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we dream in the dark for the most part

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It would be both fully accurate and a complete lie to say that it started at a fire one night in Valley Forge.

It is the truth, as it was then and there that the first people learned that there were more differences between Alexander Hamilton and an average person than anyone had previously suspected.

False, because of several reasons. That he had been born with the inevitability of it, was certainly one of them. Another, that it expressed itself around the time of his mother’s death.

The fact that time travel is involved should most likely also be considered when thinking about the start of something.

It is John who first spots the change in Alexander. From one moment to another, the immigrant’s entire posture changes.

He sits a little less straight, but at the same time, he is more alert. He frowns slightly and closes his eyes slowly. Is he attempting to smell something? It certainly looks like it. Or maybe he is attempting to capture all of the numerous smells in this place—some of which do seem to cause him to wince? It is not impossible either and it’s not like John has extensive knowledge about the subject.

Once Alexander opens his eyes again a few seconds later, he looks around, focusing on everyone at the campfire in turn. Lafayette, Mulligan, Tallmadge, Burr, and finally John himself. He looks progressively more surprised with every one of them. And yet he gives the impression that he is beginning to get comfortable with his surroundings again, as if he is beginning to understand what is going on.

Although it is precisely that that puzzles John. Why on earth would Alexander suddenly forget where he is? It is not like anything had suddenly changed.

The most perplexing thing happens then, before John can continue pondering the subject at hand. Alexander looks his his hand—by now their entire group has noticed Alexander’s odd behaviour—and then it happens. It all seems to progress quite slowly for John.

Three small bumps begin to form and then swell on the back of Alexander’s hand, before something breaches through the skin and continues to grow forward. These things, they look like claws, made out of bones or something. Within seconds, they have lengthened to maybe a foot.

“Huh,” is the only sound that escapes Alexander. He doesn’t sound shocked, just kind of surprised. As if he was expecting something similar, but not the exact same.

And that’s precisely when a small scream escapes John’s mouth while Hercules gasps in surprise, Aaron’s eyes grow in size—is that recognition John sees in his eyes? It can’t possibly be, can it?—and Tallmadge begins to stutter.

Lafayette is the only one who can bring himself to speak, but he seems to have momentarily lost the ability to articulate himself in English in the shock.

Qu'est-ce que la vraie baise est-ce!? Comment est-ce possible? Je ne comprends pas!

It’s only then that Alexander actually looks at them. He lets his claws shrink again—it seems faster than growing them had been, but that may only be John’s perception. The wounds in the skin close unrealistically fast, within seconds, at most.

Once they are gone, Alexander holds his hands up next to his face. “Okay, this seems weird, but I promise I can explain it.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t see any logical explanation for this,” Hercules states. “I must be more drunk than I thought I was.”

John is about to nod in agreement when he notices that Alexander sighs and shakes his head.

“No,” he says. “No, you’re not.”

“But this simply cannot be happening,” Tallmadge argues once he is able to form complete words again. “It’s impossible for a human to do that.”

“There’s the thing. I am not technically one.” There is a slight pause before Alexander continues. ”Or at least not in the sense you think.”

“I don’t understand,” John replies after letting that sentence run through his mind for a few seconds. “How can you be a human, but not?”

His question was accompanied by several nods from the group.

“This would be so much easier to explain if we were in a past-Darwin time, but I guess I’ll have to manage, Alexander mutters quietly, looking at the sky and running his hands slowly over his face.

“Who or what is this ‘Darwin’?” Lafayette questions.

John shrugs. “I have never heard that name.”

“It’s because he will only become famous in a hundred years or so. I forgot when precisely,” Alexander explains—except his explanation only confuses them more.

“What on earth are you talking about?” Hercules wonders loudly.

“You’re certainly not talking any sense,” Tallmadge adds.

“Au contraire, I actually do, you just don’t know it yet. Scientific knowledge simply hasn’t evolved far enough at this point. The world isn’t used to the weirdness that has become normal for me yet.”

“You’re really not doing a good job at convincing me that I am not just imagining this,” Hercules points out after a few seconds.

“In the simplest terms possible—because the more complicated ones haven’t technically been invented yet,” Alexander complains and apologizes at the same time, somehow, “there is a second kind of human developing and they can do things the baseline human cannot. Of course, there’s also enhancement, but that’s an entirely different story.”

This—again—did not help clear John’s confusion at all and, looking around—the same was true for everyone else.

Except for Aaron, for whom the recognition in his eyes was now truly undeniable.

“Aaron?” Tallmadge asks. “You know what he is talking about?”

The man in question is startled at being addressed, the flinch makes that more than obvious. “No. I mean, yes. I mean, kind of? I merely...recognize some elements.” He shrugs.

“Ah, yes,” Alexander nods. “I remember.”

“How can you remember something I have never told anyone about?” Aaron raises both an eyebrow and a good point.

“That you haven’t told anyone yet. I am a time traveller, that's part of what I was trying to tell you.”

“A time traveller?” Lafayette repeats questioningly while the rest is—once more—taken aback. “Qu'est-ce que ça veut dire?

Alexander translates his statement into French and Lafayette copies the actions of the rest of their groups.

“I’m not sure that I wholly believe in what you are saying,” Hercules points at Alexander as he speaks, “but it certainly makes more sense than anything else I can think of. Even if it still does not explain the, well, claws .”

“It’s because I’m one of these ‘special humans’,” he makes quotation marks in the air as he says that. “We mostly call them mutants nowadays. I have these ada-” Alexander shakes his head as he corrects himself, “ bone claws and can heal pretty much instantly, but there is nothing that couldn’t be an ability. Anything you can imagine is theoretically possible.”

Aaron seems to want to ask a question, but then decide against it. Nevertheless, Alexander gives the man a knowing look.

“I still don’t understand,” Lafayette proclaims.”

“To explain everything would take a while,” Alexander states, “and honestly, there’s quite a lot of which that I won’t enjoy reliving once, nevermind twice, so let’s get the General, as I presume he will want to hear this tale as well.”