I don't really have any prompts, but if you look up the Jamilton tag on @midnigtartist's blog, you might get a few ideas! Aimee is complete Jamilton trash, loves the heck outta them
I did just that! The prompt/feeling I got from that is “Jefferson actually likes kids and takes care of Philip for a day when Hamilton loses track of him, causing Hamilton’s entire view of Jefferson as a person to shift”
@midnigtartist Happy birthday! I was already writing this before I learned it was your birthday, but I hope you enjoy it regardless! You’re art is great! Also, I sent you an ask about this but severely underestimated the size of your inbox. If/when you see the anon that sounds suspiciously like this post, feel free to ignore it!
As much as he’d like it to be the case, Thomas did not at first recognize the kid loitering around the office. He did however, recognize that the kid couldn’t be more than 10 years old, if that- and was therefore too young to be standing around anywhere, never mind outside the ‘Washington and Associates’ law firm.
It wasn’t quite time to pack up, but Thomas figured this was more important. Plus, no one else was dealing with it, or even noticing. He saved his work, and stood up.
“Leaving early?” James poked his head up, at Thomas’ movement.
“There’s a kid hanging around outside, it’s distracting,” Thomas explained. James peeked out the window, furrowed his brows, and nodded.
“Don’t take too long,” James reminded, turning back to his work. Thomas rolled his eyes and nodded, even though he knew James’ attention was already back to his work.
The kid jumped when Thomas opened the door, immediately turning around and looking down as if he just happened to be standing there. It wasn’t very convincing.
“Hi,” Thomas pitched his voice, warmer and completely devoid of his usual sarcastic drawl. “You’ve been standing out here for a while, is there anything I can help you with?” Up close, the kid was even smaller. The parents had better be nearby, or Thomas would be having words.
“Uhh,” The kid’s head bobbed up, then straight down, his mass of curls hiding his face. Thomas felt his heart thaw, just a bit- the kid was just shy. Which was fair, given Thomas was a tall, mysterious stranger. Even adults tended to be intimidated. Thomas leaned down, dropping to the kid’s level.
“That’s okay,” Thomas tried to put the kid at ease. “Could you tell me where your parents are, so we can find them?”
“Umm,” The kid started again, but this time he brushed his hair behind an ear and glanced up to Thomas’ chin. “Mom’s at her home, I’m s'posed to be with Dad this week, and he’s s'posed to be here. I think.” He nervously glanced up at the building. “There’s only one Washington law place, right?”
Ah, a divorced kid. “Yes, as far as I’m aware, this is the only Washington law place,” Thomas didn’t want to correct the kid and possibly confuse him. Still, he couldn’t stop an amused smile at the term ‘law place’. “Can you tell me your Dad’s name?”
The kid froze, paling instantly. “U-uh, it’s my Dad, um…” He started shaking. Crap.
Thomas thought quickly. “It’s okay, it’s okay!” He smiled wide, waving his hand in what he hoped was more comforting than dismissive, though he used it in the latter sense far more often. “Could you tell me your name, instead?”
“Oh!”, the kid grinned. “My name’s Philip Hamilton! I’m 8 years old!” Thomas nearly flinched. There was only one Hamilton who worked at Washington’s, and there was no way this was a coincidence. He should have guessed- Hamilton’s divorce was well known in lawyer circles, and now that he was looking for it, the kid’s face bore some resemblance. Standing in front of Thomas was his biggest work rival’s son.
There wasn’t anything for it, though. Thomas was hardly going to just leave the kid out here. “Nice to meet you, Philip. I work with your Dad. My name’s Thomas Jefferson.”
Philip’s eyes lit up in recognition. Thomas had just enough time to worry about what exactly the kid was recognizing. “Jefferson? Dad mentions you all the time! He says you’re really distracting!”
Distracting, huh? Not 'evil’, not 'idiotic’; nor any of the other insults Hamilton would shout to his face? Not even 'bad man’, if he wanted to soften it to his kid? Thomas itched to ply Philip for answers, for what Hamilton really thought; but it was the middle of winter and now was not the time.
“How about we wait inside for your Dad, and you tell me what you’re doing out here?” Thomas spoke cautiously, not sure how Philip would react to being asked to go somewhere with a relative stranger.
Strangely though, Philip’s shyness went straight out the window after his introduction. “Oh! That’s because Dad promised me this time, for real promised, that he’d get off work on time and take me to see a movie! I wanted to make sure he really would, so I looked up 'Washington law’ on google and bussed here all by myself!” Thomas led the way to the building as Philip chattered, small hand immediately latching onto Thomas’ fingers.
“That’s very cool!” Thomas enthused, opening the door and immediately shooting a glare at every person who stared. “Now, your Dad’s out now, the boss sent him to the courthouse to drop something off, but we can wait for him, alright?”
Philip beamed. “Alright! This place looks even cooler than I thought!” He was so enthusiastic, that Thomas couldn’t help but smile back. Hamilton would still be getting an earful, being so unreliable that his 8 year old child felt the need to escape his babysitter and bus through the middle of town to check up on him. Hell, did he even have a babysitter?
Thomas’ work was left, forgotten on his desk. James would clean up for him, this was more important. “What do you say to meeting your Dad’s boss?” He needed to at least explain the situation, after all.
“Mr. Washington? Yeah! Dad says he’s too nosy, and Mom says he’s basically like my second grandpa, even though I’ve never met him before.”
Thomas couldn’t stop the chuckle if he tried. “Did he? You’ll have to tell me more, later.” He joked, but Philip nodded anyways. This was far better than finishing his work.
Alex was determined to keep his promise, for real this time. He was not staying late, and if possible, he would even be home early. Washington owed it to him, for all that free overtime.
Unfortunately, all the owing in the world meant nothing when Washington ordered him to take some important documents to the courthouse, a good half hour away, when the day was nearly over. Alex could never say no to a direct request like that, even if Washington probably would have relented if he explained his circumstances.
No, he could do this and still be out on time, if he drove straight to Philip’s school, instead of back to the firm, first. Alex did so, driving as fast as he reasonably could.
Only, when he did that, Philip had already left, instead of waiting for him. In fact, he had left for the washroom in the last hour of class, and never returned, according to the teacher. Alex barely spared the time to chew them out for not keeping a better headcount, and then he was running off to his car and to home.
Philip wasn’t at home either. Alex started panicking in earnest. He could be anywhere, but why would he? Philip was so excited about going to see the movie, he wouldn’t have just run off today of all days, would he? But he alternative- if Philip hadn’t purposefully run off himself- was far worse. Alex started by doing circles of the neighbourhood, then the local parks.
Alex was focused; so focused that his phone remained in his pocket, battery dead before he’d even realized Philip was missing.
It must have been hours later, the sun starting to set, when Alex finally gave up. He had panicked somewhere early down the line, and never quite stopped. His limbs were shaking. Alex had lost his son.
He didn’t want to even think about the phone call he would have to make to Eliza. But first, he’d check the house again, just in case. Alex wasn’t holding out much hope at this point.
Alex was just stressed enough to miss the strange car behind his in the driveway. He was not, however, too stressed to notice two people sitting in his living room.
“Hamilton, about time!” Jefferson waved his arms enthusiastically, though something sharp glinted in his eyes. Alex’s brain stuttered for a moment at the sight of his coworker/rival relaxing in his home, but then Philip was bounding into his arms.
“Dad! Where the heck where you? Mr. Jefferson’s called you like, a million times!”
“Wha- Philip, where have you been? You weren’t at school, the teachers told me you disappeared, you weren’t at home, I’ve been worried sick, looking for you!” Harsh, panicked words spilled from Alex’s mouth, even as he seized his son in a fierce hug. “Don’t scare me like that!”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to,” Philip hugged back tight, voice suddenly subdued and guilty. “I just wanted to find you at work, so you’d actually go on time.”
Alex loosened his hug so that he could face Philip directly. “Wait, you what-?” Alex cut himself off, remembering the other person in the room. “Jefferson, why the fu-heck are you here?” Philip’s head poked up at Alex’s accusatory tone, brows furrowing in confusion.
“Nice save,” Jefferson smirked, always as irritating as possible. “Also, is that really the way you want to be speaking to the guy who’s been watching your kid all evening? When I could have been doing anything else with my time?”
There was no reason for Jefferson to be lying. In fact, that answer made the most sense, given that Jefferson had literally been in his home, watching Philip, when Alex got in there. Still though, this was Jefferson. Instinctive denial surged in his chest. “Excuse me-”
“I’m sorry!” Philip shouted again, lip trembling. He wasn’t looking at Alex though, instead facing Jefferson. “I didn’t mean to waste your day!”
Alex’s blood ran cold. That was exactly the opening one could never make to Jefferson- he could never hold back his infuriating sarcastic comments. He was going open his mouth and spout some negative bullshit that would make Philip cry, because Jefferson was an asshole who didn’t have any kids and probably hated them.
Jefferson did open his mouth, but his eyes were suddenly wide, with surprise and maybe guilt- something Alex had never seen him wear. He scrambled off the couch. “No no, I didn’t mean that, Philip! You’ve been great fun!” Jefferson assured, stepping over to crouch in front of Philip.
Philip looked up at him cautiously. Alex held his breath, completely taken aback. “Really?”, Philip whispered, and Alex could hear the tiny smile working its way into his voice.
“Of course!” Jefferson reached a hand over to ruffle his hair. “I got to read all your poems, and you got to hear all about the silly things your Dad does at work! It’s just that your Dad’s back now, so I should probable get going.” He gave Philip a wide grin, full of warmth and life.
Alex wasn’t sure he’d ever seen Jefferson with a smile like that. It did something to his stomach that he’d rather not analyze.
“No! You gotta stay for supper! We can’t do the movie anymore anyways, right Dad!” Philip bounced back, both emotionally and literally, on the balls of his feet.
Alex opened his mouth, searching for an excuse that wouldn’t upset Philip. Then, he glanced over to Jefferson. He was fidgeting, glancing away awkwardly. With a start, Alex realized he must have actually had fun. Somehow, Jefferson was actually really good with kids, if Philip’s excitement meant anything; and now he was standing there, in Alex’s house, looking more awkward and vulnerable than Alex had ever seen him.
“Yeah… yeah, he can stay. If he wants to.” Alex didn’t even want to guess what his face looked like right now. He wasn’t even sure what his feelings looked like right now. It was all a mess of exposed wires, his entire worldview turned on its head.
Jefferson flinched in surprise for a moment, eyes snapping to Alex. Then, he gauged Alex’s pure, undiluted confusion, and a smile slowly took his face, one that more closely resembled the teasing smirks Alex was used to. Now though, it seemed just a little less aggressive than Alex remembered.
“I suppose I can stay and tell your Dad all about how you skipped your last class, looked up his workplace online, and then bussed there all by yourself without telling anybody.” Jefferson shrugged, nonchalant.
“What! Mr. Jefferson, no!” Philip whined, even as he smiled broadly. “I’m gonna get grounded!”
Jefferson laughed. “Well, whose fault is that? You’re a little troublemaker!”
Philip spouted denials in between giggles. Alex felt his paradigm shift further off axis. “I guess I’ll get started,” Alex said, quiet and distant. He stood up and edged his way to the kitchen. Jefferson and Philip continued to chat in his hallway.
Somewhere between numb and completely unsure of himself, Alex turned the oven on and got out a frozen pizza. He took as much time as he could retrieving the round pan and opening the pizza box. Replaying in his mind was the smile Jefferson had made at Philip. His stomach flipped again.
“Hey,” Jefferson’s voice was calm and subdued, but made Alex jump a foot anyways. “I put the TV on for Philip.” He was right behind Alex, nearly crowding him into the counter. “I assume you want to know what’s been going on? No one’s been on the same page today.”
Alex swallowed. It wasn’t the first time Jefferson had crowded him, Alex had realized over time that it was more a matter of not knowing about personal space, rather than an active bid at intimidation. It was also overwhelming, especially now. “Uh,” Alex started, horrified at the squeak his voice made. “I guess not.”
Jefferson smirked- how could he not?- but relented, backing up a step. “It really wasn’t all that crazy. The kid showed up in the last hour of work, and no one else would do it, so I watched him. Tried to call your phone, I’m assuming it’s dead.” Alex dug into his pocket, pulling out a very dead phone. He paled. “No, it’s fine, it’s done.” Jefferson waved his hand dismissively. “I didn’t- I mean, it wasn’t awful.”
Alex paused at Jefferson’s stutter. His ears were pink. Adorable, Alex thought, then shook it from his mind. “Thank you,” he said instead.
“Uhhh,” Jefferson’s ears turned pinker. “No offense, but that sounds so weird coming from you.” Suddenly, he started laughing. “And I just said 'no offense’, which is even weirder!”
Alex snorted. Giggles stumbled their way between his lips, turning into chuckles, then full blown laughter. “Oh my God,” Alex wheezed, “This is so weird!”
Jefferson was howling right beside him. “I know, right?!”
Their laughs petered off, save for a quiet snicker from the distance. Both their heads whipped around- Philip peeked from the doorway. “Dad hasn’t laughed like that in ages,” He said knowingly. “You guys should hang out more. Hey, can Mr. Jefferson come with us to the movie, next time?”
Alex flushed, his mind stumbling to a stop, not sure if it was from the sheer audacity of the question, or how the idea of going out with Jefferson sounded too much like a date. His only saving grace was that it was probably the last thing Jefferson wanted, anyways. It didn’t matter that the sight of him being so nice to Philip did things to Alex’s heart.
“That sounds nice. If your Dad agrees.” Jefferson gave Philip an indulgent smile, then turned to Alex, question standing. A quiet blush graced his cheekbones as well. He looked so much more attractive- cute, Alex’s brain supplied- when it was open like this. Usually, Jefferson’s appearance was the only attractive thing about him. Alex realized suddenly that he was gone- had been gone the moment Jefferson had revealed a side of himself that wasn’t pure opposition to everything Alex stood for.
“Alright,” Alex agreed. He needed to see where this was going. He was going to figure Jefferson out, or die trying.