Marriage was going well for the couple. Alex thought he was living in a dream, coming home to someone every day who would be there, unconditionally, for the rest of his life. In the rush and chaos around him, a calm, warm atmosphere at the end of the day was more than welcome.
But every morning, he returned to work with Laurens and Washington, and they were all getting more strained. Money and patience were running out, and the latter was thanks to an idiot with a title: Charles Lee.
"I've proven time and time again that I deserved to be general, especially more than that cowardly flea bag," Alexander complained to his wife in the parlor. "That man couldn't tell a bullet from a cannonball, and he- Betsey, what are you doing?"
Eliza had her sewing kit out, but instead of working on mending her petticoat, she had taken the measuring tape and placed it against the windowsill.
"It's thirty-six inches," she muttered, then turned to him. "I measured this morning. The window is twenty-four inches on the outside, but thirty-six in here: That's impossible!"
"W-what?" Hamilton stammered, trying to keep his calm. "You must be tired, are you feeling alright?"
Eliza didn't understand what she was missing; unfortunately, confusion was an emotion she had been feeling a lot of lately. "I must be, but I could have sworn…"
"It's fine, Betsey" he interrupted. "Care for a walk before it gets to dark out?"
"Sure," she nodded, but she knew something was off. It was tough to tell what it was, exactly, but she knew she needed to advice. In her mind, she resolved to write Angelica and hoped she wasn't going crazy.
The battle of Monmouth should have gone better. Hamilton wanted to curse the sky, General Lee, anything. But instead he swallowed his pride, and snuck off to mend the bone of a soldier shot in the arm. God, the kid wasn't older than sixteen. Not for the first time, he wondered if freedom was worth it.
"Alex?" he heard John call, and Hamilton quickly stuffed his wand into his boot.
"In here" he replied, and Laurens made his way over to him.
Laurens looked at the soldier, who was still unconscious. "It makes you think, doesn't it" he said quietly, not wanting to disturb him. "That could've been me. I mean, my horse got hit with buckshot, missed my leg by an inch. Why is he fighting for his life, while I'm here without a scratch?"
"Yeah." Alex thought a second before responding. "Remember that time when we first met? When we were both really drunk? 'I may not live to see our glory, but I will gladly join the fight.' This kid has the same idea. We're fighting for the same thing he is, for our children to grow up and live in this country." With every word he spoke, he grew more and more confident that what they were doing was right. "For them to live in this country, telling the story of how we kept this beautiful, amazing land safe for them, for their children, and for all eternity." He finished the speech like it was to the entire thirteen colonies, not John and a dozen passed out soldiers in a hospital tent.
Laurens snorted. "Damn, that was eloquent. Don't wake the guy who took a bayonet to the knee."
"Hey!" Hamilton punched him in the arm. "I'm sure they, unlike you, appreciate my brilliance."
"I'd appreciate it if you were quieter" grumbled a voice, and Alex traveled bright red. They quietly ran back to command, trying not to laugh.
After Lee's debacle, Lafayette was placed in charge, something that frustrated Hamilton in spite of being proud of his friend's achievement. "I guess I'll never be good enough, eh?" he complained to Eliza as he scrubbed Athena's cage.
He used to scourgify it early in the morning before Eliza got up, but it was another thing that she quickly grew suspicious of. After she commented on it, he made sure she had awoken before beginning the now far less simple task. From somewhere outside, he could hear an indignant hoot, meaning he needed to finish.
"I'm sorry." Eliza didn't know what to say, so she just put her hand on his shoulder, hoping it would reassure her husband.
"Thanks, Bess. I just wish they'd stop treating me like I was a child."
"Hey; look at me." She pulled his attention away from the cleaning and towards the sofa. When they were sitting down, she turned his head towards her, until he was gazing into her eyes. "You are the most brilliant and strong and amazing man I've ever met. Don't let this get you down. Okay?"
They kissed for what seemed like only a second, but all too soon the sun's rays lightened up the room. "I'll be back in a few hours, Bess. Thank Merlin Lee's gotten the axe!" And then he was gone.
Merlin? Eliza wondered, then shook her head. Not important. She got up and began the weekly baking, and tried not to feel guilty. The letter she wrote the general… she knew she needed to tell Alexander she was with child, but she was scared. What else could she do?
After setting the dough in a bowl to rise, a thought occurred to her. She took out the tape measure from her sewing bag, and walked over to the window.
Today, it was twenty-four inches on both sides. The room felt a little darker, too.
"Washington cannot be left alone to his devices, indecisive from crisis to crisis. The best thing he can do for the revolution is turn and go back to planting tobacco at Mount Vernon," Lee shouted drunkenly at the tavern closest to camp, and Laurens winced. That idiot's going to have his ass handed to him, he thought. It's probably for the best Alex isn't here: Lee'd've probably gotten stabbed.
Just as the thought (regrettably) went through his brain, a quiet yet deadly voice spoke up from behind him. "He gets power, glory, everything handed to him on a silver platter, and when he throws it all away, he blames the man who gave him his means to succeed." Hamilton snorted. "If Washington hadn't explicitly ordered me not duel him, there'd already be a bullet in his brain."
Shit. "Then I'll do it" Laurens spoke up, well aware this was a huge mistake. But Alex'd do the same thing for him. "Alexander, you're the closest friend I've got."
Hamilton had a strange glint in his eye, and for the first time since they'd met, Laurens was a little scared of his friend. Alex grabbed his arm, and dragged John towards Lee. "Laurens," Alexander said with a cruel smile, "do not throw away your shot."
Of course, nothing could be settled. Lee and Hamilton were as stubborn as mules, and any negotiations ended with shouting and unreasonable demands.
Burr stood opposite Alexander, who looked back at him with an even and eerily calm expression. He couldn't tell what the man was thinking, which was so rare in itself Burr was on edge.
The dark summer night was fading fast, and all too soon Laurens and Lee were circling each other. Burr wondered how he'd gotten into he'd gotten into this mess. This is idiotic, Burr thought as the bullets flew. I'm never having any part in a duel again, as long as I live.
Washington towered over the soldiers, not bothering to mask his anger at Lee having been shot in the ribs.
"Meet me inside." He said, and Hamilton followed defiantly, not sorry in the slightest. Lee got what was coming to him, he thought, and followed the general into the surprisingly well-lit office.
He sighed impatiently before beginning. "Son-"
"I'm not your son" Alex spat out before the man could finish. He hated it when people called him that.
Washington glared at Hamilton before continuing. "This war is hard enough without infighting"
"Lee called you out, we called his bluff."
"You solve nothing, you aggravate our allies to the south-"
"You're absolutely right, John should've shot him in the mouth, that would've shut him up." Everything came pouring out. His frustration and anger built up, and he knew there was no going back.
"I'm not your son"
"-watch your tone, I am not a maiden in need of defending."
Alexander hardly noticed he was shouting. "Charles Lee, Thomas Conway, these men take your name and they rake it through the mud."
Washington turned away from him, and sat down at his desk. The morning sunlight streaming through the room was in stark contrast to the thunderous mood of the both of them. "My name's been through a lot, I can take it."
"Well, I don't have your titles, I don't have your land, but if you-"
"-If you gave me command of a battalion, a group of men to lead I could fly above my station after the war"
"Or you could die, and we need you alive"
"I am more than willing to die"
"Your wife needs you alive, son I need you alive-"
"CALL ME SON ONE MORE TIME" he roared, and Alexander felt something inside him snap. He felt a burst of energy explode outwards from him, and all the windows shattered.
Hamilton looked around the room in horror. Papers were strewn everywhere, mixed with thousands of glass shards. Anything that was in the room was now on the floor, except for a quill embedded several inches into the wall, like it was shot out of a bow.
Washington held a hand to his face, and Alex realized that a piece of glass must have hit the general. He could see a line of blood dripping down his face.
Oh my god, he thought. Shit shit shit merde shit, what the hell have I done?
Alex took a step towards the general, but the older man stumbled back, face wary and mistrustful.
"Just… go home, Alexander." Washington said, talking to Hamilton as if he were a stranger, and Alex realized the gravity of what he had done.
"Sir?" he asked tentatively.
"Go. Home." The general refused to look him in the eyes, and Alex fled out the door.
A/N: The emotional rollercoaster starts going downhill. If the rollercoaster was shaped like a negative quartic function. I should probably go do my math homework… Anyway, please fav/review! Love to hear your thoughts.