WARNING: This chapter has a sad little John, but don’t worry, Alex kicks some butt because of it. And just gonna say, yes, there are TONS of ships out there, and Mullette is only one of them. Here is a list of common ones and what I think of them:
Lams (Laurens and Hamilton) YES BIGGEST SHIP!!!!!!!!
Mullette (Mulligan and Lafayette) Yeah, it’s a cute ship!!
Jeffmads (Jefferson and Madison) No comment. I think it’s eh.
Jamilton (Jefferson and Hamilton) NO!!! NEVER!!! I HATE THAT ONE AS MUCH AS DRARRY (Draco and Harry)!!!!
Meggy (Maria and Peggy) No
Hamliza (Hamilton and Eliza) Yes
Hamgelica (Hamilton and Angelica) Yeah, I guess so.
Philip and Theodosia (don’t know the ship name) I think it’s a very interesting concept. It would create a lot of tension between Burr and Hamilton, and a really good story line!
I can’t think of any others. Anyway, on with the story!
Alex and John don’t bombard Herc and Laff’s date. It’s their special moment, and they won’t ruin that. Besides, they’ve got enough trouble as it is. People are making fun of them for being gay, but they walk with their heads held high. But when it’s just the four of them, they look really stressed. So it’s best to let them have a good time.
They’re both in John’s room when he asks, “Alex, can I ask you something?”
Alexander looks up from his computer. “Yeah, sure. What’s up?”
John takes a deep breath. “Remember when I told you about Lexi?”
He nods, hoping he’ll finally tell him who she is. “Well, what if… what if she’s dating someone right now? And has been for a couple of months. What do I do?”
Alex has to think for a moment. “Do you still have feelings for her?” He nods vigorously. “Does she seem to like her relationship with her boyfriend?” He hesitates, then nods again. Alexander sighs and goes over to sit down next to him. “Then I don’t know. Quote Burr: You have to wait for it.”
John smiles sadly. “I just… I just feel so head over heels for her, but… she doesn’t seem to feel the same.” He suddenly stands up. “I knew I was too stupid for her to like me. No one would like me.” He then runs out of the room, tears streaming down his face.
“John, WAIT!” Alex runs after him. He leaves the house, and Alex follows, thinking, What has gotten into him lately? Why is he so down on himself? Why is he acting like this?
He then stops dead in his tracks. Someone is bullying him. He begins to run faster with newfound strength. He eventually catches up to him, but only because he broke down on the sidewalk, crying.
Alex runs up to him and kneels next to him. “John? John! Hey, tell me what’s wrong! Who’s bullying you?”
He sniffs. “You d-don’t kn-know h-him.”
He rubs his back reassuringly. “Hey, hey, it’s alright. Who is he?”
“Okay, okay. What has he been saying to you?”
John’s voice starts out soft, but grows to a shout. “No one wants you around, John. Your friends are only your friends because they want people to think they’re cool for sympathizing with the weird kid. Turtles, really? You couldn’t have picked a stupider animal. Those freckles of yours are so ugly! No wonder no one likes you! You’re so stupid! Your eyes look like pools of murky mud! No one WANTS YOU AROUND! WHY DON’T YOU JUST DISAPPEAR!?!?”
Tears are streaming down John’s face. “Why don’t you disappear?” he repeats. “Why don’t I just disappear,” he says quietly.
Alexander wraps his arms around his best friend. “Hey, hey, John, it’s okay. Look at me, John. Look at me.”
John turns his eyes to look at him, his lip quivering. Alexander cups John’s face in his hands, looking right into his beautiful green eyes.
“You know why he said all that? It’s because he’s probably hurting, too. And he took it out on you because he’s jealous. He’s jealous that you have friends that take care of you. He’s jealous that you have the courage to express your love for turtles. He’s jealous of your freckles because they just make you so darn cute. He wants to be as smart as you, so he calls you dumb. He’s jealous that you have such beautiful, beautiful eyes. He’s jealous that there would be people that cared if you disappeared.” Alex is crying by now, too.
“Don’t you get it? He wants to be you. He wants to have what you have. He wants to be as perfect as you. He wants to be liked, but he isn’t, because he’s a bully. And bullies feed off of others’ insecurities.
“John, you are perfect the way you are. You are just so perfect. You’re kind, smart, vibrant, empathetic, persistent, exuberant, reliable, honest, and gosh, just everything about you is absolutely wonderful. And if he’s too blind to see it, then gosh darn it, he doesn’t have the right to say anything! And at the end of the day, who are you going to believe? Your best friend, or some stuck up jerk that can’t see how wonderful you are?”
Now, John’s tears have turned to ones of happiness. He wraps his arms around Alex, shivering a little bit from the cold. “Alexander, you’re the bestest best friend in the whole wide world. I’m so glad I found you.”
Alex squeezes him. “I’m glad I found you too, John. Don’t let anyone bring you down.” They sit there for a moment before he suggests, “We better get back home.” John nods, and they both stand up. They walk back to his house, admiring the beauty of the world.
Once they get back to their room, Alexander sits down at his desk. His tears now wiped away, John asks, “What are you doing?”
Alex begins to type furiously. He murmurs, “Finding out where Francis lives.” Instead of stopping him, John just pulls up his desk chair and watches him. He also shows him the text messages Francis sent him. After about fifteen minutes, he’s got it. He stands up and tells him, “I’m going to go. Will you be alright on your own?”
John nods. As his friend turns to the door, he says, “Um, Alex? Can we not talk to Laff and Herc about this?”
After hesitating, he replies, “If don’t you want me to, then I won’t.” He then calls an Uber to take him to Francis’s house. John sees this as an opportunity to look at Alexander’s hidden box.
Meanwhile, Lafayette and Hercules are watching a movie together. Herc has his head on Laff’s shoulder, and they’re both eating popcorn (they’re halfway through the movie, how do they still have popcorn???). They don’t know what’s happening between Alex and John, and they probably never will.
Herc turns his head to look up at Laff. “I’m so glad I found you, Lafayette.”
He smiles. “Me too, mon amour.”
“You know, I never really worried about John accepting us, because, you know. He’s John. But Alex… well, that’s why I asked, you know?” Herc says thoughtfully.
“I understand. But what would you have done if he didn’t approve?”
Hercules sighs. “I never thought that far.”
They go back to watching the movie. Once it’s finished, they decide to head over to John’s house, hand in hand.
Alexander arrives at Francis’s house, hoping he got the right address. He goes up to the door and knocks. Dogs bark, and the door is opened by a middle aged woman with brown hair and light brown eyes.
“Oh, hello! How may I help you?” she asks.
“Um, is this Francis’s house?”
She nods and calls into the house, “Francis! Someone is here to see you!” Someone runs down the stairs, and soon a boy around Alex’s age stumbles to the door. He had brown hair and bright blue eyes, and he’s wearing a deep red sweatshirt and black jeans.
“Hey Francis!” Alexander greets, making it sound like they’ve been friends for years. “I want to talk to you about something. It’s your choice if your mother gets to hear or not.”
He narrows his eyes. “Who are you?” he asks suspiciously.
Alex holds out his hand. “Alexander Hamilton, at your service.” Francis hesitated before shaking his hand. He tightens his grip so he can’t pull away as he says, poison leaking through his smile, “I’m here to talk about my friend, John Laurens.”
Francis’s face turns pale. He tries to pull his hand away, but Alex holds fast. His mother speaks up and asks, “What is this about?”
Hamilton replies, “Your son was cyberbullying my best friend. He was in tears today because of what he said. Now I’m here to set things straight, one way or another.” He finally lets go of his hand.
She turns to her son. “Is this true?” she asks.
Francis finds his voice and responds, “What, no! Of course not! Why would you believe him?”
With that poisonous smile still on his face, Alex states, “I have proof! John sent me screenshots of everything you said. Now, might I come in?”
She lets him inside. He hands her his phone to look at the texts while he speaks with Francis.
“You have invented a new kind of stupid, a damage you could never undo kind of stupid. An open all the cages in the zoo, kind of stupid. A clearly, you didn’t think this through, kind of stupid. Let’s review. You cyberbullied my best friend into thinking he was a worthless piece of trash. You treated the kindest person on Earth like he was nothing. Not only is that stupid, but you also made this mistake: I am his best friend, and when you mess with me, it does not end well.”
Francis gulps, beginning to regret what he’d done.
Alexander laughs quietly. “You. Idiot. How dare you be rude to John? Just because you feel insecure about yourself doesn’t mean you have the right to take it out on someone else. Don’t make fun of him and tell him that no one wants to be his friend just because you feel the same way about yourself. Now, for all I know, you could be going through some really, really hard times right now. And I understand that, because that has happened to me, too. But you don’t take it out on someone else. You get help.
“Francis, you should have asked for help, if that’s what’s going on. But if you picked on him just because you could? That stoops you down to a whole new level. You made fun of him just because you could? Francis, that’s not right! It’s the opposite of right. You laughed at his love for turtles. What’s wrong with expressing your opinion? Nothing. You made fun of his hair. You’re just jealous that yours doesn’t look that good! And his freckles? Dude, he can’t control that!
“How do you know he wasn’t already feeling bad about himself, huh? What if… what if your words are what pushed him over the edge? What if your words ended up making him commit suicide? Hey, it’s a possibility! Now just because you’re not hurting, doesn’t mean that others aren’t! You have to be conscientious of what other people might be feeling!
“And saying a simple sorry is not going to do any good! You can’t take back what you said! Those words will probably haunt him for the rest of his life. And it’s your fault! The only thing that you can do now is try to find a way to make it up to him. You can also never bully anyone again, and suffer any consequences that your mother has for you.”
He nods his head toward Francis’s mom. He slowly turns around to look at her, his face pale with fear.
She looks up from Alexander’s phone, a mixture of shock, disappointment, and anger on her face. She says quietly, “Francis, go to your room. We will discuss this when this young man is no longer here.” He goes upstairs. She hands back the phone and tells him, “I am so sorry for my son’s behavior. If there’s anything I can do to help, then let me know.”
Alex nods. “Thank you,” he says before leaving. He heads back to John’s house, shivering slightly from the cold.
About five minutes after he left, John dug into the closet and pulled out Hamilton’s box. He stared at it for about ten minutes before he opened up the box. The first thing he sees is a copy of ‘Turtle Boy’. He takes it out, and scanning through it, he notices that everything is the same, except there is an extra page. He flips to that, and only a few of the sentences can be seen. The rest has been scribbled out to the point where no one could ever read it.
He reads what he can see, and his eyes widen. Could this mean…
Someone knocks on the front door. He has about thirty seconds before Laff and Herc come up the stairs. He shoves the papers back into the box and hides it. Well, there goes that plan!
When they walk in, they’re careful not to hold hands, seeing as John’s father is homophobic. “Hey mon ami! Where’s Alex?”
John quickly thinks of a lie and replies, “He went for a walk.”
They sit down on Alexander’s bed. Herc asks, “In this weather? He hates the cold!”
John shrugs, trying to hide the lie. “Don’t ask me.” The front door can be heard opening. “There he is right now!”
A few seconds later, Alex walks into the room. “How was your walk?” John asks quickly, hoping he’ll catch on to the lie.
He glances over at their other friends. “It went really well. It felt refreshing to organize my thoughts, but when I saw some storm clouds in the distance, I knew I’d be in trouble if I didn’t get home soon.”
Lafayette looks at him quizzically. “Why did you say it like that?”
“Oh you know him, always being wordy with what he says,” John replies quickly. “So, how was your date?”
“It was pretty good,” Herc replies, brushing off the fact that John seemed to be avoiding something. “You know, the occasional hater, but who cares about them anyway? All that matters is that we had a good time.”
John’s dad happened to be passing by. He pops his head in and asks, “Why would there be haters? And who did you go out with?”
Herc pales slightly, but he quickly thinks of a lie. “Oh, some people don’t like it when a black guy and a white girl are dating. Racist people, but I can’t control that. And her name is… uh…”
Lafayette interjects, “Her name is Lorraine.”
Herc nods. “Lorraine Fowler. My girlfriend as of two days ago.”
Mr. Laurens smiles. “Oh, that’s nice to hear!” He then walks off.
Alex shuts the door quietly before whispering, “That was a really close call.”
“Agreed,” Herc whispers.
“We better get back home. Goodbye!” Laff says, and they leave.
Once they’re gone, they eat dinner. Then Alex tells John everything that happened at Francis’s house.
“Wow,” he says quietly. “Well, at least he got what he deserved.” He shakes his head slowly and adds, “I need some time to think about this. I’m going to take a shower.” He grabs some clothes and a towel and heads into the bathroom.
Alexander puts on his glasses and sits on his bed, half reading and half imagining how Francis’s mother is punishing him.
A few minutes later, John comes back in the room, his hair wrapped up in a towel and no shirt on. “I coulda sworn I grabbed a shirt,” he mumbles.
Alex’s hand slips on the book, and it clatters to the floor, its pages bent. “Agh!” he grunts, picking it up and beginning to fix the pages, keeping his eyes off of John.
Once he’s got a shirt on, Alexander asks, “So, how was your shower?”
John shrugs and takes his hair out of the towel, making it fall in crazy curls around his shoulders. He grabs a brush and replies, “Refreshing.” He then begins to brush out his hair. His friend nods and goes back to reading his book.
“Hey, um, Alex?” he asks as he’s drying his hair.
“Yeah?” he replies, looking up from his book.
He’s quiet for a moment before he asks quietly, “Was Francis right when he said that no one would ever like me?”
Alexander slams his book shut and goes over to him. “John, of course he wasn’t right! Cora liked you, I think Kassie might, and who knows how many other girls like you? Why would you say such a thing?”
He looks down and murmurs, “Lexi doesn’t seem to think so.”
Alex lifts up his chin. “John, then Lexi is the blindest person ever to cross this Earth.”
John laughs quietly. “What? Is it something I said?” John keeps chuckling.
“You wouldn’t get it,” he says, waving his hand.
“No, what is it?”
John thinks of a quick lie. He’s getting better at doing this. “I just thought of a really good joke.”
“Oooh, what is it?”
John smiles. “Okay. What do you call a famous turtle?”
Alex thinks for a moment. “I got nothing. What is it?”
He begins to laugh. “That joke is better than it should be,” he giggles.
John smiles. “I try my best.”
Life goes on like normal. The weather gets colder and colder, but the one day that it’s not as cold as usual, storm clouds begin to form. Alexander keeps looking up at the sky fearfully, praying it won’t rain. And of course, later that day while they’re hanging out at Herc’s house, it begins to sprinkle.
Alex looks out the window, fear in his eyes. “It’s alright mon ami,” Laff tells him reassuringly. “It’s just a little rain, nothing much.”
When it’s time for them to leave, it has started to rain a little harder. Alex pulls his hoodie up over his head, shaking slightly.
“It’s alright, Alex. I’m here for you,” John tells him, putting a hand on his shoulder.
“Th-thanks,” he stutters, shoving his hands in his pockets.
They’re all sitting at the dinner table when the first strike of lightning hits. Alex jumps about a foot in the air.
“Woah, that was cool!” James exclaims, rushing over to the window followed by Henry. They stand on the coach so they can look outside.
“Boys, come eat your dinner!” their mom scolds. Lightning flashes, followed by thunder.
“Woah, did you guys see that?” Henry asks, rushing over to the dinner table.
“I did,” their dad replies.
Alex pushes away his half eaten food and says quietly, “I’m not hungry anymore.” He takes care of his plate before rushing back upstairs. John looks at his family, back up the stairs, and to his family again.
“Um, I’ll be right back!” he tells them, rushing upstairs. His family only sort of knows that Alex is afraid of storms, but they don’t know why.
John finds him huddled under his blankets, only his head peeking out. He’s staring out the window with a glazed expression on his face.
Alexander is trying to fight back memories of the hurricane. A storm off in the distance. He shivers, trying to push back the memories. Wind that will literally knock you off your feet. John walks over to him. People running for shelter, their screams piercing the air.
“Alex, hey, it’s alright, it’s not a hurricane.” He keeps staring out the window, memories beginning to come faster now.
Rain pounding. Waves like mountains overturning boats.
“Alexander, look at me.” He cups his friend’s face in his hands, and Alex finally looks at him. “Don’t think about the storm. Think about happy things.”
He takes a shaky breath, and a million thoughts run through his head. He takes another breath and closes his eyes. John then goes over to his side of the room and grabs his wireless headphones. He puts them on Alexander’s head and begins to play some music.
“This should drown out the storm,” he tells him gently.
Alex nods and replies, “Thank you John.”
He ends up falling asleep, curled in his blankets, the music still playing. John smiles, gets his pajamas on, and goes to sleep.
It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving break. Alex is at debate club, while Herc and Laff are at their first meeting of a club called SOAC (Sexual Orientation Acceptance Club). John is alone in his room, playing with Squirt and Shelby, when his phone buzzes. Wondering who would be texting him, he pulls out his phone and sees it’s from an unknown number.
He opens it up and it reads, Hello John Laurens.
Suspicious, he texts back, Who is this???
The person replies The name is Malachi Rogers. But that’s beside the point. John goes over to his desk and opens his laptop. He begins to search his name on various social media sites as Malachi continues to text him. Alex would be better at this.
You don’t know me, and if I have a say in it, which I will, then you’ll never see me face to face.
John was beginning to worry as he continued to search.
Let’s just say I know more about you than anyone in the world, besides you, of course.
John stops and looks down at his phone fearfully.
And I’m planning on sharing those secrets of yours with the WORLD if you don’t do exactly as I say.
Fearfully, John replies, What do you want?
It’s really simple. I will text you instructions, and you have to do it, or the world will know, one secret at a time.
John begins to look at the state’s, and the country’s, most wanted criminals for someone by this name. If the guy is smart, the name he gave John is a fake.
Here is the first thing you have to do. It’s really simple. Send five hundred dollars to this address. He gives the address. And if you send the police instead, they’ll all be dead within minutes, and EVERY. SINGLE. SECRET. GETS. REVEALED. Do we have a deal?
Traumatized, John goes downstairs and approaches his mom. Without saying a word, he gives her his phone, with the text messages open. She takes his phone with a questioning expression on her face, and begins to read.
She replies Deal. It’ll be there by tomorrow so he doesn’t get suspicious. She then says, “Dear, I am so sorry this happened to you, of all people. But don’t worry, I’ll call the police, and they’ll know what to do.”
John’s eyes widen. “But, mom, he said-”
“It doesn’t matter what he said. If it’s even a he. What matters is the greater good. I promise, he won’t be able to harm you. And besides, what could you possibly be hiding that’s so bad?”
“You’re right. It’s just… well, a few very personal things, you know?” She nods her head.
“I understand. Don’t worry, everything will be fine.”
Later that day, Alexander walks into their room and finds John sitting on his bed, hugging a pillow. It’s obvious he’s been crying.
Alex drops his backpack and rushes over. “John! John, are you alright?” Just then, his mom comes up the stairs and explains to him what happened. She then goes over to comfort her son, and he follows.
She hugs him tight, and murmurs reassuring things until he calms down. Alex sits on the edge of his friend’s bed awkwardly, not sure what to do. Once his mom is satisfied that he’s calm, she leaves to make dinner.
“Do you want to talk about it?” Alex asks quietly. Fresh tears form on John’s face. “Oh, I didn’t mean to make you cry!” he apologizes.
His body racks with sobs. Alexander puts his arms around him, telling him it’ll be alright, and that he’s there for him.
“Wh-why me?” John finally stammers. “Why do a-all the b-bad things happen to m-me?”
“Hey, hey, John, it’s okay. He can’t do anything now. You’ll be alright.”
He ends up crying himself to sleep, not even going downstairs to eat. Alexander stays there, holding him. He, too, eventually falls asleep.
After the capture, they find out that it was actually a woman named Mazzie Rogers, who has been on the run for about three months now. Luckily, she wasn’t able to release anything before she was imprisoned.
John’s friends comfort him as they watch the news at Lafayette’s house. He gives him some ice cream, and he eats it absentmindedly.
He eventually pushes the memory of her out of his mind. But he’ll still sometimes have nightmares about what might have happened if she hadn’t been caught. And if she escaped. Little did he know, that would happen sooner than he thought it would.