I know I meant to write another longer story, but I got this idea out of nowhere last night and fell in love with it, so here's a fluffy Lams one-shot! I know Laurens drew soft shell turtles, but I think they need water, and I didn't want to deal with the perilous situation of a turtle drying out, so in this story he loves all turtles, 'kay?
Disclaimer: I don't own Hamilton or the characters (How do you even own a real historical figure?)
Alexander Hamilton was at the top of his class. That meant he found it easy to convince himself that it didn't matter if he spent half the lesson glancing at the boy beside him, furtively watching the way John Laurens chewed the end of his pen absentmindedly as he listened to Professor Washington's lecture or occasionally twirled a stray strand of hair around a finger lazily. In the six months since he enrolled, he'd spent so long looking at Laurens that he'd be able to sketch an exact diagram of where the freckles decorated his face from memory.
It was less easy to ignore the muffled whispers from Mulligan and Lafayette behind him as they watched their hopeless friend openly adore the other boy.
Alexander was reluctant to confront them during class out of his fear of Laurens overhearing and discovering his crush, but immediately after class he always gave both his sniggering friends a withering glare.
"Could you make it any more obvious?" He demanded, his words full of sarcasm and the huge disapproval he felt.
"Could you? C'mon, you were drooling over him!" Mulligan teased, unaffected by the chilling look he received.
"Mon Dieu, cetait affreux," Lafayette added, rubbing his temple as if watching the one-sided affection had caused him physical pain.
Alexander had to agree; He always felt uncomfortable at the fact that, despite all the numerous risks he'd taken during his short life, daring to confess his feelings for Laurens had not yet made its way onto that long list. Cold in his studies, warm in his friendships, clueless in romance, he couldn't begin to work out the way to win the boy over. It wasn't like Laurens didn't know who he was - they sat together in class and made conversation whenever there was a silence long enough to warrant it. Even if they hadn't sat together, there had never been a room in which Hamilton had stood and allowed himself to go unnoticed, he was such a presence that he made an impact on everyone around him.
Laurens was always friendly towards him, giving him a sunny smile whenever their eyes locked, lending Alex a pen if his own ran out (which they regularly did because of his relentless writing), or saying hi whenever they passed in the halls. But somehow a life of shutting his feelings inside himself meant that now he struggled to set them free again when his heart fluttered inside his chest, desperate to be released.
With a long sigh, Alexander complained, "There's nothing I can do. I can't tell him I like him, and I can't get over him, so I'm sorry but you'll just have to watch me be terrible until this goes away."
Mulligan smiled, less taunting and more comforting, as he suggested, "I know this sounds radical, but maybe you could just talk to him about it. You never know what might happen..." He raised his eyebrows suggestively and smirked, comprising the warm, caring image he tried to project.
"What's the worst that could 'appen?" Lafayette pointed out, the pronunciation slightly distorted with his thick French accent.
"I don't know: rejection, heartbreak, public humiliation, take your pick."
"Stop being cynical, Alex!" Mulligan insisted, slapping him on the back encouragingly. "You know, you weren't the only one glancing over at him. You'd better act quick before the likes of Thomas or George to get their claws into him."
Alexander scoffed, forgetting his anguish momentarily to laugh at the thought. "Come on, Thomas Jefferson and John Laurens? Somehow I don't see the guy who skips classes to go to black lives matter protests and the biggest racist I've ever had the displeasure to meet getting together. And as for George King, don't you remember the time Laurens poured his flask of tea out the window? He was pretty pissed, I doubt he'd be making heart eyes at him after that."
"Even so, 'e's 'ot. We're just saying you shouldn't be afraid of 'im, or you might lose 'im. You're both cute, vous seriez bien ensemble." Lafayette shared a knowing look with Mulligan as Alexander let out a plaintive whine and thew his head back despairingly.
"I'm not afraid of him, I literally have no idea how to get with him! What the heck have I gotta do to make him like me?" He pleaded, genuinely looking for an answer.
Shirking responsibility, Mulligan only shrugged. "Find something he'd like. Be bold - you normally don't have any trouble with that."
"Fine," Alexander huffed, resigned. He had no idea what he would come up with, but they were right that he had to do something: even if he didn't pay them any attention, Laurens did receive a lot of wandering stares, and if nothing else, Alexander's competitive nature wouldn't let anyone else get the man he wanted.
The next day, an opportunity to be bold presented itself. Washington was talking about revision techniques, which meant that half the class was happily ignoring the relatively useless advice the teacher had repeated to them time and time again.
Laurens had decided to spend the lesson doodling on his palm, and as he glanced over Alexander smiled at the frown of concentration in his brow as he focused on the tiny strokes of the biro on his freckled skin. Laurens noticed the watching brown eyes after a few seconds and immediately closed his hand into a fist and set it on the desk, smiling at Alexander warmly but with a hint of embarrassment at being found giving in to his creative streak.
Mulligan and Lafayette's advice running through his mind, Alexander barely stopped to think about what he was saying before he murmured, quiet enough to go unnoticed by Washington, "Can I see?"
The yellow strip lighting made it difficult to be sure, but he thought Laurens' face turned a shade more pink at the request. Even so, Laurens opened his hand once more and placed it palm up on Alexander's exercise book.
Acting on instinct and neglecting to consider what Laurens would think, he traced his index finger across the design: a tiny picture of a turtle, shaded with photorealistic accuracy too precise to be the work of an amateur. He felt his pulse jump in speed at the contact. Behind him he heard a distinctly accented squeak, quickly silenced by a thump, most probably Mulligan punching Lafayette as he tried not to interrupt the moment.
Biting his lip to hide a smirk, Alexander looked back to Laurens' face and told him, "You're really skilled. That took you - what? 30 seconds?"
Embarrassed, Laurens was noticeably rosy-cheeked now, and admitted shyly, "I should be skilled after all the times I've drawn them." His eyes darted back to Alexander, who was still running his fingertips over Laurens' hand to admire not just the illustration but every line, rise and curve of the surface, and scanned his face for any hint of mockery or boredom. Finding none, he continued, "My roommate kept a couple of turtles when I was at boarding school. I guess I thought they were pretty cool."
Of course he went to boarding school. Where else does a teenager learn to go by his surname? Alexander realized. That must mean his family has money. Considering his skills at drawing them, it clear he thinks turtles are more than "pretty cool," and if he's rich, it makes no sense for him to be living a turtleless life.
Confused, he queried, "This is none of my business, but isn't your family loaded? You could just buy your own turtles if you like them that much."
Laurens chuckled quietly, still watching his volume so as to avoid a scolding glare from Washington. "You think an adult asking for a turtle is something socially acceptable?" He joked, raising an inquisitive eyebrow.
He made a good point. Even so, when he was so obviously passionate about something, it seemed unfair to deny the gorgeous man the very thing he longed for. An idea began to form in Alexander's mind and a memory from the previous day resurfaced: "Find something he'd like. Be bold."
He had no idea how to execute it, but he knew what he had to do.
As soon as the bell signalling the end of class rang, Hamilton had tossed his satchel over his shoulder and rushed away from the room before his friends could catch up. He couldn't spare a second to explain his plan, he needed all the time he could find.
After a night of both their texts being ignored, Mulligan and Lafayette greeted Alexander with irritation and curiosity the next morning. Immediately they registered two things: 1) Alexander's eyes were faintly bloodshot and you could smell the huge volume of coffee he'd consumed in order to spur him into wakefulness from metres away. Clearly it had been a sleepless night. 2) Despite his exhaustion and the false illusion of energy supplied only by the caffeinated beverage, his eyes were gleaming with excitement, he couldn't help but smile with anticipation, and he found it impossible to stay still, bobbing on the spot even as his feet stayed planted on the ground.
"You held hands with him and didn't even tell us what happened," Mulligan stated accusingly.
"Alexander, what are you planning?" Lafayette demanded, certain that the current level of hyperactivity his friend was displaying couldn't be a good thing.
"I was busy being a genius," Alexander smirked, his excitement unrelenting despite their suspicion.
"That doesn't answer the question!" Mulligan pointed out.
Before Alexander could reply, however, the classroom door opened and Washington was calling them in. The students all made their way to their seats, and just before Mulligan and Lafayette left his side to sit behind him, he muttered, "Watch what happens." He gave them a conspiratorial grin before sitting down and shoving his hands into his hoodie pocket, pretending to focus on the lesson.
From behind him, he heard a faint, despairing, "Mon Dieu!"
40 minutes into the lesson, the students had been instructed to take notes from the textbook. There was a light hum of chatter, just loud enough that Alexander could say what he was about to without the fear of anyone overhearing him putting his plan into action - a plan which had a small technically illegal feature and which he was fairly sure also broke a few campus rules, though on the other hand it might be bizarre enough to avoid the scrutiny of regulations. His knee hadn't stopped moving all lesson, he was so impatient for an opportunity to arise. Now seemed like his best shot, and he would not throw it away. Besides him, Laurens worked diligently. Still staring at his own textbook, Alexander instructed, "Laurens? Please stand your textbook up. Look at it and try not to react."
The young man shot Alexander a confused look, but Hamilton's eyes were so full of determination that he felt compelled to oblige. He held the textbook so that it was standing vertically, forming a wall between the desk and the class in front of it.
Alexander reached into the pocket of his hoodie and pulled out a small item, setting it gently on the hidden portion of Laurens' desk.
Laurens immediately recognized what it was: a turtle. A live turtle. Alexander Hamilton had just placed a literal turtle on his desk.
Choking sounds from behind.
"Alex, what the heck is this?" Laurens demanded, completely baffled by how weird and surreal it was. He kept his voice to a subdued hiss, remembering the instruction not to react too obviously.
"You didn't want to ask for one, but that's no reason for you not to have one," Alexander shrugged, jotting down a sentence in his exercise book as he tried to look like he was working. He couldn't help but smirk at the surprise he'd made the student feel, or how much he enjoyed the sound of a shorter version of his name coming from Laurens' lips.
"It's... it's a turtle!"
"Well, yes," Alexander sniggered. "I guess kittens and puppies were too mainstream for you. Just as well, though, this little guy definitely made less noise."
"What do I do with him?" Laurens asked, still in a state of disbelief. He was a bright boy, but he couldn't get his head around the odd situation in front of him. He stroked the smooth shell, a familiar form of reassurance he'd used when he last had turtles in his life.
Alexander nonchalantly replied, "I'm not really an expert, but I'd suggest taking him home and caring for him." was completely speechless at how casual Alexander was being now his anticipation had been realized. For the first time since depositing the gift, Alexander made eye contact with him. "I got him for you. I wanted to do something nice, so now you have a turtle. Don't freak out, he's yours now."
The soothing tone of voice calmed Laurens, and he slowly nodded, submitting and accepting the gift. He picked up the turtle and put it in his own pocket, in a somewhat dazed state. He and Alexander remained in complete silence for the rest of the lesson.
As soon as they left the classroom, Mulligan and Lafayette bombarded Alexander with questions.
"Une tortue? Sérieusement?"
"What the hell was that? In fact, why the hell did you do that? You just handed your crush a freaking tortoise, man!"
With a satisfied smile, Alexander replied, "He mentioned he likes turtles. I came through for him."
His friends were almost as confused as Laurens had been. Nevertheless, the plan had to have had some impact, because after the class, Laurens came up to him in the hallway.
"Alex, could I talk to you a minute?" He seemed unsure of himself, with a kind of rare vulnerability he'd never shown before.
Glancing briefly to his friends, he agreed, "Sure." His light tone revealed nothing of the way his heart leapt at the invitation like a bird locked in a cage. He followed Laurens to an empty classroom belonging to Professor Adams and walked in, perching on the edge of a desk as Laurens closed the door behind them.
"I wanted a bit of privacy," he explained, turning to Alexander and coming to sit on the desk opposite him.
"Good choice with this room, then. Adams doesn't have a real job anyway, I seriously doubt we'll be disturbed."
Laurens laughed - even his laugh is perfect, Alexander thought - and pulled the turtle out of his pocket to cradle it between his hands. "I have to say, this is the weirdest thing anyone's ever done for me," he revealed, his face becoming serious as he looked into Alexander's eyes. Somehow, a few seconds of eye contact seemed enough to send his own heart racing. He looked away, back down to the turtle in his hands as he continued, "It's also possibly the best thing anyone's ever done for me." He smiled at the turtle with such adoration in that moment that the tiniest shreds of doubt Alexander had about how wise a plan this had been were brushed aside. He'd made Laurens smile, he'd given Laurens something he'd always wanted and would never forget. That would be enough, he considered, even if that's all that comes from this.
Lost in his own mind, Alexander hadn't replied. He didn't need to, as after a short pause, Laurens asked, "Where did you get him, anyway? I don't even know where the closest exotic pet store is."
Alexander looked away with a guilty smile. "Unimportant."
"Come on, you have to tell me," Laurens implored, leaning in slightly, intrigued.
How could he refuse anything those beautiful eyes asked for? Sighing, he replied, "There's a million things I haven't done, but let's just say hacking the electronic security system of Central Park Zoo and breaking in to smuggle out a turtle isn't one of them any more." He couldn't help but grin with pride at what he'd achieved in the short time since he first learned of Laurens' penchant for turtles.
Laurens looked at him with utter disbelief. "You can't be serious. Even if that's possible, that's a felony, Alex." There it was, that conjugation of his name from Laurens' mouth.
He shrugged carelessly. "There were no security cameras working. And anyway, there were loads more turtles there, the mom gave birth a few weeks ago and they just hatched a couple of days ago. He won't be missed." He gave a reassuring smile to the other boy.
"This seems so surreal," Laurens murmured quietly. "I can't believe you did that for me."
"Ha. You know how it is," he avoided a real answer: the real reply would've been to confess his crush. Actually, within the course of that conversation his feelings seemed to have been elevated to love instead of just some faint youthful desire.
"Alex. Are you actually claiming that this is no big deal? Because it really is - to me, anyway."
Alexander looked away, hating the tell-tale blush he could feel creeping across his cheeks. "Laurens -"
Alexander glanced up into the pleading eyes. Screw you and your irresistible beauty. With a deep breath to steady his pounding heart, he admitted, "Laurens, I like you a lot." The blush consumed his face completely.
There was a moment of complete stillness as his words sank in. Then Laurens grinned with a brilliant delight which seemed to literally light up the deserted room. "You like me?" His eyes were wide and sparkling as he repeated the phrase just to check it really was true.
"No, I broke the law as a joke. Yes, I like you!" He couldn't help be prickly and sharp, he'd just shared his biggest secret, and now he didn't know what to do; Mulligan and Lafayette had told him to tell Laurens, but they'd given him no advice on what to do once he'd actually done it.
The other boy didn't mind the sarcasm. In fact, he found it endearing. Smirking mischievously, Laurens teased him by repeating, "You really like me?"
"Yes! I like you. I like John Laurens. Do you want me to scream it from the rooftops?" Alexander answered, exasperated. He buried his head in his hands, feeling he'd made a terrible mistake.
Laurens quickly allayed that fear, however. The young man leaned across the short gap between them and removed one of his hands from carefully holding the turtle to tilt Alexander's face back up to look at him. It was Alexander's turn to be bewildered as Laurens rested his forehead against Alexander's, deep brown eyes staring into pale golden ones, two sets of universes just inches apart.
"I don't want you to shout it from the rooftops. Actually, I don't want you going onto rooftops for any purpose, you might get in the habit of scaling buildings. I just want you to tell me that every day, okay?"
Alexander could say nothing.
That seemed to amuse Laurens to no end. "The great Alexander Hamilton speechless... let's see if we can keep that up." With that, he closed the gap between their lips and kissed the other boy softly, a lingering peck which seemed to end too soon. He pulled away, waiting to see what Alexander would do.
Alexander was still gazing at Laurens with eyes wide with wonder. But his awe didn't stop him from leaning back in to snatch another kiss, this time much more passionate and intimate than before. Laurens replied with just as much hunger, placing his free hand on the nape of Alexander's neck and pulling him closer, intertwining his fingertips in Alexander's long, loose curls in the process and loving the silky softness.
When they finally had to come up for air, both were breathing heavily, their chests pounding in unison with affection and desire. Laurens was the first to break the silence:
"I like you too, Alex."
Alexander grinned. "You'd better, I stole a turtle for you."
Laurens laughed - God, I love that sound, Alexander decided - and replied, "I just wonder how much you have to like someone to give them a turtle."
Alexander smiled smugly, a hint of suggestion creeping into his voice as he answered. "My dear Laurens, it might be within my power, by action rather than words, to convince you that I love you."
A/N: Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed the fluff, and a longer story is definitely still to come!