Generally when he was prepping for an upcoming case Alex tended to hole himself up in his office from the moment he arrived early in the morning to the moment he left late in the evening, often forgetting to stop for lunch. His secretary would usually drop off something to eat around midday, but he never seemed to notice her coming a going and would unconsciously nibble on whatever she had left without realizing it.
This was why the knock on his office door startled him so much. Usually, his secretary would stick her head in to say she was leaving for the day, but a glance at his watch showed Alex that it was far too early for that. Without waiting for an answer, Dawn opened the door and stepping through.
"Mr. Hamilton, you have a visitor."
Alex frowned, "I'm busy. Can you ask them to come back tomorrow?"
"I think you're going to want to see this one," Dawn replied with a grin.
"Okay," Alex said slowly, drawing the word out.
Dawn disappeared back out the door and he heard her say, "Go right in."
Alex bent over the desk to finish writing his last thought on the yellow legal pad when an extremely familiar voice chimed through the hum of the central air system.
"Well, well, well. Mr. Big-Shot Lawyer."
Alex slowly looked up a smile spreading across his face as his eyes locked on one John Laurens, "My dear Laurens."
"Hey Alex," Laurens smiled in return.
Alex stepped away from his desk and went to embrace his friend, "What brings you here?"
"I'm looking at it," Laurens replied with a grin when they parted, keeping his grip on Alex's shoulders for an extra few moment.
"Flattery will get you everywhere," laughed Alex.
"Something I learned from you," Laurens smiled.
"Really now?" Alex laughed.
"If I had to sit through the most boring freshman seminar to meet you, then it will have been worth it," Lauren's quoted dryly, casting back to the day they'd met.
"You had to bring up my cheesiest line?" Alex sighed.
"Are you kidding? The cheesiness is what drew me in," Laurens teased, "So, does the big shot have enough time to treat an old friend to lunch?"
"For you, dear Laurens, I would make time," announced Alex grandly.
"I feel so honored," Laurens smirked, "does anyone else get the same 'royal treatment'?" He emphasized with finger quotes.
"Only my darling Betsey," Alex began proudly, then let it fade into a more sedate tone, "but she gets it all the time, so the novelty's worn off."
"Oh, I sincerely doubt that," Lauren said with a chuckle, holding up Alex's jacket so that he could slip into it.
Alex pulled on his jacket, "Did you have anywhere in mind of where we should go?"
"How about something from the good old days?" Laurens suggested as he opened the door and they began to walk out going past Dawn who stared at the with wide eyes.
"How did you do that?" Dawn said with surprise, "How did you get him to leave his office? You need to teach me your ways!"
"Come on, now," Alex sighed, rolling his eyes at her.
"I'm serious!" Dawn looked at Laurens, "how did you do it?"
Laurens chuckled, "Why am I not surprised that Alex Hamilton has driven his secretary to the brink?"
"I have not," Alex frowned.
"Of course not, sir," Dawn said, her nodding head contradicting her words.
"See if I give you a Christmas bonus," grumbled Alex.
"You will," Dawn said confidently, "You need me."
"I'm guessing his organizational skills are still atrocious?" Laurens asked Dawn.
"Like you wouldn't believe."
"Alright, that's enough," insisted Alex, taking Laurens by the elbow and dragging him out the door.
Laurens was still laughing when they got outside, "I like her."
Alex rolled his eyes.
"Treat her well, I can't imagine there are many secretaries that wiling to put up with you," Laurens added pointedly.
"I know," Alex's face reddened.
Laurens grinned, "Oh no... How many have you gone through?"
"So, lunch!" Alex deflected brightly, "What were you thinking?
Laurens shrugged his shoulders, "I wonder if that dive bar... The one where we met Herc? Think that's still there?"
"Oh man I can't even remember the name of the place," Alex laughed.
"Where in the city was it?" Laurens asked, "Somewhere near the university, I think."
"I think so," Alex nodded, "not too far from yours and Laf's dorm because didn't we usually crash there?"
"Herc used to pass out on the floor," Laurens remembered as they began to walk in a random direction, "You'd put a pile of t-shirts under his head so he wouldn't get a crick in his neck."
"Oh yeah," Alex put a hand on Laurens shoulder, "Actually campus is this direction."
"It's really been too long since I was in the city," Laurens commented, allowing Alex to steer him correctly.
"Yes it has," Alex laughed as he allowed his memory direct them to the same bar they'd spent many a drunken night in.
"Oh my god," Lauren's said, looking up at the faded sign above the door, "it's all coming back to me like a bad dream."
"Am I in those dreams?" Alex asked as they entered.
"You're always in my dreams," Laurens shot back teasingly.
Alex blushed slightly but then pushed opened the door, "Ten bucks Eddie is still tending the bar here."
They entered the bar. Unlike the sign outside, the indoors has obviously been altered. There were actual matching tables and chairs, so unlike the ragtag assortment that had been there before, and the interior was actually lit instead of being dim. The woman tending the bar was most certainly not Eddie.
"Ha!" Laurens crowed, "I win."
"Damn," Alex sighed, beginning to reach into his pocket.
Laurens stopped him by gripping his wrist, "Buy me lunch and we'll call it even."
Alex slipped his wallet back into his pocket, "Alright." They then walked over to a table in the corner, "I have to see something..."
"Oh no..." Laurens sighed as he watched Alex examine the paneling in the corner.
"It's still here!" Alex laughed pointing to a mark on the wall.
"You can't be serious-"
Sure enough in the corner it said "Herc Was Here" in jagged letters, it seemed they'd tried to sand it down but the letters were still clear.
"His legacy lives on," Alex smirked taking a seat.
"What would people think if they knew that one of the foremost designers and creators of bespoke suits and formal wear in New York City had carved his name into the wall of a dive bar," sighed Laurens, sitting across from Alex. The space was small enough that their knees brushed under the table.
Alex chuckled at the thought, "They'd be deeply offended and wouldn't let him into Fashion Week."
"Hi I'm Sonny can I start you off with something to drink?" A waitress came over to their table and handed them menus.
Alex and Laurens exchanged a knowing glance.
"We'll have a couple Sam Adams," Laurens said.
The waitress scribbled their order down and went over to the bar to get their drinks.
"Some things never change," Laurens sighed, "except for you."
"Me?" Alex raised his brow.
"Yeah, you," Laurens scoffed, "heard it through the grapevine that there is yet another Hamilton in our midst? What are you planning to do, take over the world?"
"At least we waited more than two years this time," Alex defended with a grin, "But, yes. World domination is the ultimate plan."
Laurens let out a laugh, "Figures, and Eliza is doing well?"
"She certainly has her hands full, but I know she loves it," confessed Alex, "She's been doing some research about shelters and children's homes in the area, but she won't tell me why."
"I'm sure she will eventually," Laurens assured him, "Unlike you, she liked to have some things in her life stay private."
"I can do privacy," Alex protested.
"Alex, you barely think before you speak," Laurens said, his eyebrow raised.
"I resent that remark."
"You resemble that remark."
"You wound me, John," Alex responded in an overly dramatic fashion, his hand over his heart.
Sonny returned with two Sam Adams, "Do you know what you would like to order?
"I'll have a reuben," Laurens requested, "with an extra pickle."
After a moment of indecision, Alex ordered tomato soup and grilled cheese.
"You are an actual child," laughed Laurens.
"Growing up is overrated," Alex replied pointedly.
"Says the junior partner at a large law firm," Laurens smirked, "Hard to get more grown up than that."
Alex shrugged, "Oh yes, and being right next to Burr is so much fun."
"You two still aren't going at it are you?"
Alex opened his mouth to reply, then stopped to think for a moment.
"Not really," he admitted grudgingly, "and when we do, it's not quite as," he searched for the words, "verbally violent. Plus, his daughter is friends with Philip and Angie."
Alex nodded, "It's almost uncommon to not see Theo around at least twice a week."
"So the Hamilton's and the Burrs can be friends," Laurens sounded impressed.
"It's probably a childhood phase," joked Alex, obviously not meaning it at all, "so how are things down south?" he added, "I think we've talked about me enough."
"Even more proof that you've grown up," Laurens said, "I've actually been meaning to call you to talk about this, but," he rubbed the back of his neck slightly self-consciously, "one of South Carolina's senate seats is opening up this election cycle."
Alex raised his brow, "And you are considering going for it?"
Laurens nodded, "What do you think?"
"Well if you win then maybe there will be one southern state that actually has someone with any brains in the senate," Alex replied.
Laurens laughed briefly, but shook his head, "Alex, please be serious."
Their conversation paused as Sonny swung by to drop off their food, but once she's left Alex knocked his knee against Laurens' under the table to get his attention.
"If it's something that you want to do," he began, ripping a piece off of his grilled cheese to dunk in the soup, "I say go for it, John."
Laurens smiled, "You know that isn't the only election that's coming up..." he paused making sure he had Alex's attention, "and there have been some rumors-"
Now Alex looked intrigued, "Rumors of what?"
"I'm sure you remember Professor Washington," Laurens prompted.
Of course Alex remembered Washington. George had been his advisor throughout his entire time Columbia as well as being the professor for several of his classes. They had bonded over the years and Alex knew that George felt obligated to him in a paternal way. It was so obvious that his kids had noticed it and Philip had begun calling Washington "Grandpa George" from a fairly young age. Having that kind of regard from Washington was both embarrassing and pleasing for Alex.
"And there's a presidential election this cycle," continued Laurens pointedly.
It all clicked in his mind, "You can't mean-"
Laurens nodded his head, "That’s exactly what what I mean."
"Washington for president..." Alex nodded, "that certainly doesn't seem like a bad idea."
"I figured you might think that," said Laurens, taking a sip of his beer, "It's just a rumor, so don't go spreading it around."
"Who would I tell?" laughed Alex, "Most people wouldn't know who George is."
"We were discussing only recently your inability to keep your mouth shut," Laurens pointed out with a grin.
Alex let out a huff and Laurens chuckled, "I still remember when you proposed to Liza and she already knew it was going to happen."
"That time it wasn't my fault," Alex protested, "I'd mentioned to Herc about making a suit for me and he asked Betsey about wedding colors, so don't go blaming me for other people's wrong doings."
Laurens shrugged, "Well either way you do have a tendency to blab."
Alex rolled his eyes, "Okay, I won't say anything."
Alex glanced at his watch and failed to hide a small grimace, "Listen, John, I wish we could stay longer-"
"But you have a big case coming up," Laurens finished, smiling fondly at him.
"Yes," Alex conceded, "The senior partners are letting me take the lead for once. Why don't you come over to the house later? I'm sure Eliza and the kids would love to see you."
"I'd love to."
The two of them stood and embraced.
"What's the baby's name, anyway?" Laurens asked when they parted, "It's been a week since he was born and I have yet to hear it."
"Until tonight, my dear Laurens," Alex said grandly, avoiding the question.
"The suspense is killing me," teased Laurens.
Alex gave a mock bow, embellished with a twirling wave of his hand. Laurens chuckled, watching as Alex swung by the bar to pay their meal and then swept out the door, blowing a kiss over his shoulder.
He barely had time to react after he entered the apartment before a child-sized ball of energy launched herself into his chest. Laurens managed to wrap his arms around Angie, but fell back against the wall, his breath nearly knocked out of him.
Eliza walked into the the room, "Are you alright?"
Laurens straightened himself still holding onto Angie who had wrapped her arms around his neck, "I'm fine," he laughed.
"Alex told me you'd be coming," Eliza smiled.
"He's not here yet?"
"This is Alex, remember?" Eliza sighed, "but he did promise to be home soon."
"Which means it'll probably be another couple hours," said Laurens.
The two of them shared a grin.
"Uncle Laurens, guess what?" Philip said as he entered, a piece of paper in his fist.
"What?" Laurens asked, carefully putting Angie down. Despite her protests, when Angie's feet reached the floor she ran to Philip and threw an arm around his shoulders. They were still near the same height.
"I'm writing poetry," Philip announced proudly.
"Read him the one about the elephant," Angie told him.
Philip straightened his posture and cleared his throat before speaking, Laurens couldn't help but wonder if this was something the boy had picked up from watching Alex.
"E is for everything," he began, "which an elephant can see, because he's so tall towering over me.
"L is for leaves, elephants eat these," Philip continued, “off of the branches of really tall trees. Another E comes next, which stands for Eddy. That's my elephant's name, but there's more. Are you ready?"
"P is for Pachyderm, it comes from from Greek. I know that 'cause I'm a geek."
Laurens laughed and Philip gave him a blinding smile before continuing on.
"H is for huge, that's what their brains must be, because elephants never forget, you see."
"A is for Africa, it's all the way across the sea and where the elephants roam free. Next we have N which must stand for nose, which on an elephant can nearly reach his toes! Lastly T is tusks, they are made out of ivory and are long and mighty." Philip concluded his poem.
"That was amazing," Laurens enthused, holding his hand out for a high five.
"The last one was kind of a half rhyme," Philip said as he smacked his hand against Laurens', "but I couldn't think of anything that rhymed with ivory."
"Half rhymes are my favorite kind of rhymes," said Laurens seriously and Philip grinned.
"I want to show you something," Angie tugged at Laurens sleeve.
Laurens followed Angie as she took him the the living room where there was an upright up against the wall. Angie pulled out the bench and seated herself on it.
Halfway through the piece she was playing--Laurens wasn't quite sure what it was, but it sounded beautiful--Alex arrived home. Angie stopped mid-phrase, her eyes wide.
She slid off the bench and ran to great her father with a hug.
"Mon Ange," Alex smiled brushing a hand through her hair.
"I was showing Uncle Laurens what I can play," Angie informed him happily.
"Yes, I could hear through the door," Alex said proudly, "It was lovely."
Eliza returned from the kitchen again and stoked the top of Angie's head briefly as she leaned in to give Alex a welcoming kiss.
"Angie, why don't you come help me finish dinner," Eliza suggested.
"Can I put dressing on the salad?" the girl asked hopefully.
"Of course," Eliza agreed with a smile, "Philip, will you go get Junior and James? Make sure they clean up the Legos and wash their hands."
"And you," Eliza concluded, pointing at Laurens, "Alex is going to introduce you to the newest member of the family."
"Yes ma'am," Laurens joked, giving her a salute.
"Cheeky," laughed Eliza as she began steering Angie towards the kitchen.
Alex lead Laurens to his and Eliza's bedroom excitedly.
"His crib is still set up with us," he said, "We probably won't move him in with the other boys until he's finished nursing."
It never failed to surprise Laurens how loud, boisterous Alex could be so calm and still when he held his kids. Every other picture of Alex you could practically see him vibrating with the need to move, but when he held a baby it was like the whole world stopped for him. Laurens noticed that it was even more fascinating to see in person.
"Come here," Alex said, gesturing slightly with his head.
Tentatively, Laurens stepped over and carefully accepted the baby, holding the boy close to his chest and supported that tiny head in the crook of his elbow. Alex stepped back, grinning.
"My dear Laurens, you're a natural."
Laurens chuckled lightly, "I suppose. Won't you just tell me his name already?"
"Oh," Alex said softly, "his name is John."
It took a long moment for it to sink in, but when it did Laurens felt his arms go unconsciously slack. In a moment, Alex was in his space, his own arms under Laurens', keeping them upright and supporting baby John.
For a moment Laurens was at a loss, "Y-you mean?"
Alex smiled and nodded, "You are my dearest friend," he explained, "it seemed only fitting."
"I don't know what to say-"
"You don't have to say anything," Alex replied, "If Little John here is half as amazing of a person as you are than he's set for life."
Laurens let out a small huff of what might of have been laughter and let his forehead fall on Alex's shoulder.
"You are a ridiculous man, Alexander Hamilton."
Still cradling the baby between them, Alex chuckled and rest his cheek against Laurens' hair.
The stood there for several long moments until Eliza called out that dinner was ready.