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The Foxhound

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"Secretary Hamilton, have you absorbed a single word I've said?" a deep voice intoned from somewhere above him. Alexander reminded himself that God was not in the habit of speaking to him, and so the voice must be that of President Washington and not some (other) deity. God or President, a response was needed, even if he could not tear his eyes away from the parchment before him whilst giving it.

"My apologies, sir," he murmured, "but my work is not yet finished. One more paragraph before I— No, perhaps one more page. The foolscap, has it run its course?" His left hand reached for and discovered another piece of paper while his right hand continued its motions with the quill. "Ah, yes! Nearly done, Your Excellency. Did you need something?"

His candle was burnt to a nubbin; soon it would gutter and he would need a replacement. He would have to ring the bell and ask the steward for another candle. What was the man's name? For that matter, what hour was it? Hamilton could not recall. He'd been working on his financial plan for so long, and he dared not stop now, not when he so desperately needed it passed by Congress. His mind was a jumble that could not be ordered.

"The others have long since left for home. When did you last sleep?" Washington asked. "Hamilton, when did you last eat? I have known you to become absorbed in your work, but never to this extreme."

Washington sounded strangely like his beloved Eliza in that moment, beseeching him to leave his work even briefly. Fitting that someone should step into her role when she was upstate and unable to remind Hamilton herself. He wisely decided not to share that thought with his President, who would likely not appreciate the comparison. And if neither could understand the importance of what he was doing (and that he could do nothing else) then he could not make them see.

Hamilton waved his left hand through the air as if batting away a housefly. "Unimportant, sir," he said.

"Unimport—? My god, this insolent attitude of yours cannot stand."

The warning in those words reached Hamilton like the notes of some far-off song, half-heard and unheeded. Perhaps in his younger days, when Washington was his General and Hamilton was a mere aide-de-camp, it would have played out differently. But the years had made them older, and time had made them more familiar with each other's moods and thoughts, and Hamilton assumed that he could safely ignore the rumble in that voice for at least a few moments more. Washington's temper, though fiery when it appeared, was usually quite slow in its building. "Nearly done," Hamilton murmured under his breath. His eyes danced along the page, following the string of his words, seeing what was not there even as he wrote it into being. "Nearly, very nearly."

"No, Hamilton, you are finished now." Washington's heavy hands landed with a thunk on the back of Hamilton's chair, but he did not pause in his writing. "Listen to me. Cease your scribblings."

"Just a little longer, Your Excellency." The seconds he lost in dipping the quill in the inkpot! Surely he could invent a better way, if only he had the time.

Just as he returned to the page with his newly wet quill, Washington's hand moved from the chair to firmly grasp him by the back of his neck.

Hamilton stopped, arrested in total. His pen made a splotch upon the paper.

The smallest sound gasped from his throat.

Oh, he thought. Oh.

"No more," Washington growled in his ear. "If you will not hear reason, I must treat you as a foxhound to be trained. Even my dogs obey with more speed once they've been properly taught." He shook him once.

Hamilton's hand fought to return the quill to its inkpot, but instead the instrument fell from his numb fingers to clatter on the table. It was not painful, the hold that his President had on him. Not overly uncomfortable, even. In fact, there was something in the sure, powerful way that Washington touched him— It was enough to lessen the singing in Hamilton's blood. For hours he'd been at work, a frenzied writer driven to remain in motion. Now, in the stillness between the two of them, in the otherwise empty room, Hamilton was content to stay.

His eyes became heavy, his breathing, deep and ragged. The buzzing in his ears died away to be replaced with a silken quiet. His world shrank from the universe of his mind to the smallest points of contact between Washington's calloused fingers and the warm skin at the back of his neck.

That touch gentled. Hamilton's breath released in a sigh, his head tipping slightly to the right. An invitation, wordless. He had no words, not any more. This, in itself, was a miracle.

Then, as abruptly as it had begun, it was over. Washington's hand fell, leaving Hamilton blinking dully at the splatter of ink in front of him.

"I...believe I've made my point," Washington said. His voice was too far away, and Hamilton turned in his seat to find that, yes, the man had retreated several paces. He stood now with his hands clasped behind his back, his gaze riveted to the carpet. In his black clothes, austere and simple, he looked almost like a wraith that Hamilton must have dreamed into being.

"Sir—" Hamilton tried to speak through the thickness of his tongue, for someone, he thought, should say something. It had been such a strange sensation, whatever had just passed between them. The great man himself must have felt it too.

But if he did, he did not acknowledge it then. "Go home," he ordered with a nod toward the door. "Get some rest."

"Yes, Your Excellency," Hamilton said, and left on unsteady legs, weak with the memory of what Washington held over him. Sleep found him the moment his head hit his pillow that night, but dreams of Washington's hands occupied his mind.

The problem with being gifted something precious after behaving like a fool was, of course, that it encouraged Hamilton to behave like a fool again. It took barely five sneering words from Jefferson (directed only obliquely at Washington) during the next day's luncheon to rile him into a froth.

"You speak so quietly from the corner of your lips, sir, perhaps you would enjoy stepping outside with me to take in the fresh air and plain, forthright words," he said, pushing back from the dining table and gaining his feet.

"Hamilton," the President said. Sharp. An order unspoken.

The gazes of the other cabinet members and under-secretaries flickered to the suddenly interesting corners of the room, and Hamilton felt his neck grow hot. Washington stood as well, slow and measured, and strode toward the staircase. "Come with me." Said as if the previous few minutes had not occurred and Hamilton was needed upstairs in the President's office for any number of the usual reasons, such as looking over a drafted decree or penning a piece of official correspondence.

He followed his leader as directed. Stood stockstill in the room as the door was shut behind him. He held his arms loosely at his sides, parade rest. Though their uniforms from the war were now a distant memory, Hamilton realized they had been replaced: in recent years he and Washington had both made a habit of wearing somber black to their offices and working in their white shirtsleeves. They were wearing those new uniforms now, a matched set. Hamilton's skin burned with anticipation.

Washington paced before him. "Have I not told you on many occasions in the last decade or so to ignore any disparagement of my character, however brazen?"

Hamilton swallowed. "Yes, sir."

"Did you imagine I did not mean what I said when I said it?"

"No, sir."

"Then why have you chosen to disregard me?" Washington ceased his paces in front of Hamilton, the bulk of him standing as a tower in a field. "I am the President of our infant country. All eyes are trained on me, and I must tread carefully. These are my battles, not yours."

"Your Excellency, I disagree," Hamilton said. His eyes fastened at some point on the wallpaper in the far corner. The buzzing grew in his ears. "Our infant country, as you say, will languish in the cradle when dissension grows, and if your cabinet cannot respect your leadership—"

"You talk of respect, Hamilton?" Washington grew before him like a stormcloud, great and dark and terrible. His words landed as heat on Hamilton's upturned face. "You, who plays at deference in one breath and casts aside my orders in the next? If my stature is so sacred to you, why can you not listen to me instead of acting like a rabid dog?"

"I do not know, sir," Hamilton breathed. "I— I try."

"Not hard enough," Washington growled, and clamped his hand down on Hamilton's shoulder where the slope of it met his neck. His fingers dug into the layers of his clothing, into the tender flesh, and Hamilton's lips parted at the sensation.

The noise in his head abated like ocean waves receding from a midnight beach.

His breathing slowed, was made shallow.

He trembled.

Washington's grip eased, and Hamilton's eyes snapped up, desperate and searching. His gaze found the President's and they stared at each other across some great, unnamed expanse for a long moment.

Hamilton was, characteristically, the first to speak. "What is this, sir?" he murmured. "What are you doing to me?"

Washington released Hamilton then with unsurpassed swiftness, his hand wavering in the air between them. "I'm not certain." His eyes were strange and clouded. He turned, his hands made into fists at his sides. "Go. Finish your meal."

"Your Excellency—" Hamilton tried to say.

"Leave me. I would like a moment of peace, please." Still Washington would not look at him.

There was no alternative but to do as he was told. "Whatever you say, sir," Hamilton said, and quit the room without another word.

But he did not let the issue die. He could not. The very next day, he dressed in his best black velvet coat and his whitest, most starched neckcloth and strode into President Washington's private office to say, "Sir, there is a matter I should like to discuss with you."

Washington, seated at his over-large desk and wearing his over-small wire frame reading glasses, did not look up from his work. "Hamilton. Have a seat," he said as if Hamilton had not spoken first.

Flustered, Hamilton took a chair, one of two that were arranged before that massive desk, and he awaited his President's pleasure with one leg crossed over his knee, bouncing slightly. After what seemed like an hour but could only have been a few minutes, Hamilton forged ahead yet again. "Your Excellency, I have reached several conclusions regarding the events of the past few days and, with your permission, would like to share them."

"I can't imagine my permission or lack thereof will make much difference; you will talk regardless." Washington finally did look up then, gazing at Hamilton over the tops of his spectacles. "But I grant it anyway."

Hamilton drew a steadying breath. This was better, easier, the old almost-camaraderie that they shared after working so closely together for so many years. If it was friendship, it was a very strange one, and so Hamilton had always considered it something else. And now he felt nearer to giving it a name. "Perhaps you've noticed," he said, "that I have been under considerable strain of late."

Washington gave a slow nod. "Your financial system, of course, has required you to work harder than is usual even for you. And yet, it is necessary."

"Yes." Hamilton licked his dry lips. "And I believe I should work better and with a much clearer mind if you were to— To assist me."

Washington reached up and took hold of his eyeglasses, removing them with a shake of his head. "I have given you as much political support as I am able; you know that."

"Not political assistance, sir," Hamilton said. "Surely you understand…? Yesterday, and the day before that, when I was placed under your hand," for he knew not how else to describe those moments, "my mind found peace for the first time in so long." He took in another ragged breath, watching Washington's impassive face. "I am asking you, sir. Please. I require more of that."

Washington folded his glasses and set them by the inkwell, perfectly aligned. "Well," he sighed, "no one could ever accuse you of dancing 'round a subject, Hamilton."

"Sir, if I am too forward—" Hamilton began, but Washington waved a hand through the air.

"You're right to speak plainly, or else we might awkwardly dance all day. Tell me." He folded his hands into a clasped knot atop the papers he'd been studying. "What am I being asked to give, exactly?"

Hamilton's heart soared. The man was actually considering his proposal! He'd feared being tossed from the office straight away, or worse, told that he was mistaken, that nothing out of the ordinary had occurred between them at all. "Nothing more than a guiding hand, Your Excellency, if you can spare a moment. This perhaps sounds ridiculous but," he lifted his palm to the back of his neck in illustration, "just there. For just a few minutes. It would do wonders for me, I think."

"And this...calming effect, it will enable you to finish your work before you end up in an early grave?" Washington didn't look entirely convinced. "It seems like such a simple thing to be so powerful."

Hamilton merely shrugged, lacking a better explanation.

"Can no one else provide you with this?" Washington asked.

"I've yet to meet a person who exudes what you do, sir," said Hamilton. His President nearly snorted at the statement as if it were a joke. "I do not flatter," he insisted. "Perhaps because I was under your command during the war, and in many ways I am yours to command now, it seems natural to turn to you. I confess, in times like these, I miss—" Here he hesitated, for it was a truth that flayed him open. "I sometimes miss the days when the fight was simple and our enemies, known. You had only to tell me what to do, and what to write, and where to ride."

Washington dropped his gaze to his desktop then, memories flooding into his eyes. "How strange that we both should think so fondly of that time," he murmured, "when we knew not if we'd live or die, and that it all depended on our success."

"So you also—?"

Washington inclined his head. "I believe I understand your request more fully now, yes."

Hamilton's throat tightened. "So you will—?"

A large, broad palm rose in caution. "Before I agree, let me say that I do not think we should speak of this to anyone," he said. "If word of any weakness within this government reached the papers—"

"We are of a mind," Hamilton said quickly.

Washington dropped his hand back to his desk. He rapped the wood once with his knuckles. "Then I suppose I don't see the harm. If you're convinced it will aid you."

Hamilton nodded, his head filled with hopeful, light air. "Sir, I am."

"Well then."

"Well."

They stared at each other from across the continent of Washington's desk. Hamilton didn't dare move or breathe until Washington pushed back his chair and stood, and only then did he hurry to mirror him.

"Best to try the technique immediately, I imagine," Washington said, "while we have a moment to ourselves."

"As you say, sir." Still Hamilton stood almost at attention on the other side of the desk.

It took a mere gesture of Washington's hand to bring him to life. "Come here. Where I can reach you."

In an instant Hamilton stepped around the desk and stood, sweating lightly under his stocks and neckcloth, before the President.

"Thank you, sir," he said in a whisper.

"Don't thank me yet. I may not have the desired effect now that we've so thoroughly discussed it," Washington said with his customary dryness, and Hamilton thought, suddenly, of the superstitions surrounding wishes.

"I have faith it will take, Your Excellency," he said.

Washington didn't answer, just took a deep breath through his nose and raised his hand, slowly, carefully, to place it heavy and warm on the back of Hamilton's neck. A shudder passed unbidden through Hamilton's frame and he nearly sagged against Washington's chest.

"Oh," he said, relishing the haze of calm that passed over him.

"It's working, then?" Washington murmured.

Hamilton couldn't force his tongue to move, even to answer the President, in that moment. He nodded his head, which felt filled with warm ocean water now, and swayed on his feet.

Washington's hand tightened on his nape. "How long…?"

Now Hamilton managed to answer, his eyes opening to slits. "Just a moment more, sir, please."

The President shifted on his feet, his gaze watching Hamilton closely, and Hamilton felt his face heat under the scrutiny. He looked down at the carpet with a faint intake of breath.

"What is it?" Washington demanded.

"You think this is a ludicrous exercise," Hamilton breathed.

Washington tipped his head and shifted his stance once more, his mouth opening as if to demur, but Hamilton cut him off: "Say so, sir. The truth may help me."

That noble face went through the various motions of uncertainty and vacillation, but Hamilton, knowing Washington as he did, knew that he would cleave to honesty when he could.

"This is fairly ludicrous," Washington said, "you must admit."

"And?" Hamilton pressed.

"And what else can I say?" Washington bristled.

Though it wasn't his intention to annoy, Hamilton felt a surge of something like triumph. "You called me rabid before," he gasped out.

Washington scoffed. "You were rabid."

"And now?"

"For God's sake!" Washington dropped his hand to his side. Hamilton whimpered at the loss. "Now you're being a perfect ass! Here I am, trying to assist you as you requested—"

"I'm disobedient, sir," Hamilton supplied. His heart was hammering in his throat. "I begged you for help, and I cannot seem to behave properly even when you give it."

"Why are you so proud of these facts?" Washington said.

"I'm not." Said in the smallest voice Hamilton had ever heard produced with his own mouth.

"You absolute—" Washington's fingers gripped the back of his neck once more, digging through the layers of starched cloth.

Hamilton swooned. He felt his knees give way, first the left, then the right, and he sank to the carpet. His head bowed forward until his chin rested on his heaving chest. Blissful quiet hummed through him, making his skin tingle. Nothing mattered but Washington's touch and their matched, labored breathing.

"Hamilton," Washington said after a long moment. Either he was speaking very softly or Hamilton's ears were muffled with the sensation of being brought to heel.

"Sir?" Hamilton slurred.

A clearing of a throat. "Stand up, Hamilton."

Every muscle and sinew screamed to stay on his knees. He wanted to stay, to never rise again. He couldn't imagine moving. What reason could compel him?

"Stand. Up."

Ah, there was his reason: Washington's orders combined with his hand, clamped tight to his nape, urging him to his feet. Hamilton stood as shaky as a new colt. So befogged was his mind that he didn't even register the state he was in until he noticed Washington's stare and followed it down to where his own breeches tented tellingly. His cock throbbed in time with his heartbeat, thick and hot.

"Oh god," he said, but Washington was already speaking over him.

"What is this?" It was a fierce hiss, full of betrayal. Hamilton hadn't heard his commander so incensed since, Lord, Arnold's treachery. "Has this entire interlude been a farce? A means to indulge your carnal desires? I wanted to help you, damn you! Speak!"

"No, sir," Hamilton sobbed. "I didn't think I'd— My intentions weren't—" The humiliation lay thick in his throat. He had not suffered from such reactions to his commander in years, when he was so very young and foolish, so drawn to Washington's powerful presence, and so given to inconvenient stiffness. He had not anticipated suffering so now, when he wanted only peace in his mind. "Forgive me, sir. I am not in control of my body, it seems."

"Then who is?" Washington snapped.

The answer came to them both at the same instant. Hamilton saw the notion dawn on Washington's face, disbelief parting his lips, and he stared down at the toes of their shoes so as to avoid seeing that face fall into disgust.

"Do I own you so totally in these moments, Hamilton?" Washington asked, and his voice was more gentle than it had any right to be. "I...was not aware."

"Nor was I." He wanted to sink back onto his knees, then through the floor until he had disappeared completely. Washington's hand, he realized, was still holding him by the scruff of the neck. "Shall I go, sir?"

That hand fell away. Hamilton felt tears pricking like needles behind his eyes.

"Perhaps, yes. To your wife?"

Hamilton shook his head in shame. He thought of Eliza in their bed, her hand being guided to his hair with a whispered plea. His sweet Eliza, pulling away. I couldn't hurt you, my love!

"I cannot ask that of her," he said. "And she is away from the city for the season, at any rate."

"Then I do not know what to do for you." Washington tossed his coat tails behind him and regained his seat behind his desk. "You will have to find some other way of managing yourself," he said, picking up the sheaf of papers before him and examining them as if they held every answer. Hamilton felt the sting of dismissal deep in his gut.

"Mr. President," he said, and bowed before making his exit, his cock softening in his breeches.

Hamilton had an office of his own, cramped and airless, on the floor above. He retreated there and sat down to his work, which occupied his mind enough so that his thoughts wandered back only a few dozen times to that morning and the awful, untoward picture he'd presented to Washington. His mind ran in great looping circles: the plan needed to get through Congress; the plan needed to be correct and sustainable; he needed this to work; he needed Washington; Washington needed his plan; and so on back to the beginning again.

He took no note of his staff leaving at the end of the day. It was only when a tall shadow took up the doorway of his office that his attention focused at last.

"Yes, Your Excellency?" He pushed his own reading glasses up his nose; the other cabinet members whispered that it was an affectation of his, but in truth he could hardly make out a letter without them. Neither could Washington, for that matter. We are both getting so old, Hamilton thought as he waited for a response.

"I realize," Washington said as he paced into the empty office, "that this is how you will manage yourself when left to your own devices: not at all well, and to the detriment of your stomach and your sleep. Everyone else has left for the evening, Hamilton. Why do you remain?"

Hamilton turned back to his page, blotting the wet ink. "I'm not yet finished," he said.

Washington clasped his hands behind his back and sighed. "Can you not—?" he began.

"I am figuring out a solution as you ordered," Hamilton shot back. "Either leave me to it or find another Treasury Secretary." He remembered the war all in a flash: Washington standing at the top of a staircase, glowering, hands made into fists. Heated words. Hurt pride. Hamilton had been sent away then; he could not be sent away now, not when so much was at stake. Who else could weave an economy from this tangle?

Washington seemed to remember the same moment, for he softened and dropped his arms to his sides. "I did not come to argue with you," he said.

Hamilton dipped his quill hastily. It gave him precious moments to avoid his President's gaze. "Why then?"

Two long strides and Washington was at his desk, his large hand arresting Hamilton's and confiscating his quill. Hamilton watched helplessly as it was returned to its inkpot. Without that crutch, he had no choice but to look up at the great man looming over him.

Washington cleared his throat before speaking. "Today you saw fit to give me a secret of yours," he said. "Whatever else might be true, it takes courage for a man to show his cards in that manner."

As if this were a card game, Hamilton thought with ill ease. "Sir, please, I would rather we didn't—"

"Hamilton, do not pretend that, once spilled, you can put all the perfume back in the bottle," Washington said sharply, and Hamilton's jaw clicked shut. Then, softer, "I feel I owe you an explanation for my reaction."

"You owe me nothing, Your Excellency." He felt so insignificant sitting before his commander.

Washington pursed his lips. "How many years, Hamilton? Ten? Eleven?"

"Sir?"

"That you've stood at my side. How many?" Washington asked.

Hamilton looked away. "Twelve, I suppose, sir."

"Then I owe you for twelve years of loyalty," he said. "What I wish to say will not leave this room." And he took a seat in a spindly wooden chair that stood against the wall, his great bulk dwarfing it to the point of ridiculousness.

Hamilton was struck by a sudden wave of fondness for his President. Though they disagreed on so many topics, there was still a part of Hamilton that would always be that boy of twenty, in awe of the General astride his white warhorse. He could hardly have imagined then that he would be here now, and privy to Washington's most guarded secrets.

"Sir," he said with feeling, "I would never betray your trust. If you take me into your confidence, I will die before I tell another soul."

This seemed to satisfy Washington. He arranged his legs in a wide spread before him, seeking a comfortable position in his little chair. "You are aware, of course, of the rumors surrounding my lack of offspring?"

Hamilton's heart stuttered in his chest. Impotency, said the whispers. Is that why Washington cast him out of the office when faced with the evidence of his ardor? "I pay no mind to most rumors," he said.

"Good." Washington gave a dry chuckle. "Because they're not true."

"What is the truth?" Hamilton asked.

Washington looked to the side, toward the grimy window that looked onto the street. "I am not constructed as other men," he said.

Obviously, thought Hamilton but held his tongue for once.

"There is a curious turn to my constitution." Washington paused, frowning at the window, then began again. "Do you know well the feeling of being offered a drink when you are not thirsty, Hamilton? Or being faced with a meal when you have no appetite for it?"

Now Hamilton frowned, unsure what this had to do with anything. "I may forgo such things when my work occupies my thoughts, sir."

Washington shook his head. "I do not refer to abstention as a result of distraction. What I mean is, are you ever simply…not hungry? That you could eat, if propriety dictated it, but you preferred not to?"

"Rarely," Hamilton confessed. Now that he had time to consider it, his stomach did feel hollow; a crust of bread or some cold meat wouldn't go amiss once he arrived back home. "But there have been times, when I felt ill perhaps, that the notion of food did not appeal."

"Can you imagine a man," Washington said, "with no appetite for other things in the same manner?"

Hamilton sat very still and considered this. If he understood Washington correctly, then…. "But sir, a man must eat for the sake of his health."

Washington's lips quirked slightly. "I have not starved to death yet."

It seemed so inconceivable to Hamilton that such a thing could be possible! For a man as robust and vital as Washington—he still rode five miles every week!—to never indulge in the pleasures of the flesh. That he was not unable, as the gossips said, merely uninterested. For Hamilton, who spent a good portion of his waking hours attempting to force carnal thoughts from his brain so he could concentrate on other things, such a state seemed close to magic.

"But Lady Washington," he sputtered as one hundred different notions sprang to mind.

Washington adopted a soft look on his noble face. "Accepts it, and indeed sought me out as a husband because of it," he said. "I had, perhaps foolishly, confessed my nature to a previous lady, thinking it only right that I be truthful when I proposed marriage. She refused me, of course."

"Then she was the fool, sir, to be sure," Hamilton interrupted.

After a firm look, Hamilton was silenced and Washington continued. "Word of it reached Martha. She wanted a father for her two children and no new heirs that might disturb their futures. I was an elegant solution." He shifted in his chair. "I love my wife, Hamilton, but there is no fire in those bedsheets."

"I see, sir." Hamilton's throat worked and bobbed. How filthy he must have seemed to this great man, he thought, when he stood hard and wanting before him. Surely someone as pure, as chaste, as untouched by base instincts as Washington would hate the sight of Hamilton now. He bowed his head and removed his little glasses. "I am so sorry, Your Excellency, for allowing that earlier scene. If my resignation can be put off until after my plan is passed—"

"Resignation?" Washington started in his chair, his hands gripping the narrow armrests. "Why would you resign?"

Hamilton blinked at him. "To save you the trouble of dismissing me, sir."

"Have you not been listening? I've just revealed to you what my closest friends do not know! I'd be a poor tactician indeed if I did so only to toss you out on the street, armed with the knowledge and a reason for revenge. You could go straight to some tawdry journalist with it."

"Sir, I would never."

A wave of his hand. "I do not want your resignation, Hamilton. Do not mention it." He drew his fingertips across his mouth as if mulling over some disturbing idea.

Hamilton waited a moment before saying, "Then at least accept my apologies, sir, and know that I swear to never put you in such an unwanted position again."

"Well, that is what I wished to talk about now that you know how it is with me." Washington leaned forward until his elbows rested on his powerful thighs, his hands dangling between his spread knees. "Putting aside your more shocking reactions, I found that little exercise of ours not completely unpleasing."

"I— What? Sir." Hamilton struggled to form a response. "I'm afraid I don't understand. You just said—"

"Oh, I have no interest in bedding you," Washington said, and Hamilton blanched at his frankness. "Yet I admit that I experienced a feeling, when my hand was on you and you seemed so content—a feeling of great accomplishment. It took some time for me to place the thing, and the nearest I can come is...true power."

"Your Excellency," Hamilton couldn't help but point out, "you are already the most powerful and respected man in the country."

"Am I? It does not seem so. Not when all appear to disregard me, including my own cabinet." The smallest glimmer of humor shone from Washington's warm eyes, but Hamilton could tell how serious he was beneath it all. "I would like to attempt the thing again, if you'll agree that it will progress no further than one man giving another the discipline he craves. The arrangement will be altogether positive for us both, provided we dispense with any…." He gestured vaguely. "Unanswerable needs."

Hamilton's thoughts whirled. Could he really be hearing correctly? "You wish to continue? As long as it does not take a turn for the carnal?" he asked.

Washington shrugged. "It would be good, I think, for me to control something these days."

"And if I stiffen, sir?" Hamilton asked, for he was not certain he could keep his body from reacting to the sight of Washington flush with power.

"Then we will ignore it as gentlemen should," he said. "As long as you do not ask me to see to it, I do not think it will offend me overly much. I ask for the same courtesy should my own body respond; it's not unlikely to do so."

Hamilton's tongue lay heavy with gratitude in his mouth. He could barely swallow. "Sir, thank you. I know I do not deserve—"

"That is another thing." Washington sat back in his chair and crossed his legs, one over the other. "When you are in this state, you seem to look for ways to provoke my ire. Do you really wish to be berated and brought low? Is it part of the appeal for you?"

Hamilton's cheeks heated. "There is a certain shame in asking for what I want, and I believe I need to wallow in it. Like a pig in mud."

"Hm." Washington watched him closely, his lips pursed, before rising to his feet. Hamilton stood as well, dazed, tugging his waistcoat into place. "Well, we both have much to consider. Go home for tonight, Hamilton, and we will meet again tomorrow, privately, for further discussion."

"Yes, sir," Hamilton managed to say, and he went home as ordered, and ate a simple meal alone, and slept without dreams.

The following morning he worked like a dervish, as he would need to finish a great deal of writing before he was able to devote himself to Washington's attentions. Knowing as he now did that the man would take no physical pleasure in their meeting, he spent his few spare moments in pondering what would likely please him. To exert power over Hamilton, yes; to dominate him, body and mind, perhaps; to treat him as a untrained foxhound in need of a steadying hand, certainly. His thoughts turned to ways he might present himself, and what he might say or do, and a myriad other things, but of course it was all useless. As the powerless party, he knew it was not up to him what would happen.

That, in itself, was part of the draw.

When an aide appeared in his office around midday with a message that President Washington wanted to see him, Hamilton fought to contain his excitement. He could not decide where to place his hands: firmly at his sides seemed too formal; arms crossed over his chest, overly defensive. In the end he entered Washington's office with a stack of papers that would ostensibly need the President's signature under one arm while he fiddled with his watch chain in his other hand.

Washington was waiting for him by the window, staring out into the street and sipping at a cup of coffee. This he placed in its saucer at Hamilton's entrance and nodded to the accompanying aide. "Close the door behind you. The Secretary and I are not to be interrupted."

The boy did as ordered, leaving them alone once more. Hamilton swallowed down his nerves and spoke first: "You asked for me, sir?"

"I did." Washington looked directly at him and added, slowly, deliberately, "Colonel."

As if his spine remembered being named by his rank, Hamilton straightened. "Oh, sir," he murmured as he realized what Washington was doing. It was a gift: a chance to pretend if only for a moment that he was twenty again, and his current troubles were far-off dreams. Still, he was not certain if he was correct in his understanding, and so was hesitant to ask, "What can I do, General?"

Washington took a seat at his desk and beckoned Hamilton closer with a crook of his fingers. "You can explain to me why you made so many errors in copying out my orders. I've looked over your work, Hamilton, and I find it very unsatisfactory."

Hamilton approached, hands clasped behind his back, his brow quirked in confusion. This had never happened; a decade ago, he was known for his perfection in copying, so much so that Washington preferred him over all other aides when such a task was at hand.

"Are you certain, Your Excellency?" he asked.

"Of course I'm certain!" Washington snapped. "Do you think I'm unable to read? That I am such a fool that your mistakes would go unnoticed?"

"No, sir," Hamilton said, dazed. His mind groped for purchase: what was he meant to do in this scenario? "Of course you're no fool. I'm sorry, sir. I can begin corrections immediately if—"

Washington waved a disgusted hand through the air. "As if I could trust you with this work after what you've done, Colonel. No, I will need to make the corrections myself. And as punishment for your paltry efforts, you will assist me."

"Just tell me how, sir." Hamilton felt his breath quicken in his chest.

With his right hand, Washington indicated the spot of carpet next to his chair. "Kneel here," he said, "so that I might have a place to rest my arm. It's grown tired with all the work I've been given because of your incompetence."

If time passed between Hamilton standing beside Washington's desk and complying with his orders, he did not note it, so rushed was he in moving. He knelt tall, without sitting back on his heels, so that Washington did not have so far to reach. His arms hung heavy at his sides, and he fought to keep his breath even and measured against the buzzing expectation of Washington's touch.

And when it came, it was so good: the warm palm, the thick fingers, the surety of them as they held him by the scruff of his neck, just above his neckcloth. Blunt nails dug into his flesh, not to the point of pain, but merely reminding Hamilton of their presence. Hamilton allowed his eyes to drift closed. Washington's voice came from above: "Now stay very still for me and do not speak. There's nothing for you to say."

Hamilton nodded, knowing he couldn't voice his acknowledgement. Washington's grip tightened and he shook Hamilton by the neck just once.

"Is that how you interpret stillness, Colonel?" he barked. "Do not move. It is not a difficult concept."

Yes, sir, rose on Hamilton's tongue, but he swallowed down the instinctual words. Instead he concentrated on being very quiet moving not an inch. His thoughts slipped away one after the other until he reached a state where he could imagine nothing else but Washington's hand on his neck and his looming presence beside him. He wished he could glance over and see how the great man looked in that moment, to know whether he focused on Hamilton or something else, but he followed his orders and did not move. Anticipation of what might happen next occupied his mind.

He could do anything to me, Hamilton thought, and felt the stirrings of excitement in his breeches. I would let him.

And yet for all he was affected, Hamilton endured nothing more than kneeling like a Papist and feeling Washington's hand on him. Even that was over all too soon; a clock chimed the half-hour in the hall, and Washington removed his fingers. Hamilton blinked his eyes open, his mind a fog of confusion.

"Sir?"

"That is enough for today, Secretary Hamilton," he said, leaving no possibility for their little game of pretend to continue. "You may return to your work. I expect a report on your progress by week's end."

Words would not come. Hamilton could not, for his life, force his throat into action. His face felt hot, and he realized with horror that his eyes stung with gathering tears. Why, he wondered, when he had been given exactly what he'd asked for, was he so miserable?

He struggled to his feet as painful pinpricks of sensation returned to his legs after so many long minutes of kneeling. The cockstand in his breeches flagged somewhat, but he grabbed at the papers he'd brought and used them as a shield to hide what remained. He looked down at Washington, but the man sat in his chair as unreadable as the Sphinx, his chin resting on his fist as he watched Hamilton.

"Are you well?" he asked, but Hamilton could not answer. To his shame, he could only offer a small bow in response before hurrying from the room.

There was a small closet in the hallway that was used to store buckets, brooms, and tins of polish for the building's brass fixtures, and that is where Hamilton retreated after making his escape. He shut the door tightly behind himself and leaned back against it in the dark, his papers falling from his nerveless fingers to scatter on the floor. The little space smelled nauseatingly of lamp oil. His cock throbbed against the stiff broadcloth of his clothes.

Hamilton considered doing nothing with it and merely waiting for the stiffness to subside, but after a moment he realized it would not do so with any speed, and anyone might stumble upon him in the meantime. He would have to see to it, though the shame burned through him like a hot knife.

Quick. Methodical. Taking himself into a hand that didn't feel like his own, his mind purposefully wiped clean of any thought as he worked. He spilled over his fingers with a stifled cry. Found a filthy rag to clean up his mess. Gathered his silly papers once more. Felt very low, and very unpleasant.

Hamilton opened the door and nearly stepped nose-first into Washington's broad chest. "You did not answer my question," he said. "Are you well, Secretary?"

"Your Excellency, I—" White-hot embarrassment washed through him. His President had stood just without as he'd— Surely he knew what he'd done. He dropped his gaze at stare at the scuffed floor.

"You can speak now," Washington reminded him, and Hamilton shook his head in frustration.

"I know, sir, but I'm finding it—" Difficult? Impossible? He'd lost all of his words. What should have been a midday respite had turned him into a shaking mess.

Washington glanced up and down the hallway; it was empty save for the two of them, but certainly was not the best place to conduct a private conversation. "Step back into my office for a moment, if you would."

Once they had returned and the door was shut behind them, Washington stood close and murmured, "I have gone about this the wrong way. I am sorry, Hamilton."

Terror lanced through Hamilton's gut. No, no, no, his President could not carry the blame for Hamilton's own defects. Washington had done everything Hamilton had asked for, more even. It had to be Hamilton who was at fault.

"Don't, sir. Please."

Washington ignored him. "I was too abrupt. A sleepwalker should not be woken violently, and likewise, when you are in that peaceful state, you should be returned to the waking world with enough gentleness to ease you."

"You do not need to be gentle with me," Hamilton protested. It was counter to everything he'd wanted!

"Perhaps not at the start, but at the end." Washington lifted his hands—slowly, as if to give Hamilton the opportunity to shy away—and cupped Hamilton's face between his palms. Hamilton shuddered, his legs turning to jelly. He turned his cheek into Washington's right hand and sighed. The smallest flicker of joy lit within him.

"What—?" he croaked. "What are you doing?"

"Giving you what you haven't realized you needed," Washington said. "Power must be tempered with tenderness, I think, or else you cannot see its boundaries. And what is the point of power if you wield it indiscriminately? Only a weak fool would do so." A chuckle rumbled through his frame, unheard but felt under Hamilton's skin. "This hobby of yours might make me into a philosopher, given time."

Hamilton's dry tongue worked its way to life. The worry that ate at the back of his mind found its way to his mouth. "Sir," he asked in a small voice, "has my work ever really been unsatisfactory to you?"

"My god." Washington pulled him close, allowed his hot face to press against his strong shoulder. A hand went to the back of Hamilton's loose hair and stroked there. "Of course not. You know this; that is why I chose it as the subject of our little play. I had no idea it would affect you so."

"Nor did I," Hamilton said, muffled into the fabric of his soft velvet coat. "I will be stronger, I swear."

"That's not necessary," Washington said. "There is no shame in requiring assistance and reassurance. I will provide it, now that I know better. Next time I will not dismiss you so suddenly."

Hamilton drew back to blink up at his commander. "Next time?"

Washington nodded. "Unless you don't wish to continue?"

Hamilton pressed his forehead back to Washington's immovable shoulder, and let his tears fall unseen there. "Sir, I am so fortunate, and you are too kind."

"Nonsense," Washington said, and held him until the tremors in Hamilton's limbs had subsided and he felt more like his old self again. They parted with the promise that they would meet again the next day. Hamilton returned to his work and, despite his earlier unease, found he could concentrate much more clearly on his writings.

The next day dawned dark with storms threatening at the horizon by mid-morning. Hamilton was cheered, however, and even found he liked the cozy quietude of his office when emptied of staff. They'd begged leave to go home and shut the windows, or stable their horses, or any number of rain-related tasks that left him alone at his desk in his shirtsleeves. Sheets of water trickled down the window panes as he worked, and his candles danced in the gloom.

Washington materialized in the doorway with a chamberstick in his hand to light his way. Its candle flickered as he strode toward Hamilton with a jut of his chin at the pages on his desk. "Have you reached a good place to stop, Hamilton? I should like to try something."

Hamilton filed away his papers with undisguised eagerness. The door was shut and locked, though there seemed little chance of someone attempting to barge in today. Hamilton removed his reading glasses and said, "What do you need, sir?"

A moment later found Hamilton on his hands and knees on the carpet, the chamberstick balanced on the small of his back. Washington adjusted the little silver dish with just a touch of his finger to its whorled holder circle, then stepped back to take in the picture that he'd made.

"Yes, there is indeed something pleasing about that," he murmured.

"Will I be required to stay very still, Your Excellency?" Hamilton shifted a fraction, and the chamberstick shifted with him. He could see the shadows along the floor jump and sway as flame he held did so too.

"Not a drop of wax should touch your fine clothes if you are careful." Washington took a chair from a nearby desk and placed it neatly beside Hamilton. Here he sat, and took his pocket watch from his waistcoat to consult its face, and dropped his free hand down to Hamilton's head to play idly in the strands of his hair.

"Oh, sir," Hamilton breathed, "you know you make me shiver when you touch me in that manner."

"Then I suggest you make your best attempt to not shiver," Washington said blithely. His hand kept up its careful stroking, and Hamilton dropped his head low between his shoulders in sweet frustration. It felt so lovely to be touched, to be still, to be made into something as simple as a table for a great man to rest his chamberstick. Hamilton resolved to follow his orders to the letter, and with some concentration, was able to keep the shudders that wracked his frame controlled enough to keep his candle aloft.

Soon the aches in his knees and wrists faded to a dim hum. The only sensation in the world was warmth: that of Washington's hand and of the melted wax where it collected in its little dish on his back. Lightning flashed as the storm grew outside, but Hamilton did not jump. He barely noticed the tapping of rain turning to a roar at the window. What did a table care for weather, after all?

"Three quarters of an hour," Washington's voice said. Hamilton blinked slowly, taking in the words. Had time really passed so quickly? He heard the click of a pocket watch being closed. "You're doing very well. I could probably put my feet up on you if I had a mind. You'd certainly serve the purpose."

"Ah!" Hamilton couldn't help the happy gasp that escaped his mouth. Just the thought of Washington's fine shoes propped up on his back made him tremble.

"Does the notion appeal?" Washington's hand brushed aside his cascade of hair and stroked the length of his neck. "Tell me, if you can."

"Yes, sir," Hamilton moaned. "It does, I could, please—" His back bowed with anticipation.

The chamberstick slid alarmingly to the left. Hamilton jerked as if to stop its movements, but Washington was faster and caught the thing in his hand before it fell to the floor. He tsked above Hamilton's head.

"You had one simple order," he said. "Look at this, you've made a mess of your waistcoat."

Hamilton rose to his knees and twisted his head about to look at the spatters of wet white wax, slowly drying into beads on the black silk. His heart pounded. Would he really be punished for this when he had been so unfairly tormented? He looked up at Washington, a protest building on his lips, but it died as he saw the keen look in his commander's eyes: warm and leading, full of unspoken hope.

"Apologies, sir, for my failure," he said haltingly. "Please tell me what I can do to return to your good graces."

"Interesting that you think such a thing might be possible," Washington said, examining his spread fingernails.

"Yes, sir, if you would only tell me how. I could be your footstool for hours if it pleases you, I could—"

Washington held up a palm, the one not occupied with the chamberstick. Hamilton's mouth snapped shut.

"Bring me some sealing wax," he said.

Hamilton rushed to comply, though his legs shook as he stood and walked over to his desk. He found the stick of blood red wax in his topmost drawer. Not a thought in his mind considered why Washington might need it at this moment; he only retrieved it and handed it to his President as ordered, then awaited further instructions with his hands clasped over his half-hard cock. As promised, Washington ignored his state and instead occupied himself with looking over the sealing wax.

"Remove your stocks and neckcloth, Hamilton." He glanced up, lighting the stick of wax with his chamberstick's candle. "Then lay prone at my feet, if you would."

He didn't ask why. His fingers were already working at his throat, his knees already genuflecting before Washington's chair. He discarded his fine neckwear in a heap on the carpet and stretched out facedown before Washington's shoes.

"Hold your shirt collar aside," Washington said, "so that I might reach the nape of your neck."

Hamilton reached up and tugged at the cloth until the length of his neck was exposed to the warm, damp air. Washington placed the chamberstick on the floor about a foot in front of Hamilton's nose. He lay still, watching the flame flicker, and listened to Washington fiddling with something he couldn't see.

"This will be hot," was all the warning he received before the molten sealing wax dripped in a thick puddle on the back of his neck. Hamilton gasped and shut his eyes tight against the burn.

"Your Excellency," he cried, "what are you—?"

"Shush. If you're going to be covered in wax, it should be done properly," Washington said. He reached down and pressed something hard into the pool of wax. Hamilton perceived what it must be, and he made a noise of helpless want.

"Your seal, sir?" he asked.

Washington bent close to speak softly in Hamilton's ear. "The Presidential seal," he corrected. He blew across Hamilton's nape to better cool the wax.

The delirious pleasure of it all, to be marked in such a way! He pressed his sweat-dewed forehead into the rough carpet with a groan. The pain of the hot wax faded into a spreading warmth, and Hamilton wondered if it was possible to adore a moment as fiercely as a lover.

"Thank you, sir, oh, thank you from the confines of my heart." He lay his slack cheek against the musty carpet, still holding his shirt collar aside, and drifted in a pleasant haze of sensation.

After some time, Washington patted his shoulder. "It should be dry now. Come, Hamilton, I will replace your clothing. You will carry that seal on your skin for the remainder of the day."

Hamilton levered himself into a sitting position on the floor with some effort and sat glassy-eyed as Washington retrieved his stocks and neckcloth. He tied them in the proper knots around Hamilton's throat with military precision.

"I wish I could see it, sir," Hamilton murmured, casting a glance over his shoulder in vain.

"It's not for you to see," Washington chided. "It is the seal of my office. It serves only myself."

"Oh." Hamilton flushed with happiness. "Yes, of course."

Finished with the stocks, Washington gave Hamilton's neckwear one final pat of his hand and said, "Now that you've had your spice, it is time for sweetness. Can you stand?"

"I could try." Hamilton took Washington's offered hand and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. His knee buckled at the motion, and Washington's hands shot out to grasp his wrists.

"A good effort, but perhaps we shall sit. Here, share the chair with me." And though Hamilton muttered some weak protests at being treated like a child, he was guided to sit in Washington's lap where he could be held and his hair stroked while he found his breath. He was still a bit hard in his breeches, he realized, but for once his desires seemed not at all urgent.

The rain slowed to a gentle tap against the window. Washington blew out the candle in the chamberstick on the floor with a well-aimed puff of breath, and they sat in quiet shadow for a long moment. Hamilton eventually relaxed in the harbor of Washington's arms. Strange that in the last few days, he had been physically closer with Washington than ever before, closer even than their war days, when space was tight and rooms were often shared. He remembered one particularly grueling night when he and more than a dozen aides and officers slept on the floor of Washington's room, all of them packed tight around his bed. The memory made him smile lazily.

"So you enjoyed that, Hamilton?" Washington asked after the silence had stretched out enough.

Hamilton nodded against his shoulder. He could feel the crackling sensation of the seal on the back of his neck. It was as if Washington was directing him, untouched and unseen, with just that little bit of wax. "It was inspired, sir," he murmured. He wondered dreamily where Washington could have gotten the idea. A yawn spread his jaw wide. Lord, he could fall asleep right here if he were allowed.

But there was still so much work to do.

Yet when he finally returned to that work, it seemed much more manageable and less like a mountain with an impossible summit. The President's seal hidden beneath his stocks probably had something to do with that. That night as Hamilton undressed, the red sealing wax fell flaking from the nape of his neck, and he was only a little disappointed that he could not wear it to bed.

He collected the cracked pieces in a small jar and placed it on the corner of his writing desk in the study, a silent reminder for when he worked there. Alone against his bedsheets that night, he brought himself off with his hands and fingers, thinking of Washington's voice.

It continued in this vein. Not every day, but not infrequently, Washington would summon him to his office or appear in his own when their privacy could be assured. Some of these encounters were nothing more than informal conversations surrounding their various pieces of business, followed by only a few moments of Washington gripping the back of Hamilton's neck, or the slope of his shoulder, or—once—a handful of his hair. And Hamilton relished every small bit of it.

Twice, though, they did not touch hardly at all. There was the afternoon that Hamilton spent sitting at Washington's feet with a handkerchief stuffed into his mouth, silently soaking it with his spittle until Washington removed it and told him he was allowed to speak again. And there was another evening, after the other staff had gone home, where Washington had tied his wrists and ankles together and left him writhing on the chesterfield in his office while he tidied up his desk a few feet away. The recurring themes of silence and stillness did not escape Hamilton; they were lessons he needed to review from time to time.

After, there would be what Hamilton came to think of as 'the soothing.' It could be a friendly pat, a kind word, a stroke of his heated cheek. The feeling was akin to being wrapped in silk after a harsh beating. This was relished as well, though the end was always bittersweet. There were times when he was so hard afterward he would lock himself in his office and desperately bring himself off with his hand. In these moments he felt very base indeed, like a feral animal, and hoped Washington—chastely above such things—did not notice his growing desire.

However, there was one day (a Sunday, no one in the offices but the two of them) when Hamilton experienced the most violent reaction to their interludes. Washington had found him flitting about his own desk, reading some of his writings aloud to test their mettle.

"You're as restless as a hummingbird," he said.

Hamilton looked at him, eyes bright. "Someone might cage me, if they wish it."

Within moments, Hamilton found himself facedown on the carpet with Washington's boot keeping him pinned in place. The heavy weight settled comfortably between his shoulderblades with enough force to allow only the most shallow of breaths. Hamilton felt his lungs fighting beside his heart for more of what they wanted, and he closed his eyes in rapture.

"Oh, sir—" He turned his head to gaze up at the towering figure above him, but Washington grunted a negative.

"Stay where you are." He leant forward and held Hamilton's head firmly against the floor, one palm on the back of his head, the other on his neck. Hamilton gasped at the sensation of perfect helplessness.

"S-sir, yes," he stuttered. His hips moved of their own accord, the only part of him that wasn't arrested in total. His cock, hard as stone, ground against the carpet in search of friction. "Oh, oh, oh—"

The pressure from Washington's hands and foot increased just a fraction. "Stay," he hissed, and Hamilton could not help it. He came off in his breeches with a cry muffled into the carpet.

If the noises he made did not make it obvious that he had found his release, then the smell did: thick and musky, the scent of young men's dirtied handkerchiefs and stockings. Hamilton felt the blood drain from his face as he realized what he'd done. Below his nose, the carpet looked back at him, brown and disinterested.

In a flash, the weight of Washington's boot and hands left him.

He lay there alone on the floor, blinking, the wetness spreading in his breeches. "Sir, I'm so—"

"No," Washington said from somewhere on the other side of the room. "Don't be."

With a groan, Hamilton turned over and propped himself on his elbows. The stain on his clothing was so embarrassingly apparent, he could do nothing but stare at it, gasping for air, before flicking his gaze up to Washington. The man was indeed several steps away, leaning heavily on Hamilton's desk.

"I didn't intend to," Hamilton said. "Sir, please believe me."

Washington's sigh was like a gunshot in the silence that followed. "You are not at fault, Alex."

That diminutive of his name. Washington had been the only one to ever use it, and even he hadn't called Hamilton that in ages. It made him ache somewhere under his ribs for that simpler time.

He swallowed. "I should have said something."

"I'm the one who decreed it would be ignored. You only did as I asked." Washington reached blindly for a chair and, finding it, fell onto its seat with an alarming creak. "I've been a fool to allow this."

Desperation polluted Hamilton's mind. His thoughts came in horrible torrents. This was the end. He had ruined everything.

"Sir," he choked out. He closed his mouth, having nothing else to say. Only his limbs spoke for him, carrying him forward, a slow crawl on hands and knees. He crawled all the way to Washington's feet and lay his head on that warm thigh.

His eyes slipped shut. Stillness. A silent plea.

Washington's hand rested in his hair, and Hamilton nearly shuddered apart.

"A fool," Washington murmured, "to pretend that you could be given only half of what you so obviously need, and be content."

A shiver of relief passed through his frame. All was not yet lost. "I am content with whatever you can give me, sir," Hamilton said. His lips grazed the fine fabric of the President's breeches. So near now, he could smell the faint scent of clean sweat and arousal. His eyes cracked open and he saw, sitting before him, the subtle bulge that might signal Washington's first stirrings. He remained very still. Not even breathing.

"You are not content," Washington said. "I have not managed you well at all. I have lit a fuse without thinking it through like the worst kind of artillery captain." His hand played idly in Hamilton's hair.

Hamilton feared these words, but still he held firm. "I agreed to your terms at the beginning of this…thing between us. I cannot ask you for more, not when your nature balks at it."

Another sigh. "My unusual lack of appetite for one thing does not prohibit me from indulging another. It suited me to frame our dalliances as having nothing whatsoever to do with lovemaking, but I see now that I was deluded. I do not like to think of myself as a sinner, but that does not change the fact that I am."

Hamilton picked up his head to gaze up at Washington's worried face. "Oh, sir, no."

"Oh, Hamilton, yes. My touch and my voice both excite and control you, and I enjoy it. I revel in it. I live to see that look in your eyes, when I have you in my grasp." He touched the backs of his fingers to Hamilton's cheek, his gaze dark. "I should probably not continue, but if left alone, you might act very rashly. Who else might you go to? Who else could keep you safe?"

Hamilton did not answer, only trembled against Washington's solid leg.

"And so," Washington breathed, "I will try to give you all that you need. Do you know what I think you need, Hamilton?"

"What, sir?"

Washington bent low to whisper in the curve of his hot, red ear: "You need to be milked. Regularly, like any other swollen, rutting beast."

A quiet curse slipped from Hamilton's lips. He pressed his forehead to Washington's knee and let the filthy words wash over him. The hand in his hair stilled.

"Do you agree?" Washington asked.

"Yes, Your Excellency," Hamilton answered.

"Good." The thick fingers left his tresses with one last parting caress. The soothing was finished. "Your plan, is it ready for my remarks? Or are you still scribbling?"

Hamilton stood swiftly, conscious of the drying stain on the front of his clothes but helpless to do anything about it for the moment. He'd have to leave for home after sundown, or perhaps carry a stack of books just so to hide the mess.

"It's as near to perfect as it will ever be, sir."

Washington gave a brief gesture and stretched comfortably in his borrowed chair. "Read it to me."

And so passed the rest of the day, Hamilton perched on the edge of his desk in soiled breeches, smelling of sex, while Washington listened with his eyes half-closed, rarely offering a murmured addition to the long financial outline.

"It is complicated," Washington said when they were through, "and yours. It will be opposed on those grounds alone."

"I know, sir." Hamilton arranged his pages neatly on his blotter. "I will need all my wits about me."

"Hmm." Washington put a finger to his temple, his other knuckles brushing his lips. "Would it be an imposition to ask you to wait until tomorrow for your ease?"

Hamilton flushed. "I will wait with pleasure, Your Excellency."

The following day Hamilton did wait—to be summoned or joined by Washington in his own offices—and yet neither occurred. He worked with half a mind on the minutiae of cabinet business which he had so long ignored, and in this manner, was able to get a great deal finished. He had nearly given up hope at the end of the afternoon, thinking that Washington had perhaps decided against their new course of action after all (as he was entitled to do) when the man appeared.

He wore his usual impeccable suit of black, clean and pressed, his watch chain hanging just so, his fine stockings hugging the curves of his legs. It was an ensemble Hamilton had seen on his President a hundred times. And yet there was an addition, something he'd never noticed Washington using before: an elegant walking stick of dark wood topped with a fine silver handle. He may have stared, for the pictures the instrument conjured in his mind made him positively blush. A man could be bruised with a blow by such a thing.

"Hamilton," Washington said, jerking him from his thoughts, "are you leaving for the night?"

"I—" Hamilton looked down at his neat stacks of completed work. "Of course I can stay, sir, if you have need of me." His mouth watered at the prospect.

Washington gave the floorboards a light tap with the end of his cane. "Come now. The workday is over. You should leave for home."

"Oh. Yes, I see." Hamilton frowned, thinking this was a very strange way to rebuff a man who had been promised a milking, but if Washington thought it best…. "Good night, then, sir." He rose and found his hat.

"Hamilton?"

He froze, Washington's voice having arrested him in mid-step. "Sir?"

Washington curved his palm over the head of his cane as if pondering some great problem. "Do you know, I don't think I've ever been invited to your home."

Hamilton gaped. It was true, he'd never thought to have the President over for dinner at his Philadelphia house; that was not their way. Washington was not the sort of man one hosted on a whim. He'd always been under the impression that Washington coveted his very rare free time, and he'd never wanted to intrude upon it. Had he been wrong?

"Well, sir," he said slowly, "perhaps after the summer is over and my family returns to town, you and Lady Washington would do us the honor—?"

"Oh, I would not put you through the trouble of a dinner party," Washington said with a wave of his hand. "All those courses. The expense. No, please don't think of it."

"All right," Hamilton said.

"Though if you were in need of company now," Washington turned his walking stick slowly in his grip, "I would not refuse an invitation to a more informal evening." His eyes caught Hamilton's, and danced.

Hamilton inclined his head. His thoughts ran rampant. "Sir, would you like to accompany me?"

A smile so small, it may not have existed. "Why, thank you. I believe I shall."

They walked side by side down the bustling city streets, just as the lamplighters were making their rounds ahead of the gathering dusk. A few pedestrians recognized Washington, of course, and stopped to tip their hats. Washington made certain such gestures were never one-sided, and would tip his hat in return, causing an understandable frisson of admiration to go through each man. Hamilton watched them stride away with awed whispers in the air.

"I've nearly forgotten how much they love you," he said.

"Hm? Ah, careful here, Hamilton," Washington said, and lifted his walking stick across Hamilton's belly to stop him from stepping into the path of a rattling wagon. They waited on the corner as it lumbered by. Washington continued: "You know as well as I do that they love an idea which I must strive to embody, at least in principle. I myself am not the thing they love."

"You give yourself too little credit."

"My detractors might say I give myself more than I deserve." A glimmer of warmth in his eyes.

The wagon passed and they started forward again, Washington leading with his cane. Hamilton looked at it with concern.

"Sir," he said, "have you been unwell?"

"I've never felt better. Why?" Then, seeing his gaze, Washington gave the walking stick a small waggle. "Oh, this? No, dear Hamilton, my knees are not so bad yet. No more than usual. I only thought it would be a nice change of pace to use a stick. Handsome, is it not? A gift from Boston, Revere's company." He handed the thing over to Hamilton for examination, and not wanting to seem rude, Hamilton took it. Its shaft was a dark wood, well polished to a high shine; perhaps cherry. The silver handle was formed into a sleek L-shape, large and frankly bulbous enough to comfortably fit a hand as large as Washington's.

Hamilton handed the cane back to its owner. "Very fine, sir."

They soon arrived at Hamilton's house, a modest thing wedged into a tight row of other homes. The windows were dark, as no one was there to light the candles, and as they entered, Hamilton rushed to do just that.

"I'm afraid I may not have much in the way of dinner to offer, sir," he said as he lit a lamp on the mantle. "A woman stops by once or twice a week in the summer to stock the larder; just simple things, mind you. Though there is some wine if—"

"Hamilton."

Hamilton spun to find Washington hanging up his own black coat on the hook in the vestibule and setting his cane in the stand. Damn, he should have offered.

"Sir?"

"Please don't work yourself into a lather on my account. I'm quite content to merely sit with you. Here, I will pour the wine." He moved to the sideboard and procured two glasses, helping himself to the decanter.

Hamilton collapsed in his armchair. "Thank you, sir," he said, and accepted his drink.

Washington settled on the davenport across from him. "Do not tell me the all-knowing Hamilton's nerves are frayed?"

"This just isn't what I expected, sir," Hamilton said. "Our... activity has been confined to our offices thus far."

Washington regarded him with a serious look. "If having me in your house is discomfiting—"

"No, sir, you are very welcome." Hamilton drank deeply from his glass.

Washington sipped. "I had rather hoped that the surroundings would have the opposite effect: that you would be calmed by the familiarity, and perhaps not as skittish in embracing something new."

"I am not skittish," Hamilton protested even as his heart skipped several beats. "Only eager, perhaps, to learn what you have in store for me."

"If you are sure?" Washington asked.

Hamilton nodded. His eyes, he hoped, conveyed his desperate longing for what he didn't even know.

Washington set aside his wineglass. "Very well." He sat back, one arm along the back of the davenport, the picture of ease. "Strip."

Hamilton paused. He was unsure of why he hadn't expected such a command; possibly he had thought Washington would have no interest in his bare flesh. But it cheered him to think he might.

"Sir." He drained his glass and set it down. Stood up and reached for his stocks. Dropped them to the floor, then went to work on his waistcoat while he toed off his shoes. All the while, Washington watched him with an impassive air.

Hamilton hesitated at the buttons of his breeches. "I'm—"

Washington cut him off. "No speech, if you would."

A swallow, a nod. The breeches, stockings, the shirt. Piece by piece until Hamilton stood naked amid his piles of clothing. His cock, already thickening with the attention Washington was paying him; he cupped it shyly beneath his hand.

"No, do not try to cover yourself," Washington said. Hamilton's hand fell away, and he stood. For a long moment, that was all he did, stand to be looked upon by his President.

His cock hardened further, curving up to his belly.

"Turn." Washington made a gesture, one finger twirling.

Hamilton complied: one slow, complete revolution.

"Do you remember how you came to me yesterday?" Washington asked. "On your hands and knees? I liked that very much." He made a gesture with his hand, a downward motion.

Hamilton went down on his knees and crept forward through his scattered clothes. His eyes remained fixed on Washington's.

"Oh, and bring me your neckcloth," Washington said just as he crawled over it.

Hamilton reached down and took the long length of white cotton between his fingers, but Washington just tsked.

"My foxhound wouldn't retrieve something for me in that fashion, would he? Use your mouth, Hamilton. It's not otherwise occupied at the moment."

Oh, Hamilton realized. I am the untrained hound again.

He dropped the neckcloth to the carpet and, without telling his body to act in such a manner, slowly dipped his head low to catch the white fabric between his teeth. When he lifted his head, the thing dangled from his lips, and his vision wavered. Washington was a hazy dream before him.

"Good. Now come." Washington's hand was held low, beckoning him. Calling him like a dog.

Hamilton went.

He crawled to the davenport and sat back on his heels at Washington's feet. His chin came to rest on Washington's thigh, and he released the neckcloth to drop into his lap. Then he could only stare, glassy eyed, up at the stern face above him.

"Damp," Washington declared as he touched the gifted neckcloth. "Must you slobber so?"

He grabbed Hamilton by the back of the neck, speaking over his sharp gasp.

"I have half a mind to put you out into the night. Let you fend for yourself."

The blood was singing through Hamilton's veins in a symphony of heat and humiliation. His throat ached to form words that were not allowed. He ached to beg.

Washington must have seen the need painted on his face, for he shook him and said, "Speak. It's the one trick you know."

The words poured out. "Please, Your Excellency, do not cast me out. Let me serve you, adore you, be for you whatever you need, whatever you command—"

"Whatever I command?" Washington raised one eyebrow. "Anything?"

"Yes, sir," Hamilton panted.

Washington held his chin between thumb and forefinger so their gaze could not be broken. "My first command to you is simple. Understand that you can say no tonight."

Hamilton blinked, the fog lifting somewhat. "Sir?"

"It is a lesson you have yet to learn, I think." Washington moved his hand to stroke his loose hair. "It will not disappoint me. The option is yours if you need it."

"I won't," Hamilton said.

"Then you trust me more than I trust myself," Washington murmured. His fingers tightened in Hamilton's hair, and he pulled sharply to bare his pulsing throat. "Now, then, are you ready for more?"

"Oh, yes." Hamilton nodded fervently, eyes slipping shut at the feeling of crisp cloth sliding around his neck. Washington wrapped the neckcloth snugly above his Adam's apple, leaving the remaining length fluttering. This, Washington wrapped around his fist and tugged.

"Not too tight?" he asked.

Hamilton, bereft of language, shook his head in a cloud of bliss. His mouth was slack, open, gasping against Washington's leg. The whole of his naked body was on fire.

"Exercise would do you good. Come." Washington stood and held the makeshift leash at the level of his hip, forcing Hamilton to crawl alongside him with his neck stretched long. Still the neckcloth choked him slightly with every step, and as they made a slow circuit of the parlor, bursts of light began to appear in his eyes.

The feeling was exquisite.

"Which way is the study?" Washington asked, and when Hamilton pointed the way with his nose instead of his hand, he whispered soft approval and bent to pet his hair. As they went, Washington snagged his walking stick from the stand by the front door. Hamilton thrilled at the sight: a gentleman walking his prize pet.

Hamilton allowed himself to be led down the hall and to his private office, a cozy space stuffed with his books. His oak desk stood under the window, which thankfully had its drapes drawn.

Washington stopped just inside the room on its plush Oriental rug. "I will need you to see to a small task for me, Hamilton."

"Of course, sir," Hamilton said. He sat patiently on the floor as Washington untied the cloth from his throat, balling it into his sleeve. From his waistcoat pocket, he retrieved a small vial of liquid with a cork stopper.

"Prepare yourself, please," he said, and dropped the vial onto the carpet in front of Hamilton. It rolled a bit until it came to rest against his knee.

Hamilton gazed up at Washington, a monolith complete with a cane on which to lean. "With my fingers, sir?"

"Unless you possess some other way of doing it." Washington availed himself of the desk chair and sat with his hands stacked on his walking stick's handle. "You have done this to yourself before, haven't you?"

His cheeks burned. "Yes, Your Excellency. When I am alone. And, back when—" He looked down at the oil in its vial. How strange, to think of John in this moment. They had never been like this; theirs had been an innocent affair. Tender. There had been poetry….

A hand in his hair, gentle. Washington's voice caressed his ear. "Alex? If it's overwhelming—"

"No." Hamilton crushed his eyes shut once, then opened them to meet Washington's gaze. "No, sir. I would very much like to do this for you."

The hand retreated. "You do so love to talk. Can you tell me what you're doing as you do it?"

Hamilton uncorked the vial and dribbled the thick oil on his fingers. He considered his position on his knees and decided it would do. He reached behind himself, searching.

"I'm slicking myself up for you, sir," he said, "for whatever you'd like to do to me." He circled a fingertip around his tight hole, spreading oil before pressing in just to the first knuckle.

"Wonderful. And?"

Hamilton wet his lips. "I am readying myself, my tight body—"

"Is it so tight?" Washington asked.

"Yes, sir," Hamilton breathed. "Wedding night tight."

Washington's face held an amused expression. "My god. Stretch well, then."

Hamilton added another finger. "I will, sir. Will you—? That is, am I to—?" It seemed impossible that the chaste Washington would stoop to fuck him with his cock. Yet Hamilton couldn't fathom what all this might be for, otherwise.

Washington leant forward and threaded his fingers in Hamilton's hair. "You will be seen to, that I can promise. Only you'll need to be ready for it. Are you?"

One more finger, crooked. Hamilton let his mouth fall open. "Y—yes."

"Then bend yourself over that desk." Washington nodded to the piece of furniture next to him.

Hamilton stood, dizzy for a moment, then gained his bearings enough to stagger over to the desk and fall upon it, his face pressed into his clean blotter, his ass canted high in the air. The little jar with its remnants of red wax sat just in front of his nose. He held his hips away from the edge of the desk so as to not crush his now-dripping erection, and this, he hoped, produced a pleasing picture for his President.

It did, if Washington's groan was anything to go by. "That someone so willful would give himself up so willingly," he said, almost to himself. Hamilton heard the scrape of the desk chair as Washington stood and crowded behind him, hot in the twilight of the little room. His massive, clothed body draped over Hamilton's naked one, his palm coming to rest on Hamilton's flank, which shivered like horseflesh at the simple touch. Had Washington ever placed his hand on so much of Hamilton's bare skin? He did not think so.

Then Washington removed the discarded neckcloth from his sleeve and, with crisp efficiency, used it to bind Hamilton's hands behind his back. Hamilton tested the bonds on his wrists with a scholar's curiosity and found them very strong indeed. Now he had not even the use of his hands to balance himself over the desk. He could only press his cheek down against the flat surface and tremble.

"Please. Sir, please," he said. His voice no longer sounded like his own; it was high, reedy, a stranger's begging whine.

"You've been so well-behaved tonight," Washington said. "You deserve to be filled the way you long to be." And with that he took his walking stick, which was still in his hand, and turned it so that the L-shaped silver handle brushed between the cheeks of Hamilton's ass.

Hamilton comprehended at last, and all in an instant. His spine went as rigid as his cock. "Oh, yes! Oh god, put it—"

"Hush. I know where to put it." There was a teasing edge to Washington's words, damn him. Hamilton's eyelashes fluttered as the smooth, cool cane handle slipped further and further into his oiled body. A long writhe traveled down the length of Hamilton until it was reined in by Washington, who clamped his free hand to the back of Hamilton's neck and held him fast against the blotter.

"Don't move now," he said. "You need only stay there and let me work."

"Yes, sir," Hamilton gasped out. It was a faint whisper in the quiet of the study. The walking stick's handle slid into him past its greatest width, and the squelching sound it made as it did so was downright filth. The polished length of the cane's shaft came to nestle against the seam of his tight stones. Hamilton blinked the sweat from his eyes, his gaze resting nowhere for long.

"How is that?" Washington asked. As if this were a conversation. As if he was inquiring about the fit of a boot.

Hamilton forced his tongue to answer. "It is more than I could have hoped for, Your Excellency." He should have known that, despite his preferences, Washington would find a way to satisfy him.

Then, as if he were not already ascended to heights unknown, Hamilton felt Washington's warm, dry lips pass over the curve of his shoulder. A gift of a kiss. "You look magnificent." He drew the silver handle from Hamilton's body just an inch before pressing it firmly back into place. Hamilton, helpless against the desk, rocked with the motion. His bound hands jerked against the cloth that held them. A sound issued from the depths of his belly, coarse and raw.

"You were made to be taken," Washington observed, and did so, fucking the handle in and out of Hamilton's hole over and over. Between his legs, Hamilton's heavy cock drooled liquid onto the floorboards below; he could hear it as it hit the ground. His body contained an ocean, swelling and receding with each thrust from Washington's stick. He rode atop the waves, carried toward bliss.

"Sir," he said, a warning, perhaps, or a prayer.

Washington took it to mean a request for more. He released Hamilton's neck and instead grabbed a handful of his loose hair, yanking it with sharp strength. Hamilton yelped, his head thrown back now, off the desk, his back bowed into an impossible curl. Still powerless to move himself, he could only be moved. Each tug Washington gave his hair fucked him back onto the handle inside of him.

He felt wetness on his face. Sweat or tears, he couldn't tell, but he tasted salt when his tongue darted out to meet it. And still Washington worked him relentlessly.

"Sir!" Now it really was a warning. Heat coiled at the base of his spine, behind his balls.

"Yes." A hand left the cane dangling at Hamilton's twitching hole and came around to cup his cock in its palm. "Find your end. Finish for me."

He did. Endless pulses. Hot seed against his flesh, between Washington's fingers, between them. Trailing down his shaking thighs. The cane clattered to the floor.

"All of it, now. Every drop." Just as he'd promised, Washington milked him, squeezing him in his tight fist past the point of pleasure, into pain, and onward into something else. Fat drops of seed flowed out lazily with each pass of his hand. Hamilton cried out again and again.

He was upright now, he realized faintly. His sweat-damp back was flush against Washington's chest, his bound arms trapped between their bodies. The hand that wasn't on his cock was wrapped carefully, masterfully around his throat. Hamilton tipped his chin up into the air and bared his neck for more of that touch, and Washington gave him more.

Another teaspoon of seed was wrung from him. It seemed it would never end. Hamilton stood there, panting, until he knew he was empty.

"Thank you, Your Excellency, oh—"

His eyes slipped closed and he knew nothing but darkness for some time. He did not sleep, only drifted in a half-waking dream for some minutes. When he came to his senses, he found himself on the davenport in the parlor. He was still naked, and clammy, but free from his bindings. He was laid out atop a reclining Washington with his head resting on his heart. He listened to the steady beat of it for a moment before stirring to look Washington in the eye.

"Did I fall asleep?"

Washington's hand petted at his hair. "Not as such. You would not stop mumbling. Something about crowning me an emperor."

Hamilton cracked a grin at that. "If I had a jeweled scepter I would give it to you in an eyeblink." He shifted, feeling the pleasant strain in his muscles and hole. "I don't think I've ever felt so—" No word could encapsulate it, so he didn't try. He merely buried his nose in the folds of Washington's cravat and gave a happy sigh.

"You do seem considerably relaxed. I'm glad," Washington said. "I hate to mention it now, but—"

"There is so much work to do," Hamilton grunted into his chest. "I need to secure Congressional support. Someone will need to be convinced to my side."

The hand ceased its ministrations in his hair. "I have a thought about that." And he laid out the ways in which Hamilton might pull a string or two of Jefferson's. "Appeal to his vanity. Let him think you are very desperate and on the verge of a nervous breakdown."

"Well, I might have been. A few weeks ago," Hamilton pointed out. "Though you have thankfully averted that."

"Yes, yes." Washington waved his hand through the air. "Now, after Jefferson agrees to a meeting—"

They planned and strategized. Hamilton eventually rose to slip on his banyan robe, and Washington took his leave, but not before pressing a kiss—lingering and proprietary—to Hamilton's brow.

He saw himself out, cane in his hand. "I think I will use the walking stick more often," he said, and Hamilton flushed at the thought of seeing the instrument in the President's grip as they went about their business.

Three days later, Hamilton would be shown into a room where Jefferson and Madison would receive him. They were expecting a shell of a man, a Hamilton of hooded eyes and shaking hands. Instead they would find a straight-backed soldier, marching forth in a coat of peacock green.

"No," Washington corrected as he'd dressed, "hummingbird green."

Hamilton accepted the appellation with warmth in his eyes, shining bright as his President tied the knot in his neckcloth for him.