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Brave As a Noun

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  Adam was nervous, to say the least; he hadn’t gone out in a while, that was what he attributed the foreign anxiety to as he ran through the shower, brushed his teeth - for six minutes - which served pretty counterproductive when he was smoking half a pack of cigarettes before even leaving the house. One of the aforementioned ten cigarettes burned between his teeth as he dug through his closet to find decent clothes, his only dress clothes were from Jigsaw related trials and Lawrence had bought them for him. When he tried to pay Lawrence back he persisted;

 "No, Adam, that's truly not necessary. it's a gift, your money's no good to me." 

After plenty of Adam's suggestions for ways to pay him back, he eventually gave up.

He figured it wasn’t the best time to pull out fancy clothes, they were just going to dinner anyway, right? Adam's phone ringing caught him off guard after he quickly realized it wasn't in his pockets he began to aggressively search his apartment. The ringing stopped multiple times before he was able to find it, flipping it open and answering it through labored breathing. 

"Adam? Are you alright? I called you three times, it went to voicemail each one." Lawrence tried to conceal it but he was worried- it was difficult to mask, he started wondering how many times Diana had heard him whip this tone out. "Yeah..." his smoker lungs weren't built for this. "My fucking phone got… fucking lost… under my fucking couch." Wait; did I comb my hair- do I need to shave? Why am I worried about this-

"Ah," He could hear Lawrence exhale in relief, breaking him from his thoughts. "Bus is running a little late, but I'll be there soon, twenty minutes, maybe? I didn't need anything else though, I just got concerned." Adam glanced around his now partially disheveled apartment, sighing deeply. "Yeah, I’m fine. I’ll see you soon then." 

 "Bye-Bye, Adam."

Adam bolted off to his bathroom to shave as quickly as possible, maybe fix up his hair a little? Definitely brush his teeth again. Despite not understanding why he was so worried about how he looked, he didn’t have time to worry about it, but he knew had to do something about it within the next “twenty minutes, maybe”

---

 The photographer jumped upon hearing his phone ring again; this time it was in his pocket, “Hey, Law.” he leaned farther into his couch. “Hey, Adam, I’m outside.” he jumped to his feet quickly before putting the tenth cigarette of the evening out and then grabbing his keys. “And I’m headed downstairs.” Adam simply said running down, not bothering to lock the door to his apartment; there was nothing he would miss there anyway. Adam flipped his phone closed as he opened his lobby door. 

God did he feel underdressed right now.

Then again; he had only ever seen Lawrence in a suit, as far as his memory served him at least, so despite it being his normal apparel, it seemed high end.

    "Hi." a smile crossed Lawrence's face. "Hey," Adam replied, returning the sentiment. "Should I go put my suit on?" Lawrance shook his head and stepped closer "You look fine, did you cut your hair? It looks nice," before he could respond; a hand rose to Adam's cheek, the warmth making Adam go weak in the knees and dig his nails into his palms. 

"What happened to your face? Is this from the robbery you got involved with yesterday?" Lawrence's tone softened, his thumb swiping the small white bandage on the smaller man's cheek. Adam tried to talk, but all that came out were syllables. Lawrence simply stepped closer, the younger man felt the doctor's body heat as he tilted Adam's head upward to get a better look. "Shaving," Adam stammered out, clearing his throat.

  "Cut myself shaving." He specified. "Adam, you look pale, are you feeling okay?" The photographer felt continuously more nervous as he continued to try and break the eye contact. "Do you need me to take you back to your apartment, are you sick?" Lawrence continued, his hand now on Adam's forehead, feeling for his temperature.

 "I-I'm fine..." Adam was mentally cursing himself out for being so nervous under Lawrence, he figured it was just him being touch starved; nothing abnormal. 

  "You're cold sweating are you s-" 

"Yes. I’m fine. Just, it’s cold in my apartment, and I’m overdue for a cigarette. It’s fine. Let’s go." 

 Lawrence, with great hesitance,stepped back, surrendering with the hope that he hadn't genuinely upset the younger male. “Would you like to take your car or take the bus?” he asked, with that bedside manner smile while placing his hands in his pockets to make sure he didn’t get handsy again. Adam stood confused for a moment before remembering Lawrence’s disability “I can drive.” 

---

     Adam found himself spending most of the car ride thinking about what the problem with him being in Lawrence’s presence was. Adam’s heart would skip a beat when the older man's eyes gravitated over at him every now and again. Something was truly wrong with him and he was determined to figure out what.

Adam shook it off, parking on the street. “Close enough?” Lawrence nodded, opening his door. As Adam reached for the handle the doctor spoke “Hold on.” The door closed quietly. The vouyer waited in his seat with a sigh, after a few seconds his door opened. Lawrence seemed pleased to help as the other stepped out carefully while sliding his keys onto one of his belt loops. “Whatta gentleman,” Lawrence rolled his eyes, closing the door behind Adam. 

 One of Lawrence’s hands found its way to the small of Adams back, lightly, as the two of them walked to the restaurant; Adam found himself walking slower to embrace the moment, his chest tensing unreasonably at the contact.

      Lawrence took a deep breath before leaning down to be a little closer to Adam. “You okay?” he whispered lowly, his hand sliding to the side to grip the younger man’s torso, his left hand wasn't too great on the cane so he was willing to take any extra support he could get. Adam inhaled a sharp breath and nodded, “Why?” Lawrence shook his head, he would have to shake him down for that answer later. 

   “For two?” The older man nodded with a smile in response to the hostess’s question. Adam’s hands sat in his pockets with a nervous smile. Lawrence retracted his hand, Adam leaned back into the touch, almost begging him not to leave his side. Lawrence seemed to waver, a silent statement of understanding. 

  After completely settling, Adam looked Lawrence in the eye for what felt like the first time all afternoon. Without ending the unspoken staring contest the other relaxed into his chair, cane hooked to the back of it atop his coat. "Adam,"

   The aforementioned man hummed weakly. "They probably think we're together." Adam wasn't completely unwarranted in this claim, as he had suddenly realized that was why Lawrence asked if everything was okay at the start, all eyes were on them. 

  To be entirely fair; Adam was a young man clearly in his twenties, dressed as though he'd never seen the inside of an upscale establishment, his table manners were non-existent, he looked like a poor hippie. Lawrence was a well-dressed man, pager on his hip, cane implying an injury, since his prosthetic was well hidden and he seemed to be older, he looked and walked like money from the moment he helped Adam out of his outdated car with a smile. 

Lawrence knew what they looked like as soon as he saw a few dirty looks from expensive businessmen at tables that viewed out of the door. It made sense now and Adam was all of a sudden; not okay.

A waiter found his way to their table, notebook in hand, a judgemental glare past the two of them as he approached. "Hey there, my name's Max, I'll be your server for this evening, May I get you two something to drink to start you off?" Clicking the pen and looking Adam up and down quickly before looking over at Lawrence. 

 Adam hadn’t even got the chance to read the menu and he was already nervous. "Uhhh" with the effort not to embarrass himself he glanced at Lawrence then the list of drinks, then at him one more time in a second attempt at silently asking for help. "Surprise me. just make it liquor." 

"Just water, thanks." he waited fully for 'Max' to leave before turning to the younger quickly "Adam, I know this must be nerve-racking and I am so sorry," Lawrence kept a smile on his face as Adam glanced around the room, making an effort to remain calm "We can leave if  you’re uncomfortable, we don’t have to stay, I’ll take you somewhere else-" 

 "No. Fuck them." Adam shook his head, putting his hands on the table after moving the small candle that burned as a centerpiece at every table to the side. After sitting for a few seconds to reconsider and allow Lawrence - whomst sat, still relaxed with his eyebrows knitted together in confusion. "Let’s piss em off," Adam said matter-of-factly. It quickly set in that he was breaking into a cold sweat once again, this was scary but so enticing; like sneaking out with his high-school girlfriends all over again. “We are going to have a good time.”

 Lawrence sighed as he leaned forward, putting one hand in Adam's, the other finding its way to the man's face, much like earlier. "You nicked your face good this morning, hm?" Adam avoided eye contact, but the other only leaned in closer. "Does it hurt?" the younger of the two drew back slightly at the touch, shaking his head and looking around the room for more stares.

      He knew Lawrence was only putting on a show, but it felt so empowering, he knew he'd have to think about it later. "Adam are you sure you're comfortable pretending to-" "Yeah. I mean, if these snobby rich guys think they get to judge us then we get to play them." Lawrence got ready to retract his hand before Adam stopped him with his free one, holding it still. "No, no, not about pretending, I meant because… I mean..” He paused for a moment

     “If you have a girlfriend or something.. I wouldn't want her to think…" the doctor trailed off, finally slipping out of Adam's grip. The younger man cocked his head to the side "No? You'd think that's something worth mentioning." Lawrence nodded and looked down at their hands. "Well, I'm… never mind," he stammered before taking his hands back and putting them in his lap. "What?" Adam pressed.

 "I'm," Lawrence started; looking off to the side now. "I’m an older man and... I mean, I don’t think I'm unattractive per-se, but if you see someone nice and they see you with me.. You- I wouldn't- it'll be hard to explain." he struggled, exhaling deeply. "You think I'm embarrassed to be seen with you?" Adam clarified while furrowing his brow as a glass hit the table, realizing they had blocked their surroundings. Lawrence thanked the waiter, telling him they needed a few more minutes for the food to dismiss him. 

   “I think it’s honestly a feat that I’d get to walk into such an establishment on a doctor’s arm; if anything, I hope they’re jealous, I’m far from embarrassed. Now,” Adam reached for the menu, skimming it, Lawrence sat in awe for a moment before following suit. “How much you wanna bet I can make everyone think I’m the man of the relationship?” the photographer teased with a conniving smirk. looked up from his menu. “Game on.”

The rest of their dinner was spent holding aimless conversations, there was so much to talk about, Jigsaw, Alison, Diana, work, but at this point it was honestly best that the two just didn’t. They found themselves remembering they were pretending to be together AND one-upping each other at the same time. One would hold the others hand or caress their face,

as a joke

  Adam’s stomach flipped every time Lawrence would run his hand up his forearm or spare him a loving glare, it felt too real until Lawrence would break his submergence with a laugh or a wink to signal that he was doing good, it hurt for some reason. Adam ordered something he didn’t read up on first, wound up not liking it, straight-up had to switch meals with Lawrence to avoid the awkwardness of re-ordering. Funny, Lawrence didn’t like it either, but he stomached it, just for Adam.

As soon as the bill hit the table the photographer leaned, beckoning Lawrence closer, he quickly obliged. Adam shielded his mouth to whisper “sensually” into the older man’s ear, his free hand gripping his tie. 

“Whadya say we go back to my place and… binge Grey’s Anatomy?” 

Lawrence willed himself not to laugh, raising his eyebrows and nodding carefully. “How about mine instead?” he reached into his pocket pulling his wallet out. “I have it on Hulu.” 

---

  After arguing about who seemed more manly, they had finally arrived at Law’s house, the doctor seemed to hesitate involuntarily before unlocking the door. Adam had - obviously - heard of the house but had never been inside of it, it was everything he expected.

"Want something to drink?” Lawrence offered, taking his coat off, hanging it up. “Sure. Whatever you’re having.” Adam’s temporary bartender nodded and disappeared into the kitchen, Adam quickly made himself comfortable; sitting on the couch to search the other’s television for Hulu. 

  Eventually, Lawrence sat next to him, handing him a similar glass to his own, with a smile. Adam nodded in thanks, sipping the expensive liquor, listening to the actual doctor calling out the clear malpractice in Grey’s Anatomy. Lawrence would get up every once in a while to get another drink, Adam didn’t say anything, he knew with everything going on - divorce wise - it was fair that Lawrence was drowning his issues in poison.

After about four or five drinks Adam figured he should speak up about it. “You should have some water with that.” Lawrence smiled and shook his head. “I’m okay.” the way he slurred those two words alone said otherwise. “Well, it’s getting late, you should go to bed,” Adam suggested, putting his glass down on the table in front of them. “Nah.” 

   The photographer squinted his eyes, genuinely asking himself if he was speaking to the same man. “Well,” Adam stood. “I’m going to head home and go to bed,” he started while picking up his jacket.

   Adam got caught, thinking his jeans got stuck on the coffee table or something he turned, only to see Lawrence looking up with him, his eyes glossed over. 

Stay..?

“Lawrence I have to go, you have work tomorrow, You need to sleep this off,” Lawrence showed a clear look of disappointment. “Please? You can sleep on my couch…” Adam sighed deeply “Law, you should sleep.” “Adam, please? It gets lonely here all by myself... Just stay the night?” They sat and stared at each other for a moment. Lawrence looked down, releasing Adam from his grasp in defeat. 

  “I’ll put you in bed.”