Warnings: Slash, sexual themes, Adams contracting the French Disease and some man-kissing.
Summary: Adams is gone, and Philadelphia has never been more pleasant because of it.
A/N: I've lurked here for awhile and I've finally decided to get an lj and post something. I hope you enjoy my contribution as much as I've enjoyed all of yours. ^-^
With John Adams whoring around and contracting syphilis in New Brunswick, Congress was unusually peaceful. Philadelphia had never seemed more pleasant than in the absence of his piercing voice, vomiting belligerent Bostonian nonsense. That was not to say that any delegate was failing to take their responsibilities seriously in his absence, but it was not unheard of these days for delegates to arrive late or adjourn early. It was too warm to be trapped indoors laboring over committees and papers and those terribly dreary dispatches from the General.
On one of these fleeting days Congress had adjourned in the early afternoon, so that the delegates might escape the oppressive heat. The worst part of all of it was that each delegate knew in his heart it would only get worse before it got better: the heat would only rise until it peaked towards the end of July. And to make matters even worse, by that time, Massachusetts would surely have returned.
Hiding from the heat and the inevitable return of said delegate, the leading members of his opposition were enjoying a carriage ride through the city, desperately searching for some semblance of a Pennsylvanian breeze over polite chatter of policy and politics. The carriage was closed to provide privacy and shade, but the windows were open wide for any sort of air that might pass through and caress their sweaty brows.
“South Carolina has never been opposed to independence, suh, you know that,” Edward said, smirking at Dickinson. “Merely the rate at which it was achieved.”
“Such an inadequate argument never fails to get Adams riled,” Dickinson said, smiling in the sunshine as the coach lurched forward. “You must remind him of your sentiments when he returns from New Jersey.”
Edward raised an eyebrow. In his southern, sardonic drawl, he replied, “Yes, and I’m sure your noble non-conformist Quaker beliefs are what prevent Pennsylvania from ratifying our Independency.”
“Now Neddy, don’t poke fun at my personal values,” Dickinson faux-scolded, snaking his arm behind Rutledge’s waist.
Edward was not unused to this sort of affection at the congress. After all, he was the youngest: the most supple, the most limber, and possibly the most desirable. He had discovered this early on and used it often to his advantage. The entirety of the Deep South did not trail behind him solely for his charisma. Decisions that had been left deadlocked for the congress had sometimes mysteriously swayed towards the conservative opinion by a radical change in policy for one delegation or another, and it was usually attributed to Mr. Rutledge. That new delegate from Georgia, the Doctor, had taken quite a lot of attention and affection before finally discovering his place in the Southern block, where he belonged. Edward would allow for no instability in his half of Congress.
It never left him feeling dirty or used, to have other men touch him as he let them. It was a political agreement that Rutledge upheld with the highest dignity and honor. If anyone should be ashamed, Rutledge was sure that it had to have been those who he bribed with his body. There was no honor in sacrificing one’s own beliefs for a few moments of pleasure, but there was plenty of pride to be found in servicing one’s country. Rutledge was correct and knew what was best for the Congress all of the time, despite his mere twenty seven years of age. His job was only to make other people see the wisdom in his opinions, and how he went about that was his own business. Every man has a price: some people only required more delicate and creative means of persuasion than others.
With Dickinson, however, there was always something slightly different about it. Dickinson hardly needed any urging to keep him opposed to Massachusetts, but Rutledge continued to call on him in the deep hours of the night, anyway. The anti-independence foothold that Pennsylvania held in the Congress was very important and needed to remain stable. Dickinson, however, unlike Reed or Hewes, was gentle, and sought not only to find his own pleasure when Rutledge visited, but to help Edward reach his release, as well. Edward didn’t know whether it was sentimentality or some Middle Colony chivalry, but it was always greatly appreciated, even if Edward didn’t voice that appreciation. Rutledge sometimes found himself making excuses to visit the Pennsylvanian, if only because he seemed more intelligent and considerate than anyone else Rutledge made appointments with.
As such, neither the heat nor the arm around his waist bothered him. The carriage lurched forward over the cobbled road and Rutledge tilted his head back against the seat, closing his eyes and exposing a long expanse of beautiful throat, tanned from the warm Philadelphian sun. Both delegates had long past untied their cravats and opened their collars; there was little need for formality between the two. Eyes closed, Edward did not catch the way Dickinson’s eyes traced from his collar to his chin, before staring forward again.
“I know I should pay the General no heed, Edward,” Dickinson said, eyes distant. “But what if the British troops do reach Philadelphia? I have no doubt that independence would only drive them further so that they may reclaim their sovereignty over these territories, but if we should succeed and independence is not declared, do you suppose that once they capture Philadelphia all of this anarchy will cease?”
Rutledge exhaled deeply, before opening his eyes to the roof of the carriage. “I can’t rightly say, suh. I only hope that this all ends before the Royal Navy decides to prey upon Charleston, which is far from the crimes Boston has committed and undeserving of their fire.” He sat upright then, turning to Dickinson and smiling. “Have you ever been to Charleston, Mr. Dickinson?”
“I have not, Rutledge,” Dickinson said, smiling sadly. “I should hope to travel there one day, once all of this blows over.”
“You would like Charleston,” Edward said, leaning back. “It’s warm down there, as well, but at least there’s the breeze off the sea. And St. Michaels- well, I know, suh, you’re not Episcopalian, but surely you can still appreciate it- is one of the prettiest little churches you’ve ever laid your eyes on. I have a house right on the water, and waking up with the Missus and the harbor out the window feels like the most serene thing in the whole British Empire, especially after-”
But he was swiftly cut off by a gentle finger to his lips, and Rutledge turned his head to find Dickinson’s only inches away from his. Edward didn’t say a word, only favored Dickinson with a curious, calculating stare, before Dickson closed the gap between them and pressed his lips firmly against Rutledge’s, tongue darting out to run along his bottom lip.
Of all the things that made him different, Rutledge was sure that this was the most prominent and the most telling: John was the only one that Edward had ever allowed to kiss him.
A/N: Yes, 1776!Rutledge did steal a line from HBO!Rutledge. HBO!Rutledge greatly amuses me. He’s such a little prissy and his wig is so goddamned big. One might wonder what he’s trying to compensate for. -.o