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Too Damn Stubborn
Four times Thomas Jefferson needed help but he was too damn stubborn to ask for it, and the one time he gave in and asked.
1. Alexander Hamilton
Jefferson had a bad habit.
That habit was pissing people off for his own amusement.
He couldn't help it! He was born with a naturally sarcastic disposition and he often found that he'd upset people before he even processed what he'd said. He got away with it most of the time. Some people would just frown at him and walk off. Others try desperately to make an even sharper comeback (they never succeed and always end up looking more foolish). Jefferson even remembers a few occasions where he'd made people cry, he did feel bad about those few.
Of course the issue with annoying people is that they will eventually rise up and get their own back.
On this particular occasion Thomas found himself stranded at his office desk. Because someone thought it would be funny to steal his cane. Had this happened any other day he could have at least have gotten himself home- he usually had his emergency pain medication with him. But as luck would have it he'd changed bags over this morning in a last minute decision before work (he felt more like wearing fuchsia than magenta today).
So he was stranded at his desk until one of two things occurred:
1. He grit his teeth and limped out of the office and all the way home.
2. He welled up the courage to call the only person he trusted enough to admit how much trouble his leg was causing him: James Madison.
Obviously the better option is number two. Clearly that's what he should be doing right now.
But he just couldn't bring himself to do it.
Madison had only just gotten over the flu. Today was his first day back at work, he was sure to be stressed out and overwhelmed. He didn't need Thomas adding more things to his probably never ending list of things to do.
So, it looked like option number one was the only way he was getting out of this. It was already past office hours and almost everyone had gone home for the day. All that remained where the cleaners and a couple of people who were behind with their work.
Maybe this wouldn't be so bad?
Jefferson stood and then slowly stretched out his leg- it was always stiff after being sat down for so long.
Not bad so far.
Now here came the test.
Thomas gently started to put his weight on to his right leg. He made it pretty far before the usual prang of pain shot up from the base of his heel- up his calf and through he rest of his body. He hunched his shoulders as he sucked in a sharp breath "Oh fuck me." he grunted.
"At least take me for a drink first." a familiar voice said dryly from the doorway of his office. Thomas's head snapped up to look at the owner, though he already had a feeling he knew who it was- possibly the last person he wanted to see right now.
"Go away Hamilton." He he said venomously. He really wasn't in the mood for this right now, his current predicament agitating him to no end.
"Whoa there! Did someone wake up on the wrong side of the bed today or what?" he laughed.
Thomas didn't reply, this was a pain he hadn't felt in quite some time- the feeling flooding over him had been quite a shock to the system.
"Jefferson?" Alex called out tentatively, he'd never known Thomas to not have a snarky come back- that's what made him enjoy their love/hate friendship so much. Alexander was almost (dare he say it) concerned for his rival.
"Piss off." Thomas glared.
"That's no way to talk to your fellow college." Alex laughed nervously and walked towards Thomas.
Jefferson seemed to panic all of a sudden at Alex coming closer and stumbled back in to his chair, he quickly hunched over and grasped desperately to the back of his right leg mumbling a strained "shit shit shit shit-" over and over again through clenched teeth.
Alex's eye widened in surprise and he dumped his bag that was slung over his shoulder on to the floor and hurried over to the other man. He placed a cautious hand on Jefferson's shoulder as he knelt down in front of the other man "What's wrong? What can I do to help?"
"Stop asking fucking questions." Thomas groaned. He didn't know why Alex coming closer had made him jump- but unfortunately he did, and in the process he'd managed to harshly put his full weight on his bad leg. Making the situation much worse.
"I'm serious Thomas." Alex never called him Thomas.
"Don't call me that- Alex." he shot back, his sarcasm would have been a lot more effective if his voice wasn't quivering under the strain it took to focus on anything but the stabbing sensations in his leg.
"Let me help. What can I do?" Alex spoke in a firm and yet calm tone that Jefferson had never heard him use before and something inside him gave in. What other option did he have? Somehow force Alex to leave and spend the next two hours calming himself down from the pain before sleeping in the office? That wouldn't work, Madison would wonder why he wasn't home- causing more stress and worry to his poor boyfriend that he really didn't need.
Thomas drew in a breath and let out a weighty sigh as he forced himself to release his leg and sit back in the chair, his brow furrowed and eyes shut, tension so very apparent on his features, "C-can you massage my leg, please…?" he said reluctantly.
God, it had to be Hamilton of all people to find him like this. He was sure to use this in their next meeting against him, he could hear it now "Oh Jefferson shouldn't go and do that interview, I saw him the other day he couldn't even stand! He's essentially useless to us now." Okay maybe he wouldn't be that harsh but still- the fact remains that Alex had now seen Thomas at his lowest and there was sure to be repercussions.
But, much to Thomas's surprise, Alex had simply said "Sure thing." and had begun massaging his calf muscle with a tenderness he never thought he'd receive from the other man.
This went on for quite some time. Jefferson focusing on keeping his breathing calm and Alex doing his best at massaging. You'd have thought the air between them would be thick with tension but it was somehow very calm.
Jefferson eventually said "Okay, you can stop now."
"Are you sure? I'm alright-" Alex begun.
"No, honestly, It doesn't hurt nearly as much now." Thomas nodded at him and straightened up in the chair. He couldn't bring himself to make eye contact with Hamilton just yet "Thank you."
"Don't mention it." Alex shrugged, standing up and stretching, his joints had gone rigid form where he'd knelt for so long. "So is Madison picking you up?" he asked.
"No I-" Thomas knew how stupid what he was about to say sounded "-I was planning on walking home actually…"
Alex laughed at that, a proper gut laugh "What!?" he wheezed "No way! You can hardly stand!" He exclaimed.
"Here it comes." Jefferson thought bitterly, he knew this almost truce between he and Hamilton wouldn't last forever.
"I'll drive you." Alex sated as he walked across the room to get his bag of the floor where he'd left it "Where is your cane?"
Thomas found himself in a bit of a stunned silence- he couldn't believe that Hamilton was being nice to him. This had to be some kind of elaborate joke. "Someone has uh- stolen it." Jefferson mumbled, embarrassed.
Alex turned sharply on his heel "What!?"
"You're not my only enemy Hamilton" Jefferson rolled his eyes "I piss a lot of people off- and they cant fight back with facts and words like you can, so they resort to shit like this. Though this is a new low actually. I think some people just assume I have that cane as a fashion statement, but, I really need it." he fiddled with a pen on his desk as he spoke, trying to distract himself from the warning alarms going off in his head at letting Hamilton know this about him.
Alex didn't reply for a while, he seemed deep in thought before saying "Those bastards." he strode back over to Thomas "I think it was Samuel Seabury from the IT department, I swear I heard him and Charles Lee laughing about something earlier- and those two only laugh when they're being assholes."
Thomas was pretty sure he'd spoken to one of them the other day- he couldn't remember the conversation but his dark humor must have come out and offended them.
"I'll go down and get it back for you tomorrow morning and I'll leave it on your desk like nothing happened, how's that sound?"
"Great actually, thank you." Thomas wasn't sure if he should be trusting Alexander so much, but the other man seemed to be showing himself to be quite honorable.
"Okay then." Alex took his phone out and wrote a note to himself down quickly before stuffing it back in his pocket "C'mon, i'll help you stand and then you can lean on me all the way to the car and then I'll drive you home."
Thomas felt anxious at the suggestion "I'd rather walk actually."
"You live on Monticello Street don't you? There is no way you're gonna make it all that way even with me helping you. We'll get there by car in no time."
Thomas didn't reply, Alex was being completely logical but the anxious feeling inside of him was giving him a complete mental and physical block.
Alex huffed "What's wrong with driving? Why won't you let me help you."
"I was in a really bad car crash a couple of years ago." Thomas quickly, like if he didn't say this now he would never have the courage to say it again "That's why my leg is so fucked up. I haven't gone in a car ever since."
"Oh." Alex said quietly.
Thomas felt stupid, and so very embarrassed. He knew it was irrational to still be scared- but he never wanted to be so close to death again if he could help it.
Alex stood in front of Jefferson's desk and spoke as if he was suggesting a new segment in the newspaper, logically and with a sense of bargaining that was hard to say no to "Its about-" he checked his watch "-Six forty five right now, all the rush hour traffic will be gone so the roads should be empty. I'll drive slowly and take any back streets I can off the main road- We'll be back at yours in ten minutes maximum. You'll never meet a more cautious driver than me."
Thomas tapped the pen he was holding on his desk as he thought, weighing up the options.
1. He could tell Alex to shove his deal where the sun doesn't shine and somehow make his own way home.
2. Take Alex up on his offer and be safe at home in no less than a quarter of an hour where his spare cane and pain medication is.
Obviously the better option is number two. Clearly that what he should be doing right now.
"Fine." He eventually agreed, putting the pen down and sitting up.
"Well alright then." Alex grinned and walked around the table, he hooked his arms under Jefferson's to help the other man stand.
Jefferson hummed a 'thank you' as he lent on to Hamilton as they walked- though it still hurt to walk, this was a lot better than the alternative.
The car pulled up gently outside of Jefferson's shared house with James Madison- he was so glad to see their little home again after a somewhat stressful day.
"Well here we are-" Alex beamed "Do you need me to help you get in your house or do you think you'll be okay?"
"No I'll be alright." Thomas said "Can I ask one more favour though?"
"Please don't tell anyone about this? Only James knows how bad it can get- and now you. I really don't like people seeing this side of me. So I'd really appreciate it Ham- uh - Alexander." Thomas smiled warily.
"I will on one condition."
Thomas felt sure that Alex was somehow going to blackmail him out of his chef editorial position at the newspaper they bother worked at "What is it?"
"You never call me 'Alexander' or even 'Alex' again- It doesn't sound right."
Thomas raised an eyebrow at the other man who only smiled in return.
"Okay deal." Thomas chuckled.
The pair shook hands and then Thomas took his time getting out of the car and up the stairs to his house. Every step was a challenge but the thought of the comfort that lay behind his front door kept him going
Alex didn't drive away until he saw Thomas make it safely in to his house.
Thomas was excited to tell his boyfriend that he actually rode in a car today for the first time since the crash. He wouldn't tell him whose car or why unless the other really wanted to know.
But still, this was a big achievement.
Perhaps Alexander wasn't as bad as Thomas had once thought. But he was sure they would be back to roasting each other tomorrow at work, and he was looking forward to it.
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