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Brave As a Noun

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Now I see you as a strange mix of someone angry, yet apathetic. But mostly just pathetic

 

The phrase had haunted Adam since escaping the hellfire that was a jigsaw, he couldn’t recall much from the few days that he was in and out of consciousness; but he vividly remembers the EMTs that took him out, the sound of them saw- cutting through the chains and waking up into a panic attack begging to see Lawrence. Once he could he recalled sitting by his side in the hospital, crying in front of him and asking why he took so long, every. Disgusting. Detail. Was ingrained. in his fucking. skull.

  Five dial tones rang through Adam’s ear before a brief noise of movement and an exasperated sigh followed. 

"Hello?" 

"Lawwwwwww you won’t believe the day I’ve had!" Adam started while lighting a cigarette and resting it between his lips, dropping his backpack near the door of his apartment: he had moved recently and half of his few belongings were still in boxes, he didn’t bother touching them if he didn’t need the contents. A hum on the other end of his flip-phone showed the older man was listening. "So first off, this fuckin chick at my MickeyDs comes up to me to ask where the bathroom is, I tell her to ask the cashier because I don’t know, right? Right. So, she flips her fucking shit because - I don’t know - its a whole thing I get called up to the damn principles office," 

Adam likes to call getting written up as going to the principle's office 

"And then two other fucking people write me up and guess what? I get sent home while they sort the shit with corporate, as you know I'll be back by Monday, like always," Adam leaned his phone against his ear to continue to talk while leaning the top of a beer bottle against his counter and hitting the cap off. "So I’m like 'Fuck it vacation time' and head for my apartment," He pauses to sip the drink and take a drag off the cigarette once more, another hum from Lawrence emitted to show he listened.

 "Make my day worse, I’ve been talking to the pigs for the past three hours because I see someone getting robbed? decide to be a good samaritan and almost get fucking shot. I get home around my normal time and shit, ‘alls well that ends well’ or whatever." Adam threw himself onto his couch with a sigh, careful not to torch it with the beer and cig that he held in the same hand 

  Lawrance took it upon himself to speak within the silence. "Well,” he started “I’m concerned about you getting involved in a robbery, are you alright?" The doctor started. "Yeah, I’m cool," a moment of silence for a hit of the cigarette. "It was scary though. The only reason I really stepped in was the cause of it was that John fucker testing me again then I didn’t wanna wind up with a needle to my neck." Adam took a sip just to cope with his own statement.

"God… Adam…" he could almost see Lawrence’s expression, just by hearing his tone; he could tell he’d been through a similar moment, or two. "You’re sure you’re okay? people hardly leave those without a scratch on them." the doctor insisted. Adam laughed into the bottle "Yeah, doc, I got swung on once but I swear my cheek only bled because I bit down when he hit me, so." he shrugged. 

"Sure, Adam." Lawrence audibly sighed, clicking a pen sealed "You should find a better job than a janitor, Adam, you’re worth more." Adam scoffed in reply, trying to ignore how sweet his name was spoken in comparison to the rest of the sentence. "You worried, doc?" Lawrence laughed quietly. "Yes, Adam I'm worried, I don’t feel the most secure knowing you’re working on that side of town." Adam laughed it off, knowing good and well that he was right.

Lawrence had been working his desk since rebounding after the bathroom; they didn’t want him on his leg too much but he begged them for "Something, anything" to quote him; he currently resided in a guest bedroom that Allison and he had in the house, he switched rooms after Allison officially filed for divorce.

  Lawrence fought hard for that not to go through, it took so long to get him to agree, strictly because of Diana. Their lawyers were going back and forth, Lawrence tried not to seem pissed, Allison was screaming, all while Diana in the day center downstairs, the whole damn thing was so messy.

  Needless to say, Lawrence was more lonely than he’d ever admitted, he was locking himself in his office or his room all the time. So to be completely frank, he didn’t mind Adam calling every other day to complain about his minimum wage job. More or less; he tried to help every once in a while. They’d only seen each other a few times since everything with Jigsaw and Adam seemed to be handling the trauma well, so did Lawrence. Allison seemed to have a stick up her ass ever since, and besides a few nights of screaming or paranoia, Diana was doing fairly well.

   "Law?" The older man hummed "You good?" another low hum. "You sure?" a third. "What’s goin’ on?" a sigh, finally. "Just Allision. She’s decided to go on a trip to Atlanta to visit my in-laws with Diana..." Adam inhaled an - emotionally - painful breath through his teeth. "How long?" Lawrence could be heard throwing a pen down on the table. "Lord knows" Adam furrowed his brow, taking another swig off his beer, before dropping his cigarette off in an ashtray resting on the coffee table.

 "Idn’t that illegal?" Adam pondered aloud. Lawrance exhaled heavily "I said the same thing, my divorce lawyer says that since I don’t have visitation rights I don’t get a choice. "Not kidnapping unless she's been served to produce her," he says. If I’m being completely honest, it took all my self-control not to throw my cane at his head." Adam laughed lightly but Lawrence just shook his head. 

"You need to take your mind off things,". "Hm?" Lawrence really didn’t get out much since everything happened. "Y’know, go to a fancy dinner or something, remind yourself that you’re a rich white man and you don’t take anyone’s shit," Adam continued jokingly, taking another swig of the beer. "When are you free?" Adam choked aloud as he could almost see Lawrence smiling slyly as he said that- 

 Adam tried to gather himself, stuttering over his words aloud, trying to catch his breath. "How about tomorrow? I'm off on Thursdays." Lawrance answered for him. "S-Sure, yeah sounds good." 

Chapter Text

  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.”

Chapter Text

  Adam had stayed over at Lawrence’s house two nights ago, he went home right after waking up. his phone ringing caught him off guard, “Shut up…” he covered his ears to block out the sound in a useless attempt, lying back on the bed, hitting the pillow loudy. “Shut up,” the ringing pursued. “Shut up!” he was kicking his legs at this point, pressing his hands harder as his breath quickened. “SHUT UP!”’ 

The ringing continued. Adam finally gave in, flipping his phone open, not bothering to check the caller ID first “What?!” silence for a few moments. “Are you okay?” Lawrence’s voice was quick to soothe Adam. “Yeah… yeah, you just…” Made me think I was back in that wannabe vigilante’s warehouse. “It’s fine, what’s up?” Lawrence swallowed hard. “I apologize for waking you…” Adam shook his head before realizing Lawrence couldn’t see him. “It’s cool, what’s up?”

“Allison… she called, she wants sole custody of Diana.” Lawrence’s voice cracked. “Oh god... Law I’m… I’m so sorry,” Adam sat back up. “What can I uh... What can I do?” Adam asked desperately, trying not to seem insensitive. “I have to get a lawyer and… and I have to make an arrangement, I-” Lawrence paused for a moment, sighing and moving around audibly. “What am I gonna do?” he added. Adam rubbed his eyes gently. “Do you want me to come over?” 

“Please? I… I need you right now, Adam,” 

 The younger of the two glared over to the alarm clock next to his bed. 2:34 AM Adam got out of bed quickly putting on some clothes, the first thing he picked up. “I’m getting in my car, I’ll see you soon.”

 

---

 

Upon arrival, Adam rang the doorbell for at least twenty seconds before Lawrence opened it, wine in hand. “Adam,” he whispered weakly before stepping aside to let him in. “I’m so sorry to make you come out at such an hour,” Lawrence began to apologize as they walked into the house. “You can sleep here if you’d like.” The older man guided Adam to his office, taking a seat and gesturing to the chair next to it. Adam sat down and looked at the paperwork sprawled out across the desk.

   “Looking for an attorney?” Adam asked rhetorically. “Yeah,” Lawrence sighed. “I need another drink,” Adam slid the wine glass over to Lawrence, pouring for him, considering the bottle was about half empty he probably should have asked how many drinks he had before Adam’s arrival but he didn’t. Feeding his alcoholism once couldn’t kill him, right? After about an hour Lawrence had gone through his third drink, excluding the one he had when Adam showed up. 

 Adam hadn’t had anything to drink, figured it was best he remained sober for as long as he could. “Lawrence how about this guy?” he suggested, handing him the paperwork. “I can barely see, all the words blend,” Lawrence complained, throwing his glasses down before accepting the file from the other, squinting strongly at the paperwork. Adam watched him confusingly, eyes jotting back and forth between the struggling older man and his reading glasses.

Adam couldn’t stop himself from wondering how much Lawrence actually made in a year, he recognized the brand as a designer, probably Versace, Gucci? No; definitely Versace, why spend so much money on plastic, after realizing he was mentally judging Lawrence for buying himself glasses - that he wasn’t using - 

 Lawrence began to pat himself down, looking around frantically. “Where are my damn glasses.” 

“Maybe you should stop drinking, Larry.” 

   “I’m perfectly fine, thank you,” Adam looked over to him finally. “How many have you had?” Lawrence sighed. “Put it in the maybe pile.” was all he replied with, handing the paper back to Adam, who did as he was told. “Lawrence.” The older man ignored him, pouring himself another drink. “Lawrence.” more stern this time. “Hm?” “How many drinks have you had?” 

  The doctor shook his head. “Six, seven.” Adam looked over at Lawrence, currently pouring the last of the bottle in the nearly overflowing glass.

 “Don’t you think you should slow down?”

 “I’m fine.” 

“Lawrence, you’ve gone through an entire bottle of wine, I think that’s plenty.” 

“Your eyes are gorgeous Adam, you know that?” 

Adam froze where he sat. “So pretty... they show so much more emotion than you think, more gorgeous than a thousand sunsets.” he’s drunk, he’s drunk “I have to resist this urge to tell you just how pretty your eyes are every day, your beautiful green eyes...“ Adam tried to tell him to stop talking, that he’d regret it later, but he couldn’t bring himself to speak. 

“Adam you’re so handsome, I know you'll hate me for this, but you're just irresistible. I can’t believe I have to deny you knowledge of this feeling each time I see you, try not to tell you I think your eyes could brighten a room, they’re stunning.” The younger man remained frozen in place. “Your skin is so smooth, your lips look so soft, your hair is so messy, it bothers me to hell and back, but it’s so charming.” Adam wanted to move. Now. Run far, far away and never ever talk to anyone he knew ever again because he was so confused it was unbelievable.

“I like to think I'm in tune with my feelings, I knew I loved you weeks ago-” Adam held his hands up defensively. “Stop! Stop.” Adam finally spat. “You don’t mean this stuff, you’re drunk, we narrowed down the options and you need to sleep. Now.” Lawrence slid closer, putting a hand on the younger man’s inner thigh, not sexually, making a simple romantic gesture. “Adam, I mean it. I mean it all, I love you and I need you…” Adam shook his head violently, trying to convince himself more than anything as he continued to stack the stray paperwork “No. No, you don’t love me, you’re hammered and you need to go to bed.” 

“Adam, I love you.” Lawrence slurred out. “I really, really, really love you. And your stupid comebacks, your messy hair… your soft lips, your… your eyes, your teeth, your hands...” Adam shook his head even faster this time, putting a hand on the other's. “Larry. Stop.” the doctor obliged with clear disappointment, retracting his hand, waiting in silence for Adam to finish cleaning. “We can go to bed, you can sober up, and I’ll pretend we never spoke about this.” Adam stood, putting his hand out. “C’mon. I’ll tuck you in.”

 

---

 

Adam woke up with warmth on his shoulder. “Adam.” he groaned in response. “Adam, wake up for a minute.” the younger man opened his eyes slowly, a smile plastered on Lawrence’s face. “I have to go to work in a few hours.” Adam inhaled sharply through his nose sitting up, a clear look of concern crossing the other’s face. “I have to go.” Adam stood up quickly, wiping his face down before running his hand through his hair. “Adam? Are you alright? You seem shaken.” Lawrence tried to stand, sighing in defeat, looking down in embarrassment. “Will you….” Adam looked down at Lawrence who was chewing his lip anxiously. “Will you help me up?” 

The photographer put his hand out, the two awkwardly struggled for a moment, before Adam crouched, hooking his arms under Lawrence, helping him stand finally “I’m sorry,” Lawrence whispered, still looking down. “It’s okay, not your fault.” Adam stiffly patted Lawrence’s shoulder, making a turn for the door, grabbing his coat off the couch. “Adam, I’m serious, you look perturbed.” Adam stopped as he reached the hall leading to the door. “I’m really fine. Your list of potential attorneys is on the table.” 

Slipping on his scuffed doc martens, he could feel Lawrence staring at him. “I made coffee if you’d like it before you go…” Adam shook his head, “Thank you, Larry, but I truly should be getting home,” Adam waved nonchalantly, “Adam-” Lawrence drew back mid-sentence, trying to ensure he could soften his tone as he leaned against any nearby object to support himself as he walked towards Adam to the best of his abilities. 

“You’re upset, did something happen? Did I do something? You’re acting aloof." Adam’s hand hit the doorknob; Lawrence finally reached him pushing his weight into the door to keep it closed. The younger male remained facing away from the other. They stood in silence for a few moments. “I have a hangover, I recall drinking, did I do something to cause you discomfort?”

        Adam exhaled sharply before shaking his head. “Not your fault, Lawrence. I just…” Adam looked down. I’m confused? I’m gay? I’m not sure what the fuck it means to me that you think I’m hot? I want you to tell me you love me, sober? What am I supposed to tell you without making myself look like a… without talking about how much I just... I want you the way you want me when I see you? 

Turning to face the other, Adam smiled. "I'm a little tired. I'll call you, kay?"

Chapter Text

Adam woke to a start, snapping directly in his ear making him quickly sit up and push back into the couch as his chest rose and fell quickly. "Who the fuck are you?" The other man stood still and silent. "Hello? Are you mute or something?" The unnamed dark-haired man swallowed, they stared.

"Mark." 

Adam furrowed, completely deaf to Lawrence coming around the corner panicked. "Are you okay? I h-" 

All three of them remained like that for a while, the still nameless man pointed at the doctor. "Lawrence." He nodded slowly and hesitantly in response, Adam decided to be sarcastically helpful, turning to face Lawrence "His name is Mark ." The doctor squinted for a minute before hitting himself in the forehead. "God, Hoffman, you are…" Lawrence sighed, standing straight and adjusting his shirt. "You are something else… Give me a minute to get dressed," Lawrence insisted with a sigh.

Adam looked between the two, frantically trying to remind them he was totally just ambushed by Mark. "I’m sorry did I miss something or am I just stupid?" Lawrence looked at Adam, suddenly remembering he was there. "Oh, Mark's um.." The doctor headed back to his bedroom, yelling as he changed. "Mark's a work friend." 

"Nurse." 

Mark had only said a whopping total of about three words and Adam could already tell his bedside manner was horrid. "Please reconsider your career choice," Adam suggested absentmindedly. Imagine waking up to this buff fucker changing out your IV in the middle of the night I'd think he was there to kill me- the photographer thought to himself.

"You can wait in the kitchen if you want, Hoffman." Lawrence loudly closed a drawer, "Mark." he reminded, looking Adam up and down judgmentally -maybe that's just his normal face though- before going off to the kitchen, leaving Adam to sit in complete confusion. 

The younger man didn’t bother with pants before walking over to his temporary roommate’s bedroom. "Law, isn’t today kinda weird to go out on? You’re supposed to run errands and we're out of Cheez-its." Lawrence opened the door, full suit of fucking course like it made sense. "Yeah, Mark's gonna help me with one of 'em." Lawrence only shortened words when he was lying, Adam knew this and consciously chose to keep it to himself.

"Oh cool." Adam watched from the doorway while Lawrence went back to searching for a belt. "Get half and half too. I had to put 'Silk' in my coffee the other day and I almost choked you out for it." the older laughed quietly. "Alright, Adam. Are Creamer and Cheez-its what you plan on living off of, or would you like me to buy real food?" The photographer rolled his eyes, leaning further into the frame. The doctor succeeded in his search "And if I do?" Lawrence sighed, putting the leather through his belt loops. "Well, you'll just have to get scurvy." 

The doctor patted Adams’s shoulder. "Movie tonight?" Lawrence nodded. "I'll be home by eleven." Adam gave a quick thumbs up in agreement. "Go lay down, you look like you haven’t slept in days," Lawrence said with a smile, laced with concern. "That’s how I feel, honestly. I didn’t sleep till five last night, but that’s what it’s been for a few months." Adam shrugged it off, heading away from the doctor, he knew where this was going.

"Hey, have you considered seeing if you could get prescribed something for that?" Adam shook his head, continuing to walk away. Lawrence quickly grabbed his cane, catching up. "Well, I'll see if I can get you an appointment if you'd like?" Adam shrugged. "Can’t you just like; give it to me?" 

  Lawrence shook his head despite being behind the other. "No, I have a familial relationship with you. I'm biased in my choices. I couldn’t even perform a general exam on you if I wanted to," They both stopped at the entrance to the living room, seeing Mark attempting to power up their Wii.

"Okay, Mark how about we head off?" Adam blinked, clear offense was taken, it was his Wii after all. Not only was it one of the few things he's left over Lawrence’s house, it's also one of the few luxuries he could afford himself. Lawrence put his arm around Adam’s shoulder, shaking it gently before quickly whispering to him. "He's not worth it,"

-----

Lawrence re-arrised two hours late andAdam faked irritation while helping him with the groceries. they had a very don’t ask don’t tell policy, it wasn’t Adam’s business so he didn’t ask.

"Are you too tired or are you still up for that movie?" Lawrence asked, sitting down at the kitchen table to rest, his opposite was reading a small pill bottle. "Uh I’ll probably pass out on you but you know, up to you, old man." 

Lawrence shook his head, continuing to observe. "What's that?" the doctor finally pried. "Uh, got some O-T-C meds to sleep. I can't read this little ass print though." Adam chewed his lip while squinting in concentration. "Just take one tonight and see what happens," Lawrence advised. "How’s your buddy Hoff doing?" Adam put the bottle down visibly disgruntled. "He's fine. How was your day?" Adam shrugged. 

 "Fine. What movie do you wanna watch?" Lawrence simply shrugged in response. “Not sure, I’ve got a lot on my mind. It's probably best I just head to bed.” Adam faked strong disappointment. “You promised me a movieeeeeeee” 

  “I did not promise you anything, we can watch it tomorrow,” he stood, beginning to make his way out of the kitchen, much to the other’s disagreement. “Larryyyyyy, I wanna watch a movie.” The Doctor didn’t falter in his defenses, not bothering to respond, then again; Adam should have seen that coming, Lawrence does have a nine-year-old daughter.

"Least let me come to bed with youuuu." The doctor turned over his shoulder, "You mean it?" Lawrence realized quickly that he seemed a bit too eager about that. "I mean- because I just-" Lawrence started on his panicked rant to fix the mess he thought he'd made "I haven't been in the same bed as someone in a little while - not sober and lucid at least - but it's really fine if you don't want to." Adam had his own moment of confusion before nodding. "Yeah." 

Lawrence came to a full stop and only moved again once he realized Adam had gotten ahead of him, once they touched base in the older's room it dawned on Lawrence that he was still fully dressed. "Uh… you can.. you can wait outside if you want to." Lawrence scratched at his other hand a new nervous habit he had developed. “Why?” 

“Because...  I’m gonna... change clothes?” Adam shrugged, “Yeah, so?” The doctor quickly got confused. “Isn’t it weird for you?” Adam shook his head, seemingly honestly confused about what was so weird about this. “Nah, why?” Lawrence blinked. “I mean, I’m about to… I’m about to take my clothes off?” Adam rolled his eyes, walking out the door. “Fine, fine, I’ve basically seen you naked anyway. Only intoxicated though.” 

   After Adam spent the past few minutes outside of the door, counting the floorboards and stopping after twelve, Lawrence brought him back to the room. Adam didn’t hesitate to lose his pants, leaving the worn band shirt on, and throwing himself on the bed. “It’s been soooooo long since I felt a real mattress.” Lawrence laughed lightly, getting under the blanket; Adam enjoyed his spot for a minute before covering himself as well. 

Lawrence made a strong effort to stick to his own space; this didn’t stop Adam from forgetting what boundaries were. “Goodnight, Adam,” Lawrence smiled despite being in the dark. “Night.” The two of them remained silent for a minute, Lawrence allowed himself to think, just like he did every other night, losing himself for a good while. Just taking in the day, spending most of his time with Adam on his mind, wondering what he had done to deserve such a good…

Friend

A few more minutes of this passed, he was sure that by now Adam was asleep, he should be too but there was too much to think about. Adam, work, the divorce, Diana, Jigsaw, it was generally just too much to handle, but masking it was his specialty. 

 

 “Law?”

 

Breaking from his thoughts, Lawrence hummed in response. “You’re up?” another hum in positive response. “Is it… Okay, it's weird for two grown men to do this, but can I like...”  The older of the two waited patiently, making a strong effort not to be too presumptuous. “I’m just gonna do it, and like totally tell me if it’s weird, okay?” Lawrence chuckled lightly. “Okay, Adam.” 

  Adam, with clear hesitance, moved closer, draping an arm across the other man’s stomach, placing his head on his shoulder. “You wanted to cuddle?” Lawrence’s tone was so soft, almost hurt that Adam was nervous to ask.

“Shut up.” Lawrence quickly reciprocated with an arm around Adams torso, his other moved to his face, stroking his cheek lightly. “You didn’t have to ask,” Adam tensed. “I don’t think it’s weird, Adam, wanting physical contact is completely normal.”

Y’know, despite having this confession in his back pocket Adam really felt like Lawrence would never catch on sometimes.

This was fine for now though.

Chapter Text

Adam clearly didn’t sleepover at Lawrence’s house for the last time that Monday. He would go every couple of days when Lawrence would call him intoxicated or paranoid. Adam would drive over, no matter the time he would talk him through it, rub his back, shit every once in a while he’d pour Lawrence a drink, hold his hand, and when Lawrence got drunk enough he made sure to leave as soon as possible. Adam didn’t think his conscience could handle another drunken admission of love.

Adam would frequently wind up sleeping on the floor of Lawrence’s bedroom, the doctor -drunk off his ass- would sob, saying he was scared of what happened, of Jigsaw, of himself, of bathrooms. Other nights he'd be lonesome, saying he was willing to sleep on the floor next to the couch just to be near someone. Any reason for Adam to sleep on the itchy yet expensive carpeting was a good reason.

Lawrence would only ask what happened every now and again, but even when he didn't Adam would tell him.

"Huh? Oh, you thought we were in the bathroom again, wouldn’t sleep ‘less I held your hand."

"Said you were lonely."

"said you needed to protect me,"

"Funny this time, told me you were tired but you wanted to talk to Diana, told you to call her when you sobered up in the morning, cried and told me Allison probably thought you were homeless or you'd be poor."

Adam didn't mind. Lawrence would make him coffee or a meal in the mornings while the younger lived in agony. Lawrence would rub Adam's shoulders to relax, or a circumstance would occur and Adam would leave as quickly as possible, panic ensued in him, feelings striking from deep within his core, overwhelming feelings stabbing him in the chest, painful butterflies with serrated wings sliced at his stomach when Lawrence hugged him to thank him for his help.

The doctor meant no ill will and Adam meant not to worry him.

"Work?" Lawrence asked, standing in the doorway of the kitchen. Adam turned quickly over his shoulder, coffee in hand. "Hm?" Lawrence smiled at the younger man. This was one of those weekends where Adam stayed at Lawrence's house, driving him to and from work every other day until he needed something from home.

"Nah, off this week. why, wanna take me out to dinner?" Adam sneered, making the doctor laugh lightly in response. “I actually wanted to talk to you about that.” Adam raised an eyebrow. “When we went to dinner the other day, you seemed hesitant about the whole… ‘pretending to be with me’ thing. I really hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable.” Lawrence stepped a little closer. Adam shrugged, putting his mug on the kitchen table. “We already talked about this, it’s fine.”

“Well you don’t seem fine, and you seem like there’s a problem with me,” Adam cocked his head to the side, furrowing his brows. “You didn’t do anything, why are you so obsessed with that?” Lawrence drew back slightly, staring at Adam blankly for just a little too long. “You’ve been asking if you did something wrong for the past week, I don’t get it, and I always tell you that you didn’t do anything. Clear?” Adam was raising his voice now and Lawrence was smarter than to feed the troll, he stood silently and motionlessly.

He didn’t know what to say next.

“Clear” The doctor parroted. Adam nodded, walking past the other. “Where are you going?” Adam reached in his pocket, waving a box of cigarettes above his head.

“You should stop smoking, Adam.” The younger man pivoted on his heels, he knew he was about to start a fight. “You should stop drinking, Larry, if I need to stop smoking.”

The doctor dug his heels in, determined not to stoop to Adam’s level. “My alcohol habits are perfectly under control.” there was a certain kind of kick behind those words. The photographer scoffed. “Okay,” throwing the Newports down, walking up to Lawrence. “I have to come over here almost every other night because you’re wasted and you want me to put you in bed but your drinking habits are under control, right?”

A beat.

“I have to talk you down from liquor induced panic attacks because you think you’ve been drugged, but your alcohol habits are under control, right?” Lawrence swallowed hard. “I can’t stop you from screaming about your ‘bitch ex-wife’ every night, because she stole your fucking daughter from you, and you’re losing the custody battle because your alcohol habits are under fucking control! Right?” the doctor broke eye contact, looking off to the side, “I can’t stop you from giving me a Shakespear level speech on how much you claim to love me in a goddamn drunken haze, because your fucking alcoholism is under control?!”

Oh shit

Lawrence froze. Visibly. They stood in silence for a moment, Adams breathing remained labored from shouting, the smoking (funny enough) has truly done a number on his lungs. “What’s your point? Adam?” He didn’t know. They stood in silence again, only to be broken by Adam. “You drink so you can stomach what you don’t understand about yourself-” that one struck a nerve.

“I understand how I feel about you perfectly.”
“You drink to stomach the shit you don’t like about yourself.”

The doctor couldn’t bring himself to reply, that one really really cut deep. He’d been struggling with accepting it since he was in high school, he had confided in a friend, who advised he just didn’t tell anyone, followed by another friend becoming distant because of it. Lawrence had attended a pretty small private school, word got around fast as hell, and then to his parents, they claimed it ‘is just not the lifestyle they advise for their son’ and that he should ‘probably discuss things with a counselor' he couldn’t have gotten out that fucking high school faster.

When he hit medical school he was careful, he went out with women, he tried his damndest to convince himself he was interested. But he couldn’t bed them, no matter what, he just couldn’t make himself do it, even though he wanted his parents to be happy with him, and if what they needed was for him to have a clean, normal nuclear family then he was willing to bite his tongue and marry someone he didn’t love or find someone who he did.

It was planned, organized, and neat. Lawrence met Allison in his second to last year of med-school, she was pretty and normal. That’s it, that’s all that Lawrence saw in her; she was patient, she would attempt an advance, and when he’d drawback trying to explain why he couldn’t go any further she didn’t ask questions and seemed to understand.

Lawrence buried his urges, his feelings, his true wants and needs to marry Allison, his parents were happy, his family was happy, she was happy and as far as he knew, he was too. This may be a little too much information but their sex life felt incomplete, uncomfortable if you will, but he managed to conceive Diana, which meant he was successful. Right?

But here he stood, in front of his ex-cellmate, only just now discovering that he’d drunkenly undone all of the work he did all these years. When he’d seen Adam on the second occasion a few weeks ago, he just knew that he wouldn’t be able to fight it this time, it was circumstantial but it was real and hard to deny.

The doc was officially at a loss. So he just stood there, a bad habit he knew he had to break, he was re-grounded when Adam rolled his eyes, picking up his cigarettes and dropping them in his coat pocket before throwing it on. Lawrence just stood and watched as Adam put his shoes on, before his hand hit the door he spoke a sentence that slammed the final nail in the coffin.

“Don’t call me about this unless you’re sober.”

Chapter Text

Adam sat up quickly, remaining partially asleep - a common occurrence nowadays, when he wasn’t sleeping in Lawrence’s house - since that was a thing they did now - Today was different though, he hadn’t had a nightmare and the banging at his door was exigent. It suddenly hit him that he hadn’t paid a good chunk of his utilities yet, and even though he was almost sure it was days earlier than his payments were due his landlord wasn’t someone he could really argue with, even worse than his last

 He blamed the meds for his lag in conherience, but as he woke up more he realized the knocking was softer than he’d first thought, a ring occasionally clinking against it. “I’m coming, Rob! Shit.” 

After putting on the first pair of pants that he could find, not bothering with the shirt, he continued to head to the door. “My rent isn’t due for another three days, the check was in the mail, if you don’t have it blame USPS; not me. And the fucking gas bill,” Adam rubbed his eyes with one hand, opening the door with the other, “look dude I promise you the money is…”

 Lawrence gripped his cane tightly with his left hand, leaning against the doorway. The two stared at each other for a minute.

  “I’ve been knocking for a while, I was starting to get nervous.” The doctor smiled weakly, his eyes told a thousand stories. His lashes clearly damp from crying, it was obvious he tried to gather himself prior to confronting the younger man. “I’m sorry for waking you,” Adam shook his head mutely, his face switching up quickly, apparent irritation. Lawrence looked down at his expensive shoes. “Look, Adam, we should- I’m…” his apology got stuck in his throat on the way up.

Adam continued to stare at him in silence. “Adam, what do you want from me?” He finally looked back up to make eye contact again, only to see the photographer eyeing the doorframe blankly. “Do you want me to beg you or something?” Lawrence was genuinely starting to get upset, this was about the most energy and effort he’d put into anything in quite a few years, including his marriage. So not being heard was considerably frustrating, made clear by the fact that he was speaking with his right hand now. 

“Might help.” 

The doctor stood stunned, unsure of what to say next, he had a whole thing planned, he didn’t mean it; obviously and he figured Adam of all people would pick up on that, but he was too busy playing dumb right now. “Adam that’s ridiculous.” he exhaled a small laugh, the photographer wasn’t budging. 

“Please. Let me in.”

They stood for a little while longer, at least solid 45 seconds before Adam exhaled sharply, stepping to the side. 

“Are you gonna come in or just stand there?” 

     While Lawrence took his time Adam stuck to his impatient nature and went to the bathroom; leaving the door cracked open for invitation. When he returned with an unlit cigarette between his teeth, Lawrence was already seated on the couch with his elbows on his knees and his head in his hands. Adam gave him a minute while he put a shirt on, not much had changed when he came back though, Lawrence was just leaning back now with a hand over the lower half of his face. 

The photographer sat down carefully but still startled Lawrence who turned to face him, a forced smile crossing his lips. “I didn’t mean to say that and you were right, I was being a hypocrite. More than I even thought I was.” Lawrence fully turned his body to face Adam's. “I really am. And as for when I was intoxicated,” Adam visibly tensed more, if that was even possible. 

“I… I will not lie, despite my lack of knowledge as to what I said, I do…” 

Lawrence’s eyes darted around the room, considering all of his options, searching for an answer in his surroundings. “I do take an unwholesome liking to you,” he finally settled over his words, Adam’s ‘shut the fuck up, I’m thinking’ face arose, the expression stuck as he exhaled smoke into the silence. “Unwholesome?” Adam repeated to himself, reaching over to tap ashes into the tray on the table, remaining visibly perturbed. “That was the most middle-schooler confession I’d ever heard,” to translate, Adam means; ‘what do you mean by unwholesome - you just complimented my eyes-’

 Lawrence sighed deeply. “Before you say anything, yes, I am ashamed of myself. I-” 

“Why?” 

The doctor swallowed hard, despite everything, nobody ever gave him a reason for why he was so morally corrupt. “I guess I’m just…not right?” despite the uncertainty in Lawrence’s tone Adam scoffed; his resolve never weakening. “You think you’re not right? Why?” Lawrence shook his head in defeat. “I just… I know I’m not right, that I’m…” he tried to recall things told to him over the years, allowing unpleasant memories to resurface was definitely the last thing he wanted, especially in front of Adam. He wound up throwing the whole defense out, “If you’re trying to build me up so that you can use it against me I’d appreciate it if you just did it now so that I could leave as soon as possible.” 

Adam laughed gently, but tried to stop himself. “What’d you think I was gonna do,” a scoff interrupting his sentence “Hate crime you or some shit?” Yes. Yes, actually that is exactly Lawrence’s first thought. “Lawrence,” Adam’s tone and front softened, much out of his control, that was apparent in how he tried and failed to grasp control of himself.. “No, no, god no, I don’t...” he ran a hand through his hair, taking a deep breath to think, reading the other’s removed expression, attempting to play it cool.

 “No, I don’t care, Lawrence, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you, who gives a shit if you’re gay or not?” This was a pretty shotty comforting job if you asked Adam, his voice was doing the thing where it got progressively higher to accompany his escalating desperateness.

     “Adam, please just get to it...” Lawrence was ready, looking off to the side. “Get to what? I’m not gonna call you a, what,” he clicked his tongue in thought “a cocksucker?” Adam joked with an - accidental - smirk, he always hated that when he wanted to be serious he’d smile, or laugh. He swore it was a defense mechanism, that he picked it up from his father. Desperately hitting the smoke again, taking it as a time to gather another snarky remark in effort to cover up his failed aim and misfire of a calming-job.

 “I’d be the hypocrite then.” It dawned on Lawrence at that moment that he’d only ever heard of Adam’s-ex’s never seen anything of them, only a few of them had ever been fully identified as female, he just assumed the rest followed suit, but was his pattern correct?, “You’ve had male partners?” 

Adam fully laughed this time.

“Yeano, but I’ve been thinkin’ lately and I must say girls are pretty and I’ve seen my fair share of attractive men.” a subtly rising smirk tugged at his lips “I mean, I’m not mad." a suggestive smirk laced his lips that Lawrence chose to zero in on, something about it was so endearing. 

"You're bisexual?" Lawrence stated the obvious, more to himself, his tone accidentally giving off the feel of disbelief. "Is that a problem?" Lawrence admired Adam's confidence, even if deep, deep, deep down he knew it was a mask, he wondered briefly if he and Adam shared similar trauma when it came to the topic. "No, no not at all." he clarified; quickly becoming quieter. Lawrence spent the next few minutes watching Adam smoke casually as though nothing in that conversation had just occurred, or the previous, it took everything in him not to spark another argument. 

So, he wordlessly removed Adam's cigarette from his hand, putting it out carefully while ignoring the photographer questioning him, to then bring him into a gentle hug. Adam hesitated with clear irritation, but eventually returned the action. "Please. Stop hurting yourself." 

Adam chose to ignore Lawrence’s request, treating it as a throwaway statement. They stayed like that for a while until Adam spoke. "I can't afford to live here, my lease is up in a week, everything is too expensive." Lawrence rubbed Adam's back, remaining silent. "I've barely paid my rent for weeks, I’m working overtime…would you lose respect for me if I shot myself?" Lawrence moved back to look at Adam. "You're considering suicide?!"

"No!” a beat “A little.. not because I wanna die, but like ‘cause I’m stressed." Adam clarified, calming Lawrence, eliciting a relieved breath from the older. Something about that just made Adam melt, he quickly recalled that he didn’t have time to hover on the thought. 

"Come stay with me." 

The doctor placed his hands on the other's face, quickly moving them, keeping his gestures light, as though he’ll do permanent damage if he applies too much pressure or gets too handsy. "Save your money." Lawrence ran his hands across the other man’s bare arms. "But what about Allison? She only has Diana for a few months, right?" 

 "Yes, that's plenty of time to help you get back on your feet, I’ll find you a good job, maybe office work? I’ll help you, Adam, but you’ve got to let me.” Lawrence smiled, taking Adam’s hands in his, they both allowed themselves to indulge in at least that much. “I know I’m a little overbearing at times, but Adam, I want to help you. Please, stay with me?” 

 “You know I don’t like asking you for help, specially-” “Not financially, I know, I know, but please, this one time.” Adam looked over at the coffee table, searching for a reason for Lawrence to be wrong. “I smoke a lot,” he tried to object, clearly running out of ideas. “Then you can step outside for a minute and have a smoke, it’s fine.” Adam looked at Lawrence, “I break shit a lot, I’m real klutzy, I mean.” Lawrence shook his head with a patient smile, rubbing Adam’s hands with his thumbs, he was sure if he hadn’t shifted he would fall straight through the floor. “Adam, I want you there, it’ll be fine.” They stayed like that for a minute, Lawrence’s comforting hands in Adam’s shaking ones. “When do you want me to move in?” 

---

  It only took a few days before he was in; Adam was living out of a few boxes and comfortably had a makeshift bed on the couch when he was giving his roommate space or didn’t want to risk getting woken up by Lawrence shifting like crazy in his sleep, he swore the older man was an acrobat in his dreams. Allison and Diana had been out of state for about a month; Allison was completely in the dark and Diana hadn't even met him yet, but god was he nervous for when they came back, they still didn’t have an official date for their return but Adam didn’t mind keeping the bed warm- 

Adam stirred at the sound of their doorbell, it rang for a good while before he even bothered going to the door to get it, blinking when he was met with Mark Hoffman blankly holding his finger on the button, upon seeing Adam he lifted it, a manilla envelope was in his free hand. “La-” 

“Lawrence is at work, he got paged at like seven in the morning and woke me up for it.” 

Mark grimaced, holding the envelope out, Adam examined it. “Is it a bomb?”

 Mark didn’t laugh.

 “Tough crowd, I’ll give it to him later.” Adam prepared to close the door only to be stopped by Hoffman with his foot. “Damn, do you have the newspaper too?”

“Let me in.”  Adam didn’t respond, just stared at him. “Y’know it wouldn’t kill you to be a little more communicative, this is probably why you have trouble with women.” Hoffman pushed past him, opening doors randomly as Adam followed behind him. “You babysitting me?” Hoffman dryly joked. “The rock has sprouted a sense of humor, it’s a miracle.” Adam absentmindedly replied, reading the return address on the envelope.

 

John Kramer.

 

Adam hummed in thought, not realizing that Mark had finally found the bathroom until he looked up to find he was missing. “See, this is what I mean, I-” Mark kicked the door from the inside, eliciting a jump from the other. “Ah- okay, okay, i’m leaving.” 

This definitely wasn’t the last time he saw Mark, he would come by every once in a while, run errands with Lawrence, and he had become, in adams opinion, more talkative. He spoke a whole eighteen words once. Granted; those eighteen words were,

“Do you know how to stop talking? God, how does he tolerate you? Is he home or not?”

...It was eighteen words though. 

Adam would take the envelopes or folders, Lawrence was only home every once in a while to receive them firsthand, the photographer tried to piece together what was happening; lawrence said it was ‘patient cases’ but Hoffman was there at least three times a week, and just based off of lawrences word, at least once at his job. He doubts they have that many patients.

    Adam decided it was probably drugs or something and that it wasn’t worth asking. Lawrence on the other hand had an excuse for just about everything - He comes over on his off days, he drives me around, he pays for my bus ticket sometimes, he just likes to hang out with me sometimes. Really, Lawrence could answer any question ever, but Adam didn’t really need answers, he was fairly complacent just believing his best - well, only - friend was a drug dealer or something. 

His best friend who’s bed he frequently slept in.

Let me be more specific; his best friend who’s bed he frequently slept in, drunk and sober, who had also confessed to being in love with him intoxicated in the middle of a divorce.

Adam was almost sure he was starting to reciprocate this awkward feeling..! Lawrence would walk in a room and Adam would swoon - in his own way - he felt it, he would get hit with that warmth in his chest or that fluttering in his stomach. He loathed the feeling and his pride wouldn’t let him admit to the sappiness he fell into for his roommate. They’d lived together for a few weeks, Adam was still looking for apartments, at an undeniably slowed pace and this happened to be one of those times when Lawrence got a phone call in the middle of the night to head off for an undisclosed mission.

Drugs probably.

Adam slept on the couch that night, just like he normally did because the feelings got too strong to sit in the same room as the Doctor without being sure he would pass out at the sight. Adam could distinctly hear Lawrence shuffling around in his bedroom until he made his way to the living room, gathering his things before getting ready to tell Adam he was leaving, just like he always did.

 While looking for his keys, Adam took it as the perfect time to interrupt him. "Lawrence, have you been in love?"

Stopping dead in his tracks Lawrence turned to face Adam, "I'd like to think so. I mean, I've been married." he replied with genuine confusion. "Why?"

 

"Tell me what it's like?"

 

Lawrence stood agape for a moment. “I’m not sure how to answer that,” Adam chuckled softly, attempting to conceal any glimpse of emotion that might slip through the cracks. “How’d you know?” The older man nodded thoughtfully, gathering his words, “Well, the first time I think I loved someone was high school, they reminded me how great it felt to be alive, what it meant to have someone to make an effort for, they drove me every single day to do better.” The doctor smiled, taking a seat at the end of the couch to properly reminisce, Adam moved to sit next to him. “It’s such a scary feeling though, facing it is the hardest part, I wasn’t ready for it, I had my own demons and I regret not facing them all the time.” 

   “I told myself that after that I would accept my heart over my head from then on, and I’ve remained true to myself ever since, Even if i’m not willing to tell them I learn to make peace with that in my mind, and that’s good enough as far as I’m concerned. Y’know, after being married to a woman I talked myself into caring for, I have to say I forgot how it felt to love someone for a long time,” 

Lawrence left the rest up to interpretation, but smiled once again when the photographer placed his head on his shoulder in effort to persuade him to stay a little longer, it was working for sure. They embraced the moment for a little while before Adam broke the comfortable silence. “Was the first person you liked a guy?” Lawrence dryly coughed at the question, choking on literally nothing. “Yeah,” he cleared his throat “Yeah he was pretty neat.” Adam squinted. “Uh-huh. Don’t ever say ‘Neat’ again.” The doctor stiffly laughed, moving to stand, Adam immediately missed the warmth. 

“Hey, Law?” 

“Hm?”

Adam silently cursed himself for speaking before he thought.

“Can I sleep in your bed while you’re gone?” 

  Lawrence didn’t even take a beat to respond. “You don’t have to ask, Adam, what’s mine is yours. I...” A long beat, Adam sat in wait. “I’ll see you later, okay? Don’t forget to take your meds if i’m home late.” Lawrence grabbed his coat, finding his house keys in the pocket.

“Oh don’t worry, I won’t be waiting up for you, cupid.”

Yeah this could prove to be a problem.

Chapter Text

   Lawrence stirred at the sound of knocking directly above him; he figured Adam was trying to wake him up. Proving his point, he opened his eyes to the younger man standing over him and knocking harshly on his headboard. “Hm?” Adam halted in the action, quickly becoming nervous. “I uh… I’m having trouble sleeping again…”  the doctor moved to sit up, but Adam insisted he laid down. “No, no, I just wanted to sleep in here...” Lawrence nodded dully, still partially asleep. “C’mon then, if it makes you feel safer, I don’t mind.”

“Damn Lawrence is dense, he must not understand that Adam feels the same” and honestly, you’re right. Lawrence is an idiot from time to time for someone who has a Ph.D in the human brain, he should know better, be able to pick  up on the cues, notice the abnormal behavior, see the simple gestures that Adam made to say things when words were too much. Yet, Adam still Tried.

   Adam never “dealt” with his sexuality, he was pretty sure he was bisexual, but he never liked labels so he didn’t bother. He envied Lawrence in a way for being so sure of who he was, how funny, they both felt like the other was sure-er of themselves. Adam gradually figured out how to accept that, but he didn’t understand it, not yet at least. 

Adam had eased himself back into photography, barely, but he was doing it with a little bit of encouragement from Lawrence. The encouragement being that he needed a ‘creative outlet’ and all that to cope 'healthily'. Whenever he went to work he would take pictures, but his absolute favorite pastime was taking photos of Lawrence; he wasn’t willing to accept that he cared about him, he jokingly told himself it was a force of habit. 

  Every once in a while he would look at pictures and spend the day thinking about him and his first thought every time he looked at the pictures, he read his texts, he slept in his bed, they made eye contact for a little while, was that he wanted to kiss him. Granted, Adam didn’t know why he wanted to, when he was gonna do it, or even what the turn out would be, but he was willing to take that risk.

He didn’t believe in conversion therapy or anything like that, to quote him “It’s fucking stupid bro, let your kids fucking live, who cares about where your fucking son puts his dick! Shit probably doesn’t work anyway, how much you wanna bet everyone on this board’s probably gay?” but he considered that Lawrence really was just going through a phase at the time and he could just be relapsing while intoxicated, but he knew that he’d slip at some point.

Adam would think about this for the rest of the day, it happened a lot but this had to be the longest and most stressful time it happened to him. Making coffee thinking about Lawrence, watching the news thinking about Lawrence, eating lunch thinking about Lawrence, reading the paper thinking about Lawrence. it was getting ridiculous and frankly, Adam was stressed. He figured he'd nap to keep himself stable, but when he woke up - in Lawrence’s bed - nothing had particularly changed, and started wandering throughout the empty house, pacing in a certain place a few times, realizing quickly that it was Lawrence’s office. How could he remedy this feeling when it was subconscious?

"Hey, sleepy."

Adam quickly turned on his heels, facing the doorway as a fire sparked in his stomach again, Lawrence sat with his lab coat draped over the back of the chair, his shirt laid partially unbuttoned, his dress pants and shoes still on with his Versace lenses leaning off of his ears. Adam took in the sight carefully, mentally taking a snapshot. The doctor closed the file he was reading, looking up to his opposite, after a second of observing Adam’s obtuse behavior his brow furrowed.

    "You Okay?" 

Adam ran his fingers through his hair. "Um..." he swallowed harshly, feeling his temperature with the front and then back of his hand to ensure he wasn’t going crazy and he really was heating up, trying to convince himself he wasn’t just obsessed with Lawrence. "Yeah, yeah, I’m fine." he sighed attempting to reapply his ‘cool guy’ persona, putting his hands in his sweatpants pockets. 

"You sure?" Adam nodded. Lawrence opened his mouth to continue to push for an answer, stopping himself when he remembered a conversation he and Adam had about his boundaries and how he really should just back off when he asked him to. Lawrence settled on nodding mutely and turning back to his desk returning to work, Adam stood there for a minute. "How’d you know I was here? You were uh,” he waved an uneasy hand at the desk, it swiftly found it’s way back to Adam’s pocket. “You were reading." 

"Peripheral vision." 

"Oh."

Silence for longer than there was at first, the photographer simply watched Lawrence read, make a note, read, move in his chair a little, subconsciously put his pen to his teeth. "Whatcha doin?" Lawrence chuckled softly, Adam probably would’ve made a joke here but it was so endearing he couldn’t be bothered.

 "Work," 

 “Cool. Can I read?”

 Lawrence looked up, furrowing his brow once again but holding the smile, which was slightly stifled by the pen. “No? No, you can’t, patient/doctor confidentiality.” Adam nodded quickly, looking down at his feet. “Stupid question, sorry.” 

  Lawrence returned to his work, with underlying suspicion while Adam brought a chair over to sit next to him, but facing him to avoid catching even an accidental glimpse at the paperwork. “Adam, do you need something?” the younger shook his head, fidgeting with his shirt. “Are you sure?” a nod. “Okay, why are you in here, then? Not that I don’t enjoy your company,” he flipped the folder closed, leaning back in his seat, “but you don’t naturally just sit with me like this. What’s on your mind?” Lawrence’s expression heavily softened, a brief thought crossed Adam’s head God, if this is how he is in life, imagine his bedside manner . “I just…” Adam looked off to the side, too many things, this was the perfect setup and he wasn’t ready for this, not yet, not right now, he could wait. 

 

“I just got bored all by myself.”

 

Lawrence cocked his head to the side. “Okay...?” he fully turned to face Adam. “You seem really, really off today. Are you positive you don’t need to talk?” The younger man nodded, only giving the older clause for suspicion. Adam hesitantly made eye contact, with the concerned look on Lawrence’s face, a clear thought clicking in his head. 

Nevermind, have to do it. Like now.

Fighting against the abrupt urge to do something he may regret Adam attempted to look relaxed. “You know you can tell me anything. Right?” Lawrence took Adam’s hands into his own, swiping his thumbs past the tops of his soft hands, fighting with his own inner thoughts, “Right?” The photographer nodded, the other mirrored him in relief. “There is nothing you can’t talk to me about, Adam, I mean it.” 

  Throwing caution to the wind Adam retracted his hands, removing the doctor’s glasses slowly to give room for dissent, he folded them carefully, before placing them on the table. Lawrence waited patiently to see where this was going; Adam put his hands on either side of Lawrence’s face, moving closer, taking a deep breath. “You’re nervous.” Adam rolled his eyes, “What gave me away, Sherlock?” the doctor smiled nervously once again. “It’s fine, your palms are sweating, that’s all,” he cleared his throat, “It was supposed to be an inside thought.” 

Not a single hair rested out of place on the doctor, he shifted though, his eyes drifting off for the first time in this whole interaction, but quickly zeroing back in on Adam’s, not missing the opportunity to glare at his lips. “You’re thinking about my eyes, aren’t you?” the photographer asked, leaning in closer, the older man rested stunned, concerned that his roommate was a mind reader, “Yeah,” 

Adam prepared to move back one more time, admiring the masculinity in Lawrence's confused face, before he closed the space between them, 

 

officially confessing.

 

At that moment, everything just seemed to make sense, in Lawrence’s - uncertain - response, he took his sweet time as he settled into the thought that this was happening right now. He tried to maintain his calm demeanor, oddly placing his hands on Adam’s torso after a bit of weird wrist stretches to fill the space. 

They stayed for a minute without moving. Adam would readjust or something every couple of seconds but Lawrence just sat there and let the other do as he pleased. The doctor moved away a little to speak, “Experimenting?” Adam shook his head, moving to the other’s lap, Lawrence instinctively let his hands fall to his hips, remaining light no matter how possessive he wanted to get. “No,” he quickly got comfortable, he looked off to the side struggling with his words. “I’m trying to..” The doctor furrowed, turning his head to the side. “Fuck, I feel like I’m in one of your stupid romcoms, what is this fatal attraction?” he laughed at his own joke, not earning much of anything from Lawrence.

  “I’m trying to… explain… what- how…” Lawrence didn’t want to lead Adam, he figured it would just do the opposite. “Don’t just sit there! Help me out..” Adam put his hands on Lawrence’s chest. “Are you trying to tell me something, Adam?” The photographer sighed frustratedly at the other’s density, putting his forehead on Lawrence’s, he could feel the way the doctor's heart pounded against his chest. He wondered what was going through his mind.

“Adam,”

 

Nothing

“Adam.”

“What?”

“You can kiss me... anytime you’d like..”

Without even a second thought, Adam put his lips back against Lawrence’s, his nose brushing against the others in the process, the doctor finally cooperated, gripping at Adam’s hips tighter, kissing back fully, a silent reciprocation, with unspoken ‘I love you’s’. This was peaceful for a while, but the older panicked at the abrupt feeling of Adam’s hands traveling downwards, it was clear where this was going.

 “Wait, wait, hold on.” 

The photographer looked at him with shortened breath, “Adam…” he started, glancing down at his lips quickly. “Aren’t we moving a little fast?” the younger moved farther away, “Oh, you don’t want to. My bad.” Lawrence shook his head quickly, “No! I want to! It just," he looked down at where his hands sat "It seems a little abrupt, shouldn’t we talk about this first?” Adam chuckled, leaning back in. 

“Feel first, talk later.”

Lawrence held Adam’s hands in their place, indulging in brief kisses. “I don’t want you to feel like we’re moving too fast and then-” Adam silenced him with another kiss. “Do you love me?” It was a simple yes or no question, but it made the doctor feel like he was retaking the SATs and the ACTs at the same time. He wanted to scream that he did, but he also wanted to admit he was confused, did he even know what love was at that point? Were they just members of a shared fucked up experience? Was Adam just an outlet? He wanted to know beyond the shadow of the doubt, with his insecurities and stress removed, that he was in love with Adam Stanheight before he agreed.

Lawrence’s silence lasted a split second longer than it should have, especially since he wasn’t really thinking. “Do. You. Love me?” Adam repeated. Lawrence took in a shaky breath, glancing back down at his hands, a brief reminder that this was really happening

"Adam, you don't have to do this just-"

"Lawrence."

 “...Yes”  

“Then show me.”

Chapter Text

  "Good Morning," 

Lawrence moved his head from his hands, sitting up fully at the feeling of Adam's hands moving across his chest, pressing a kiss behind his ear. "Hey, sleep well?" Adam nodded, kissing the other. "Good, are you okay?" 

   "Yeah, I'm a little tired, need coffee?" Adam kissed him again, Lawrence simply smiled weakly. "I'd appreciate it." Lawrence reached to the back of Adam's head, granted the gesture was a little uncomfortable it was still genuine, which was all the younger needed. Lawrence leaned in for a parting kiss but was halted by Adam leaning away with a gasp, "You have a tat?!" Adam zeroed in on the latin phrase branded on Lawrence's upper arm. "You didn't notice yesterday?" Lawrence pondered with a nervous laugh, his counterpart simply shook his head. 

   "It was dark and I was more focused on you, but it's hot. I dig it." Lawrence smiled sheepishly, looking down, but earning another endearing kiss, a quiet noise of gratitude leaving him "Yaknow," the younger pulled away with much disappointment from the other. "You look so good," Adam complimented honestly. "This isn't the first time you've seen me like this, what's new?" Lawrence inquired, moving even closer.

 "I don't uh... I don't know what you'd call last night, but that changes your perspective yaknow." 

"What do you mean?"

"Sex, a one-time thing, a moment of need… or... y'know, the other one..." Adam, much to his disagreement, glared to the side as he trailed off Lawrence smirked, tilting his head more. "You mean making love?" Adam inhaled sharply. "What? Do you like when I say that?" Lawrence’s voice deepened with a smirk, Adam completely froze until Lawrence brought them to practically be kissing again.

"When I talk about how you and I made beautiful love for the first time?" Adam closed the space between them. "Ay, you can't talk about me looking you up and down when you stared at me like I was porcelain last night for like five minutes." Lawrence rolled his eyes. 

"Because you're stunning." 

"I could say the same about you, Law."

Adam leaned in for his final time, Lawrence fully got ready to return the sentiment, Adam laid back, bringing the other down with him with no disagreement, but they equally stopped at the sound of Lawrence's phone going off.

 "How bout you take that and make us some coffee while I catch a smoke outside? It'll be my third this week." Adam offered, standing up while the other checked the caller ID. "Yeah," he checked the date before he flipped his phone open, recalling it was Thursday. "I'm proud of you, Adam."

The younger turned to face the doctor to see he was already on the phone, he'd thank him for that later.

Buttoning his jeans with one hand, Newports in the other, he quickly rummaged through his organization of sheets on the couch, finding a T-shirt, he made his way out the front door, being met with none other than Mark Hoffman. "Ah, my old, very, very talkative buddy, Mark. Go ahead, he's in there." he lit a cigarette, slipping the box into his pocket. Mark didn't go anywhere, he just held out the envelope. "Take it." He sighed, finally accepting the thin paperwork, the taller man headed off, seemingly disappearing.

Adam leaned against the building wall, he hadn't been too nosy and he figured if it was drug trades or something he already knew so it wouldn't matter anyway, and Lawrence couldn't get much worse than being like, maybe at worst a pimp or something. Adam was quick to dismiss this thought though, immediately realizing that, that would be an invasion of privacy. 

Well, maybe just a glance couldn't kill anyone-

 

Dr. Gordon, 

 

  My time is quickly approaching and my traps have caught up to me. I'm resting and taking the medication as it's given. The doctor you have suggested seems to be doing the bare minimum, her husband is going through a game that may seem like suicide, I'll be alright. Continue for instructions. As for Amanda; she's holding on by a thread, I'm sure she'll fly off the hinges sooner or later. I hope Adam has improved in health, from what I'm told he's doing well, and that's good to hear that the antibiotics helped. I will go into surgery in a few days. Please meet me as soon as possible so that we may complete the end of Amanda's test and begin Hoffmans. In the unfortunate circumstances that I may pass -

 

Adam couldn't stomach the rest, the damn thing was four pages long and he was still recovering from the first. The language was all too familiar. 

Traps, Games, Adam , Tests. 

He already knew it was Jigsaw.

He was positive he was gonna throw up.

Before Adam’s mind could catch up with his body he was storming into the house again off to find the other in the kitchen in the midst of a phone call. “No; Why would I be- I’m not even-” Lawrence pulled his phone away from his ear, Adam could hear Alison screaming from across the room, it was muffled but he was sure he could make out his own name, a few swears but nothing enough to make out the context; he could tell she was pissed though, good to know he wasn’t the only one. 

“I’m not sleeping with him, I- Let me expla-” he sighed, bringing the receiver back to his ear, finally seeing Adam, he held up a finger to tell him he’d be done with this in a minute. “Ali, I’m for one; straight, two; married to you and three; I have a child wi- you know if you intend to just keep screaming we can hang up.” Adam cocked his head to the side, blinking in disbelief for a second. Lawrence threw his phone onto the counter, with a loud sigh he turned back to the other with his classic doctor smile. “Yes?”

 "What the fuck do you do when you go out with Mark?" Lawrence locked up at his sudden change in tone, knowing good and well that he was about to walk dead into a trap, the loaded question alone could rival Jigsaw any day. "Uh… just…” he ran a brief hand across his face “Errands," Adam shook his head, throwing the papers down onto their small kitchen table. "Try again!" 

Lawrence took a minute, glaring down at the note. "I…" Adam waited impatiently for no more than a second, Lawrence was sure all hell was about to break loose. "I've been being protected by the man I was fucking afraid of," His foot met the leg of the kitchen table, making the other flinch. "Adam, it’s more complicated than it looks-"

"More complicated?! More fucking complicated? The only person who I thought understood me is the fucking monster who did the shit! Are you motherfucking mental? That shit’s not complicated!" 

Lawrence had no refute.

“God! How long have you been doing this shit for?”

“A few months, but only since I’ve gotten better.” Adam threw his hands up before sitting on the floor and crossing his arms, “I can’t fucking believe this shit!” The table skidded across the floor the second time he kicked it, “He tried to fucking kill me, us, and you praise the ground he walks on like he’s Jesus - motherfucking - Christ?!” He knew Adam wasn’t unwarranted in his anger, he figured his silence would be taken wrong, but he was more pleased with that than having to yell back. 

“I have been living with you for weeks! Am I just another fucking pawn to you? I’m sure you are for him! I mean, fuck! Has any of this ever been real?” 

The one thing that will always strike a nerve in Lawrence is questioning his integrity, that was why his saw game was so powerful. “Of course I care about you! That’s a given, Adam, question anything you want, but do not question how I feel about you, or anyone else for that matter, I was in an endless marriage for years I don’t think I could lie about that if John asked me to, I just don’t have it in me.” The photographer chuckled sarcastically under his breath. “Oh, so now you’re on a first-name basis with the fucker, huh? You seem to have an excellent track record for lying, to your wife, to your kid, to your fucking family, what makes me ever so much more different?!” 

A beat

“You know, Lawrence, I don’t even know you anymore,” 

“But tell me this,” The doctor raised an eyebrow, “Anything for you.” Adam leaned his head against the wall. “Why?” Lawrence thought for a minute, too many answers and lies came to mind in response. “To which part?” Adam shrugged, “Why help?” Lawrence sat down at the table, gesturing to the other chair. “I promise you I’ll tell you everything that there is to know.” Adam nodded in faux interest “Oh, you mean like how you told Alison that you loved her? Or that you were straight? Or...or how you told her you weren't cheating when you know damn well your dick was in my ass just last night!” Lawrence closed his eyes with a sigh, clenching and unclenching his hand. “Adam, Please,” the silence was absolutely deafening. “Well? I'm waiting.”

---

“So you’re saying she couldn’t be Jigsaw if you drew her a paint by numbers?”

“Eh, in a way. She’s too emotionally involved in his work, I don’t see it going well.”

“That’s fucking crazy don’t get it fucked up; all of this is fucking crazy, but he sounds like he should have put his wife in charge before her.”

“I’m sure he could, but he didn’t think she should have been involved from the get-go.” 

Adam sighed, resting his head on the heels of his hands. “So you just do his handiwork?” Lawrence shrugged, leaning further into the counter. “Sure, I suppose you could say that. I just have to remind myself that it’ll be over sooner than I think.” Lawrence seemed to space out, tapping his good foot, staring at the awkwardly placed table. “What do you mean?” The doctor looked at him, making it obvious that he wasn’t supposed to say that. “Hm?”

No more lies.

“John isn’t doing very well. He’s getting sicker and sicker by the day, and frankly, I’ve made my peace with him but after he passes they don’t know it but I have to clean up behind this mess he’s made called Amanda and Mark.” Adam laughed quietly, Lawrence already knew this wasn't him making light. “So you’re hot shit, huh, doc?” Lawrence shrugged with a smile. “I guess. Doesn’t mean much though.”

The two shared the first comfortable silence since the night before.

“Lawrence?” a hum in response. “Did you put uh... were you…” Lawrence looked off while he stammered, he knew how much Adam hated it when he started while he tried to gather himself, it made him feel weak, and that was the last thing Lawrence wanted, but he also knew how much more he hated when Lawrence knew what Adam was trying to say and he didn’t help. “I didn’t work with him until after our game, Adam, I had nothing to do with that.” 

The younger man nodded, exhaling a breath of relief. “I think I just need some time, this is a lot.” Lawrence nodded thoughtfully. “I understand.”

Chapter Text

It’s an understatement to say that Lawrence was going nuts: he hated being away from Adam this long, especially when he didn’t know where he was, he hadn’t come back to the house in some days - at least not while he was home since Lawrence had indirect proof of life with the way Adam’s sheets were folded when he got back a day or two earlier. Adam’s cigarettes were definitely missing, and he was sure the scent of coffee wasn’t there when he left. If Adam wanted to make this hurt he was doing a great job.

By the fourth day, Adam was gone, Lawrence was spending a lot less of his time working than he’d planned. He figured if it didn’t calm his thoughts that there was no point. he had to continuously remind himself that his own reckless mistakes weren’t worth breaking his sobriety, he was undeserving of self-pity. So, he was stuck with his thoughts and the evening news.

Lawrence had a system; if he had an off day he’d sleep until he couldn’t make himself anymore, and then he’d drink coffee or water and watch TV, check his phone too many times. When his hands shook too much and the liquor store a few blocks down suddenly felt much closer, he’d go to work. When it got the worst he’d wander around the hospital in uniform and wait for something to happen that required his assistance. Sometimes pacing back and forth in the cafeteria proved to be more humiliating than soothing and he’d pray for his pager to go off so he could get out of his damn head.

One morning the air felt all too thick, his deadpan stare locked on his dresser, he’d slept more than ten hours by now and he still wasn’t well-rested. If the light hit it on the right angle a shimmer of silver would hit the wall, reminding him of the past, specifically the one he liked to forget. His family, his upbringing, disgracing god, and all that. Lawrence hardly even felt he had wronged anyone enough (or been wronged) to earn a prayer out of him. Lawrence tap-danced around the topic of his religion like it was a professional sport, it depended on who he was around; he’d pray with a patient if they wanted it, he’d go to a church if you asked him but he didn’t like God if God was real then God is an insufferable asshole.

Where was God when he needed him? What did God have to do with anything? Especially when his free will was in play. What did he do when he was stuck in a disgusting bathroom with the man he now loved? “The good Lord works in mysterious ways” are we sure they’re mysterious or are we just lying to ourselves? Where was he when all hell broke loose because he decided he wanted to divorce the shit storm he called a marriage?

There was something so comforting to Lawrence though and he hated it. Lawrence told himself that it wasn’t because he thought God was up there -- as he sat up, strapping his prosthetic on -- Lawrence told himself it wasn’t because he thought he deserved to be forgiven -- as he stumbled over to the other side of the room, -- Lawrence told himself he was doing this unavailingly, -- as he reached behind the stack of drawers, pulling the linked cross away from the wooden backing -- Lawrence told himself he was fine with this while he begged for forgiveness, for answers for anything at all.

Prayer was for peace of mind; that’s what he always told himself. He didn’t need God to “fix” him; he just wanted to tell him how pissed off he was at his situation.

Another night, maybe it was the seventh or eight? He stopped counting, it made it more agonizing. The doctor came home, throwing his keys off to the side and nonchalantly leaving his shoes and coat on the floor at the entrance, he tended to throw his manners out of the window when he was living alone.

Lawrence rubbed his temples, heading to his bedroom to decompress or rather repeat today until he heard a noise, he froze in his place, trying to identify its location, too many thoughts flew through his head all too fast

Amanda?

Hoffman?

Another trap?

Damnit, what is it?

More shuffling noises led him to glance around

left corner, clear, right corner, clear, behind, clear,

quickly flipping his cane over his shoulder before investigating the house with unsteady hands. Looking over at the couch - the now clear source - he took a deep breath before fully approaching,

“Adam,” he sighed in relief, lowering the stick and leaning back into it. “Yeah, man, I kinda live here.” Lawrence chuckled feeling any adrenaline leave his veins. “What?” Adam sat up fully. “Nothing I just…” he smiled wider, closing his eyes for a second to breathe. “Just missed you a little, that’s all.” The younger man scoffed, laying back down and re-covering himself with the plush creme blanket. “Yeah, well, don’t get used to it too fast. I just needed somewhere to stay until I could land a different hotel room. I’m only home for the night.”

Something about Adam calling it home just secured the evening for Lawrence, he was fine with this as long as Adam was okay. Everything was static unless Adam was okay. The world lost its color without Adam. It felt good to finally be able to accept that. Well, at least a little. “You can take my bed if you want to be more comfortable.”.

“It’s not the same without you.”

Lawrence blinked a few times, replaying the sentence over and over in his head, It’s cold without you too. “I can go to bed with you. If that’s what you want, I mean.” Adam scoffed so Lawrence accepted defeat and left for bed without waiting for any other response. Lawrence tried to focus on the positive, Adam was alright and he was in the house again, so he wouldn’t have to stay up all night wondering if he was okay or not, that was comforting enough for now.

Adam knocked at his bedroom door, Lawrence looked up in mild denial as it opened, watching Adam stand for a few seconds and just stare at him ‘that’s weird- where is this going?’ then circle around the bed, and - with his assistance - getting under the blankets. All of this with absolutely no verbal communication. Adam, after a moment of silence, cuddled up to the other with his arms around Lawrence's stomach. If only he could get in Adam’s head, that would make things so much easier, sitting in complete silence with him with everything unsolved was complete torture. He had to fix this.

“Adam?”

Lawrence waited again but cursed to himself quietly, of course he wouldn’t respond. “May I kiss you? Just one more time?” the younger man remained silent for a second, seemingly contemplating or just leaving Lawrence to marinate in the stupidity of his question before moving up and shifting to flutter at his mouth “Don’t say that like you’ll never get to do it again.”

Lawrence fought back a smile and swiftly lost at that when Adam weighed into him. He hesitated before daring to raise a hand to his cheek, a quiet and distant thought of 'God, I know I asked you for it but I don't deserve this. Especially not after all of the things I've put him through…’ More doubtful thoughts of how much he truly hadn't done anything that warranted the forgiveness Adam was giving him, though small it may be, it was genuinely an answered prayer in Lawrence’s mind that Adam had even wanted to be under the same brick and fucking plaster that he was.

He felt so undeserving of the shit that he was almost sure he was sinning with this kiss but fuck this sin felt good enough to risk an eternal stay in hell.

Adam moved away to stare at Lawrence, a look of nothing but admiration. Well - irritation was mixed in there, but Lawrence couldn't identify it, it was like meeting him for the first time all over again. For some reason, Lawrence wondered if before Adam met him had there ever been anyone like this? Anyone with such a passion for him or vise versa even? Too many things to ask, he kept finding himself wrapped up in his own aimless thoughts. All that kept him grounded was Adam moving his hair back to its normally impeccable positioning, a faint and distant smile of accomplishment crossing his lips afterward. ‘God, I really really don’t deserve this…”

If this was sin then it was truly, truly worth it. Lawrence would be damned if he had to give up Adam for anything.

Is he allowed to express that? What can he truly say that will explain everything? No matter what every lovesick brainstorm wound up feeling like slapping a bandaid on a poorly amputated leg. Too. Much. To. Say.

“Thank you, Adam,” was what he settled for, It didn’t feel like it was enough when the younger shrugged, laying back down on Lawrence's chest, “Lawrence, can we like, not, talk tonight?” The doctor furrowed, "Also what the fuck are you doing with your hands, I feel you doin’ this hovering shit, can you like- put them down?"

Lawrence laughed quietly, wanting the words Christ, I've missed you so much, my love to just fall off of his tongue, he felt exceptional disappointment when all he could manage to do was put his hands on Adams mid-torso, keeping it light much like the first time they got this close. "For being so gung-ho you’re so shy all of fuckin sudden, why are you so scared?" Lawrence blinked, unsure of how to respond

Why was he scared?

He shrugged, shaking his head at the same time, showing mutual confusion, "Then touch me like you've fucked me before." An excellent reminder of that bluntness Lawrence fell in love with on sight, and after contemplating whether or not he was right he worked his hands down to Adam's waist, gradually strengthening his grip to wait for a disagreement that never came.

Adam seemed to feel like he got what he wanted since he got comfortable, placing one hand to the side of Lawrence's face, and laying his head down on the other.

"Night prince charming."

Lawrence smiled softly, marinating at the moment

"Goodnight, Adam. I..."

They sat for a few more seconds,

"I care."

Lawrence wanted to shoot himself at that moment, right in the prefrontal lobe, maybe he’d forget who, and what he was before he experienced a brain bleed and he could find a little solemn in it before his heart stopped flowing blood to his brain. Why couldn't he say he was sorry or that he wanted more, he could have told him his mothers maiden name for Christ-sake, literally anything, ABSOLOTUELY anything else would have been better but; ‘I care'

He couldn't help but think about how he reverted to his high school gay panic when dealing with Adam: his head spun like the exorcist and his hands got clammy. He never had this issue with Alison or a college fling that numbed the pain for a little while. Adam was different, Goddamnit, why was he so much different? Dying would be nice right now. Yes, either he becomes the most poetic man on earth - give Romeo Montague a run for his money or he could lie on the floor, and accept his fate.

"Thanks, cupid."

That works too.

Chapter Text

Lawrence was trying his damndest to be okay with Adam coming in and out of the house unannounced, it was more than he deserved. After the second time Adam came by, he started waiting in the bed. Each time Lawrence would request permission before daring to get in the bed. Once given, Lawrence would carefully put a hand on Adam’s waist, lean in, always with a similar phrase:

“Is it alright if I join you?”

Adam would always respond by explaining how little he cared or how it wasn’t even his own bed. Lawrence would kiss Adam’s cheek or hold him in an attempt to try and truly relish in the moment and despite disappearing every morning Adam seemed to be a little more forgiving. The distance got so enervating, playing cat and mouse wasn’t unfamiliar for Lawrence but that didn’t make it any better. Yet, with every time he passed the liquor store that's exactly one block, a two-minute drive, a five-minute walk, make that approximately eight minutes on his prosthetic, fifty-seven squares and two churches away from his house he had to re-consider whether or not it was worth it.

He figured he was overdue for a detox.

Maybe he should try AA.

Lawrence took some time in the middle of a work-day to find a meeting that didn’t require he sign up or guarantee his re-arrival. This took literal hours which in elapsed time would probably only be about 20ish minutes if you removed him continuously getting paged. Ultimately, he took the bus that was exactly 14 minutes to wait, a three-minute walk away from the closest liquor store, a few minutes on the first two bus stops to reconsider, and by the time he sat down in the audial room, he was filled with nothing but more uncertainty and confusion than he left the house with. The way a church could make you feel so exposed - maybe it was the formation of a circle, everyone had to look at each other, no matter where you looked you had to look at someone - it didn’t do him any favors.

It felt like being intimate with people whose names you hardly knew. The 7th circle of Hell was slowly working it's way toward Lawrence, his hands were clammy and, for the first time in years, he was sure he felt jitters in his right leg. What was he supposed to say? “Oh Hi, I’m Lawrence, I’ve been drinking for as long as it was legal. I used to throw up in the front yard of my medical school because I was too wasted to even get into the building and my roomates were too busy getting me wasted to assist. I’ve been drinking ever since and I only stopped because I’m a fucking hypocrite.”

He settled for just his name and age.

Despite hardly speaking he somehow still felt so exposed. He leaned back into his chair, spinning his cane on it’s side between his knees. God it got so irritating to listen to the stories over and over again. One woman started crying in the middle of speaking and despite his doctor mode being strapped in like a child’s carseat he couldn’t help but slump further back, listening to her sob over miscarrying. He felt bad, sure, and he felt worse for not wanting to make her feel better, and maybe he would have if it weren’t for the fact that this is just a massive circle jerk, lead by - damnit, what was his name? It started with a J, Lawrence was sure of that, but it didn’t matter enough.

“Lawrence, do you have anything you’d like to share?”

Hell no. No, no I don’t, I want to leave, I want to go home, lie in my bed, sob, take all the pills in my house, forget this ever happened, forget jigsaw ever happened, forget Adam ever happened, forget the divorce ever happened, and just sleep. No. I do not have anything I’d like to share. Thank you for asking, asshole.

“No, thank you.” with a soft smile, like a child denying a meal.

“Well don’t be hesitant if you change your mind, we’re here for you.” What was his goddamn name? Lawrence still couldn’t remember, he just smiled and looked back down at the spots where the paint chipped on his cane. God, that meeting couldn’t be over quicker. Lawrence stood away from the circle to put his coat on as everyone got up and spoke to each other, God, he just needed to get back home, it didn’t matter what waited for him if it was Adam, booze, a cold bed, he just couldn’t be here anymore.

He headed for the door as fast as he could, stopping short at the feeling of a hand on his shoulder. He turned his head to meet the unnamed person, Lawrence could’ve sworn he remembered him, he said something about his daughter- he couldn’t remember. He just knew she was in college. Lawrence had to admit to himself though; this stranger was rather attractive. Had to be in his - what? - mid-twenties maybe. It was unimportant. That’s what we’ll call him. Unimportant.

“Hey, you’re new?” Unimportant asked, Lawrence took this time to stare dumbly at him like he didn’t know himself.

“Uh, Yeah,” Lawrence swallowed, fully turning to face unimportant now, his cane was suddenly cooler in his hands, must be the air conditioning, the damn thing was like a thermometer.

“Well, we welcome you to our group,” Lawrence offered a stiff smile in response. Gotta go. “Would you be interested in getting a coffee or something? If you want to talk or...” what about that smile was so off-putting, Lawrence tried to figure out why he knew it was fake. Oh, he was sure of it, but why did he know for sure? Unimportant’s words fell on semi-deaf ears as he tuned him out. Got good at that a long time ago, having an ex-wife who likes to have the same conversations over and over helps.

“Huh? Sorry- what was that last part again?”

“I was asking if you wanted to get some coffee, I like to go to this one diner around the corner.”

No thank you, I’m actually gonna stop by this liquor store and relapse and wouldn’t want to jeopardize your sobriety, kind sir.

“Nah, I’m okay. I actually uh..” Lie faster! Think faster! “I have to get home to my uh- my partner before it’s too late into the evening. I’m cooking tonight.” Lawrence smiled but more at himself than anything.

“Oh! Alright. Do you plan on coming back next week?”

As soon as Lucifer gets let back into heaven I’ll be torpedoing down here! Prosthetic and all!

“Maybe.”

The man nodded with a softer smile. Maybe it was a nervous habit? Lawrence still couldn’t put his finger on it. “What’s your partner’s name?” Okay, now, Lawrence knew he had two choices; assume that sleeping together meant they were together, or fess up and say it was complicated. It was at this moment that Lawrence realized he could say any-and everything to these people and they’d be left with no choice but to believe him. If you’re gonna lie at least make it a good one right? Lie to make things better.

“Adam.” The other man raised his eyebrows for a second, Lawrence couldn’t decide what he was reacting to in the ten seconds he hesitated for, the fact that he was gay or the fact that he was fidgeting with the strap of his prosthetic - but to the naked and unknowing eye, it looked like he was messing with his pants.

“Oh.” he finally pushed out.

“Is that a problem?” Calm down

“No! No, of course not I was just uh- I wouldn’t have read you as…y’know.” Oh, believe me, kind - unnamed - sir, I know I don’t ‘look’ gay. Lawrence furrowed, “What?” The other man choked up a little, glancing at the floor and back up. “Nevermind - I uh… Anyways” Anyway. You mean anyway. Anyways is not a word you ignorant fool. “Well, my name is Joseph.” Lawrence shook his hand, almost like it mattered. “Pleased,” Lawrence responded quietly. “So, maybe see you next week then?” Lawrence smiled and tipped his head.

Lawrence practically skipped towards the door, a mission and a plan in mind; go to the liquor store, go directly to the liquor store. This plan was set in stone, more concrete than the 10 commandments and the very ground he walked on up until his phone vibrated in his pocket upon him taking a seat on the bus.

“Gordon.”

“Hey, Larry.”

Lawrence smiled involuntarily, leaning into the poorly installed bus seat. “Adam.” Lawrence mused more to himself than to the other.

“Whatcha doin?”

Lawrence groaned, rolling his eyes and rubbing the bridge of his nose. “You’ll never believe how bad it was, Adam.”

“I can try.”

Lawrence wanted to tell Adam about his endeavors with his group of former - wait - current(?) alcoholics; and frankly, if anything did, Adam would get a bang out of the guy stopping him at the door. But what difference did it make? "No, it's alright. Thank you though." Lawrence sighed at himself and leaned further into the bus seat. "I'm gonna make a quick stop before I get home." Lawrence tried.

Stop me. I don’t know how, but just stop me from doing this to myself - to you -

"Okay."

Stop me.

"Yeah."

Stop me.

They sat in silence for a minute or so. There was something comforting in listening to the other breathe. Lawrence felt himself sinking further into his seat, this time out of comfort, one he hadn't felt in a long time, one he knew he could only get from Adam. Of course, Adam was having none of it. "Okay, I'm gonna go then."

Damnit, Adam. "Okay. I'll see you."

"Yeah."

-----

Adam jumped softly, the way he always did at the sound of the front door opening. He attempted to ward off any kind of paranoia-induced thoughts, but lost that battle quickly. Ultimately, he just decided to get up and check it out himself. Before he left the couch, of course, checking his pockets for his phone and the switchblade that he’d deemed some kind of a safety blanket. Once he was sure everything was there he headed for where the sound now illuminated from - the kitchen -

Upon arrival, Adam found the absolute last thing he was expecting: Lawrence pouring himself a good half a glass of whiskey. Adam mentally did a brief self-check-in, I’m awake, I’m present, I’m not hallucinating and - yep - this was really happening right now.

“Larry, what the fuck are you doing?”

“What does it look like to you?” Lawrence smiled at Adam briefly, taking a sip off of his drink before continuing to speak. “I’m having a drink in my kitchen. Want some?” Adam shook his head in partial amazement and in a negative answer. Lawrence placed his non-glass-holding hand on the table and rested his face on his back of his hand. “I love you, Adam.”

Adam ignored that comment. “Where’d you get this,” he asked rhetorically while reaching for the bottle in question, Lawrence was quick to take it back.

 

“Stop on the way home,” he quoted his words, putting the bottle back on the table and pulling Adam closer by his hand. “Have a drink with me.” It truly hit in this moment how slurred his words were, Adam flicked his arm in a circular motion that ended on the other side of Lawrence’s hand.

 

“No, I think you’ve had enough for the both of us,” Lawrence remained adamant, and after a minor struggle, Adam found himself in Lawrence’s lap somehow or another. “Let me go, c’mon.” Lawrence did so. Adam stood up and, with as much quickness as possible, had the bottle and glass in his hands and booked it for the sink, mumbling under his breath that Lawrence was “Like a fucking child sometimes,” while he turned out to face a still seated and slightly disoriented Lawrence.

“I don’t know if you can hear me in there right now, or if you’ll remember this shit tomorrow but fuck if I care I’ll tell you again if you don’t,” he started while expelling the last of the whiskey into the sink. “ I fucking love you. I love you so damn much it hurts me, Lawrence. I want you, too. I want you more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my fucked up, little shut-in life, you obnoxious fucking cheating bastard with no resolve.” Lawrence mimed fake hurt over the insult.

Adam threw the bottle at the garbage and got lucky enough to get it in without breaking it, he crossed back to Lawrence and put his hands on either side of his face to ensure he’d keep eye contact. Not that that was much of a concern. “Stop drinking. I want you to fucking stop because you and I both know that this shit isn’t doing anything good for you. All it does is dig your fucking misery filled - suicidal little hole of a brain deeper, and deeper and…”

Adam stopped when he realized that his vision was suddenly cloudy and his throat was tight. He closed his eyes tightly to regather himself. Stop fucking crying. Stop it. This isn’t about you. He opened his eyes again, meeting Lawrence with a gaze that could sober an irishman. This is the same look of desperation Lawrence saw when he dragged himself out of the bathroom that night.

“Lawrence Gordon. I can’t fucking stand seeing this shit. I can’t do it… I miss you…” he choked on the breath he tried to steadily take in. “I miss you, Law, I miss you so much. I miss how safe you hold me at night, and how you told me that everything would be okay,” Adam closed his eyes again, sobbing harder at the feeling of Lawrence’s hand on his, stroking his knuckles in attempted comfort. “Damnit, Lawrence I just - I just want us to be okay. I want you to be okay, man.” Adam took in another sharp breath before Lawrence took him into his arms - though the position was awkward Adam accepted this gesture with open arms, holding onto the other equally as firmly, softly repeating that he wanted him to be okay over and over while Lawrence simply rubbed his back.

That went on for what felt like hours. Lawrence cleared his throat before speaking. “I’m sorry,” was all he could offer. He felt so angry at himself. Adam had poured his heart out to him and all he could lend in response was. “I’m so, so sorry.” Once Adam caught his breath and stopped crying he still didn’t move away. If anything he got more comfortable. “I don’t know what I was thinking.” Lawrence offered a more sober explanation, even though the room was still moving.

Adam cleared his throat and moved away to stare at the tile, fidgeting with his hands. “I uh- my fault for freaking out like that... I didn’t mean to.” Lawrence smiled softly in a silent acceptance of his apology. Adam rubbed his eyes as a means to avoid contact “I… I know you have to go to work in the morning, so if you wanna go get in the bed I’ll bring you water,”

“You coming?” Lawrence gently prodded.

“Yeah… I think I oughta. With the way I’m all worked up - y’know. I might have nightmares or - or somethin’ and I wouldn’t wanna be alone if, uh, y'know if that happened.” Adam tried to explain, but mentally kicked himself because he knew it wasn't necessary. Lawrence wouldn’t have asked anyway.

Of course, in his natural prince charming way he just smiled and nodded with a careful and even response of “Alright.”

----

Adam stirred gently and opened his eyes to stare at the ceiling, taking a glance over at Lawrence, seeing he was peacefully still knocked out, he realized suddenly that he felt strange. So… strange. Adam didn’t want to go back to sleep, no, he wanted to get out of bed and start his day. Drink a cup of coffee, go to the beach and take some photos- not of cheating rich bastards but of the skyline, of the way the shore splashes against the sand. The sand that reminded him of the gentle color of Lawrence’s hair, the hair he liked to run his fingers through - maybe he’d just like to take pictures of him.

Adam jumped slightly at the sound of movement behind him on the bed. “Good Morning, Adam,” a grainy sleep-weighted voice spoke behind him.

“Hey.” Adam simply responded, warranting a gentle calloused hand massaging his bad shoulder, the weather had been changing a lot and Lawrence - with his prosthetic - knew how the changing in seasons could make his shoulder feel. This was accompanied by Lawrence resting his forehead on Adam’s shoulder. They didn’t need to speak. Everything that needed to be done or said had been in the night prior.

“I’m sorry,” Lawrence told him faintly.

“It’s whatever.”

“No. It’s not.” Adam sighed, leaning back into him. “I’m sorry.” Lawrence moved his other hand to gently touch his other arm. “I’m sorry.” He still wasn’t sure what he was apologizing for. Jigsaw or last night? Both? Didn’t matter. Adam didn’t care. Neither did he. He was just sorry for everything. “I keep doing this.”

Adam cocked his head to the side. “Doing what?”

Lawrence exhaled sharply as memories of jigsaw came flooding in. “Hurting the people I love. I can’t get a goddamn thing right.” he let out a breathy laugh, so to say how ironic this whole thing was.

“Yeah, well, you’re an asshole, so, y’know, that’s a ‘you’ problem.” Lawrence chuckled softly in response. “I’m not hurt, anyway I'm just pissed.”

“You can experience both simultaneously.”

“I’m not fucking hurt.” there was a little more bite behind it that time.

“Okay.”

They sat in silence for a few more minutes, Lawrence felt like it was the most merciful thing he’d experienced in the last five minutes of being awake. Adam didn’t like that. “Y’know” he started with a sigh, “Alison has no right making you feel like shit because of what that fuckin’ psycho did…” his voice shook gently as the walls started to come down. “Not your fuckin fault he decided to kidnap them.” Adam added under his breath, picking at his nails aggressively.

Lawrence hummed to reply, getting comfortable in his place at Adam’s shoulder. He needed to phrase this response carefully; Adam was still in a delicate place and he needed to be conscious of the fact that he couldn’t just say anything. “Thank you, Adam. I needed that.” Good Enough.

“Yeah, whatever,” Adam repeated, standing up and walking to the dresser - their dresser to get his clothes, he threw on a faded Blink-182 t-shirt and a proper pair of jeans. “I’m gonna head out, you comin’?” Lawrence furrowed in confusion.

“Where are you going?”

Adam continued throughout the room, throwing things into his pockets, “Dunno, you comin’ or not?” he tried again.

“I can just make the run for you if you’d like, Adam, that away you can st-”

“Do you wanna fuckin’ go or not, Lawrence?” There was that edge to his tone again. Lawrence sighed and made his way out of the bed to strap his prosthetic on. Adam stood there, staring at him, awaiting a response. “Hello?” Lawrence looked up but then gestured at his leg, as to say No duh, of course I’m going.

Adam waved his hands and turned back to his sock drawer, so to say Whatever, old man. Be like that.

Things almost felt normal.

“I’m leaving in thirty minutes, if you’re not ready I’m going without you.” Adam headed for the door as he spoke.

“Hey,” Lawrence started softly, “I’m a cripple and I’m experiencing a mid-life crisis - and my angry boyfriend has been ensuring I have to make close acquaintances with my right hand so cut me some slack.” Adam smiled proudly at Lawrence’s sense of humor.

“Come find me when you’re ready.”

“Sure can do.”

Things really almost felt normal.