Chapter 1: PRE-CONCEIVED NOTIONS OF RACE | MODERN FASHION
ALEXANDER HAMILTON VS. PRE-CONCEIVED NOTIONS OF RACE
“There’s no real tactful way to say this, but I thought he’d be…” Steve trails off, turning his head to one side.
“Oh, yeah. More…” Tony kind of half gestures, and Bruce nods, shuffling some papers.
“More white.” Sam says, filling in the blank, as he looks at the two pictures in front of them. In one of the pictures, there was a fine boned white face, with a tall powdered wig and startling blue eyes. He’s the very image of 19th century aristocracy, all nobbly features and blushed cheeks. In the other picture is a very different man, with a broader, tanned face, a little stubble, long, oil-slick black hair, and large, intense, dark eyes. There’s something vaguely desperate about his face, the hollow in his cheeks and the size of those dark eyes, like he’s never found an answer to satisfy all his questions.
The others Avengers turn to look at him, and Sam rolls his eyes.
“None of you were going to say it, and it’s what we’re all thinking. The founding fathers are meant to be sculpted from pure, whole-egg mayo. That man down there?” he nods towards the observation window, and the man sitting at the table inside, “That is definitely not whole-egg mayo.”
“But it’s definitely him?” Steve asks, eyes fixed on the man in the observation room. He looks a little different in motion, as opposed to the photo- his eyes have a strange, intense kind of charisma to them, and he’s constantly moving, knee jerking and fingers tapping. He’s used the hairtie that was supplied with his clothes, tying back the long spill of dark hair into a tight ponytail, and he’s looking around the room impatiently, barely able to sit down, he’s so full of energy.
“All of the DNA tests say so,” Bruce says, putting down the papers and pulling off his glasses, tucking them into his shirt pocket, “to the best of our ability to check, that is Alexander Hamilton.”
Tony barks out a laugh. “Oh, man. Think about how the Republicans are going to react to this- their precious founding father wouldn’t be allowed in some of their country clubs.”
“I mean, it makes sense,” Natasha says slowly, “if you look at his history. He’s from the Carribean, right? Why did everyone assume he was white?”
“Portraits,” Tony replies.
“Racism,” Sam half-coughs, but Tony continues talking, ignoring him.
“...Descriptions, pictures, all sorts of image sources show us that this man,” he taps on the nobbly faced white man’s picture, “is Alexander Hamilton.”
“But it isn’t,” Bruce says, tone definite. “And this conversation achieves nothing. What we need to figure out, is what we’re going to tell him.”
“The truth,” Steve says immediately. “S.H.I.E.L.D tried to lie to me when I woke up, at first. Natasha can tell you how well that worked.”
She smiles, but says nothing, so Tony starts again, snacking idly on a packet of dried apricots that were apparently hidden somewhere in his jacket, “So we tell him the date, slowly introduce him to the twenty first century, and then what? Release him back into New York city to write angry letters? What about the public? Do they get to know that Alexander Hamilton is back? And more than that, that we’ve been whitewashing him since his death?”
“Poor man,” Steve says, after the meeting. They come to no conclusions, nobody can decide what should be done about the suddenly alive Alexander Hamilton. Steve’s standing at the window, watching Hamilton as the man reads a book. He’s still frantic with energy, writing endless notes in longform on a legal pad without looking away from the text. Natasha raises an eyebrow in question, and Steve blinks. “Sorry. I was just thinking- it was hard enough for me to adapt to eighty years of progress. He has to deal with several hundred years. I can’t even imagine...”
“Well, if you can’t, nobody can,” Natasha says, “so suck it up, soldier. You’re the closest we have to an expert at waking up in the future.”
“Are you asking me to mentor one of the founding fathers?” Steve asks, incredulous.
“Who better than Captain America?” Natasha teases.
“He’s a historical figure!”
“That’s how we felt about you, too, you know.” she shrugs, leaning a little closer to the window, “You get over it.”
ALEXANDER HAMILTON VS MODERN FASHION
A few days after the difficult, ‘you’re in the future and everyone you know and love is and has been dead for years’ conversation, which Hamilton takes surprisingly well, Steve asks if there’s anything he wants, while they’re securing clearance to take him off base.
“Can we do something about my wardrobe, perhaps?” Hamilton asks, looking down at the S.H.I.E.L.D-chic off grey tee-shirt. His bare feet look small against the metal floor, and he plucks at the cloth of his sweatpants with an obvious look of distaste. “I don’t know what exactly people wear in the future, but I can adjust if it means I can have something other than this.”
Steve blinks. That was honestly...not what he had expected. “I’ll see what I can do.”
“Much appreciated, man,” Hamilton nods. He’s been trying to adjust his speech, picking up modern slang faster than Steve had, and spent maybe three hours carefully examining the tablet S.H.I.E.L.D. had provided before leaping on it with a kind of intense fervor that reminded Steve of Tony when he was getting into a new concept. He’s not smooth enough to pass for a native, even without considering his complete lack of pop culture, but he’s getting closer with every conversation.
The next day, Steve lets himself into Hamilton’s usual day room- a small interrogation room with an observation window that Hamilton seemed perfectly happy with as long as he had an internet connection and enough loose leaf paper. However, he holds the door open to let in Natasha, dressed in an outfit close to her guise as Natalie Rushman, who is pulling a clothing rack behind her.
“Mr. Hamilton,” Natasha says, smiling her fakest, brightest smile, and Hamilton looks up from his tablet, quickly standing.
“Miss! It’s a pleasure to meet you. Honestly, I’d wondered if there were any ladies left in the 21st century. No offense to Mr. Rogers and his fellows, but it is so nice to see a fairer face.”
“You can just call me Steve, Mr. Hamilton,” Steve says, for the tenth time or so.
“And you can call me Alexander,” Hamilton responds, setting his chin stubbornly.
“Steve’s a little hung up on history,” Natasha says, “I’m Natasha. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Alexander.”
“See, this is why we needed a lady!” Hamilton cries, grinning, “They’re always excellent at cutting through the manly idiocy. Natasha, the pleasure is all mine.”
He offers his hand, which she accepts, and he’s clearly conflicted for a second before shaking it.
“Anyway, Mr. Hamilton, I brought Natasha here to help with your clothing problems,” Steve explains, and Hamilton somehow manages to look even more excited.
“We weren’t sure exactly what you would be comfortable in, so there’s a selection of different styles and fits here,” Natasha says, gesturing to the clothing rack, unzipping the garment bags. There’s everything from jeans to business suits, sweatpants and tank tops, waistcoats, board shorts, every possible combination of styles ranging from vintage to cutting edge fashion, and Hamilton approaches cautiously.
“We organised them into outfits, but you can always mix and match,” Natasha adds, as Hamilton moves from several suits- two and three piece- to a pair of relaxed fit jeans. “I’ll just step out while you try them on. Let me know if you need any help.”
Hamilton does not need any help. Hamilton tries on every single piece of clothing, discarding anything loose or in what he calls ‘boring’ colours- white, black, certain shades of blue and brown. He settles on a sensible pair of winter boots with a little lift in the heel and puts them aside, then turns back to the difficult choice of clothes. Steve kind of wants to check his watch- it feels like every cliched story about women shopping he’s seen on the television, with him cast as the long suffering boyfriend. The only blessing is that Hamilton has yet to ask if his pants make his butt look big. This is no small blessing, as Steve is really not prepared to judge a founding father’s ass.
Hamilton is utterly enchanted by skinny jeans. If there was one thing Steve never thought he would have to say, even in the privacy of his own head, it is probably that: First Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton really loves skinny jeans because, apparently, they show off his ‘shapely calves’. He matches them with a bright, bottle green brocade jacket cut close and tight, and a dark, eggplant tone button up shirt, then says it’s “a little understated, but I can work with it,” in complete seriousness. He adds a brightly patterned pin from one of the hats- a spray of bright orange and purple feathers- and fixes it to the lapel of the jacket, and nods at himself in the mirror.
“Alright,” he says, smoothing down his lapels and grinning, “bring the lady back in.”
“Alexander, no ,” Steve says, in much the same tone as Pepper says ‘Tony, no ,’, and Bucky used to say ‘Steve, no .”
“See, you do know how to use my first name!” Hamilton cries out, overjoyed, and lifts up onto his toes so he can throw an arm around Steve’s shoulders. “I feel we’re going to become great friends, Steve. You know, the way you said that, it reminded me a lot of my friend Burr, who shot me.”
ALEXANDER HAMILTON VS TWITTER
“How do I get a verified check mark?” Alexander asks, at their first meet up since Alexander was, in fact, released into the wide world. They’re sitting in a Starbucks, Alexander wearing his bright green coat and a contrasting golden shirt that shimmers when he moves, while Steve has stuck to a sedate red plaid shirt and a blue jacket that makes Alexander’s nose turn up like he’s smelled something bad.
“What?” Steve asks, taking a sip of his coffee to distract himself from the sheer hipster gaudiness of Alexander. The other man has his hair in its usual slick ponytail, and he’s well put together, but there’s something that suggests he hasn’t slept in several days.
Steve’s been there before- memories of past times, past people, too close to forget but too far away to reassure him. He’s found a few strategies that work- activity, the presence of people from the here and now- but he doesn’t know if his advice will be welcome.
“On twitter, Steve, my man, keep up. I’ve got the follower count, how do I get the check mark?”
“I don’t know,” Steve admits. He has a twitter, but he doesn’t use it too often. He retweets good causes, posts the occasional selfie with passersby, and takes a perverse pleasure from never replying to Tony’s tweets. “Mine came with it when I started. I think someone in S.H.I.E.L.D organised it.”
“Hmm.” Alexander’s fingers rap on the table machine gun quick, and he takes a quick sip of his own drink- he rattled the order off quickly, as fluently as the kids who’d grown up with coffee shops that served mochas and frappuccinos, rather than someone who grew up thinking coffee was half a luxury, and had picked an iced drink that was a pale, pastel green with a good three inches of whipped cream. “Can you talk to them about it? I think the internet thinks I’m a parody account.”
“To be fair, you are saying that you’re Alexander Hamilton,” Steve says, trying to think of a way to broach the sleep problem subject.
“And I am Alexander Hamilton,” Alexander says, crossing his arms. “I like the three million followers, and the buzzfeed lists, but I want my little blue checkmark. I need you to talk to someone about this, Steven.”
Steve raises his eyebrows. Hamilton rarely uses his full name, in an effort to adapt to the new age’s naming conventions, so this must have been actually bothering him. “I’ll see what I can do. Is there something happening that makes it time sensitive?”
“People are being wrong on the internet,” Alexander says, eyes intense, and leans in over the table, “and they aren’t listening to me.”
“No, you don’t understand,” Alexander leans in more intensely, “They are wrong. And they aren’t listening .”
“I’ll do my best, Alexander.” Steve says, pulling out his notebook and making a quick, scribbled note- alexander verified twitter? then stops. “What’s your twitter name, anyway?”
“ahamspeaks,” Alexander says, “people tend to use shorthand now, when referring to me, and that was the only variation that wasn’t already in use. Hopefully, when you release my resurrection, people will stop complimenting my ‘in character’ responses.”
“Anything else?” Steve asks, and finally pulls himself together enough to ask- “You look tired, Alexander, are you sleeping well?”
“Sleeping?” Alexander scoffs, “Who has time for sleep- have you ever read youtube comments? I have work to do.”
“And when you say work, you mean…”
Alexander sets his chin stubbornly, and Steve sighs.
“I’ll work on getting you the verification. Can you try and sleep tonight?”
“For the verification?”
“Well, for your health. But sure, for the verification,” Steve says, rolling his eyes, and Alexander nods solidly.
“I was going to live tweet listening to that musical they made about me tonight, but I suppose it can wait.”
At that, Steve is a little bit conflicted. He does really want to know what Alexander will think of the musical. Broadway is one of his weaknesses, and he’d seen the show a few months ago- he’d cried in the second act, shaken the writer’s hand back stage and taken selfies with the cast. They’d even invited him back for the show they did for the lottery crowd, and seeing the real Hamilton react would have been….interesting.
But, no, Alexander’s health is more important, even if S.H.I.E.L.D’s medics have dealt with his long standing illnesses, and the resurrection had apparently somehow made him a good twenty years younger than he had been at death.
“It’ll be there tomorrow,” Steve says, and claps Alexander on the shoulder. “What else have you been doing?”
“Tell me, Steve, have you ever heard of tumblr?”
@ahamspeaks | no, jefferson was and always will be a dickbag. i have gone to his grave just to spit on it
@ahamspeaks | he owned SLAVES. HOW DOES EVERYONE FORGET THAT
@ahamspeaks | also he made terrible mac and cheese. how does someone even mess that up??
@ahamspeaks | well, maybe if he hadn’t been such an ASSHOLE I WOULDN’T STILL BE TELLING PEOPLE HE’S AN ASSHOLE
@ahamspeaks | @jfrsnfan @ me next time son
@ahamspeaks | @jfrsnfan OKAY THAT’S IT FIGHT ME IN REAL LIFE
@captainamerica | @ahamspeaks @jfrsnfan Do not fight him in real life.
wow thank you for the feedback. you are all right this is very self indulgent but i am very self indulgent. if you'd like more aham vs. ???? and you have ideas you want to see, please give them to me
ALEXANDER HAMILTON VS BROADWAY HIT, HAMILTON! THE MUSICAL
@ahamspeaks | its the moment you’ve all been waiting for- I’m livetweeting hamilton! #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton
Alexander isn’t too sure what to expect when he sits down with a large bottle of iced coffee, a bowl of microwave popcorn, and his Stark issued laptop. He knows he’s going to be listening to a musical about himself- more than that, a musical about himself using a genre of music he only knows at the vaguest level. But he plugs his computer into the little speaker system Tony watched him set up, and sets up the playlist. Then, he sets up twitter, and sits back to listen.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton wow okay straight out with calling my mother a whore. #classy
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton like okay sure talk shit about my dad he was a deadbeat but seriously about a man’s MOTHER
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton I WAS NOT THAT IMPRESSED BY AARON BURR THESE ARE FILTHY LIES HAS MR MIRANDA BEEN READING MY JOURNAL THOSE WERE MEANT TO BE SECRET
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton i take back everything mr. miranda is a gift. IF YOU STAND FOR NOTHING BURR WHAT WILL YOU FALL FOR
Alexander doesn’t tweet about the Schuyler sisters. Somehow, their loss is still raw. He misses Eliza so much, can’t dwell on Angelica’s bright mind or Peggy making him her confidante. Instead, he stands at the sink and drinks a large glass of water, cold enough to make his teeth hurt, and waits. He’s not sure, now, whether this was a very good idea. Even though the actors are very different in tone and speech pattern, there is some catching of character that makes Lauren’s loud claims hurt the place in his heart where the real Laurens used to sit. Lafayette’s over the top accent does nothing to take away from his very real good humour and obvious affection for the on-stage Hamilton. He finishes the glass, puts it on the draining rack with a shaking hand, and goes back to his adoring, online fans.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton lafayette est incroyable. C’est magnifique. Who is the best- c’est lui.
The music is growing on him. He doesn’t get the references, outside of the historical ones, and he’s sure there are a lot to get, but the music itself is clever, the lyrics tight and witty, and Alexander finds himself laughing more than once. He passes the time looking up pictures of the cast- Eliza’s actress is radiant, sweet faced and intelligent, while Lafayette looks as wild as the Frenchman had been. He’s not sure of the other Alexander- there’s something about him that’s strangely off-putting, but the hunger in his eyes, the slight tightness in his face, that seems oddly right. Alexander shakes his head. Nothing to be concerned with right now, he thinks, clicking through to see what King George looks like.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton i think king george just hit on the entire country of america and that makes me highly uncomfortable
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton honestly gen. washington was exactly as described i can’t
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton i asked for a command like 600 times
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton but NO alexander stay home and write my letters for me
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton i get no respect that’s all i’m saying
@ahamspeaks | @brokenmask how dare you only i’m allowed to talk that way about the general
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton I’m just glad mr. miranda didn’t ignore the contributions of others in talking about how great i am
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton AGAIN WITH CALLING MY MOTHER A WHORE, BURR.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton just saying I am still RELIABLE WITH THE LADIES (and the dudes)
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton why do people always bring up the cat? honestly it wasn’t that big a deal
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton she named a hamster after burr.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton it died of fear. i feel it had too much in common with its namesake
Alexander shrugs, and decides to bow to demand, taking a picture of himself next to the laptop. He isn’t at his best, without his jacket, wearing a comfortable sweatshirt and uncollared shirt (a tee-shirt, he thought they were called), headphones hanging around his neck, but it made a good distraction for the fact that he wasn’t going to comment on any of Eliza or Angelica’s songs.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton proof of life! tinyurl.com/23342q
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton I LOOK NOTHING LIKE LIN MANUEL MIRANDA WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT
Suddenly, his notifications are filled with accusations of being a secret account, a sock puppet, a creepy fan gone too far in emulating Miranda, and Alexander sighs, turns off his alerts, and goes to get another drink. This one has significantly more whiskey in it.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton CALL ME SON ONE MORE TIME #tooreal
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton holy SHIT lafayette you are on FIRE
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton immigrants- we get the job done. someone @realdonaldtrump .
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton what if we all just tweeted it at him at once. mass movement. Maybe tomorrow? Who’s in?
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton i write like the world’s ending because the world’s always ending. honestly.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton it’s like everybody other than me thinks they’re immortal until somebody reminds them they can bleed
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton create. you don’t know when you’ll be unable to create anymore.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton i need to shake the hand of the man playing jefferson. he’s very talented (1/2)
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton i almost want to punch this jefferson as much as the REAL jefferson. (2/2)
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton my followers tell me there is an ENTIRE RAP telling jadams how shitty he is?
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton WHY ON EARTH DID THAT GET CUT?!?
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton getting closer to the meat of act 2. time to bring out my good friend, mr. whiskey. he understands my foreboding.
He sends the tweet and puts his head in his hands. They shake a little more than normal, and taking out his ponytail, combing through his hair, it’s a good distraction. It lasts him through the cabinet battle, which makes him laugh, admittedly, but just seeing the name, ‘Reynolds Pamphlet’, further down in the playlist makes him a little unnerved.
It had been the right decision to make, Alexander tells himself, pouring himself some whiskey. It had been the only way to avoid more scandal, to keep control and secure his legacy-
Then, there is a knock on the door. Alexander thinks about ignoring it, but really, he needs the distraction. He doesn’t want to listen to the other him falling into Maria Reynolds’ bed, ruining his marriage. He doesn’t want to listen to any version of his son dying. He doesn’t want to think about himself dying- his hand raises to clutch over the phantom ache of the gunshot, and he tosses down the last of his whiskey and heads for the door.
“Natasha, a pleasant surprise,” he manages to smile, nodding at her companion, a blond haired man in a dark purple hoodie. “I’m afraid I haven’t made your acquaintance.”
“This is Clint,” Natasha introduces them with a wave of her hand and her tight smile, and slips into his apartment, under his arm. “He told me you were drinking alone and livetweeting your own life story.”
Clint shrugs, “It’s a good twitter,” he admits, ducking under Alexander’s arm and joining Natasha in the living room. “You’re funny,” he tells Alexander, but is gone before he can respond.
“You shouldn’t be drinking alone, Alexander,” Natasha said, and brandished a bottle of vodka. “So, we are here to help.”
Alexander smiles, without meaning to, and heads back to the couch.
“How very reliable of you. It's nice to meet you, Clint.”
Clint nods, offering him a grin as he makes himself comfortable next to Natasha.
“No, how very Russian of me,” Natasha corrects him, unscrewing the bottle. “Sit down, Alexander.”
“That’s an order from your commander,” Clint adds, slightly off key, and Alexander huffs out a laugh, sinking onto the couch.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton to speak of phillip is too painful, but let it be known that mr miranda was quite right.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton it was very quiet uptown.
@ahamspeaks | #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton the world only would have been wide enough if burr had moved to australia lbr
In the morning, Alexander wakes up on the couch, covered with Clint’s purple hoodie, a glass of water on his coffee table, and very little memory of the second half of act 2.
Then, he opens his phone, and sees that Lin Manuel Miranda has retweeted almost his entire #ahamspeaksdoeshamilton hashtag, including a selfie of himself in a similar position to Alexander’s.
@Lin_Manuel | I am not @ahamspeaks, sadly- he’s a very funny guy.
Alexander pulls up the two photos, looks from one to the other. They don’t look that alike. Dark eyes, tan skin, a little stubble, dark hair- he doesn’t see the resemblance blowing up his timeline.
Alexander puts down the phone, turns on his side, and hides from the modern world for a bit. He feels like he’s soundly lost this round.
Alexander Hamilton 3 - 1 21st Century