“I have to write something.”
Burr glances over to him. He — Burr will not yet say his name, because it’s all too ridiculous — wears the clothes he died in, and stares blankly ahead, not really focusing on anything. He is not bleeding. He is not wearing his glasses.
When he doesn’t elaborate (and that’s so unlike him, not to speak), Burr offers a suggestion. “Perhaps a treatise?” There’s hesitance on Burr’s part; Burr can only imagine what he could say, and if Burr is being honest, he fears it.
For a moment, it doesn’t seem like he had heard Burr, but then he mutters, “I don’t know…I ran out of time,” and he looks up to Burr like he wants for him to explain.
There is no way to explain.
Burr blinks, and then he’s gone. Again.
The first time Hamilton appears, it’s only a little over a month since he’s died.
A month since I killed him, Burr reminds himself.
It’s horrifying — one moment Hamilton isn’t there and then in the next he is, and he’s bloody and wailing and clutching at his chest as blood seeps over his fingers and he’s crying out people’s names and he’s dying again, right in front of his eyes.
Burr yells his name, screams, does anything to make it stop. It must get Hamilton’s attention, because he turns to Burr as if he’s only just noticing him. Hamilton’s anguished cries stop as he studies Burr, but then he takes a deep, rasping breath and forces out an exhale that sputters blood out of his mouth, and he reaches toward Burr with a bloodstained hand. It’s awful, but the worst part is how Hamilton looks at him — confused, hurt, like he doesn’t understand what’s happening to him — and then there’s a hint of accusation, like he knows it’s Burr’s fault he is in pain, and he’s determined to make Burr suffer it, too. Vengeful.
Burr almost dies with fright, which later he supposes was the point.
For days, Burr is left unsettled. He replays the scene over and over in his mind, torturing himself with a constant loop of Hamilton dying. He obsesses, looking for any detail that can explain what happened, that could make light of why this is happening to him.
It cannot be Hamilton; Burr knows this better than anyone. It’s by his own doing that Alexander Hamilton is not of this mortal plane — dead by his gunfire and his damaged pride and too many years of no recompense for his deserved due and the ease of blaming Hamilton instead.
Just when Burr convinces himself that it’s all in his head, Hamilton comes back.
Much to Burr’s relief, Hamilton stops appearing to him as damaged and bloody. Burr does not know how Hamilton looked when he died (they would not let me speak to him, he thinks), but he supposes his mind is creative enough to conjure up how he suffered in his final hours.
Now, when Hamilton forces himself into existence, he sits next to Burr at his desk, looms in the corners of rooms, walks in stride with him around the city. Hamilton stays quiet for the most part, occasionally uttering muttered ramblings that Burr can’t quite catch.
For a fleeting moment, Burr thinks—hopes that maybe others see Hamilton too. But they don’t. Their eyes pass right over Hamilton and to Burr, where they settle on him with a glare. He supposes it’s justifiable.
Burr doesn’t dare address Hamilton. He pretends that Hamilton isn’t there. Because he isn’t.
Burr thinks that he’s a delusion brought on by stress or exhaustion, or the culpability that everyone is placing on him. Hamilton is a figment of his imagination, nothing more.
Despite that, every time Hamilton disappears, Burr is left wondering when he’ll return — or when he will start hallucinating him again.
He thought that the delusion would lift.
He sells his house in Richmond Hill, partly because of debt, but also because he believed he could leave the thought of Hamilton behind (along with a lot of other parts of his past).
But the echo of Hamilton follows him. It’s completely lifelike, too lifelike — he’s as incontestable and self-satisfied as ever, and he spends a lot of time silently staring at Burr, like he’s daring him to act.
It takes a lot of alcohol (and a lot of acceptance) to realize that Hamilton is haunting him.
And it’s like Hamilton knows as soon as Burr has made a decision of what he is, because he leans in close, grins, and says, “Aaron Burr, sir.”
He is definitely real.
Burr chokes on a tiny sob that gets stuck in his throat.
“You’re dead.” Burr says it as a fact the next time he sees Hamilton, when he’s had time to think about what to say. “You can’t be.”
Hamilton, from his place perched on Burr’s desk, says, “That’s the first thing you say to me? Not that you’re sorry?” He shakes his head, some of his hair falling into his face, and laughs to himself. “You haven’t changed at all, Burr.”
Burr disregards him. “Are you a ghost?” He feels ridiculous asking such a thing, however, what else could Hamilton be if not a delusion?
Hamilton smirks. “Boo.”
And of course he is. Hamilton is stubborn and irksome enough to bother him from beyond the grave — Hamilton was an irritation for over thirty years, so why stop in death? It is Burr’s penance.
Hamilton slides off the table in a fluid motion (Burr notices how he doesn’t rustle the papers as the pushes off), and saunters over to Burr until he’s standing next to his chair with his arms crossed in front of him.
With him close, Burr notices the differences of Hamilton. He mostly looks the same, with brilliant brown eyes and warm olive skin and a mess of dark hair that swings against his shoulders, and he looks so solid that Burr believes he could reach out and touch him (he doesn’t). He is glad for the latter, because he doesn’t think he could handle him having a translucent form — it would be too emphasizing of his death. There’s a vibrant energy emanating from him — not unlike the one he had in his waking life — but also different. It’s like his restless soul has found a semblance of peace, and it shows — his eyes are no longer lined with dark circles, and his entire face is brighter, as if all his burdens have been lifted. It reminds Burr of the time when he first met Hamilton, young and idealistic and not yet resentful of life.
Burr wonders if he had inherited the burdens of Hamilton’s soul.
“I’m not guilty,” Burr says. He can’t look at Hamilton — or Hamilton’s phantom, whatever — when he says it.
“That’s true. According to the facts you aren’t. That’s how affairs of honor go,” Hamilton says, emphasis on the heavily loaded word.
Burr scoffs. Honor. So far it’s brought him nothing but troubles. The country screams for him to be hanged as a murderer, and he’s left poor and powerless in office and with even less confidants than he had.
And look how far it got Hamilton.
(A long off phrase, fools who run their mouths off wind up dead, whispers in his mind.)
“I don’t blame you,” Hamilton says, and there’s a brief lightening in Burr’s chest before Hamilton continues with, “but you can still feel bad about it.”
Burr yells at Hamilton to leave — he doesn’t need Hamilton to tell him how to feel. He still retains his autonomy.
He is the one thing in life he can control.
Burr’s term as vice president ends, but not before his final act as presiding over the impeachment trial for Justice Chase. He serves and passes judgment with the morals and integrity that the nation strives for, and is unbiased yet relentless and steadfast.
He can’t help but think that Hamilton silently judging him from across the room is an influence.
In the end, Burr had planned to slip away quietly, but he ends up giving an impromptu speech — if it’s his last stand, he has to leave behind a legacy other than the one he has.
“You’ve actually inspired an emotion other than irritation. Good job,” Hamilton says in his ear, and Burr swears he can feel the warmth of his breath on his neck. “It’s a good thing I’m already dead, because I would have dropped dead hearing you defend the governmental system in front of the entire Senate.”
When Burr stumbles over his words, everyone assumes that it’s because he’s caught up in the sentiments of the moment. Nobody says anything of it.
And then it’s done; Jefferson wins his second term by a landslide, and Burr leaves the capital behind.
Good riddance, Burr thinks.
Hamilton is now a common feature of Burr’s life.
Burr has grown used to Hamilton appearing randomly; sometimes he’ll show up frequently and haunt Burr many times within the same day or for long stretches of time. But other times, an entire week will pass before Hamilton comes back.
This time Hamilton is gone for the longest yet — nineteen days. Burr starts to wonder if maybe it is imagination, after all. A nightmare. Or wishful thinking.
He’s about to give up on Hamilton and is this close to writing to Theo to tell her that she should have him committed, but then he looks up from his desk and there’s Hamilton, laying on the couch like he owns it — on his back with his legs stretched out and crossed at the ankle and with his hands settled on his chest. Burr jolts up from the table and rushes over to him, ready to tell him what he thinks of him — he’s had a while to compose his thoughts while he’s waited for him — but his thoughts come to a grinding halt when he shines the candle in Hamilton’s face and sees that his eyes are closed.
He looks dead.
“Alexander?” he breathes, not bothering to disguise the alarm that lines his voice. Hamilton doesn’t react at the sound of his name, and there’s a familiar stabbing feeling in Burr’s chest and it’s happening all over again, this is it, he has to confront that he killed him, and—
—Hamilton’s eyes snap open, and it startles Burr so badly that he yelps in surprise and almost drops the candle.
“Yo,” Hamilton says, and he actually has the gall to smile. “I have returned.”
Burr frowns. “Don’t you have somewhere better to be?” He means to say, where have you been? but he doesn’t want to give Hamilton the wrong idea.
“Nope,” Hamilton says. “I have all the time in the world.”
Before he can stop himself, Burr asks, “Are you going to leave again? Will you always keep coming back like this?” because he has to know, he can’t have the instability of never knowing if each time he leaves will be the final time. He can deal with his loss only so many times.
“If I knew better, Burr, I’d say you missed me,” Hamilton says and there’s that look, one that Burr is well acquainted with — it’s when he finds a new interest and wants to examine every possibility of it. He sits up and swings his legs over to the side of the couch and tilts his head back so he’s looking up at Burr.
Burr is tempted to reach out and touch him. To try and strangle him, maybe.
“I did not,” Burr says, but his terse tone betrays him.
“You so did!” Hamilton runs a hand through his hair, and bounces on the seat. “Oh my God, just admit it, you like my company. Although, it’s understandable, as you no longer have any friends, so—”
When Burr goes to punch Hamilton, his fist goes right though his body and into the plush of the couch.
Burr travels to New Orleans, even though Jefferson denied him as a foreign appointment.
“I must say that I approve of you going against Jefferson,” Hamilton says, and he is enjoying it way too much (although Burr has to admit he was entertained by the lewd motions Hamilton made behind Jefferson while Burr met with him, and Burr had to avert his eyes to keep from laughing).
“You’re getting rebellious,” Hamilton says, and he says it like’s proud.
Burr heaves a sigh. He had hoped that Hamilton wouldn’t follow him this far, but he still continues to do so.
“I have to do this,” Burr says, but he doesn’t know why he has to defend himself to Hamilton, of all people, but he continues anyway. “Someone has to prepare for the impending war with Spain—”
Hamilton waves his hand to silence him. “You don’t have to convince me. If there’s a plan to fuck Jefferson’s shit up, I’m all for it.”
“When I said you should do something, I didn’t mean secede from the country and try to build your own empire.”
Burr tries to outpace Hamilton down the New Orleans street, but Hamilton keeps up, with his hands shoved in his coat pockets and rambling criticisms the entire way. “Wilkinson is not on your side, and you do not have enough manpower to combat a rebellion from the Spanish.”
“I’d like to see you try and do better,” Burr responds.
He realizes that it’s in bad taste too late, but luckily Hamilton doesn’t seem to hold grudges anymore because he just laughs and says, “I know I could do better.”
Burr doesn’t doubt it. Hamilton had had his way of convincing people into brokering deals that were thought to be impossible. But Burr has had to struggle — he’s travelled the West to beg for deals, and he’s left with four hundred thousand acres of land he doesn’t know what to do with and the threat of treason and dwindling support.
“Pompous egotist,” Burr says, and the people around them stare. It takes a second for him to realize that it’s because it appears that he’s having a conversation with himself, as they cannot see Hamilton.
It’s nothing new. He’s used to people looking at him with a judgmental gaze. They stare because he survived and Hamilton didn’t. Whispers follow him, whispers that he’s a cold-blooded killer, heartless, and without remorse.
Hamilton must sense his unease — or perhaps he knows his thoughts now as his new being — because he asks, “Do you care what they think?”
There’s a beat of silence before Burr answers, “No.”
Burr does not mention that for some reason, he only cares what Hamilton thinks (and since Hamilton has come back into his life he wonders just how much Hamilton hates him).
And how can he have remorse when Hamilton isn’t really gone?
His plans fail and once again he is the subject of public condemnation — he’s arrested in the Mississippi Territory after a few weeks of hiding, and is dragged all the way back to Virginia to stand trial.
Hamilton stays with him the entire time, and goes with him to meet with Jefferson.
“You’re charged with treason for assembling armed forces to take New Orleans and separate from the Atlantic states, and with high misdemeanor for military expeditions into Spanish territories,” Jefferson says with a flourish, and then tosses the paper on his desk and leans back in that stupid swivel chair of his. “How do you plead?”
It’s half-truths and exaggerations. Burr hadn’t intended to fully go forward with his plans until the States declared war with Spanish Mexico — which will happen, something that he and Hamilton agree on — but those involved with him informed on him when the conspiracy was failing.
He supposes it’s easy for people to believe him as a villain when he’s continually cast as one.
Burr looks to Hamilton for support, but the man is too busy berating Jefferson. “You’re wrecking the banks! And who said you could buy that much land anyway? God, I wish I could—”
“Think carefully,” Jefferson says, blissfully unaware of the barrage of Hamilton’s words. “I can make this very bad for you,” he says, and the smile that creeps on his face assures it.
Hamilton’s insults have risen to shouts.
“Well, whaaaat is it?” Jefferson asks.
“Not guilty,” Burr says.
He believes it less every time he says it.
Aaron Burr — orphan, war hero, Senator, New York State Attorney General, ex-Vice President, killer of Alexander Hamilton — gets acquitted of all charges.
The trial is a farce from the beginning. Jefferson’s posse is unable to prove that Burr’s expeditions were militant in nature or that he was committing any overt acts against the nation, and Jefferson ignoring his subpoena to testify in court (because he believes he’s “above the law”) pretty much seals the deal.
Burr speaks for his defense. If anybody were to notice the uncharacteristic eloquence or length of his speech and think that the ghost of Alexander Hamilton possessed him, they would not be wrong. At first, Burr ignores Hamilton, but soon he cannot ignore his words in his ear.
“Just do what I say, for once,” Hamilton whines, and before Burr realizes it he has aligned his words with Hamilton’s and it feels right.
Burr ignores Hamilton afterward. It reminded him too much of old times.
Burr goes to Europe to escape debt and let opinions of him cool and to rally support for his plans in the new territory.
He’d be lying if he weren’t trying to escape Hamilton, too. Hamilton’s death is a representation of his political failure — Burr is beginning to realize that even though Hamilton is the one who died, he is paying for the consequences. He once wrote to Hamilton blaming him for the rift in their relationship, but the truth is that it wasn’t Hamilton’s fault. Not entirely, anyway. It’s Burr’s fault that his political career is trash and it’s his fault that he’s plagued by hardships and it’s his fault that Hamilton is dead. And he is reminded of it, constantly — Hamilton’s presence is like an open, festering wound. Burr can never fully relax when he is near — Burr expects that Hamilton might kill him in his sleep and drag him into hell, and every time Burr looks at him there’s an eerie, unsettled feeling that clenches in his chest.
Ten days into the voyage across the sea and Hamilton hasn’t yet shown himself. Burr breathes a sigh a relief. Maybe without Hamilton, he will begin to heal (even though the idea of being without him hurts, too).
He deserves Hamilton haunting him, he thinks.
So he isn’t disappointed when Hamilton does not leave him be, and follows him to London.
Hamilton follows Burr to the empty observation deck on the ship, and waits (in death, it seems that he had learned to wait) for Burr to speak.
“Killing you was the worst thing to ever happen to me,” Burr admits, gathering the admission from the deepest parts of his soul.
Hamilton blinks at him. “Why you got to make everything about you?” he spits. “In case you forgot, I’m fucking dead.”
“Yes,” Burr says. “That is my point.”
Instead of fighting Hamilton’s influence, Burr lets Hamilton become the cusp to his life. Destiny, or something like it, kept pushing them towards each other while they were both alive, and it seems to continue even in death.
It’s like they have unfinished business.
“You’re boring,” Hamilton whines, and he flops in the chair across from Burr’s desk, dramatic as ever. “All you do anymore is have boring dinners or write in that stupid journal of yours.”
“Then go haunt someone else,” Burr says through clenched teeth. He dares not to look up at Hamilton, because he knows better than to give into one of Hamilton’s tantrums, but he can’t not make a remark.
It seems to quiet Hamilton and Burr is about to go back to writing about his day, when Hamilton sighs and softly says, “I can’t.”
This makes Burr pause, set his quill down and glare at Hamilton. “What do you mean you can’t?”
“Exactly what it sounds like,” Hamilton says, and he says it like Burr is the most frustrating thing in the entire world. He takes a deep breath and rubs his face, and Burr is reminded of the times when Hamilton would be struggling with a problem that he can’t work out. There’s a nervous energy that radiates off of Hamilton, like he is at war with himself. “Believe me, I’ve tried to visit other people — Eliza and the children — but every time I just end up back with you.”
“I see.” Burr knows that Hamilton is telling the truth — he hasn’t lied to him since he’s came to him from the afterlife. Burr takes his word for it, but it doesn’t make any sense, as does nothing else about this whole thing.
“Yeah,” Hamilton says, tucking loose strands of hair behind his ear. “So I’m stuck with you as much are you’re stuck with me.”
Burr is met with Hamilton’s smile, and he decides it could be worse.
“How long are you going to keep coming back?” Burr asks. “It’s been years. Four years since—” Burr coughs, clears his throat. “Four years since you died.”
Hamilton furrows his brows. “It doesn’t seem that long to me. Time is…different, over here.”
To Burr, the four years sometimes feel like an eternity; other times like it feels like no time has passed at all, like sand that’s slipped through his fingers.
Burr is tempted to ask about the other side that Hamilton speaks of, but he can’t find the courage to do so.
“Since apparently I’m going to be around for a while,” Hamilton says, when the quiet between them gets to be too much, “the least you could do is write for me.”
“Absolutely not!” Burr huffs — they’ve been over this already, in the beginning. “I will not write for you beyond the grave.”
“C’mon!” Hamilton begs, and he fidgets, antsy, like the words trapped inside are eating away at him. “I can’t hold a quill anymore, and I’ve been composing things in my head, I just have to dictate them to you! You can even take the credit for it. I just want them written.”
“No, Alexander.” Burr will not give in. Not to mention there’s no telling what people would think if Burr published essays under his name that sound suspiciously like Hamilton. The man’s pseudonyms were always rather transparent — he has a certain style.
He glances away from Hamilton for a moment, because it’s hard to look him in the eye and say no. “I’m too busy, and besides, I don’t think it’s a good idea. You wrote enough, why can’t you—”
But when Burr finally does return his gaze to where Hamilton had been, he sees that the room is empty, and Hamilton is gone again.
Prospects in Europe are not as successful as Burr had hoped. He travels to Scotland, Sweden, France, but he’s just left as penniless and desolate and without direction.
“You can’t blame me for your failures, this time,” Hamilton points out, and Burr scowls at him and says, “You’re annoying me all the damn time, that’s my problem.”
But Hamilton just laughs. “Relax, Burr. You’re looking older, man. And going a bit gray, right here,” he says, and he gestures to Burr’s temples but Burr does not feel his touch, only a breeze of cool air passing him.
However, Burr does take Hamilton’s advice and relaxes. He indulges in the sensual pleasures that money can buy, and takes women back to his rented house and has sex with them and after, they leave him, too. It’s meaningless and uncomplicated, but sexual release is the only remedy for his unrelenting discontent and irritability.
It’s also a time that Hamilton doesn’t appear — perhaps it’s because he knows that he wouldn’t get Burr’s full attention while he’s otherwise occupied.
For a while, anyway.
Burr thrusts into a woman he picked up off the street, and he’s close to finishing. There’s tightness coiling hot in his stomach and he’s taking in short inhales and he squeezes his eyes shut and focuses on the pleasure flooding his body and he blocks everything else from his cluttered mind, but then there’s a familiar voice—
“Hey, when you get through with your romp, we should talk.”
Burr lets out a frustrated, strangled whine that the woman mistakes for arousal, and she wraps her legs tighter around his waist and pushes up against him. She mutters something in French that Burr doesn’t understand, but makes Hamilton laugh.
Burr cranes his head up, yep, and there’s Hamilton, standing next to bed with his arm draped over the headboard and looking positively unfazed by the scene in front of him.
Suddenly, Burr feels very exposed.
“Couldn’t you have waited?” Burr hisses as he grabs the blanket in an attempt to cover himself. He stammers over his words, his motions erratic and uncontrolled. “Can’t you let me have one thing?”
He closes his eyes and wishes Hamilton away.
“I can still see your ass,” Hamilton says.
Later, Burr denies that he said Hamilton’s name when he came.
Sometimes, Burr isn’t completely convinced that isn’t all a very vivid hallucination. Maybe he’s the one who got shot in the duel in Weehawken, and everything he’s experienced since then is a fever dream of a dying man, where he dreams of a life where Hamilton insinuates himself into his life in every way possible, until he cannot be without him.
But he dreams of Hamilton’s death, over and over. The shot rings out and he sees Hamilton fall — sometimes in his dream he’s able to get to Hamilton’s side, and it’s all so real, the dirt under his knees and the blood on his hands as he tries to staunch the blood from flowing out of his chest and he tells him over and over, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry.
Other times it happens like it happened — Hamilton is ripped away from him, and Burr left shouting that they were supposed to have more time, they were supposed to have another ending.
He’ll never escape it.
Hamilton dies, again, and he can’t prevent it.
Burr wakes up gasping, as if he’s being pulled back from the brink of death. It takes a moment to regain his bearings — Hamilton is sitting beside him, leaning over his body from where he had just been yelling in his ear to wake him from a thrashing nightmare. It takes another to remember that his nightmare is real, and that Hamilton did die, after all.
“I’m sorry,” Burr says, and he rubs his face. His palms come back wet. “I’m sorry,” he says again, and Hamilton gives him a grim, knowing half-smile and says, “I know.”
He wishes more than anything that he could reach out and touch him. When was the last time he touched him, before their final handshake on the dueling grounds? He does not know.
“Go ahead,” Hamilton says. “Ask me.”
Burr takes a deep breath. It feels like he’s choking. “The other side — have you seen others? Who’ve died?”
Hamilton makes a light humming noise. Burr doesn’t know if that’s the question that he had been expecting, but he answers it nonetheless.
“Yes,” Hamilton says, and in the dim light Burr can see a fond smile swell on his face. It’s the happiest he thinks he’s ever seen him. “I’ve seen all the loved ones who I lost.”
Burr is about to ask another question, but Hamilton answers for him.
“Theodosia says hello.”
He’s quieted with Hamilton’s soft mutterings of promises that he’ll be okay, one day, and right before he falls asleep Hamilton says, “But first, you must undergo this pain.”
Burr doesn’t know if he actually hears him say that, or if he imagines it.
They fight — but that’s to be expected. They’ve always had the ability to get under each other’s skin. A part of Burr hates to admit it, but nobody can provoke him into a reaction quicker than Hamilton and goddamn, Hamilton knows it and uses it to his advantage, teasing Burr mercilessly.
“Honestly, how do you function? You can’t manage your money, spending it all on fruit or prostitutes—”
“Fuck off,” Burr says, and he tosses a book at Hamilton, but it goes through him and unceremoniously lands on the floor with a flop.
Hamilton stares at him blankly. “Wow, how violent. I better watch out, or you may shoot me — oh wait! You did!”
“Honestly, Alexander, enough!” Burr is tempted to throw more things at Hamilton. It still feels good even if they don’t make contact with him. “What do you want from me? I make one mistake and you torment me for the rest of my life and—”
“One mistake?” Hamilton’s voice is almost shrill. “It’s a pretty huge mistake, among your millions.”
Burr sighs. “I will not me lectured by you, you can just go if you’re going to be this way…” His voice trails off, mostly because he expects Hamilton to interrupt him. When Hamilton doesn’t, Burr looks up to him, and sees his face contorted in an unreadable expression.
“Would you really have me leave?” Hamilton asks. “Permanently?”
Yes, please, Burr wants to say, and it’s on the tip of his tongue — but then there’s the thought of Hamilton leaving and never coming back, and his chest aches like he’s been shot.
Burr hesitates, and Hamilton smiles.
Burr feels like he should discourage Hamilton’s voyeurism, but he does not.
It’s wrong, he knows it is, but it makes his dick really hard when he thinks about Hamilton’s careful and hungry gaze on him as he fucks someone else, and he supposes that’s reason enough to do it.
And he doesn’t even object when Hamilton takes it one step further.
Hamilton sits in the chair on the other side of the room, reclining back with an elegant ease, and closely inspects Burr as he undresses himself and the woman that he’s paid to bed tonight. Burr feels kind of ashamed to be using her in this way, in this game with Hamilton — she is pretty enough, kind and receptive, and she doesn’t try to get him to talk, which Burr appreciates. But he stops thinking of that when he mouths a trail up her neck, bites at her jawline, and then shoots a glance over her shoulder to meet eyes with Hamilton.
“Push her to her back,” Hamilton says. Burr does as he orders. It’s become an unspoken arrangement between them — Hamilton commands, and Burr complies.
“Now,” Hamilton says, “lick between her breasts.”
Burr follows Hamilton’s instructions, each time looking up to him for the next, until he has had head between the woman’s legs and when he steals a glance to Hamilton, he sees that he’s leaning forward with his elbows on his knees, and is gesturing with his hands.
“Keep doing that, because you must finally be doing it right,” Hamilton says, and Burr can hardly hear him over the woman’s moans. “Flick your tongue against that spot, quicker than that, and then slip one of your fingers in her, yes, that’s good, and with your other hand I want you to touch yourself—”
“You’re a disaster,” Hamilton tells him.
“Thanks,” Burr says, but doesn’t deny Hamilton’s claim.
Hamilton continues. “You have no money. You hardly have anything to eat. You set yourself on fire—”
“That was an accident!”
Hamilton tilts his head and smiles at him, as if saying, nice try. It’s a well-practiced expression that Burr recognizes as Hamilton calling Burr out on his bullshit — his eyebrows arched and eyes crinkling, accentuating those crows feet that had begun to etch in his face in his later years. It’s a quiet, subtle method to shame Burr into admitting his faults, and Burr can’t help but feel like Hamilton is teasing him, shoving every misfortune in his face. He tries to ignore it because why should he care what Hamilton thinks, he’s dead, but still, Burr feels his face flush and has to look away from Hamilton because it’s just too embarrassing.
“Oh, please don’t pout,” Hamilton says. He slides next to Burr on the couch and folds his legs under him and puts his arm behind Burr’s back along the length of the couch. “It’s just me. And besides — we both know what we know.”
Burr looks to his side, and Hamilton is pressed up close to him, so close that if Hamilton were of flesh and blood he’d be able to feel his body heat. He wants to ask what do we know? but it’s pointless, they’ve both known a long time ago.
“It’s okay,” Hamilton whispers. “I’m here.”
That’s true. Hamilton has become a sure thing to him, one constant in his hell of a life. Dependable. Burr curses Hamilton for it, but then again, he can’t fault him too much — it seems like fate or something like it is responsible for forcing them together. So, Burr makes the best of it, indulging in the ugly kind of depravity, the intimacy of another that he craves.
“Touch yourself,” Hamilton says, and he looks at Burr so earnestly that Burr finds that he would do anything he asks of him.
And then Hamilton adds, “For me,” and really, how could he say no?
Burr undoes his breeches and pulls out his cock, already hardening at the thought of Hamilton beside him and watching him pleasure himself. He gives himself long strokes from base to tip and rubs his thumb against his foreskin with every down stroke. He’s using a practiced method to get him hard and heavy in his hand the quickest, because he needs it now — Hamilton’s presence next to him drives him on, the knowledge that he’s watching, and he pumps himself until he’s fully erect and straining upwards.
“Good,” Hamilton says. “Good job, Burr.”
Hamilton’s praise does wonders — it goes straight to his cock and that hot, tight feeling pools in the pit of his stomach, and arousal thrums through his veins.
“What next?” Burr asks, and he can’t quite bring himself to care that he’s willingly requesting orders from Hamilton. It’s comforting to let someone else take control over a situation, to be guided by the careful measure of another.
And Hamilton is more than happy to oblige. “Circle your thumb around the head,” he says. “Smear the wetness down your shaft.”
Burr stifles a moan when his thumb brushes over his slit, smearing precome that’s dripping out. He continues to stroke himself, the velvety skin of his cock slick in his hand, and he spreads his legs and slouches in the seat to get a better angle.
Beside him, Hamilton shifts. “Harder. And do that twisty thing with your wrist that you like.”
Burr snaps his head towards him. That sneak, when did he see him do that, that son of a— but then Hamilton nods his head in encouragement, and all thought about Hamilton’s deviance is gone when Burr starts to do as Hamilton suggests, twisting his wrist with every upstroke and then tightening his grip on the down.
Hamilton licks his lips, Burr seeing the quick pink dart of his tongue. “Perfect. Just like that,” Hamilton says, his rapt attention focused on Burr. As Burr continues, Hamilton tells him, “I’ve watched you like this, when you don’t notice me. I’ve seen you fuck your fist and come hard, releasing all over yourself.”
There’s a pause, and all Burr hears is the counter rhythm of their breaths — his own rushed and shaky, and Hamilton’s even and steady — and Burr doesn’t dare look away from him.
“I’ve heard you say my name,” Hamilton says. “When you come.”
Burr grimaces. “Fuck you.” Those were not his finest moments.
There’s a trace of a smirk when Hamilton says, “If only.”
His cock twitches in his hand, and he starts working himself with short, quick strokes, letting grunts tumble out of his open mouth. He’s leaking a lot and there’s wet noises filling the room, and he knows he’s going to come soon, and—
“Stop,” Hamilton sternly says. “Stop touching yourself now.”
Hamilton has arranged this so far, so Burr abides, letting his hand fall from his dick and to his thigh. He’s achingly hard and his foreskin is pulled back slightly so the wet glistening head is on display, and tension builds in his body and the urge is too much he just has to have friction, goddamn Hamilton and his games.
“Don’t even think about touching yourself yet,” Hamilton says. “Wait.”
Burr clenches his fists and lolls his head back into the cushions, and tries to focus on regulating his breathing. It doesn’t work though — his chest is heaving and he’s sweaty and his toes are curling and he feels how his balls are tight and drawn up, begging for release.
Hamilton says things, his voice low and husky, telling him dirty, filthy things, and there’s a faint trace of his accent that he worked so hard to harsh out when he first came to America. It’s a good thing that Hamilton is already dead, because Burr could absolutely murder him for this torture of prolonging his orgasm. Hamilton’s comments only push him further, but not far enough, and he’s left thrusting his hips in the air and actually fucking whining and begging for permission to touch himself.
“Do you think you’ve earned it, mister Burr, sir?” Hamilton asks, and fuck, Burr can’t even respond, he just bites his bottom lip and nods.
“Then go ahead,” Hamilton says, and Burr’s hands are back around himself, using both to wrap around tight, and it only takes a few tugs until he comes with a shout, spurting into his hands and on his shirt.
“Look at you,” Hamilton says as Burr comes undone, body shaking and words a garbled mess. It could be the orgasm, but Burr believes that Hamilton sounds adoring.
Later, when Hamilton is gone and Burr is left alone, Burr wonders if Hamilton derives any pleasure from it, or if he just enjoys ordering Burr around and putting him in a submissive position.
Hamilton haunts me, Burr writes. He’s sure to make it vague so that Theo might take him figuratively — there’s no need for her to worry about him and his sanity — and he can’t write about what really happens (he isn’t too sure about it, himself). I see him often, and I am reminded of what could have been if things have turned out differently that day. If I had not been driven by what I had thought as injustice, perhaps I could have seen things as clearly as I see them now. However, I am still uncertain — otherwise, why would Hamilton weigh so heavily on my mind? Whatever it is, I am sure I deserve it.
Hamilton reads the letter over his shoulder.
“Good,” Hamilton says, smug.
Burr comes back to America with his head held high, takes a different name, and opens up an office to practice law. He leaves Europe behind — most of which he’d like to forget.
Hamilton follows him back, of course. Burr expects nothing less.
Not many people recognize Burr. There's been enough time for him to become insignificant.
Although, one time a man stops him on the street and asks, “Hey, aren’t you the guy who killed Alexander Hamilton?”
“Yes. Hamilton,” Burr says, almost sardonically, “my friend, whom I shot.”
Hamilton thinks the entire thing is hilarious.
“How gratifying it must be for you that history will remember me only as the man who took your life,” Burr tells him.
“It’s somewhat of a reparation,” Hamilton says. He takes a deep breath, and then there’s a grin that Burr knows is a precursor to trouble. “But do you know what could change both of our legacies?”
“You could write for me—”
“I said no!”
When Theo’s ship is overdue, Burr begins to haunt the docks.
Hamilton haunts him, still. He’s rather quiet during the whole ordeal, for which Burr is glad because he has enough to worry about, but when week a half has passed and Theo still hasn’t arrived, Hamilton tells him, “She’s gone.”
“No,” Burr says. “I will continue to wait.” How dare Hamilton tell him to give up on his daughter?
Hamilton sighs, and later Burr notices the anguish that surrounds it. “Aaron…you’re not understanding. I’ve seen her. Here.”
Hamilton rarely uses his first name, and that’s when Burr knows it’s serious, and he turns to see Hamilton’s sad expression and then he truly knows — his Theo is gone, forever, dead.
“Bring her to me!” Burr yells. “Let me see her!”
“I cannot,” Hamilton says. “She is untethered, she has no reason to haunt you, or return here.”
Burr is inconsolable. “No,” he cries. “This cannot—my daughter, oh God—”
“I know,” Hamilton says, “I know.”
He supposes that Hamilton does understand; he lost a child, too. He understands that grief that makes him wish that he were dead.
“Not yet,” Hamilton says when Burr tells him his wish. “You’ve still got time to go.”
Burr is miserable, and nothing else could be worse than how he feels now, so he asks Hamilton the question that he has put off for ten years.
“Why did you throw away your shot?”
Hamilton looks unsurprised.
“Why didn’t you?” he counters.
Burr swallows. His mouth is dry. “I don’t know. My feelings about it were so much stronger back then,” he admits. “As soon as I did it, I knew it was wrong.”
“A lot of good that does me,” Hamilton deadpans.
“If I had to do it again—”
“It doesn’t matter.” Hamilton sighs, and runs a hand through his hair, making it more disheveled than it already is. When he speaks, he focuses on a far off spot — if it’s something only he can see, Burr does not know. “I was…so tired. I think I ran out of life because I burned through mine too quickly. And I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t be the one.”
Hamilton turns to him. “And I died, because you had to learn.”
Burr’s eyes sting. “I’d understand if you hate me.”
And then Hamilton smiles that stupid, foolish, smug, beautiful smile.
“I don’t hate you,” Hamilton says. “I forgave you a long time ago.”
Burr doesn’t understand, Hamilton has to hate him, he needs him to hate him—
“However,” Hamilton says, “Have you forgiven yourself?”
Burr chokes on a sob.
It is Burr’s idea.
They see a young man, in his late twenties probably, with long dark hair that hangs to his shoulders and warm-tan skin and bright eyes and an easy smile — and Hamilton understands when Burr gestures to the guy and asks, “Will he do?”
Burr pays the man, and takes him back to his place. He is eager, biting and kissing at Burr’s jawline as they stumble to the bed and it’s strange to Burr, but not unwanted — nice, actually.
Hamilton watches, sitting at the head of the bed with his legs crossed. As usual, he orders Burr through the act — be rough, shove him down, take off your clothes, let him touch you — until Burr has the man facedown and his legs spread, and he has one hand on his ass and is working his hole open with his fingers.
“…and press inside, like this,” Hamilton says, and he demonstrates a hooking motion with two of his fingers. Burr supposes that Hamilton probably did this in his lifetime, because when he copies what Hamilton shows him the man jolts and lets out a drawn-out groan that he muffles with a pillow.
Hamilton softly gasps and has a full-body shudder, but he quickly recovers and continues. “Good, you’re doing great. Do it again — but not too much, you don’t want him to blow his load.”
Burr follows Hamilton’s every instruction, and soon Hamilton tells him that he wants him to fuck him, and Burr can’t help but feel like it’s Hamilton begging for it himself. It excites him, and he slicks his cock up with the oil that Hamilton had told him to use to make it easier, and then he pushes into the man slow, as Hamilton guides him to do.
“Pull out a bit, then go back in, slowly,” Hamilton says, leaning forward and gesturing with his hand. “Let him feel the drag of your dick moving against him.”
“I can’t, I need more—”
They both ignore the man when he says, “What?” to Burr.
“You’ll hurt him,” Hamilton says. “Just do as I say. Good, yes. Now again, but further this time.”
The man is tight, and Burr thrusts forward seeking that heat, and he dips his head and stutters out a moan against the back of the man’s neck. Like this, Burr can imagine that the man is Hamilton — that was the intention, after all. Something vicarious, for both of them.
When Hamilton tells him to push into him harder and not hold back, Burr needs no encouragement. He thrusts forward and the man presses back against him, fucking himself on his cock. Burr grabs his hips to hold him steady as he pounds all the way in until he’s at the hilt, and forceful enough to jostle the bed.
“Tell him to call you sir,” Hamilton says, and Burr does, and Burr almost loses it right then and there when the man who-could-be-Hamilton-but-isn’t whines out sir between strangled moans.
“Look at me,” he hears Hamilton say.
Burr glances up. He’s panting and it feels like his heart is going to beat out of his chest and he’s on the extremities of coming, he feels his dick twitching inside the man’s ass. He’s vaguely aware of the body under him and what this all means, but he can only focus on Hamilton.
“Come for me,” Hamilton says, and Burr does — spilling into the man and his vision goes white, he’s doesn’t think he’s ever came this hard, and he bites his lip so hard it bleeds so that he won’t cry out Hamilton’s name.
“There was the poetry,” Burr says, and he traces a line on Hamilton’s cheek.
“Aww shucks, thanks man.”
Burr turns to the Hamilton that speaks to him, and glares.
“Whatever, I’m sorry if I ruined the moment. It was kind of corny, though,” Hamilton says, gesturing to the newly made bust in his image. “It’s just a statue.”
Burr rolls his eyes and returns his gaze to the sculpture. It’s a poor substitute, but it’s the only way he can actually touch Hamilton, in a way.
After a few minutes, Hamilton clears his throat. “Eliza comes here often. You best not run into her — she and Angelica will kick your ass.”
Burr’s mouth tugs into a smile. “I’m sure.”
“I’ll write for you,” Burr says one day, and Hamilton is so shocked that he is actually speechless, for once. But it doesn’t take long for him to start rattling off paragraphs and paragraphs for Burr to write, so many words that have been pent up finally having a chance to be free.
Burr publishes them all with pseudonyms.
Hamilton thanks him, profusely, saying, “You’ve given me a chance to have my final say.”
It’s worth it.
It’s July forth, 1826 — fifty years after the independence of their nation.
“It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, does it?” Burr muses. He thinks for a moment, and then remembers how old he looks now in comparison to Hamilton, who hasn’t aged a day, and realizes that it has been that long, and he suddenly feels the massive weight of all those years.
Hamilton hums in agreement, or maybe just interest; Burr does not know which.
“So,” Hamilton says, “Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died today.”
Burr leans back in his chair, taking in the information. “Wow. That’s the end of an era.”
Hamilton scoffs. “Or something.”
“How is it there, with them?” Burr asks, and then adds, “Please tell me you didn’t call Adams a fuckstick.”
“First chance I got,” Hamilton says, and honestly, Burr doesn’t doubt it at all.
Hamilton relaxes, and continues. “It’s fine, actually. Everyone is a bit less insufferable here, anyway. Jefferson plays his violin, which is nice…” His voice trails off for a few moments before speaking again. “Jefferson and Adams worked out their differences in their later years, so they’re all right.”
There’s something unspoken there — about enemies mending their friendships. Burr feels compelled to make a comparison to himself and Hamilton, but he can’t.
“You’re one of the last ones, Burr,” Hamilton says. “You’re out living everybody.”
Burr closes his eyes. He has lost so much. It has been a very long time.
“When?” Burr asks.
“Soon,” Hamilton promises.
Burr is suffering.
He would think that he has done enough to repent, but in the end he is left poor and desolate and in pain and alone.
Well — alone, except for Hamilton.
He has begun to wonder if maybe Hamilton has been a delusion all along. There’s nothing to prove otherwise. Bedridden, Burr blinks in and out of consciousness and sometimes Hamilton will be by his side, other times not. When Hamilton is there, he doesn’t say much to him — he stands as a stoic, silent figure. Perhaps this is his final judgment. Have I done enough? Burr tries to ask, but he can’t form the words, so he just fades into the comfort of a familiar presence.
Maybe he is the one who was shot and he’s dying on a New Jersey shore and Hamilton is watching him bleed out, and the last thirty years were nothing more than the fantasy of his dying mind, a way to give him more time.
But no — Burr knows it’s real when Hamilton appears next to him and he’s young, like the day that Burr first met him; before the war, before working together, before they became enemies, before Weehawken, before Hamilton died, before Hamilton came back.
“You’re free now,” Hamilton says, and he smiles, like he’s proud. “You have waited long enough.”
And Hamilton takes his hand — and it feels like absolution, an ending to his story, and then he knows — and there, is the other side.