Aaron wakes up to a throbbing headache and Alexander Hamilton sprawled over his stomach. He blinks at the ceiling as his brain tries, under the weight of its massive hangover, to reconcile what exactly is happening right now. Hamilton is heavy for such a small person. He doesn't snore, but on every exhale he makes a small, chuffing sound.
"What the fuck," Aaron says.
Aaron can probably blame this all on Thomas Jefferson—but, to be fair, he's been able to blame a lot on Jefferson since throwing his lot in with the Republicans back when he was running for Senate.
"Angelica's getting married, huh?" Jefferson says, leaning on Hamilton's desk and smirking. "You going to the ceremony, Hamilton?" He mock gasps, holding a hand up to his mouth. "Or would that be too painful for you?"
Aaron, who only came with because Madison's out sick and Jefferson bribed him, rolls his eyes behind Jefferson's back. Sure, Hamilton is a pain in the ass and Aaron sometimes fantasizes about strangling him, but it's stupid to bring up Hamilton's whole messy history with the Schuyler sisters and it's just… underhanded, really. Which, of course, is why Jefferson does it. They may be in the same party, and Jefferson's backing may have gotten him elected, but that doesn't mean Aaron necessarily likes Jefferson.
"I was invited," Hamilton says, with an edge to his voice that suggests Jefferson drop the subject or see more of his projects get underfunded and cut in the near future.
"What a coincidence!" Jefferson says. "I was invited too! And so was Burr, here."
Hamilton's looks up from his iPad finally, meeting Aaron's eyes. As always, he looks tired: Aaron's still not convinced that Hamilton sleeps, and he's got enough evidence in the dark bags under his eyes to prove it.
"Oh?" he asks. "I didn't know you and Angelica were that close, Burr."
Aaron smiles. "I donated generously to some of her charities," he says. "I'm sure I'm just a political guest, not a personal one."
Angelica Schuyler, who is possibly the smartest person Aaron knows excluding the man sitting across from him, would never give up the advantage of including political acquaintances on her wedding invitation list. Her ambition and clear-headed strategic thinking are only a few of the things Aaron admires most about her. Besides, they were friendly with each other when Aaron was still at Princeton, even if Angelica clearly only had eyes for Hamilton.
"I see," Hamilton says. He rubs at his eyes. "Did you come in here for a reason, Jefferson?"
"Well," Jefferson drawls. "I figured since we're all going, we might as well buddy up and travel together, don't you think. I know you always fly coach, Hamilton, but this is a wedding. Take my private jet instead."
"I'd rather be shot in the face," Hamilton says, going back to his iPad. "I'm going to give you a hard pass on that offer, Jefferson."
Jefferson scowls down at Hamilton's head, obviously incensed at losing an opportunity to rub his wealth in Hamilton's face. Hamilton dresses pristinely, sometimes even opulently, and everyone's noticed—but he's frugal with money outside of appearances, because he really doesn't have that much to spare.
"How's Eliza doing these days, Hamilton?" Jefferson sneers, switching tactics. "You know she's going to be at the wedding too?"
Hamilton's shoulders tense, and he looks up again. This time, his eyes glitter. "Get the fuck out of my office, Jefferson," he says. "I'll see you in Vegas—or hopefully not."
Jefferson, perhaps sensing that he's toeing a line he shouldn't be, shows prudence for the first time in his life and just waves at Hamilton, sauntering out of the door. Aaron glances at Hamilton, but he's already immersed back in his work, a clear dismissal. Aaron sighs, leaves, closes the door behind him.
The next day, the Tribune runs another scandalous piece about Jefferson and his "supposed" (confirmed) mistress. Madison looks from Jefferson's pout to the paper and sighs.
"What the fuck did you do now?" he asks.
Angelica chooses to have her ceremony in her hometown: Las Vegas. The ceremony itself is quick, gorgeous, intimate. Aaron isn't invited to it, but he hears about it afterwards. Hamilton (who was invited to it) only says that at least they didn't play Wind Beneath My Wings.
"You're such a romantic, Ham," Mulligan says, leaning on Hamilton's elbow, already three sheets to the wind. Mulligan spends most of his time three sheets to the wind, which might be why he's such a convincing agent: nobody suspects a drunk.
Hamilton may be listening, but Aaron would bet he's not—his eyes are fixed on Elizabeth Schuyler's figure as she dances with her new fiancee. Aaron hadn't caught his name, but he knows that he's involved in real estate somehow, the same as Phillip Schuyler. Aaron sips at his whiskey and considers Hamilton's mournful eyes.
He'd already left Princeton by the time the whole scandal happened, but he knows the story: up and coming politician Alexander Hamilton caught in bed with a married woman—despite already being engaged to the enticing Elizabeth Schuyler. Enraged, Eliza broke off their engagement and left school, even though she was only a sophomore—instead choosing to finish her education upstate at Yale. Angelica ended up following her a year later, supposedly after a fling of her own with Hamilton, though nobody can say for certain if they did anything.
Aaron's not sure how Angelica and Hamilton made up—her kiss to his cheek when she came by to say hello was certainly affectionate enough—but it looks like Eliza hasn't gotten over it quite yet. It's been—what, ten years since that happened? And Hamilton's still as hung up on her as ever. Hamilton was a tomcat in undergrad, but Aaron doesn't think he's even gone on a date with a woman since that whole debacle, let alone slept around. Despite himself, Aaron finds himself a little sympathetic—he's no stranger to trouble in love. Hamilton, for all his brilliance, is totally inept with people.
Aaron's seated at the bar, content to drink the rest of the night away now that he's made his requisite pleasantries, when Hamilton slides into the seat next to him.
"I need another drink," Hamilton says to the bartender. "Whiskey, please. Burr."
"Sir," Aaron says. "You're not going to go and dance?"
The bartender slides a whiskey toward Hamilton and he raises it and chugs it down. His hair is starting to come loose from his ponytail.
"Can't," he says. "I don't have anyone to dance with."
Aaron eyes him. At thirty-four, he is the youngest secretary their nation has ever seen—and he looks it, sometimes. Right now, with his rumpled hair and bright-dark eyes that take up so much of his face, he looks like he's still in his twenties. He's shorter than most men, but hardly unfit; Aaron can spot several ladies who shoot him a glance as they pass by.
"You could find someone," he suggests, taking another sip of whiskey.
Hamilton doesn't need to look back for Aaron to know his mind is on Eliza Schuyler. Aaron looks for him and spots her still on the dance-floor with her fiancee, laughing. Yes, he can see how it would be hard to forget a woman like that.
"No," Hamilton says, drawing Aaron's attention back to him. "I don't think I can."
Aaron considers him. Then he lifts a glass.
"To messy break-ups," he says solemnly.
Hamilton blinks, then smiles, raising his own glass. "And what do you know about that, Burr?"
Aaron's a little drunk, which has always given him a loose tongue. It's the reason he usually avoids alcohol at state gatherings.
"I once made the same mistake you did, Hamilton," he says, ignoring the way Hamilton tenses up. "I slept with a woman who was already married. But I was in love with her, unlike you. I thought she would leave her husband for me, you see, but…"
Hamilton reaches out and clasps Aaron on the shoulder. His hand is small, warm. "I'm sorry, Burr," he says. Hamilton's never been able to be anything less than completely genuine, completely himself—he doesn't have a duplicitous bone in his body, so Aaron can read his sincerity clearly. "Do you want to get wasted with me?"
Aaron considers it. "Sure," he says. "Why not?"
Aaron contemplates his bed companion. They're still wearing their clothes, which at least means there wasn't any sex involved. But he can't figure out why they're in a hotel room he doesn't recognize, let alone why they're in bed together. More to the point, everything after the fifth shot of whiskey is a blur: he doesn't know how he got from that bar to here, or why he pulled Hamilton along with him.
He shakes at Hamilton's shoulder. Hamilton startles awake, hand grasping like he's reaching for a gun. Aaron always forgets that he's army.
"Hamilton," he says and Hamilton relaxes a little.
"Burr?" he asks, rubbing at his eyes. "What the—?"
"I suppose you can't remember what happened last night any better than I can," Aaron says. "Fantastic. Well, with any luck nobody has missed us and we can catch the next flight back to D.C."
Hamilton runs his hand through his frizzy hair, then pauses. Slowly, he lowers his hand. And stares. Aaron frowns and follows the direction of hand. His heart stops when he sees a thin silver band around Hamilton's left ring finger. Frantically, he checks his own hand and goes wan when he sees a matching band on his left hand.
"No," he says, because desperate denial is the only way to get out of this sane. "No, no, no—"
Hamilton, pale and wide-eyed, hands over a slip of paper from his bedside table. Aaron takes in the marriage certificate with absolute numbness.
"Shit," Hamilton says finally.
"Shit," Aaron agrees.
can NOT believe u got married and didnt make me best man what the FUCK hammy
FROM: Your Excellency
Hamilton, call me at your earliest convenience. I mean it, son.
when I said get over eliza this is not what I meant
also you upstaged my wedding you dick
Burr, though? Really?
Aaron's all for getting dressed in silence, going their separate ways, and having a quiet and private divorce, but Hamilton puts a kink in that plan the moment he checks the phone tucked in his breast pocket. It's nearly dead—probably because, as Aaron can see over Hamilton's shoulder, it's been blown up with notifications.
"This is probably bad," Hamilton says as he scrolls and scrolls. "Oh—oh shit. I may have, uh. Changed my relationship status on Facebook? And posted about it on Twitter. And then it got on Tumblr and now—"
He flicks his thumb neatly, efficiently (as always, more attuned to technology than Aaron, with his dinosaur flip-phone, can ever hope to be) and holds it up for Aaron to see. Aaron pales when the headline SENATOR AND SECRETARY MARRY SECRETLY displayed on the front page of the online Times.
"They really tried for that alliteration," Hamilton says, a little scornful. "But it's in every newspaper." He swipes a couple times and then winces. "And we're trending on twitter. #CongratsBam."
"Couple name," Hamilton says absently, still perusing. "Better than Hurr I guess."
Aaron has no idea what he's talking about, but he decides those are questions best put aside.
"So everyone knows," Aaron says. Just saying that aloud is enough to give him hives. "But they… they think we did it on purpose?"
That's the oddest thing to him. Nobody questions the fact that he and Hamilton, opposite in almost every way, decided to get married in Vegas? There's doubtless negative response, but nobody, from what Hamilton has shown him, is questioning it.
Hamilton's eyes flick up toward him. "Well, I came out a while ago," he says.
Yes, Aaron does remember the splash Hamilton made when he told the press he was bisexual, nearly four years ago—only months after being sworn in as treasury secretary. The Republicans had nearly revolted, and Aaron's secretary confided that Hamilton still got negative letters and tweets sent to him to this very day. Aaron took one look at the mess Hamilton made and quietly decided to never come out while he was in office.
So much for that.
"And we've been friends since college," Hamilton continues. "It probably looks more legitimate if you don't… know us very well."
"Know that we hate each other, you mean," Aaron supplies, oddly annoyed.
Hamilton rolls his eyes. "Don't get yourself in a quiff, Burr," he says. "I don't hate you. Which, honestly, you should take as a compliment, because I hate quite a few people, many of your friends among them." Aaron winces when he thinks about what Jefferson's response to this whole mess will be. "I don't agree with you, I don't understand you, and I sometimes wonder if you weren't put on this earth purely to drive me up the wall, but I don't hate you."
Aaron smiles. He can't explain his own relief.
"What are we going to do?" he says. "Do you think they'll believe that it was just a joke?"
"I'll go out and make a statement," Hamilton says, putting his phone aside. He adopts the brisk, crisp way of speaking he often used when he was in charge of Washington's PR during his campaign. "Just a mistake, both took it too far enjoying our vacation, slightly inebriated, who hasn't done it… Use the homophobia angle. There's been plenty of celebrities who've gotten married in Vegas, why should we be any different? Then we explain that we'll have a nice divorce, no harm done, a funny story to share with the kids. News cycle lasts… probably a few months, but they should calm down once Jefferson does something stupid again."
"Once you leak information about something stupid he does again, you mean," Aaron corrects. "May I see your phone?"
Hamilton side-eyes him. "You're not going to break it with your technologically-inept fingers, are you?"
Aaron rolls his eyes. "I know how a smartphone works, Hamilton. Let me see it."
Hamilton hands it over, with obvious reluctance. Aaron scrolls through the messages of congratulations, confusion, hatred, anger, outrage. His mind turns over their new marriage like a Rubik's cube, adjusting here, rotating there. He hadn't come out for years because of the ruckus, but public opinion is swinging more and more toward gay politicians these days. He'll hardly get fruit baskets from every part of the country, but his state will appreciate him for it, he's sure of that. And his ratings could use a boost: from the liberal parts of the country, he'll look less like a rich CEO's son and more like a persecuted gay man, married, settled down to the Democratic Golden Child….
Well. This could work.
"No," Aaron says.
Hamilton's eyebrows shoot up and his mouth purses the way it does sometimes when Jefferson says something he hates but Washington has recently lectured him on manners.
"No?" he inquires. Aaron can hear the buried what the fuck?
"No, that's not what we should do," Aaron says. "We've already put it out there. Everyone believes it. You know that denial only makes a story grow, makes rumors spread… No, we should roll with it. Talk it up. Make everyone believe that we're actually married. Then, in a few years, we start to drift apart. Our careers, our personalities… Then in, say, five years or so, we divorce. Mutual, consensual, we're still friends and colleagues, etc…."
"Burr," Hamilton says with abject horror. "You can't be serious."
"Well, why not?"
"Because!" Hamilton says. "For one, are you even gay? For two, that means five years of having to pretend to be in love with you, and we both know I'm not that good of an actor. For three, that means you will always have to explain this to anyone you're trying to take out in the future and for four that means no dating anyone for five years at the least and for five—!"
"Okay, okay," Aaron says. Hamilton snaps his mouth shut, eyes glittering. "I am… I'm bisexual," he says, a little uncomfortable. He hasn't told many people—well, not before today, anyway. Now the whole world knows. Terrific, he thinks. "As for the rest… I haven't dated anyone in years anyway, Hamilton. I have no plans to do so in the future. And you're a better actor than you think you are. Look, it won't have to take much. Between our jobs, we barely see each other anyway. Just a few lunches here and there, some public events—"
"We'd have to share a house," Hamilton says, sounding a little hysterical now. "And our taxes would change! It's a whole now system for married couples and—"
Aaron finds the perfect tweet to use to his advantage. He waves the phone under Hamilton's nose and watches as he goes silent and intense.
@lilhammy @aaronburr You don't know how happy you've made me. Being able to see you two get married, be out in somewhere like D.C. makes me believe I can go all the way someday. #CongratsBam
"There are dozens of other messages like that," Aaron says. "Kids all over the country who see us, an openly gay couple in some of the most powerful positions in America… and think that this country is changing. That they can come to the White House as they are, instead of hiding. Isn't that why you came out, Hamilton? To be a figure of hope to those kids?"
Hamilton's mouth pinches. "You're a bastard, Burr," he says. Aaron waits for what he knows is coming. "But you're… you're right. It will make less of a splash if we play it real and then break it off in the future. But if we're going to do this, we're going to need to have the details down, cold. We're going to need to play it up in front of probably every news cycle in America. If they find out we didn't have this planned, it will be worse than if we were to admit it. So nothing can go wrong."
Aaron smiles. "Got it," he says. "Let's begin, shall we?"
SENATOR AND SECRETARY MARRY SECRETLY
In a shocking twist of events, Senator Aaron Burr and Secretary Treasury Alexander Hamilton married last night in Las Vegas, Nevada. While no formal announcement has been made, evidence of the new couple's ceremony is rife throughout social media: both changed their Facebook statuses and Hamilton sent out a tweet to his 4.5k followers on Twitter (@lilhammy) proclaiming that he and Burr were "finally tying the old knot" and that he was "elated." A new hashtag has surfaced since this tweet—already 1.5k retweets and counting—was published; #CongratsBam, Bam being a mash-up of Hamilton and Burr's names. The hashtag is full of everything from well-wishes to hate messages.
Hamilton has been openly bisexual since he first entered office under President Washington after serving as his campaign manager for first (and then, second) election. While initial reaction him was heated and mixed, his relentless pursuit for LGBT equality and charity work has made him a pillar of the community and a figure of admiration for many. Burr, New York's Republican Senator, has never formally come out, though there have been rumors about his sexuality since he was an undergraduate at Princeton (which, oddly enough, he attended at the same time as Hamilton). We can only wait for their press release to guess at his own story with his sexuality, though we at the Times commend him for his bravery.
Burr and Hamilton met at Princeton and began what would become a famous rivalry-friendship. Burr worked with Hamilton on Washington's campaign during his first election, then ran for office against Phillip Schuyler for the New York seat after Washington took office. In the following years, he and Hamilton—being in opposing parties—have publicly clashed on many issues and bills, including Hamilton's financial plan that will come in to effect next year. However, despite this professional rivalry, Hamilton has been quick to not let it get in the way of their personal relationship. In a 2012 interview, he named Burr as "one of my closest friends—certainly, the first one I made when I first came to this country, and one who was more than willing to show a young, naive immigrant the ropes. I still owe him for that." Burr, always reticent to openly speak his mind to journalists, has been less effusive over Hamilton, but he did admit in 2014 that Hamilton "is one of the most promising leaders in this century—if he can learn when to keep his mouth shut."
Certainly these two have a long and varied history. To learn of their marriage has been nothing less than a surprise—though it becomes less and less of one the more one thinks about it. We can only hope for the fully story in the near future—and a very happy future for these two may it be. #CongratsBam!