Title: A Heart That Hurts Is A Heart That Works
Setting: The Hospital
Pairing: Lawrence Gordon/Adam Faulkner-Stanheight, Lawrence Gordon/Alison Gordon
Characters: Lawrence Gordon, Adam Faulkner-Stanheight, Alison Gordon, Diana Gordon, David (Saw .5), OC: Lukas Radford-Faulkner, OC: Matthew Faulkner, Specs (Insidious)
Word Count: 4278
Type of Work: One-Shot; Tumblr Request #2
Warnings: Gay, Slash, Yaoi, Unhappy Marriages, Alison is wary of Adam, AU: Soulmates, AU: Fix It Fic, Canon Typical Gore, David Specs and Adam are identical triplets, Implied cheating, PTSD, This gets kind of sad
Disclaimer: I don't own anything except Lukas and Matt.
Summary: Sometimes chance encounters change lives. Adam learned this the hard way after being rescued from the bathroom.
AN: Wowie Zowie, I love it when I get requests that I can get super into. This is such a good prompt and such a good set of boys and I just cannot wait. For anyone interested, I am currently seeking a beta reader! Please consider giving me a hand.
A Heart That Hurts Is A Heart That Works ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
From the minute that Adam Stanheight-Faulkner saw Lawrence in that grainy photograph, out of focus, improperly framed, brows furrowed over the tops of his designer sunglasses, he knew several things about him.
Lawrence was expensive. He was hard to hold, difficult to desire beyond a plastic pseudo-relationship. His people skills were pitiful at best, but he definitely knew how to charm his way out of that. That smile could have sold ice to an Eskimo, and could have made a conman give up his secrets. It wormed its way right into Adam's black, putrid, greasy little heart the second he saw the second picture Tapp had had and agreed to tail the man.
Over the first month of following Lawrence, of taking his photographs and knowing where he would be, and when he would be there, something started to change. Instead of feeling tired when he rolled into bed at four in the morning and stumbling out of it at six, he could hardly sleep. Every second of sleep he could have gotten was wound up in thoughts of Lawrence; Following Lawrence, taking pictures of him, wondering what he did when Adam couldn't follow him inside. The few times he did manage to sleep, he actually enjoyed the way he felt when he crawled down the stairs of his apartment building an hour before he'd planned to. His sleeping was strained but it wasn't typical for him. It wouldn't be restless and incomplete when he did get to sleep, filled with thousands of sunny smiles and warm, large hands.
It took less than two months for him to know he would trust Lawrence with his life, and he had never once talked to the guy.
It took less than three minutes of watching Adam switch between being an irate child and a defensive little bitch for Lawrence Gordon to know that he had to protect this dumbass from everything. While he mostly acted like a twenty-six-year-old toddler that needed a nap, his anger wasn't exactly as misguided as Lawrence seemed to think.
Adam was angry about everything, all the time, pretty much constantly. He was angry that he had no money. He was angry that people always took advantage of him. He was angry that his father didn't have time for him and his brothers growing up. Everything from the temperature in his shithole apartment, to the way his diet of ramen and the occasional McDonalds cheeseburger tore up his health from the inside out; Everything pissed him off to no end. His brother constantly complained about his intake of literally everything bad for him, being an orderly at a hospital and all, but all it did was make him even more irate.
But in his anger, he was beautiful, ferocious, a storm of the century in his own right. Lawrence had to hide his own smile beneath cutting words and false accusations. Astute observation helped as well to distract him from the idiot conspiracy theories that Adam kept trying to push. If Lawrence looked at Adam less, then his mind might, maybe, stop thinking about those sly quirks of his brow and those tiny twitches of ghostly smiles. There hadn't been any joy in this broken, no-good kid since the day his mother left him and his brothers to go to the side of the God they'd all stopped believing in.
It didn't work.
Lawrence was no good at comforting people, much less people he didn't know. His one drawback when it came to his job was his poor bedside manner and his lack of empathy. It wasn't like he could pull out his patients' feet from underneath their covers and recite 'This Little Piggy' like he did with his daughter and even a cancer diagnosis would be easier. 'This Little Piggy' didn't chase away real dangers; he wasn't even sure if it caused Diana's nightmares to flee.
He wanted to bitch at Adam about the cigarettes. Every fiber of his being longed to inform him of the cancer risks, where it could appear, and how it could spread. Just glancing at the poison, knowing it could be their way out, it had spurred in him a desire to try and get his newfound cellmate to play along. He was a doctor; he didn't kill people! And Adam, of all of them, might have been a shady, scum-of-the-earth kind of guy, but he was somehow safe.
Naturally, his trust had been broken when Adam's acting was as poor as his health. It was hard to believe him about the shock, too, if only because there was no way that this guy was so intelligent as to design such a thing. This Jigsaw killer couldn't have done something like this, all of this, and Adam was choosing to be an awful actor at the worst time.
Until he wasn't.
Desperation could make people do a lot of stupid shit. Adam was the lead example of this, considering what he'd done in his life to sate his "selfish need to eat."
Fear could make a man do things he'd never known he was capable of. Lawrence could attest to that, considering he'd lost his foot and shot a man he'd never met but already knew he needed in his life.
At least he'd made good on his promise. How could he have not? Even with John trying to tell him to let Adam go, he just couldn't. Sure, his new lease on life was something amazing, something he could never have dreamed of, but it wasn't worth it without his soulmate. The excruciating pain of not knowing Adam's fate had been diagnosed in the hospital as one of the earliest stages of imprinting on one's soulmate to date. Despite having known each other for a scant handful of hours, the connection was one of the strongest that Dr. Malloy had ever seen.
Out in the hallway, he heard an orderly say that trauma tended to bond people faster than a few quick dates and trips to seedy motels. Even in his disgruntled state of trying to sort out his life, he knew that this was probably true.
Elation couldn't begin to cover the feeling in his chest when he heard whispers of am emaciated man to the ICU. In truth, he probably shouldn't have been as excited as he was, but the minute that he heard Adam was stable, was out of surgery and resting, he'd bound himself to a wheelchair and was the first person to visit his bedside. For the first time in his life, his bedside manner was impeccable.
Brushing his hands through sweat-soaked hair, he shushed the thrashing figure of his still-sleeping soulmate. He did his best to wake him gently. With the knowledge burning in his veins that he'd wanted little more than to protect Adam for such a base reason in the forefront of his mind, he bit his lip. Adam's eyes popped open wide, wildly flitting around the room. One leg kicked up as he jerked forward, breathing heavily and expecting to spit up water.
"L-Lawrence?" He whispered after a moment, eyes apparently capable of seeing again. At least he'd stopped screaming, not that he thought his throat could handle much more of that, anyway. Adam couldn't have told anyone how long he was down there, hungry and terrified that this would be his last minute alive. It went on like that until he finally woke up in a hospital bed, the ache in his shoulder seemingly gone and his mind fuzzy. The best part was feeling somewhat whole again, seeing the face of the man he'd been silently praying to in his panic.
"It's alright, Adam, it's me. I'm here." Hopefully, the calm washing over Lawrence's heart was mimicking itself in Adam's if only to let him see that this wasn't some strange, cruel fever dream. A simple touch to his bare hand had the younger man visibly relaxing, and he looked away slightly. Lawrence found his eyes scanning the other's face and neck as if looking for any other signs that he should take initiative here.
"It… I almost didn't think you'd come." There was a pang in both of their chests at that little admission, and the light petting on his hand turned to a firm but gentle hold.
"I couldn't, that's for sure." He still could barely reach the bathroom by himself, let along go back to the industrial one Adam had been trapped in, "But I had to send someone back to you. I… couldn't just leave you there to die."
"I'm glad." But he wasn't entirely sure that that was true. "I can't believe I'm finally… out." He absently wiggled his leg, feeling the lack of a chain there, and sighed contentedly. "I need a smoke."
"Not in a hospital, you don't." Lawrence chided with a roll of his eyes, receiving one in return, "I could talk to your doctor about a nicotine patch, though?" At least he was willing to compromise.
"I… guess." Adam sighed, shaking his head and closing his eyes, leaning back into the stiff hospital pillow. "How's your leg?" Even the photographer had the decency to flinch a little when Lawrence looked down at his loose pant leg, eyes clouded over for a second. The silence stretched for a second or seven too long before he offered up a mirthless smile that didn't meet his eyes.
"It still hurts. I swear my toes itch all the time." Not knowing how to properly react, Adam barked an uncomfortable laugh before an ineffable silence cut in unexpectedly. Despite only spending a short handful of hours together, Lawrence knew that this silence was wrong. "Adam, I… wanted to say that I'm sorry."
"For wh-" Glancing over, Adam caught the other's eyes on his shoulder and his cheeks heated up, "Shut up, Larry."
"I'm serious. I… was distraught, I was in shock, I-"
"I said shut up."
The silence dragged out for another minute too long, and Lawrence shifted uncomfortably. Adam was busy picking at his nails and fiddling with the IV in his arm, before finally glancing up when the elder man took his hand again and brought it to his lips.
"We can't. You have your happy little family and I'm a…" Literal piece of human garbage. "I'm not the soulmate kind of guy."
"I'm not usually the type to do this, but I want to try." Plus, Lawrence's 'happy little family' wasn't so much happy anymore. Melancholic, defensive, argumentative? Yes. Happiness was little more than an act put on for visiting company.
"I don't want to be a-"
"Fine. But I'm here."
Lawrence was here, and that was good. It helped a lot more than it should have. Still, it didn't help to know that his apartment was probably gone already and his stuff in the dump or some thrift store. It made him antsy in a way he didn't quite expect, but not so bad as when Alison walked into his room with a tight-lipped frown.
"Larry, you know you aren't supposed to be out of your room." She scolded, just a second thought away from wagging her finger. Despite also being part of that twisted game, Alison looked as sharp as ever, in her impeccable, fitted grey suit dress, appropriately matched heels and hair in an impossible braid. Lawrence and Adam, but especially Adam, looked as if they'd just crawled out of Hell.
"I know, Aliso-"
"So what are you doing?" Eyes cutting into harsh slants, a silent threat, Adam ducked his head a little. At least he was decent enough to look ashamed, even if he didn't know what was going on behind those steely blue eyes.
"I wanted to check on him." Lawrence offered one of his beautiful, Disney prince smiles and slowly dropped Adam's hand back to the bedside, his own finding themselves in his lap. Of course, Alison didn't seem impressed.
"Why?" Alison had made it abundantly clear that she had zero patience for Adam the minute Lawrence started talking about him. He was a badperson in her eyes, he must have had something to do with that night of living Hell the Gordons had gone through… And here was her husband, a man devoid of love for his own family without an act of desperation, pouring over this man that probably would do it all again if given the chance.
"Alison!" Lawrence's brows drew in, his eyes hard; You can't just ask someone why they care about someone in front of that person!
"What? I'm only asking." The venom in her words poured from her eyes as well, and Adam squirmed again, half tempted to see if he could really rip out his IV and run down the hallway without dying. How many weird captive movies had he seen that they did it in? Maybe he'd get halfway out of the room, slip on his own gushing blood and crack his head open. Still, he'd have to get past the incensed tiger in the doorway. And, apparently, the naive little cub clutching her skirt.
Diana was beautiful in a way that told Adam she'd grow up to have a lot of hassle on his side of town. Lawrence would be a better dad than most, surely, protect her from men that would hurt her… Men like his brother, Lukas. Maybe even men like him. He'd never cared for girls, even when he was their age, too, but women? Women he could get behind. And under. And inside of. But, at their core, every woman was another man's daughter, wasn't she?
Alison cleared her throat. Clearly, he'd been staring too long with that blank look of his; he was pleased to find he'd been looking at his own foot instead of at either of the Gordon ladies.
"I mean it, Alison, he's not as bad as you think." That much of Lawrence's defense he did hear, and Adam honestly wanted to refute that claim. He wasn't even on Alison's level, he didn't think he could get there. He wasn't cultured, he wasn't careful, he wasn't beautiful. Why would Lawrence want to throw that away on someone like him? Soulmate or not, it just seemed… Wrong.
"Of course. Can we please return to your room, now?" Sardonic didn't even begin to cover her tone as Lawrence sighed and nodded. Diana ran to grab her father's wheelchair, putting her entire body into getting it going, perhaps a bit dramatically. She shot Adam a small, genuine smile that almost mirrored her father's before the three of them disappeared from the room.
Adam left alone with his thoughts, did his best to imagine what it would have been like if his dad and brothers had shown up, instead. Steven would have probably hugged him awkwardly and babbled on about some conspiracy or another like he had in their youth. Lukas would try to turn this into a money-making venture. David would probably just tell him to eat more kale and the PTSD would go away. And he'd be lucky to hear anything out of their father beyond empty desires to make sure he was okay.
Diana running into the room and hugging him, happy to see him alive and well passed into his mind. At first, he wanted to wave the thought off, but it was too good to ignore the idea of being a good parent. Usually, he would have hated the notion, but he supposed Lawrence had made him rethink a lot of things.
"I can't believe you." Alison hissed, eyes narrowed after she closed the door. Her eyes settled on Lawrence, and Diana felt almost as if she melted into the wall.
"I'm going to go find David." She told her father, quietly, before running off. Her mother was too intent on her rampage to stop her, though she did try a little 'no' that went ignored. When the door clicked shut behind her, Lawrence sighed in that tired way a parent did with a petulant child.
"What is so hard to believe, Alison?" He shifted himself into his bed with a grunt and absolute refusal of help. He didn't want to be treated like he was fragile; he'd seen too many patients' families go from supportive to thinking their loved one was porcelain to let it happen to him.
"He's probably the one that did this to us! You admitted to me that you thought, maybe, that might have been true!" Alison's voice was getting shrill, and Lawrence knew he needed to do something. What, he wasn't entirely sure, but he knew he had to do something.
"He wouldn't have been the kind of person to leave himself down there with no way out. He might be an adult child but he's not that short-sighted. Everything he does, he does to survive, not to limit his survival." And Lawrence sounded so sure of that, too.
"Having a debilitating physical handicap could make his chances increase. Pity is a strong human emotion, Larry. He's got you believing in him, too." And that was what frustrated her the most. "What if it's all just a-"
"A scam to get money? Alison, I don't think that he could do this much damage to justify it. Even if he did, there are men that are much richer than I am to put in this situation." His bosses would have been a better option, actually, for a money-motivated con job.
"Alison, you sound like you need to have another talk with Thomas." Lawrence finally sighed, shaking his head.
"I don't need to see Dr. Wexler, this is hardly uncalled for paranoia." It took him several seconds to tamp down on the desire to remind her that all paranoia was uncalled for. She was clearly upset and that meant she wasn't really thinking clearly. He didn't doubt that she suffered the same Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that he and Adam and probably Diana did, but the fact that she wouldn't acknowledge it made it dangerous. Not that he was particularly good at talking about it, either, but he at least didn't deny everything.
"You are basing his entire person off of an assumption you were told when you were being held hostage." Zep's information hadn't exactly been the most reliable. Granted, Lawrence was also in the habit of hoping he was right about Adam, but his feelings were not usually wrong.
"You're basing it off the fact that you're feeling guilty for shooting him."
"I'm not. I talked to him. I've seen him." Seen him stripped of his anger, of his frustration, saw all of the layers of who he was, who he could be. "He's a terrible actor, this isn't a pity grab."
"He could have been-"
"He wasn't. It isn't going to kill us to help him out a little bit. We suffered together in that bathroom, he saved my life."
"And you saved his. Debt is paid."
"Alison, I will not argue this. I'm going to help him." Lawrence's jaw was set and Alison's eyes went from wide to narrow.
"Fine, Larry. You help your little friend. I'm going to check on Diana."
"Could you send her this way, please?" A gentler voice, something quiet and pleading, overtook the stern tone he'd had before, and he tried on one of those patented Perfect Prince Smiles Alison had fallen in love with. Her unnecessarily cold expression proved that he would be denied now, and probably in the future.
"Don't you have a new child to look after?" Through with dealing with him today, Alison turned on her heels and clicked away, arms crossing after she closed the door behind her. The cutting words left Lawrence sitting dumbly in his uncomfortable hospital bed. He stared after her as if he thought she might just come back and he could pretend he was apologetic enough to get back in her good graces.
Naturally, she didn't return, and Lawrence sat numbly staring at a door that wasn't going to open until a nurse came to check on him or he left to return to Adam's room.
Which, the longer he sat in silence, sounded like the world's most wonderful idea. In fact, there had never been a better idea in the history of mankind. Lifting himself back into his wheelchair, his strong arms guided the wheels to the door, which opened to reveal not Diana, not Alison, but the nurse's station and bustling hospital activity beyond it. Down the hall and to the right, he found Adam's room once more, where his giant toddler was busy spacing out and watching cartoons.
Lawrence vaguely registered the show in the back of his mind, something Diana watched sometimes, maybe, but he wasn't focused on that at all.
"Adam?" He questioned, slowly driving himself forward as if he were, for once in his life, afraid of rejection.
"Huh…?" Glancing over and pulling his legs up to his chest, Adam smiled just slightly at the sight of Lawrence's sheepish grin. "Oh, hey."
"Hey. I need to talk to you."
"Lawrence…" Adam sighed a little, looking away, "I don't think it would work. You're married. I don't think my survival was so miraculous that I could be a homewrecker." Not on purpose, anyway.
"It's already wrecked." Lawrence supplied, eyes wide, rheumy, and blue as they were in the bathroom when Adam had watched the desperation in his actions. "We have a loveless marriage, an unhappy one. She's already filing for divorce. I'm fairly sure she's already dating someone else."
"Look, there's nothing stopping me from walking away if this doesn't work out and the same goes for you, but I want to give this a try." Finally, at Adam's bedside, he took the other's hand as delicately as he could, kissing the back of his knuckles, one after another in a slow, scraping motion with his lips.
Never in his life had someone been so romantic towards Adam, and at first, he was totally overwhelmed. What did he do? Lawrence looked like a goddamn prince, bowed down and ready to kiss the ground he walked on. There was something so surreal about being with him, about this whole situation, and he wanted it to last forever and end right there, right now. If it ended before it started, then he didn't have to worry about the heartache whenever this didn't work out.
"I do, too." His mouth moved before his brain could stop it, and he inwardly cursed. Lawrence, however, didn't skip a beat, tugging Adam out of his fetal position and giving him a gentle peck on the lips.
"Good. We'll get everything taken care of when we're released. Until then, I want you to take care of yourself, okay?"
"...Yeah, I guess." Adam nodded, sighing. He'd never been very good at that. "I'll try."
"You're going to do it." Lawrence replied, voice stern enough to spark something deep in Adam's stomach.
"Yes, sir." Once again, he spoke without thinking and ended up blushing, eyes on his bare feet.
"I think I could get used to that, darling." Lawrence teased softly, kissing him again. Adam's dumbstruck expression left him grinning and he kissed his slack-jawed lips into moving with him.
Romcoms and all that stupid romance shit always said that finding your soulmate was the greatest feeling, elation, and relief all at once. It was the best high, one that wasn't fleeting, something people chased to the point of exhaustion.
And they were all right.
Lawrence's mouth felt perfect against his own, and before he knew it, he'd practically crawled into the hospital wheelchair, fighting the IV with his hands tangled in the short hairs at the nape of Lawrence's neck. While Lawrence sunk his fingers into Adam's back, pulling him close and holding him, he kept his hips back as much as he could.
"Not here." He whispered, "I work here, Adam, and we're both injured. We need to take time to get to know each other, too."
"...You really want to get to know me?"
"I do. You're going to have to get used to someone being invested in you." Lawrence's smile could have charmed a dragon out of its gold. Adam's cheeks only deepened in their rose color and he smiled dreamily, almost dumbly, before taking Lawrence's hand and kissing his knuckles softly.
"Nobody's ever been invested in anything but fucking me before." Which wasn't entirely false. Either literally or figuratively, he was pretty used to people fucking him or fucking him over. Even his own family would sell him to Satan for a single slice of Kraft cheese, probably. Lukas would have, at the barest of minimums. But, now, he had a handsome doctor willing to stay and be with him, ready to attempt to commit to him. Knowing that he could keep Lawrence sated and happy, he wasn't even worried about his apparent habits when it came to his secretaries. Well, okay, he was a little worried.
"Well, you're going to get the whole package deal with me, I promise you that."
Adam didn't think he was an angel, but with Lawrence looking at him like that, he almost started to believe they existed.
AN:Wow, that ended up being way longer than I thought it would have been. I'm pretty happy with this, though, I think it's actually pretty good. I hope you guys enjoyed!
Prompt: "Look, there's nothing stopping me from walking away if this doesn't work out and the same goes for you, but I want to give this a try."