and she was mine. Some open their legs too easily.”

Alex scoffed. “A man is free to do what he pleases, but the moment a woman opens her legs, it’s too much. You, my friend, are a victim of your own circumstances.”

“And who do you think you are to be preaching to me?” John smiled mischievously and took another bite of his bread. “You’re just a Catholic.”

“Just a Catholic.” Alex shook his head. “And to think I am actually choosing to live with a Protestant scum like you.”

For a moment it was quiet, John and Alex just staring at each other, trying not to laugh, then John spoke up. “Do you remember the song we would sing as kids?”

“Which one?” Alex mused.

“You remember, it went…” John paused, thinking. “Here's a health to the King and a lasting peace. To faction an end, to wealth increase. Come, let us drink it while we have breath, for there's no drinking after death.”

Alex nodded, standing up. “And he that will this health deny, down among the dead men, down among the dead men! Down, down, down, down; Down among the dead men let him lie!”

John stood up, hooking his arm with Alex as they began to dance and sing together. “Let charming beauty's health go round, with whom celestial joys are found. And may confusion yet pursue that selfish woman-hating crew. And he who'd woman's health deny, down among the dead men, down among the dead men! Down, down, down, down; Down among the dead men let him lie!” They both laughed, stomping and dancing on the ground as they sang. “In smiling Bacchus' joys I'll roll, deny no pleasure to my soul. Let Bacchus' health round briskly move, for Bacchus is a friend to Love; And they that would this health deny-”

They were cut off by the sound of a broom hitting a floor and a muffled curse from the downstairs neighbor.

Alex looked at John, then burst out laughing. “Oh no!”

John let go of Alex’s arm, sitting back down. “I haven’t sung that since you left.”

“I believe I would’ve forgotten it entirely if you hadn’t brought it up,” Alex chuckled. “Oh, John, do you remember being kids? How we would steal apples and swim naked in the river?”

John nodded. “Do you remember coming to my family’s coastal home one summer? How we nicked a bottle of wine of the shelf one night and walked so far down the beach we could barely make it back before the tide came in.”

Alex leaned back, laughing. “Yes! And your mother could smell the liquor on our breaths and made us chew bar soap!”

“It was disgusting!” John smiled. “I would like to see that house with you again. I think we should go.”

Alex nodded. “I think we should too. Not soon though, it’s to get cold much too fast. Perhaps next summer, or the summer after it. We have all the time in the world, there’s no point in rushing.”

“We do have time, don’t we?” John chuckled. “I’m glad you are staying with me.”

“I am as well.” Alex looked down. “I have few belongings, so I do not think I will take up much space. It’s mostly books if I must be honest.”

“What books?” John asked.

“German books,” Alex nodded. “And Latin, which you should know, and a few novels in English. I learned English. What a ghastly language. Like eating sand.”

John laughed. “I heard most Americans speak it.”

“Fitting.”

John took another bite of cheese, thinking. “Did you learn much in Germany?”

“I learned everything in Germany.” Alex sat back, sighing. “I learned of the Italian renaissance, the art, so much art. I learned of the history of Europe, and I learned about other places too!” Alex smiled. “I spent several years taking classes on China.”

John perked up. “China?”

Alex nodded. “Yes, yes, China. Does that interest you?”

John seemed almost shy about it. “I have always wanted to go to China. It seems so beautiful from the stories I’ve heard from people who have been. I would love to go there on a voyage, something.”

“We should go, I would like to go as well.”

“What we should really do is go to bed,” John laughed. “Come, you may borrow a sleep shirt. It is far too late.”

Alex checked his watch. “God, it truly is.” He stood up, beginning to unbutton his shirt as the two of them walked into John’s room. “Your clothes will be far too big for me.”

“That’s alright.” John handed Alex a sleep shirt, before setting his own on his bed. “This will not be the first time you’ve worn my clothes to sleep.”

“Ah, yes.” Alex smiled, removing his shirt. “I suppose you’re right.”

He looked over at John, and his heart leaped into his throat. John was naked from the waist up, stretching a bit. His ribs jut out from his skin as he leaned back a bit, sighing upon the sound of a few pops. His arms were toned, his body had so many details, and Alex wanted to memorize all of them. The way John looked, the way his freckled shoulders popped, even in the moonlight. God, John was beautiful.

“Yes?” John laughed.

Alex was shaken from his trance. “What?”

“You’re staring at me with your mouth open like you have something to say,” John joked, slipping on the nightshirt before pulling off his pants.

“I’m just thinking, your clothes are much too tight.” Alex changed into the nightshirt quickly. “Why must they be so tight?”

“For the record,” John started. “It is a fashion here. I don’t know much about your German trends, but in France, we have a thing called expectations.”

“Oh, hush.” Alex looked at the singular bed. “Which side, dear John?”

John hummed. “Right.”

Alex climbed onto the left side, pulling the covers over himself and watching John put his clothes in the dirty bin. Alex let his nightshirt slip down his shoulder a bit, not caring about the cool room air. “In Germany,” he started. “It was always cold it seemed. I had to borrow a fur coat until I could buy my own.”

“You own a fur coat!” John laughed, climbing into the other side.

“Yes! The winters are colder in Germany. At least they felt colder. In Paris, I could always make do with felt, but oh, I needed furs to get by.” Alex rolled on his side, facing John. “You must understand, it was a necessity.”

“I’m sure it was.” John pulled his blanket up. “Come, let us sleep, and maybe the ache in our heads will not be too bad tomorrow.”

“Perhaps.” Alex reached out, touching John’s cheek. “Goodnight, John Laurens. I’m happy to be back home with you.”

John smiled, patting Alex’s hand. “I am happy you’re home with me too. Goodnight, Alexander.” 

 

Chapter Text

“Do you wish to come ride with me around Paris?” John asked, setting Alex’s trunk on the floor of his apartment. It was three days later and Alex had successfully moved in with John. Luckily, the Spaniard didn’t own much, so a trunk or two took up little space in John’s apartment. John had been shocked at the pure amount of books and journals Alex owned, in comparison to Alex’s other belongings. “My horse, he gets restless if I do not take him out every day, and the last time that happened, he kicked the stable boy, and I had to pay for the doctor.”

Alex nodded, finding a clean shirt. “That would be nice. I think Deutsche would appreciate it too. Where should we go?”

“Let’s head out of town a bit, let the horses run.” John looked over at Alex, who was slipping on some pants. “I must bring you to the tailor before the week is through. You cannot walk around like that.”

“Like what?” Alex gasped.

“Like that!” John tugged at the almost loose fabric of Alex’s pants. “Look at you! Your pants are so loose! You are going to look like an immigrant for the rest of your days unless you get some Paris clothing.”

“Well, in case you’ve forgotten, I am an immigrant.” Alex chuckled. “I’ll get new pants when I need them. I do not need to look like a Parisian just yet.”

“I will be ashamed if I am seen walking around with a blasted German!” John gasped, leaning back against the bed.

“And what will my pastor think? Seeing me with a Protestant. Oh, you Lutherans,” Alex replied, just as dramatically, as he slipped on his frock coat.

“For your information, I am a Calvinist, not a Lutheran, so I do beg your pardon.”

“You are all the same,” Alex scoffed, slipping on his shoes. “Tell me, John, what is really the difference between Lutheranism and Calvinism?”

“I do not care to know,” John groaned. “But I know the difference between Protestantism and Catholicism.”

Alex gave John an amused look. “Yes? Do tell me, what is the difference between Catholicism and Protestantism?”

John reached over and poked the cross hanging around Alex’s neck. “Corruption.”

Alex scoffed, smacking John’s hand away. “You are nothing but a scoundrel, you know that, John Laurens?”

John nodded, biting his lip. “Maybe I do, Alexander.”

“You can just call me Alex.”

John thought for a moment, then shook his head. “I like the sound of Alexander. Because it’s you.”

Alex looked down, smiling lightly. “Come on, John, I’m sure our horses are agitated enough. Let’s go take them for a ride.”

John nodded in agreement, and the two of them left the apartment, headed down for the stables. Alex found Deutsche and smiled, brushing her snout. “Hey, pretty girl. You wanna go for a ride? Huh?”

“Morning, Mr. Laurens!” A voice chimed.

Alex looked and saw a small boy, maybe about fourteen, waving from another stall.

“Oh, Alexander, this is Elias, he’s a stable boy Elias, this is Alexander, my new roommate, and oldest friend.” John pulled a few francs out of his pocket and handed them to Elias. “Get some lunch today, alright?”

“Yes, Mr. Laurens,” Elias replied.

“Be well.” John put his saddle on his horse, looking to Alex. “Your saddle looks so clunky.”

“If you say one more word about my German fashion, I will castrate you in your sleep,” Alex scoffed. “Besides, you might find that the German lifestyle would suit you better.”

John rolled his eyes, walking his horse out with Alex. “We can go to Germany, and I can prove to you that the German lifestyle is absolutely horrendous. You need to be in France for a little while though, remember why we are superior.”

Alex scoffed. “You sound like an American.”

“How rude,” John replied.

Alex pulled himself onto his horse. “Where should we go?”

“Just follow me.”

John began riding, and Alex followed him. They stayed in a steady trot until they got out of town, then sped up. The sound of horse hooves hitting the grass filled their ears as they went further out of town. Alex kept up with John easily. Deutsche was a fast horse, and even though John’s horse was much sleeker, Deutsche didn’t mind going fast. Back in Germany, Alex and his lover would race on their horses constantly. Alex remembered the way summer nights were spent sleeping on the grass, holding each other, laughing at the constellations and telling stories. It was a fond memory, but he didn’t miss it. He was exactly where he wanted to be. He loved the way John’s hair looked, blown back by the wind. Oh, Alex could’ve spent days just watching John. The way John laughed, looking back at Alex. If Alex was asked to personify the feelings of summer, John would be the perfect example. Oh, that warm brown skin, those freckles, the golden-green eyes, and long hair.

John slowed his horse, looking to Alex. “Let us rest for a moment. Hop down.”

Alex slowed his horse as well, hopping off and leading Deutsche to a tree where he wrapped her reins so she wouldn’t run off. John did the same and both of them laid down on the grass, feeling the sun hit their faces.

“I have work tomorrow,” John announced.

“You work?”

“Yes!” John laughed, reaching over and nudging Alex. “I do believe we’ve been over this.”

“Yes, yes, you are working.” Alex sighed. “Who are you seeing tomorrow?”

John shrugged. “Just a client. I’ll leave you some money for tomorrow, yes?”

“You mustn’t feel as if you are required to,” Alex pointed out. “If I wished to have money, I would find a job myself.”

“Hush. I do not need all of it. If you do not spend it, then I may as well be beheaded in our next revolution. I’m still surprised my aristocratic father managed to keep his attached to his shoulders.” John laughed. “I suppose we aren’t close enough to the bourgeoisie to get beheaded.”

“I’m glad you were not beheaded.” Alex sighed. “I feel as though France has a revolution every time things got stagnant.”

“Yes, and you were gone for far too long, so another revolution was had. We will not have another until after you leave, or perish.”

Alex laughed. “Well, I do not believe I will perish anytime soon, so let’s hope France gets some rest for once.”

John rolled on his side, looking at Alex. “I do hope so.”

Alex let out a breath of air, humming. “You know, there were so many days in Germany when I would’ve killed a man for you to be there. So many days where I could almost see you, lounged out on the furniture, drinking cheap wine with us, laughing.” Alex ran his finger along John’s jawline. “I think you would’ve loved Germany.”

“I think you should take me one day.” John nodded. “Yes, take me and introduce me to your friends, to your lover. Let me see what your life was like before you came home.”

“I will.”

“Write to me some poetry while I’m gone, yes?”

Alex nodded. “How long will you be gone?”

“I should leave just around sunrise, and return just before supper time. I will give you enough money to buy some dinner, plus to feed yourself throughout the day.” John chuckled. “I feel as though you are my concubine and I am paying you to warm my bed.”

Alex leaned his head back in the grass, laughing. “Christ, Laurens. Do you ever hear the things you say?”

“I don’t believe I do, Alexander.”

A chuckle escaped the Spaniard. “You know, in Germany, people cared much less of my Isreali features.”

“And what Isreali features do you even have?” John scoffed.

“My nose, the waves in my hair, my facial shape, even my voice can cause people to turn around.” Alex huffed. “Say what you will about France, but they have never liked me.”

“I have liked you,” John pointed out.

“Yes, but you are not France. You’re John.” Alex almost laughed. “When George first adopted me, the shopkeep who had been watching over me, he told George he didn’t want me, that I was just an Israelite. That I’d steal George’s money from under his nose. Funny, in a way I did.”

“Why do you say that?” John gasped.

“Nine years of college, and oh, what money he must’ve spent on me when I still lived at home.” Alex shook his head. “He was far too kind to me.”

“You deserve the kindness you got,” John stated, smacked Alex’s chest. “Now hush up.”

“You hush up,” Alex scoffed, pushing John onto his back.

John rolled on top of Alex, pinning his wrists. “You hush up.”

Alex managed to knee John lightly between the legs and push him off, sitting on him with his knees pinning John’s arms. He smiled proudly. “You hush up.”

John, in a burst of power, sat up, knocking Alex onto his back between John’s legs. “You’re not stronger than me anymore, Alexander.”

Alex laughed, arching his back a bit. “Perhaps not.”

John leaned back, looking Alex, who hadn’t moved from where he was. “Do you remember when we were children? And we would steal apples from the market?”

“And then my mother would bake them into a pie before the police came,” John laughed. “Oh, how she protected us.”

Alex nodded dreamily, staring up at the sky. “I fell in love with the world when I was in Germany. Everything that happens, everything I do, I love to do it. I love where I am.” Alex pushed himself up on his elbows. “Oh, John, and I love you. You are my closest friend.”

John smiled. “I love you too, Alexander.” He paused. “I feel as though you are much more dramatic than you were as a boy. What is that about?”

Alex smiled, falling back down. “Oh, John, there was a social movement in Germany. Romantics, have you heard much of them?”

“I’ve heard all they do is cry,” John laughed.

“There’s so much more.” Alex let out an approving hum. “John, it’s beautiful, to live as a romantic. Oh, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, they all knew the world better than we did. They truly knew that there was no limit to what we can know of das Ding an sich.”

“Das Ding an sich?” John laughed.

“I apologize, I never said the phrase in French.” Alex thought for a moment. “The thing in itself, yes, that is what it translates to. John, you don’t even know. In Germany, we explored old castles, ruins. We watched the sunset and explored at night. We lived.”

“Will you miss that?” John asked.

“There is no reason we cannot do that,” Alex pointed out.

“I suppose not.” John looked over the grass for a moment. “Are you happy now that you’re back in Paris?”

“I’m happy that I’m with you. No matter where I am, I would not be as happy as I could be if you were by my side. Dear Laurens, I would laugh with joy in Hell, as long as you were laughing with me.”

John scoffed lightly. “Stop being silly.”

Alex tilted his head back, laughing. “I’m not being silly.”

“You are!” John accused. “Alexander, you’re being extremely endearing, but I’m afraid I’m too old to fall for your tricks.”

“My tricks? What tricks?”

“Those tricks. Oh, don’t act as though you didn’t eat the last plum, you know exactly what I mean.” John hummed. “Come, let us head back to town. I do believe I could use some lunch. I will cook us some food.”

Alex stood up, helping John up as well. “Oh? Can John Laurens cook? How kind.”

John nudged Alex as they walked back to their horses. “Hush up.”

Alex laughed. “I do not believe we want to have this conversation again.”

A knowing smirk came from John. “Is that what you believe, you disgusting Catholic?”

“It is, you sinful Protestant.”

-

The next morning, Alex woke up to an empty bed. His nightshirt hung off his shoulder as he sat up, looking around. Sunlight streamed into the room, and he stepped out of bed onto the cold wooden floor, popping his back. He was quick to grab his robe, seeing as the Paris mornings were cool. He sat at John’s desk, moving the francs from his view so to see the letter John had left him.

‘To my Hamilton,’ the letter started. It caused Alex to chuckle. John had always begun letters addressed to him like that. Alex had sent back several letters to John, asking why he was the man’s property, but stopped caring, finding it more endearing than annoying.

‘I have left for work, and I shall return around six, if not earlier. I left you some francs, please give one to Elias. I hope you have a splendid day in Paris, and I do truly look forward to seeing you tonight. I felt though, this is the best way to inform you that you snore in a way similar to a pig. With love, John Laurens.’

Alex scoffed, standing up and shoving the letter into a box with all of his other letters. “Like a pig. Like a pig! Oh, he’s going to get an earful tonight.”

Alex dropped his dress shirt, going into the washroom and splashing some water onto his face from a basin. Before even thinking of clothes, he went to the kitchen and stoked the fire, so to reheat the coffee John left for him. It was only after that, did Alex put on some pants and a loose shirt, putting a few things in a leather bag, such as a few fountain pens, a journal, and the money John left him.

Alex sat at the table, drinking his coffee and reading the paper, sighing as the old news of Paris washed over him. It was beginning to set in that he was truly at home. His heart yearned for something, something different, but he didn’t know exactly what it was. Even in Germany, he had that same yearning. What he wanted, he didn’t know, but he planned to keep seeking it. For now, the distraction of John Laurens would do.

Alex went out for the day, heading first over to the church, just across the bridge. He nodded at a nun as he walked into the big stone cathedral. The sun shone through the stained glass, turning the floor a different color. Alex did the sign of the cross and went to sit in an empty pew, bowing his head and beginning to pray.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.” Alex did the sign of the cross again, then left.

He headed next for a bakery, purchasing a box of croissants, before making his way to a grassy area by the river. He pulled out his journal and his pen, beginning to write as he munched on the croissants. They felt just right, all fluffy and warm, buttery. Alex had missed the baked goods as much, if not more than John. France did them in the right way to him.

The day went by slowly, filled with Alex exploring the town, saying hello and catching up with people he hadn’t seen in many years. He read and wrote, ate, walked. He even had tea with his mother, talked to her about his living arrangement with John, assuring her he was happy to be with John and didn’t mind the tight quarters. Geroge had managed to chime in at that point, telling Martha that the boys most likely enjoyed the time they spent together, seeing as it had been about a decade and that Martha should stop worrying.

Alex arrived home at five forty-five, and around six-fifteen, John showed up with a loaf of fresh bread and a carton of strawberries. He looked winded, so Alex gave him a moment to set his things down and peeled off his frock coat before sharing his rebuttal to John’s quite rude letter left for him this morning.

“Like a pig!” Alex gasped when John sat down.

“Excuse me?”

“Oh, you are nothing but a scoundrel, John Laurens,” Alex decided, crossing his arms.

John paused, then laughed, tilting his head back. “Oh! Yes! Oh, my dear Alexander, you are so beautiful when you are awake, but I simply had to tell you how monstrous you are once you fall asleep.”

Alex reached forward and slapped John’s arm. “You are possibly the rudest man I have ever met in my entire life, and I do, in fact, resent you for it.”

John gave a soft smile, standing up and fetching some cheese and a knife. “Come, it is dinner time, dear Alexander. While I’m sure you have spent most of my money on pastries today, you should eat. Hush now, I hear you through the night, I should be allowed to get a break in the day.”

Alex huffed, cutting himself some bread. “Was work much of a hassle?”

John shook his head. “I missed you though.

A small smile graced Alex’s lips. “I missed you too, John Laurens. I missed you too.”

 

Chapter Text

August 1834

It had been just over three months since Alex month since Alex had moved in with John. They had fallen quickly into a routine. Alex hadn’t found work, but John stressed that Alex really didn’t have to. Alex wasn’t stressing himself, but he had noticed a help wanted sign in a printing shop, and Alex had liked doing that in Germany. He figured he’d wait until he got too restless though, which hadn’t quite happened but was coming.

For now, though, Alex was lounging in the bath in the washroom, reading. The water was only lukewarm, but the small woodstove in the bathroom next to the bathtub helped. Alex’s eyes scanned the German words tiredly. He missed knowing Spanish. For a while, he remembered it, but he just didn’t use it as much as he needed to, and he forgot it.

He remembered when he first started learning French. He almost hated it. It was so weird. The words weren’t spelled the way they sounded, nothing was pronounced correctly. It was a big transition from Spanish, which was just phonetic. Luckily, Alex had a pretty easy time learning English, since German, French, Latin, and what little he knew of Spanish translated over into the language. Alex didn’t know which language he preferred. German was nice to talk, but he liked Latin. It was simpler.

“Hello.” John poked his head into the washroom. “I’m home.”

“Hello, John Laurens,” Alex chuckled, leaning back and letting his knees fall against one side of the tub. “How was work?”

John stepped into the washroom, sitting down and smiling lightly. “It was too tiring. Do you remember the Schuylers?”

Alex shook his head.

“Three sisters, father meaner than Hell, live way out of town.”

Alex thought for a moment. “Oh, yes, nevermind, I remember.”

John laughed. “Well, they remember you much better than you remember them. Anyway, I am helping Mr. Schuyler tomorrow with the layout of a room, and I mentioned you were back in time-”

“Oh, no,” Alex groaned. “I am so sick of people pointing out that I am back.”

A smile escaped the French native. “They want you to come with me tomorrow, catch up.”

Alex sighed, leaning his head back.

“You should come, please? We can ride out together, have tea with them.”

Alex nodded, closing his eyes.

“What are you reading?”

“Simplicius Simplicissimus,” Alex muttered. “It retells the story of the thirty-year war from a child’s perspective.” He opened one eye, looking to John. “Did you bring dinner?”

“Soup.” John offered a small smile. “Alexander, you seem tired.”

“Bah, baths always make me sleepy.” Alex folded down the corner of his book. “Now, leave me. I need to get dried off and get dressed.”

“You now become shy?” John mused. “Aren’t you the one who wished you could’ve seen me make love to a woman?”

“That’s different,” Alex scoffed. “To see you making love to a woman, that would be beautiful. To see me stepping out of the tub, that’s barely anything.” Alex sat up, covering his chest. “Now, shoo. Go, go on.”

John stood up, smiling. “I’ll see you in a moment.”

Alex stood from the tub when John left, draining it and drying himself off. He put on a robe, stepping back into the bedroom. He put on his sleep shirt, and a pair of his pants under it then made his way to the kitchen where John was cooking.

“How was your day?” John asked softly. “Did much happen?”

“Oh, not really.” Alex shrugged. “It was nice though. I wrote much.”

“What did you write?”

“Poetry, stories, a few reminders.”

John smiled, turning to Alex. “Do you have any poetry you wish to read for me?”

Alex smiled, standing up and fetching a journal, before sitting back down. He flipped through it for a moment, before landing on a particularly good poem he had been writing that day. “Oh, the moonlight in your hair, sweet kisses with none left to spare. I remember the way you would touch me. Oh, in those nights, you were the only thing I could see. Your skin was so hot, you loved me for naught. I do on some nights, regret leaving you, but I had things here for me, that I had to see through. Maybe someday, we could meet again. More than a lover, but less than a friend.”

“And who was that about?” John asked.

Alex was almost startled by the question. “What?”

“Who was it about?”

“Who says it had to be about anyone?”

“It was obviously about someone.”

Alex paused. “It was about my lover back in Germany. They wrote to me today, you know that? It arrived here shortly after you left.”

John’s eyebrows raised. “Oh.”

Alex nodded. “It was almost sad. I think they’re under the impression I will come back.”

“Will you?”

Alex shook his head. “No. My home isn’t in Germany, it’s in Paris.”

John smiled softly. “What did they say?”

Alex shrugged. “Let me go get it, I’ll read it to you.” Alex stood up and retrieved the letter, then began reading it as John stirred the soup. “My dearest, Alexander. Oh, how I yearn for you. My bed had grown so cold since you left. I fear, from your lack of writing, that you have fallen ill. Please write back soon and calm my dreaded heart. Or, if you wish, come back soon, hold me again and tell me you love me-”

“So you did fall in love in Germany,” John mused.

“I’m a good liar, John. And it wasn’t all fake, my cock certainly loved them.”

John laughed.

“Hush, hush, let me continue.” Alex looked back to the letter. “Please tell me if Paris is treating you kindly. I know when you would get drunk, you would have a choice of words about the city, and I hope things truly are better now. I have been talking to Jonas, and he agrees that life in Germany is much too boring without you. The house seems emptier.” Alex paused. “But enough of my sorrows. Please, tell me how Paris is in your next letter, and assure me you are well. Have you found much work? Have you reconnected with your old friend, John? You did always say how you missed him. Yours truly-” Alex paused for a moment, wracking his head for a feminine name. “Lea.”

John hummed. “Sounds like you and Lea had quite a connection.”

Alex sighed, throwing the letter onto the table and leaning back. “I do quite regret telling her I love her. I feel as though she wanted more from me.”

“It seems like Germany wanted more from you. If you had stayed much longer, I fear they would’ve taken the rest of you and left none for me.” John laughed. “I’m truly glad they didn’t.”

“And what of me do you want, John Laurens?” Alex asked, biting his bottom lip.

“A quiet mouth every now and then,” John chided.

Alex groaned softly. “You are absolutely terrible.”

John nodded, leaning against the counter. “I know, dear Hamilton. I know.”

-

The next day, the two of them were riding across the countryside to the Schuyler estate. It was a cloudy day, but it didn’t look as if it was going to rain. They made the ride quick, arriving at the estate in under twenty minutes. They hooked their horses’ reins to a fence post and made their way to the front door. John knocked several times before it was opened.

“John Laurens!” Phillip Schuyler laughed. “How good it is to see you again. And I’ll be damned, Alexander Hamilton, is that you?” Phillip took Alex’s hand and shook it with much vigor. “You look like a whole man. It’s been far too many years. Come in, come in.” Phillip ushered them inside. “Alexander, you must tell me, how was your education?”

Alex nodded. “It was wondrous. I got a philosophy major. Germany was wonderful, there was so much to see, but I must admit, I am glad to be back at home again. I did miss Paris.”

“And are you staying with your father?” Phillip pushed.

“Oh, no, John and I have taken room together, which is much more pleasant than living with my parents.” Alex chuckled a bit.

“Well, I would assume so!” Phillip laughed, escorting the two men to the tea room. “I heard a word of the trouble you two got into when you were young, let’s hope age has beaten that streak out of you.”

“Mr. Schuyler, with all due respect, trouble is the roots from which I grow.” Alex smiled mischievously and bumped John a bit.

“Ah, yes, of course, it is.” Phillip opened the door to the tea room. “And you remember my daughters.”

“Angelica, Eliza, Peggy, how wonderful to see you again,” John smiled.

“My goodness, Alexander, is that you?”

The girls bypassed John and went straight to Alex, hemming, and hawing over him. Eliza tugged on his pants, laughing. “Goodness, Alexander, did you lose weight since you bought these pants?”

“No, I simply haven’t found the time to tailor myself some French clothing,” Alex told them. “Oh, go on now, say what you’re thinking.”

“You look so different,” Angelica laughed. “I didn’t think you could grow facial hair, at least more than a few patches. And you’ve actually got arms, not those tiny little things you had before you left.”

Alex scoffed.

“So tall,” Peggy commented. “You grew.”

Alex nodded. “I did indeed.”

“Girls, come, let the man sit down,” Phillip laughed. “You four have tea, John and I will discuss business. Go on, go on.”

Eliza pulled Alex to the couch. “Now tell us everything.”

Alex barely slipped in a wave to John, who was being ushered out of the room by Phillip, before turning to the girls. “Well, Germany was beautiful. The women were boring, but German women are just like that. Schooling was interesting because, for the first year or so, the language was a bit difficult for me to understand, but I eventually figured it out. I made several friends-”

“Did you find a lover?” Angelica asked, leaning back with her tea.

“Angelica!” Eliza gasped. “You cannot simply say those things!”

“Oh, hush, you aren’t father,” Angelica scoffed.

“I found a summer lover,” Alex sighed. “She was nice, but overbearing at times. We had good summers together though, and she was interesting to talk to, as well as her friends. In the end, though, I wanted to be here, not there.”

“What did you major in?” Peggy asked.

“Well, it took quite a few years to figure out what I wanted to do, I wasn’t as focused on my studies as I like to admit. But, eventually, I settled on philosophy. It was quite interesting. I met many different people through philosophy.”

Eliza sipped her tea. “Are you to stay in Paris for good now?”

Alex nodded. “I cannot guarantee I will not travel, but oh, I do love Paris. I missed it. I missed the people. I missed my family.” Alex poured himself a cup of tea. “And what of you?”

“Oh, nothing much, really,” Peggy chuckled. “Time stands still for us. But Angelica is engaged to be married.”

Alex’s eyebrows shot up. “To be married?”

“Yes, yes,” Angelica laughed. “He’s not a lot of fun, but he’ll keep me comfortable. John Church is his name. I am to marry him on the estate in a month, and then move to London with him. I’ve been trying to learn English, but it’s a dreadful language.”

Alex nodded, laughing. “It truly is, Angelica. I learned when I was in Germany, just because they taught it, and oh, Lord, absolutely ridiculous. What of you, Eliza?”

“Oh, nothing is happening for me, though I have been looking into work to be a seamstress. I do not simply want to wait around until I get married.”

Alex laughed. “I don’t think it will take you much longer, you are very beautiful. And Peggy, what are your plans? What has been happening to you.”

“Oh, she wants to go somewhere besides Paris,” Angelica scoffed.

“Like where?” Alex asked.

“Italy,” Peggy answered. “It’s beautiful, I’ve heard, and I want to live there. I know the language, I’ve been studying it since I was a girl. I’m bored with Paris, truly, I am. I wish to be somewhere else, somewhere far more entertaining, and from what I know, Italy is that place.”

“The art there is splendid,” Alex commented. “One of my friends, they grew up in Italy, and while they live in Germany now, they told me Italy was always very beautiful to them. I believe you would like it just as much.”

“Must you encourage her?” Angelica asked.

Alex nodded, sipping his tea. “Yes, dear Angelica, I must.”

Peggy laughed, leaning over the arm of the couch. “I’ve heard the clothes there are much less restricting.”

“They are,” Alex nodded. He then began laughing. “Oh, Peggy, dear, I once met a woman from Italy, and it was so funny to see her standing there with no corset, no tight silks, no uncomfortable looking shoes. She was so in shock to see German fashion.”

“That sounds wonderful, I am sick of corsets,” Peggy admitted.

“Then I think you will do well in Italy.” Alex chuckled a bit. “Have any of you continued your education?”

Eliza nodded. “Yes, I did private studies to learn language and literature.”

Peggy giggled. “She fancied her teacher.”

“I did not!” Eliza gasped.

“Oh, she did,” Angelica replied. “You should’ve seen her, day in and day out, swooning. It was lucky she no longer needed him before she fell head over heels in love.”

“Hush up,” Eliza muttered.

“Oh, this world is so restrictive, let her fancy who she wishes.” Alex leaned against the armrest of the couch. “In Germany, I fancied maybe a hundred people.”

“A hundred!” Angelica laughed. “Do not tell lies.”

“I never tell lies,” Alex told her. “A hundred, if not more. Every week it was someone new.”

“Good gracious, Alexander, you are worse than me,” Eliza laughed.

Alex tilted his head back, laughing. “Oh, Eliza, you must never compare yourself to me, for we all know how poor it will make me look. I feel my ego waning just sitting in a room with you. I feel if I stay near you any longer, I will fall into an utter disgust with myself.”

Eliza giggled. “You charm me.”

“Then I must be doing something right.”

Angelica rolled her eyes lightly. “Alexander, I must ask you not to court my sisters. I do not want Spanish blood in our family.”

“What is so wrong with Spanish blood?” Alex laughed.

“Because your Spanish blood is not just Spanish.”

Alex stopped, the smile falling from his lips. He swallowed hard, sipping his tea.

“Angelica, must you be so rude?” Peggy scoffed. “Alexander, I do apologize for her. She is traditional in far too many bad ways than good.”

“Do not worry,” Alex smiled. “I understand your family appreciates pure French blood.” Alex looked to Angelica, holding her eyes. “You like it so much that your parents kept it in the family.”

Angelica raised an eyebrow. “Have you something to say, Alexander?”

Alex shook his head. “No, Angelica. I don’t believe I do.”

Eliza rolled her eyes. “You two never quite got along, and I never understood it. You both are so similar, you would think it would be an easy friendship.”

“Honestly,” Peggy scoffed. “Alexander, tell us about your friends in Germany.”

“There weren’t many close ones, I will be honest, but they were all very kind. We all lived together in a house over the summer, and it was nice to have the company. You were never really alone. We would drink, and play parlor games, and smoke cannabis. Oh, it was beautiful.”

“My lord, did you get any studying done?” Angelica asked.

Alex sighed. “On occasion, we would manage to. One thing I learned was the La Volta dance. Have any of you ever heard of it?”

Eliza shook her head. “What is it?”

Alex stood up, taking her hand. “Come, I will show you.”

Peggy giggled.

Eliza stood and let Alex take her by the waist. “I apologize if I step on your feet.”

“Do not worry, you are half the weight of the German women who taught me, and twice as beautiful, so I do not think it will be an issue.” Alex began to do the dance with her. “One, two, three, one two lift!” Alex lifted Eliza, and Eliza yelped at the place where Alex’s hand went.

“Oh, my Lord!” Eliza gasped. “What on earth!”

“Alexander!” Peggy screamed.

Alex laughed. “There is a reason you have not learned this dance, Eliza.”

“Who even, I, oh my Lord!” Eliza had to sit down, fanning herself with her hand. “I don’t believe that it a real dance.”

“It is so!” Alex scoffed, still laughing. “Elizabeth the first, Catherine Medici, they did this dance and quite enjoyed it.” Alex smiled. “Are you quite done, or would you try again?”

Eliza smiled, then stood up. “I am no coward.”

“I am aware, Ms. Schuyler,” Alex nodded, taking her waist again. “Will you scream this time?”

“I will try not to,” Eliza smiled.

“Alright.” Alex began the dance. “One, two, three, one, two, lift!” Alex lifted her, and this time, Eliza’s face only turned a bit red. Alex chuckled, continuing. “You seem embarrassed.”

“You should really notice where your hand is,” Eliza choked out on the next lift.

“I do, and I say it is nothing new.” Alex smiled, letting go of Eliza and bowing, before taking her hand and kissing it. “You are truly beautiful, Eliza.”

Angelica rolled her eyes, but Eliza just giggled. “Alexander, you charm me so. Have you no shame?”

Alex shook his head. “I do not believe I do.” Alex stepped closer to Eliza. “But what a shame it would be if I did.”

A cough had the two jumping away. John and Phillip Schuyler were standing in the doorway, looking almost unimpressed.

Alex smiled cheekily. “Time to go already?”

John nodded, looking down at the strap of his satchel. “Yes, Alexander, it is time to go.”

Alex smiled at the Schuyler sisters. “Goodbye, fair ladies. I hope to see you all soon. Angelica, please, send an invitation to John and I, we would love to attend your wedding, see who this Mr. Church is, and ask him how he managed to woo you.”

Angelica smiled. “Of course, Alexander.”

Alex waved, then walked out of the room with John, leaving the house. “How was Mr. Schuyler? Is he paying you much?”

“No more than what I would usually get for a job like this,” John answered coldly.

Alex paused, thinking as he pushed himself onto his horse. “Are you quite alright, John Laurens? You seem brutish.”

“I’m just fine, Alex.” John’s words were short, and he began riding without much prompting from Alex. His lips were pulled down into a frown, and he didn’t speak for the whole ride home. Even as they arrived in the apartment, John went straight to his desk, working on whatever he needed to be working on.

“John, you must tell me what is wrong,” Alex gasped.

“Nothing is wrong,” John answered.

“Yes, something is!” Alex threw himself onto the bed. “You must tell me, John! You must!”

“I am not required to tell you anything,” John scoffed.

“If you do not, I will weep.” Alex threw his arm over his eyes. “Oh, John, I will weep, and weep, and I will fill up this apartment with my tears, and it will spill onto the street, and make the people walking below us weep as well!”

“You will not weep,” John scoffed.

“I will!”

“You won’t.”

Alex began to cry. “Oh, John, why must you put me through such agony! How I ache to know what I’ve done to hurt you so!” Alex writhed in the blankets, still crying. “Please, do tell me!”

John turned, staring at Alex. “Good Christ, Alexander, you are crying!”

“I am! You said I wouldn’t but here I am!” Alex sat up, pushing his hair away. “What have I done? You must tell me! You must!”

John got up, sitting next to Alex and handed him a kerchief. “Calm yourself.”

“Do not order me around, I am not your property,” Alex huffed, taking the kerchief and wiping his cheeks.

“Alexander, you must calm yourself, you did nothing,” John assured him.

“But I must’ve!”

“But you didn’t.”

“But I must’ve!”

John laughed. “Good God, Alexander. You are truly a mystery. Take a breath.”

Alex took a long breath. “John, I must’ve hurt you, and I must know what I did so I can make it right. You are my best friend, I cannot bear to lose or hurt you.”

John shook his head. “Alexander, truly, you did nothing. I am being ridiculous.”

“Why are you upset?”

John smiled a bit, looking at his hands. “I have taken to have a lover’s envy when I see you with someone else. I feel as though they don’t deserve you.”

Alex laughed. “A lover’s envy?”

“Oh hush.” John nudged Alex. “You are just my best friend, and if you get married, then my house will empty again, and I will lose you to a woman. I just got you back, I do not wish to lose you again.”

“Oh, you shouldn’t worry, I don’t think I would ever marry a woman.” Alex chuckled. “They are sweet, but they terrify me.”

“They terrify you!” John laughed.

Alex fell back onto the bed. “They do! Oh, their bodies are so confusing, and their emotions, simply terrifying. If I ruled the world, and a woman told me to step down so she could do it, I would step down and give her all my power, for fear she would kill me.”

John laid next to Alex. “You are almost a coward, but your fear is understandable.”

Alex turned his head, looking at John’s face. “You mustn’t worry about losing me. I am here, John Laurens, and I do not plan to leave.”

“Do you promise?”

Alex nodded. “Yes, dear Laurens, I promise.” Alex brushed John’s hand with his own. “No one could warm the bed I sleep in quite as you do.”

John let out a sigh. “You speak so beautifully, Alexander, I wish I had your words.”

Alex hummed, almost letting the words in his mind slip through his lips, but catching them at the last moment. The sentence echoed through his head though as he stared at John. That beautiful crooked nose, and those perfect eyes.

‘I wish I had you.’

 

Chapter Text

November 1834

It was quite a shameful thing, to wake up on the stone steps of a Catholic church, the Virgin Mary staring down at you, arms open, as if welcoming you to the place where you must confess. But, that’s where Alex and John were. It was cold, brisk, and the stone wasn’t helping. Both their heads pounded.

Alex looked at the step below him, where John lay, arm over his eyes. “Laurens.”

John groaned.

“Laurens, wake up.” Alex nudged John. “What happened?”

John rolled onto his side, yawning. “We fell asleep.”

“Yes, but I mean last night.”

John opened his eyes, looking around. “Why are we at your church?”

“I don’t know! That’s why I’m asking you!” Alex gasped.

John thought. “We went out drinking. And then we didn’t want to be done, so we did some more drinking, and then when the last pub was closing, we bought a bottle of wine from them, and we started drinking some more, and we…” John shook his head. “We kept walking.”

“Why didn’t we go home?”

John pushed himself up onto his elbows. “I don’t know, Alexander.”

Alex tilted his head back and laughed. “John, where did your shirt go?”

John looked at his chest to realize he was only wearing his frock coat, and his shirt was long gone. “Oh, my Lord, where did it go?”

“And look, look-” Alex reached forward, wiping a bit of rouge off of John’s stomach. “How’d that get there?”

John groaned. “Lord.”

Alex’s laugh was shrill. “Good God, Laurens, you’ve gotten into more trouble than me! How did you do that?”

John shrugged. “I think the rouge is from the barmaid at the last bar. She pushed me into a broom closet. She’s the one who has my shirt I think.”

“Did she offer favor?”

“She tried.” John shrugged. “Wasn’t quite enjoying it. Her teeth were… they were like Deutsche's.”

Alex laughed. “Well, that’s a rude thing to say!”

“It is not! She was trying to curry favor with me, she should learn not to bite so much, lord.” John laid back down. “It must be a metaphor that we passed out on the steps of a Catholic church. Should we go to confession?”

“You’re a Calvinist,” Alex reminded.

“I am, aren’t I?” John laughed. “God, Alexander.” John let out a sigh. “We should get up.”

“A little longer. Can you pull my pocket watch out? I wish to know the time.”

John reached into Alex’s pocket, pulling out the watch. “If you wound it right, it’s seven in the morning.”

“Good Christ,” Alex muttered. “Thank God it is only Saturday.”

John laughed, sitting up. “Come on, Alexander, I think we should go. A pastor is walking towards us.”

“Get your disgusting Protestant soul off of our steps! We are a pure church, not to be stained by your mistreatment of God!” The pastor yelled. “And Alex, how wonderful to see you, my Child.”

“Hello, Father,” Alex groaned, sitting up. “I do apologize on behalf of me and my friend for falling asleep on your front steps. It seems we had some trouble finding our way back home last night, and the love of God lead us here.”

“Well, next time, you are welcome to bring yourself inside. Catholics are always welcomed into the church.” The Pastor gave a pointed look to John, telling him without words that he was not welcome.

“Thank you, Father.” Alex stood up and shook the pastor's hand. “We’ll be headed home now. I will see you tomorrow.”

“In confession, I hope,” the pastor laughed.

“Of course.” Alex turned to John, who was bumbling his way up. “Come, Laurens, let’s go home and sleep a bit longer.”

John smiled, throwing his arm around Alex. “I will have to go to the tailor today, get another shirt commissioned. “I will need it.”

“You will also need a bath,” Alex laughed. “You reek of liquor.”

“You’re one to talk, I bet that pastor can still smell your breath.”

Alex gasped. “John!”

John laughed, hugging Alex closer to him.

Alex leaned against John a bit as they stumbled through the streets of Paris, headed for the apartment. John had to button up his coat since he was getting some quite odd looks for his bare chest. Alex poked a bit of fun at him, telling him to be more careful next time.

They got home and filled up a basin of water, taking rags and cleaning themselves down in the washroom. They aided each other a bit, pouring water over each other’s hair, wiping down the other’s backs. They dried off, then got on some proper pajamas, climbing into the bed. Alex moved closer to John.

“You have space on the other side,” John muttered.

“I’m cold,” Alex replied.

“You’re cold?”

Alex nodded.

John chuckled, rolling onto his back. He let Alex curl up next to him, resting his head on his shoulder. “I think I enjoyed the time we spent together. I don’t really remember, but if I did, I’m pretty sure I would’ve enjoyed it.”

Alex chuckled. “Maybe we should drink less.”

“Where’s the fun in that?”

Alex shrugged.

John let out a sigh, closing his eyes. “Go to sleep, Alex, I’ll wake you around ten.”

Alex nodded, letting his eyes fall shut and drifting off.

John awoke again at nine, climbing out of the grasp of Alex and preparing some coffee. His head still hurt, but it was more of a dull pounding than a sharp pain. He prepared himself some breakfast and then went to collect the paper. He was tired but didn’t want to sleep anymore. He went to his desk and continued working on a few commissions. He was trying to design a library at the moment, and it was tiring because they wanted it to be in a certain style that John had only grazed over in college.

At ten, John woke Alex, bringing him some coffee. One of the best parts of John’s off days was waking up Alex. Alex could probably sleep until he died if he wanted to, so John had to go through several stages of waking him up. It was funny.

Finally, Alex sat up, looking at John. “Breakfast?”

“Kitchen,” John responded.

Alex nodded, standing up and going to fetch his food, before coming back and sitting on the bed, eating his bread and butter, as well as some eggs. “What are we doing today?”

“We are seeing your father since I lost my shirt.” John turned in his chair to look at Alex. “I need a new one. Maybe we can get some new pants tailored for you, some that aren’t so baggy.”

Alex scoffed. “You’re still on about this.”

“I am. The other day I was asked why I spent so much time with the Germans.”

Alex rolled his eyes. “You can deal. My pants are perfectly fine.”

“Why don’t you just get them tailored to fit you correctly?”

A sigh escaped the Spaniard. “Will it get you to hush up about it?”

John nodded.

“Then fine, I will bring my pants to my father, but you must let me borrow a pair of yours.” Alex groaned. “I don’t see why your French fashion is so renowned. It seems uncomfortable.”

“It’s much more attractive.” John leaned back against his desk, sighing. “I think you would look quite handsome in French fashion. You’ve got the legs for it.”

Alex fell onto his side, sticking up one of his legs so his nightshirt fell down and John could see the hem of Alex’s briefs. “My lover said my legs were like the legs of the French women. Skinny and sleek and nice to look at.”

John nodded. “They are nice to look at.”

“Are they, John Laurens?”

John rolled his eyes. “You are ridiculous.”

Alex fell onto his back, sticking both his legs in the air and moving them. “Tell me what you like about my legs, John Laurens.”

John gave a small sarcastic smile. “They’re skinny, but they aren’t bony, and they fit your figure. You have hips, Alexander, and a very feminine body type. Did you know that?”

“I’ve heard it from a few people.” Alex let his legs fall back to the bed, thinking. “John, are you jealous of my lover?”

“Why would I be jealous of your lover?”

Alex shrugged. “The time away from you was spent with them.”

“You do what you wish, I’m not jealous of your old friends, lovers alike.” John turned back to his desk. “You should get dressed, we will leave soon.”

Alex didn’t get dressed, and instead took enough bite of his food. “What should we do for Christmas?”

“Christmas?”

Alex nodded. “We must do something. My parents will be out, visiting one of my sisters. Will you be spending it at your home?”

John shook his head. “No, no, God no.” He paused. “I haven’t spent a Christmas at my house since James died. I don’t like being there alone with my father and my siblings. Too much… too much pressure.”

Alex nodded. “We should see a symphony.”

John chuckled. “I thought you hated symphonies.”

“Yes, but you love them, and it’s Christmas.”

John gave a small nod. “I will find one. It is early enough so that maybe we could get a private booth. I’ve never liked sitting with people. Let us stop by the concert hall on our way back from your father’s, I will ask about any Christmas shows, and request a ticket for box seats when it does come ‘round.”

Alex smiled. “That sounds very nice, John Laurens.”

John stood, batting Alex’s nose with his pointer finger. “Get dressed.”

“You aren’t my Lord, nor are you my king. If I wish to stay in my drawers all day, then so be it.” Alex smiled cheekily, rolling onto his stomach. “Would you have much strife with it?”

John rolled his eyes. “Good God, Hamilton, you are a minx if nothing else.”

Alex tilted his head back, smiling and kicking his legs in the air. “A minx, you say?”

John grabbed Alex’s ankles, pulling him down the bed. “Yes!”

Alex yelped, laughing as John tugged him right off the bed and onto the floor. “John! John!” Alex looked up at John from the floor, laughing. “You have to wash this shirt. It’s all dirty from your floor.”

“Well, maybe you should’ve gotten out of bed and dressed before I had to tug you out.” John helped Alex up. “Are you well?”

Alex nodded, tugging his nightshirt down a bit. “I suppose. I do require a kiss, though.”

John pulled Alex into a hug, pressing a wet kiss to his cheek. “Heal quickly.”

Alex smiled, feeling his cheeks heat up. “I’ll try.”

John paused, then patted Alex’s hip. “Come on, get dressed, I want a pint before I do much else today.”

Alex laughed, pulling off his nightshirt. “Give me some pants.”

“I’d prefer not to.”

Alex laughed, going to the closet and snatching a pair of John’s pants out of it. “And you call me a minx.” Alex slipped on John’s pants, which were just about as loose as his own, and then collected his pants to be tailored. “I still cannot believe you lost your shirt.”

“It was a long night,” John groaned.

Alex grabbed a shirt, buttoning it up. “It’s chilly out.”

“It is,” John agreed, looking outside. “Seems like it’s going to snow.”

Alex smiled cheekily. “In Germany, I had a coat tailored to me.”

“Yes, I would assume so,” John muttered.

Alex opened his trunk and pulled out his coat. “How does it look?”

John turned and burst out laughing.

“Rude!” Alex gasped.

John approached Alex, laughing as he fingered the fur coat Alex had slipped on. “What even is this? It is the peak of German fashion. Why so much fur? Why?”

Alex smiled. “It’s warm! It was cold in Germany, I saved up for months to get this, and it was perfect for the cold.” Alex smiled, pulling the collar up a bit. “I love it.”

John nodded. “You look very nice in it, Alexander. You have the right form for it, and it makes you look very elegant.”

Alex smiled. “Come, now, don’t we have a tailor to get to?”

John nodded.

Alex began to put on his shoes. “But a pint first, a pint sounds wonderful.”

Their day went by quickly, Alex leaving his pants to get tailored, both of them getting some food together and cleaning up the apartment a bit. They aired out the sheets, reading for a few hours until night came back upon them. Alex went and got the sheets, but instead of putting them on the bed, he wrapped them around his sleep shirt clad body like a Roman senator, then picked up his book.

“Well, my art of midwifery is in most respects like theirs; but differs, in that I attend men and not women; and look after their souls when they are in labor, and not after their bodies; and the triumph of my art is in thoroughly examining whether the thought which the mind of the young man brings forth is a false idol or a noble and true birth.” Alex jumped up on the bed, smiling at John. “And like the midwives, I a barren, and the reproach which is often made against me, that I ask questions of others and have not the wit to answer them myself, is very just-the reason is, that the God compels me to be a midwife, but does not allow me to bring forth. And therefore, I am not myself at all wise, nor have I anything to show which is the invention or birth of my own soul, but those who converse me with profit.”

John laughed. “That’s quite beautiful and confusing, did you write that?”

Alex’s eyes widened. “Did you just ask me if Theaetetus was written by me?”

John jumped up on the bed with Alex. “Maybe I did. Was it written by you?”

Alex let out a gasp, throwing his book to the floor. “How dare you! How dare you assume the words of the great Plato onto a lowly poet such as myself!”

“And you would assume the title of lowly onto yourself? I hardly think I have done wrong here! In fact, I think it is you, who had announced so little of yourself!”

Alex scoffed. “You are too kind, too kind.”

John pulled Alex into his arms, hugging him and humming. “You are the best poet in the world. You are better than Socrates, and Plato, and Shakespeare, and all the poets in the world.”

“I am not! I am not!” Alex laughed, pushing away from John.

John grabbed Alex’s legs, sweeping him down and falling to his knees.

Alex laughed, trying to untangle himself from the sheets. “You can’t just throw me to the ground every time you disagree with me.”

“I can,” John decided. “You are smaller than me, and you are much too harsh to yourself, so if I need to toss you to the ground to show you that you aren’t always right about yourself, then I suppose that’s just how it needs to be.”

Alex reached up and hit John in the stomach. “You are a scoundrel.”

John groaned and gripped the spot where Alex hit him, scrunching up his own nightshirt. “I am wounded!”

“Wounded!” Alex laughed. “You are barely wounded. If a mouse had nipped you, you’d be more hurt than you are now.”

John grabbed Alex’s wrists, pinning them down. “You bastard.”

Alex broke free and hit John in his side.

John gasped. “Alright, I know what needs to happen.” John pinned Alex’s wrists again, then moved forward, placing his knees in the crook of Alex’s elbow. “There, how does that feel? Are you going to be rude anymore?”

Alex paused, looking up at John. John’s crotch was maybe half a foot from Alex’s face, and John’s torso was almost visible through the white fabric of his sleep shirt. Oh, how Alex could’ve ripped those boxers off of John’s body just to taste. Alex almost wondered if John knew what he was doing. If John was in the same place he was.

Oh, God, how Alex missed the feeling of a man. Alex missed the way making love with a man felt, missed the way German men felt inside of him. Alex wished he could feel that with John. He wished John could treat him the way the German men treated him. He wished John would hold him, rock him all night.

“John,” Alex started.

John seemed to realize the compromising position they were in, and quickly moved. “Come on, Alexander, let's make this bed.”

Alex got up, untangling himself from the sheets. “Yes, lets.” Alex began to help John tuck the sheets onto the mattress. “Lord, I am tired. I don’t think I had enough coffee today.”

John chuckled. “I don’t know how you could not have enough coffee, you drink so much.”

Alex shrugged, putting the top sheet on the bed. “Sometimes I just get tired.”

“Did you become unwell in Germany?”

Alex shook his head. “No, no, I think I just got older. My back had always hurt me, but it hurts more as time went by. I wake up and it is usually quite sore. Have you noticed I’m stiff most mornings?”

John nodded. “Just thought it’s how you were.”

Alex laughed. “Not quite.” He helped John place the comforter onto the bed and then climbed in with John. “It’s too cold.”

“Yes, it’s almost December. January and February always feel the coldest.”

“It’s because they’re wetter than December.” Alex turned out the oil lamp and closed his eyes, but something in his check was preventing him from sleeping.

“You’re being restless, it’s bugging me,” John muttered, his voice groggy.

"John?" Alex whispered lightly, staring at him through the dim air in the apartment.

John's head shifted softly, so the outline of Alex's face could be seen through the corner of his eye. "Yes, Alexander?"

Alex paused, biting his tongue for a moment before speaking. "Do you think... do you think the eating of oysters to be moral? And the eating of snails to be immoral, or a dishonor upon God?"

John's lips pursed. "No... It is all a matter of taste, and taste is not the same as appetite, and therefore, not a question of morals. Or at least, it could be argued so."

"Do you like snails?"

John sucked in a breath. "It's hardly fair to ask that question."

"How so?"

"I don't know if you like snails or oysters more."

Alex hummed. "Will you love me less if I answer honestly?"

John turned on his side, facing Alex. "I don't think anything in this world could make me love you less."

Alex nodded. "I must be honest since you have been honest with me. My taste includes both snails and oysters. Oysters are... they are soft and loving, and snails, snails have a strong side to them, it's endearing."

John nodded.

"And you?"

"Will you love me less if I answer honestly?"

Alex shook his head. "I feel as though I shouldn't repeat your words, but know I feel the same."

John nodded slowly. "I have had both snails and oysters, and only have I found myself enjoying snails." He paused. "I can see how people enjoy oysters, do not mistake me, but I seem to only want snails."

Alex nodded softly. "Snails are always nice."

John laughed. "Enough about oysters, and snails, and all those in between. I have work tomorrow, go to sleep."

Alex smiled softly and rolled on his side, facing John. "Goodnight, dear Laurens."

"Goodnight, dear boy."

The next morning, Alex awoke to see John dressing. Alex's nightshirt still hung off of his shoulder as he watched the man button up his shirt, then slip on his frock coat.

"I will be back soon," John promised, turning to Alex. "I have left you some francs to do as you please."

"John, do you remember our conversation last night?"

John paused, letting his hand drag across the old wooden desk. "Yes, Alexander, I do."

"I meant to ask you..." Alex paused, thinking. "Would you ever want to have snails again?"

John smiled. "Yes, Alexander, I believe I would." The man picked up his papers. "Now, I must be off. Do not cause too much trouble while I am gone."

 

Chapter Text

December 1834

"I'm still not used to the tightness of these pants," Alex admitted, turning about in a mirror. "Don't you get uncomfortable? How do you move?" Alex tugged his crotch a bit. "How does your cock get enough blood?"

John laughed. "Alexander."

"I must ask!" Alex slipped on his fur coat, looking to John, who was still buttoning his shirt. "Come, we have dinner in barely ten minutes, and then the show is after that, so we cannot dawdle. You take far too long to get ready."

"I'm sure your parents won't mind if we're late," John muttered, pulling up his stockings.

Alex huffed. "Yes, but I still don't want to be late."

John stepped into his leather shoes, then put on his frock coat. "I don't see why you insist on wearing that fur coat. It can't hardly be cold enough for it."

"I like it." Alex looked at himself in the mirror, smiling. "It's soft and comfortable."

John adjusted the coat on Alex, fixing the collar so it wasn't so crooked. "You look very nice, Alexander."

Alex smiled, shrugging a bit. "I'm well aware."

John chuckled, linking his arm with Alex and walking out of the apartment. "Are your parents pressuring you to find work?"

"Are you?" Alex mused.

John shook his head. "I quite like having you at home. Sometimes, when I get home, you've done our dishes or laundry, and I enjoy that very much."

Alex scoffed. "You are a step up from useless."

"Aren't I?"

Alex shook his head, smiling. "And yes, they have. My father wants me to apprentice with him, and I'm looking for the kindest way to say that I would rather drink arsenic and let King Louis put his cock in my ass while I slowly die than work as a tailor."

John covered his mouth as he laughed. "Alexander!"

"I cannot tell lies!" Alex smiled. "I'm thinking of picking up something part-time, just so he'll stop nagging my ear off."

"You could be a writer for the paper, or perhaps work at the Mazarine as a librarian."

Alex paused. "I have always liked the Mazarine. Maybe I'll look into it. Or lie."

John chuckled. "You would think, nine years, something about you would change, but the only thing about you that is truly different is how you look."

Alex leaned his head against John's shoulder. "And is that such a poor thing?"

John shook his head. "No, Alexander, it is not."

The two of them walked in relative silence the rest of the way to Alex's parent's house. It was Christmas Eve, and a light layer of snow covered the city, and snow still fell. It was cold, but church bells could be heard, and singing echoed through every alleyway. The crunch of their footsteps serenaded the walk. Alex's father lived in Villette, while John's apartment was in Monnaie, so it was a slight walk, but neither minded. They both enjoyed each other's company, even if it was in relative silence.

John and Alex's parents had always gotten along. When John lost his mother and his brother around relatively the same time, George and Martha had been there for him. There were many nights John couldn't go home, and he would have dinner with them, and sleep in Alex's room, trying not to cry. Pulling the familiar and soft blankets around him as he shook with silent sobs were almost like a hug from a friend he had missed so dearly.

The Washington's had helped John find an apartment. He knew he couldn't stay home, and they knew it too, so Martha would go out with John on his off days and help him find possible places to stay. It took a little bit since it needed Martha's approval, and Martha was being extra protective of John since she missed Alex so much, so John wasn't allowed to stay in just any only shoe box. Eventually, they found the one John was in now, and Martha gave her approval. She and George had helped John move in, and made sure he was settled.

It was still hard for John to look his father in the eye. It was still hard for John to be near his siblings. He felt so guilty, but it was easy to be around Alex. Alex had an almost blissful ignorance to the emotional turmoil John had been through in the past nine years, and it was comforting to John. It was someone who didn't look at him with those eyes and talk to him with that voice. It was someone who said sorry and moved on, and John appreciated that.

They arrived at the Washington's, covered in snow but happy. Martha was quick to invite them in, laughing when Alex shook the snow off of his head. Alex's sisters were there, Mary and Frances, as well as Mary's husband, and they embraced him happily, kissing his cheek, before embracing John as well.

"Come on, boys, sit down, sit down, dinner is almost ready." Martha smiled. "Pour yourself some wine, go on."

Alex sat down next to his father. "Hey, Pa."

"Alex, my son, how are you?" George asked, smiling and clapping Alex's shoulder.

"I'm good, happy to be here," Alex replied. "It's nice to finally be spending a Christmas at home."

Washington laughed. "Well, if my own son cannot be a familiar face at Christmas dinner, as least John can. Hello, Laurens, how are you?"

"I'm doing well, George," John replied, grinning. "Just trying to cope with sharing a home with Alexander."

Alex gasped, nudging John. "Rude."

John laughed.

George shook his head, smiling. "You two have never grown up, and honestly, it's quite refreshing. At least one of my children will remain a child."

Mary let out a sigh. "Pa."

"I cannot mourn for the loss of my daughters?" George gasped. "You were once barely big enough to walk on your own, and now you are out of my house, traveling, getting married." George ruffled Alex's hair. "I hope this one never gets tied down with a woman. The moment he gets married, he'll stop coming home."

"I'm married to Paris," Alex smiled.

John laughed. "He was being awfully friendly with Schuyler's daughters."

"Oh?" Frances mused, coming into the dining room with food, Martha right behind her. "He used to fancy Angelica."

"Bah, Angelica would never," Alex scoffed.

"And Eliza?" John mused. "You seemed to be courting her when we were over the day."

Alex shook his head. "She's gorgeous, but she's too shy. I like women who are a little too much for their own dress, you know what I mean? Besides, Angelica would never approve of it."

"And why not? You're a fine boy," Martha huffed, sitting down at the table.

"The Schuylers are a French family," Alex pointed out.

"And French they will stay," John nodded. "Even if they must turn to their own cousins."

"And are you not French?" Mary mused, placing her napkin on her lap.

Alex choked on his wine. "I'm an Isreali Spaniard, dear. Eliza will end up with one of Angelica's sons before she ends up with me."

John snickered.

"You boys, bow your heads and pray," Martha gasped. "George, please, pray, and maybe John and Alex will have a chance of making it up to heaven."

George laughed, bowing his head and folding his hands. "John, I know you are a protestant, but I hope our Catholic prayer will do you well."

"It will, George," John chuckled.

George took a breath. "Bless us, oh Lord, and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen." George looked up, smiling. "Now, let's eat."

Martha took a bite of her food. "Tell me, John, how is work? I feel that since Alex has come back, I've barely gotten the opportunity to see you."

John chuckled, sipping his drink. "Oh, work is fine. It's a lot of drawing, but that's always something I've enjoyed."

"Alexander, have you given much thought to the apprenticeship?" George asked.

Martha smacked George's arm. "The boy just got back to town, you give him some time to get readjusted."

"He should be thinking about work," George defended.

"I am!" Alex gasped. "I promise, I am, but it's Christmas Eve, so can we talk about how nice it is to have our family together?"

"Yes, yes we can." George smiled.

Dinner went by and was still going on when John and Alex stood up, announcing they had a show to get to. Martha kissed both their cheeks, telling them to be safe and to get home before midnight so they could get enough sleep. Alex assured her that they would get enough sleep, and promised to come back over this Sunday after mass. After that, the two young men slipped on their coats and began walking to the concert hall. It was still snowing, and considerably darker, but quiet. Bells still rang in the distance, and it added a feeling of peace to the atmosphere.

"I really do adore your family," John brought up. "They've always been so kind."

Alex nodded. "Yes, they are kind people."

John pulled Alex a bit closer. "Do you ever feel out of place among them?"

Alex laughed. "That's a stupid question."

"How so?"

Alex looked at John. "I've never not felt out of place, John Laurens. My French upbringing kept me out of place in Germany, my Spanish birth keeps me out of place in France, my Isreali blood keeps me out of place in Spain, my Catholic religion keeps me out of place in Israel." Alex paused. "There's nowhere I quite belong, John Laurens, and I think by now, you should know this."

"Yes, there is."

Alex gave John an amused look. "Please, do tell, where is this magical place where I belong."

"Our home," John decided.

Alex paused. "I suppose." He spoke no more on it, and the subject dropped.

The rest of the walk was in relative silence, and for a moment, it had tension, but it quickly dropped when Alex leaned a bit into John, sighing. It took a while to make their way into the concert hall and to find their private box. It was surprisingly crowded for Christmas Eve, but it wasn't much of a bother.

They finally got to their private box, setting their jackets down and sitting on the comfortable velvet-lined chairs, sighing. It was dark, almost warm, but cool enough to where Alex found himself wrapping his coat around his shoulders.

"This is probably one of the better Christmases I've had since you left for college," John admitted, biting his lip a bit.

Alex smiled. "Do you wish to come to mass with me tomorrow?"

John paused, eyes wide. "Mass?"

Alex nodded.

"Am I allowed to step foot into a Catholic church?"

"Just tell them you're converting." Alex snickered, earning a smack on the arm from John. "Maybe I'll skip mass tomorrow, but you must at least come with me tonight so I can pray. I promise, almost no one will be there, just let me do a hail Mary, and we can be off."

John sighed, smiling. "You Catholics and your obsession with Mary."

"I must have some sort of a mother outside of Martha. It is not our fault you Protestants lack an Oedipus complex," Alex joked.

John tilted his head back, laughing. "Alexander, I don't believe you're allowed to say that!"

Alex just laughed.

Suddenly, the first notes of the orchestra started, and the two of them quieted down. Alex wasn't really a big fan of string music. In his time in Germany, he had been introduced to the great works of Ludwig van Beethoven and had fallen quite in love with the way piano music sounded. String music became more of background noise, but the smoothe piano had been everything he wanted. But John loved string music, said it was like drawing, precise and almost sharp, yet flowing, so that gave Alex a reason to like string music too.

Alex looked at John in the dim light, and then quickly looked away when John looked back at him. Alex, embarrassed, tried to pretend he was completely indulged in the music, but it was quite obvious it wasn't working when he heard John snicker.

"Hush," Alex muttered. "Watch the show."

John let out another small laugh, directing his vision to the orchestra on stage. "Thank you for this, Alexander. I know string music isn't your favorite."

Alex smiled softly. "I'm glad I'm with you."

John sucked in a bit of air, looking at Alex once more, before looking back to the show.

Alex was almost surprised when he felt John's hand brush his own. He figured it was a mistake, and then it happened again. John's hand was almost rough with callouses, but it was warm. Alex had never had warm hands. He was always far too cold for his own liking. In Germany, they blamed it on his lack of red meat, which an increase of did help.

Alex looked at John quickly, and then back at the orchestra as John touched his hand again. In a compulsive moment of bravery, Alex moved his hand so it was touching John's, not just brushing it. Their fingers overlapped, and Alex could feel the slight twitching in John's hand. Alex looked at John again and caught John looking back to the orchestra quickly. It was a game of hide and seek.

It almost surprised the Spaniard when John took his hand entirely, gripping it in a warm but firm manner as if to say 'this is what I want.' Alex didn't want to bring attention to it, but he wanted John to know that this is what he wanted too, so he leaned his head against John's shoulder, letting out a low sigh.

John let out a breath too, almost relieved that Alex hadn't gotten up and stormed out. He leaned his head against Alex's, rubbing his thumb over Alex's hand in a slow and rhythmic manner.

Both their hearts were racing. It was the adrenaline of doing something wrong, it was fear that anyone could walk in at any moment to see if the room was taken, it was the excitement of knowing that there they were, together and alone, touching in such an intimate way, that it must mean they were something more. Oh, how Alex wanted to touch so much more than John's hand.

The show ended, but both could've stayed there for hours. Both were flushed and embarrassed and flustered, nervous. Alex's entire body shook as he reached for his coat, slipping it back on. He wanted John to take the coat off of him and take his body and use it. Oh, Alex almost didn't care if John just wanted to use him, because being used by John didn't seem that bad. It didn't seem heartbreaking in the way Alex's lover must've felt. Being used by John was a privilege, once that Alex would've killed for.

John turned to Alex, fiddling a bit with the buttons on his coat, trying to get them in the holes and stop the shaking in his own hands. "Church, yes?"

Alex nodded. "Tell me, John Laurens, have you ever been inside of a Catholic church?"

John shook his head. "Of course not."

Alex held out his arm for John. "Then tonight, you shall."

They walked from the concert hall to Alex's church. It was a quiet walk. Both were too afraid to speak, too afraid to bring up what had just happened. Neither of them knew quite what it meant, but oh, how both ached for the other. John wanted to just go home, to lay down with Alex and maybe touch his hand again. Alex wanted to go home and do so much more, but, as a Catholic, he knew he had a duty to God before anyone else. Oh, how he would laugh in Germany, repenting his sins, only to go out and sleep with his lover that night.

They got to the church and Alex pulled John inside, laughing a bit. He dipped his fingers in the holy water and did the sign of the cross before walking into the pews. He got down on his knees, bowing his head and folding his hands. "Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen."

John let out a small laugh as Alex approached him. "And what will Mary do for you?"

"She was the purest of women, and she will watch over us sinners and guide us into heaven," Alex scoffed.

John nodded, looking around. "I must admit, the art is beautiful."

Alex nodded. "It is." He looked to John, thinking. "Would you like to see more?"

"There's more?"

Alex nodded, pulling John along the corridors until they made it to a hallway, covered in painting after painting. They were mostly by French artists, and Alex could almost tell who influenced some of the paintings. There were a couple of paintings that looked similar to a Caravaggio but weren't. The Baroque era was quite obvious in some of them, but Alex preferred the Renaissance style, detail, and beauty.

John smiled, looking at the religious imagery. "You know, I always wanted to be an artist."

"You still could be," Alex pointed out.

John shook his head. "No."

"And why not?"

John offered a small shrug, running his fingers along the frame of a painting of John The Baptist. "My father talked me out of it. He knows how little artists make, and how little I'd make."

"Who says you'd make little?"

"John Calvin," John joked. "That's who I was named after, you know? Many think it was John the Baptist, but no, it was John Calvin."

Alex leaned against John. "I think you become rich."

"Do you?"

Alex nodded. "I do, John Laurens."

John rolled his eyes, looking down. "We should go."

There was a small pause from Alex. "Why?"

John shrugged. "I feel bad being here."

"Oh, religion is nothing if it doesn't instill a constant guilt for being alive in you," Alex muttered. "If God didn't want us doing what we are doing, then we wouldn't do it."

"By that logic, God wanted Eve to eat that apple and forever taint humans."

"And maybe He did."

John shook his head. "For a Catholic, you so very often speak as a heretic would. What is the point of having a religion if you are to only bash it?"

Alex shrugged. "What is the point of having me in your bed if you aren't going to touch me? Fear of the church, and fear of Hell, John Laurens. That is the reason we do everything, or in your case, do not do."

John was almost taken aback. He waited for a moment for Alex to apologize for the statement, but Alex stayed, smiling slyly at John. John took a deep breath. "It is not fear of Hell that stops me."

"Then what? Fear of your father? That is almost an Oedipus complex, but with the other parent," Alex joked.

"It is not that," John scoffed.

"Then what?"

John opened his mouth but didn't say anything.

"Is it that you've turned into a trout?" Alex teased. "Because if so, I must say, I will not be wanting to share a bed with you anymore. I've never liked the smell of fish, or-"

Alex almost yelped when John kissed him. It was soft and much too quick for Alex's liking. For a moment, Alex wasn't even sure that it had happened, but from the way John stared at the floor, he knew it had.

"You..." Alex put his hand to his mouth. "John Laurens, this is a place of God."

"Only too you."

Alex looked down at the floor, then back up at John, then down at the floor again. He thought for a moment, taking deep breaths. "I cannot kiss you again while we are here. I cannot kiss you with the Virgin Mary staring down at me." Alex looked to the painting of the Madonna, arms open and eyes almost shut. "I cannot."

John swallowed, looking down the hallway. "Shall we go home then? And you can kiss me again?"

Alex nodded, almost flustered. "Yes, John Laurens, I believe we shall."

John took Alex's arm and the two walked out of the church in a flustered silence, quickly ushering themselves through the snow to get home.

John closed the door to his apartment, locking it and looking to Alex. Alex seemed flustered as he took off his coat, hanging it up and kicking off his shoes. He looked over his shoulder at John, before making his way into their room. John dropped his coat right onto the floor, stumbling after Alex, who had already fallen onto the bed, legs apart, staring at John through hooded eyelids.

"Alexander," John mumbled.

"I want you to kiss me again, and this time I want you to mean it." Alex got up on his knees, looking at John. "I want you to kiss me like it's the last thing you will ever get to do, I want you to kiss me like I'm leaving for another nine years."

"But you aren't," John muttered softly.

Alex nodded. "But kiss me like I am."

John got on his knees on the bed in front of Alex, placing his hand on Alex's cheek. He swallowed hard, staring at Alex, trying to remember how to kiss someone. Alex's lips were slightly parted, tilted upwards to John, waiting. John could barely process the idea that Alex waiting for a kiss.

"John-"

"Do not rush me," John huffed.

"I feel as though I must."

"You mustn't."

Alex let out an impatient huff. "You are too shy."

The Spaniard leaned in and kissed John, right on the lips. John was almost shocked by this and didn't respond for a moment. But then he did, and it was so sweet. He could still taste a bit of wine on Alex's tongue. He loved the way Alex felt. The way the two of them molded together. He felt a bit embarrassed though. Alex was a good kisser, but he wasn't as much. He was almost shy, which was a big difference to Alex, who had decided it was time to shove his tongue into John's mouth.

John gasped, pulling away.

"You kiss like a Frenchman," Alex accused. "It's too slow."

"You kiss like a madman!" John laughed. "How am I supposed to keep up?"

"Not my problem, Johnathan," Alex decided.

John pecked Alex's lips. "You go far too fast for me."

Alex smiled, leaning in and kissing John again. "I don't think you realize how long I've wanted to kiss you, John Laurens. I feel as though my whole life has been building up to this moment."

"Not your whole life," John decided. "Just the past couple of months or so."

Alex rolled his eyes, kissing John again. "I would like to kiss you all night."

"Shall we get changed into our night clothes, so we can?"

Alex nodded, rolling off the bed. He changed into his shirt and some briefs, lying back down and watching John strip his clothes, placing them in the bin, before putting on some briefs and a nightshirt. Alex sighed at how beautiful John was. "You had much more freckles on your face when you were younger. Many of them moved down to your shoulders."

John nodded. "Yes, that does happen."

Alex smiled as John laid on his side, facing him. "You're beautiful, John Laurens."

John leaned in and kissed Alex. "And yet I am still nothing compared to you."

Alex moved closer to John, kissing him again and finding his hip under the covers, gripping it as they kissed. Alex tried to slow his movements this time, for John's sake but found it difficult. He didn't want it to be slow. He wanted to touch John, he wanted to rut against his leg, he wanted to place his mouth on the most intimate parts of John's body. Oh, he wanted to touch John in all the ways his pastor would disapprove of. He wanted John to feel his own release, and he wanted to be responsible for that.

"Alexander," John started. "Slow down, please."

"John," Alex muttered.

"Alexander."

Alex pulled away, looking at John. "You are everything I've ever wanted."

John pecked Alex's lips. "Come, we should sleep."

Alex whined, throwing his leg over John's. "But, John."

John almost chuckled. "We should sleep."

Alex let out a small huff, then cuddled closer to John, tucking his arms between them. "Hold me, at least. Hold me and let me wake up in your embrace."

John wrapped his arms around Alex, kissing the Spaniard's forehead. "Merry Christmas, dearest boy."

"Merry Christmas, John Laurens."

 

Chapter Text

January 1835

“When do you plan on taking me?” Alex asked, looking up at John from his book.

John, who was sitting at his desk, barely even moved. “Taking you where?”

Alex laughed. “No, I mean like sex. You’re twenty-eight, and you’ve never truly been with a man. When will you take me, John Laurens?”

John paused, then looked over his shoulder. “When I feel like it.”

“When will you feel like it?”

“Touch yourself if you so feel the need, I’m busy.” John hunched over a bit more, moving his pen as he worked.

Alex groaned, closing his book and rolling onto his stomach, grinding his hips into the mattress. Normally, he’d be fine, he wouldn’t be so agitated and needy, but God, it had been months. Before he left Germany, he’d get a good solid fucking at least once a week, and it helped him focus, but it had been months, and God, his head was clouded. He felt backed up, he felt unfocused. Even his poetry had gotten so erotic to where he wouldn’t read it to John. Alex needed something, and if grinding into John’s mattress was what he was going to get, then he’d take it.

Alex was a bit frustrated with it at first, not getting quick the feelings he was wanting. But, he put a pillow under his head and patiently continued to grind down into the mattress until something started to light up. Alex let out a breath, clenching his fists as he began to grind his hips more slowly, feeling much better.

“Ah,” Alex gasped. “John.”

“Yes?”

“Wasn’t talking to you.”

“Who were you-” John turned and then gasped. “Good God, Alexander!”

“Leave me alone,” Alex grumbled, swallowing hard. “If you aren’t to help me, then I will help myself.”

“Alex, you can’t just-”

Alex cut him off with a moan, pressing his hips into the mattress. “John Laurens, you can turn around and do nothing, or you can come here and do something, but please do not just gawk.” Alex let out a small whine. “Oh, God.”

John almost coughed, though it was slightly choked. “Alex.”

Alex stopped grinding, looking at John. “Would you like me to go to the other room?”

“I just…” John shook his head. “You’re touching yourself.”

“Technically, the mattress is touching me,” Alex muttered.

John paused. “Does it… Does it feel pleasant?”

Alex nodded, groaned as he pushed his hips down. “Yes, God, it feels wonderful.” Alex took a deep breath, stopping a moment. “I haven’t felt my own release in months, Johnathan. Do you know how awful it’s been? In Germany, oh, in Germany it was at least every week. My lover, oh how they would please me.” Alex closed his eyes, moving his hips again. “Lord.”

Alex almost wanted to praise God when he heard John stand up and walk closer, then sit down on the bed. Just the mere smell of the man-made it easier and more pleasurable for Alex. Neither of them said anything for a little bit, John just watched Alex grind onto the mattress, and Alex had to admit, with an audience, it was more fun.

“Why don’t you actually touch yourself?” John asked.

“I will, it’s just more fun to start out teasing myself.” Alex looked up at John. “Do you want me to touch myself?”

John’s breath caught in his throat.

“Is that a yes?”

John could barely muster a squeak, but he managed to nod, staring at Alex.

At this, Alex found a pillow, propping it against the headstand, and then flipped onto his back, adjusting himself so one of his legs was over John’s. Alex made quick eye contact with John, before pulling the blankets over his waist so John couldn’t see. Then, Alex plunged his hand into his briefs, gripping his cock.

“You know,” Alex started breathily. “The first time I ever touched myself, I was just a boy.”

“A boy? How old?” John asked.

“Fourteen,” Alex answered. “I woke up one night, so achingly hard. I had a dream about one of the girls in my school. I dreamt that she had sat on my cock, and bounced and yelled and moaned my name.” Alex tilted his head back, hitting it on the headboard. “Oh, God, John, it was the first time I had ever come, and I was almost addicted to the feeling. It was so excruciatingly wonderful.” A moan escaped his mouth, and his hips jutted upwards under the blanket.

“Did you truly touch yourself and think of me with a woman when you were in Germany?” John’s voice was soft, almost as if he was afraid of overwhelming Alex.

Alex just nodded though. “Oh, God, John, before my lover, it was you. I would see you in my head, just pounding into a woman. I would picture you in all different positions. I would picture your face, your cock, wet with the juices of womanhood.” Alex looked to John, cheeks darkened. “I wish I could watch you fuck a woman, I do, because after you’ve released into her flower, I could lick your cock clean. I could taste you and her together.” Alex moaned. “I almost wish I was a woman, just so you could make love to me as I am.”

“Alexander,” John muttered, quite flustered at this point.

Alex leaned his head against John’s shoulder, gripping the Frenchman’s thigh and he continued to touch himself. “Oh, God, John, you are my everything. I once dreamt of you in Germany, you know that? And it was the best dream I ever had. Oh, you were between my legs, plunging your cock into me.” Alex let out a long and guttural moan. “Please, John, tell me what you want to do to me. I want to hear your voice.”

John tilted Alex’s head so they were making eye contact. “I know your lover was male, I know you and him laid together, but I want to fuck you so hard that you forget his name. I want your dreams, your fantasies to only be filled with me.” John leaned in and kissed Alex’s lips. “I want to take you and make you forget your own name.”

Alex bit his lip hard, trying to remain looking at John. “Yeah?”

“You’re so beautiful.” John kissed Alex again. “I want to hear your voice as you finish. Oh, when I was with that woman, my thoughts were only of you. As I plunged into her sweet flower, oh, I could just see you, see you writhing and moaning. Hear you calling my name.”

“John, John, John,” Alex chanted. “Kiss me.”

John pulled Alex into a deep kiss and felt Alex moan into his mouth had he came. They kept kissing until Alex came down from his high, taking deep breaths as he pulled away. There was a moment of silence, and then Alex laughed, pulling his hand out from under the blanket and wiping it off on his nightshirt.

“What?” John laughed.

“Nothing, nothing, I just…” Alex shook his head, smiling. “Didn’t think this was ever going to happen.”

John put his arm around Alex, hugging him close and kissing his cheek. “Well, it did.”

Alex looked at John. “Do you want me to…?”

John paused. “I’m afraid I must admit something.”

Alex gasped. “You’re cockless!”

It took John a moment to process what Alex was saying, but once he did, he was quick to jump to his own defense. “What? No! No! I’m not cockless! I’m not!”

Alex laughed. “I know, John, I was only making fun.”

John let out a sigh, smiling. “I just, I haven’t… I haven’t been quite as intimate with a man before.”

Alex paused. “I thought you said you had snails, several times.”

“Yes, I had snails, but no more than the snails we had together, before today at least.”

Alex gave a small, sly smile. “So when you and I have snails together, truly, it will be the first time you’ve had snails?”

John looked around the room. “I suppose.”

Alex chuckled. “You are still so shy.” He reached down and pulled up his briefs, huffing a bit. “Do you need anything?”

John looked at his slightly tented pans, then shook his head. “No, no, growing up Calvinist makes you almost immune to your sexual desires.”

Alex tilted his head back and laughed. “Oh, John Laurens.”

John looked to Alex. “I should tell you though, you look quick beautiful when you finish. Not like any woman I’ve seen, no. You look much prettier.”

Alex closed his eyes, leaning against John. “Is it only midday?”

“I’m afraid so.”

Alex sat up, moving off of John. “Go back to your things. This was all I needed. I do appreciate you coming over, it was much nicer with you here.”

John pulled Alex into a small kiss. “You’re beautiful.”

Alex nodded, picking up his book. “As are you, dear Laurens.”

John walked to his desk, humming a bit. “Are you aware that my father is throwing a ball tomorrow night?”

“Oh? And is there a reason you are telling me this?” Alex mused.

“I would like you to come with me.”

Alex hummed. “Will you tease me for my German fashion?”

“Only a little.”

A small smile came from the Spaniard. “Alright, I’ll go.”

John nodded, sitting down at his desk and turning back to his work. “Wonderful.”

-

It was the night of the ball and Alex was buttoning up his black frock coat, staring at himself in the mirror. His dark hair was tied back, and his face was shaved. He noted the tired look in his eyes but thought nothing much of it. He hadn’t been sleeping well of late, but sometimes he just didn’t sleep well.

“You look nice,” John complimented, tying his hair up, but missing a few curly pieces, which hung in front of his face. “Even if you look like you stepped out of a German novel.”

Alex smiled softly, turning to John. “You are absolutely intolerable. Please kiss me.”

John stepped forward, offering a small kiss on Alex’s lips. “We should get going.”

Alex nodded. “I suppose.” He paused. “Or, you could lay me down on our bed and take me for your own.”

“You are two words away from becoming the Whore of Babylon,” John joked. “Come on, let’s be off. Will you be warm enough without your furs?”

Alex nodded. “Yes, yes, I will.”

“Wonderful.” John took Alex’s arm and the two of them walked out of the apartment, towards the stables.

They got on their horses and began the ride to John’s father’s home. It was cold out, and Alex did almost wish he had brought his furs, but he ignored the chill and rode quietly with John until they arrived at the lit-up house. They brought their horses to the stables, and then made their way inside. The house seemed to be made of gold. During the day, the Laurens household seemed grey, but when they threw balls, it was like they painted the walls with gold glitter.

Alex let out a breath, walking close to John as they made their way to the ballroom. “I must admit, I’m a bit nervous.”

“Don’t be, I’ll be right with you,” John assured him.

They stepped into the ballroom and John immediately found them some wine, which they sipped as they walked through the people, looking for John’s father. John knew almost everyone there, and said hello to all of them, while Alex just stood quietly next to him. He felt out of place, though that wasn’t new. All these people were French, and they looked French. Alex had never looked French. He remembered when he was a kid, pushing down the bridge of his nose down to try and have the curled up nose that most French people had. It didn’t work though. He stuck out like a sore thumb.

“Father,” John smiled, approaching the older Laurens man.

“Ah, John, my boy, and Alexander.” Henry shook both their hands, smiling widely. “How are you both?”

“We are well,” John nodded. “The house, as always, looks beautiful.”

“I have someone I would like you both to meet, he-” Henry turned, looking around. “He must’ve run off. Please, both of you, go wait over there and let me find him. I think you will quite enjoy his company.”

John downed his wine, then pointed to an open spot near the wall. “Alex, I’ll get us more drinks, you wait over there, yes?”

Alex nodded, making his way over to where John pointed and standing there, looking around. There were many people of high class there. Alex wished he could’ve left. He wanted to leave, but he only wanted to leave because he was currently alone. Things tended to be more bearable when he was with John.

Alex sipped his wine, looking around the ballroom. He smiled, seeing John coming through the crowd with two full glasses of champagne, smiling and declining someone. John got to the wall, handing Alex a fresh glass and looking over the crowd.

"Do you remember Monsieur Fernandu? From when we were kids?" John mumbled, sipping his drink.

"Yes, he would read to us the classics. Is he well? I feel I haven't heard of him since I got back to Paris."

"He is no longer invited to these sorts of things, and no one speaks of him." John snickered. "Do you know much of what he did?"

"No, I do not."

"In the year twenty-eight, he was found to be having..." John looked around, making sure no one was listening in. "He was found to be having intimate relations with young male concubines in India."

Alex choked on his champagne. "Excuse me?"

John laughed loudly. "Yes! Yes! He was found to be getting quite close with such folk!" John took Alex's wrist. "No one speaks of him now."

"What if people grew informed of us?" Alex asked softly.

"Then we'd have to leave town so quickly, pack up only what we need." John stepped closer to Alex. "Ride from France, somewhere in Greece, where we could purchase a flat, spend our lives making love and art."

Alex smiled softly, blushing. "Lord, dearest, you are going to make me faint."

"Yes, that is the goal."

Alex let out a small huff, sipping his drink. “Who do you think your father wanted us to meet?”

“Someone wonderful,” John muttered sarcastically.

Alex laughed. “Perhaps we will be entertained tonight with talk of things that aren’t very entertaining.”

John nodded. “Perhaps.”

“John, Alexander!” Henry called out, coming over with someone in tow. “I finally found him. This is Marquis de Lafayette.”

Both Alex and John’s jaw dropped a bit. Lafayette was tall and handsome as hell. His coarse black hair was tied back in a tight bun. He had wide brown eyes, and brown skin, not particularly light, but not dark either. His build was muscular, with long legs and formed arms. He walked with the elegance of a deer. He had long slender fingers, which gripped his wine glass in a calm and suave manner. He seemed to care about nothing, but his eyes were almost undressing you as they looked at you. Alex didn’t know why, but he wanted to make this man fall in love with him. John wanted to see this man naked.

“Hello,” Lafayette spoke in a voice smooth as butter. “I am, as your father said, Lafayette.”

John paused for a moment, swallowing hard. “Oh.”

Alex cleared his throat. “I am Alexander Hamilton, and this is my close friend, and Henry Laurens’ son, John Laurens. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

Lafayette chuckled. “You sound German, were you born near there?”

“Oh, no, no, not at all,” Alex chuckled. “I was born in Spain, and I grew up in Paris, but I just returned from ten years in Germany a few months ago.”

Lafayette smiled. “What were you doing in Germany for ten years?”

“Becoming a philosophy major,” Alex replied.

Lafayette nodded. “And John, what of you? Did you accompany Alex on his trek to Germany?”

John shook his head. “No, no, I stayed and attended school here. I’m an architect, I work with the aristocratic families in Paris for things from new homes to extensions on old ones.”

Lafayette hummed. “And is that what you like to do?”

John nodded. “Yes, yes, I like the artistic side to it, and that’s all I really do.”

Lafayette looked to Alex. “And what do you work?”

“Nothing,” Alex smiled. “I just write.”

“You write?” Lafayette raised an eyebrow, sipping his drink. “What do you write?”

“He’s a poet,” John answered.

“A poet.” Lafayette gave a small and approving nod in Alex’s direction. “That’s very interesting. As a philosophy major, you must have some good writing, assuming you are a good writer. Perhaps you publish some soon?”

Alex shrugged. “Maybe.”

Lafayette looked around at the crowd of people. “I feel as though I am surrounded by French perfume. I never quite liked it.”

“Are you not from here?” Alex asked with almost hope in his voice.

“No, I was born in North Africa, but… adopted by a French family at a young age. My name is French, but it was not my name.” Lafayette offered a smile. “I suppose it matters not much now. In the July revolution, much of my bourgeoisie family was…” Lafayette offered a sly smile. “Lost. I joined the revolution though, fought in it until we won.”

“I feel as no one really wins in French revolutions,” John chuckled dryly.

“No, but it is fun to participate.” Lafayette looked between Alex and John. “So, are you two quite close?”

John nodded. “Yes, Alexander and I have been close friends since we were barely only enough to drink.” John chuckled. “He lives with me now, which is quite nice. I had not a chance to see him during his nine-year absence in Germany, so his company is very welcomed now.”

Lafayette chuckled. “Yes, you two seem very close.”

Alex suddenly felt discomfort rise in his chest. “I suppose. Tell me, what do you work as?”

“I work out ways to spend my dead family’s money,” Lafayette joked. “And I manage a small trading business for desires, such as jewels and herbs, and things you would find in a truly wealthy person’s home.” Lafayette took Alex’s hands. “You don’t eat enough red meat.”

Alex’s eyes widened. “What?”

“You don’t eat enough red meat.” Lafayette pointed to Alex’s nails. “See, they’re rigid, broken, and your hands are too pale.” Lafayette pressed on Alex’s nail. “And see how long it takes for your nail bed to get color again?” He tsked and shook his head. “You need more meat.”

John’s brows creased. “How do you know this?”

Lafayette shrugged. “Medicine. I took a class once. I dropped out of med school during the July revolution though, there was no point in saving lives if I could not defend the ones getting lost around me.”

“Med school,” John hummed. “What was it like?”

“It was interesting,” Lafayette started. “Never dull, but I had other things I wanted to do.”

“Marquis, come, you must meet my husband!” A boisterous woman with the tits of cow laughed, grabbing onto Lafayette’s arm.

Lafayette nodded. “Alexander, John, my shop is in Charonne, you should find it.” Lafayette kissed both their cheeks. “I hope to see you both soon.” He winked and then left with the woman.

“Lord,” John laughed. “He’s quite a character.”

“He is,” Alex agreed. “I felt like he knew something we didn’t tell him. Did you feel that too?”

John nodded. “Yes, but I don’t think I wish to think on it.” John looked around. “We could leave. My father has seen me, and he has introduced me to someone, so we could go.”

“What would we do?”

John looked around. “Something ungodly.”

Alex sucked in a breath, looking around. “Like what?”

John snickered. “Eating shellfish.”

“I hate you.”

John looked around briefly, then grabbed Alex’s hand. “Let us, honestly, go home. I miss the taste of your tongue.”

Alex felt his cheeks heat up. “John.”

The Frenchman looked around, then stepped closer to Alexander. “Come on, let’s go home. Let’s get drunk and you can read me your poetry.”

Alex nodded, sighing happily. “That does, truly, sound wonderful, John Laurens.”

 

Chapter Text

“Where are we going?” John asked, letting Alex pull him through the streets of Paris. “You have barely said but a word since we left the house, and I get that it’s your birthday, and you feel the need to chose what we do now that you’re twenty-seven, but I feel as though you might murder me.”

“John!” Alex laughed. “No, no, of course not. I just want to see if Lafayette was being honest about his shop in Charonne.”

“That is where we are going? To see a former aristocrat who just wishes to destroy the reputation of the parents who adopted him?” John laughed. “Why on earth did you pull me out of bed for this?”

“Because I wished to bring you along,” Alex answered. “It’s a nice day, brisk, and I believe I wanted the company of my friend.”

“Your friend?”

Alex turned to look at John, offering a sly smile. “Yes, John Laurens, you are my friend.”

John snickered, bumping into Alex a bit as they continued to walk to Charonne. It was hard for John to stay composed when looking at Alex. The grey light of the January day made him stand out a bit more, especially with the brown coat he had on. His dark hair was tied up, and his skin, which was paler due to the winter, seemed almost flawless. Except, of course, the little scar running across his cheek from when they were fifteen. A shop owner had slashed a knife at Alex for coming into his shop, saying he didn’t want to Israelites stealing his stuff. John had pressed his hand to the bleeding cut and walked Alex back to George and Martha’s. Martha had quickly cleaned it up and kept a clothe pressed to it to stop the bleeding.

“You know, Alexander,” John started, voice low. “Out of all the people I have ever met, I think you are the most beautiful.”

Alex smiled. “You flatter me.”

“Perhaps I do.” John sighed, looking around. “We should go to the bakery after this. My stomach aches for something sweet.”

“I do not understand how you could need something sweet when you’re constantly tasting your own tongue,” Alex muttered.

John bumped Alex’s hand with his own. “And you say flatter you.

“Because you do,” Alex chuckled. “The Marquis said his shop was in this area, where do you think it might be?”

John offered a shrug, looking around. “He said it was a shop full of non-essentials, so let us ask someone.” John walked over to a man selling papers. “Excuse me, sir, would you perhaps know where a shop run by Lafayette is? Full of non-essentials, as he puts it?”

“Ah, Gilbert’s!” The man laughed. “Yes, yes, just go down this street another block or so and you’ll see it. Gotta green sign, with Gilbert’s written in gold.”

John nodded. “Thank you, have a wonderful day.”

“And you as well.”

John took Alex’s arm and began walking. “Just a block down, he said. Gilbert’s is the name of the shop.”

“I’ve always hated the color green,” Alex admitted. “I think it’s ghastly.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes, it is.”

“My eyes are green, you know that?”

Alex scoffed. “Your eyes are not green.”

“Yes, they are!”

Alex shook his head, turning to look at John. “Your eyes are golden, with a bit of grey, but they are not green.”

“They are green!” John argued.

“Absolutely not. John Laurens, your eyes are not green, they have never been green. You have only looked at that face of yours a few times, and it is nothing to the hours I’ve spent staring at it. I knew every detail from the time I was twelve, and I’ll be damned if your eyes are green.”

“Then damned you are,” John teased.

“You bother me with your heresy first thing in the morning, talking about how my book with Mary on the cover might tempt you to idol worship, and now, now you talk nothing but foolishness! Your eyes are hazel and grey, dear boy, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

John scoffed, leaning into Alex. “You are the foolish one, dearest.”

Alex smiled. “You cannot just call me ‘dearest’ and expect to get away with your crimes.”

“My crimes?” John laughed. “Alexander, the only crime here is how wonderful your voice sounds.”

“Again with the flattery!” Alex gasped. He paused, then looked at John. “Gilbert’s. There it is.” Alex pulled John into the shop, looking around. It was quaint, full of things like parchment, pens, ink, perfumes, sweets. Alex quite liked it.”

“Pardon me,” John started, looking to a boy at the counter. “Is the Marquis here?”

The boy looked at John. “Who’s asking?”

“John.”

The boy turned towards the back. “Lafayette! John is here!”

“John?” A voice muttered. “I do not think I know a John. Could you mean Javert?”

“No, John.”

Lafayette walked out from the back, then smiled. “John! Alexander! Yes, yes, it is you two.” Lafayette walked from behind the counter, kissing them both on the cheeks. He took their hands and didn’t let go as he continued talking. “How wonderful it is to see you two again. Are you both well?”

John nodded. “Yes, yes, of course, we are. Alexander and I just wished to pay you a visit.”

“Let us go upstairs to my apartment!” Lafayette smiled. “We can sit and talk and drink tea.” Lafayette led them upstairs, calling out a slight order to his counter boy to watch the shop. Alex couldn’t help but stare a little bit at Lafayette’s ass. It looked good, round, and those tight white pants were doing everything for it. Lafayette turned to look at Alex and John. “Please, do excuse the mess upstairs, I don’t have very many guests over, so I tend to keep my apartment to my exact liking.”

“I assure you, you cannot be worse than Alexander,” John chuckled.

Alex rolled his eyes.

Lafayette lead them into the apartment and sat them down at a table, putting the kettle on and pulling out some pastries. “I am very glad to see you two again. I would’ve talked to you more at the ball, I promise, but the woman who pulled me away, I’ve known her for a very long time, I did not feel like being rude.”

“No, we were alright.” Alex chuckled, holding up his hands.

“The women there were quite beautiful, yes?”

John coughed. “Yes, yes, quite.”

Lafayette gave a smile to the two of them, pausing for a moment. “Perhaps a tender breast is not in John’s foresight, hm?”

“Pardon?”

Lafayette stood up. “The tea is ready.”

John looked to Alex, brows creased, and Alex replied with a shrug.

“Is black tea fine? I also had a shipment of green tea come in the other day, and I tend to snag a bit for myself, so you two decided, I’m fine with either.”

Alex looked at John. “Have you ever had green tea?”

John shook his head.

“Green tea, please, Lafayette,” Alex requested in a soft voice.

“Yes, of course, of course.” Lafayette set plain white and almost chipped cups down on the table. “I apologize for the state of my cups. I’ve had them since I was a child. It was the last thing my real mother gave me.”

Alex swallowed. “If I may ask, what age were you orphaned?”

Lafayette poured tea, then sat down. “My father died during my mother’s pregnancy, and around the age of six, my mother had perished due to disease. My other family, they wanted to take me in, but I was sent to an orphanage in France. I learned French from a teacher. When did you come to Paris, Alexander?”

“I was a bit younger than you,” Alex admitted. “My father was never around, my mother was a whore who sold me to a fishing port when I was young. My Pa, George, he bought me from the fishing port and took me in. It was much better than sleeping on a pile of fishing net, I must admit.”

Lafayette looked to John. “I don’t think you’ve left Paris in your whole life, have you, John Laurens?”

John sipped his tea, shaking his head. “I’ve left Paris, but not France.”

“I tried to talk him into Germany with me, but he didn’t want to be away from home for that long.” Alex chuckled, patting John’s thigh.

“Where do you wish to go?” Lafayette asked.

“China,” John answered quickly. “I’ve always wanted to go to China. I think it would be beautiful. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid.”

Alex smiled.

“I assume you and Alex would go together? You seem like the pair to do things together,” Lafayette chuckled.

John nodded. “Yes, he promised to take me to Germany at one point so I could meet his friends. Germany, from how he describes it, sounds nice, even if the fashion is horrid.”

Alex let his head fall back. “No one in the world would speak and John Laurens would tell you just how little he likes the German fashion.”

Lafayette laughed. “I don’t like it much either. I like the feeling of my pants fitting my legs. I think my calves are my best feature, so I enjoy showing them off. Like King Henry, without all the wives.” Lafayette chuckled, sipping his tea. “Do you have any other hobbies besides what you told me that night? You must be more than designing homes and writing poetry.”

Alex chuckled. “I enjoy exploring old castles, old buildings. History, that’s always been interesting to me. Art. I don’t do art, no, that’s his job-” Alex nudged John. “But I like the history of it. One of my favorite poets, Thomas Chatterton, he is also one of my more liked historical figures. He had a great deal of influence on modern romanticism. He killed himself when he was only seventeen though, about thirty years before I was born.”

Lafayette nodded. “And John, Alexander said you do art.”

John shrugged, looking at his teacup. “A little, I guess.”

“He’s been doing art since he was a boy. He used to make me pose for him so he could see what I looked like.” Alex chuckled, nudging John’s hand. “He’s quite a good artist, you know? He’s been doing it since he was a child.”

Lafayette smiled. “Someday, John Laurens, I would like to see your artwork.”

John coughed. “And what of you, Lafayette? What do you do?”

“Parties, women, alcohol, the works.” Lafayette shrugged. “I don’t wish to grow up, and I have all this money from my dead adopted… parents, so I just chose to spend it on frivolous things that I have no need for. The way I see it, the more I spend on things I don’t need, the less money I have, and the less likely it is my head will come off in our next revolution.” Lafayette chuckled. “John Laurens, you are obviously from wealthy blood, but what of you, Alexander? Was there a chance I met your family last night?”

Alex shook his head. “I know the Laurens family only because my father is a tailor for them. I met John when my father was tailoring a suit for his.”

Lafayette nodded. “Does your father do good work?”

“Yes, yes, he is,” Alex quickly stated. “He’s kept our family quite comfortable.”

John cleared his throat. “Lafayette, I must ask you, where is your chamber room?”

“Ah, right through that door.” Lafayette pointed to a door, then turned to Alex as John got up and left the two of them alone. “You do a horrible job at covering the bruises on your neck, yes?”

Alex laughed nervously, covering up the marks John had left. John was moving achingly slow for Alexander, but Alex didn’t mind waking up to the feeling of John’s tongue running against his soft skin, the feeling of John’s teeth sinking into his shoulder. John could barely even look at a shirtless Alex, but he was fine with kissing, and that was at least something. “Yes, yes, I am young, I might as well be young.”

Lafayette looked to the bathroom door, then back to Alex. “You and John are close, yes?”

Alex nodded. “I suppose.”

Lafayette leaned back. “You are not as secretive as you claim to be, Alexander. And while the people on the street may look at you and John and see only trouble, please do not pretend to be trouble with me. We both know I am smarter than that.”

Alex paused. “Pardon?”

“You have a lover, Alexander,” Lafayette stated, sipping his tea. “And your lover is in my washroom.”

Alex was quiet.

“I knew it from the moment I saw you two.”

“I don’t believe you know what you’re talking about,” Alex managed to stutter out, setting his teacup down.

“I believe I do.” Lafayette smiled. “If you are worried I am to rat you out to a priest or a lawmaker, please, do not be. I do not care. I just think we, as friends, should be honest with each other, don’t you agree?”

“Honest about what?” John asked, coming back out.

“Honest about the love affair between you and Alexander,” Lafayette smiled.

John froze. “Pardon?”

Lafayette tilted his head back, laughing. “You two must be made for each other! That’s what Alexander said as well.” Lafayette sipped his tea. “Sit down, John Laurens, you have nothing to worry about. I am no man of God, nor am I a man of the law. You are about as safe here as you would be in your own home.” Lafayette stood up, pouring more hot water into the teapot and adding a bit more tea. “I feel it is safe to assume neither of you has wishes to marry?”

“No, no,” Alex replied. “I suppose not.”

Lafayette set the tea down, then sat back in his chair, looking at the two of them. “Do you think your families may apply some pressure to finding a woman?”

“The only thing my father will want me to do is to get a job,” Alex laughed. “I do not think he cares if I marry or not, I think he just wants me to live comfortably. Which John Laurens provides.” Alex chuckled a bit.

“And what of you?” Lafayette looked to John. “Your father seems traditional, and he spoke of you much different than you are. Do you think he will want you to marry?”

John offered a light shrug, looking around the room. “Perhaps. I will keep making excuses until he dies.”

Alex snickered. “Christ, John.”

“It is the only way I will be able to live my life in peace,” John groaned. “The man cannot look me in the eyes, but he absolutely adores telling me what I need to do.”

“You like telling me what to do,” Alex pointed out.

“You like doing what I tell you too,” John replied.

Lafayette groaned. “Lord, if I had known that being honest with each other would’ve meant listening to this, I just would’ve let you two continue to lie poorly and dance around the obvious physical constant you want to make.”

John looked around. “Are we… are we really that obvious?”

Lafayette shook his head. “No, I’m just smarter than most people, and I also have had male lovers, so I know what it looks like to try and hide it.”

Alex perked up. “I feel as though we were separated at birth.”

Lafayette laughed. “Perhaps. Honestly, I knew the moment John’s father told me you two were close friends who lived together. No men your age live together. Alexander, if you had truly innocent intentions with John, you would be in your own apartment by now, with a brothel coming out of your door.”

Alex snickered. “Perhaps you’re right. And perhaps that was my original plan, but then…” Alex let out a sigh. “Oh, God, I saw those shoulders.”

“It was my shoulders!” John laughed. “How?”

“They were wide! I wanted to see what my legs looked like propped upon them!” Alex gasped.

Lafayette raised an eyebrow. “Is the sex well?”

John jumped. “Oh! We don’t-! We haven’t-!”

“We haven’t gotten that far yet,” Alex cut in, not wanting to listen to John stutter anymore. “John’s never had snails before.”

“Never?” Lafayette sipped his tea. “Seems like the type.”

Alex laughed. “Never.”

“Has he had oysters?”

“Yes,” John cut in. “Yes, I have. Alex made me promise him that I would, and I upheld that promise.”

“Did you enjoy oysters?” Lafayette mused.

John paused, looking for the words. “I didn’t not enjoy oysters.”

A nod came from the North African before he glanced at Alex. “And you? Snails or Oysters? Or both?”

“Both, and I liked both equally. Germany had…” Alex trailed off. “Lots of snails for me to get my mouth around.”

Lafayette tilted his head back, laughing. “And what of the German oysters? They were surely as lose and tender as the snails, yes?”

Alex shook his head. “They were tight and cold, and you couldn’t break them open unless you were very persistent, and most nights, I was too tired to attempt an oyster, and just settled for a snail, even if it was less than average.”

“And what of this snail? Is he a less than average one you’ve settled for?” Lafayette looked to John, then back to Alex.

“I don’t think anyone could consider being with John similar to just settling. And perhaps we have not gotten so far as to eat snails together, but I am aware of his best features… his largest.” Alex snicked. “So no, he is not a snail I have settled for.”

John let out a small chuckle. “You two are almost disgusting. Speaking of me as if you are dogs and I am simply day-old meat the butcher left in the windowsill.”

Alex let out a laugh. “Oh, John, you know I absolutely adore you.”

“Perhaps.”

The couple stayed probably much too late at Lafayette’s, talking of crude sexual experiences they’ve had and discussing the monarchy in France. The three of them all admitted they were over having a monarch, and even Alex admitted that the style of America politics seemed safer, with the voice of the people being what decides who rules the country, and the term of the ruling being short.

Alex and John left with a promise to visit again, and a bottle of wine, olive oil, and some sweets Lafayette had gifted them. Alex held the wine and oil while John held onto the small straw basket of sweets.

“I fear,” Alex started as they entered the apartment, “that Lafayette’s friendship will make us fat with good food.”

“Not the worst thing to get fat on.” John set the sweets on the table. “I still cannot believe Lafayette knew of us.”

“It’s much easier to spot us when you are one of us,” Alex pointed out.

John looked up. “Pray tell?”

Alex bit his lip, thinking. “I think sodomites can sense each other.”

“Can we?”

“We can.” Alex smiled. “Why do you think I stayed with you? I knew I had a chance the moment I saw you.” He turned and sat on the table, facing John. “Gimme a kiss.”

John stood between Alex’s legs, ducking his head down and pressing his lips to Alex’s. Alex wrapped his legs around John’s waist, pulling the man closer. John used one hand to balance himself against the table, and the other to pull Alex’s head closer. Alex’s tongue felt foreign, but John did his best not to instinctually recoil because he knew Alex must like it, and he did like it too, he just had never kissed with tongue before, and it was strange to him.

“When will you take me as your own, John Laurens?” Alex muttered, gripping John’s jacket and tilting his head back so John could kiss his neck. “I yearn for the feeling of your hard cock inside of me.”

“Must you rush me?” John complained. “Every time I ask, I will keep saying no. I will watch you build up tension, I will watch you get more and more desperate.”

Alex groaned. “Good God, why, John Laurens? Why?”

“Because think how good it will feel-” John planted a soft kiss on Alex’s throat. “-When I finally say yes.”

Alex let out a huff. “I hate you.”

John held Alex’s chin, pecking his lips. “I know, dear boy.”

Alex looked down at his pants, then let out a groan. “At least let me touch myself and listen to your voice. Can you grant me that, John Laurens?”

John nodded. “Yes, and we can get drunk on wine after that perhaps?”

Alex leaned in, kissing John again. “You have no idea just how perfect you are for me.”

John pressed his forehead to Alex’s. “I love you, Alexander.”

Alex let out a low hum, curling John’s hair in his hand. “I love you too, my dear John.”

 

Chapter Text

February 1835

Alex, at first, wasn’t sure why he had been jolted from his sleep so early in the morning. The sky wasn’t even light, but you could tell the sun was close to rising. The bed was warm but not too warm, and Alex was comfortable. He didn’t have to pee, and his head felt fine, as well as his back, so he wasn’t sure why he had awoken.

Then he felt it.

“Oh,” Alex mumbled, hearing John’s quiet breath as the man ground against him. “John? Are you awake?”

No response.

Alex was almost shocked. John, who had always been so, well, modest when it came to these things, was grinding on Alex in his sleep. Alex was sure he had plenty of dreams that ended with him finishing into the sheets, he was practically wracked with them as a kid, but John had always been so… quiet about this. It was almost exciting for Alex. It felt good. Well, almost. John was grinding on his upper back.

Alex, as quietly and smoothly as possible, scooted up so his ass was right where John was grinding. He let out a sigh, feeling John move against it a bit quicker. Alex closed his eyes, a small sly smile on his lips. He began to move a bit in sync with John, see just how far he could take it before John woke up. John’s arm, which was firmly hugging Alex’s waist, tightened, pulling the Spaniard closer to him. He let out a shaky breath, sending chills down Alex’s spine.

Alex stayed quiet but relished in the feeling of John pressed up against him. It was almost relaxing. Alex closed his eyes, taking deep breaths and focusing on moving his hips against John’s front.

John let out a noise, hugging Alex’s body closer.

Alex had to cover his mouth, trying not to laugh. If John knew what he was doing, he’d be absolutely humiliated. Alex didn’t wanna stop him though, because he seemed quite into it. Still, it was funny to think of the attempted excuses that would come from John’s mouth if he woke up right now. Alex had to bite down on his thumb to keep himself from vocalizing just how funny he thought the situation was. Instead, he relaxed, continuing his movement to sync with John’s, and waited patiently for John to finish or get bored.

Alex was almost surprised when he felt John stall and heard a low breath escape the man. John’s grip loosened, and his face nestled into the back of Alex’s neck. The room fell quiet again, and Alex closed his eyes, letting himself fall back to sleep.

The next morning, Alex awoke to the sun in his eyes. He sat up, groaning. The nightshirt that was John’s fell off of his shoulder as he watched his lover work as the desk. Alex let out a yawn, stretching, then straightening up a bit. “Goodmorning, John Laurens.”

John jumped, then turned around. “Oh! Alex, uh, hi, hi, good morning.”

Alex cocked an eyebrow. “How’d you sleep, dear?”

John shrugged, rubbing the back of his neck. “Well. I slept well. That was it.”

Alex almost laughed. “Yeah?”

John nodded briskly. “And you? Did you sleep okay? Did you wake up at any point?”

Alex knew John knew, and decided to tease him a bit. “Oh, actually I did.”

John coughed a bit, looking down at his lap and trying his best to not make eye contact with Alex. “Did you have to pee?”

Alex bit his lip. “No.”

“Were you hungry?”

Alex shook his head.

John was quiet.

“Oh, John.” Alex got up and kissed John’s cheek, before walking into the kitchen. “You’re quite cute when you’re embarrassed, you know that?”

“Hush,” John muttered.

Alex poked his head back into the bedroom. “For the record John, I’m sure it would’ve been much more entertaining if you were awake.”

John groaned, putting his head in his arms on his desk.

Alex laughed, getting himself some coffee and a bit of bread. He sat down at the table, picking up the book he had left there last night and continuing. It was a book John had gotten him, The Red And The Black. It was a newer book, which Alex wasn’t exactly used to reading, but because John bought it for him, and because of most of his books he had already read, he was reading it. It wasn’t awful, though Alex wasn’t exactly the biggest fan of psychological novels. As he read it though, he made a note to make John read it. It applied to him, Alex thought.

“Have you ever smoked hashish?” Alex asked, coming back into the bedroom when he finished breakfast.

“What is it?” John mumbled.

“Cannabis,” Alex replied. “A type of cannabis. Sort of. Oh, I don’t quite know, but it’s wonderful. Lafayette offered to let us smoke with him tonight if we so wish. I used to smoke it all the time in Germany.” Alex laughed. “Me and my lover, we’d get high and then get into so much trouble together. It was ridiculous.”

“What was it like?” John asked, trying to mask his curiosity.

“Wonderful, pleasant, and funny.” Alex laid across their bed. “Can I ask you something?”

“Perhaps.”

“Why are you so afraid of sex with another man?”

John sat up, turning to Alex. “Pardon?”

“I think you heard me.”

John looked down, then back up, then down again. “Perhaps I am afraid of hell.”

“Hell does not exist.”

John’s eyebrows shot up and he looked over to Alex, who was kicking his legs back and forth as he traced the wood design on the bed with his fingers. “That’s an awfully bold statement for a Catholic.”

“It is what my mother taught me,” Alex answered. “Not Martha.”

John paused. “Was your mother catholic?”

Alex shook his head, rolling onto his back. “Honestly, John Laurens, you must know that my Catholicism was only an effect that Paris had on me. My mother was from Israel.”

“Was she Muslim?”

Alex shook his head. “Jewish. If she was good for nothing else, she taught me a base of Jewish beliefs.”

“So you do not believe Jesus died for our sins?”

Alex paused, swallowing hard and thinking. “I don’t know.” Alex turned his head, looking to John. “It was quite difficult to be Catholic when I first arrived in Paris. I never truly enjoyed religion until I went to Germany. But even then, it wasn’t for God. It was for the ritual, the art.” Alex looked at John. “The art always reminded me of you, and that’s why I liked it.”

“But you pray.”

“And I hope someone hears it.” Alex let out a breath. “I have never truly been able to decide what is right and what is wrong. I agree and disagree with both. It was just… difficult. In Spain, all the Rabbis knew me like the whore’s son, but Jewish. In Paris, I am known as the Catholic Israelite. In Israel… perhaps they would find it abhorrent that I am Catholic, I don’t know.” Alex looked at John. “The idea of God is… it’s comforting almost. I do not know whose God, whose Jesus, whose Mary I pray to, but I do hope they hear it.”

John hummed.

“But this is beside the point.” Alex smiled. “Are you truly so afraid of Hell that you will not take me as your own?”

John looked to the crucifix on his wall, then back to Alex.

“I do not think you will go to hell for touching me.” Alex sat up. “I don’t think something so good could be bad.”

“Perhaps that’s why it is bad,” John pointed out.

“Is it bad because God says it’s bad? Or does God say it’s bad because it was bad, to begin with?”

John stopped, thinking. He opened his mouth, then closed it, then opened it again, only to close it back up and turn around. “Stop that.”

“It was only a question.” Alex smiled, leaning forward. “Why do you not wish to think about it?”

“Because you are not supposed to think about God’s word, you are supposed to follow it.”

Alex groaned, falling back. “Don’t you see? You simply following, not thinking, it’s so very… So Christian of you! Why do you question nothing? How do you know you are even reading the correct version of the bible?”

“How could it not be correct?” John gasped.

“It was translated from Hebrew to Latin to German to French as many times as we have taken a breath. How much room for error is that? Plenty!” Alex groaned. “Why does it even matter?”

“Why does it matter?” John was so in shock that he couldn’t answer for a moment. “It matters because it is the only thing that matters!” John stood up. “Everything we do is meaningless if we do not do it for a reason!”

“And what reason is a book written over a thousand years ago?” Alex asked. “It seems foolish to follow it’s every word! Which you don’t even do!”

“I do not? Oh, oh, do tell,” John laughed sarcastically.

“Leviticus nineteen twenty-seven, do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” Alex smiled at John, eyes wide.

John was quiet. “That’s different.”

“Then how am I not?” Alex asked.

“Because-” John stopped. “Because it is no longer a possible thing to avoid breaking that command, but it is possible-”

“You are no fun!” Alex accused. “Why do you think you are not already damned? Do you think because your cock has not entered my body, you are excused? Let’s not forget the way you’ve kissed me, the way you ground your cock against me and felt your own release.”

“Alexander.”

“You are scared of my body, and I am nothing to be afraid of, John Laurens.” Alex moved forward on the bed, getting closer to John. “With my body, I thee worship.”

“You are nothing I fear, Alexander.”

“Then show me.”

“Alex-”

Alex grabbed John’s hands, pulling him closer. “Even if you do not take me right now, show me you are not afraid of me.”

John leaned in, his lips barely gracing Alex’s. “Would you take off your nightshirt?”

Alex chuckled. “Your nightshirt, actually.”

“Hush.”

Alex scooted back, then removed the shirt. “Am I beautiful because you love me? Or ugly because God is disgusted in our actions?”

John could almost barely speak. “You’re gorgeous.”

Alex smiled, lying back. “What do you want me for?”

John climbed over the edge of the bed and on top of Alex, kissing him. “Good God, Alexander. You are exquisite.”

Alex hummed, running his fingers through John’s hair. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” John kissed down Alex’s jaw, onto his neck. “You are so beautiful.” John kissed onto Alex’s chest, breathing heavily. “When God made you, He made you simply to torture me. To make me feel erotic and warm. He made you to put me in agony, and oh, you are the best punishment I have ever had. You are all I want. You are the only temptation that matters.”

“You are my own Heaven, John,” Alex mumbled, letting out a shaky breath as John’s lips trailed to just above his navel. “You are almost angelic, but God, even angels would weep around you, for they would know their beauty could never compare.”

John smiled, letting his lips kiss just above the start of Alex’s briefs before trailing back up to Alex’s neck. “You are sin, Alexander.”

“Then let yourself be in sin.”

John laughed lightly, kissing the crook of Alex’s next. “If I ever marry, it will only be for you.”

“I cannot believe I am the one saying this, but please, stop talking.” Alex laughed, pulling John into a kiss.

John moaned lightly, running his hand over Alex’s chest. Alex held John’s face in his hands, keeping the kiss together. They were slow in their movements, and for once, it was bugging Alex. For once, Alex truly did just want to touch John, just feel his body against his own.

Alex’s hands went to the button’s on John’s shirt, where they were quickly undone. John sat up and slid his shirt off, looking down at Alex. There was a moment of silence before Alex sat up and kissed the center of John’s chest.

“Hold me,” Alex requested lightly. “Hold me and let me feel my skin against yours.”

John laid down, the pulled Alex against him. John’s chest was warm, and his body was comfortable. Alex adored the feeling of John’s hand on his thigh, the feeling of his chest up against John’s, the smell of John. John hadn’t bathed in a few days, and Alex could tell, but it wasn’t a bad scent. It was John’s scent.

“I love you,” Alex whispered.

“And I, you,” John uttered in response.

The two laid there for a while, occasionally kissing, relishing in each other’s contact. Perhaps Alex didn’t know if John was disgusted with what they were doing, but oh how he had craved it. It wasn’t the sex he wanted, it had never been about it. It was the love. Alex wanted to feel loved by John, and he almost didn’t care if it was ingenuine. Some part of him knew it was real though, knew John did love him, and oh, that felt so good.

Eventually, Alex sat up, letting out a brief. “I fear we must be on our way to Lafayette’s.”

John hummed. “To do cannabis, yes?”

Alex rolled his eyes. “Almost. Come on, let’s get dressed.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard you encourage me to put on my clothes,” John joked, standing up and heading for his closet.

“Oh, hush. I miss getting high.” Alex slipped on some pants, and then his stockings. “We did it almost every night in Germany.”

“Oh did you? What else did you do almost every night?” John wiggled his eyebrows a bit.

Alex just smiled, putting on his shirt.

They two of them were quick to get dressed, and they grabbed a bottle of wine before leaving. Now that they knew where they were headed, the trip to Lafayette’s was much quicker, and they found themselves going into the back and up to Lafayette’s apartment. Alex knocked, leaning against John, and in moments, the door was flung open in a quite dramatic manner. Lafayette was about two buttons away from being shirtless, and God, he looked hot as ever.

“Welcome, welcome, come in.” Lafayette stepped aside. “I must inform you, I have been drinking.”

“And we have been kissing, so I suppose our vices are equal,” Alex chuckled.

Lafayette laughed. “I have mixed our hashish with tobacco today, since smoking it without anything is too difficult, and I adhere to the idea of ingesting it.”

“That is just fine. We brought the drink,” John offered.

“Wonderful, wonderful. We must all share the couch since I only have one pipe.” Lafayette walked into the living room, both of them following him. “My pipe is porcelain, so it does not burn with hashish oil. I got it off a trader from India. He and I were haggling about prices, him saying mine was too high, and I told him if he gave me the pipe I’d let it slide.” Lafayette handed it to Alex. “Beautifully crafted, is it not?”

Alex nodded in agreement.

“Come, sit, sit.” Lafayette scooted to one side so Alex and John could sit together. “Get comfortable, take off your coats and shoes, please. Mi casa es su casa.”

“Gracias,” Alex joked.

“Do you know much Spanish, Alexander?” Lafayette started, beginning to pack the bowl of the pipe in the hashish and tobacco. “I know you are originally from Spain.”

“Perhaps I did, but now it’s only a few words, some basics.” Alex shrugged. “I’m sure I would not have trouble relearning it, but I simply never made the time.”

Lafayette lit a match, putting it to the bowl and taking a deep inhale, before coughing a few times. “Oh, yes, yes this is good. Come, Alexander, it’s still burning.”

Alex was quick to take the pipe and breath in, closing his eyes and leaning back. He held the smoke in his lungs for a moment before coughing. “Christ, that is good tobacco.”

Lafayette lit another match and held it to the bowl, before pushing it into John’s hands. John, who had never really smoked anything other than tobacco, just followed their actions. The smoke tasted sweeter, and John liked it. It also burned more, which caused John to cough a bit.

“Good?” Alexander asked.

John nodded, handing the pipe back to Alex. “Very.”

Not much was said as the three of them passed the pipe back and forth, besides the occasional cough. Eventually, though, the hash ran out, and the tobacco became a mere ash, so they put it down and began drinking. Though John didn’t realize it, he was almost at a forty-five-degree angle, leaning against Alex.

“Do you ever wonder what really happens when you die?” Lafayette asked.

“Your body turns to ash and you will rise again when the time is right,” Alex muttered, sipping the wine. “Or perhaps heaven. Or we begin another life. Or we just die. There’s plenty of theories, you know?” Alex laughed. “I took a semester of religion studies in my education, and it was quite riveting.”

John let out a hum. “I feel like I am a handkerchief.”

“Was this his first time?” Lafayette asked.

Alex nodded. “Yes, it was.”

“Good God, he’s not taking it well. He’s about six inches from sucking you off.” Lafayette let out a laugh, drinking some wine.

Alex sighed. “Lafayette, I fear we might have to stay at your apartment tonight.”

“I assumed you would, so I made up the guest room.”

John sat up, almost falling off the couch. “Good Christ, you have a guest room? I don’t have a guest room. It’s why Alex sleeps with me.”

“Yes, I’m sure that is why.” Lafayette almost made an attempt to stand, but then relaxed. “What’s the time?”

“It’s close to eight, why?”

“Are we hungry?”

Alex looked at the table in front of them, which was filled with wrappers and other bits of food they had eaten. “I don’t believe I will ever be hungry again.”

Lafayette leaned back. “Then feel free to sleep. I will make us breakfast tomorrow. Will you both be well?”

“We will,” Alex promised, standing up. “Come, John.”

John, instead of standing up, slid right off the couch and onto the floor.

Lafayette let out a loud laugh. “Good Christ! Here, let me help you.” He got up and helped Alex pull John to his feet, then began to lead them to the guest room. “If you two require anything in the night, feel free to get it. You both know where the chamber pot is, and food if you need it. I love you two very much.” Lafayette kissed Alex right on the lips, then John, shocking both of them. “Goodnight.”

“Uh, goodnight, Lafayette,” Alex managed to choke out.

Alex and John walked into the guest room, and John almost immediately gasped. “He just kissed us!”

“He is affectionate,” Alex shrugged.

“Yes, but oh, it’s quite shocking.” John began to slip off his pants, falling onto the covers. “Wouldn’t you agree?”

“I would.” Alex followed John’s actions, lying down next to him. “Are you quite alright?”

“I feel as though I may fall off the earth,” John admitted.

“Perhaps you will.” Alex took his hand. “There, now you have something to hold onto.”

John leaned in close to Alex, planting a small kiss on his lips. “Goodnight, dear Alexander. You make my lifeless dull.”

“You are beautiful, John. I love you.”

John closed his eyes, smiling. “I love you too.”

 

Chapter Text

June 1835

Several months had gone by. Alex and John remained close with Lafayette, and with each other as well. Alex had found work as a text placer for a newspaper downtown, and every morning he would wake up with John, and John would ride to work with him before departing for his own job. They had fallen into more of a routine. While John was still too nervous to do much more than a kiss, Alex didn’t push him. He just wanted John to get over the initial fear of being intimate with a man, which, with a little bit of time, John did.

Alex was beginning to feel like Marie Antoinette at the beginning of her marriage to King Louis though. He didn’t want to pressure John, so he had taken to coming home early and helping himself in the bath. It was a good stress reliever, and when he felt like it, he’d thrown his leg up on the side of the bath and finger himself.

It was a hot day that June day, so Alex found himself filling up his bath with lukewarm water and letting himself cool down before he warmed himself back up again. It was easy to think back to when he touched himself with John. The man’s voice, the way he spoke to Alex, the way he kissed him. It was erotic to think about John, John’s body, the way he looked when they kissed. God, John was so much more than a man.

Alex leaned his head back, letting out a long groan as he began to touch himself. The bath felt almost cool, but it was just right for Alex. As a child, in Spain, Alex would sometimes go to the beach on hot days, and he’d run into the water and get soaking wet and play until he heard the port bells ring, then run back to the ports just in time to help unload boats.

Alex sighed, lazily jerking himself off. He didn’t know if he wanted to actually finish, or just feel intimate physical contact. Perhaps he assumed his cock just wanted some company. Either way, there he was, hand on his cock, waiting for John to come home and entertain him.

Alex stared, almost bored, at a small portrait that hung in the bathroom. It was just a bit of cheap parlor art, some that Alex had gotten on John about ridding. It was supposed to be of Bo Peep, but had a seeming eroticism to it, from the way the girls skirt barely touched her knees. If Alex had seen less of a woman, he may almost blush. The painting could’ve been of Eliza. It had the right dark hair, pale skin, long legs, and rosy cheeks. Alex had never seen Eliza naked, but he could easily assume that her body was most likely gorgeous. He guessed that her tits weren’t much to write home about, but her legs and hips were much more enjoyable.

A knock on the door made Alex look up from his daydream. “Yes?”

“May I come in?”

Alex smiled at the sound of John’s voice. “Yes, dear.”

John stepped through the door, fanning himself. He looked flushed, but it was a hot day. “Good God, it’s like we are in Hell right now. Has the sun gotten closer? I feel as though it has.”

Alex tilted his head back, laughing. “Yes, I do believe it is quite warm. I came home and hopped right in a cool bath.”

“You look flushed,” John commented.

“I was just touching myself before you walked in, so yes, I assume I probably am.”

John paused, looking up at Alex. “You were?”

“I was.”

“Why?”

Alex shrugged, looking around the bathroom. “I was bored, and that picture of the female sheepherder was simply titillating me.”

John scoffed, smiling. “Your sarcasm is quite obvious.” John swallowed hard. “Do you mind if I join you?”

“In the bath? Would you be willing to undress or are you joining me fully clothed?” Alex teased, putting his arms on the edge of the tub.

“You are hilarious,” John muttered, unbuttoning his shirt. “I would just like to cool down.”

“I’m sure you would,” Alex nodded.

John let out a breath, slipping off his clothes. Alex didn’t mean to look, but the way John’s cock was just out there, oh, he had to. John wasn’t circumcised, which surprised Alex. He supposed as Christians, his family would’ve done that.

“It’s cool,” John commented, stepping into the water.

“Yes.” Alex smiled, watching John sit down.

John sat with his knees pressed to his chest and his back pressed against the other side of the tub. He stared at Alex, whose legs were spread and stretched out. He was smiling wickedly at him. John looked to the Bo Peep painting, then back to Alex. “You look nice today.”

Alex chuckled. “Do I?”

John nodded.

“Does your cock hurt when you sit all curled up?” Alex chuckled. “You can stretch your legs out, you know.”

“I don’t want to bother you,” John admitted.

Alex reached for John’s ankles, grabbed them and pulling them out so John’s legs were overlapping his. Alex laughed, at John’s shocked face, leaning forward and kissing him. “You mustn’t look so shocked, dear John. I do believe we’ve touched before.”

John seemed wary, almost nervous. “I suppose.”

Alex kissed him again. “You are beautiful, John Laurens.”

John hummed, thinking. “Is your cock still hard?”

Alex plunged his hand into the water, taking a hold of his dick and thinking. “Hm, it’s not soft. It might be if you weren’t naked sitting in front of me.” Alex snickered, taking his hand out of the water and putting it on John’s face. “I must apologize for looking, but I assumed your father would’ve had your circumcised.”

John laughed. “We had some nasty bad luck with infection, so my father said to hell with it when I was born.”

Alex chuckled. “Your cock must be like opening a present on Christmas.”

John leaned his head back, laughing. “Alexander!”

“I might as well say it!” Alex leaned forward. “Have you ever touched a cock besides your own?”

John swallowed, smiling lightly. “No, I haven’t.”

“Would you like to?”

John sucked in a breath of air. “Perhaps. But what if I hurt you?”

Alex hummed, thinking. “Give me your hand.” Alex took John’s hand, flipping it over in his own and talking the palm. “Your hands are soft, you know that?”

“It’s because I don’t do much grunt work,” John explained.

Alex leaned down and kissed the palm. “I’ve always liked your hands. They’re big.”

John let out a chuckle.

“Close your eyes, John.” Alex leaned forward and kissed John’s lips. “Close your eyes.”

John followed the instruction and felt his hand being pulled underwater. He leaned in and kissed Alex, trying to distract himself from the racing heart. Everything was telling him, no, but oh, God, the way Alex felt, it made him want to laugh with joy. Alex was everything John wished he could be, and everything John needed. Oh, how John wished he could shut his mind off and kiss every inch of Alex’s body.

“Are you okay?” Alex asked softly.

John nodded.

“Are you ready?”

Another nod. John smiled when Alex kissed his cheek, and for a moment, it distracted him from the soft flesh Alex was closing his hand around. The Spaniard's breath became a bit shaky, and his eyes closed.

“How does that feel?” John asked.

“It feels much better than my own hand,” Alex admitted, laughing lightly.

“What do I do now?”

Alex smiled, then began guiding John’s hand up and down. “Just like when I touched myself, remember? Just move like that.”

“Does that feel good?” John asked, an almost childlike innocence in his eyes.

Alex nodded, letting out a breath and leaning his head against John’s shoulder. “Oh, God, yes. Please, don’t stop. Talk to me.”

“You’re so beautiful,” John muttered, running his hand through Alex’s hair. “You feel so good to touch.”

Alex let out a quiet moan.

“I love the way you sound.” John scooted closer to Alex, feeling Alex's legs wrap around his waist. “Your body is amazing.”

Alex tugged lightly at John’s hair, jutting his hips up a bit. “You can go faster.”

John sped up his hand, kissing Alex’s next. “Do you like the feeling of my hand wrapped around your cock? Tell me how long you’ve wanted this, tell me how long you craved my touch, Alexander.”

“Mmf, so long.” Alex let out a moan. “I must admit something to you.”

John’s hand stalled and he looked at Alex, who had pulled his head back from the man’s shoulder a bit. “Yes?”

“When I was making love to my German lover, Andre, I would always mouth your name. I would close my eyes and picture you.” Alex smiled. “It’s nice to just be able to say your name now.”

John kissed Alex, moving his hand again. “I love you, Alexander.”

“I love you too, John Laurens.” Alex let out a moan, gasping a bit. “Oh, oh God!”

“Do you like that?”

Alex nodded, biting John’s shoulder to quiet himself down. “Fuck! Oh, oh, please, John, go faster, please, please.”

John’s hand spend up a bit more as he began to kiss Alex’s neck. “You’re so beautiful. You’re so tantalizing. You made it so hard not to bend you over my desk and take you as my own. You make me feel as though I’m going insane.”

“Mm, my John, my John,” Alex repeated. “Please, yes, yes.”

John squeezed his hand around Alex’s cock lightly, going a bit faster. “I want you to say my name when you finish, yes? I want to hear you moan. Don’t silence yourself, please. Let me hear every word coming from your mouth.”

“Ah, ah, John, yes!” Alex began to grind up into John’s hand. He almost wanted to reach down and finger himself, but it would be awkward in this position. Instead, he settled on gripping the side of the tub to give him momentum as he thrust up into John’s hand. John obviously had never done this before, but it felt good to Alex nonetheless. He wanted John to fuck him, but he was patient. “John, please, don’t stop, don’t stop, I’m almost-” Alex cut himself off with a squeak of a moan.

“Come on, dear, finish, finish and say my name, I want to hear your voice.”

Alex’s legs were almost shaking as he gripped John’s hair and the side of the tub. It took him barely a few seconds to finish, gasping. “Oh! John!”

John smiled, moving his hand as he watched the bathwater become soiled and cloudy in the area above Alex’s cock. Alex was breathing heavily, leaning against John and almost relying on him to stay upright. He felt John plant a small kiss on his shoulder.

“I love you,” Alex mumbled. “I love you, John. I love you, I love you, I love you.”

John ran his hand down Alex’s back. “I love you too.”

Alex’s hands slipped under the water, fingertips dancing along John’s thighs. He hummed, planting a kiss on John’s neck. “Can I touch you?”

“Do you want to?” John seemed almost nervous.

Alex nodded, lips parted a bit. “If you want to.”

John swallowed. “Yeah.”

Alex’s hand went to the base of John’s cock, where he curled some of the pubic hair in his fingers before grasping what he was there for.

John gasped, scooting back.

“Oh, come now, John, I know you’ve made love to a woman, why I am any different?” Alex groaned, scooting closer to John. “You’re hard as hell.”

“Yes, yes, sorry.” John looked down, then back up at Alex. “I’m just nervous. This is new to me. I didn’t have a male lover while you were gone.”

“Hey, look at me.” Alex leaned in and kissed John. “Do you trust me?”

“Of course, I do,” John gasped.

Alex smiled. “Of course, you do.” He placed a wet hand on John’s cheek. “Lean back, against the tub, yeah?”

John leaned back, staring at Alex.

“Now, close your eyes.”

“Alexander-”

Alex cut John off. “Trust me.”

John took a deep breath and closed his eyes, tilting his head back against the rim of the tub. He felt Alex’s hands against his thighs, rubbing them gently. John could feel them move up, fingers running along his hip bones, tracing shapes onto his stomach. John slowly began to relax, let his shoulders slump, let out the breath he didn’t know he was holding.

He still found himself gasping when he felt Alex’s hand on his cock, but it wasn’t such a dramatic reaction. Alex moved his hand a couple of times, bringing a few shaky grunts from John. He stopped, and John whined.

“Open your eyes,” Alex muttered.

The room was brighter than John remembered, but he focused back on Alex. He could see Alex’s hand on his cock through the water, though the image was distorted.

Alex smiled softly at John. “Hey.”

John let out a breath. “Hey.”

Alex pulled John into a kiss, moving his hand again.

John moaned, squeezing his eyes shut. It had been so long since he had felt something like this. He had never touched himself, and the last person he had been with was years ago, and less than satisfying. Anything he had done while drunk was far out of his mind, blurred by the alcohol.

“Mm, there we go,” Alex chuckled. “There we go, just relax. Relax, deep breaths. It’ll feel better. Just relax John.”

John groaned, gripping the edges of the tub. “Please.”

Alex moved his hand a bit fast. “Yeah, you like that?”

“Oh, God, Alex, I-” John groaned. “Fuck.”

Alex pulled John into another kiss. “Yeah, uh-huh, let me hear what you want to say.”

“I’m gonna, oh, fuck!”

Alex’s brows creased when he realized John was coming.

“Fuck,” John muttered, breathing heavily and leaning back.

“Did you just come?”

John swallowed, looking to the cloudy water, then back to Alex, nodding. “Yeah.”

Alex was almost shocked out of words for a second, which was quite difficult to do with how much Alex enjoyed the sound of his own voice. “But I just started touching you.”

John raised his eyebrows. “Yes?”

“Oh, my God!” Alex fell back into a fit of laughter. “Good Christ!” He had to lean over the side of the tub, laughing loud enough that the downstairs neighbors most likely heard it. “John! How long has it been? I’ve known virgins who took much longer!”

“Christ, Alexander,” John muttered.

“How long, truly? You must tell me,” Alex gasped.

“Six years,” John muttered.

Alex let his head fall back in another fit of laughter. “Why on earth would you do that to yourself, good man? Why?”

“Alright.” John braced himself to get out but Alex tugged him right back in.

“No!” Alex laughed. “John Laurens, don’t you dare leave!”

“You would rather soak in the children we are wasting?” John asked, raising his eyebrows at Alex.

Alex smiled. “Perhaps.”

“You are gross. Come, let’s both get out.”

“No!” Alex fell back. “Why?”

“Because you will get pregnant,” John joked. “Come, Alex, honestly, let’s go lay naked on my bed with all the windows open and complain about how hot we are.”

Alex groaned. “Are you mad because I laughed at you?”

“No.” John laughed. “Good God, Alexander, I simply do not feel like soaking in my own semen.”

“What about my semen?” Alex asked.

John rolled his eyes, standing up. “Come, I want to lie down.”

The two of them got out of the tub and dried off. The apartment was hot, so John grabbed a bottle of wine and opened up the windows to let the cool breeze in. Alex laid down on the bed, smiling at the sight of John’s naked body.

“You are truly beautiful, you know that?” The Spaniard sighed. “Those freckles, and that summer brown skin. You’re darker in the summer, and I like that. I wish you’d look like that year-round. In the winter, you’re almost as pale as Eliza.”

“I am not,” John chuckled.

“Perhaps not.” Alex watched John lie down next to him. “If we are going to have sex, you are going to need to last longer.”

“And how will I be able to do that?” John asked sarcastically.

“I’ll just have to touch you more.”

“That doesn’t work.”

“It does too!” Alex laughed, opening the bottle of wine. “When I was first touching myself, I finished quicker than you. Now, if I want to, I could last half an hour. You build up stamina.”

“Oh, Christ,” John muttered.

Alex nodded. “It’s true.”

The Frenchman leaned in and kissed Alex. “I think you’re absolutely ridiculous.”

“Yeah?”

John nodded. “Yeah.”

Alex smiled, sipping the wine and handing it to John. “I love you, John Laurens. I love you more than I’ve loved anyone in my entire life.”

“When did you realize you loved me?” John asked.

“When I was sixteen, and you were seventeen, and we had just spent that night in La Villette, and the sun was just rising. You were laughing at something I had said, and I remember the way the light hit your face, and the way you looked at me, and the way you smiled, and God, I almost kissed you.”

“You almost kissed me!”

“I did.” Alex leaned in, pecking John’s lips. “You have always been so irresistible to me, and I think that’s why I stayed away so long because I knew if I went back, I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off you.”

“Well, a great job that did.” John smiled. “You know, you’ve almost been back a year now.”

“It’s been one of my better years.”

“Has it?”

Alex nodded. “It has.”

“It’s been one of my better years too.” John pecked Alex’s lips. “We can eat leftovers tonight, yes? I picked up fresh bread.”

“We could fry it in egg batter. Or, better yet, the day-old bread. Add some honey to it. It’s what we did in Germany,” Alex suggested.

John nodded. “That sounds wonderful. But, for now, let’s just lie together.”

Alex put the wine bottle on the nightstand, cuddling into John’s body. “I absolutely adore you, dear Laurens. You are everything to me.”

“Oh, hush,” John muttered.

Alex chuckled. “I love you.

“I love you too.”

Alex looked up into John’s hazel grey eyes. “You promise?”

John laughed, kissing Alex’s forehead. “Yes, Alexander. I absolutely promise.”

Alex nodded. “Good.”

John sighed happily, smiling as he closed his eyes. “Good.”

 

Chapter Text

July 1835

Sometimes Alex would dream about his mother. He wasn’t too sure what she looked like anymore, and his dreams reflected that. He knew he had dark brown hair, and a big nose, like him. He knew she wasn’t particularly beautiful, more plain than anything. He knew she was skinny. That was about it though. He wasn’t even sure if she was still alive. After she sold him off to the port, he didn’t see her again. She promised she’d visit him, and come back to see him, but she never did. Alex wanted to assume that she offed herself, took herself out of her own misery. That was the best-case scenario.

His dreams consisted of the one real memory he had of her. The one where they lived in that one-room apartment. Even as a child, he noticed his mother’s dress was almost tied loser than every other woman, and how only Rabbi’s looked at them with pitying looks, while everyone else was just disgusted. Alex did love his mother, he knew that much.

In these dreams, he would watch his mother invite a man in the house, and argue about money for a moment. Talking in hushed voices. The man would sit at the table, Alex’s mother would stay standing, and Alex would be watching from the bed. This particular memory wasn’t particularly good, but it wasn’t awful. Eventually, the man and his mother would nod, and then his mother would approach him.

“Yeled,” she would say, using the Hebrew word for boy. “Go, sit in the corner. Cover your ears and close your eyes.”

Alex felt like most of his time with his mother was spent like that. In the corner, eyes closed, hands over his ears. He still remembered the harsh voice of his mother, the way the Spanish words rolled off her tongue like bullets. She had a mean voice, a mean stature, a mean everything. She wasn’t outwardly loving. Alex could only remember one time hearing her tell him she loved him. But he knew she loved him. He knew because at night when they would share that old shabby mattress on the floor, she would kiss the top of his head and tell him stories. It would distract from the sound of mice scratching across the floor.

Sometimes the dreams of this situation would end with Alex opening his eyes to see the ceiling, sometimes they would end with Alex sitting up in a panic, the echo of his mother’s scream still rolling through his mind. He didn’t know where the scream came from, which dusty and long-ignored memory, but it must’ve been something he heard before she left him.

Every time he would hear her scream, he would try to move from the corner he was facing, try to help, but he couldn’t. He couldn’t even turn around. He would be stuck. He would cry and try so hard to move, and then he would wake up, breathing heavily.

In some sick ironic way, Alex thought it funny. His mother was a whore, and in a way, he was too. Not many people had taken as many lovers as he. He didn’t face the same consequences she did though. The only place she could go without being scrutinized was home. Alex, as a child, had once heard someone call his mother a whore, and kicked them. His mother had dragged him home and hit him with a wooden spoon until it broke. She was a mean woman, regardless of whether or not she loved him.

Sometimes, these dreams would drain Alex of his need for sleep. He would sit up, gasping for air, and then spend the rest of the night staring at the ceiling. When John would awake, he’d close his eyes and pretend to be asleep. This was how he found out John would lean over and kiss his forehead every morning before getting up. It was hard for Alex to hold back the smile when John did that. There was no particular reason he didn’t want John to know he was awake, but he just felt like it would be an invasion of John’s privacy. John liked having the mornings to himself, whether he wanted to admit it or not.

Besides, Alex had to admit, hearing John hum as he went through the routine was quite endearing. Occasionally, John would come back over and kiss Alex’s forehead again before sitting at his desk and doing some work. Alex enjoyed it almost.

Tonight was one of those nights. Alex had awoken at the ripe hour of three am sweating, breathing hard. Unfortunately, the two had fallen asleep with John’s arm draped across Alex’s waist, so upon sitting up, John was quickly knocked awake to see Alex breathing hard, stumbling out of bed and to the kitchen to fetch a glass of wine.

Alex wasn’t aware that he had awoken John; his anxiety had successfully blocked his mind from realizing John’s arm had been around his waist, and he, by sitting up so suddenly, most likely shook the man awake. So, when John cleared his throat from the doorway, Alex jumped, almost dropping his glass, and successfully spilling a few drops of the red liquid onto his pale and yellowed nightshirt.

“Good Christ, John, don’t sneak up on me like that,” Alex gasped, clutching his chest.

“Are you alright? You woke up with quite a start,” John mumbled.

“Yes, yes, don’t be silly.” Alex sipped his wine. “Just, had a startling dream. It was just a dream though.”

John walked into the kitchen, pouring himself a glass of wine and leaning against the counter with Alex. “What was it about?”

“My mother,” Alex responded dryly, staring into his wine. It was bad wine, both he and John agreed, but they drank it because they needed to get rid of it, and it got the job done, regardless of whether or not it tasted good.

“Martha?”

Alex shook his head.

“Ah.” John hummed a bit, then found Alex’s hand in the darkness. “Do you need anything from me?”

Alex shook his head. “No.” He took another sip of his wine and made a bitter face, laughing. “Remind me to never let Peggy send us home with a bottle of wine again.”

“She most likely only gave it to us because she knew it was bad,” John suggested, taking a large swig. “God, come on, let’s take the bottle to bed. Finish it so we can go back to sleep.”

Alex smiled, grabbing the neck of the bottle and following John back into the bedroom. They both laid back down, passing the bottle back and forth between each other and making a bitter face every time they took a swig. Alex had to admit, it did feel better to see John’s smiling face at this time of the night.

“You know,” John started, his words slightly slurred. “I’ve always liked your nose.”

“My nose?” Alex laughed. “My nose is big. It’s like I have a beak. I feel as though God started making me a toucan, but changed his mind halfway through and forgot to give me a new nose.”

“No!” John gasped. “I love your nose!” He took a hearty swig of the almost finished wine. “Your nose is… it’s so unique to your face. You have a big nose, but it’s like, it pulls your face together. Like, you’d look silly with a little nose. You’d look like a cat, which is much weirder than a toucan. Your nose fits your face, and I like it.”

“You are odd, John Laurens,” Alex accused, finishing the wine. “We did it!”

“Yay!” John took the bottle and tossed it to the floor, waking the downstairs neighbors and causing the loud clunk to echo through the room. “Now we are freed from the evil demon. Oh, I feel as though we drank the devil to end his life.”

Alex laughed. “You seem drunk!”

“Perhaps a tad.” John leaned in and kissed Alex. “Good God, man, you are so beautiful. You make me ache for you. I love your eyes, your nose, your hair, your body, your beautiful legs that you must’ve stolen from a Frenchwoman.” John rolled on top of Alex, pinning him to the bed as he kissed him. “You’re so wonderful.”

“Christ, John,” Alex gasped. “Where is this coming from?”

“I’m so sick of waiting to gain courage,” John groaned. “I could take you right now if it were fitting.”

“It is not fitting?” Alex mused.

“I would much rather be sober, and more awake.” John kissed Alex’s neck, then down to his chest. “But Christ, I would like to touch you.”

Alex laughed as John lifted up his nightshirt, kissing onto his stomach. “John! John!”

John looked up, smiling. “Yes?”

“I love you,” Alex sighed, placing his hand on John’s cheek. “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

John smiled. “I would like to commit sodomy with you.”

“What kind of sodomy?” Alex asked softly, chuckling still.

“All kinds.” John kissed lower onto Alex’s stomach, then the inside of his thigh. “Can I try something?”

“Yes, you can,” Alex muttered, letting out a shaky breath as John nipped the inside of his thigh.

John kissed a bit higher on Alex’s thigh, humming. “You have a body that was either given to you by God or Lucifer.”

Alex laughed. “Even Lucifer was once an Angel, dear Laurens.”

“Then you must be him.” John paused for a moment, then kissed the bulge in Alex’s briefs. He quickly looked up to Alex, checking to make sure Alex was alright. Alex seemed almost in a trance, hand running through John’s hair as he stared down at him. John hummed and kissed Alex’s bulge again, tugging at the hem of the undergarment. “May I?”

“Please.”

John sat up, tugging Alex’s briefs down. They were tossed to the floor, and John turned back to the space between Alex’s legs. He was nervous, obviously, but Alex’s dark eyes managed to calm his nerves. Instead of letting himself think too much, he thrust his hand forward, gripping the base of Alex cock. He began to move his hand, and oh, the way Alex looked. His back arched, his eyes closed, his hair spread out over the pillow. John smiled softly, moving his hand up and down as he felt Alex grow harder.

“John,” Alex groaned. “Oh, God, yes!”

John’s free hand went to Alex’s hip, as he held Alex still. “You’re so beautiful.”

Alex let out a long moan, arching his back. “Please, oh, God, please.”

John, in one moment of either bravery or impulsivity, leaned down and put his mouth over the tip of Alex’s cock.

“Oh!”

John quickly looked up. “Was I not supposed to do that?”

“No, no, I just wasn’t expecting it,” Alex laughed breathily. “And you call me a minx, John Laurens.”

John smiled, then put his head back down, sucking slowly on Alex’s cock, still moving his hand around the base. He hummed lightly, bobbing his head a bit. John tried to think about what would feel good with him, so he sucked on Alex’s cock, moving his tongue around. It was messy, and spit and precome were dripping onto his hands, but Alex seemed to be enjoying it.

John gagged a bit when Alex pushed his head down, quickly pulling off to catch his breath.

“Oh, God, sorry,” Alex muttered. “Sorry, I forgot you haven’t done this before.”

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” John assured him. “Are you enjoying this?”

Alex nodded. “But move your head a bit faster, yeah?”

“Yeah.” John went back to his work, following Alex’s request. Alex was groaning, tugging John’s hair as he did so. It was quite erotic to John, seeing Alex so lost in ecstasy. He wondered why he was so afraid of this, why he was so afraid of touching Alex. Nothing bad was happening, and it felt amazing. This was amazing.

“Oh, God, John.” Alex gasped, thrusting his hips up a bit. “Oh, God, I love you, I love you, I love you. Yes, yes.” Alex was gasping. “Please, keep going, keep going, keep going, yes, yes!” Alex thrust his hips up, gasping.

Suddenly, John’s mouth got filled with Alex’s come. John didn’t expect it and took a sharp breath in, which lead to him quick pulling off of Alex and breaking into a coughing fit, spilling come onto Alex and the sheets.

Alex broke into a fit of laughter, grabbing his cock to milk the last bits of an orgasm before sitting up to pat John’s back a couple of times. “Oh, God! John! Are you alright?”

“Yeah, I just-” John coughed again. “Didn’t expect that.”

“I apologize, I should’ve warned you,” Alex chuckled, taking the hem of his nightshirt and wiping John’s chin. “Are you quite alright?”

John nodded, leaning in and kissing Alex. “I’m alright.”

“Good.” Alex got out of bed, grabbing a kerchief and wiping the come off the sheets and off of himself. “If I had known this was going to be so messy, I would’ve suggested we do this in the tub.” Alex chuckled, grabbing his briefs and putting them back on. “If we had begun this relationship as teenagers, you would’ve been much better at this stuff. It’s my own fault for not being honest.”

“What would’ve happened if we had gotten into a relationship as teenagers?” John asked. “What would that have done?”

Alex shrugged, lying back down and pulling the blankets over them. “Would you have come to Germany with me?”

John hummed. “I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Are you hard?” Alex muttered. “If you would like something, I could-”

“Oh, no, no, I feel as though the moment is over, and I had much fun watching you,” John chuckled, cutting Alex off.

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.”

Alex hummed, cuddling up to John. “I love you very much, John Laurens. You are quite beautiful, you know that?”

John laughed. “Thank you, Alexander. I love you too.”

Alex sighed, closing his eyes. “Goodnight, dear John.”

“Goodnight, Alexander.”

The two slept well together, folded in each other’s arms. What they were unaware of was an insomniac Lafayette, who had spent the night wandering Paris, before deciding, around seven am, to arrive at John and Alex’s apartment, walked in, and begin drinking their wine, eating their food, and reading the paper. So, when John awoke first and walked into the kitchen, the scream he emitted most likely woke the whole apartment building, but most importantly, woke Alex, who came running in, tripping over himself.

“Oh, Christ, Lafayette!” John gasped.

“Good morning,” Lafayette muttered. “There was a murder.”

“What are you doing here?” Alex asked.

“I was hungry, and your place was closer than mine.” Lafayette took a bite of some food. “You two were still sleeping when I came in, so I just picked up the paper and made myself a bite to eat.”

John groaned. “I’m gonna make us some coffee.”

“Lafayette, you truly should not show up without calling,” Alex scolded, though it had no meaning behind it.

“The come on your nightshirt reminds me of the consequences that could accompany my actions,” Lafayette snorted.

“I’m going to go get dressed,” Alex announced, standing up and walking back into the bedroom.

Lafayette looked up at John from the paper. “Did you and Alex make love to each other last night?”

John shook his head, turning to Lafayette. “No.”

Lafayette let out a loud and exaggerated yawn. “I could never be in this relationship, as either of you. It’s too slow.” Lafayette snickered. “How was your night, regardless?”

“Well. We woke up around three and drank too much to go back to sleep.” John hummed, fixing the coffee up and placing a mug in front of Lafayette. “If you’ll excuse me, I feel the need to get dressed. I’ll be right back out.”

“Alright, John.”

John walked into the bedroom, where Alex was buttoning his shirt. “What an insane friend we have.”

Alex smiled, kissing John’s cheek. “He’s precisely what we need.” Alex walked back into the kitchen, fixing himself a cup of coffee before sitting down with Lafayette. “What were you doing out so early?”

Lafayette shrugged. “I didn’t sleep. Sometimes I can’t, so I wander. And I missed you guys, it’s been too long.”

“It’s been a week,” Alex chuckled.

“Too long.” Lafayette sipped his coffee. “How has work been?”

“Pleasant. It’s nice to have my own money, not have to ask John whenever I want or need something. And now I can bring home groceries all on my own.”

“How sweet and domestic,” Lafayette commented. “I was thinking, there is a show tonight, a play, and we should go. I will be able to afford us a private box, so as not to be bothered by the people around us. Perhaps we get dinner together first, hm?”

“That would be wonderful, Lafayette,” Alex nodded.

“What would?” John came into the room, pouring himself a cup of coffee.

“Lafayette has invited us to a show with him.” Alex hummed. “What kind of show, Lafayette? An opera, perhaps? A ballet?”

“A play,” Lafayette corrected. “The Merchant Of Venice, have you seen it?”

“I have not, though I’ve read it. If not for the constant hatred against the Jewish people, it could be the perfect story.”

Lafayette paused, looking Alex up and down. “Dear man, are you Jewish?”

“No, no, I’m a Catholic, but my mother was Jewish, and in the time I lived with her, I was too. I converted to Catholicism when I was taken in by my father though,” Alex explained.

“Ah, yes. I was Muslim before I was taken in.” Lafayette sipped his drink. “Such a shame when our culture is ripped from us because we are stolen from our own land.”

“Spain was not my land,” Alex chuckled.

“Then Israel, I assume?”

“I’ve never been,” Alex admitted.

Lafayette nodded, scanning the paper. “You should go. Perhaps you will no longer stick out like a sore thumb. Tell me about your father. Your real one. Do you know much about him?”

“He left my mother when she became pregnant with me,” Alex started. “He was from the Americas. Lived in the Carribean. That’s all really.”

Lafayette nodded. “Hm.”

Alex hummed. “But I got a much better life with George and Martha than I would’ve with my mother. I would most likely still be working on those ports.”

Another nod came from Lafayette. “And John, I feel as though I know very little about your family, despite the length of our friendship. Tell me about them.”

John’s brows went up. “Uh, I have a brother who I rarely see, and two sisters who I, again, rarely see. One of them still lives at home, but we do not talk very often. I go over every Sunday for dinner, which is when Alex attends dinner with his family, and they are… awkward.”

“Your father and mother, do they not get along with you?” Lafayette mused.

“My mother is dead. My father and I, we… after the death of my youngest brother, James, things grew stale in my family. None of us really talk. The only thing that is keeping us from falling apart completely is my father, who has yet to grow old.” John looked to Lafayette. “It is my understanding both your parents are passed?”

“Yes, when I was twelve, they fell ill and perished. My mother’s mother took care of me, but died in the July revolution, along with many of my cousins, any other heirs to her fortune, so all that was left was me. I began my shop, and got to work spending it quickly.” Lafayette laughed. “Oh, how my mother would weep if she knew I was spending her money on wine and sweets.” Lafayette sighed, sipping his coffee. “It seems I have become tired.” He stood. “I will return home and catch a few hours of sleep, before meeting you at my home for dinner around sixish? The show starts at seven, so we’ll have plenty of time to eat.”

“That sounds wonderful, Lafayette, we’ll see you soon.” Alex stood up to kiss Lafayette’s cheek and was once again shocked by a quick peck on the lips. Lafayette sometimes did this. Whether he was drunk or not, he would occasionally kiss both Alex and John on the lips. It was surprising, by the duo had gotten used to it. Lafayette was odd, to say the least, but he was their friend, so they got used to it.

“Goodbye, Laf,” John smiled, fully expecting the kiss on the lips and taking it gracefully. “We’ll see you tonight.”

“Yes, you will.” Lafayette waved, then sashayed out of the house, laughing to himself.

“He’s strange,” Alex commented.

“Yes, but we love him, don’t we?” John smiled.

“We do.”

That night, at the show, there was a sort of calm that fell over the trio. Lafayette knew about them, and they knew about Lafayette. All of them were friends in some sort of secret way because all of them knew they could ruin the other’s lives. They all knew that but because they knew that, they were calm. It was a silent pact that none of them would abuse that power. So, because of that, it was good.

 

Chapter Text

September 1835

“We don’t have masquerade masks,” Alex pointed out, walking around the market with Lafayette.

“I’ll give you some spares I have.” Lafayette threw his arm around Alex, hugging the Spaniard closer. “Please, oh please, Alexander. I just know you’d look so handsome, you and John. And oh, how I do hate going to these things alone. Come now, you must, you must! What is one evening of scandal and romance? Please, Alexander, please!”

“Oh, fine!” Alex laughed. “John might not wish to attend, but I would like to go. What time should I arrive at your home?”

“Seven, eat dinner first. And do please attempt to get John to come. I enjoy his company almost as much as I enjoy yours.”

“Lafayette,” Alex laughed. “You’re almost rude.”

Lafayette simply smiled, leaning into Alex. “Oh, Alexander, you mustn’t fret. You know my affections for you both are quite strong, and oh, how I do love spending time with you. It is perhaps my favorite moments spent with you.”

“Lafayette, you flatter enough to flirt,” Alex chuckled. “You must give me a moment to rest from your affections, or I fear I will exhaust myself.”

“Will you?” Lafayette mused.

“I will,” Alex nodded. “Do you speak Latin?”

“Nos sunt in foro, ita?” Lafayette managed.

“Ita, ita,” Alex chuckled. “Not much, I assume?”

“No, not much. I never made it a priority. I was supposed to be in college, but then, oh, the July Revolution started, and I just never got back to it.” Lafayette shrugged. “My education was never important to me, and I have become just as successful, haven’t I?”

“You have, much more than me,” Alex chuckled. “And I attended school for nine years.”

Lafayette chuckled. “Ah, do you bring yourself down for my sake, I think you are very successful. You have courted one of the finer people in Paris, you know much more information than I’m sure this entire market knows combined. Regardless of how much you work, you are quite an intelligent person, Alexander.”

Alex hummed.

“Is there something on your mind?” Lafayette muttered. “You seem slightly distracted, I must admit.”

“Oh, no.” Alex paused. “And yes. My father, I love him, you must understand, but he had been asking me if I would like to do an apprenticeship with him, he’s a tailor. I do not know how to tell him I’d rather slit my wrists that work as a tailor. I feel bad, I do. He’s a wonderful father and has been very kind to me my whole life, but I do not wish to become a tailor like him. I’m too afraid to tell him though.”

“You know that you must, yes?”

“Must I?”

“If you do, he will move on to find a new apprentice, one who wishes to be there. You must simply be honest with him. There’s nothing you can do about your passion, but by not being honest, you do give him a hope. Best to squander it.”

Alex sighed. “That seems cruel, though.”

“When a horse has a broken leg, which is crueler; shooting it, or just letting it die in its own filth?”

“Letting it die in its own filth, of course,” Alex answered.

“Your father is the horse, please, just shoot it.”

“I will not shoot my father!” Alex gasped.

“You must not be so dense that my metaphor is going over your head!” Lafayette groaned, letting his head fall back.

Alex laughed. “No, no, I know what you’re saying.”

“Good.” Lafayette hummed. “Come, let us part. I will see you in…” Lafayette pulled out his pocket watch. “Just over four hours.” He leaned in and kissed Alex’s cheek. “I’ll see you tonight, yes? And bring your horse.”

“Yes.” Alex made his way off to his apartment. He got there to find it empty, so he hummed a tune and put the groceries away, then made up the bed. He found his best clothes, and his shiniest shoes, laying them out over the bed before going to wash himself up. He tied his hair up, then powdered his face up a bit.

“Alexander!” John called out.

“John Laurens,” Alex smiled, stepping into the kitchen.

John raised his eyebrows. “You look quite nice, is there somewhere you are going?”

Alex let out a sigh, wrapping his arms around John’s neck. “Lafayette has invited us to a masquerade ball, and I would very much like to go. Will you join us?”

“I wish I could,” John mumbled, pecking Alex’s lips. “But it seems I have too much work to do by tomorrow.”

“But John,” Alex whined.

“You have Lafayette.” John kissed Alex again. “When will you be leaving?”

“At seven, and he told me to eat dinner first, so let’s cook something.”

Dinner went by quickly, and soon enough, Alex was dressed up, hair up and face powdered. He had, for fun, painted a mole above his lips. John had teased him lightly for it but still agreed that Alex looked very handsome. Alex was very happy to arrive at Lafayette’s shop to see Lafayette in front, petting his horse, who was attached to a carriage.

“No John?” Lafayette guessed.

“Far too busy,” Alex explained. “This is a beautiful carriage.”

“Yes, I borrow it off a friend whenever I need it.” Lafayette ushered Alex closer. “Can your horse pull a carriage?”

“Deutsche? Yes, she can.”

“That’s an odd name,” Lafayette commented, helping Alex hook the horse up to the carriage.

“It means Germany, in German,” Alex laughed. “She was named by a drunk I beat in a game of poker.”

“Ah, well she is a fine-looking horse.” Lafayette smiled at Alex. “You may sit in the carriage, or out front with me.”

“I’ll sit out front with you, so neither of us are lonely.” Alex smiled, climbing onto the carriage and sitting down. Lafayette sat next to him and they took off. Alex leaned his head on Lafayette’s shoulder, watching the sun go down. It was later, and most people were in for the night, but Alex felt like Paris was just coming alive.

“Alexander,” Lafayette muttered. “I fear we might become muddled at this ball.”

“Then finding our way home will be that much more entertaining,” Alex laughed.

They arrived at the large estate, and Lafayette handed Alex a mask, before leading the carriage to where other carriages seemed to be parked. Both donned their masks and walked inside. Alex found a glass of champagne and began to circle the dance floor, looking for someone to dance with. Lafayette had already fallen into conversation with someone. Alex almost laughed when he saw a familiar bust. There was Eliza, dancing but looking as if she’d rather be somewhere else. Her partner seemed much too into it, so Alex decided to save her.

“May I have this dance?” Alex asked Eliza, smiling.

“Yes, good sir,” she replied, not yet recognizing him.

Alex pulled her into his arms and began dancing. “I must admit, this is no la volta, but I suppose it will do.”

Eliza’s mouth fell open. “Alexander, is that truly you?”

“I suppose it good be,” Alex mumbled, smiling lightly.

“Oh, my, how happy I am to see you. The man I was dancing with, oh, God, how I’d rather shoot myself than talk to him.” Eliza looked around. “He wishes to marry me. He’s been attempting to court me for a month now.”

“Men are disgusting, aren’t they?” Alex joked.

Eliza snickered. “Alexander.”

“Do you remember how to do la volta?” Alex asked.

“Perhaps.”

Alex smiled. “Alright.” He began doing the steps, then lifted her. He laughed when Eliza managed to keep a straight face instead of blushing or laughing. “Well! How modest you are!”

Eliza laughed as they continued the dance. “Am I?”

Alex paused, then pulled Eliza closer so his mouth was right next to her ear. “My dear Eliza, please do not tell me you have stained your white virginity with something unholy.”

Eliza simply giggled.

“Oh!” Alex laughed, leaning his head against her shoulder. “My dear! You are much more than I estimated! Come, come, let’s get a drink, you tell me about it.” Alex pulled her off the floor, grabbing some champagne for both of them before pulling Eliza to a wall. “Please, Eliza, do tell.”

“Alexander! Hardly appropriate,” Eliza giggled.

“Oh, please, please! My dear, you must not hold out on me!” Alex begged, smiling.

Eliza looked around. “He was a barkeep, young, with a handsome face, almost as handsome as yours.” Eliza touched Alex’s chin. “He took me up to his room and kissed me, and then we…” Eliza shrugged. “You know.”

“Oh my!” Alex laughed, taking Eliza’s hand. “You are quite scandalous, you know that?”

“Perhaps.” Eliza sipped her champagne. “Are you here with John?”

“No, I’m here with my dear friend Lafayette.”

“The Marquis? Oh, he is so very handsome,” Eliza gasped. “For a while, my sister wished for him to court her, but he was much more interested in the revolution.”

Alex laughed. “I must say, Eliza, you do look very stunning. I think if the beautify of every woman was combined, they would still look plain when compared to you.”

Eliza looked down, warmth coming to her cheeks. “If I did not know you, I would think you were flirting. But I do know you, Alexander, and I know what you want. Besides, you are right, my sister would murder you if she found out you had even come close to my precious kerchief of virginity.”

Alex laughed. “I do not know why. I am respectable.”

“You are, do not forget that.” Eliza kissed Alex’s cheek. “Perhaps in another life, you are the man I am to marry. Just not this one. Will you be there when we are born again?”

“I will do my very best.” Alex looked around. “Speaking of your sister, is she here?”

“Angelica is not, but Peggy is. She is somewhere, getting too drunk.” Eliza took Alex’s hand, pulling him back out to the dance floor. “Come, let’s continue to dance.”

Alex took Eliza into his arms and continued to dance with her. It was quite nice, to dance and talk to her. Alex and Eliza had become closer friends, and Alex figured if something happened to him and John, he would begin a courtship with Eliza. She was quite beautiful, and they got along well.

The night went on, Alex and Eliza dancing until Eliza was pulled away by Peggy, who needed to go home immediately because she had just emptied her stomach onto the shoes of a man she had been kissing in a bedroom. Eliza had planted a kiss on Alex’s cheek and promised to visit before escorting her sister out of the estate. Alex found more champagne and stepped back, watching people dance as he sipped his drink.

“Ah, there you are, Alexander.” Lafayette stood next to Alex, humming as he looked over the people. “You and Eliza seemed friendly.”

“Yes, she is one of my close acquaintances,” Alex nodded.

Lafayette chuckled. “It seems so.” Lafayette hooked his arm with Alex’s, pulling him towards a stairwell. They walked up together, to a small balcony that overlooked the dancing. “I apologize for being so sudden,” Lafayette started. “But it was much too hot down there.”

Alex adjusted his mask, humming. “It was, Lafayette. Have you danced much?”

“I suppose. A few women, but I’ve mostly been in the conversation of French politics. I once had a quite important opinion, but you know the story of me throwing that away.” Lafayette chuckled. “Now I am simply a voice at parties, but I do quite like that.”

Alex smiled. “Lafayette, I must admit something terrible to you.”

The taller man looked over, an eyebrow raised. “Oh? Please, you have titillated me, I wish to know what terrible thing you must admit.”

“I feel like you are the only person I can be completely honest with.” Alex looked towards the crowd of people. “I love my John, I do, but I cannot talk to him about certain things. He wouldn’t understand as you do.”

Lafayette nodded. “I know how you feel. It is hard to not belong anywhere.”

“That is one thing he does not get.” Alex looked to Lafayette. “He has always belonged somewhere. I have never belonged anywhere. He says I belong at our home, but I do not feel like I belong there. I’ve never felt like I belonged.” Alex swallowed, looking back to the crowd. “I thought I might feel like I belong in Germany, but oh… it never happened. I wish I knew where I am supposed to be. Do know what I mean?”

“Perhaps better than most,” Lafayette nodded.

“Does it ever get easier to not belong?”

A shrug. “Not to my knowledge, but it is why we drink and smoke, make good friends and have good sex.”

Alex laughed. “I suppose.”

“At least we can not belong together.” Lafayette touched Alex’s hand. “You are a quite splendid company, Alexander.”

Alex turned to look at Lafayette. “Again with the flattery.”

“I cannot stop, it is in my blood,” Lafayette chuckled.

Alex laughed. “Is it?”

“It is.”

Alex paused, then looked down at his drink. “Perhaps.” He looked back up, smiling a bit. “And perhaps it is just a side effect of not belonging.”

Lafayette didn’t really think as he leaned down and pressed his lips to Alex’s. It obviously took the Spaniard by surprise for a moment, but he quickly kissed back, placing his free hand on Lafayette’s cheek. Lafayette seemed to realize what they were doing before Alex did, and he quickly pulled away, looking around to make sure no one had seen, before looking back to Alex. The shorter man was breathing a bit heavily, his eyes wide under the mask. His lips were parted, and if not for the face powder, Lafayette was sure Alex’s skin would’ve been darkened.

“Lafayette,” Alex muttered.

“Alexander.”

Alex looked around. “Your carriage, the inside, would call it comfortable?”

“I would.”

Alex took Lafayette’s hand, leaving his drink on the railing before pulling the man down the steps and out of the estate. Lafayette was almost laughing as Alex tugged him into the back of the carriage, shutting the door and locking it, then drawing the curtains. Lafayette was pushed back, and Alex climbing into his lap, kissing him again.

“Oh, Alexander,” Lafayette muttered. He pushed his tongue into Alex’s mouth, taking off Alex’s mask, then his own. Alex was desperate, unbuttoning Lafayette’s shirt, pulling it off. The night air was cool, almost uncomfortable, but both knew they were to warm each other up in a moment. Alex’s shirt was pulled off and Lafayette began to kiss Alex’s neck and chest. Alex ground down on Lafayette’s hardening cock, groaning as the two kissed. It was fast, dark. No time for tenderness, no time for love. Alex got off of Lafayette’s lap, falling to his knees in front of him.

“Pants, down,” Alex commanded.

Lafayette was quick to pull down his pants and briefs. He spread his legs and cradled Alex’s head as he went down on him, bobbing his head quickly to make him harder. While doing this, Alex unbuttoned his own pants, attempting to get them off while he continued the act of sodomy. Lafayette was moaning loudly, gripping the silk seats.

Alex finally got his breeches off and spit on Lafayette’s cock before standing up, just in his stockings. Lafayette pulled him into his lap, moving his hips forward a bit. Alex reached back and guided Lafayette’s cock into his ass, moaning as he lowered himself down. It almost hurt, it felt like his first time, but God, Alex was glad to be finally taking cock after so long without it. Lafayette was a good size, just big enough to sting, not big enough to hurt.

“Oh, oh,” Alex groaned, bottoming out.

Lafayette took down Alex’s hair, running his hand through it. “Take your time.”

Alex sat for a minute, arms around Lafayette’s neck, just getting used to the feeling. The intimacy like this was something Alex had craved for so long. He didn’t care who he got it from. He wanted to feel loved.

“Ah, yeah, there we go,” Lafayette groaned as Alex began to move. “There we go, yeah, just like that.” Lafayette put his hand on Alex’s hips to stabilize him as Alex continued bouncing. “Oh, God.”

“Mm, Laf.” Alex closed his eyes, tilting his head back. “Yeah, oh, God, yes!”

Lafayette began thrusting his hips up to meet Alex’s, moaning loudly. Alex bit his tongue or tried to. One man’s moans were fun, but two was a crime, so Alex kept quiet, letting out hums and occasionally muttering Laf’s name.

Despite his goal of silence, he ended up letting out a scream as Lafayette thrust his hips up roughly into Alex.

This, of course, brought a laugh from Lafayette. “You are a screamer?”

“I suppose,” Alex muttered breathlessly.

Lafayette smiled, pulling Alex into a kiss as they continued to fuck. It was quick and rough, almost angry, but still tender and loving. Alex came first, spilling all over his and Lafayette’s chest. He kept moving though, letting Lafayette finish in his ass. Alex groaned, stopping and resting his head on Lafayette’s shoulder. He could feel Lafayette getting softer, taking some of the pressure off of his insides.

“Can I tell you something?” Alex muttered.

“I suppose,” Lafayette chuckled.

Alex hummed. “Sometimes John makes me feel ugly.”

Lafayette paused, then took Alex’s face in his hands. “What do you mean?”

“We’ll kiss, and we’ll begin to go farther, and then he’ll open his eyes and realize it’s me and just… stop.” Alex shook his head. “And I know it’s because he has his own issues with sleeping with men, and I know it has nothing to do with me, but…” He looked down, biting his lip. “Sometimes I just feel like he doesn’t like me.”

“Oh, Alexander. You know that’s not true.”

“I feel like it is.”

“It’s not.” Lafayette pressed a soft kiss to Alex’s forehead. “John loves you very much, I know he does. He’s told me plenty of times. He’s just scared, but you make him feel less scared.” Laf took Alex’s hands. “It has nothing to do with you, I promise.”

Alex hummed. “I dunno.”

“Hey, don’t do that.” Lafayette pulled Alex into a small kiss. “John is very lucky to have you. Just, give him a bit of time, yeah?”

“Yeah, you’re right.” Alex leaned back against Lafayette’s shoulder. “This was nice.”

“It was.” Lafayette ran his hand through Alex’s hair. “You’re very beautiful Alex.”

“Mm, you are too.” Alex closed his eyes. “It’s been over a year I think.”

“Christ, a year. No one deserves to go that long. You know where I live.” Lafayette chuckled, kissing Alex’s neck. “It’s late, we should head home.”

Alex nodded in agreement, getting off of Lafayette’s lap and beginning to get dressed.

“Speaking of John, what will he think of this?”

“Think of what?”

Lafayette gave Alex an odd look. “Of what we just did.”

Alex turned to Lafayette, emotion wiped from his face. “What did we just do?”

Lafayette raised an eyebrow to Alex, then smiled. “Nothing, Alexander. We’ve done nothing.”

The two got dressed again and straighten themselves out, putting their masks back on. Lafayette made sure Alex looked gruntled and put together. They took the carriage back to Lafayette’s shop in relative silence and then proceeded to unhook Alex’s horse from the carriage so Alex could ride home.

“Alexander,” Lafayette started. “If you do need anything, you are always welcome over.”

“I know.” Alex smiled, taking Lafayette’s hands. “Thank you, really, for tonight. I needed it.” Alex let out a chuckle, looking down. “I feel as though my fidelity tonight was poor, with more than just you.”

“You are young, Alexander and love should be free.” Lafayette pulled Alex into a short kiss, humming. “I’ll see you soon I hope?”

“You will.” Alex turned and climbed onto his horse. “Goodnight, Lafayette.”

“Goodnight, Alexander.”

Alex turned and began riding home. It was dark, but he knew where he was going. He got to the apartment building and put Deutsche in the stables before going up to the apartment. John was fast asleep, so Alex quietly washed himself of any makeup and the smell of sex. He wiped old sweat from the back of his neck and made sure any bodily fluids Lafayette had left in him were long gone. Alex sighed, leaning over the counter to look at his face. He could see a smudge of Eliza’s rouge on his cheek, which he quickly scrubbed off.

Alex slipped on some night clothes and climbed into bed, curling up next to John. John seemed to awake with the new company, pulling Alex into a hug. He was tired, obviously, but was quick to hold onto Alex.

“Hello,” Alex chuckled.

“Mm, did you have fun?” John asked.

Alex nodded. “I did. Did you?”

“Missed you.” John kissed Alex’s forehead. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

 

Chapter Text

“Forgive me father, for I have sinned.”

“And what is it you’ve done, my child?”

Alex avoided looking at the preacher through the small opening. “I have slept with one when I court another.”

“Oh, my child, adultery is quite a sin.”

“But father, I was not married to either.” Alex stared at the floor of the confession box, thinking hard about his actions with Lafayette. Oh, even now, he could almost feel Lafayette, thrusting into him, kissing his shoulder and neck. It was erotic to think about, and Alex knew if he wanted to maintain discretion of his scandalous thoughts, he best quiet his mind. “It was simply careless.”

“You regret your actions?”

“Yes, I do.” It was a bit of a lie, but Alex didn’t feel the need to go into the true feelings of his actions with a preacher. He had things he needed to do.

“You are forgiven. Go, and do not repeat this action.”

“Yes, father.” Alex got up and left the confession box, feeling lighter. He stepped out of the church and pulled an apple from his pocket, taking a bite before tossing it to the ground. It was a cold and dreary day, rain coming down. It was a Tuesday, and Alex wasn’t sure if John was still at work or not. He hoped not, it was raining, and cold, and he really did just want to be with him. Or take a bath at the very least.

It was the day after the masquerade ball, and Alex’s actions had sunk in. He wasn’t exactly guilty for it. Yes, what he had done with Lafayette would upset John to know, so Alex followed the code he had always followed for these situations. He didn’t say anything, he wouldn’t say anything. There was no point to ruin a perfect thing. John would think he did it for emotional reasons when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Alex, honestly, just did it in a moment of impulse and need. He and Lafayette knew it meant nothing, so why tell John?

Alex got home and smiled when he heard John humming from the washroom. He took off his coat and shoes and walked in. John was sitting, hair up, in a steaming bath, eyes closed. Alex smiled and knocked on the doorframe a few times.

John opened his eyes, looking up. “Oh, hello dear.”

“May I join you?”

John nodded, smiling. “Always.”

Alex got undressed, then climbed into the tub, letting out a breath as he began to get warmed up. He noted how relaxed and beautiful John looked, with his eyes closed and his warm brown skin exposed, freckles dotting every inch of him. Alex almost couldn’t resist those beautiful plump pink lips. He wanted to use that mouth in all the best ways. “How was your day?”

“Short.” John leaned forward and kissed Alex. “I missed you.”

“I missed you too.” Alex scooted closer, wrapping his legs around John’s waist. “It’s quite depressing out, wouldn’t you agree?”

“I would.” John leaned in and kissed Alex again. “Mm, I love you.”

“I love you too.” Alex smiled, wrapping his arms around John’s neck as they kissed. John’s hands went to Alex’s hips, pulling him closer. Alex let out a quiet moan, grinding up against John. It didn’t take long for both of them to get hard, kissing and grinding, but they didn’t touch each other. It was almost just another to be kissing, grinding. John, in an act of bravery, grabbed Alex and pulled the man entirely onto his lap.

“Oh!” Alex laughed.

“Are you alright?”

“Yes, John, I’m alright.” Alex leaned back down, kissing the man. He squeezed his thighs around John’s waist a bit, humming and grinding his hips on John’s stomach. He ran his hands through the damp and curly hair the Frenchman adorned, tugging on it lightly as John nipped at his tongue.

“God, you taste so good,” John muttered. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

They didn’t leave the bath until the water turned cold and was no longer comfortable. They were quick to dry off, and instead of getting dressed, John pulled Alex into the bedroom, still kissing him. Alex smiling, humming a bit as he was pushed into the bed.

“Where is this coming from?” He asked.

John shrugged, smiling shyly. “I’m just… sick of being scared.”

Alex pulled him into another kiss, wrapping his legs around John’s waist. John grinding his hips into Alex’s, grunting as he did so. The air was cold against their bodies, but they kept moving, warming up a bit.

“Perhaps I should get the olive oil?”

Alex laughed, looking at John incredulously, and pulled John into a kiss, lowering John's hips down so he could get a little more friction. John took the hint and kissed back, grabbing a handful of Alex's hair and giving it a sharp tug, bringing a moan from Alex. John ground his hips against Alex’s, craving the electric spark of that oh so wonderful sexual tension.

"Mm, I love you, John," Alex mumbled as he began working John’s hair out of its bun. "And I know you love me. But I must know, do you have the slightest idea of what you’re doing?"

John laughed nervously, breaking eye contact. “No, not quite, I must be honest."

Alex nodded. “If it makes you feel any better, I have not a clue what I was doing the first time I did this as well.”

John laughed lightly. “I think it might be best if you take the lead. I’m sure you can do this much better than I could fathom. You’re better at this.”

"John, of course, I am.” Alex leaned up and kissed John’s lips. “I’ve had years of practice. You’re practically a virgin, at least to me you are.” Alex chuckled a bit, running his thumb across the facial hair on John’s chin. “Why don’t you shave?”

John shrugged, touching Alex’s stomach a bit. “I don’t know. I didn’t get facial hair for a very long time, I guess I’m still much too excited about it than any groan man should be, hm?” John laughed a bit. “God, Alex, I do think you look quite beautiful right now. You have a gorgeous body. I wish I had given myself the indulgence of seeing it sooner.”

"I wish you had as well," Alex admitted. “I was getting quite impatient, and I felt it was almost time to turn to drastic measures.”

John raised an eyebrow. “Drastic measures?”

"Yes," Alex smirked. “I was thinking I should bring a man home, have him take me right in front of you, see what you would do, how you would defend your love for me, how you would touch me afterward, fuck any trace of him out of me. Would you do that? Fuck me until I no longer had a trace of anyone else inside of me?”

"You have the voice of a minx, and the morals of a common whore, do you know that?" John ran his thumb over Alex’s bottom lip. “I now know why pirates crashed their boats into the rocks for sirens.”

Alex just smiled, biting his lip as he struggled to take in a breath. "I’m quite happy to be your siren, dear Laurens."

John chuckled. “Are you, truly, Alexander?”

Alex nodded, spreading his legs a bit more. “John, please, go get the olive oil, but be quick about it. Come back before I get cold.”

John was quick to retrieve the olive oil, coming back into the bedroom and setting it on the nightstand before kissing Alex. The Spaniard found himself reaching down, grabbing John’s cock and giving it a few tugs. John groaned, thrusting his hips into Alex’s hand. “Yeah, baby, God.”

Alex laughed. “Come on, roll on your back.”

“Why?”

“Just do it.” Alex pushed John back, grabbing the olive oil. He sat between John’s legs, chuckling a bit, before dumping some of the olive oil into his hand. Before rubbing it onto John’s cock, he found himself leaning down, sucking on the tip a bit. He licked up a bead of precome, humming. John moaned, grabbing a bedpost as Alex bobbed his head.

“Yes, oh, God!” John thrust his hips up into Alex’s mouth. “Oh, Alex, shit.”

Alex smiled, bringing the hand with the olive oil forward and rubbing it onto John’s dick, making sure it was all lubed up before positioning himself over it, hands-on John’s chest. “Hey, are you ready?”

John nodded. “Oh, God, yes, Alexander, I am.”

Alex grabbed John’s cock, and in a manner similar to what he did with Lafayette last night, he slid down, groaning. This was easier, luckily, and the sting wasn’t as bad. Alex found it becoming more pleasurable than anything else as he slid down, inch by inch. John looked like he was in pure ecstasy, his head was thrown back into the bedsheets.

“Are you quite alright?” Alex asked softly.

“Yes, yes I am.” John gripped Alex’s thigh, looking up. “Are you?”

“I am.” Alex let out a small laugh, grabbing John’s hand. “God, you’re beautiful.”

“You are too.” John put a hand on Alex’s waist, running his thumb across the soft skin. “Kiss me, Alexander.”

Alex leaned forward, pressing his lips to John’s as he began to roll his hips. John moaned into Alex’s mouth, huffing as Alex began to bounce a bit. He thrust his hips up to meet Alex’s, eyes hooded and mouth open. They were kissing, but their faces were together. Alex kept having to swallow his spit because oh, how good John looked. Alex eventually sat up, needing to gain a bit more momentum as he rode John.

“Ah, yes,” John huffed breathlessly. “You’re so gorgeous, good God.”

Alex let out a quick laugh, speeding up his pace. John met Alex’s hips gracefully, both of them drowning in the ecstasy of finally, finally doing this. Alex could barely manage to breathe, and every time his hips came down onto John’s, leaving an echoing slap in the room, it felt like all the air was pushed from his lungs.

For a moment, Alex got caught in the memory of sleeping with Lafayette. It was almost similar, but colder, less comfortable. If Alex closed his eyes, it could’ve been the same man, it really could’ve. Perhaps, if Alex tried hard enough, he could remember last night as being spent with John. But no, he couldn’t do that. Lafayette was not replaceable, and Alex knew that.

“Oh, God, Alex!” John groaned. “God, oh-”

Alex groaned, letting his head fall back as he continued to ride John. He stayed in the moment this time, didn’t let his mind wander. God, Alex loved sex, but the moment it was happening, he found himself getting bored. He didn’t know what he actually liked about it other than the idea of it, maybe the love. But sex wasn’t love, and Alex knew that.

Maybe it was the closeness, maybe it was the idea that Alex, for a moment, belonged somewhere, even if that somewhere was on someone’s cock. Alex didn’t know what it was, but it was a sort of therapy for him, better than hashish, better than tobacco or good liquor. Because sex was easy. It was easy to close your eyes and be there, or to be nowhere. And maybe that’s what Alex wanted; to be nowhere. He didn’t know if that was it, but it was a theory, and he let himself roll with it because there was no one he could tell this to without seeming insane, not even Lafayette.

“Alex, I’m close,” John huffed out.

“Finish inside me John, please!” Alex let out a long moan. “Please, John, please!”

“Oh, God, shit!” John stopped, thrusting his hips up into Alex. “Oh, Alex.”

Alex could feel John come, could feel him release inside, and oh, that was nice. It felt euphoric to Alex. John had been shy to an almost unnecessary point for about a year, only recently becoming brave, and it felt like a barrier was broken. That euphoria alone was enough to make Alex finish with a few quick strokes, come landing on John’s stomach. Alex let out a breath, looking down at John.

“You’re beautiful, John Laurens.”

John smiled. “Come here.”

And there it was, what Alex truly wanted. John held Alex close to him, kissing down his neck and playing with his hair. People held you differently after sex, and it was grounding. It was loving. Alex craved it more than anything, really. He was on cloud nine with the way John’s sweaty body felt, pressed against his own. The way John’s hand ran through his hair, the way John kissed him. It was… perfect.

“I love you,” John mumbled.

Alex’s heart fluttered, and he almost felt like crying. “I love you too, John Laurens.”

John smiled softly. “I feel like I could spend the rest of my life with you, and at the end, when I die, I feel like because I die with you, I’d be content.”

“John…” Alex did love the idea of growing old together though, living in a real house, with an expansive library. Perhaps take in a child.

They laid there for a good while, holding each other. They let the sweat dry, their temperature fall. Alex’s feet got cold, so he pressed them to John’s, bringing a groan from the man, and a comment about how Lafayette was right, and he should start eating more red meat.

Eventually, both their stomachs started rumbling, and John got out of bed, deciding to make some dinner. He slipped on pants and a nightshirt before walking into the kitchen. Alex, not feeling the whole idea of pants, only wore a nightshirt, and picked up a book of Shakespearian poetry, following John into the kitchen.

He put a foot up on a chair and began reading. “My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun; Coral is far more red than her lips' red; If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun; If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head. I have seen roses damasked, red and white, but no such roses see I in her cheeks; And in some perfumes is there more delight than in the breath that from my mistress reeks. I love to hear her speak, yet well I know that music hath a far more pleasing sound; I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground. And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare as any she belied with false compare.”

John raised an eyebrow. “And am I this mistress to you?”

“Never, dear John. I am this mistress to you.” Alex smiled, slipping through the book of Shakespeare's sonnets, looking for another one. “If I should think of love I'd think of you, your arms uplifted, tying your hair in plaits above, the lyre shape of your arms and shoulders, the soft curve of your winding head. No melody is sweeter, nor could Orpheus so have bewitched. I think of this, and all my universe becomes perfection. But were you in my arms, dear love, the happiness would take my breath away, no thought could match that ecstasy, no song encompass it, no other worlds. If I should think of love, I'd think of you.”

“Who is this?”

“You must be joking, yes?”

“I am not.”

Alex gasped. “Good John, this is Shakespeare. Have you read any of his plays?”

“I have so! In fact, if you will do me the favor of remembering, we went and saw one together, with our good friend Lafayette.” John laughed, turning to look at Alex. “And perhaps, if you should care as much to know, I did not study the man for just under a decade.”

Alex smiled. “I do care to know.” He wrapped his arms around John’s back, kissing John’s shoulder blade and smiling. “I love you, dear John. Shakespeare said it best when he said ‘my love is a fever, longing still.’ Oh, dear John, I long for you when you are in my arms, and that is because I am completely and utterly in love with you, yes?”

“I love you too.”

“No, dear John, I do not just love you, I am in love with you. I feel no need for you to be in love with me, but oh, goodness, I just need you to know.”

John took one of Alex’s hands and pressed it to his lips. “I have been in love with you for quite some time, Alexander, and I think you knew that all too well.”

Alex smiled. “Perhaps I did, but I wanted to hear you say it.”

A laugh escaped the Frenchman. “You are sin.”

“Perhaps.” Alex leaned up and kissed the back of John’s neck. “Do you think we are meant to be? Or do you think we are God’s example of sin?”

“Can we not be both?”

“Perhaps we are neither.” Alex kissed John’s neck again. “But the concept of soulmates has never quite enthralled me anyways. If you truly want to be with someone, then you work towards it.”

“As a child, you believed in soulmates. Did Germany change you so?”

“Yes.” Alex took a breath. “I do believe the only thing that never changed was my love for you.” He chuckled a bit, thinking. “Good God, John, I do not know how we went our whole childhoods without kissing each other.”

“I do not know either, but oh, Thank God, we are braver now.”

Alex chuckled. “I suppose we are. What are you making?”

“Fruit and cheese and bread. Just cutting it up and arranging it right now.” John hummed a bit. “It’s almost hard to believe Christmas is in just a few months. Time has flown, I feel.”

“It has, John Laurens.” Alex chuckled.

Dinner was eaten, and soon enough, the two were back in bed, reading. John was almost asleep, not even absorbing the words. His eyes were lidded, and he was almost out for the night. Alex, on the other hand, had fallen into his book and was completely unaware of anything going on around him. He only looked up when John’s book fell forward onto his chest, signaling that John was out.

Alex chuckled, closing his book and closing John’s as well, putting it on the nightstand. He stood up, pulling a blanket over John before closing the curtains. He stoked the fire, adding another log, before climbing back into bed with John. He sighed, looking at the freckled face of his lover. He owed John his fidelity, and that’s what he would give him.

Alex leaned forward, kissing John’s nose. “Goodnight, darling, I love you.”

Almost moments later, Alex’s eyes were closed, and he had fallen into a deep sleep, surrounded by the arms of his lover.

 

Chapter Text

Chapter 14: Dinner and Diatribes

October 1837

“My father wants us to have tea with him,” Alex informed John, looking up from the letter he was reading. “Says there’s someone he would like us to meet.”

“Haven’t we already got enough friends?” John muttered lightly, buttoning up his shirt from the morning session they had indulged themselves in.

“I suppose not.” Alex looked over at John and smiled. “Tomorrow, he says, around three. I think it might be nice. I feel as though my parents miss you. For a while, you were the only son they had.”

John chuckled. “Perhaps I was.”

“I think, perhaps in a different time, they might be quite happy that we’re lovers.”

“I don’t know how they haven’t asked yet. We’ve been living together for almost three years now. I’m thirty and two days, and you’re almost there. We’ve taken no woman, had no offspring, and shown known signs of courting. In fact, we haven’t even spoken of living anywhere but together. Do you suppose they are suspicious?”

Alex shrugged.

“And what if they knew? Would they turn us in?”

“I do not know.” Alex looked at John. “My father is a well-traveled man, and he grew up in the slums, where most of the Parisian sodomites live. And he must have a small inkling about me. If not, then I would think I am doing something wrong.” Alex laughed. “Do I look like a sodomite?”

John looked over at Alex, who was spread out on their bed, legs apart, nightshirt barely gracing the middle of his thighs. “To me, you look like a common whore who’s expecting a very large sum of money from me.”

Alex laughed. “John, you flatter me.”

“Do I?”

“You do.”

John climbed onto the bed, pulling Alex into a kiss. “I think you should get dressed, hm?”

Alex groaned, tugging John’s collar. “Oh, John Laurens! How could you hurt me so? Here I am, naked under my clothes, legs spread entirely for you, and yet, you tell me to get up? To do something besides let you ravage my body? Don’t you see? I was made for your cock. I was made for you to take me whenever you please. My body is entirely yours, and yet you wish for me to look presentable to the public? You must understand, I only wish to look presentable to you, and the more of the clothes I wear, the less presentable I am.”

John laughed. “Alexander.”

“I love you, I love you, I love you!” Alex sighed deeply, looking into John’s eyes. “I wish for you to hurt me in the best of ways.”

John kissed Alex’s jaw. “I do believe I could never bear to lay a harmful finger upon you.”

“I believe you could,” Alex laughed.

“Why would I want too?”

A shrug came from the shorter man as his eyes trailed across the room for a moment before falling back on his lover. “Perhaps you simply felt the need too. Either way, I would love you so.”

“Good Christ, Alexander.” John stood up. “Go, get dressed.”

“For what reason?”

“I wish to go to the bookstore, and I feel as though you would wish to come along, yes?”

Alex smiled, standing up and getting dressed quickly, barely even tugging up his stockings before he was ready to go. John laughed, slipping on his frock coat and walking out of the apartment with Alex. It was brisk out, so Alex walking close to John was seen as a need to stay warm more than anything.

Two years had passed, and to say much more had happened would be a lie. Alex and John were still close, still deeply in love, still spending their days doing nothing truly interesting. Many nights were spent with Lafayette, smoking hashish and laughing. Other nights were spent with the Schuylers, drinking and being in love. They had lived a life of luxury and hangovers. Many mornings were spent leaning over the balcony outside John’s bedroom, trying to calm their nausea, but vomiting onto the riverbank below if they could not.

Alex never told John about that night with Lafayette, but the memory was no longer so fresh in his mind. A simple blur of a moment, that sometimes Alex confused with a dream. He didn’t spend his waking moments thinking about it, and he was sure Lafayette didn’t even remember it.

John’s sister had gotten married, and Eliza was engaged to be married, but not exactly thrilled for it. Alex had told her to just break off the engagement and go to Germany, mary one of his friends, but Eliza insisted she does what’s best for her family. Alex knew she was to be unhappy though, and wished he could do more. He didn’t want Eliza to be unhappy.

The next day, Alex and John made their way to the Washington’s. It was colder, so Alex was dressed in his furs, close to John. It was after church, so Alex was excited to eat something. He had barely a moment to catch breakfast, so his stomach yearned for food. He knew his mother had most likely cooked up something hearty, so he was excited. Martha’s mother was German, so the food Martha cooked was always strong, and sat heavily in your stomach. If Alex knew he was not to eat for several days, he would have his last meal at his mother's house, for if he ate enough, he wouldn’t get hungry again until those days were up.

“John, Alexander!” George smiled, opening the door and inviting the two men in. “Come, come, take off your coats. Martha has just finished dinner. Are you quite chilled?”

“No, no, it was a short walk,” Alex assured his father. “Have you waited on us long?”

“Not at all, you are perfectly on time. Come, I would like you to meet someone.” George ushered the two into the dining room.

At the table, talking to one of Alex’s sisters, was a tall man. He had broad shoulders and dark dark skin, with curly black hair cut close to his head. He was wearing what looked to be a new suit, with a freshly ironed shirt and a dark grey frock coat fitted to his body. He was smiling, and his voice was deep, with a hint of an Irish accent in the French, hitting the Rs just a bit too softly, and the Ns a bit too hard. It was almost endearing.

“Alexander, John, this is my new apprentice, Hercules Mulligan,” George introduced.

Hercules stood up in a clumsy manner, smiling at Alex at John. “Hello!”

“Hercules, this is my son Alexander, and his friend, John.” George excused himself to help Martha, leaving the four alone.

Alex stepped forward, shaking Herc’s hand. “Hello, it’s nice to meet you.”

“Charmed,” John chuckled, shaking Herc’s hand as well.

“It’s nice to meet you both as well,” Herc nodded. “Come, let’s sit.”

Alex took his place at the table, smiling at his sister. “Frances.”

“Alexander, you look well.” Frances leaned forward a bit. “Ma says you’ve gotten too skinny, she’ll stuff you to brim tonight. You’ll be lucky if you leave the house without getting sick.”

“I’ve always been skinny,” Alex pointed out.

“Perhaps, but she’s getting older you know.”

Alex waved his hand. “You are being silly.”

“Dinner!” Martha chimed, walking into the dining room with a large ham. George followed with potatoes and cabbage. The food was set down and people began to serve themselves up, not talking for a moment as the main focus was getting food on the plate.

“Alexander, will you say the blessing?” Martha requested.

“Of course, Ma.” Alex folded his hands and bowed his head. “Bless us, oh Lord, and these, thy gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.” Alex looked up, smiling. “Let’s eat.”

“Yes, let’s,” John chuckled, digging in. “Martha, this is wonderful.”

“Thank you, John.” Martha smiled a bit. “Hercules, why don’t you tell the boys a bit about yourself?”

Herc looks up, humming for a second, before swallowing and sipping his wine to clear his throat. “Oh, uh, I came from Ireland to Paris to look for a tailor apprenticeship. I met your father in a bar and struck up a conversation. It was perfect, must’ve been fate.”

George laughed. “Well, you’re a quick learner Herc, a good apprentice.”

John hummed. “Did you all hear of Eliza Schuyler’s engagement?”

“To who?” Martha raised an eyebrow, looking to Alex.

“I wish I knew,” Alex chuckled. “She wrote to me about him, said he’d keep her comfortable. Don’t think there’s much love there though.”

“Not everyone can marry for love, eventually they will just have to settle with who will boost their status best.” Martha looked to Alex. “Have you been speaking to any women?”

“About what?” Alex asked in an almost bored tone.

“Son, you’re getting older, marriage should be on your mind,” George pointed out.

Alex looked up. “Marriage? Why would I ever want to get married?”

Frances laughed. “Alex, you must be a distant relative of Elizabeth the first, married to your country, never to take a true lover.”

“Perhaps I am,” Alex laughed. “What of you, John? Have you found a woman?”

John cocked an eyebrow at Alex, smiling. “I think, Alexander, you would know best of all if I had found a woman, hm?”

“You boys. Your looks will not last forever.” Martha poured herself more wine. “You think you will look forever handsome, but let me tell you, I know you will not. George used to have a head of curly dark hair, beautiful and soft, and now look.”

George gasped. “Martha, darling. You said I did not look so bad!”

“Oh, you know I will love you forever, dear George, but Alex and John only have so many years left before they become old and fat.”

John laughed. “Judging by the state of my father, I think I will look fairly handsome as I age. Alexander is a bit of a mystery, but I believe he will look nice.”

“I believe I will get ugly, but that is alright with me. My mortality is no fear of mine.” Alex took a small bite of the food, then sipped his wine. “And what of Frances? Has she no pressure to marry?”

“We have given up on her,” George laughed.

“Well enough too,” Frances chuckled. “I have no wish to marry.”

“Alexander, if you do not marry, and if John does not marry, I will only have so many grandchildren,” Martha complained.

“Even if I do not marry, I may take in a child, as George did with me. Take a cart to Portugal and buy up a harbor boy.” Alex laughed. “Even with no wife, I can raise a boy. Not a girl though, goodness no. I feel if I had a daughter I might drive myself mad.”

“Alexander,” Frances gasped.

“It is only the truth!” Alex snickered. “What of you John? Children?”

“Yes, yes, I would like a child, but I must agree with Alex, a girl would drive me mad. I don’t know how’d I’d manage. I wouldn’t know the first thing about a girl.” John chuckled. “Herc, have you married?”

“Yes, actually. I brought my wife to Paris, but she thought it best she stay home tonight, seeing as she hasn’t totally mastered the French language.” Herc smiled. “She’s with child though. I couldn’t care less whether it be a boy or a girl, I’m simply excited to have a child.”

“Only decent boy at this table, Hercules is,” Martha huffed.

“Oh, Ma,” Alex smiled.

Dinner went by, and soon enough it was Herc, Alex, John, and George, lounging in the living room, drinking wine and smoking cigarettes, hand-rolled. Alex was lounged on the love seat, staring up at the ceiling, a cigarette barely hanging from his lip. Herc and John shared the couch, while George sat in an armchair.

“How is work, Alexander?” George asked.

“Oh, work is… Work is work. I have plenty of spare moments to write. I might file resignation soon, go back to spending my days writing.”

“And how will you make money?” John mused.

“I suppose you must provide for me as if I were your wife, hm?” Alex laughed a bit, taking a long puff from his cigarette.

“You two will be confused as lovers if you do not find wives soon,” George pointed out.

“Perhaps,” Alex mumbled in a bored tone, looking at his nails.

John cleared his throat. “Alex flirts too much with the women he meets for us to be confused as lovers. You should see him with Eliza.” John chuckled. “She can’t come near him now without feeling flustered.”

“And why did you not court her?” George asked.

“Because I would prefer to keep my childbearing fruit attached to my body, and I fear that if I were to come close to Eliza, Angelica might change that part of me.” Alex took a long drag from his cigarette, blowing smoke into the air. “Is Ma asleep?”

George nodded. “Yes, most likely.”

“And what of Frances?”

“No, I don’t suppose she’s asleep yet. Always stays up a bit too late,” George decided.

Alex took up, grabbing another cigarette as some matches. “If you will excuse me, I do wish to have some conversation with my sister before she returns to whatever foreign land she wishes to go.” Alex walked out of the room, leaving John, Herc, and George to talk amongst themselves. He made his way up to his sister's room, knocking before stepping inside. “Frances, hello.”

“Ah, dear Alexander.” Frances got up, slipping on her robe, then pulled a chair up to her bed. “Come, sit.”

Alex sat down, handing her a cigarette and a match. “How are you?”

“I am well, all packed.” She looked to her trunk. “I think I will go to Portugal. Is there anyone you wish for me to say hello to for you?”

Alex shrugged. “No, I suppose not.”

“Would you like me to ask about your mother?”

Alex shook his head. “Best to leave that stone unturned.” Alex looked around the room for a moment. “Will father and mother love me less if I never marry?”

Frances cocked an eyebrow. “I do not believe so. I do think you have secrets that best be kept between you and the party involved though.”

“I don’t believe I understand what you mean,” Alex muttered.

“I believe you do.” Frances looked to her book, smoking her cigarette. “Frankly, Alexander, I think it was best our parents never met your friends because I do not believe they would be so happy about you living with John if they knew the people you spent a decade of your life with. I’m sure you and John keep your actions as Godly as you can, but you should know, regardless of how you repent, some people will see what you do only as sin.” She took a drag from the cigarette and blew it in Alex’s face. “You are very dear to me, you must be sure of that, and I would never do anything to damage the person you are, but I wish for you to know that it may be best if you become more careful.”

Alex nodded.

“Is John’s cock large?” Frances asked.

“Christ!” Alex gasped.

“Is it?”

Alex looked to the door, then back to Frances, smiling. “It’s just right.”

She hummed. “When will you two travel? You must be sick of Paris by now.”

“I am. I think I will bring up the idea of Germany to John, hm? I miss my friends, and I do wish to go back and see them again.”

Frances chuckled. “What will John think of your special Andre?”

“Andre is not special,” Alex spat out.

“I’m sure he’s not.” Frances looked at her book, then back to Alex. “But what will John think of him?”

Alex shrugged a bit, looking around the dimly lit room. “I don’t know. He’s a bit like an envious lover sometimes, but I would not mind compensating a bit just to keep his pride unbroken, yes?”

“I do not wish to hear of my brother’s sexual plans,” Frances gasped.

“Oh, hush.” Alex took a drag from his cigarette. “When I go to Germany, I will write to you, and you will visit, yes?”

“Yes, yes, I will.” Frances sat up and kissed Alex’s cheek. “Alright, dear Alexander, go and find your lover, take him home. I’m sure he is ready.”

Alex kissed Frances’ cheek. “Goodbye, dear sister, I love you.”

“Goodbye, I love you too.”

Alex walked out of the room and down to the living room again. “John Laurens, I do believe I have exhausted myself. Shall we go home?”

“Yes, that sounds quite alright.” John stood up. “George, Hercules, it was a pleasure.”

Alex waved to her father. “Goodbye, Pa, goodbye, Hercules. I’ll see you both soon.” Alex left the living room and went to slip on his frock coat. He felt John’s hand trail subtly across his back and smiled. “I am tired, John, I do believe all I wish to do is go home and perhaps eat some snails and go to bed.”

John chuckled. “Alexander.”

“What?” Alex smiled a bit, then buttoned his coat. “Come, let’s-”

“Alexander, may I speak to you for a moment?” George was in the hallway, looking at the two of them.

“Ah, one moment, John Laurens.” Alex followed his father into the kitchen, smiling. “What is it, Pa?”

“I raised you as a boy of God, yes?”

Alex nodded.

“And I do truly hope your activities are not ungodly when no one else is looking.”

Alex feigned a look of innocence. “I do not believe I know what you’re talking about, father. Perhaps you could elaborate?”

George looked around. “You and John are close.”

“I would think so, he and I have shared a home for three years now.” Alex chuckled lightly.

“I hope your closeness is strictly a friendly closeness, and nothing more.”

Alex shook his head lightly, smiling. “Father, if you truly wish to insinuate that, then I must ask you to gather a bit more evidence than my closeness to a man I’ve known since I was five.” Alex straightened his jacket. “Now, we are both better than that. I’ll see you Sunday, yes?”

George cleared his throat. “Yes, Sunday.”

Alex nodded, leaving the kitchen, walking out of the house with John, heading home.

“What did your father wish to know?” John asked.

“He wished to confirm with me that our relationship was strictly platonic, and we weren’t engaging in ungodly activities.” Alex smiled slyly.

“What did you tell him?”

“I told him it was quite ridiculous that his only evidence was my closeness with a man I’ve known since I was only a child.” Alex laughed. “I mean honestly, of course, we are close, we live together, we have been best friends since we were children. How could we not be? I think you know almost everything about me.”

“What do I not know?” John mused.

“What I’ve forgotten,” Alex replied.

John sighed happily, looking at Alex, then back to the path in front of them. “Snails tonight sounds wonderful, dear boy.”

“Yes, doesn’t it?”

 

Chapter Text

November 1837

“Why are we doing this again?” John muttered.

“She gets married in a week, she deserves to have a good time.” Alex looked around the courtyard before crunching across the snow. He got to the side of the house, ushering John over before beginning to climb the frozen vines, a bottle of wine in his coat. He was quiet, making sure he didn’t wake anyway as he climbed.

“Does she even know we’re coming?” John asked, climbing below Alex.

“Yes, she does.” Alex got to her window and tapped on it twice. He waited a moment, then tapped on it again. Suddenly, it was flung open, and there was Eliza, her hair down over her shoulder, in just her nightgown.

“Come in, come in,” She gasped quietly. “Hurry, you’ll catch your death.”

The two men scurried through the window, landing on Eliza’s bed and quickly kicking off their shoes so as not to make much noise. Alex set the bottle of wine on the side table before removing their coats. Eliza was quick to slip on a robe, though she didn’t tie it. She patted the bed, leaning back against the wall. Alex and John sat on the edge of the bed, somehow prying open the wine bottle and handing it to Eliza.

“How does it feel to know that you’re going to get married?” Alex asked.

Eliza gave a wry smile, sipping the drink. “It feels…”

Alex shook his head. “Unreal? Like it’s not going to happen?”

Eliza nodded. “I suppose that’s a good way to describe it.”

“You’re not going through with it, are you?” Alex mused.

John’s eyebrows shot up.

Eliza stared at Alex, then looked down. She reached out for the wine bottle and took a sip, then looked back up. “No.”

“Good.” Alex looked around her room. “So what are you going to do?”

“Peggy is taking me to Italy tomorrow night. We’re just, leaving. We haven’t told father, we haven’t told anyone, besides you two of course.” Eliza almost smiled. “I want to go, I’m just, I’m afraid.”

“Don’t be.” Alex reached forward and took her hand. “There are a million things for you to do in this world. Besides.” Alex sat back. “Even if you do nothing, the art scene in Italy is quite wonderful, so you can occupy yourself with that, yes?”

Eliza smiled. “Oh, I’ll miss you both.”

“We’ll miss you too, Eliza, but you’ll be quite happy, and when-” Alex stopped himself, taking a breath. “If you come back, you’ll always have a place to stay. Though the bed will get quite crowded, don’t you agree, John?”

“I must,” John nodded.

Eliza giggled. “Do you two share a bed?”

“Yes.” Alex wiggled his eyebrows. “We have not had the time or money to buy another, and besides, if we are in different beds, how will we plan the trouble we want to get into?”

“You two are far too sweet upon each other,” Eliza gasped.

“Are we?” John cocked an eyebrow.

“Yes.” Eliza looked around. “I would like to know how drunk you would have to be for me to be able to see you both kiss.”

“Eliza Schuyler!” Alex gasped. “What kind of suggestion is that?”

“I would like to know!” She giggled, taking a sip of the wine and falling back a bit. Her nightgown came up and the milky pale calves she adorned were flashed to the two men. She had the legs of every Parisian woman and Alex. Skinny, with a gentle curve, with short black hairs all over them.

“Eliza, you seem already drunk,” Alex teased, reaching forward and pulling her gown back over her legs for the sake of modesty.

“Perhaps I am.” She shook her head. “But I am not. It takes much more than a few sips of wine to waste me. Peggy, on the other hand, may be already on the floor.”

Alex laughed. “Eliza.”

“You know it’s true! Remember, at that ball, when we were dancing and I had to leave because Peggy had emptied her stomach on the estate owner’s son! On his shoes, to be more precise. She vomited three more times on the way home, and was sick for the entirety of the next day.” Eliza laughed. “Father thought she had the flu and I had to play along so he didn’t know we had gone out the night before.”

“Were you not supposed to?” John mused.

“We were not.” Eliza smiled. “It was nice to see you and Lafayette there, though. Lafayette is quite handsome, I do wish I had gotten a dance with him.”

Alex smiled, though it was almost fake, as memories of his infidelity leaked back into his mind. He decided to change the subject quickly before he could truly think about his actions. “Eliza, will you look for a husband in Italy? The men there are quite handsome, and you are a handsome woman, you will not have much trouble.”

“Will I not?” Eliza chuckled.

“Not at all.”

“You both are absolutely terrible, I think. I think if you weren’t so sweet to each other, you would’ve courted me.” She smiled. “But I like you two, so I won’t hold any grudges, hm?”

“Eliza.” John chuckled a bit. “You call us terrible, and look at you! Alone in your room with two men and a bottle of wine. I do believe you’d get your own corner space in the paper if it were found out that the daughter of the famous Phillip Schuyler found herself in this predicament.”

“A corner space, you say?” Eliza leaned forward. “John Laurens, we all know full well I am worth a cover page.” Eliza stretched out, letting her robe fall off her shoulders. “I could pose for a picture, look as scandalous as possible, hm? What do you think?”

“Eliza, you are too much woman for such a small body,” Alex laughed. “I do believe in your next life you will be born much larger.”

“Alexander.” Eliza tilted her head back. “You’re too much.”

“He is, isn’t he?” John mused.

Alex laughed. “I think I love you both more than I’ve loved anyone else in this world, and it’s important for you to know that.”

“Alex has touched more parts of me than most,” Eliza commented.

“Ah, la volta. I have gotten into many skirts with that dance.” Alex laughed. “I don’t think I could do it with John though, he’s bigger than me.”

“What is la volta?” John asked.

Alex gave Eliza a mischievous look. “I do believe we should show him, dear Elizabeth.”

Eliza nodded, standing up. She slipped off her robe and curtsied to Alex, who bowed back. He took her hands, humming as they did the steps. Alex made brief eye contact before placing his hand between Eliza’s legs and lifting her up. Eliza’s face darkened as she smiled at Alex, who set her down and bowed.

“That is la volta,” Eliza told John.

“Ah.” John’s brows were raised higher than Alex had seen them before. It was quite funny to see almost.

“Eliza, would you truly like to see me kiss John?” Alex asked.

“Yes, I would.” Eliza sat back down on the bed, sipping the wine. “Will you?”

“Because it’s your last week in Paris, I do believe we should do this for her, don’t you, John?” Alex batted his eyes innocently, looking at his lover. “Besides, look at how excited she is.”

Eliza laughed. “John looks as though he might jump out of his skin.” She leaned forward. “Come now, John, don’t be afraid. It’s only Alexander.”

“Are you serious, woman?” John gasped.

“Of course I am.” Eliza scooted forward. “I’ve never seen a man kiss another man, but I would very much so like to.”

“John, do not be so shy.” Alex took John’s face into his hands, looking back to Eliza for a moment before pressing his lips to John’s. The kiss lasted a few moments, then Alex broke away. “Now, was that so hard?”

“That wasn’t a real kiss,” Eliza groaned. “I would kiss my mother like that.”

“You would kiss your mother like that?” John gasped.

Eliza rolled her eyes. “You both are cowardly. Alexander, come here.” Eliza took Alex’s face in her hands and kissed him. A real kiss. Alex was almost shocked, but kissed back, placing his hand on her hip. Eliza pulled away, smiling at John. “That is a real kiss.”

“Eliza,” Alex gasped, touching his mouth.

“I can kiss him like that,” John boasted.

“Can you?”

John took Alex by the chin and kissed him, pushing him back a bit into the bed. He pushed his tongue into Alex’s mouth, brushing the Spaniard's hair behind his ear. He pulled away, then smiled at Eliza. “I can.”

Alex was barely functioning. “Christ! I think all my blood is in my face!” He fanned himself. “Both of you! Trouble! Good God, I will need to spend perhaps hours in the confession box this Sunday.”

Eliza laughed. “Alexander, you’re so cute, you know that?”

“Give me the wine.” Alex took a sip. “I do not know what has gotten into both of you, kissing me like that! I don’t kiss like that for fun. Are those not the same lips you have kissed your fiance with?”

Eliza shrugged. “Perhaps I would like to have a bit of fun.”

“A bit of fun?” John raised an eyebrow, looking at Alex, then back to her. “And just what is your ideal bit of fun?”

Eliza played with the hem of her nightgown, leaning forward to look at the men. “I don’t know.”

“Here.” Alex handed her the bottle. “Take a sip and you will be able to say what you mean.”

“Does it work like that?”

“It could if you wanted it to.”

Eliza took a sip of the wine, then looked at them. “I would like you to take me, both of you.”

Alex’s eyes widened. “Dear God, Eliza, do you mean that?”

“I do.” She smiled shyly. “I’m bored. I’ve lived in a cage my whole life I feel. I want to be like the women who have no fear. The ones in my books.”

“Eliza, you don’t…” John trailed off. “What is so special about us?”

“You are my best friends, and I will miss you dearly.” Eliza looked shy. “You must know you have no obligation to me.”

Alex looked at John, smiling. He was asking for permission without saying anything, and John knew that. As a child, John thought it was ridiculous that lovers could have their own language, but as he and Alex got closer, he began to become fluent in Alex’s body language, and could probably have a whole conversation with Alex without opening up his mouth. John stared at Alex for a moment, then glanced back at Eliza, then to Alex. He opened his mouth, then closed it, dipping his chin down.

Alex smiled, maintaining eye contact with John. “Eliza, dear, I do believe your nightgown is to get in the way.”

She smiled and stood up, reaching back and messing with the tie, pulling it loose and letting the gown slip down her body to the floor. Alex was fiddling with the buttons on his shirt, but stopped, looking at Eliza’s body. She was gorgeous.

John cleared his throat. “Christ, woman, you are beautiful.”

“And here you said you only liked snails,” Alex teased, slipping off his shirt.

“Oysters will occasionally be just what I crave,” John admitted.

Alex pulled Eliza back onto the bed, kissing her as he worked off his pants. John finished getting off his clothes and aided Alex with slipping off his pants entirely, kissing the man’s shoulder and rubbing his hips. Alex pushed his hips back until he could feel John’s cock against the soft skin of his ass.

“Darling, Eliza, I must tell you something, before this begins.” Alex broke awake. “John and I are lovers.”

Eliza raised her eyebrows, then nodded. “That made the most sense out of most of my theories.”

Alex laughed, then went back to kissing her. With this information in the open, John felt comfortable to reach around and begin touching Alex’s dick, slowly stroking him as he ground on Alex’s backside. He had to admit, seeing Alex and Eliza kiss was much more erotic than he expected. He finally understood Alex’s wish to see him make love to a woman.

Alex rolled onto his back, pulling John into a kiss. John groaned, grabbing his own cock and stroking it. Eliza kissed Alex’s neck, reaching her hand down to touch his dick. The three of them were a mess of kissing and spit.

Eliza gasped when Alex’s hand slid between her legs and began to touch her.

“Come now, dear, this is nothing new,” Alex chuckled.

“Alexander.” Eliza buried her face in his neck. “You are too much.”

“Come, I would like to show you something.” Alex smiled. “On your back, Eliza, come now.” Alex got between her legs, propping them up on his shoulders. “I wish to show you what I learned while I was in Germany, hm?”

“What are you doing, Alexander?” Eliza gasped.

“Hush.” Alex dipped his head between her legs and began the practice of cunnilingus.

Eliza threw her head back and moaned. “Oh!”

To quiet her, John pressed his lips to hers, touching her breasts. She moaned into his mouth, one of her hands falling into Alex’s hair as he ate her out. John would sneak glances at Alex, and God, he looked like an artist at work. He was careful with Eliza, being sure not to go too fast or cause too much strife.

Eliza tugged Alex’s hair, wrapping her arm around John’s neck as they kissed. She felt so overstimulated, but it was just right for her. She felt a familiar feeling in her stomach and gasped, sitting up. “Alex, you must stop, or our fun may be over before it’s started.”

Alex laughed. “You taste good, Eliza.”

“Does she?” John mused.

Alex leaned forward, kissing John. He moaned when Eliza unexpectedly touched his cock. He fell forward a bit, jutting his hips into Eliza’s hands as he continued to kiss John. It was a moment he didn’t expect to be so wonderful, but lord, Eliza was quite beautiful, and so was John.

“Eliza, would you mind helping me indulge in a small fantasy?” Alex requested, smiling at her.

“Perhaps.” She ran her hand down his chest. “What is it you wish to see?”

“I’ve always wanted to see John with a woman.”

John laughed. “He has. He always goes on about it. I think when we are having sex, he imagines he is a woman because it’s much more attractive than seeing me with a man.”

“Mm, I never told you that,” Alex chuckled.

Eliza giggled. “I would be happy to help you indulge that fantasy. In this fantasy, are you just watching?”

“I am.” Alex sat back, smiling.

John rolled his eyes, climbing on top of Eliza and kissing her. “Alexander, you are an absolute dog, you know this?”

Alex smiled lightly. “Perhaps I do.”

John brushed some hair out of Eliza’s face. “I do apologize for his actions.” He reached down and hooked Eliza’s leg around his waist. “Try to ignore his perverse stare.”

“I like that he’s watching.” Eliza tucked a bit of hair behind John’s ear. “I think it makes the situation that much more erotic, and fun.”

Alex laughed.

“Good Christ, I am surrounded by minx.” John looked to Eliza. “Are you ready?”

“Yes, John Laurens, I do believe I am.”

“Wonderful.” John kissed her. “I am as well.”

-

The three of them laid back on Eliza’s bed, legs hanging over the edge, gasping for air. Alex was sure he still had come in his scruff. Eliza’s legs were spread out, letting whoever was in her come out slowly. John had his arms around both of them, eyes closed. They were above the covers. Turns out, when one finished, the fun could continue, and it would not take long for them to join back in. None of them knew what time had passed, but God, they knew they had exhausted themselves. Alex felt as though he would never be able to sit up again. He felt as if he couldn’t move. He was almost asleep.

“Christ,” Eliza mumbled. “That was… that was everything I needed.”

John let out a laugh. “You are quite unsatisfiable, aren’t you?”

“I am.”

Alex smiled, closing his eyes. “If your sister were to walk in right now, I think I might see the end of my life.”

“Yes.” Eliza looked at Alex over John’s chest. “I just won’t tell her.”

John sighed. “Alex, we must go soon. It’ll be daylight, and I do not wish for people to see us leaving the house of an aristocrat from the bedroom window of his daughter.”

Alex tried to sit up. “I don’t believe I can move.”

Eliza giggled. “Alexander, come now, both of you.” She sat up, touching her stomach. “Lord, come now. If I can do it, so can you.”

“You barely did any of the work!” Alex accused, sitting up.

Eliza leaned over and kissed Alex. “Come, both of you, get up, leave me. I must do some packing. Peggy told me if I am not ready to leave tomorrow night, she will go without me.”

Alex chuckled. “Alright.”

The two men got dressed and Alex closed up the wine bottle, placing it back into his jacket pocket. His eyes lingered as Eliza slipped her nightgown on and tied her robe. He sighed, putting on his frock coat and tying up his shoes again.

“Eliza,” he started. “I do believe I’ll miss you.”

“Oh, Alex, we’ll see each other again, I promise.” Eliza touched Alex’s cheek. “And I’ll write to you, I promise.”

“I know.” Alex looked down, trying to not let Eliza see tears forming in his eyes. “I just… it won’t be the same.”

“Alex.”

He looked up at her. “You promise me you’ll see me again?”

“I do.” Eliza pulled him into a tight hug, stroking his hair as she felt his shoulders shake lightly.

Alex sniffled, kissing Eliza’s shoulder. “You are the only woman I’ve ever loved, you know that?”

“Yes, I do.” Eliza let go of Alex and left a lingering kiss on his cheek. “We’ll see each other soon, yes?”

“Yes, we will.”

John smiled lightly. “Come, we should go.”

Alex nodded, wiping his cheeks. “Good-”

“No,” Eliza interrupted. “No Goodbyes. None of that. This isn’t goodbye.”

Alex nodded. “I love you, Eliza Schuyler.”

“I love you too, Alexander Hamilton.” She rubbed his arm. “Now go.”

Alex nodded, turning and climbing out the window with John. Alex was quiet on the way down, and quiet as they began walking. His head hurt from the grief he felt.

“Hey,” John mumbled softly. “You’ll see her again. People never really leave, not with you. You will see her. We’ll visit her in Italy, I promise we will.”

Alex nodded. “I know. I’ll just miss her.”

John hugged Alex closer. “It’ll be okay. I’m here.”

The Spaniard smiled, leaning his head again John. “I know, John Laurens. I know.”

 

Chapter Text

April 1838

Alex stared at the ceiling of the apartment. For once in his life, he didn't feel the need for sex, which was quite unfortunate, seeing as John's head was between his legs at the moment. Alex was hard, there was no doubt in that, but he was bored with the action already. He was bored with everything, actually. He was bored of Paris, of work, of the apartment, of the books, the language. He was feeling restless, he was feeling a need to cause some chaos.

Alex looked down at John, curling a bit of the man's hair in his finger. John was beautiful, and God, Alex loved him. Those pink lips pursed around his cock, that dark curly hair tied up but not very well, with pieces falling out over his face. Oh, those broad shoulders Alex had thrown his legs over, those hands, big and calloused, one of them on Alex's waist the other on the inside of Alex's upper thigh. Alex had lost weight since he got to Paris. In Germany, he was fatter. There was always too much food and too much drink, so Alex had gotten a bit of pudge on his stomach. He was skinny now though, probably about as skinny as he was when he left for Germany.

Ah, Germany. Alex did miss the place. His friends had been writing to him, begging him to come back for a bit. He wanted to, he did, but he had... What did he have? Alex began to rack his mind for an excuse of why he couldn't make his way to Germany for at least the summer, and by God, he couldn't find one. Perhaps John's work, but oh, a bit of time off wouldn't hurt. He didn't care half as much for his job, and Lafayette? Well, Lafayette could be left an address to where they were staying, free to join if he ever so wished.

Alex gasped, sitting up and quickly slipped out of bed, leaving John quite confused. He sat at the writing desk and quickly began constructing a letter to Andre, announcing his arrival to be in early May. His hands flew as he wrote it, almost not believing the words he was writing.

"Alexander, are you quite alright?" John asked. "Usually, that's not how these things end."

"Yes, yes, sorry, dear John, one moment." Alex wrote furiously, blocking out the world around him as he continued line after line of his letter. It was short, so when he finished, he stood up and looked to John. "We are going to Germany!"

John sat back, raising his eyebrows. "Is that why you seemed so distracted while I offered services?"

"Perhaps." Alex put the letter in an envelope and set it on the desk, not in the mood to seal it just yet, before climbing onto the bed and taking John's hands. "Come now, why not? Aren't you bored? You're thirty and you've never even left the country. I'm more than a year younger than you, and yet, I've been almost around the world." Alex pushed John back, straddling his waist. "You need to go somewhere, anywhere, please. I so dearly miss my friends. Will you go with me? I could not bear to leave you again, but I would like to see those I hold close to my heart."

John smiled. "Alex, you worry far too much before you even let me speak. I'm sure the average person would talk much less if outliers like you were not taken into account."

Alex smiled, leaning down and kissing John.

"To answer your question, I am bored, and yes, I would like to go to Germany with you." John sat up, pulling Alex into a kiss. "I fear my father wants me to begin speaking of business with him, and I would enjoy putting off that conversation for as long as possible."

"Well, I am in no rush to leave Germany once we get there." Alex smiled. "I will go deliver this letter to the post office, and then we shall make some plans. Perhaps I come back with Lafayette so we can ask him to come and check on our house. Shall I?"

"I believe you shall. While you do this, I will run to the bank, see how our finances look so we can properly prepare for this trip."

"Wonderful."

-

Alex walked through Lafayette's shop, looking at a few things before going to the counter, nodding to the boy before slipping behind it. Lafayette was in the storeroom, shelving a shipment in the back since it didn't quite need to be restocked yet. Alex smiled, knocking on the frame of the doorway, looking at Lafayette.

"Ah, Alexander." Lafayette smiled, approaching Alex and kissing his lips. "How are you?"

"I'm doing well, Lafayette." Alex smiled lightly, looking around the storeroom a bit.

Lafayette clicked his tongue, brushing a bit of hair behind Alex's ear. "What is it you want from me? You give me that look only when you want something that may or may not cause me strife." He gave a small pat to Alex's hip. "Come now, do tell."

Alex wrapped his arms around Lafayette's neck. "John and I wish to go on a small trip, and you, being our best friend, seems like the perfect person to come and occasionally check on our apartment, hm?"

"I am a fool because I cannot say no to your face," Lafayette complained. He peeked out the storage room door before shutting it. "Where are you two going?"

Alex shrugged. "Germany. I've been missing my old friends." He leaned back against the shelves, Lafayette's body pressed against his. "While we are asking you to watch the house, I would like to leave you the address of where we are staying. That way, you are able to write to me, and if you wish, you come to Germany as well. I think you would fit very well in with these people."

"Almost like belonging, fitting in," Lafayette clarified, tilting his head back and thinking. "What will I get in return?"

"What do you want?" Alex quirked an eyebrow.

Lafayette laughed. "I don't know."

"You must know. There must be something you want, something you want more than anything," Alex gasped.

Lafayette opened his mouth, but whatever snide remark he was to reply with got caught in his throat as he stared down at Alex. The Spaniard stared back, lips parted slightly, brown eyes wide and pupils blown out from the dim lighting of Lafayette's oil lamp and the window from his above. Lafayette tried to take a breath, but he felt like his lungs had been filled with cotton.

"Are you alright?" Alex asked.

Lafayette leaned in and kissed Alex. Not a greeting, no, this was a kiss like the one at the ball almost three years ago. Since that night, Lafayette and Alex had done nothing more than a light peck as a greeting, and occasionally falling asleep on top of each other after smoking too much hashish, but God, here they were, in a dim storage room, kissing quickly.

"Lafayette, Lafayette." Alex pulled away. "I owe John my fidelity."

"Why?"

"Because he is the man I love."

Lafayette's lips were pulled down into a frown.

Alex swallowed hard. "But if you can keep a secret, I can do quite well to ignore my promise to him for the next couple of minutes, yes?"

Lafayette didn't say anything, just leaned back down and continued to kiss Alex. Something was knocked over. They didn't go for the other's shirt or pants. Clothes stayed relatively unruffled. They just kissed. Lafayette held Alex's body close to his as they made out. It felt wonderful for both of them. Alex felt the exhilarating rush of doing something wrong, and Lafayette felt the exhilarating rush of being with Alex. He wasn't quite sure what to call his feelings for Alex, but intoxication seemed almost right.

Finally, the kiss broke, and Lafayette backed up. Every inch of his skin was screaming to not stop, but he maintained control, straightening his shirt and wiping his mouth a bit. Alex stayed leaning against the shelves a moment, breathing heavily and staring at Lafayette.

"We've done nothing but talk, yes?"

Lafayette nodded. "Yes." He opened the door. "Come, I'll send you home with a bottle of wine."

"You always send me home with something from your shop, I feel as though I waste your money," Alex admitted, trailing behind Lafayette like a puppy, touching whatever was on the shelves that looked like it had a good texture.

"Dear Alexander," Lafayette started, pulling a bottle of wine off the shelf and looking it over. "I'm afraid to tell you that nothing you take is ever considered a waste to me." He handed the bottle to Alex. "You deserve the world, the least I can do is give you some drink."

"You flatter me, Lafayette." Alex slipped the wine into the pocket of his frock coat pocket. "Come over for dinner tonight, we'll discuss details, yes?"

Lafayette looked around, making sure they were out of earshot of those already in his shop. "When will you leave?"

"Early to mid-May, at least that's what I hope." Alex smiled at Lafayette. "Whenever you miss us, you are welcome to show up. And if I miss you, I'll tell you." Alex leaned up and kissed Lafayette's cheek. "Yes? Will that be quite alright?"

Lafayette nodded. "You will be coming back, yes?"

"Of course, why would I not?"

A shrug came from the taller of the two. "People sometimes leave and do not come back."

"Yes, but I am Alex, so I will come back."

A smile came from Lafayette. "Good." He lowered his voice considerably. "I think I might go mad if I no longer had your company."

"The feeling is quite mutual, dear Lafayette." Alex took Lafayette's hand, squeezing it lightly. "Dinner, yes?"

"Yes." Lafayette leaned down and kissed Alex's cheek. "I'll see you at five."

"You will." Alex turned and walked out of the shop, glancing at Lafayette over his shoulder for a moment before leaving. He sighed to himself, entering the warm air of Paris and beginning his trek home. He wasn't going to do this anymore. Ever. Lafayette was his friend, John was his lover. That was so simple.

Alex groaned lightly to himself. He didn't do this because he didn't like John. He did like John. He loved John. He would die for John. He was completely sure of that. And this time, he had no excuse of just being horny. What was it he craved that Lafayette satisfied? John loved him, and was very obvious about it, John gave him sexual satisfaction, as well as intellectual satisfaction. John gave him everything. Was he just bored? Was that why he kissed Lafayette?

Alex didn't know. He wasn't conflicted though. He knew he loved John, he knew he wanted to be with John. He didn't have even the slightest urge to leave the man. Perhaps kissing Lafayette, being with Lafayette wasn't so bad as long as Alex remained entirely devoted to John. That didn't sound right though. It wasn't right. Alex knew it wasn't right. That didn't stop him from thinking about it.

Perhaps it was just Lafayette that Alex craved. The idea of a man who understood what Alex said, even when Alex didn't quite understand it, that was nice to Alex. Alex could admit to Lafayette the terrible anger he could feel towards his father for taking him from the ports, and Lafayette would nod, would tell Alex he understood what he felt, and then say the right things. John had never done too well when Alex spoke of his immigration.

Alex had tried to speak to him about it, he had, but John didn't understand it. And of course, he didn't, he had lived in Paris his whole life. Alex felt no resentment toward John for not understanding what he meant. He felt no hatred and no anger. He had no way to understand some of the things John talked about. So, instead of listening to John's attempt to help, Alex just didn't talk about it. He saved those feelings for the nights when it was just him and Lafayette, curled up on a couch, talking with their faces much to close, passing a while bottle.

There was a subtle eroticism about Lafayette when he drank. The way his Adam's apple would bob, his eyes would close, and his lips would linger on the bottle as if it wasn't the wine he was trying to taste. Alex almost feared Lafayette, but it made the man that much more... incredible.

Alex shook his head. John. Lafayette was not incredible. John was incredible. God, John was incredible. That body, that face, those beautiful grey-brown eyes, and the freckles smattered across his face and arms. Alex sometimes could barely function around him. He wanted to touch every inch of that summer brown skin with his tongue. He wanted to feel John's skin on every inch of his own.

Perhaps Alex did feel a confliction. He had no idea how he could adore two men so equally. Neither was better or worse in his mind. They were both just... just perfect.

A huff escaped Alex's chest as he reached the apartment building. No more of this, no more. He had other things, more important things to think about. Germany. That was what was happening right now, and he couldn't be off in his own world as they planned this trip.

He walked through the door, smiling at John who had laid out some paper on the table and was writing a few things down, counting to something in his head. Alex didn't disturb his thoughts, and instead slipped off his coat and shoes and pulled out two wine glasses, pouring some for the both of them and sitting down.

"How was Lafayette?" John asked.

"Hm? Oh, he was wonderful." Alex leaned in and kissed John. "He's coming over for dinner to talk logistics."

"We do not have much dinner supplies."

"No, but we have wine and cheese and bread and jam, and you Lafayette always brings over something when he eats dinner with us. We shall have a great time, yes?" Alex smiled.

"You are trouble, but thank goodness, because I do not believe I'd ever do a thing if I didn't have someone edging me on."

Alex leaned forward a bit, looking at what John was writing down. "Would we have the money to leave in early May?"

John nodded. "Yes, we would. Let's pick a date, when are we leaving?"

Alex thought for a moment. "May sixth."

"May sixth," John echoed, writing it down. "And do you know where we will stay?"

"Yes, of course, I do. I have written to Andre, who will be happy to house us." Alex hummed. "They will be quite shocked by my French fashion. Quite ridiculous, I believe I will suffer the same amount of teasing you caused me." He smiled up at John. "Will you stand up for me?"

"Perhaps," John teased. "When should we go back?"

"Why don't we leave that open? We'll know when we're ready."

"What time is Lafayette coming?" John asked, placing down his pen and looking to Alex.

"Five. It's three now."

John sat back. "What would you like to do to waste time?"

Alex shrugged, smiling mischievously. "I do not know, John Laurens. Is there perhaps something you have in mind? An activity two people can do and be both equally entertained? Perhaps something to tire us out, and rid us of any restless energy?"

"You are a minx," John accused. "I was going to suggest a game of Chess, but obviously, you have something else you want to do."

"Perhaps." Alex smiled, standing up and running his hand across John's shoulders. "Yes?"

"How could I say no to you?" John stood up, pulling Alex into a kiss as they stumbled back into the bedroom, ready to waste time and distract themselves from whatever they were supposed to be doing.

Five rolled around and Alex had just laid out the cheese when Lafayette knocked. John got the door and smiled, inviting Lafayette in. Lafayette kissed John, then Alex, before laying out a box of salted meats.

"And did I tell lies? Lafayette, thank you for bringing something," Alex laughed. "I invited you to dinner before remembering we had hardly any food."

"Ah, I expected no more from you two," Lafayette joked. "Come, let us sit. You must tell me of your plans to head to Germany. I am intrigued beyond measure."

"Ah, yes." John placed himself in a chair, pouring wine. "This morning, I was between Alex's legs, doing what lovers do when there is nothing else, and suddenly, he shoots up and runs to our desk, writing feverishly, and at this point, I am beyond confused. That's not usually when he does when we're in that position, you must understand."

Lafayette laughed. "Is it not?"

"Both of you, hush up," Alex gasped.

John gave a small smile to Alex before continuing. "And he is writing, and refuses to look up at me for a solid minute, and I am still confused when suddenly he jumps up and announces we are going to Germany."

"I asked you if you wished to go," Alex scoffed.

"Yes, he did, and then assured me he had no trouble leaving me again," John scoffed.

Lafayette chuckled. "Did he now?"

"My heart belongs to John, but oh, it belongs to Germany as well," Alex sighed. "I love many things like I love John."

"How wonderful." John rolled his eyes a bit. "Anyway, we have decided to leave on May sixth, and leave our return date fairly open. Now, we have not much we need you to do, assuming Alex already told you what we are asking."

"He did," Lafayette assured John.

"Wonderful. Just check mail, make sure we are not robbed, though there is not much to take. Write to us if the building is burnt down. I will leave my landlord with rent so we are not evicted, and direct him to you for any issues that may arise. Any fees you take care of will be quickly paid back by me, yes?"

"I have more than enough money," Lafayette assured him.

"I do not wish to die with a debt hanging over my head," John replied. "I will pay back whatever you need. And you are aware of our invitation to join us in Germany whenever? Please, just before you go, tell Alex's father to help watch the apartment."

"Yes, of course," Lafayette nodded.

"And we do hope you visit. The amount of time our absence will last isn't totally known to us, but we hope we will never have to miss you," John smiled.

"Have you ever ventured to Germany?" Alex asked.

"I have," Lafayette nodded. "It was a short trip though, and strictly business, so when I arrive at this time, you must show me what fun there is in the country."

"Oh, there's much," Alex assured him. "I was never bored in Germany."

"Yes, but he had a lover to satisfy him whenever he found himself getting restless, didn't you, Alexander?"

Alex let out a small sigh but smiled to show that he knew John meant no harm. "You both tease me so much. Why must you do this?"

"Because we love you," John replied.

"Ah, I suppose that's correct." Alex took a sip of his wine and looked to Lafayette, maintaining eye contact until he looked down and coughed, sipping his wine. Alex hummed and looked back at John. "We should pack enough to last us a while. Clothes and books are what we'll need the most of, plus spare cash for inns on our way there. Does your father have a carriage we can use?"

"Yes, he does," John assured Alex.

"Good, good." Alex leaned back. "I suppose I'll tell my mother at dinner tomorrow." He looked around. "I do hope she doesn't think I'm leaving for another nine years." Alex looked at John, eyebrow raised. "We're not."

"Good."

Lafayette laughed. "I will not let you two stay too long. If it seems you have forgotten about home, I will drag you back."

Alex let out a laugh. "Ha!"

The night went on, and soon enough, they had all gotten drunker, laughing and telling loud stories. At one point, John's neighbors knocked on the door and requested the three of them to be quieter, but at that point, they were too drunk to care. Eventually, they moved to the living area, which was rarely used, but comfy all the less. John and Lafayette shared the couch while Alex sprawled out over the love seat in a dramatic manner, shirt almost entirely unbuttoned.

Eventually, John fell asleep. Entirely asleep. Alex got up, fetching a blanket and placing it over John. He looked at Lafayette and nodded to the kitchen. Lafayette got up quietly, following Alex to the kitchen. Alex poured another glass of wine for him and Lafayette, then sat down.

"We need to talk," Alex mumbled, his words slightly slurred.

"Yes?"

"I am... I need to stop. We need to stop. We can't..." Alex felt like the room was spinning. "No more kissing me. Please."

Lafayette sat back. "Will that make you happy?"

Alex took another sip of his wine. "Yes. Maybe. I think so. Yes."

Lafayette nodded. "Okay."

Alex's wine glass slipped from his hand and spilled onto the table. Lafayette was quick to find a washrag and mop up what little mess there was. Alex had drunk most of it in the few sips, so it was just a bit that Lafayette mopped up. Alex was very drunk. Lafayette had never lost his cool, and he wasn't about to lose it now, so he helped Alex up and brought him into the bedroom, and then to the balcony. He helped Alex stand, letting the man get some fresh air, and then proceeded to hold his hair back when Alex wretched into the river below.

"There we go, shh." Lafayette rubbed Alex's back. "There we go."

Alex choked and coughed as he vomited. His eyes filled with tears and the vomiting turned into crying. "I'm such a horrible person."

"No, you're not."

"I am." Alex hung onto the railing of a balcony. "I don't understand why I have to be like this. I don't understand why I must be alive as the person I am!"

"Alex, please, control yourself," Lafayette requested.

"I don't deserve him, I don't deserve you, I don't deserve anything!" Alex was full-on crying now. "I shouldn't be here!"

"Shh, no." Lafayette pulled Alex into his arms. "You're just drunk. You need to sleep, Alex. You just need to go to sleep, yes?"

Alex sniffled, leaning against Lafayette, taking a few deep breaths. "Yes, I need to sleep. Sleep. That sounds quite nice right now." Alex was relying almost entirely on Lafayette to hold him up. "Yes, I think I'll sleep."

"Yes, that's right." Lafayette lead Alex to his bed, helping him in and tucking the covers over his body. "Are you alright?"

"Yes, I am." Alex looked up at Lafayette. "I want you to know, I do care for you dearly."

"I know." Lafayette leaned down and kissed Alex's forward. "I'll go bring you your John."

"Thank you, Lafayette."

Lafayette nodded and went out to John, helping the man into bed next to Alex. He tucked John in with Alex and walked back into the kitchen, putting the food away and finishing his wine. He sighed, sitting down at the table and look at Alex and John's plans to go to Germany. He smiled lightly, then got up, looking the apartment over one last time before stepping out into the night.

 

Chapter Text

May 1838

The trip to Germany didn't take long, a little over a week, and then some. John and Alex stayed in inns together, trying to keep the squeaky springs quiet as they did their not so innocent actions. They may have arrived much sooner to Germany is they didn't stop so many times to uncomfortably hook up in the back of the carriage among the luggage. Alex claimed it was good to give the horses a break. It would be hard to point blame at them though, there wasn't much else to do on the long ride besides teasing each other.

They arrived at Andre's estate fair late in the evening. John planned to quietly find their way to a room and do no more, but that was quickly ruined when Alex burst through the doors of the house and began yelling out the names of his friends, announcing his arrival.

Now, John had never seen Alex's Germany friends, but once he did, he wasn't particularly surprised. They looked like the people Alex would associate with. One was tall, with pretty blonde hair and a bit of a scruff on his chin. He was talking incredibly fast to Alex in German, which John could only pick up a little bit of. Another looked more composed, but happy, with warm dark brown skin. A third, who sounded like he was from Greece, was talking as well, with another under his arm.

John walked into the house and stood a bit awkwardly in the background, watching Alex reacquaint with the people he spent almost a decade of his life with. Alex seemed to be talking a mile a minute, listening to the three that were talking. It was the composed one who made eye contact with John, then smiled a curious smile before looking back to Alex.

"I do believe you have brought along a guest that you have yet to introduce," he spoke in French.

Alex almost jumped, pulling John over to the group. "This is my absolute best friend, John Laurens. He is the one I spoke of often when I was here. Gaze upon him and weep, for none of you will ever reach this level of beauty, not even myself."

"Alexander," John gasped. "That's an awfully rude thing to say."

"Perhaps."

"Ah, do not fear, we have much stronger feelings when the words of Alexander are involved. We know he means it all in good fun." The composed one stepped forward. "I'm Aaron Burr. It is wonderful to finally be able to see who Alex could hardly shut up about sometimes."

"A pleasure," John replied.

"I'm Andre," the blonde one introduced.

"Wonderful to meet you."

"I'm Thomas, and this is my close friend James." Thomas pointed to himself, then the quiet one under his arm. "Come, come, let's get your bags. I'm sure you two are fine with sharing a bed? Alex told us that you had been doing so at home."

"Yes, that is truly no problem," John chuckled, leading Thomas out to the carriage with the rest, grabbing trunks and bags and bringing them inside. Andre lead them to the room, which was a quaint and comfortable room with art and a big window overlooking the backyard. Alex laughed, falling onto the bed.

"Ah! How I missed this bed!" He rolled around on the silk sheets, sighing loudly. "I feel like the only thing France uses silk for is the clothes and God! I missed sleeping on silk." He rolled onto his back, legs spread as he looked to John. "Sleeping naked on silk sheets is quite the experience."

"Alex," John gasped. "Have you no thought when it comes to your words?"

"Of course not," Andre chuckled, lying down next to Alex. "He will say whatever he wishes to get a reaction, won't you, Alexander?"

"I will, dear Andre." Alex rolled on his side, staring at his ex-lover. "Have you missed me so, during my absence?"

"I have, Alexander." Andre reached forward and tucked a bit of hair behind Alex's ear.

"You two, can you keep your hands off each other for a single moment?" Aaron complained, setting down a trunk. "Come, Alexander, John, there is food and drink. I'm sure you both are famished."

Alex rolled out of the bed, throwing his arm around John's waist and smiling. "We're absolutely starving, Aaron." He looked at John. "Aren't we, darling?"

"I suppose we are," John chuckled, putting his arm around Alex as well while they walked. "I must admit something to you, Aaron, I've never been to Germany."

"Don't be ridiculous John, you've never even left France." Alex smiled, letting his hand slip down to John's hip. "Have you any good German liquor, Aaron?"

"We have becherovka," Aaron pointed out. "And German wine."

"Ah, save the hard liquor for another day. The wine is just fine. Where are we sitting tonight?" Alex asked.

"The boardroom," Aaron answered. "Both of you, go get comfortable, you must be exhausted. I'll bring you food."

"Ah, thank you, Aaron, you are a dear." Alex pulled John through the house and to the board room. It had comfortable chairs and couches, tables with half played chess and checkers, among other games. Alex pushed John onto a chaise lounge and then placed himself between the older man's legs.

"Will your friends not notice?" John asked quietly, not missing the sly smile Thomas gave them as he walked in with James and Andre.

Alex only smiled innocently.

"Ah, leave it to Alexander to once again have himself sprawled out in a most dramatic manner. Tell me, dear boy." Andre sat down, looking Alex. "Has a single part of you changed? Or are you still the exact man who left almost four years ago?"

"Oh, perhaps I am, perhaps not." Alex found John's hand and played with it as Aaron walked in with wine and some food, setting it down for them and then sprawling out on a loveseat. Alex smiled, sipping his wine. "Do you all wish for me to talk of my time in Paris?"

"Yes!" Thomas gasped.

"Please," James chuckled, and it was the first time he had spoken since Alex and John arrived.

"Oh, it has been quite wonderful, and terrible, and wonderful." Alex sighed, looking back with John. "I have been living with my closest friend, and oh, how sweet it's been. My dear girl Eliza, she was engaged to be married but decided instead to run away to Italy with her sister, which is very good for her, I do think. And oh, let us not forget our dear Lafayette, yes?" Alex continued to play with John's hand, opening and closing it, pressing his own against it. "He is a very dear friend of ours, a Marquis, though he would never openly admit that. After the July revolution, most of his family were made shorter by the head, so he now runs a shop and looks for ways to spend the money his family left to him."

John chuckled. "He's quite interesting, you all must be sure of that. Alex and I did extend the invitation to him, to visit here, and I hope that is alright. He's truly wonderful."

"Of course it's alright," Andre laughed. "I have plenty of rooms."

"If I may ask, how did you come into ownership of this estate?" John questioned.

Andre smiled. "Oh, my family had it as a summer home, but they gave it to me once I went off to college, so now it is where I live. Do you have an estate?"

"No, John lives in the most quaint little apartment, I do love it." Alex smiled. "It has a window overlooking the river, and a pleasant kitchen. Oh, it's right near a bookstore too, and everything else you could need, and just far enough away from my parents."

Aaron laughed. "And what a fool you are for having parents. Could've stayed an orphan, yes?"

"Oh, hush, Aaron." Alex laughed a bit. "You are quite terrible, you know this?"

"Yes, I do." Aaron sipped his wine. "I must admit, I wasn't entirely sure you were coming. You have been promising Andre your return since a week after you left. When he told me you were coming, I had to stop myself from laughing."

"I had affairs I needed to attend to in Paris before my return, surely you all can understand that?" Alex groaned.

"Of course we can, Alexander," Thomas assured the man. "I should tell you, I returned to Macedonia while you were gone. My mother was ill." Thomas paused for a moment. "She's passed now, but I was happy to be with her in the end."

"Dear Thomas, I'm so sorry. Are you quite alright?" Alex gasped.

"Oh, yes, this was a bit of time ago, I've come to peace with it." Thomas smiled, playing with James's hair, which was considerably easy seeing as James's head was in his lap. "How is your sister, Frances?"

"Frances is well, I assure you," Alex chuckled. "I wrote to her, telling her I'd be here, so she might stop by. Perhaps Aaron will flirt with her again."

Aaron groaned. "None of you will ever let me forget that, will you?"

"Never, dear Aaron."

The group talked a bit longer until most decided they couldn't keep their eyes open, so it was time to retire. Alex and John unpacked their bags a bit, slipping on some sleep clothes and climbing into bed with some books. John's hand went to Alex's thigh, squeezing it lightly as they read.

Alex looked over when his lover set down the book, humming. "What?"

"Was Andre your lover?"

"Yes, he was." Alex looked back at his book. "Why?"

"Just wondering, I suppose." John looked around the room. "Do you still think of him as your lover?"

"Would it make you jealous if I did?"

John quirked an eyebrow, then nodded. "Yes, it would."

"Then I do." It was a lie, but Alex wanted to see where it would take them. "Oh, I think of him, holding my body and touching me. He has taken me in these very sheets you know? In fact, there's a cigarette hole on the back of your pillowcase, from when we were smoking and we got carried away."

"No there's not," John scoffed.

"There is too! If you don't believe me, look for yourself!"

John flipped the pillow and sure enough, there it was. The small cigarette hole that Alex's cigarette had left there. He was trying to keep his cigarette lit while Andre had pounded into him like there wasn't going to be a tomorrow, but his hand had slipped, and he had singed the pillowcase.

"Can you almost see me?" Alex asked, his lips close to John's ear. "Sprawled on the bed, completely naked, with a man who isn't you thrusting his cock so deep into me that I fear I might break?"

John's eyebrows went up and his jaw clenched, but he didn't say anything.

"Come now, John, you must feel some type of anger, knowing that man has absolutely ravaged my body, and he did it first." Alex rolled onto his stomach and pushed his hips back into the air. "Oh, how he would take me, mm." Alex bit his lip. "Yes, I can almost feel it. The way he'd kiss my throat and make me oh so weak."

"What are you doing?" John asked, his voice low.

"Starting something."

"Are you picking a fight?"

Alex shook his head. "Quite the opposite, dear Laurens. Come, you cannot honestly tell that thoughts of me with another man doesn't make you want to take me so well I forget myself and whoever was once inside me."

John sat back, picking up his book. "No, it doesn't."

Alex gasped. "John!"

John quirked a smile, looking at Alex over the rim of his reading glasses. "Yes, Alexander?"

"You can't just say no to me!" He gasped.

"Oh, but I can." John looked back at his book.

"You're a cruel man, yes?"

John only hummed.

"Say no to me," Alex grumbled. "Can't believe the man." He looked back at John. "Do you know how gorgeous I am under my sleep clothes?"

"Mm, remind me," John muttered.

"You think you are quite the jester, don't you?" Alex pulled his sleep shirt off, then worked off his briefs. "Well, you should know, I don't need you."

"You don't?" John mused.

"I don't." Alex stood up, brushing off his naked body and looking back at John. "I'm going to Andre's room because I know he will treat me right."

"You are not about to walk naked down the hallway," John accused, standing up as Alex walked to the door.

"I am! Just like my college days. I would roam the house naked until someone decided to take me." Alex put his hand on the doorknob. "Last chance."

"By all means, walk down the hallway naked, and see how much I care," John chided, expecting nothing. He gasped though when Alex opened the door and walked right out into the hallway. John gasped, running forward and pulling Alex right back into the room, closing the door and pushing Alex right back onto the bed.

"Oh, so now you want me, once you've realized I'm serious," Alex teased.

John pulled off his nightshirt and stepped out of his briefs. He grabbed Alex's hips and pulled him to the edge of the bed, humming as he stared down at the man. "You are a common whore, you know that?"

"I do," Alex smiled.

John leaned down, kissing Alex as he touched himself to get hard. "It is my impression that you are lucky I am completely in love with you because if not, I would've let you walk right into that other man's room, hm?"

"Oh, John, enough talk. Why don't you show me what thoughts have been swirling through your mind from the moment we started this conversation."

It was about an hour later when Alex made his way to the kitchen for some wine. John had fallen fast asleep, still naked from their activities, but Alex's mind was restless. He wanted to do something, he wanted to go somewhere. He didn't quite know where, but he thought some wine would help.

He poured himself a glass and sat at the table, staring at it.

"I knew someone was up." Aaron had appeared in the doorway, dressed as if he were going out.

Alex nodded. "I'm restless."

Aaron looked around, then back to Alex. "Go put on some clothes. Thomas and I were to go out to that old church and write a bit. You're welcome to join."

"I'll be ready in a moment."

And it did take a moment, because soon enough it was Alex, Thomas, and Aaron, walking to the old church some romantics liked to go, talking, passing a wine bottle back and forth. Alex forgot how much he missed midnight walks. He forgot how much he missed climbing through old broken windows to places he wasn't supposed to be. Bibles were strewn about the floor, and half the wall was missing. But, the pews were still a wonderful place to sit and talk, write when the conversation lulled.

"Andre did miss you," Thomas mentioned. "I think you broke his heart when you left?"

"Did I? What a shame. That was a perfectly good heart." Alex hummed, looking around. "Did something burn in here?"

"Yes, a group of people involved in some mystic religion burned a few books recently," Aaron told Alex, scratching some things down in his notebook. "Did you even miss him?"

"Oh, of course, I missed him, I missed all of you." Alex let out a breath. "All of you were always in my heart, and I honestly would've come back sooner, but time and fate didn't allow it."

"Did you miss Andre as he missed you?" Thomas questioned, his voice almost sly.

"What would you like me to say? Andre was dear to my heart." Alex looked back down at his journal. "But no, I did not miss him as he missed me."

"I do not think Alexander's lack of love towards Andre is any of our concern," Aaron mumbled. "It does not matter whether Alex felt love or something less towards Andre, why would it? This way of life, it is not about what love we've lost, it's about the love we can find. And it seems Alex has had no trouble with finding love."

"I beg your pardon?" Alex mused.

"Oh, do not play as though you are simple. You and John are close, and you could not look me in the eye and deny it."

"Perhaps we are." Alex continued writing. "What concern is it of yours?"

"None at all." Aaron smiled at Alex. "You're my best friend, Alexander, and I simply wanted to make sure we have as little secrets as possible."

Alex nodded, smiling back but not saying much. Sometimes, you never had to say much with Aaron. He knew what you meant, even if you didn't. And he especially knew what Alex meant, because no matter how hard Alex had tried, he had never been able to lie to Aaron.

The three went back when it became much too difficult to see, and their pocket watches read three am. They finished the wine, coming back and giving each other a kiss on the cheek to say goodnight. They were quiet, sneaking back into their rooms. Alex knew just how heavy John slept, so he didn't worry too much, simply crawled back into bed with the man and closed his eyes.

He thought about Andre as he tried to sleep. Oh, the man and he had shared some passionate love, not just sex. Andre was probably the first person Alex had a truly academically pleasing conversation with. It was never ruined with questions because they knew exactly what the other was talking about. It was just opinions, counter opinions, more opinions, perhaps a bit too much wine. They made fun of people who never existed, laughed at great writers who were long dead, mourned for people who were never born. Alex could never forget how excited he was. He didn't want the conversation to end, and it didn't for a long time. It moved from the boardroom to the kitchen, then to Andre's bedroom, where they laid there and talked until they fell asleep.

It would be wrong to say Alex didn't love Andre. That was a lie. Alex loved Andre very much, he loved Andre enough to where he was one of the main reasons Alex wanted to come back. It would be correct though, to say that Alex didn't love Andre the same way Andre loved him. Alex had always assumed their hookups and long conversations were that of a friendship, and never thought it could be farther. Andre had, without even asking, assumed they were in a relationship.

It was quite awkward for a little bit, but Alex had told Andre he was not particularly fond of relationships, and Andre had agreed, but Alex knew Andre still felt exactly the same, despite the talk of not wanting a relationship. He left it alone though. Andre could feel how he wanted, and no one was getting hurt, at least not until Alex left.

When Alex announced he would be leaving, Andre wept. It was heartbreaking, even to Alex, but he promised he'd return once more. And he did, but he felt like Andre knew he and John were close. Perhaps though he could keep it a bit more secretive, and a little bit of flirting wouldn't kill anyone, yes?

Alex drifted off having solved his problems in the best way he thought possible, though it wasn't exactly great for the other two parties involved.



Chapter Text

June 1838

The two had spent a month in Germany, and God, it was the closest to home Alex had felt in his whole life. His closest friends, his John, staying up way too late and drinking, reading poetry and writing. God, Alex adored it. He had somehow managed to keep John satisfied without hinting to Andre that they were together, so it worked out quite well. Alex had kept up his little charade, Aaron helping him out on occasion, but it kept the peace.

“Ah, cornhole,” Alex laughed. “I haven’t played this since I left.”

The group was outside, sitting on comfortable lounge chairs and playing little games. John had his glasses on and was reading a book with James on the other side of the lounger, writing. Alex had been sitting on the ground near John but got up when Andre suggested a round of corn hole, a game Alex had quite enjoyed during his time in Germany.

“Do you even remember how to play it?” Andre asked, speaking in German now.

Alex shook his head, giving a mischievous smile.

“I will show you,” Andre chuckled.

John looked up from his book to see Andre’s arm wrapped around Alex’s waist, his chin rest on Alex’s shoulder, and his lips moving, saying words John could’ve have picked up if he wanted to. A sour look came to John’s face as he watched them. He wasn’t blind, Alex had been flirting with Andre, but sometimes it went a bit too far, and John wanted to get up and intervene. This was one of those times.

“They were lovers, you know?”

John looked at James. “Yes, I know.”

“And I think Alex wishes to hide from his dear Andre that he has taken comfort in the arms of another, yes?”

John swallowed. “Why?”

“Perhaps he doesn’t want to hurt Andre. Alex is kind like that.” James laughed a bit. “Although, he could’ve just not strung Andre along in the first place, but perhaps that would’ve been too difficult for him.”

John looked back to Andre and Alex, who were still talking and standing closely together. He hummed. “Do you assume Alex has strung me along?”

“Ah, dear John, I do not believe that. I think you are the only man Alex could ever truly love.” James smiled. “He talked of you quite often.”

“Did he?” John mused.

“Talked of your cock.”

A laugh escaped John’s chest. “My cock!”

This caught Alex’s attention, and he looked over. “What about your cock, John Laurens?”

James took a sip of his champagne, smiling at Alex. “We were just talking about the parts of John you seemed to have the most interest in when you were drunk.”

“James,” Alex gasped. “How could you sell my secrets like that?”

“Alexander, your interest in my cock is no secret, and I do not know why you would ever consider it a secret,” John chuckled.

Alex smiled. “John, I do believe you flatter yourself.”

“Ah, darling, you know I hold myself to a higher opinion than most.” John looked back down at his book. He was about to start reading again when suddenly, it was plucked from his hands. “Pardon?”

“I want to show you something,” Alex smiled. “Come.”

“Come where?”

“No questions.” Alex looked back to Andre. “We’ll be back shortly. James, will you play with him?”

“Yes, of course.” James stood up, winking at John as Alex pulled him back up to the house.

“Alexander, I do not understand what you so wish to show me,” John huffed, following Alex into the kitchen.

Alex pushed himself up onto the table and pulled John into a deep kiss, moaning as he wrapped his legs around John’s waist. John groaned, taking Alex’s face into his hands and leaning into him.

Not much time passed between the beginning of the kiss and Alex’s pants dropping to the floor and John pushing Alex back onto the table and beginning to fuck him. Alex’s shirt was open, and his legs were still tightly locking John in. Alex didn’t know why he suddenly desired John to take him in such a public space, but God, he loved it. He loved how ruthless John was, and he especially loved it when John reached down and squeezed his throat.

“Ah! Yeah!” Alex closed his eyes, slamming his head back on the wooden table.

“Oh Christ, come now, we eat here.”

John jumped, looking over to see Aaron standing in the doorway. He tried to pull out, but Alex’s legs had him tightly locked in.

“Sorry, Aaron,” Alex mumbled. “Where’ve you been off at?”

“We were running low on wine, so I restocked the cellar. Where’s everyone else?”

“Andre and James are down at the lounge area in the back, playing cornhole, and Thomas is asleep. He drank a bit too much this morning,” Alex explained.

Aaron nodded. “I’ll go meet Andre and James down there. You two have fun, yes?”

“Yes, we will.” Alex shot a cheeky smile at Aaron before looking back at John. “Come now, let’s get on with it.”

“Does he not care?”

Alex shook his head. “No one does.” Alex smiled. “Dear John, we are our own secret society. You mustn’t be too afraid, yes?”

John shook his head, smiling a bit, and then continued on with the act. They finished in a timely manner and rejoined the group outside, acting as if nothing had happened. Alex looked flushed though and found himself sprawling on a lounge chair, legs over the armrest.

“I feel like I might die from this heat,” Alex gasped.

John chuckled. “You have always been so sensitive to temperature.”

A glare was sent John’s way before Alex got up and stole the bottle of wine from Aaron’s hand, taking a sip. “That’s better. “Let us place cornhole.”

“Alexander, we all know you’re good at playing cornhole,” Aaron chuckled.

Alex licked his lips. “Yes, I am, dear Burr.” He turned and tossed the pouch, just missing the hole. “Alright, Andre, your turn.”

John watched with amusement as they played, reading his book and letting the after sex feelings of relaxation wash over him. He had to tie his hair up to cool down the back of his neck but was overall quite happy. If Alex flirted with Andre, John wasn’t worried. He had faith that Alex would remain loyal.

When Alex got sick of cornhole, his slightly drunk self thought if okay to lounge directly on John’s lap, back pressed against the man’s back. John laughed, setting down his book and wrapping his arms around Alex’s waist.

“Hello there, dear boy,” Alex smiled. “How are you?”

“How am I?” John thought a moment. “I suppose I am well.”

“Suppose? What can I do to make you sure you are well?”

John shrugged lightly, humming. “I do not know, Alexander.”

Alex groaned, leaning his head drop back on John’s shoulder. “You are so frustratingly beautiful, dear John.”

John wanted to lean down and give a good hard nip to Alex’s neck, but he knew Alex would quite obviously enjoy that, and it may become apparent to the people surrounding them. Instead, John left a kiss on Alex’s shoulder. “My father wrote to me.”

“Did he? What on earth could he have said?”

“Asked me to find a wife while in Germany.”

Alex burst out laughing. “Find a wife! Ha! The only woman I can see you with is Eliza, and that is for reasons you know very well, dear Laurens.”

“Oh?” James interjected into the conversation. “Alexander, do tell.”

“Must I have no secrets from you all!” Alex exclaimed. “If you must care so much, our dear friend Eliza was to leave in a day or so, and in politeness, we snuck into her room to spend one last night with her, and it lead to some not so Godly activities.”

“Alexander, you are a whore, yes?” Aaron chuckled.

Alex spread his legs, smiling. “I’m not a whore, I simply understand the importance of a warm body in my life.”

“John Laurens, I do not know what he told you about his sexual adventures while he was here,” Andre stated, sitting down at Alex’s feet. “But do not believe him. Not a man or woman in Germany hasn’t felt his tongue between their teeth.”

Alex ran his hand up his thigh, bringing both Andre and John’s eyes to his crotch. “Perhaps. But you let all the blame fall upon me. How is it truly my fault that I am hard to satisfy, hm? Is it my fault I want a man who can… please me in every way?”

“You are a bitch in heat,” John scoffed.

“And don’t you love it?” Alex gave John a sultry look. “Don’t you love me?”

“If we were to take a sip of wine every time Alexander flirted with a man, I do believe we would be dead,” Aaron laughed.

Alex smiled brightly at his friend. “Yes? And what is so wrong with acknowledging my needs?”

“Because you do it in front of us, and it’s obnoxious.” Aaron touched Alex’s chin. “You couldn’t keep your legs shut and crossed if you were paid, could you?”

Alex let out a small laugh. “Aaron, dear, have I told you how much I love you lately?”

“Well, I haven’t put my cock in your ass, so no, I don’t believe you have,” Aaron teased.

Alex pulled Aaron down and planted a soft kiss on his cheek. “Well, dear Aaron, I love you very much, and I am very happy to have you in my life, regardless of whether or not you take a spot between my legs.”

Aaron laughed. “I almost despise you, Alex, but oh, how could I?”

“How could you?”

It was later that night when Alex was leaning against the counter sipping some wine and trying to sleep. He didn’t know why, but ever since they had arrived in Germany, he had trouble sleeping. Perhaps it was the anxiety of bringing two separate worlds together, dancing the fine tightrope of John and Andre, but Alex’s nights were often long and restless. He didn’t mind though. He had never minded a lack of sleep. The bags under his eyes suited him, he thought, and it gave him more time to think and read and write.

“Alexander,” Andre greeted.

“Ah, hello, dear,” Alex smiled.

“You’ve been restless.” Andre put his arms on either side of Alex’s hips, leaning against him a bit and pinning him to the counter. “Why?”

Alex smiled, sipping his wine. “Ah, my mind is restless, Andre, you know this.”

Andre dragged a finger along Alex’s jaw. “I do.”

Alex downed the rest of his wine and set the glass down, thinking a bit. “I missed you, Andre. I missed your face.”

“You got bad about writing,” Andre mumbled.

“Yes, I did. But that is my own fault, not yours.” Alex pressed his hand to Andre’s cheek. “Do you remember all the moonlit conversations we had?”

“I do.”

“I missed those the most,” Alex mumbled.

Andre rested his head against Alex’s shoulder. “Have you taken John as a lover?”

Alex was quiet.

“Alexander.”

The Spaniard took a breath, feeling his chest begin to ache. “Yes.”

A hum came from Andre. “Do you still love me?”

“Yes.” Liar.

Andre’s hands went to Alex’s hair, where he curled the dark locks in his fingers and send chills down Alex’s spine. “I love you.”

Alex hugged Andre a bit tighter. He felt heartbroken that he was causing heartbreak. This is why he didn’t want to tell Andre about John. He began to feel regretful for even bringing John here. Alex hated hurting people, hated making people cry.

Andre pulled away, taking a breath. “Please do not fret for me.”

“Andre, dear.” Alex took his face and gently kissed him. “You will always mean so much to me, you know that? You were the man who made me realize I could enjoy conversation.”

Andre chuckled, kissing Alex again. “You were the man who made me realize love wasn’t always so bad.”

Alex pulled Andre closer. “You were my everything, my lion.”

The native German laughed at the familiarity of the nickname. “Have not a lover to get back to upstairs?”

“Kiss me one more time, dear Andre.”

Andre leaned in and pressed his lips to Alex’s, slipping his hand under the man’s nightshirt and touching his thigh. Alex moaned lightly into Andre’s mouth, humming. The situation was achingly familiar. Oh, how they had done this a million times before. How Andre would bend him over the counter and hush him every time he got too loud. Alex almost wished he would just let Andre do that to him again. He didn’t know why, but he was remembering just how much he missed Andre. How much he missed the use of words Alex barely knew the meaning of, and the quiet laughing as they mocked classic literary characters.

“Does he give you everything?” Andre asked.

“I think so.”

“Good.” Andre kissed Alex one more time. “Everything is what you deserve.”

“Andre.” Alex shook his head. “Please do not tell me what you do not know.”

Andre squeezed Alex’s hand. “Go to sleep, Alexander.”

“Are you sure you’re alright?”

A nod came from the blonde. “I almost knew. You weren’t exactly good at hiding it. You were never quiet, Alex.”

Alex laughed, pecking Andre’s lips. “You never fail to remind me why I love you.”

Andre smiled. “Go.”

Alex stood up straight and began walking back up to his room. He looked at Andre over his shoulder one last time before making his way to the room where John slept. Alex still felt restless and awake, so by candlelight, he began to construct a letter to Lafayette.

My dearest, Lafayette.

A month I’ve been in Germany now, and my longing for you had not grown smaller. I do wish I had brought a portrait of you, so then to have even a slight likeness to you. John and I are well, though I’ve found it quite difficult to keep old friends and new lovers equally satisfied, perhaps you know what I mean.

I must inform you that while I have perhaps everything I need at the moment, I still manage to long for you. Once you arrive, I think I will require you to sit and talk with me for a time much longer than either of us intend. You are one of my most favorite people, dear Lafayette, and I do not enjoy the feeling of missing you.

I do wish I had more to write you, but alas, I am left short worded. Please, do send word of how you are soon, I would like to know. Tell us how our home is. I do worry about you, and I hope you have not grown lonely in our absence.

With greatest affections, Alexander.

Alex smiled at the letter for a moment, and then pressed a kiss to the paper before placing it in an envelope and sealing it. He wrote Lafayette’s address on the back and left it on the desk so he could remember to send it tomorrow.

Alex blew out the candle and climbed into bed with John. He expected John to be limp, but the man seemed to instantly pull him into his arms. Alex almost gasped. “Oh, John, did I wake you? I do apologize?”

“You woke me when you left,” John mumbled. “I decided to wait for you to come back.”

“Good lord, John. I was simply finding a drink to calm myself. I’ve had trouble sleeping since we arrived, and I do not know entirely why.”

John woke himself up a bit. “You have seemed restless, even in your sleep, I must tell you.”

“Have I?”

John nodded. “Is something troubling you?”

A million things, Alex wanted to say. I’m sorry, Alex wanted to say. I let Lafayette take me, Alex wanted to say. I have not remained as loyal as you think, and I hate myself for it, Alex wanted to say. He didn’t say any of that though. “I don’t think so.”

“Perhaps tomorrow, we find some hashish, smoke it together before bed. Perhaps that will help, yes?”

Alex smiled. “I don’t think I deserve you, John Laurens.”

“Ah, but you do.” John kissed Alex. “You know, I do quite like Germany. When you first left, you stayed for so long, and I could not imagine why on earth you would want to stay here for so long, but now, here I am, and I suddenly understand what you fell in love with, what kept you here for such a long time.”

“I’m glad you do,” Alex admitted. “It feels much better to have you here, you know that?” That was true. Now that Alex had gotten his relationship with john off his chest and admitted it to Andre, it felt much safer and comfortable to be here with John.

John chuckled. “There were many a time in which I wanted to just get on my horse and find you, see you again.”

“I think if you had shown up to the estate while I was in my education, I wouldn’t have been able to stop myself from kissing you. I simply would’ve seen your face and flung myself into your arms. Would you have kissed me back?”

“I think I would’ve.” John’s hand trailed down to Alex’s hip. “Do you remember being a boy, and swimming naked in the lake together?”

“I do.”

“Perhaps it was wrong, but as we were getting dressed and undressed, I would always look at you. I didn’t understand why I adored your body so at the time, but every inch of skin I could see, I would stare at. I memorized your body like it was a sculptor. I memorized every inch I could, every scar and freckle and whatever else. You made me understand the reason people wrote love poems before I even knew what love was.”

Alex smiled softly. “John Laurens, you flatter me far too much, yes?”

John reached forward and touched a bit of Alex’s hair, pushing it back behind his ear. “I don’t think it’s quite possible to flatter you too much, darling Alex.”

Alex leaned forward and pressed a kiss to John’s lips. “I am forever yours, John Laurens. Please, promise me you will never forget how strong my affections for you are. If I could tell the world you were my lover, I would.”

“And you say I flatter you.” John rubbed the hair on Alex’s chin, smiling. “Alexander, I do believe you have deemed yourself a hypocrite. You scold me for flattering you too much, yet here you are.”

Alex leaned forward, pressing his head against John’s chest. “I cannot help that you are my entire life.”

“Are you still too awake to sleep?”

Alex nodded.

“Perhaps we can change that, yes?”

A laugh escaped the Spaniard. “John Laurens, you’re a dog in man’s skin. It must be almost three am, do you truly wish I spread my legs for you? Even after what we did before you fell asleep?”

“Yes.”

Alex smiled, pulling John into a kiss. “Ah, what an argument you’ve made. Come now, take off your clothes.”

John pulled off his nightshirt, kissing Alex. “I love you, you know that?”

Alex smiled. “I love you too.” And this one wasn’t a lie.

 

Chapter Text

August 1838

John sat up with a start. Someone was yelling and something was falling. He was quick to run out of the room and to the stairwell, where the sound came from. Alex’s voice was calling out curses, and then the sound of glass breaking filled the room. Someone was laughing quite loudly, and someone else was calling out to not move.

John got to the head of the stairwell and gasped. Alex was lying on the floor, laughing, in a puddle of wine, broken glass surrounding him. Thomas was cackling, and Aaron was trying to mop the glass up so Alex could stand. It was just a nightshirt and some briefs Alex was wearing, so the wine stain wouldn’t matter much.

“Christ!” John exclaimed, walking down the steps.

“John Laurens! My dear!” Alex tilted his head back and laughed. “Oh, my wonderful beautiful man! Gaze upon me and weep, for I have lost myself!” Alex kicked his leg up, crying with laughter. “I am no longer your lover, simply a bubble of blood and liquor.”

“Are you bleeding? Are you drunk?” John gasped.

“We all are,” Thomas smiled. “Well, we’re not all bleeding. That’s just Alex. But we are all drunk.”

“What happened? Why is he bleeding?” John came further down the steps, to the bottom one where Aaron was sweeping up broken glass and Alex was lying. “Why are you bleeding?”

“I fell into a pile of broken glass!” Alex exclaimed. “And look!” He held up his arm, to show a large gash. “I bleed!”

“It’s red,” Thomas commented.

“Christ.” John reached out and took Alex’s hand. “I’m going to help you up, yes?”

Alex nodded. “Yes.”

John pulled Alex up, and the Spaniard quickly stepped onto the first step to avoid any glass.

“Ah, you go stop his bleeding. In my bathroom, there is a case, and you are most likely sober enough to open it and know what to do with each item,” Aaron smiled. “I would, but I am pretty sure I am completely drunk as well.”

“You don’t look it,” John commented.

“I’m seeing two of you.”

A nod came from the native Frenchman. “Ah, that’ll do it.”

Alex leaned heavily into John, laughing as they walked to Aaron’s room. “Well, would you look at you! You’re gorgeous!”

“Alexander, it is not even seven in the morning, I do not understand how you are drunk,” John commented playfully. He wasn’t upset, though he was a bit worried about the bloody gash on Alex’s arm.

“Well, I could not sleep last night, so I went downstairs to sleep, and then Aaron and Thomas were there, and they were drunk, and so I did not wish to be the only sober one, so I began drinking heavily with them, and then we went swimming.”

“You went swimming?”

“In the lake, yes.” Alex smiled as they found Aaron’s room, then his bathroom.

John sat Alex down on the toilet and found the case Aaron was talking about. “You are a clumsy drunk, you know that?”

“Perhaps I do.” Alex leaned in and kissed John’s temple. “I love you.”

“I love you too.” John dabbed some alcohol on a cotton ball and swabbed it on Alex’s arm. “This might hurt.”

“Ah, I’m fairly used to it.” Alex leaned his head against John’s as John began to bandage his arm. “Will you love me any less for my imperfections?”

“How could you say something so ridiculous?” John shook his head. “I look at you and I see not one imperfection. Do you know what I see? I see the man who I have fallen so deeply in love with. I see the man who I sleep and wake with. I see the man who had somehow torn down everything in me, and yet made me feel entirely safe.”

Alex paused, staring at John. “Dear Laurens, you cannot just say things like that to me when I am completely drunk.”

“Can I not?”

“No!” Alex took John’s face in his hands. “Because you’ve just emptied your heart through your mouth, and I cannot even come up with something half as kind so you know I feel the same about you. You could not have waited until I was sober, no?”

John laughed, finished up the bandage on Alex’s arm. “Come, you need a bit of food in you.”

“Do I?”

“You do.”

“Do I?”

John laughed, pulling Alex up. “You do!”

Alex stood up and pulled John into a kiss. “I need you.”

“I need you too.”

Alex wrapped his arms around John’s waist and followed him back to their room, where Alex changed into a clean nightshirt. John left the stained one in a basin to soak for a bit before it could dry and the stain could settle. Then, they began their trek downstairs. The wine and glass were cleaned up, and Aaron, Thomas, and James sat at the table, laughing and drinking. Alex sat down, pouring himself a glass of wine and smiling.

“Food, first,” John stated, finding some salted meat and cheese in the pantry and setting it down on the table.

“John, you care for me so much, I wish I could do something to repay you,” Alex sighed, staring at John with wide dark eyes.

“Ah, your health is what repays me,” John replied.

Alex smiled and rested his forehead against John’s shoulder. “I love you, I love you so.” Alex looked at his friends. “This man is the man I love. I will die for him, I will do whatever he asks. Dear John, you could tell me to bring a knife into my chest, and I will ask how sharp you would like it to be.”

“I would never ask that,” John scoffed.

“Perhaps, but I would do it.” Alex leaned in and kissed John’s cheek. “Isn’t he wonderful?”

“Alexander, I don’t believe you’ve ever shown this much interest in someone,” Aaron mused.

“Yes,” James agreed. “Didn’t think it was possible for Alexander to feel love.”

“Oh?” Andre laughed as he sat down.

“Ah, you all are mean to me.” Alex sipped his wine, then took a bite of food. “I am a man with needs, and my needs are not always emotional.”

“And what needs do you have that aren’t emotional?” Thomas mused.

“A need for cock shoved far up my ass.”

James groaned. “I’m surprised that need hasn’t been fulfilled yet. I sleep in the room next to them. Christ, it’s much too loud sometimes.”

“Alexander couldn’t hush up if he tried,” Andre gasped. “You touch him and the neighbors complain.”

“Yes!” John began to laugh. “And he’s so feminine!” John placed his arm around Alex. “At first I worried my neighbors might know he is a man, but Lord! The way he sounds when you touch him, you couldn’t differ it from a woman!”

Alex rolled his eyes, sipping his wine. “Neither of you deserve my body.”

“And yet…” John leaned in and kissed Alex’s cheek.

“I hate you both.” Alex stood and walked to the counter. “I could have died this morning and yet neither of you cares, you simply tease me.”

“Died? Alexander, it was a small gash,” John scoffed.

“No, no, don’t waste your precious breath apologizing to me. Both of your tongues have brought me pleasure, now they only bring me pain. Aaron, dear, I do believe you are the last good man left.”

“Am I?” Aaron mused.

Alex leaned down and planted a kiss on Aaron’s cheek. “You are.”

John rolled his eyes. “Whatever you say, Alexander.”

“Aaron, if we were lovers, you wouldn’t be so mean to me, yes?”

“Oh, lord, this hypothetical again,” James groaned.

Thomas looked at John. “Alex loves it, he does.”

Aaron pulled Alex onto his lap. “If we were lovers, no, I would not be so mean to you. But we’re not, because we are polar opposites in all the ways that you need your lovers to meet you at.”

Alex smiled. “Are we?”

“We are.”

“You gonna kiss me?”

“Pardon?” John looked up.

“John Laurens, if you feel the need to be so cruel to me, then I will let Aaron kiss me because I know Aaron thinks of it as nothing more than a kiss. I don’t think the man could become aroused if he tried.”

“Perhaps not,” Aaron chuckled. “But how sad is that for you?”

“Very sad.” Alex tapped Aaron’s lips. “Do you love me?”

“I do,” Aaron nodded.

James laughed. “Aaron, kiss him, I wish to see John’s reaction when he realizes just how close Alexander is with all his friends.”

Aaron gave a side-eye to John, giving him a moment to object, before leaning in and kissing Alex. It took almost no time for Alex to get bored. Aaron rarely kissed people, but when he did, it was soft and slow, tender and meaningful. Alex hated it.

“Aaron, I love you with all my heart, but if you ever kiss me like that again, I might just hit you,” Alex told the man.

Aaron laughed loudly. “You, off my lap, go show me how you wish to be kissed.”

“John, you best be ready, Alexander has that look,” Thomas chuckled.

John barely had a second to prepare himself before Alex was on his lap and kissing him. John was quick to grab Alex’s face and force his tongue into the kiss before quickly pulling away and looking around with an embarrassed look on his face.

Thomas just laughed. “Alex, you embarrassed him.”

“Did I?” Alex mused.

John groaned, resting his forehead against Alex’s shoulder. “I despise you, dear boy.”

Alex kissed the top of John’s head. “And I love you, John.”

-

Alex sat at his desk, constructing a letter to Eliza. He was almost a bit sad as he did it, seeing how much he missed the girl. He was telling her about how Germany was, and how John was, and his friends. Eliza loved Italy, she gushed about it whenever she could. Alex was happy she was happy, but he did miss her. He had hinted at a visit, but she had picked up on it and told him it best not happen until she was more settled and her family had cooled down. Alex understood he did, but that didn’t stop him from missing her.

John walked into the room with a bottle of wine and hugged Alex, kissing his neck before letting the man continue with his letter. John occupied himself by opening the wine bottle before getting changed into some sleep clothes. By the time he had lied down, Alex was closing up the letter, sealing it and setting it back down. He walked over to John, smiling as he was handed the wine bottle.

“What’s this?” Alex asked.

“Perhaps I just wanted to have a drink with you.”

“Ah, you did?” Alex took a sip of the wine, before curling up with John. “Do not tell a soul, but sometimes I do feel I could spend the rest of my days here with you and all my friends, drinking and making love, spending far too much time awake, writing and writing and playing games and doing whatever we desire.”

“Could you?”

“I could.”

John smiled. “I love you, Alexander.”

Alex leaned up and kissed John’s cheek. “I love you too, John Laurens.”

John took a sip of the wine, pulling the blanket over the two of them. “You know, dear Alexander, I think if I could, I would marry you right now, yes?”

“Why can’t you?”

John let out a laugh. “Don’t be simple.”

“I’m not.” Alex sat up. “What is marriage but a piece of paper? We can make a piece of paper! There’s nothing that truly says we cannot get married, you know?”

“Perhaps the law, and the bible,” John replied.

“Bah, to Hell with them both,” Alex groaned.

“You are a Catholic!”

“But I am in love with you before I am a Catholic!”

John stopped. “You are?”

“You are everything to me.” Alex took John’s hand, eyes wide. “I love you more than I’ve ever loved anything in my entire life, you know that? I love you more than I ever loved Andre, more than I love my family, more than I love myself. You are my world, my life, my love. I can barely see the sky beyond your eyes because your eyes are all I wish to see.” Alex leaned in and kissed John. “So yes, to Hell with the Bible, and to Hell with the law. I do not care for either, I care for you.” Alex took a breath. “You are the man I wish to be with, and you are the man I wish to marry.”

John’s eyes were wide. “Alexander.”

“Say yes,” Alex pleaded. “Say yes and everything else will be figured out later.”

John leaned forward, kissing Alex. “Yes.”

Alex smiled, falling into John and kissing him. Purple wine was spilled on the white sheets in the process, but the pair couldn’t have cared less. There was something about that moment that made Alex absolutely sure John was the man he wanted to spend his life with. He didn’t know what the marriage would even mean, but the idea of it was nice. The idea that John was his made it so much better.

John set down the wine bottle and continued kissing Alex. “When will we do this?”

“I would like Lafayette to marry us,” Alex stated. “He is our best friend, and I’m sure he will do it. He loves us both.”

“Shall we do it when we get back to Paris?”

“No,” Alex answered quickly. “No, I think it best we have it here. It’s safer.” Alex smiled. “Just think, we can wait until the summer, have it in the backyard in just our shirts and pants, no shoes of frock coats or collars. We can spend the night outside in the summer light, drinking and laughing and telling stories.”

“Are we staying in Germany through the winter then?” John mused.

Alex shrugged, tilting his head. “You’ve never had hot chocolate until you’ve had German hot chocolate.”

“Christ, Alexander,” John laughed. “You are nothing but trouble, you know this?”

“I do,” Alex nodded.

John pecked Alex’s lips. “I have no ring for you.”

“That is alright.” Alex’s hands went down and touched John’s hips. “I do not need much more than what I have in front of me.”

“You are a romantic, you know this?”

“John Laurens, of course, I do.” Alex pecked John’s nose. “How could I not?”

-

It was the next morning when Alex began constructing a letter, telling Lafayette to make plans to come to Germany as early as he could with the knowledge that he’d be staying until June. Aaron and Thomas were sitting on Alex and John’s bed, discussing Christmas plans, while John had gone out with James and Andre for food and liquor.

“So tell us a bit about this Lafayette,” Aaron requested. “You talk awfully fond of him.”

“Yes, well, he’s one of my closest friends,” Alex replied.

“Hm?” Thomas chuckled.

Alex turned. “What are you two hinting at?”

“Nothing, nothing,” Aaron mumbled, though a smile was on his lips.

“Both of you, hush now.” Alex shook his head. “Dogs, the lot of you. Must you always assume I am sleeping with every man I am fond of?”

“In all fairness, Alexander, it is what you do,” Thomas pointed out. “We won’t be harsh, you know that. Personally, I could not stay sane if I was just with James, though he stated he does not mind if I am with someone else every now and then.”

“Both of you, hush, I’m loyal to my John,” Alex scoffed.

“Even when you were kissing Andre in the kitchen?” Aaron mused, giving a sly look to Alex.

“Both of you, both of you!” A head shake came from Alex. “Both of you are awful. I should’ve never gotten so close to you, for now, you can see right through me. Yes, I kissed Andre, and yes, I let Lafayette take me.”

Thomas laughed. “Alexander, you don’t change, and it’s one of the things we love about you.”

“Is it?” Alex mused.

“Ah, it is.” Aaron smiled at Alex. “Infidelity is part of our lifestyle, Alex. We romantics, at least us, we strive to be the seven sins. Lust, adultery, sloth, and the others.”

“I do not think adultery is one of the seven sins,” Alex laughed. “I think it simply falls under the category of lust.”

Aaron laughed. “Then what a horrible Catholic I am, hm?”

“That is no secret, dear Burr,” Thomas smiled.

Alex finished his letter, then sealed it. “It’s not my fault I am capable of loving many men. Me letting Lafayette take me does not mean I love John less. I love John with everything I have. John is my whole world. But Lafayette is my close friend, and I’ve always been…” Alex took a sip of his wine, thinking. “Intimate with my friends.” He got up and sat back on the bed. “I think that is the biggest difference between me and another adulterer. I love my John, and I mean that I do. I just have never truly believed in preserving oneself for a single man.”

“Ah, but is that what John believes?” Thomas mused.

“Perhaps, perhaps not, I never asked.” Alex smiled, touching the side of Thomas’ face. “I think you all will like Lafayette. He’s quite funny, though I’m not sure he can get drunk. He’s outdrank me and not even a bead of sweat appeared on his brow.”

“We can attempt to find the end of his sobriety,” Aaron chuckled. “We found yours.”

“That you did.” Alex leaned against a silk pillow. “He’s beautiful, too. I don’t think I ever saw a man with greater beauty than Lafayette.”

“Did you not?”

“Indeed.” Alex sighed. “He’s truly wonderful, I know he will fit right in. He’s elegant, graceful, and has a mindset not far from ours.”

“Sounds ethereal,” Thomas mused.

Alex laid back, sighing. “Oh, he is. And, if you must know, he’s quite good at sex too, and a sweet kisser. I do adore him.”

“Ah, Alexander.” Aaron touched Alex’s knee. “Come now, all of us. I ache for some food. I feel as though I’d had nothing but wine this past couple of days.”

“Lord, me as well. Let us finish off the last of what we have so when John and the others come back, they have more space.”

The last of the food which the house possessed was not much, but it was enough to fill the stomach of those three. The food was mostly almost sour. The cheese needed a bit of mold cut off of it, the bread was dry, and the meat was stale. None of them moaned about it though. They simply dipped the bread in the wine and dipped the meat in there as well. They were lucky enough to find a few pastries in the back of the pantry, which they finished off accordingly, dipping them in the wine just for fun. They were all wearing only their billowing white shirts, as well as their breeches, so the warmth that came from the stove was direly needed.

John, James, and Andre arrived home, putting away the food before they all decided the rest of the day was best spent in the library. Everyone roamed around for a few minutes, finding old books that Andre had found one way or another, and then went to the sitting area by the window which overlooked the backyard.

“I feel like I could stay here forever,” Alex admitted quietly as they all sat down.

“You’re always welcome,” Andre smiled, starting a small fire in the little fireplace by the sitting area before lounging back in an armchair. Thomas and James were sharing a loveseat, Aaron was sprawled on a lounge, while Alex and John were sitting on opposite sides of the couch, smiling a bit to themselves as they read.

Every now and then, one of them would look up at the other, then back down when the other would look up. It was a game of tag, but a fun one at that. John and Alex’s legs were tangled together, and the small secret of their engagement was still theirs. It felt like nothing had changed, but at the same time, it felt like everything had changed.

Alex knew that John was the man he wanted to spend his life with, and John knew Alex was his.

 

Chapter Text

April 1839

“Ah! Ah! Yes!” Alex gripped the sheets, head hanging over the edge of the bed, eyes rolled back, mouth open. He was laying on his back, one leg around John’s waist, the other slung upon the man’s shoulder. John had his head lulled back, his hips moving forward to meet Alex’s. The slap of skin filled the room, as well as the smell of sex and sweat.

If Alex had taken a moment to focus on the clock, he would’ve seen the time was almost midday, and the couple had successfully wasted the morning having sex. There were about ten different things they were supposed to be doing, seeing as Lafayette was to arrive that evening, but they very easily forgot about that.

Alex was having one of the best mornings of his life. Neither of them was satisfied, and God, it felt good. They would finish, and barely minutes later John would be back on Alex, grinding and kissing and biting. Alex felt very sweetly brutalized, but he could’ve kept at it all day. They had a bottle of olive oil, they had liquor, and then had a bed comfortable enough for them to be able to stay in it. At this point, everyone in the house was aware of their activities, and Aaron had even come in at one point when John was fucking Alex into the mattress, asking about something or another. Alex had just looked up from the silk pillowcase he had been biting and answered Aaron, then went back to getting fucked by John.

John, now, was thrusting hard enough to a point where Alex was almost falling off the bed. The middle of Alex’s upper back was on the edge of the mattress, and Alex’s head was hanging down, hair just touching the floor. John kept an eye on this though and made sure to keep Alex on the bed, though it was hot to see Alex like that. Alex moaned loudly, not even trying to hold back. He was yelling, or it could’ve been compared to yelling. His throat felt rough with use and abuse. One hand was gripping the silk sheets, leaving them moist with sweat. The other hand was touching himself, jerking his dick off quickly and matching the pace of John’s hips.

“Ah! John! John!” Alex felt like he might break. “Oh! Please! Please!”

“God, I’m almost-” John moaned. “Ah!”

“Please!”

It was with that desperate cry that John finished in Alex’s ass, groaning as he did. He leaned forward, gripping the leg which had been thrown over his shoulder. He could feel the brown coarse hairs that Alex’s legs had, as well as the soft skin.

He watched Alex jerk himself off, then let out a yell as he finished, come spurting onto his stomach. When was sure Alex had finished, he helped pull the man back up, getting Alex situated so he was straddling John’s lap. Alex winced a bit, his back not exactly appreciative that he had spent so long in that position. He was thirty now, and the pains of age were beginning to catch up. John was thirty-two and had assured Alex that leaving your twenties wasn’t all that bad.

The winter in Germany went by in a flurry of drinking, drugs, and sex. John had tried opium for the first time and decided he absolutely hated it but learned Alex quite liked it. For the most part though, since opium could be hard to come by, hashish was the drug of choice. Christmas was spent absolutely hungover, with the group sitting by the fire and drinking, occasionally retching into chamber pots, but nothing too serious. John had never drunk so much in his entire life, but he quite enjoyed it. He understood Alex a bit more, which was nice. He wanted to understand Alex.

“That was nice,” Alex mumbled, resting his forehead against John’s shoulder. “I don’t think I can go again right away, so give me a second.”

John laughed, falling back so Alex was lying on his chest, and he was laying back on the pillows. “I love you, Alexander.”

“I love you too, John Laurens,” Alex replied, his voice low.

“Tired?”

“No,” Alex lied, closing his eyes.

John flipped them over, kissing Alex’s neck. “No, you can not fall asleep, dear Alexander.”

“It is not my fault you’ve worn me out!” Alex complained, curling John’s hair in his hands. “You have simply exhausted me.” Alex took John’s face in his hands. “You are so beautiful.”

“Ah, as are you.” John leaned down and kissed Alex’s face. “I must admit, I feel like there is something we were supposed to be doing, yes?”

Alex paused, thinking. A gasp escaped his mouth, and his eyes widened. “Christ! Oh, my God! Oh, oh no!” He pushed John off of him and began to get dressed, muttering to himself. “I can’t believe we’ve done this!”

“Wait, what are we forgetting?” John asked.

“Lafayette.” Alex looked at him. “John, Lafayette is coming today.”

John gasped. “He is!”

“Yes!”

John got up and began to get dressed. “What do we need to do anyway?”

“We need to get some wine and some food, prepare a room for Lafayette, just put the sheets on the bed. It’s the one just down the hallway from us. Oh, and we must wait for him outside, so he does not miss the house. It’s easy to miss you know.”

John nodded. “Ah, yes, you are right.” He began to button his shirt. “This house has an unreasonable amount of bedrooms.”

“No more than yours,” Alex accused.

“Mine had six!” John exclaimed.

“So does this one!” Alex laughed. “Mine had three, so you best count yourself lucky.”

“Ah, and I have become spoiled.” John followed Alex to another room, where Alex pulled clean sheets from the closet and set them on the bed. “Would you ever take in a child?”

“Perhaps.”

Alex looked up as the too began making the bed. “Perhaps?”

“It would depend entirely on where we are in life,” John told Alex.

“Okay, where would we have to be to take in a child?” Alex asked, tucking the sheets into the back corner.

“Done with the majority of travels, like China and whatnot, with a house of our own, perhaps a bit older.”

A nod came from the Spaniard. “Do you think, if we were to live in a house together, people would know that we…?”

“Ah, I do not believe so. We’re good decent men, we would never take place in such ungodly actions. We’re just bachelors who did not wish to live alone. Marriage has never interested us.”

Alex laughed. “Do you remember when you could barely touch me?”

“I do.”

“I’m glad you touch me now.” Alex gave a small chuckle. “Fairly glad.”

John helped Alex tuck the comforter into the bed, then looked at him. “Perhaps we could have sex one more time, hm?”

“On Lafayette’s bed?” Alex gasped. “John, come now, we have things to do, people to prepare for.”

“Ah, alright.”

The day went by quickly, and soon enough, Alex and John were sitting on the front steps of the estate, waiting for Lafayette’s carriage to drive past. Alex was excited. The sun was setting a bit, and the sky was a bright orange. Alex was talking, laughing, but stopped when he heard the sound of horse hooves.

John let a smile spread over his lips as the two stood up. “I think that’s him.

And it was.

Lafayette called out a command to stop his horses but was out of the carriage before it had come to a full stop. He had missed Alex and John so very much, and God, he just wanted to feel them in his arms.

Lafayette embraced Alex first, leaving a lingering kiss on the man’s lips, before doing the same with John. The three of them embraced together, laughing and smiling. Lafayette felt so happy to be with his closest friends again. The past eight months or so had been absolutely torturously boring for Lafayette. He missed the chaos of Alex and John, missed the way the three of them would go and see shows, the way they would drink and eat together, and laugh and just get into general trouble.

“Ah, my friends, I missed you so much,” Lafayette mumbled.

“We missed you too,” Alex smiled lightly, sighing. “We missed you so much.”

“Come, come, you must be starving.” John went to Lafayette’s carriage. “We made a room up for you and everything.”

“Ah, danke,” Lafayette chuckled, grabbing a trunk.

Alex picked up a bag and then the three of them walked into the house. Aaron looked up from the kitchen, smiling before looking back at his book. Alex turned and began talking as they found Lafayette’s room. “Germany has been wonderful. We’ve been drunk most of the time, and John and I had the most wonderful morning. You can unpack now, or you can come and eat something and unpack later.”

“Food, please, I am absolutely famished,” Lafayette gasped.

“Ah, well we went shopping just this morning, and kept you in mind.” Alex placed his arm around Lafayette’s waist as they began to walk out. “Come, I must introduce you to everyone. I’ve talked a lot about you, I must admit, but do not worry, they are all so very wonderful people. Was your trip too terrible?”

“Oh, no, not at all. There was a bit of snow I had to work through, but overall, it was fine.” Lafayette placed an arm around John’s shoulder, kissing the side of his head. “I missed you both so much. My life was incredibly boring without you.”

“How is home?” John asked.

“Home is fine. Your apartment is intact, and Alexander, your parents are fine as well. I had dinner with them a few times.”

“Wonderful,” Alex gasped as they entered the kitchen. “Aaron, this is my dearest friend Lafayette. Isn’t he beautiful?”

Aaron laughed. “Yes, hello, Lafayette, wonderful to meet you.” Aaron stood up and kissed both of Lafayette’s cheeks. “How was your trip?”

“Ah, it was fine.” Lafayette smiled, watching Alex get out food and wine. “I must admit, while I am looking forward to talking to you, I am quite hungry.”

“Lafayette, I am giving you some beans, salted meats, cheese, and bread, yes?” Alex smiled. “Don’t worry, I will pile it up. Would you like potatoes too?”

“Yes please,” Lafayette smiled.

Alex piled up the plate, then handed it to his friend. “Come, let us go sit in the boardroom, I’m sure everyone else is there.”

Lafayette took his plate and began eating. “Yes! Lord, I thought my stomach might digest itself.”

Alex laughed a bit. “Come now.”

The four walked into the room, and Andre, Thomas, and James looked up. Introductions were made, and people found their place. John, Alex, and Laf sat down on the lounger, John opening a bottle of wine and Alex quickly taking a large gulp.

“Lafayette, I think you will fall very easily into the routine,” Thomas joked, leaning back with James up against him.

“And what is the routine?” Lafayette mused, his mouth half full.

Thomas spread his arms. “We eat, we drink, we fuck, we sleep.”

Lafayette threw his head back in a fit of laughter. “Ah! Yes! I think I will find those actions to be very easy.”

“You should’ve heard John and Alexander this morning,” James complained. “From morning to midday, that’s all you could hear.”

“That does not surprise me,” Lafayette mused, running his hand along Alex’s arm. “I have come over to their house many a time, for food and coffee, and I had caught them in some quite interesting situations and…” Lafayette smiled at the coupe. “Positions.”

Thomas threw his head back laughing. “I do so love how no matter who Alex is with, and where he is, I can always trust that he will remain the same man he was when he was younger.”

“Ah, I will never grow old.” Alex raised up the bottle of wine. “I will die before I grow old!”

“And isn’t that the way to go?” James laughed. “Young and full of good liquor, surrounded by friends!”

“Speaking up surrounded by friends, John and I have an announcement,” Alex started, standing up. He swayed a bit, but John put his hand on Alex’s back, to make sure he didn’t fall. Alex had been slightly drunk all day, so he did not have the best balance, but he managed to stay standing. “John and I, have something to say.”

“We do,” John smiled, leaning his head against Alex’s hip.

“I have not told any of you this, not even Lafayette. I think I told Eliza, but I honestly don’t remember.” Alex laughed.

“Come, out with it, man!” Thomas demanded. “I wish to know what you want to tell us!”

“Yes, yes, alright.” Alex smiled, holding up his glass. “John and I, in August, were talking, and we decided to get engaged!”

The reactions were mixed.

“To stay engaged? Forever?”

“And you didn’t tell us?”

“Wait, was it mutual, or did one of you ask?”

“To be married?”

“Wonderful, let’s drink.”

“To be married, yes, and I asked, but we were on the topic,” Alex began to explain. “And yes, let’s drink. I do apologize for not telling you all, but we wished to wait until Lafayette had arrived.”

“Well, what are the plans?” Aaron asked. “You cannot exactly walk down to a church and become united as one.”

Alex sat back down, laughing as he spilled a bit of wine on his hand. “No, no, we cannot, but John and I have been talking, and we’ve decided a few things.”

“Yes?” Thomas urged.

“Andre, if it is alright with you, we would like to marry in your backyard,” Alex started.

“Well, of course,” Andre nodded, chuckling. “Seems only fair.”

“Alright, yes, wonderful, we were thinking May.” Alex hummed, then looked to Lafayette. “And we wondering, with your status, ex-status, I suppose, and you being our best friend and all, if you would marry us, Lafayette?”

Lafayette’s eyes widened, and his jaw dropped. He stared at Alex. Every part of him was asking ‘you want me to marry you and John? After all we’ve done together?’ He almost hated Alex for asking, but he also felt completely warm. His friendship meant that much to the two. He was conflicted, hurt, and joyful. He couldn’t get an answer out. Alex was staring at him expectantly though, his eyes wide and hopeful, his lips parted with hope.

Lafayette coughed. “You know I can’t say no to your face, Alexander.”

Alex smiled, letting out a squeal, and tackled Lafayette in a hug, pressing a wet kiss to his cheek. “Oh, thank you, dear Lafayette!” He smiled brightly. “We would not want anyone else.”

Lafayette smiled. “I’m honored, truly honored.”

The night went by, and soon enough, everyone was getting ready for bed. John was already in the covers, reading his book, while Alex wrote at the desk. When Alex finished the little bit he was writing, he stood up, crawling onto the bed and kissing John’s lips.

“Mm, hi,” John smiled.

“Hi.” Alex pecked John’s lips. “I’m gonna go see Lafayette, telling him goodnight, alright?”

“Mm, okay.” John kissed Alex again. “Give him my love.”

“I will.” Alex stood up and walked out of the room, down the hall a bit to Laf’s bedroom. He didn’t knock, didn’t care too. He just opened the door and walked in. Lafayette was shirtless, unpacking, but he looked up when Alex came in. Alex didn’t even bother saying hello, just fell onto Lafayette’s bed, laughing a bit. “How are you, dear?”

“Shouldn’t you be with your fiance?” Lafayette asked, an eyebrow raised as he looked at Alex from the corner of his eye.

“Perhaps, but I’m with you,” Alex replied.

“Alex, you can’t just-” Lafayette swallowed hard, closed his eyes, and then smiled. “What do you need?”

“I need you to lie down right now and kiss me.” Alex laid on his back, legs spread. “Please, Lafayette.”

“I can’t say no to you, and it’s going to get me into trouble.” Lafayette laid down between Alex’s legs, pulling the man into a kiss. Alex smiled against Lafayette’s lips, wrapping his legs around the man’s waist. It wasn’t a heated kiss, it wasn’t anything more than a kiss. Perhaps a bit of tongue and teeth were involved, but neither of them tried to take it farther.

Alex pulled away finally, breathing a bit heavily. “You can remember where the kitchen is, yes?”

“I can.”

“Perhaps we meet there at midnight?” Alex looked up at Lafayette, big brown eyes.

“Alex-” Lafayette closed his eyes. “When will you stop doing this?”

Alex bit his lip. “Lafayette-”

“Don’t. You have John, why is he not good enough for you?”

Alex’s brows creased. “Lafayette, it’s not like that. That’s not fair. I love John, I do. He’s one of my best friends, and he’s the man I want to spend the rest of my life with.”

“Then what are you doing here?” Lafayette’s voice almost raised.

“Lafayette,” Alex scolded.

A sigh escaped the taller man. “I’m sorry. I just… I want to know.”

“I love John.” Alex pulled Lafayette into a kiss. “But that does not mean he owns my heart.”

Lafayette leaned down and kissed Alex’s neck, thinking for a moment. “So, midnight? In the kitchen, yes?”

Alex smiled, nodding. “Yes.”

Lafayette got off of Alex, shaking his head with a small smile. “You’re going to get me into trouble, Alexander, you know that?”

“That’s what I always do,” Alex replied, walking out of the room.

Midnight rolled around, and Alex walked into the kitchen. Lafayette was there, sipping his wine, but he smiled when Alex walked in. No words were said, but Alex climbed onto Lafayette’s lap, pulling him into a kiss. This time, it was initiating something. This time, Alex got excited when Lafayette pushed him onto the table, spreading his legs and palming him through his nightshirt. Alex had left his underwear on the floor on the bedroom, so Lafayette had nothing blocking him when he lifted up the nightshirt.

Lafayette sat back down, placing his head between Alex’s legs and beginning to suck on Alex’s cock. Alex had to bite his thumb so as not to be too loud. It didn’t take long for Lafayette to be pushing in, moaning lightly.

“Ah, Lafayette,” Alex gasped.

“There we go.” Lafayette bit his lip, thrusting as he did so.

“Oh, God, Lafayette, I love-”

For a moment, Lafayette paused, a feeling of cotton building up in his throat.

“-This,” Alex finished, head thrown back.

Lafayette swallowed the cotton and continued the act. He knew it meant nothing, so he treated it as nothing. It was just him and Alex, doing acts of sodomy, there was no meaning behind it. Oh, but when Alex gripped his hand, stared into his eyes, mouth agape, a facial expression of care, Lafayette almost could feel something. But he pushed it down, which he had gotten good at.

They both finished, gasping and groaning.

Alex smiled, pushing himself up on his elbows. “Hey.”

“Hey.” Lafayette smiled, leaning down. He pecked Alex’s lips. “I like doing this.”

“Maybe we could make it a habit while we’re in the same house,” Alex shrugged, sitting up. “You know, get some quality time together.”

“I…” Lafayette shook his head. “I think that sounds honestly wonderful, Alexander.”

Alex smiled, pulling Lafayette into a kiss. “You are one of my most favorite people, dear Lafayette. I don’t want you to ever leave my side.”

“I won’t,” Lafayette promised.

“Good.” Alex hopped down from the table. “Come on, we should sleep.” He pecked Lafayette’s lips. “I’ll see you in the morning, yes?”

“Yes.”

Lafayette put his arm around Alex as they began to walk towards the stairs, kissing and laughing quietly. The two of them stopped when they met Aaron at the bottom of the steps. Aaron stared at them, eyes wide open. He put on a small smile, touched his finger to his lips, and walked on by.

“Thank you,” Alex whispered.

“Should we be worried?” Lafayette asked.

“No, Aaron is a good man.” Alex leaned up and kissed Lafayette’s jaw. “We’ll be alright.”

They made it to Alex’s room, and Laf paused, thinking. “I do care for you, Alexander, I truly do. You know this, yes?”

“Yes, I do.” Alex pecked Lafayette’s lips. He touched Lafayette’s cheek one last time, before walking into his room and climbing into bed next to John. In the man’s arms, he felt complete and happy. But it still felt like something was missing. It felt like Lafayette was missing. Alex let out a sigh, cuddled closer to John, and fell asleep.

 

Chapter Text

May 1839

Alex stared up at the sky, humming. It was the night before the scheduled wedding and the whole German sky had turned grey with clouds. Alex had to admit, he didn’t mind this. He looked better on cloudy days anyways, but there was the small issue of the fact that his wedding was tomorrow. Thankfully, Andre did have a small gazebo in his backyard, which they planned to put the food and drink under. Hopefully, it simply wouldn’t rain tomorrow, and there would be no issue.

“Are you sad I’m getting married?” Alex asked Andre, sitting down on the steps of the gazebo and looking at his former lover. It was just them, setting up a bit and making sure it was all perfect.

“I’m actually quite happy for you, and I mean that,” Andre chuckled, sitting down next to Alex. “We had something sweet, but I knew the moment you left that it was over.”

“Ah, dear Andre.” Alex leaned in and kissed his cheek. “I will never stop loving you.”

“I know, and I think that is one of the reasons I will never stop loving you.” Andre put his arm around Alex, and the two leaned into each other, staring out to where Andre’s backyard sloped into the lake, where the dock stood, and where the water met the land. Alex didn’t know how many times he had jumped off that dock entirely naked. Didn’t know how many times he had swam and kissed the man he was sitting with right now.

“Are you sad you’re getting married?” Andre asked.

“I’m actually quite happy about it,” Alex laughed. “I suppose that’s the attitude to have when getting married. I am sad about some parts of it though.”

“Like what?”

“I’m sad my mother, Martha, isn’t here, and same with my father. I wish I could invite my parents to such an affair, I truly do. But my father, he would…” Alex laughed. “He might shoot John.”

“Well we don’t want that,” Andre chuckled. “But yes, it is always a shame when you fall in love and cannot bring you dearest home.” He took Alex’s hands, sighing. “It is the life we chose, I suppose.”

“I don’t think anyone would choose to live with so many secrets,” Alex pointed out.

“Perhaps not.” Andre kissed the side of Alex’s head. “Regardless of whether or not your mother and father will be there, we’ll be there, and we’ll support you in everything you are. Will that suffice?”

Alex let out a sigh, smiling a bit. “I suppose it will.”

A laugh came from the blonde. “I don’t think it will rain, and even if it does, when have we ever mourned over bad weather?”

“We are the philosophical version of bad weather,” Alex joked. “Come, I’m getting chilled. Let us go inside and pour rum into a warm drink, yes?”

“Yes, that sounds wonderful.”

They walked back up to the house, talking and laughing, before coming into the kitchen. John was sitting on the table, sipping wine and laughing at something Aaron was saying, while Lafayette prepared some food. The smell of fruit washed through the air, and Alex, without so much as a word, walked over and plucked a strawberry from where Laf was cutting them, popping it in his mouth.

“Ah, and so trouble arrives,” Lafayette mused.

Alex smiled, then found John, sitting between his legs and kissing his cheek. “Hello, almost-husband.”

“Hello, almost-husband.” John smiled. “What trouble have you gotten into today?”

“Enough,” Alex responded, taking one of John’s hands and kissing it.

“Are you two going to be able to survive, sleeping in different beds tonight?” Thomas joked, his hand on his chin.

“I suppose.” Alex chuckled. “Lafayette will keep me company, right?”

Lafayette almost choked. “Pardon?”

“Well, you’ll come to talk to me of course,” Alex laughed. “If I cannot see my fiance, I will at least wish to see my best friend.”

“I do not understand why we must participate in this tradition at all,” John groaned, hugging Alex. “I’ve been sleeping next to him for four years now, almost five, why should I have to not sleep with him on the night before our wedding?”

“Because,” Alex decided. “It’s for the ritual of marriage.”

“You romantics and your rituals,” John huffed.

Alex smiled, leaning his head back on John’s shoulder. “Do you still love me?”

John let out a sigh. “I suppose I do.” He planted a kiss on Alex’s neck, then smiled. “Enough to marry you.”

Alex laughed. “Well, that’s good.”

“I don’t think we should let them get married,” Aaron joked. “They’re already disgustingly in love, and I don’t believe getting married will help the noise in the house.”

“Oh, we’re leaving next month, I’m sure you’ll be alright,” Alex scoffed.

“And you’ll come back again, yes?” Andre asked, eyes hopeful.

“Of course we will,” Alex laughed. “Germany is the closest I can come to a home, and I hold it close to my heart. So yes, I do promise I’ll be back.” Alex got up. “For now though, I will be taking a bath.”

“Alright,” John chuckled.

“You’re coming with me,” Alex told him, looking back over his shoulder.

“Well, even better.” John hopped off the table and followed Alex up to their bathroom. Alex began preparing the bath while John got undressed. Alex found himself staring at John, eyes wide as John’s chest became open to the air. God, John was built. Alex felt like John had gotten thicker since they arrived in Germany, but not in the way Alex had. Alex had gained pudge on his stomach, while John had just gained muscle. Perhaps it was because while Alex drank and ate, John had assisted in the chopping of wood for the fires, and John was just overall more active than Alex, but it drove Alex almost mad.

“You’re a beautiful man,” Alex mumbled.

“Am I?”

“You are.”

John pulled Alex into his arms. “You are too, dear boy.” John planted a soft kiss on Alex’s head, smiling softly. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too.” Alex smiled, then began undressed for the bath. “I plan to die next to you, John Laurens, and it’s important for you to know that.”

“I hope I die when you do, and not a second after because I cannot stand the idea of living without you.” John pulled off his stockings and lowered himself into the tub, watching Alex peel off his final bit of clothes before sitting across from John, smiling lightly.

For a while, the two of them just sat in the tub, eyes hooded, smelling the perfumes Alex had put into the water, feeling the contact of the other’s legs against their own. Their hands lazily overlapped on the edges of the tub, not holding, but touching. Every now and then John would chuckle, letting his head lull back a bit, but then he would regain composure, a small and secretive smile playing on his lips as Alex stared at him with a curious and inquisitive look.

Eventually, John got restless, and he leaned forward, tapping his lips.

Alex laughed, meeting John in the middle and pressing their lips together. “I love you.”

“I love you too.”

John pressed his forehead to Alex’s, holding his hands. “I think if my father knew what I was doing tomorrow, he might kill me.”

A laugh came from Alex. “My father, he asked if it would be alright if he visited us up here, and I strongly advised against it.” He opened his eyes a moment, looking at John. “Frances told me that if father met my German friends, he would know I am sodomite.”

“If I had met your German friends before we became an us, I would’ve too.”

A chuckle came from Alex. “I still meant what I said to you a long time ago. I do wish I was a woman, just so you wouldn’t have to hide me, just so you could kiss me in public, just so you could marry me. I would bear your children, I would be everything I could be for you as a woman.”

“May I tell you a secret, Alexander?”

“You may.”

“I enjoy you much more as a man.” John kissed Alex. “But I think if you were a woman, you would be the only woman I could love.”

“Would you suckle my chest like the newborns we would create?” Alex teased.

“If you asked,” John nodded. “I would do anything for you, Alexander. You are… You are my everything. Without you, I have nothing.”

Alex put his arm around John’s neck, curling the baby hairs on the back of the man’s neck in his fingers. For a moment, he listened to John’s breath, thinking. His chest felt like it was full of butterflies, and it felt a strong yearning for John, though the man was right in front of him. Alex moved closer, wrapping his legs around John’s waist and hugging the man. He wanted to cry, but he wasn’t too sure why.

Alex sniffled, feeling tears come to his eyes.

“Hey, dear, no, what’s wrong?” John asked, pulling away from the hug and taking Alex’s face in his hands.

“I don’t know,” Alex laughed, crying a bit. “I’m just… happy.” Alex smiled, though tears trailed down his cheeks. “I’m happy with you, John. I love you. I love you. I don’t think I’ve ever loved someone the way I love you, and I’m scared. I’m scared because you could realize how much better you are than me.”

“No, no-”

“You could, and I don’t want that. And maybe that’s selfish, but I don’t want you to have what you deserve because I want to have you.” Alex leaned against John’s shoulder. “I only want you, John Laurens.”

“Shh, shh.” John rubbed his back. “I only want you. I only want you.” John kissed Alex’s shoulder and pulled him a bit tighter. “I’m not going anywhere, I promise. I’m right here.”

“I love you. I love you so much. You promise you know that?”

“I do.” John pulled Alex into a kiss. “Come now, don’t get last-minute wedding jitters.”

Alex laughed, wiping his cheeks. “I’m not.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.”

“Are you sure that you’re sure?”

Alex threw his head back, laughing. “Yes! Yes!” He leaned in and pecked John’s lips. “I am sure that I am absolutely in love with you, and you are the man I want to spend my life with.”

“Wonderful.”

Alex ran his hand along John’s knee. “I’m gonna miss you tonight.”

“I’m gonna miss you too.” John kissed Alex’s cheek. “Gonna miss falling asleep to the sound of your breathing. Maybe you’ll sleep better, though.”

“Oh, I haven’t slept since we got to Germany.”

“I can tell.”

Alex raised an eyebrow. “Can you?”

John ran his thumb under Alex’s eyes. “You look tired.” John kissed Alex’s lips. “Do you think you’ll be able to sleep again once we get back to Paris?”

“Yes, I do.” Alex took John’s hand. “I didn’t sleep when I was in Germany for the first time.”

“You didn’t sleep for nine years?” John gasped.

“Ah, I spent a few months every year in another place, and I slept there.” Alex chuckled. “I don’t know why, but I don’t like sleeping here. Too much going on.” He touched John’s chin, leaving a bit of water on the stringy hair. “I write a lot when I’m here though. That’s good.”

“I think you spend too much time writing, and too little time taking care of yourself.”

Alex chuckled. “Dear John, that is the person I am, and yet you love me regardless.”

“I do.”

Alex gave John a small smile, draping his arms lazily over the man’s shoulders as he thought for a moment. “I cannot wait to marry you, John Laurens.”

“And I, you.”

-

Alex knew Lafayette was to enter his room at any moment, or at least he hoped, so he was trying to look like he was absolutely not expecting Lafayette and was just naturally flaunting his sex appeal. He was above the covers of the unused guest room, nightshirt high up on his legs, exposing most of them, hair down and messy. He had a bit of guilt. It was his wedding night after all, but sex was just sex. Didn’t mean anything but what he wanted it to mean.

Alex liked it when people liked him. He liked it when they used him. He liked being nothing more but a good climax. He didn’t know why such empty love made him feel so good, but he supposed it was the idea of being good for something since there was nothing else that he was needed for. He knew he could’ve been a doctor, or a teacher, or a baker, or a tailor. He could’ve been anything, but instead, he was nothing. So those nights in Germany when he was out with some people he didn’t talk to anymore, and they would touch him and take him in uncomfortable places, at least he was wanted.

Being wanted was a painfully wonderful thing to Alex. He wanted to be wanted by as many people as possible. He wanted to be needed, really, but he hated to think about it like that. Needing someone and wanting someone had two very different connotations. Wanting someone was simply, red, and sweaty. Alex could want whoever was around. People could want him. Wanting someone meant you fucked in the back of a carriage after a mascarade ball, or kissed in the kitchen, or wrote letters that were just a bit too erotic to share. Wanting was simple, easy, and it was exactly the type of thing Alex enjoyed. It was no strings attached.

Needing someone terrified the man. Needing someone was taking late-night baths, and reading poetry, and sharing intimate moments together. Needing someone was knowing all their bones, and them knowing yours. The idea of being so close, of sharing intimacy with someone, it almost made Alex sick. But at the same time, it was comfortable. It was warm, and relaxing, and close. It was soft enough, even if it got bitter for a moment. Alex didn’t think of the hundreds of faces he had wanted when he thought of who he needed. There was only one tanned and freckled face that popped into his head when he thought about who he needed.

He needed John, and he hated himself for needed the man but loved John for making him need him. He needed John. It wouldn’t be hard for Alex to find another sexual partner if he and John ever hated each other. Alex had plenty of people, even in Paris, who he was sure would take him in a moment. That part was easy. Especially since it was Paris, and every man was a sodomite after six. It was the intimacy Alex would find himself craving if John ever left. Because no one in Paris needed him, no one shared that bond with him. No one had seen him at age fourteen, crying because someone had hurled insults at his Israeli heritage. No one but John.

So yes, he needed John. He needed John more than anything. But he wanted Lafayette. He wanted that body up against his, he wanted those lips on the most secret places of his body. He wanted to feel the scruff Lafayette adorned against his stomach and thighs. He wanted to let Lafayette take him. He justified the wrongful actions with this argument. He didn’t need the man, he didn’t need Lafayette to take him, he just wanted it. As long as it stayed that way, they might as well be playing chess.

Of course, he couldn’t be sure John would see it that way, so he kept the meetings with Lafayette secretive. He knew it was wrong, he didn’t have to be convinced it was, truly, but he wanted to do something wrong. He was bored. He was always so bored, with everything. Fucking Lafayette was like scratching that restless itch. Alex didn’t quite know why he had to be doing something wrong and naughty, but he liked the feeling of it. It was the same feeling he got when he smoked hashish or opium when he drank too much when he put himself in situations where he could be harmed. He liked those feelings, so he sought them out, and was quite happy when he found them.

The door cracked open and Lafayette stepped in, looking around a bit before closing the door quietly. “Good evening.”

Alex let his knees fall apart a bit. “Maybe you can make it good.”

“Alex, I…” Lafayette pressed his tongue to the inside of his cheek. “I have to talk to you about something.”

“Lord, I hope it won’t take too long, I’m a bit bothered already,” Alex joked, putting his book down. “Come, dear Lafayette, sit down. The best is big enough for you to have a seat.” Alex laughed when Lafayette didn’t move. “Come, do I have to drag you?”

“No, you don’t.” Lafayette went and sat down, looking almost uncomfortable.

Alex picked up on this, pulling his nightshirt down and sitting modestly next to the man. “Are you quite alright, dear?”

“I’m not your dear,” Lafayette said, his voice low with a bit of edge.

Alex scooted a few inches away, lips pulled down. “Have I done something wrong?”

“Yes, you have!” Lafayette stood up. “You have done something wrong. You’ve done something wrong because you spread your legs for me when you are getting married to the man you love tomorrow! Look at you! Do you even think of the heartbreak John would feel if he found out about what we were doing?”

“If it bothers you so much, then you can go!” Alex gasped. “You could’ve not come here, you could’ve said no. You’ve always had the opportunity to say no! I will not let you stand here and shame me for something you participated in just as much as I have! If John is so much your friend, then go sleep with him.”

“Alex.” Lafayette pinched the bridge of his nose. “You’re just so…” He shook his head, then sat back down. “You’re frustrating.”

“Then leave.”

Lafayette looked up at Alex. “No, I have something to tell you.”

“Oh, it’s not just you yelling at me for something you are just as guilty as I am?” Alex mused, though there was a bitter sound to his voice, one that sent chills down your spine. Alex wasn’t an angry person, he wasn’t, but when he got mad, he did it in a way that made you want to just leave. He didn’t yell, he didn’t like to yell, but his tone said it all.

“I’m sorry, I just…” Lafayette shook his head. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright,” Alex replied, staring at the floor.

Lafayette looked at Alex, then back at the floor. “I didn’t mean to shout.”

“I know.” Alex was still staring at the floor, and he sounded at ease, though there was an edge you could pick up.

They both sat in silence for a moment, staring at the floor. Lafayette wanted to take Alex’s hand, but the fear of Alex ripping it away was enough to stop him. He was so conflicted. He wanted to grab Alex by the shoulders and shake him and yell and make him cry, and at the same time, he wanted to spend the rest of his life in a bed with the man, holding him. Lafayette had a few grey hairs now. He wasn’t particularly old, but he was older. Thirty-seven, though he could usually pass for early thirties or late twenties, even with the greys.

Lafayette looked over when Alex sniffled. He hadn’t grabbed the man by the shoulders, shook him, and yelled, but he had made Alex cry. Perhaps this was a particularly emotional day, and Alex was already at the edge, and perhaps Lafayette’s words had truly hurt the man. Lafayette would never know the answer to that question, and neither would Alex.

“I don’t want to hurt John,” Alex sniffled. “And it’s not fair of you to think that’s my goal. It never has been. You just…” Alex shook his head. “Lafayette, sometimes I feel like you’re the only person in the world who truly understand me.”

“And what of John?”

“John tries, and I love him for it, but he will never truly understand it. He doesn’t understand why every place I go is as close as I’ll come to the home. He knows what home means, I don’t. And neither do you. So you understand me. And maybe I don’t care if we stop having sex, I don’t care if you never touch me again, but I don’t want to lose you.”

“You won’t.” Lafayette felt safe enough to touch Alex’s hand, gently closing his own around it.

Alex shook his head, wiping his cheeks. “Lafayette there’s a reason I’m willing to break an oath to John for you, and it’s because you are the only person I’ve ever talked to who doesn’t tell me any lines I’ve heard before. You have never told me that I need to work harder to find a home or home is wherever I chose. You understand me when I say I don’t have a home, and that, that is the closest I’ll come to a home.”

Lafayette pressed a soft kiss to Alex’s temple. “I’m not going anywhere.”

Alex leaned against him, closing his eyes. “I’m sorry, we’re so off-topic.” He wiped his cheeks, then looked up at Lafayette. “What did you want to tell me?”

“I just…” Lafayette smiled. “I’m so excited for you.”

“That’s it?” Alex mused.

“Yes, that’s it.”

Alex didn’t believe him, he didn’t, but he let it slide. “Close your eyes.”

“Why?”

“Just, do it.” Alex nudged Lafayette. “Don’t be a coward.”

Lafayette closed his eyes. “I’m not a coward.”

Alex smiled, squeezing Lafayette’s hand. “I know.” He leaned in and kissed Lafayette.

The kiss took Lafayette by surprise, but he didn’t hesitate to kiss back. He knew what Alex wanted from him. Above all, it was the sex, and Laf was okay with that. The feeling was almost mutual. Laf felt like being used and using was a much easier way to deal with everything else. Both of them knew the other thought of them as a coping method, but they ignored it. They ignored everything wrong with it as they began humping each other.

Lafayette tried to keep his eyes closed for most of it, so it could be anyone but Alex, but every now and then, he would open his eyes and see that beautiful face, bouncing and biting their thumb to quiet down. He would watch the way Alex’s hair stuck to his forehead, the way his legs moved and stomach folded over a bit. The way he touched himself. Lafayette thought it was rude to refer to Alex as a man. Alex wasn’t a man; he was art. He was pure art, and God, Lafayette could’ve stared at him all day. It wasn’t Alex’s fault he looked the way he did, and truthfully, Alex wasn’t conventionally attractive. Not in the way John was, not in the way Lafayette was, not in the way any of his friends were. Alex looked, at best, plain, but he could make himself look beautiful. He could talk people into believing he was beautiful. Or he could just talk, and that would make people think he was beautiful.

Alex knew he looked fairly plain, with his large nose, olive skin, scruffy facial hair that didn’t quite fit in anywhere he went. His dark hair was long, but not particularly wavy or angelic. His body was at best, average, and his legs only looked good when he was skinny, which he wasn’t really at the moment. He wasn’t particularly endowed where it mattered. He was average. He was nothing special, and he knew that.

But he didn’t know how many people would’ve killed to see him naked. There was something about the type of plain Alex was that drew eyes. He wasn’t plain enough to be, well, plain. He had features that stood out, and something about his face that screamed ‘trouble.’ Alex then, once he had drawn a bit of a crowd, would proceed to talk, and people would realize just how beautiful he really was.

Lafayette finished first, throwing his head back into the pillow and gasping. Alex let Lafayette ride out his high, then stopped. He didn’t say anything for a moment but allowed his fingers to run along the visible sternum in Lafayette’s chest.

“Alexander, you’re absolutely wonderful,” Lafayette complimented, squeezing Alex’s thigh gently.

Alex could’ve finished at those words. “Am I?”

“You are.” Lafayette leaned up and kissed him. “Come, roll on your back, I would like to give you your last sexual climax as an unmarried man.”

Alex laughed. “You are a dog, Lafayette, and I absolutely adore you, yes?”

Lafayette smiled softly, letting his hands run along Alex’s back, staring into the man’s eyes. “And I adore you too.”  

 

Chapter Text

There wasn’t much about the wedding that was tradition. No one was dressed up, but Aaron had managed to get Alex to sit still long enough to braid it. There was no band, but Thomas was playing his violin. There was no church nor paster, but Lafayette stood in front of the gazebo, smiling as Alex and John took their place in front of him. Neither Alex’s mother nor his father were there, but there was John, standing in front of him. Alex’s friends sat in chairs, while Thomas’ violin was placed to the side.

It was a cloudy day, too cloudy. The earth reeked of petrichor, but none of them found any reason to complain. It wasn’t too chilly, it wasn’t terribly windy, and worse comes to worst, they could simply move the reception indoors. Alex thought it was a nice day though, and decided there was no other situation in which he would rather be married.

“And though we may be called sin, it is with both my body and my mind that I devote myself to you entirely, never to lay in the bed of another, only between your thighs,” Alex whispered softly, holding John’s hand. “With this ring, I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”

John smiled softly, watching Alex smile at him, tears in his eyes. John had never heard Alex speak quietly, but he knew Alex was honest with what he said. John smiled and took a deep breath, trying to remember the vows he thought up. “Uh, I just, I’ve never been as eloquent as you, Alexander, and we’re about to prove that to all of our friends.”

The group of romantics laughed, giving John a few cheers of encouragement.

John chuckled, shrugging as he listened to Alex’s sweet melodic laughter. “Before I knew you, my life was only fear. I have not, and cannot describe how grateful I am that you gave me courage. You are the man that changed the way I viewed the world.” He looked at Alex. “So, with this ring, I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”

Lafayette gave a small smile. “Alexander, do you take John to be your husband, through sickness and health?”

“I do,” Alex whispered.

“And John, do you take Alexander to be your husband, through sickness and health?”

John squeezed Alex’s hand. “I do.”

Lafayette let out a laugh. “Now, kiss each other already.”

John leaned in, kissing Alex. Just as they did, rain hit their faces. Alex laughed, hugging John as thunder rolled lightly through the land. It began to rain harder, but no one cared. Thomas opened a bottle of wine, and then another, and then a third, passing them all around. Alex laughed and was almost too caught up in the joy to realize something.

“Wait!” He gasped. “I have something we have to do. Get me a wine glass, and a kerchief, yes?”

“What are you doing?” John laughed, following Alex up to the small gazebo.

“It’s a tradition my mother taught me. After weddings, you step on a glass. It represents the fragility of love and reminds us the world around us still requires healing.”

“I have honestly never heard of that,” John admitted, watching Andre hand Alex the things he needed.

“It’s Jewish,” Lafayette clarified. “It’s a Jewish tradition.”

“Aren’t you Catholic?” Thomas laughed as Alex wrapped up the wine glass in the kerchief and set it on the ground.

“Perhaps, but my mother taught me this.” Alex put his foot over the wine glass, then smiled at John. “As this glass shatters, so may our marriage never break.” He stopped, smiling at the satisfying crunch under him, before looking over the people. “Now, we may celebrate.”

“Oh, now?” John laughed.

Alex fell into his arms. “Yes, now.”

And celebrate they did. The rain soaked through their clothes, but it was a warm summer rain, that bothered any of them. Alex’s white shirt stuck to his chest, and you could almost see the details of his torso through it. It was the same with everyone else though, and no one seemed to care. It was midday since Alex had absolutely rejected the idea of either an evening or a morning wedding, so the sun shone through the clouds just enough to give the backyard a yellow grey cast of light. They drank and sang and danced. Thomas, at one point, stood under the gazebo and played slow and gentle music for Alex and John to dance to. It was beautiful. Alex wished the moment could’ve never ended. He could’ve spent the rest of his life in that wet backyard, slipping and laughing and drinking. Kissing his John and embracing his friends. He wanted it to never end.

But it did, sadly. It got darker, colder, and the feeling of wet clothes against skin got more uncomfortable. Everyone helped carry the food and drink back inside, and stripped down to nothing in the kitchen, hanging everything up and dry off with some towels.

The sight of a naked male used to make John blush and look away. He used to get almost uncomfortable. But he grew used to it as his days in Germany passed. Clothing was, oh, a bit optional on the hotter days, and sometimes people would prefer to wear less than they could. He felt no embarrassment at the sight of the bodies around him, for they were simply that. Bodies.

“I do believe I’ve gotten chilled,” Andre complained.

“Draw a bath,” Lafayette suggested. “The Paris winters can leave a bitter cold in my bones, and I find a bath always draws it out.”

Alex wrapped his arms around John’s waist, resting his chin on the man’s shoulder. “You could stop standing around in just your skin and go put clothes on.”

Andre laughed as he finished drying himself off. “You could be right.”

Alex leaned up and kissed John’s neck, smiling before nipping the man’s earlobe. “Come on, John, I wanna consummate.”

“Oh, Christ,” Thomas laughed. “I don’t think we’ll manage to get an ounce of sleep tonight, will we?”

“If you do, then John is doing something wrong,” Alex smiled. “We’ll see you all tomorrow, yes?”

“I do hope Alex will still be alive and well,” James snickered.

“Happy marriage,” Aaron laughed, waving to the two as they left.

They didn’t wait until they got to their room to begin kissing and touching. On their stairwell, they stopped for a moment, hands falling to the space between the other’s legs, moaning and kissing. This wasn’t a soft and gentle kiss like they were used to; it was wet, messy, with teeth clacking and tongues trying to find a place to settle. It was a miracle they made it into their own room, truthfully.

Alex laughed as John pinned him to the bed and kissed his neck, hooking his leg around John’s waist. “I love you, I love you, I love-” Alex hissed a bit at a particularly hard nip to the collar bone. “-you.”

“You’re so beautiful,” John mumbled, grinding down on Alex.

“Make love to me as if you are to form our child, John.” Alex kissed John’s lips. “Make me feel like a virgin again.”

“I think that’s a hardly fair request, Alexander.” John laughed. “I don’t think I could make you feel like a virgin no matter how hard I tried.”

Alex threw his head back into the pillow, laughing. “Then at the very least, make me feel special.”

“And how do I do that?”

Alex shrugged. “I believe you’ll have to figure that one out yourself.”

“You’re a cruel lover.” John reached down and grabbed Alex’s cock. “I don’t believe a day goes by when you don’t break my heart.”

A pang of guilt ran through Alex’s chest when he took what John said a bit too seriously. “Don’t be silly, John Laurens. If that were true, you wouldn’t be here.”

“You’re right. I wouldn’t.” John kissed Alex. “Shall we get a move on, or do you still wish to remain in this light conversation?”

“Ah, we have all evening, so come, let’s start, see how long we can go before we collapse, yes?”

John chuckled. “That honestly sounds quite wonderful, dear Alexander.”

It was eight when they stopped, for once taking a break. Sweat rolled down their backs, and the air in the room was hot, and the silk sheets were sticky with sweat and semen. Alex was breathing heavily, opening and closing his eyes as his body remained in its almost shocking state of euphoria. John’s hand was just touching his, while he had slung his leg over the other’s.

“Should I draw a bath?” John asked in a breathy voice.

“Yes, perhaps you should. Then we could let our sheets dry.” Alex laughed, looking at his husband. “Oh, they will need to be washed tomorrow.”

“Because you have put yourself in the woman’s position in this relationship, I do expect you to wash them now that we are married.”

“I have not put myself in the woman’s position!” Alex gasped. “Just because I take what you give, it does not make me any less of a man!”

“Does it not?”

“No, it does not. And in fact, as someone who has never had a cock in their ass, you will never truly understand the bravery required for that sort of feat.” Alex rolled on his side, looking at John. “If anything, you are the woman.”

“Perhaps.” John leaned in and kissed Alex. “I’ll go draw the bath.”

Alex smiled, watching John walk to the bathroom, before closing his eyes and letting out a long sigh. Even with Andre, eventually, they got tired, but John had a bit of a stamina, and Christ, Alex had never really been worn out during sex, but by the end of it, he could barely focus, and just let John do all the work.

Alex enjoyed it though. John was absolutely ruthless and it was quite pleasant. Alex, for the last round, had his wind on something though. As wonderfully hot as it was to have John touching him, he wondered what it could’ve been like to have someone else there too. Oh, he was ashamed to say his finish was mostly accredited to the thought of Lafayette fucking his mouth, and John fucking his ass.

Perhaps Alex could bring the idea up to John in a non-threatening way. A simple suggestion, accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders, a gentle hum. Alex had to admit, a bit of energy inserted itself into his body at the thought of both John and Lafayette, kissing and touching him.

“Come, it’s ready,” John smiled.

Alex pulled himself up, flinching at the feeling of pain in his back. “Ah.”

“Are you alright?” John asked.

Alex nodded, standing up. “Yes, yes, I’m just fine. My back simply hurts. A bath will be nice.” He smiled and followed John back into the bathroom, letting his husband assist him into the bath. Alex’s back occasionally spasmed, and it would hurt, but it would fade after a bit. Alex smiled, looking at John, who sat across from him, smiling. “I love you, so much.”

“I love you too.” John found Alex’s hand. “Has this night been pleasant?”

“God, John, you’ve worn me out. Do you know how hard it is to do that?” Alex laughed, tilting his head back.

“You wanted to feel special,” John snickered.

“I may have withheld something from you.” Alex gave a mischievous grin, looking away.

“And what was that?”

“You always make me feel special.”

John smiled, leaning back and squeezing Alex’s hand. “How’s your back?”

“Much better now. Sometimes it simply feels the need to act up for a moment, you know what it’s like. Luckily, it didn’t last too long. I’m fine now.” Alex knocked his knee against John’s. “I think the bath is definitely helping, though, so thank you for suggesting the idea.”

John smiled. “Good.”

Alex leaned back, closing his eyes and savoring the feeling of John’s skin against his. No matter how much he touched John, every time still felt like fireworks and sparks. He wished he and John could spend the rest of their days naked, wrapped up in a sheet, reading, and writing, kissing and making love. Alex could’ve done that. He wanted to do that.

“I love you.”

“I love you too.” John’s eyes were hooded as if he was tired.

“Would you be interested in going one more time after the bath?”

“Perhaps.”

“And maybe…” Alex thought very carefully about his words before he spoke. “And maybe we invite a third company to our actions.”

John’s eyebrows shot up. “Oh? And who did you have in mind?”

“I don’t know.” Alex shrugged, running his fingers along the edge of the bathtub. “Someone we know, someone we like.”

“You do know, don’t you?”

Alex only smiled.

A laugh escaped the Frenchman, and he leaned forward. “Come now, out with it. Who do you think would be ideal to add into our nightly actions, hm?”

“Perhaps… Lafayette?” Alex sat forward. “You remember how wonderful it was with Eliza, and I think one of the reasons it was so wonderful was because we knew and loved her. And we know and love Lafayette.”

John leaned forward, kissing Alex. “I think that sounds quite interesting.”

A smile stretched across Alex’s face, and a bit of heat flowed into his cheeks. “It would be. Do you think he would show interest?”

“I do.”

Alex smiled. “Let us both go, hm? Convince him. Perhaps I can watch you and him play with each other, yes?”

“What is it with you and watching me with other people?” John laughed. “First, you watched me and Eliza, and now me and Lafayette? Where does it end?”

“It won’t end if I’m lucky enough.”

John let out a happy sigh. “Alright, yes. After the bath, let us make our way to Lafayette’s room with a bottle of wine. We’ll see if a bit of drink and that face of yours can convince him to satisfy our curiosity.”

And that’s exactly what they did. Alex’s hair was still damp as he walked quietly down the hallway to Lafayette’s room. The door was ajar, so he opened it a bit more, tapping the bottle of the doorway and smiling at the man.

“Have you not gotten enough from John?” Lafayette asked, not even looking up from his book.

“Ah, Lafayette, we both know Alexander is unsatisfiable,” John laughed.

Fear almost pumped through Lafayette’s veins as he looked up, but calmed when he realized it was both Alex and John. “What is it you two are looking for?”

John shrugged. “Company, perhaps.”

“It’s been barely six hours and you’re already bored with each other?” Lafayette mused, nodding them in and putting his book away.

“Not bored. But we did miss you,” Alex clarified, lying on one side of Lafayette and cuddling up close to him. He felt Lafayette tense for a moment, but then relax as John sat on his other side, leaning against him and opening the wine. For a few moments, they drank in silence, cuddled up under the blankets.

“Good Christ, man, what happened to your hand?” John mumbled, taking Lafayette’s hand in his own. “Looks like you slammed your fingers in a door.”

Lafayette and Alex were taken back to the night before when Alex’s moans got a little too loud as Lafayette performed an act of sodomy, and he offered up his fingers for Alex to bite down on and stay quiet. Lafayette was not about to tell John this story though, so he simply cleared his throat, chuckling. “Ah, yes. I was in a hurry the other day and ended up catching my fingers in a cabinet door.”

“Here.” Alex took the hand and kissed the bruise. “All better.”

“What were you reading?” John asked.

“Candide,” Lafayette replied.

“Oh, I’ve been meaning to read that one. Do you quite like it?” Alex asked, sipping the wine and spilling a bit on his chin.

“I think it’s… it’s good, and it’s bad. It reads like a child’s writing, but at the same time, is extremely witty and can make one chuckle. I do think highly of it, do not misunderstand, but I don’t think certain people could stand to read it. But you, Alexander, I think it’s just right for you. I will lend it to you when I finish it, yes?”

“That would be wonderful, thank you.” Alex leaned up, kissing Lafayette’s cheek.

The man paused for a moment, looking between Alex and John, who were staring at him with wide and innocent eyes. He thought for a moment, then gasped. “My God, you wish to have sex with me!”

“Lafayette! However could you have gotten that notion?”

“Yes, we do, in fact.”

John and Alex’s voices overlapped, but the truth was there.

Lafayette got up from his spot, turning to face both of them. “Have you not found it satisfying to be alone with each other when you consummate?”

“We’ve been alone all evening,” John pointed out. “We missed you.”

“And just why am I your option when there are plenty of others in this house?” Lafayette muttered, brows creased in an almost confusion.

“Well, we love you, Lafayette. There was never a second thought that we wanted you,” Alex smiled softly, leaning forward.

Lafayette felt his heart flutter, staring in Alex’s eyes. “Well, you know I can’t say no to that face.”

“No, you cannot.” Alex leaned forward and planted a soft kiss on Lafayette’s lips. “And while I would thoroughly enjoy feeling your cock deep in my body, I have other things I wish to see tonight.”

“Oh?” Lafayette raised an eyebrow, shooting a look to John.

“My dear Alexander has found himself rather enjoying his life as a cuckold,” John snickered. “When it was Eliza, him, and I, he watched me and Eliza make love as long as he could before finally joining the scene.”

“Alexander, is this what you want? To see me with your husband?”

Alex leaned back into the pillows. “More than anything, dear Lafayette.”

Lafayette nodded, then sat back a bit, patting his thighs. “Come, dear John, sit.”

John was almost shy, moving forward to straddle Lafayette’s lap. He looked back to Alex, but let out a soft ‘oh!’ when Lafayette grabbed his chin and turned his head back so they were making eye contact.

“Don’t look at him,” Lafayette instructed. “He might as well not be here.” The man leaned in, kissing John’s neck. “Focus on me.”

John let out a soft sound, his hands falling to Lafayette’s hair. Lafayette’s hands went up John’s nightshirt, touching the soft skin on his thighs and ass. John had always been in Lafayette’s position, since Alex didn’t have a dominant bone in his body, so it was kind of nice to have the tables turned.

John let out a gasp when Lafayette leaned forward and pinned John’s wrists to the bed, pulling him into a kiss. Alex didn’t think he had ever gotten so hard so quickly, seeing Lafayette take control of John. God, that was hot. The way John arched his back into Lafayette’s chest, the way his eyes closed and he moaned at Lafayette ground into him.

Alex began to have trouble keeping his hands by his side. The space between his legs began to ache, and oh, once it started to ache, it wouldn’t stop until Alex had felt some kind of release. Alex began to squirm, watching as Lafayette reached under John’s nightshirt and began to jerk the man off. The kiss was messier, wetter, and John looked in utter ecstasy. Oh, God, Alex wanted to touch.

John chuckled, looking over at Alex. “You have that face, dear boy.”

“What face?” Alex asked.

“The one that says you wish to join.” John moaned as Lafayette picked up his pace, stroking the man. “Dear Lafayette, I think it may be time to let Alexander join our activities.”

Lafayette sat up, straddling John and looking at Alex. “He’d like that, wouldn’t he? He’s nothing more than a common whore. Look at him. He wants two men to use them because he is never satisfied, are you Alexander?”

Alex shook his head.

“You want to be used.”

Alex nodded.

“Lie on your stomach, across the bed.” Lafayette got off the bed, pulling his nightshirt off and standing in front of Alex’s face. “John, you must have enough knowledge of Alex’s body to know where he’d like you to put your cock.”

Alex was almost giddy, watching John take off his nightshirt and pull Alex’s hips up, getting himself situated between them. He yelped when Lafayette grabbed a handful of his hair, moving his head back so he was facing Lafayette’s waist, eye level with his cock. Lafayette wouldn’t be so rough if he didn’t know Alex liked it. During one night when Alex had snuck down to the board room to let Lafayette fuck him against a coffee table, he had blushingly admitted that a sharp tug to the hair made the whole scene that much better.

Alex opened his mouth, ready to receive the erect brown cock, but Lafayette held it just out of reach. For a moment, it was frustrating, but he quickly got distracted when John pushed in. Alex closed his eyes, pressing his forehead to the mattress as John began a ruthless rhythm.

Lafayette tugged Alex’s hair back up, smiling slightly at the man. “Is it my cock you want?”

Alex nodded as best he could, mouth open.

Lafayette grabbed his cock with his other hand, moving it in front of Alex’s face. He laughed, pressing his tip to Alex’s nose and hearing a frustrated groan from the man. "John, I do hope you tease Alex because this has become quite entertaining.”

“He’s being mean to me!” Alex gasped.

John threw his head back, laughing as he thrust his hips roughly into Alex. “Ha!”

Lafayette almost shoved his cock into Alex’s mouth, then quickly pulled away, laughing at the desperate moans Alex was giving off. “Not yet.”

“Please!” Alex gasped. “Lafayette, you’re being cruel!”

“You hear that, John? I refuse to give him cock and for that, I am cruel.”

“Alexander is a minx, we both know that, dear Lafayette,” John grunted as he continued thrusting into Alex.

“Ah, I feel I should give it to him, but does he deserve it? Have you been good, Alex?” Lafayette stared down at Alex.

Alex looked at Lafayette with blown pupils, lips parted, then softly shook his head.

“You common whore.”

Lafayette shoved his cock down Alex’s throat, no warning.

Alex had taken two men before, so the idea of it was nothing new, but the way Lafayette and John compared and contrasted, the violent manner in which he was being fucked, oh, it was incredible. Alex couldn’t function well enough to even hold himself up. He was at the mercy of John holding up his hips, and Lafayette holding up his head. He would’ve moaned if he could’ve, but with the rate of Lafayette shoving his cock down Alex’s throat, the man barely found time to breathe. Spit was spilling down his chin as he choked and writhed, gasping for any type of air. Lafayette seemed to realize that Alex needed a moment, so he pulled out, watching Alex gasp and choke for a moment, before regaining whatever composure he could and opening his mouth again.

“Ah, fuck!” John began moving his hips a bit faster. “Oh, God! Christ!”

“Are you going to finish in Alex’s ass, John?” Lafayette’s voice was low and dark.

“Yes, oh, God!” John slammed hard into Alex's ass, gasping as he came.

Alex closed his eyes, savoring in that feeling. He could feel John begin to go soft again as he pulled out, could feel the man lean down and plant a kiss on Alex’s back.

“I think it only fair,” John started breathlessly, “that I request something as well.”

Lafayette pulled Alex off his cock. “And what would you like to see?”

“I’d like to see you fuck my husband,” John smiled.

“And you called me a cuck,” Alex muttered, snickering as he pushed himself up. With the change in the gravitational pull, he could feel John’s semen begin to leak out of him, but he paid it no mind. “We’ll wash your sheets in the morning, along with ours, Lafayette.”

“Ah, you mustn’t worry, I’m capable of doing it myself.” Lafayette climbed onto the bed, cock still hard and red, dripping with Alex’s spit and his own precome.

“We know,” John replied. “But we love you, and we’d hate to cause you any more physical labor.”

Lafayette laughed. “Come, Alex, I am exhausted from standing, and you’ve barely done an ounce of work since this even started.” He lied on his back. “Will you manage?”

Alex scoffed. “I will manage just fine, Lafayette.” He shot a sultry look at John. “Will you?”

John sat back, smiling. “I think I will.”

Alex lowered himself down onto Lafayette’s cock. He was thankful he had gotten so used to it because Lafayette was bigger than John. Alex let out a low moan, touching himself as he began to bounce.

It was at this moment, with both John and Lafayette there, that Alex swore he had never been happier. John watching and smiling, Lafayette under him, gasping and moaning. Alex felt better about everything. He wished the moment could’ve never ended.

But, he eventually finished, gasping a moaning, grinding his hips until Lafayette finished. Alex’s eyes were barely opened as he collapsed next to John. He was breathing heavily, trying to stay awake, though he wasn’t doing too well.

“Lafayette, dear, come.” Alex held open his arms. “Lie with us.”

“This is my bed, so I have nowhere else to lie.” Lafayette smiled, curling up on the other side of Alex and pressing his head into Alex’s chest.

John kissed Alex’s neck, smiling lightly as he wrapped his arms around Alex’s waist and rested his forehead against the back of Alex’s neck. “Goodnight, dear Alex.”

“Goodnight, dear John.” Alex kissed the top of Lafayette’s head. “Goodnight, Lafayette.”

“Mm, Goodnight.”

Alex took a deep breath, smiling at the two men who were holding him. This was what he wanted. This was what he needed.

He held Lafayette a bit tighter, then let himself drift into a blissful sleep.

 

Chapter Text

June 1839

It was their last night in Germany, and they were determined to make the most out of it. They were drinking, smoking hash, eating good food and laughing with all their friends. Lafayette was to leave tomorrow as well but had a stop to make in the Netherlands to see an old friend before he did, so the trio was taking different routes. They weren’t the only ones who were coming close to their departure. Thomas and James were to go back to Greece for a while. Aaron made it very clear though that he was to stay with Andre, since ‘Andre is the only man who satisfies me intellectually, and I have nothing but heartbreak waiting for me in my home country.’

Tonight though, they weren’t thinking about that. They were only thinking about the very retelling of a predicament Thomas had gotten himself into with a fish trader in Macedonia. He had slept with the trader’s daughter and was caught right in her bed, totally naked. Thomas had jumped up, running through the market with nothing but a sheet, like an ashamed Roman senator.

“This, of course, was a very long time ago, when I was much younger.” Thomas sat back down. “Before I found a simple satisfaction.”

“Charming,” James smiled, leaning against Thomas.

“Ah.” Thomas took his hand. “I feel as though age is getting to me.”

“Tis getting to all of us,” Aaron chuckled, adjusting himself on the couch and sipping his wine. “We are not as young as we used to be.”

“Bah. I did not come here to talk of our impending mortality,” Alex dismissed.

“Memento mori, dear boy,” John smiled, holding Alex closer to his chest.

“I have no reason to even think about death. Perhaps when I reach my forties. Thirty is not a bad age though, honestly. I mean, look at me. I’m thirty, I’m drunk, surrounded by my closest friends, my lover.” Alex took a sip of wine. “We have no reason to be even thinking of death.”

“Alexander, while drunk, is right,” Andre decided. “John, tell us a story. Tell us of the trouble you found yourself getting into while Alexander was gone.”

“Tell us about the woman you slept with,” Alex requested, looking sweetly into John’s eyes. “Tell us that story.”

“And here I thought the mere idea of a woman was to make John ill.” James laughed. “Please, John, do tell us so. What made this woman so special?”

“Alexander, before he left, made me promise him that I would sleep with a woman. And I did since I am a man of my honor. Oh, she was…” John shook his head. “It was a warm night, and I walked into the pub hoping to find a woman to sleep with. I hate to sound confident, but even as a young man, I was quite handsome-”

“He was,” Alex interjected. “Even if he was a bit disproportionate, with ears that stuck out too much.”

John rolled his eyes, giving Alex’s hair a bit of a tug and earning himself a cheeky smile and a kiss on the chin. “So, there is a woman there, and she is… she’s pleasant to look at, not too terrible if I’m to be honest.” John hummed. “I struck up a conversation with her and found it dry. I wouldn’t call myself a philosopher by any means, but a conversation with those who lack an understanding of the greater things in this world is just…” John shook his head. “Lord, it’s quite obnoxious. But, I smiled and spoke with her until she suggested we go up to her room to have a bit more quiet.”

“I bet a bit more quiet wasn’t anywhere near your minds!” Thomas jeered.

John laughed. “We talked a bit longer, and then we began our ungodly activities. She was quite aggressive if I do say so myself. She was a large woman, with a stomach, and breasts bigger than my head.”

Alex chuckled at that.

“And I took her the way Alex enjoys to be taken.” John kissed the top of Alex’s head. “She bounced upon my waist and screamed my name. It was quite satisfying, though I did, at moments, find myself picturing Alex.”

“It’s surprising to me that you both spent your boyhood together and yet failed to fall in love until you were men,” Aaron muttered, looking over his book. I would think Alex would’ve gotten too frustrated and ground his cock against you until you realized you liked it.”

Alex tilted his head back, laughing. “No, no. I honestly thought John was the type to not marry at all, like you, Aaron. But, oh, I must tell you, there was a time before John and I got quite intimate, but we had still acknowledged our attraction when John-”

“Alexander,” John warned.

“He got hard in his sleep and spent the next half hour grinding against me!” Alex laughed.

“James did that to me once,” Thomas started. “He was quite embarrassed.”

“Ah, yes, I was,” James mumbled.

The group talked late into the night, progressively getting drunker until finally, they decided it was time to sleep. Alex and John needed to pack though since they hadn’t even started, so they began.

“I still cannot believe we’re leaving tomorrow,” John admitted. “I don’t want to go.”

“Now you know how I felt,” Alex laughed, putting his books in a trunk. “We’ll come back, though. We never will leave anywhere forever.”

“I suppose. But next, we must visit Eliza.”

“Then China,” Alex reminded. “I would like to see China with you, John. We could… we could go soon after we arrive home, or spend a bit of time at home, plan a trip, those things, yes?” Alex smiled hopefully. “I think we’d have plenty fun in China together.”

“I think we would too.”

Alex began to fold his clothes. “Is it bad I’m dreading going to see my parents again?”

“I do not believe so,” John mumbled. “That is how I feel about my father. He will be even more disappointed upon learning I took no wife and spent a year drinking and smoking.” John laughed. “I told him of the romantic movement, and he called in silly.”

“He knows nothing of what we are,” Alex scoffed.

John nodded. “That’s what I said.” John, who finished putting his stuff in the trunk, laid down on the bed. “I will miss these sheets. Perhaps we commission silk sheets once we arrive back in Paris, and sleep in luxury once again.”

“Perhaps.”

John held out his arms. “Come, lie with me.”

“I’m not done packing!” Alex gasped. “I must finish tonight or I will never be ready on time tomorrow. We must leave early, you know that?”

“I do. Alas.”

“You just practice your patience.” Alex sped up the packing process, putting his things away and finally lying down next to John. “Are you happy now?”

“I believe I am.” John kissed Alex’s head. “I love you so much, Alexander.”

“I love you too,” Alex replied.

John found Alex’s hand. “Do you think we could run away together, and start anew?”

“If we wanted, but oh, there are certain people I do not wish to run away from, dearest, Johnathan,” Alex admitted. “As much as the idea of running away sounds nice.”

John hummed. “When we get home, I think we should buy some better art for our apartment, yes? Make the place look a bit more lively, less plain.”

“Lafayette’s shop may have what we’re looking for,” Alex suggested.

“Yes, it may.” John turned down the oil lamp, laying back. “Come, let us sleep. We have an early morning tomorrow.”

“Yes, we do.”

John pecked Alex’s lips and closed his eyes. “Goodnight, Alexander. I love you.”

“I love you too, John Laurens.

Alex didn’t sleep though. Alex didn’t want to sleep. He hadn’t felt tired since he got to Germany, and he wasn’t going to start on his last night, so he waited for John to fall asleep, then got dressed and walked across the hallway to Lafayette’s door.

“Knock knock,” Alex sang.

A few moments later, the door opened. Lafayette looked awake but drowsy. “Yes?”

“Would you accompany me on a walk, dearest?”

Lafayette sighed, looking down the hallway, then opened his door, letting Alex in while he began to get dressed. Alex smiled, watching Lafayette’s back muscles and legs as the man worked into some clothes. When he finished, he and Alex walked to the door, put on their shoes, and stepped into the night air.

“I’m going to miss being in the same house as you,” Alex mumbled, interlacing his fingers with Lafayette’s. “It’s been quite wonderful.”

“It has,” Lafayette agreed. “Where are we going?”

“To the old church, just down the way,” Alex smiled. “We might not see each other for a few weeks.”

“That’ll be alright. We’ve gone longer.”

Alex leaned his head against Lafayette’s shoulder. “I know. I’ll just miss you. I’m having a dinner you know, when John and I return to Paris. It’ll be at my mother and father’s home. I would like you to come.”

“I don’t understand why you must have me and John,” Lafayette admitted. “Do you ever feel torn? Stretched? I would if I were you. The human heart can only become so full, and you will begin to resent either me or John eventually.”

“I wish you wouldn’t talk of this,” Alex mumbled. “I’ll stop, I will, when we get back to Paris. I know that’s what you want.”

“No, that’s not-” Lafayette stopped himself, feeling his heartache. “I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

“Neither do I,” Alex explained. “I hate making people cry.”

“I know you do.” Lafayette squeezed Alex’s hand. “I just wish you gave yourself fewer scenarios in which you could do that.”

“I do too.”

They were quiet for a moment, thinking. Lafayette wanted to just take Alex in his arms and kiss him and take him far away from where they were and spend the rest of their days holed up in a small cottage in farmland, tending to a little farm and a few animals, reading and writing and making love.

They got to the church, and Alex decided it was a smart idea to climb the crucifix and give Jesus a kiss on the lips.

“Alexander, this is a bad idea,” Lafayette stated, watching the man climb the cross.

“Tis not,” Alex replied.

“Tis,” Lafayette argued. “You’re going to get hurt.”

“And you’ll take care of me, won’t you, Lafayette?” Alex boosted himself upon a railroad spike in the cross, which was probably nailed there by some mystics.

“Perhaps, and perhaps not.”

Alex made it to Jesus, gave the old woodwork a fat kiss on the lips, and then began to climb down. This time, his foot missed the railroad spike, and he came tumbling down, hitting the ground with a loud thud.

“Alex!” Lafayette gasped.

Alex simply laughed, rolling onto his back. “Great God that hurt!”

“Christ, are you alright?” Lafayette asked.

“Oh, yes, I’m fine.” Alex pushed himself up, stumbling. “Do not worry.”

“I won’t.” Lafayette brushed Alex off. “You are trouble, Alexander Hamilton, you know that?”

“I do.” Alex smiled. He leaned up and pecked Lafayette’s lips. “Dance with me.”

“To what music?”

“Have I look like I got the slightest idea?” Alex took Lafayette’s hands. “Sing something and dance with me.”

Lafayette pulled Alex into his arms, smiling softly. “Only because it is our last night together for a little while. But you should know, I am not a good dancer.”

“Then we can sway, as long as you sing.” Alex smiled.

Lafayette took Alex’s hands and rested his chin on Alex’s shoulder. “Gentle love, this hour be my friend,” he began to sing, swaying with Alexander. His voice was slow and deep, almost rough, but in a good way Lafayette had never particularly liked to sing, but he’d do it for Alex. “To my eyes refine thy dart, notes of melting music lend me, to dissolve a frozen heart. Chill as mountain snow her bosom, though I tender language use. Tis by cold indifference frozen, to my arms and to my-” Lafayette was cut off by a crack in his voice, and a small sob escaping his chest.

“Lafayette,” Alex gasped. “Lord, no, why are you crying?”

“I’m sorry, God, I-” Lafayette laughed, but it turned into a small hiccup halfway through.

“Come, let’s sit.” Alex pulled him to a pew and hugged Lafayette close to him. “No, it’s alright. Hush, hush.”

Lafayette rested his forehead against Alex’s shoulder and wept, trying to calm himself.

“It’s alright, hush.” Alex ran his hand over Lafayette’s hair, kissing the top of his head and hugging the man.

Lafayette wept for several minutes, before pulling away from the embrace and wiping his cheeks. “My apologies.”

“Lafayette, please, tell me, what ales you?” Alex asked. “You’ve been so… so sad.”

“Nothing, Alexander, truly.”

“Please do not lie to me.” Alex wiped away a few of Lafayette’s tears, taking a breath. “I do not enjoy being lied to.”

Lafayette took Alex’s hand and kissed it. “I’m going to miss you so much, Alexander. I don’t think you truly know how much my heart aches for you when you’re gone. I think of you and weep, for I know you will never be mine.” Lafayette smiled. “That’s okay though. I would much rather see you happy.” He kissed Alex’s cheek. “I’m quite happy I have you in my life, dearest, Alexander.”

“Oh, Lafayette.” Alex squeezed Lafayette’s hands, eyes wide. “I don’t know what to say.”

“You mustn’t feel a need to say anything.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You mustn’t be.”

“I am, though.” Alex swallowed. “I feel like this is the fault of my own. I-”

“Did nothing,” Lafayette answered quickly. “It wasn’t the night of the masquerade where my feelings blossomed. Do not… please do not worry of it.”

“Lafayette, I cannot hurt my John, but if he wasn’t-”

“Please, do not give me the type of hope to where I would wish against the fortune of my friends, Alexander. I am happy for you and John. You two love each other, and it’s quite obvious. I’m glad you both have each other.”

“I love you, dear Lafayette.”

“And I, you.”

“Tis our last night of being together for a while, yes?”

Lafayette nodded.

“Then I feel there is no better way to spend it than making love in front of Jesus Christ, yes?”

Lafayette looked to the crucifix, then back to Alex. “I must admit, I have never been a believer in God. I consider myself a man of science.”

Alex looked around, then smiled. “I am only Catholic for the ritual. I find the beliefs to be quite ignorant.”

Lafayette laughed, throwing his head back and letting the sound echo through the church. “Alexander, you are my favorite person on this earth, and when I say this, I must assure you I am not lying.”

Alex smiled. “Come, take me like it’s our last night alive.”

“It very well could be.”

The pews were uncomfortable, not exactly made for sex, but oh, Alex adored it. He adored the feeling of Lafayette, thrusting into him in the front row of a church. Alex was hanging half off the pew, hair brushing the floor. If he focused, he could see a forlorn Jesus staring down at them. Lafayette was almost sweet, but wicked at the same time, pounding into Alex and making him scream. It echoed through the church, ricocheting against the walls.

Eventually, the two moved to the floor, Lafayette kissing Alex as he thrust in and out. It was wonderful, it felt different.

“Fuck, Lafayette.” Alex gasped. “Hah! Yeah!”

“There we go, dear.” Lafayette thrust roughly into Alex.

Alex came, gasping and groaning, but letting Lafayette continue. It took a few more minutes of uncomfortable overstimulation, but Lafayette finished into Alex, gasping.

“Ah,” Lafayette let his head drop to Alex’s shoulder, kissing it. “Christ, Alexander.”

Alex let out a breathy laugh. “You are the first man to take me in front of our Lord and Savior, you know this?”

“I’m glad I could be.” Lafayette kissed Alex’s lips. “Come, we should head back.”

Alex paused. “I don’t want this night to end, dear Lafayette.”

“Neither do I, but it must. Come, we have a long day tomorrow, we must get a bit of sleep.” Lafayette sat up, pulling his pants back up and tucking his shirt in. Alex laid there, exposed for a moment, before finding his clothes and putting them on.

Lafayette and Alex began the walk back to the estate, walking hand in hand. They were quiet this time, both their hearts filling with dread and an achy feeling. They would miss each other, and they hated that they would. Alex wished he could change the world, wish he and Lafayette and he and John could co-exist with no secrets. He wanted that.

They got to where they needed to part, and then sighed, looking at each other.

“I’ll see you in the morning, Alexander.”

“Yes.” Alex paused. “I love you, Lafayette.”

“I love you too, Alexander.”

Alex leaned up and kissed Lafayette’s lips and then entered his room, sighing. He had felt heartbreak before, so the pain in his chest wasn’t something new, but God, he wished it would go away. Alex closed his eyes, trying to stop the stinging they adorned. Instead of focusing on the feelings in his chest, he wrapped his arms around John’s waist, pressing his forehead to the man’s back. He closed his eyes, and let himself drift off into a light sleep.

The next morning went by in a blur. No one had time for anything, but everything needed to be done. Alex was drowsy but somehow managed to get dressed and help Lafayette and John load things up. Lafayette looked as though he had slept for ten hours last night, which Alex knew he hadn’t.

“Goodbye, Andre, goodbye Thomas, goodbye James, goodbye Aaron.” Alex smiled at all of them. “I promise, I’ll write to you. I will. And we will see each other again.”

“Yes, we will.” Andre hugged Alex and then kissed his cheek. “Don’t get bad about writing this time.”

“No promises,” Alex chuckled.

Andre rolled his eyes. “You’re a menace.”

“I know.”

Alex let John say his goodbyes to the group and then went to Lafayette, hugging him. “I will see you soon.”

“You will,” Lafayette confirmed. “I love you, Alex. I’ll see you when God allows.”

“I thought you were a man of science,” Alex mused.

“If you can pretend to believe in Catholicism for the sake of ritual, I can pretend to believe in God for the sake of a metaphor.”

Alex smiled, touching Lafayette’s cheek. “Soon.”

“Soon.”

Goodbyes were finished, and soon enough, John and Alex were back on the road, heading home. Several days of travel had them bored. For entertainment, Alex would read to John, stories he had been lent and gifted. Alex would also sleep since it had been about a year since he had gotten a good night's rest, and leaving Berlin caused his exhaustion to catch up with him.

“Alexander.”

Alex shot awake on the fifth day of travel, blinking. “Huh? Are we there?”

John paused. “We are on the border of France right now, and there are two options. I could take the path that will lead us back to our apartment, or I could take the path that would lead us to the house my family owns on the French coast, where we could spend a week or so alone there, together. It’s stocked with wine, and we could simply buy some food to last us. But we don’t have to do that. I would like you to decide.”

Alex smiled. “A week alone with you sounds quite wonderful, John Laurens.”

John kissed the top of Alex’s head, smiling as he turned down the path that would take them north to the coast.

Alex sighed, leaning his head against John’s shoulder and closing his eyes. No matter what heartbreak he had with Lafayette, no matter what that man felt, and no matter what understanding Lafayette and he had, Alex knew that the man who was sitting next to him at this very moment, this was the man Alex was to spend the rest of his life with.