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A New Kind of Stupid

Chapter Text

Arthur slammed the cast list on Miles’ desk. “What is the meaning of this?”

Miles grinned broadly and slid his glasses farther down his nose so he could peer at Arthur. “I am very glad to hear you are already practicing your lines, Arthur, but Washington says that, not Burr.”

Arthur rolled his eyes. “Why did you cast Eames as Hamilton?” he snarled.

Miles raised a brow and sat back in his chair.

“He isn't even American!” Arthur ran a hand through his hair. “How can you cast an Englishman as Alexander Hamilton?”

Miles sighed and folded his hands. “Arthur, I'm sorry if you're disappointed you didn't get the part you wanted, but trust me when I say you are much better suited for the role of Aaron Burr than Hamilton.”

Arthur couldn't think of anything to say that didn't involve profanity, so he stalked out of the classroom before he could be written up for attacking a teacher.

This was, he thought, the horrible risk of having an Englishman direct a musical about American history.

“Arthur!”

He knew that voice. He quickened his pace.

“Arthur!”

A hand landed on Arthur's shoulder, and he spun around, pushing it off. “Don't touch me,” he snarled at Eames.

Eames’ face went carefully blank. “Arthur,” he said again, softer this time. Somehow the softness was worse.

“Congratulations, Hamilton,” Arthur spat, and he stalked away.

~+~+~

When Arthur arrived at their first rehearsal, it was obvious to him that Miles had lost his mind while making casting decisions. Mal and Ariadne were standing off to one side, trying to beatbox, while the Fischer brothers, Robert and Maurice, and their friend Peter huddled in an extremely unfriendly cluster, glaring at anyone who approached.

Arthur spotted their foreign exchange student, and he grabbed his arm. “Saito?” he demanded. “What are you doing here?”

Saito shrugged. “I was informed that if I participated in this, I would receive extra credit in my English class.”

He calmly walked away, and then someone spoke right into Arthur’s ear. “Hello, my friend!”

Arthur jumped and whirled around. “Yusuf?”

Yusuf grinned broadly.

“What are you doing here?” Arthur’s heart was jackrabbiting in his chest.

“Me?” Yusuf chuckled. “I’m Angelica Schuyler!”

~+~+~

“I’m done with life,” Arthur announced as he walked in the door.

His mother squinted at him. “What happened?”

“Miles is crazy, and our drama production is going to be absolute crap.” Arthur dropped his backpack on the couch and hugged his mom.

“I’m sure it’s not that bad,” his mom said as she rubbed his back.

“Worse,” Arthur said. “He’s cast guys as the Schuyler sisters, all three, and he has Ariadne playing Hercules Mulligan. Hercules Mulligan, mom.”

She looked at him and smiled. “Who’s Ariadne again?”

“You know.” Arthur waved a hand in the air. “The small quiet one who’s head of the art club and wants to be an architect?”

“Oh.” His mom frowned. “Can she rap?”

“I don’t think so,” Arthur said. “We just did basic stuff today. No singing until next week.”

“Well,” his mom said, then stopped. “I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

“It won’t,” Arthur said. He grabbed his backpack and headed up to his room. “But thanks anyway.”

~+~+~

“It’s a read through,” Miles said in response to the multitude of horrified stares. “No singing yet. Just reading.”

Arthur looked up from the doodle he was making in his notebook and glanced around the table. Eames met his stare. Quickly, slyly, he winked and smirked. Arthur pointedly turned away.

“From the top, please,” Miles called.

Arthur breathed deeply and leaned back in his chair, tipping it onto its back legs as he glanced at the cover of the script on the table in front of him.

“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman…”

He looked around the room again, quickly skipping past Eames’ chair. He could recite the entire musical, word for word, note for note.

“The ten dollar Founding Father without a father,” a small, high-pitched voice chimed in.

Arthur startled, and his chair slammed flat on the floor. “What the fuck?” he said before he could stop himself.

The kid playing Laurens blinked owlishly at him. Christ, he was so short, Arthur could only see his damn eyes over the edge of the table.

“I already went over this, Arthur,” Miles said, “if you had bothered to pay attention.” He gestured grandly to the hobbit, and to the smaller one sitting next to him. “Not enough people auditioned for lead roles, so I chose James and Phillipa.”

Arthur stared at them. “Are they middle schoolers?”

“Freshmen,” James said, and crossed his arms.

Arthur turned to Miles. “What do you mean, ‘not enough people auditioned’?”

“Arthur.” Miles sighed. “We have the chorus playing our ensemble, for Christ’s sake.”

“Whatever,” Arthur said. He tipped his chair back again.

Miles nodded at James, and he resumed. “The ten dollar Founding Father without a father…”

~+~+~

“So done with school,” Arthur said when he made it home that afternoon. “So done.”

“Do you want to talk about it?” his mother called after him.

“Nope,” he said as he ran upstairs. “Maybe later, once I’ve jumped off our roof.”

“Don’t get hurt!” his mother called.

Arthur threw himself onto his bed and pulled out his noise-cancelling headphones. The opening riff of Alexander Hamilton echoed into his ears. He mouthed along.

...dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the Caribbean…

Chapter Text

Arthur organized his notebooks and binders in the order of his class schedule, an obvious decision that kept his locker neat and made his locker visits significantly shorter than his peers’. He had used this system since middle school, without change. Which was why he was staring so furiously into his locker, Hamilton script clutched in his hand, wondering where, exactly, he could put it so that it wouldn’t mess up his system.

“Something wrong?” Ariadne asked.

Arthur jumped and slammed his locker shut. “Um,” he said. “Hi?”

“Hi.” Ariadne smiled. “You just looked really worried.”

Arthur shrugged. “It’s nothing.” He slid his script into his backpack and started down the hall.

“You excited?” Ariadne asked as she followed him.

“For what?”

“The musical.” She looked at him like she was wondering if he was crazy.

“Yeah,” Arthur said.

Ariadne tilted her head to the side. “You don’t really sound it.”

Arthur stifled a sigh. “Aren’t you going to be late for your next class?”

“We’re in the same class, Arthur.” Now she definitely thought he was crazy.

“Right,” he said, and vowed never to speak out loud again.

They walked in just as the bell rang, and Arthur realized that most of the cast was actually in the room. Maurice and Peter sat in the back, Mal had the chair by the window, and Yusuf was right in the middle of the room.

Arthur took his seat and pulled out his notebook.

“Cutting it a bit close,” Eames murmured from his chair on Arthur’s left. He had made a point to sit next to Arthur in every class they shared since they first met in middle school. Eames had called Arthur an arrogant prick, Arthur had called Eames a crazy asshole, and they had, for some mysterious reason, never quite managed to become friends after that.

“So!” Their English teacher clapped her hands. “What did you all think of Streetcar?”

Arthur pulled out a pen and started writing in his notebook. He loved notebooks. They were the perfect cover for him to completely ignore everyone and do whatever he wanted. In middle school, he had filled pages with miscellaneous geometric shapes and patterns. These days, the margins were crammed with Hamilton lyrics and stars.

“It was foolish,” Mal said. “Stella should not have been with that horrible man.”

“He was just trying to keep his family together,” Peter drawled.

“And raping Blanche was going to help that how?” Ariadne twisted around in her chair to glare at him.

“Ariadne’s right,” Yusuf said. “That was inexcusable.”

Well the word got around, Arthur scribbled, they said, “This kid is insane man.” Took up a collection just to send him to the mainland.

“Blanche was a pain in the ass,” Maurice said.

Another girl in the class joined in. “So that excuses rape?”

Get your education, don’t forget from whence you came. And the world’s gonna know your name. What’s your name, man?

Something was poking Arthur in the elbow. He looked over at Eames and raised an eyebrow, but Eames was studiously listening to the heated discussion. Arthur reached down and grabbed the folded piece of paper tucked in the space between his arm and the desk.

Alexander Hamilton, it read in Eames’ loopy script. My name is Alexander Hamilton. And there’s a million things I haven’t done. But just you wait…just you wait. :D

Arthur frowned and glanced over at Eames again.

“Arthur!” the teacher called. “Do you have anything to add?”

He blinked. “Um, not really. I, uh. I mean, Blanche was obnoxious, but Stanley never should have, um, attacked her.”

“Thank you, Arthur!” Ariadne crowed.

Arthur nodded vaguely and tucked the paper into the front pocket of his notebook. He was just going to throw it out later, he told himself.

~+~+~

By the time Arthur got to lunch, he was barely surprised to see Ariadne sitting at his lunch table.

“Hi, Arthur,” she said.

“Hi.”

“I think we should all get to know each other better, being fellow cast members and all.” She beamed.

Arthur nodded.

“So I invited a couple of other people to join us.”

“How many is ‘a couple’?” Arthur asked.

“Um,” Ariadne said.

“A couple” turned out to be Mal, Dom, Yusuf, Saito, and Nash.

“Really,” Dom said, mouth full of half-chewed sandwich, “I don’t get why I’m George Washington. I thought I was great Hamilton material.”

Nash scoffed. “Shut up. I’m playing two different characters and I’m still on stage less than you are.”

“You get shot,” Yusuf offered helpfully.

Nash glared at him.

“Like, I don’t really see myself as a military commander,” Dom continued. “I think—”

“I think you need to swallow your food,” Mal interrupted, “before I am sick.”

Dom stared at her, nonplussed.

“Ready to be America’s favorite fighting Frenchman, Mal?” Ariadne asked.

“But of course.” Mal examined her nails. “What else could I possibly be?”

Arthur wondered if it would be too rude if he pulled out his headphones.

“Ah, hello there!” Eames said. “Mind if I join in?”

“Eames!” Ariadne said. “Come on, sit down!”

There was only one empty space left at the table. Eames’ elbow knocked against Arthur’s as he set down his tray and pulled out the chair.

“Are you happy with who Miles cast you as?” Ariadne asked him. “Because Dom and Nash think they were cheated.”

“Sorry,” Eames chuckled. “What was that?”

“So, Arthur,” Saito said from Arthur’s other side, “are you looking forward to rehearsal today?”

Arthur gritted his teeth as he realized Saito had just talked over Eames’ answer. “Sure,” he said, trying not to sound too snappish. “You?”

Saito pondered it. “I suppose. I have never pretended to be a woman before. It is an enlightening experience.”

“And what about you, Arthur?” Ariadne asked. “Happy to be Burr?”

Arthur tried to ignore Eames’ presence at his side. “Who wouldn’t be?” he hedged.

“I guess you’re overjoyed to be Hercules Mulligan,” Yusuf said.

“Of course! Hercules Mulligan!” she shouted, imitating the line in Yorktown.

Everyone laughed.

~+~+~

“Oh, look at those eyes,” Robert read flatly. “That boy is mine. That boy is—” He slammed the script onto the table. “Seriously?”

Eames smirked. “Oh, please continue, Robert, my ego is feeling absolutely wonderful.”

Robert sighed and looked at Miles. “I’m not sure you made the right decision here.”

“I think I made the perfect decision,” Miles said. “Read on.”

Robert hesitated, then sighed before picking up the script again. “That boy is mine, that boy is mine. Helpless. Oohhh.”

Eames snorted. “Eliza,” he said, “I don’t have a dollar to my name, an acre of land, a troop to command, a dollop of fame. All I have’s my honor.” He gestured vaguely. “A tolerance for pain. A couple of college credits and my top notch brain.” He paused and smirked. “But really, who doesn’t want my top notch brain, hm?”

“Eames,” Miles sighed.

“I’m just making an observation,” Eames said.

Miles glanced at the clock. “I hope you are all a little more cooperative tomorrow. That’s all for today.”

“What did you think?” Eames asked Arthur as everyone gathered their things to leave.

“I think you have no concept of personal space.” Arthur leaned away and grabbed his backpack.

“Of the musical, I meant.”

Arthur rolled his eyes. “It’s just irresistible.” He turned and walked out the door, and he was halfway home before he realized he’d almost been waiting for Eames to come after him.

Chapter Text

Their lunch arrangement had become A Thing, and Arthur didn’t really know what to make of it. But he started walking to the cafeteria with Dom and Yusuf, who shared his history class with him, and it was actually not too unpleasant, if he ignored Dom’s tendency to talk about himself endlessly and Yusuf’s obsession with explosions and science experiments.

“I mean really,” Dom said, “it’s Thursday, and we’re only, like, a third of the way through Act II, and I mean, we don’t even have a set! Like, how is George Washington supposed to command his troops if he has no wooden thingy to stand on? You know?”

Arthur and Yusuf nodded gravely and rolled their eyes at each other.

“And we need to actually read our lines on stage, you know? To get a sense of each other? Like…” Dom waved his hands in the air. “You know?”

Arthur didn’t even bother to nod.

Yusuf clapped a hand on Dom’s shoulder. “Cheer up, mate. At least you get to run the country for a couple of songs.”

“Hey, leave her alone!” a small, high-pitched voice cried.

Arthur turned and saw James and Phillipa backed against their lockers, with Peter and Maurice looming over them.

“Come on,” Peter coaxed. “Just make this easier for all of us.” He placed a hand on Maurice’s shoulder. “You won’t like him when he’s angry.”

Maurice glowered.

“Hey!” Dom shouted. He grabbed Peter’s shoulder and pulled him away from the two freshmen. “What is your problem?”

Peter smirked. “Just having a bit of fun.”

“We’re all on the same production, for Christ’s sake!” Dom ran a hand through his hair. “You couldn’t find two other freshmen to pick on?”

Peter glanced over his shoulder, and Maurice shrugged at him.

“Yeah, why not,” Peter said. He and Maurice slinked down the hallway, shouldering aside any students in their way.

“Thanks, Dom,” James mumbled.

“Yeah,” Phillipa said.

“Yeah, sure,” Dom said. “Aunt Trudy would go ballistic if she heard you guys got hurt.”

“Aunt Trudy?” Yusuf’s eyebrows rose. “Are you three related?”

Dom sighed. “We’re cousins. Come on, guys, we’ll walk you to the cafe.”

“Cousins?” Yusuf whispered to Arthur.

Arthur shrugged.

They made it to the cafe without any problems, and Dom led James and Phillipa over to their table.

“Wait, what?” James stopped in his tracks. “We can’t sit with you!”

Phillipa shook her head vigorously.

Dom frowned. “Why not?”

“Because you broke up with Patty, and Patty’s little sister is Amy, and Amy and her friends are the only friends we have,” James explained.

Dom seemed to think about that for a minute. “Wait, what?”

Phillipa sighed. “We can’t be friends with you and Amy,” she explained.

“But why not?”

James grabbed Phillipa’s hand. “Come on, Pip,” he said.

“Bye!” She waved over her shoulder.

Everyone watched them go.

Eames cleared his throat. “Can someone explain that to me?”

“Please,” Yusuf added.

Dom dropped himself into his chair. “I hate high school,” he mumbled.

“So does everyone else alive,” Ariadne assured him.

~+~+~

Mal frowned at the script in her hands. “Somebody get me some dirt on this…” She pursed her lips. “Vacuous mass?”

“Yes,” Miles said.

“Hm.” She shrugged. “Somebody get me some dirt on this vacuous mass so we can at last unmask him.”

Some of the cast members laughed.

Miles frowned. “I want to get ‘Blow Us All Away’ by the end of this rehearsal, and I will keep you all here until we do.”

Eames cleared his throat. “Arthur and I know our lines, so you can skip songs like Hurricane for the read-through.”

Miles sighed. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Mal?”

She cleared her throat. “I’ll pull the trigger on him, someone load the gun and cock it…”

It felt like months before they reached Blow Us All Away and Miles gave them permission to head home. “Don’t forget!” he called. “We start practicing songs on Monday! Maurice, it’ll be your big day!”

Maurice grumbled discontentedly. Peter patted his back.

“Oh my god.” Ariadne dashed over to Eames and Arthur’s seats. “Did Phillipa break your heart as Philip, or was it just me?”

Arthur tried to smile at her. “No, she was good.”

“I have to tell her.” Ariadne ran to Phillipa.

“Good show,” Eames said, rising from his chair.

Arthur reached out and grabbed his arm. “Hey,” he said, looking Eames straight in the eye, “don’t speak up for me like that again.”

Eames hesitated. “Sorry?”

“With Miles. I could’ve spoken for myself.”

“Just trying to save us all a bit of time, hm? And besides, we both know you were thinking the same thing.” Eames smiled.

Arthur stared. “What, are we best friends now? You can read my mind?”

Eames’ smile flickered. “Arthur,” he said.

Arthur grabbed his backpack and left.

~+~+~

“How’s the play going?” Arthur’s mom asked when he got home.

“Musical,” he said. “And it’s going.”

“Arthur.” His mom sighed. “You’ve been saying that all week.”

He shrugged. “Well, it is. We’re almost done with the first read-through. We start practicing songs on Monday.”

“Are you excited?”

“Yeah, sure.”

She smiled and rubbed his back. “You're going to be great.”

He leaned into her side. “Thanks,” he said softly.

“I’m thinking chicken for dinner?”

“Sure.” Arthur started upstairs.

“Oh, wait,” his mom called, “you never told me who’s playing the other characters!”

Arthur sighed and turned around. “You don’t know all the people.”

“Arthur.”

He clomped back downstairs and sat at the kitchen table next to her. “There are two freshmen in the play, because I guess, like, nobody auditioned. One of them’s playing John Laurens, and the other is going to be Hamilton’s son.”

“Freshmen?” his mom asked.

“Yeah.” Arthur rubbed his fingers against each other. “And Yusuf’s playing Angelica Schuyler. Robert and Maurice Fischer are in it, too. And our exchange student, Saito.”

“Who’s Hamilton?”

Arthur hesitated. “Eames.”

“Oh,” his mom said. Then, “Eames?”

“Yeah.”

“Your Eames?”

“What?” Arthur frowned. “What do you mean, ‘my Eames’?”

“You know,” his mom said. “You always talked about him back in middle school, how he had a million friends and you wished he’d just talk to you once.”

Arthur scoffed. “Yeah, right. He teased me all the time. I just wanted him to leave me alone.”

His mother hummed thoughtfully. “Alright,” she said and kissed him on the top of his head.

Arthur laughed to himself when he got to his room. When had he ever wanted to be friends with Eames?

Chapter Text

Miles called for everyone’s attention on Monday morning. “Alright, enough chit chat.” He clapped his hands together. “Who’s going to be the first victim?”

Arthur glanced around the room.

“Maurice!” Miles cried. “Come on up to the front of the room.”

Maurice sighed loudly as he stood.

“You’ll Be Back,” Miles called. “Ready?” He started to play the music.

Maurice frowned. “Wait, you’re just going to play the song?”

“Of course,” Miles said. “You are supposed to sing, you know.”

“I don’t know the song yet.” Maurice rolled his eyes. “I thought I was supposed to learn it here.”

“Maurice,” Miles said. “It’s Hamilton. Who doesn’t know all the songs to Hamilton?”

Maurice glared. “Me.”

Miles looked at him as if he were a great disappointment. “Well, I suggest you start listening to the soundtrack now.” He looked at the paper in his hands. “Robert!”

“Um,” Robert said. “Me?”

“Burn,” Miles announced.

Robert stared at him as he started the music. “How am I supposed to sing this?” he asked.

Miles shrugged and smiled. “Just sing it an octave lower. You’ll figure it out.”

“What the fuck kind of musical production is this?” Maurice shouted.

“Language,” Miles said with a stern frown.

~+~+~

“I didn’t even know you could sing that high, Yusuf,” Ariadne said at lunch.

Yusuf blushed and ducked his head. “I didn’t either.”

Dom leaned across the table. “One Last Time is really powerful, I think, and it’s an honor to be the one singing it.”

Yusuf and Ariadne glanced at him. “You did really good on the rap, too, Yusuf,” Ariadne said.

Yusuf beamed.

“Just wait until we sing the opening song, though,” Eames said. As he leaned back in his chair, his elbow knocked against Arthur’s shoulder. Arthur shifted to the side.

“Just you wait,” Nash called with a smirk.

“Alexander Hamilton,” Ariadne chanted. “We are waiting in the wings for you.”

“Waiting in the wings for you,” Yusuf echoed.

Eames laughed. “Are you trying to start a sing-along?”

“Would it work?” Yusuf asked.

“Um, hi,” a voice said from behind them.

Arthur turned to look. Robert grinned at them all weakly. “Can I sit with you guys?” he asked.

“Robert!” Ariadne shouted. “Come join us! Pull up a chair!”

“And a table,” Eames added, “as we are out of space.”

Robert commandeered an unoccupied table nearby, and he and Saito dragged it over to the others.

“Angelica,” Yusuf sang.

Robert laughed. “Eliza.”

Everyone turned to Saito. He blinked and said flatly, “And Peggy.”

Mal leaned across the table and rested her hand on his forearm. “Saito,” she said, “we have discussed this.”

He sighed. “And Peggy,” he said.

“We have time to work on it,” Eames said quickly. He turned to Robert. “Usual lunchmates absent?”

Robert flushed. “They’re just…being them. You know.”

Dom nodded sagely. The others stared.

“I just,” Robert said, then stopped. “I just wanted to get to know you guys better.”

“Oh, well!” Eames placed a hand on his chest. “I am Eames.” He moved his hand to Arthur’s shoulder. “This is Arthur.”

Robert smiled. “I know. That’s not what I meant.”

“Welcome to the table where it happens,” Nash said. “Hamilton cast members only.”

~+~+~

“You say,” Maurice sang unsteadily, “the price of my love’s not a price that you're willing to pay.”

Miles nodded encouragingly.

“You cry,” Maurice warbled. Arthur tried to hide his wince at the sharpness. “At your tea which you—” He stopped and shook his head. “Do they all have to be here?” he demanded, gesturing at the rest of the cast seated in front of him. “It's weird.”

“They're here to support you, Maurice,” Miles said as he shut off the music.

“We’ve been here all week, you know,” Yusuf pointed out.

Maurice sighed loudly. “Whatever,” he said. “Is it ‘tea which you hurl in the sea,’ or throw?”

Miles rubbed his eyes. “We've been over this.”

“Well, go over it again,” Maurice said, crossing his arms.

“Maurice,” Miles said.

“And why are you using karaoke versions of these songs that you got off of, like, YouTube?”

Miles rubbed his forehead. “We’ll come back to you,” he said. “Peter!”

Peter groaned quietly.

“Front of the room, please,” Miles said. “Farmer Refuted.”

“Hear ye, hear ye,” Peter said. “My name is Samuel Seabury, and I present Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the Continental Congress.”

Miles shut off the music. “Peter,” he said.

Peter groaned again, louder.

“Passion,” Miles said. “We’ll come back to you, too.” He flipped through his papers. “Arthur!”

Arthur took a deep breath as he stood and walked to the front of the room. When the opening notes of Wait For It began to play, he smiled to himself and let his eyes slide shut. This was one of his favorite songs, and he let himself fall into character as he sang about love and death, relishing that moment of quiet before the chorus.

“I am the one thing in life I can control! I am inimitable, I am an original.”

The end of the song came much sooner than he had expected, and when he opened his eyes, he realized that the others were actually clapping. For him. He stared at them dazedly.

“That’s how it’s done,” Miles said. “Thank you, Arthur.”

“Yeah,” Arthur said. “Sure.”

He started to walk back to his seat, but Miles stopped him. “Wait just a moment. Eames, come up here. You said you both know your lines already, yes?”

Arthur sighed and just barely curbed the instinct to send a Death Glare in Eames’ direction.

“Yes,” Eames said after a moment’s hesitation.

“Yes,” Arthur said.

Miles smiled. “Excellent! Dear Theodosia!”

Eames glanced at Arthur wryly.

Arthur closed his eyes do he wouldn’t have to stare at Eames’ ridiculous face for the entire song, but they flew open the moment Eames joined in. Eames met his glance and smiled softly as he sang.

They moved through the harmonies in perfect tune with each other, and Arthur felt a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. This was actually…not that bad.

As the music faded away, Eames grinned broadly. Arthur smiled back, then ducked his head and returned to his seat. What was he doing?

“Wonderful,” Miles said. “Brilliant!” He glanced at his watch. “Now, before we run out of time, we need to start discussing the set.”

“Finally,” Dom said loudly.

“If we want it to be similar to the original, we have a lot of work ahead of us,” Miles said.

“Do we have a rotating stage?” James asked, bouncing in his seat.

“Yeah!” Phillipa called.

“No,” Miles said.

“We need the staircase,” Eames said.

“And the balcony,” Arthur added.

Miles nodded and rocked back and forth on his feet. “Come after school tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll have lots of supplies.”

“Wait.” Mal raised a perfectly manicured hand. “Are we building the set?”

Miles crossed his arms. “What part of no budget do you all not understand?”

Mal stared at him, eyes wide. She glanced down at her nails and pursed her lips.

“Tomorrow!” Miles smiled determinedly. “Don’t forget to eat your Wheaties for breakfast!”

Ariadne ran over to Arthur and Eames as everyone gathered their things. "You guys sounded incredible!" she said, smiling. "I just wanted to tell you that you're perfect for Hamilton and Burr."

Arthur nodded and smiled. "Thanks. I mean, I wish I was singing Hamilton's part, but Eames actually wasn't that bad." He chuckled, but nobody else did.

Ariadne glanced over at Eames. "I," she said. "Uh. I'll see you guys tomorrow!"

"Sure," Eames said quietly. He grabbed his backpack and followed her out the door.

Chapter Text

“Put your backs into it!” Miles bellowed.

Arthur glared at the particle board in front of him.

“I've always wanted to say that,” Miles said to nobody in particular.

“This wood stain is going to ruin my clothes,” Mal declared. “Why can we not paint it instead?”

“Because,” Miles said, “historical accuracy is paramount.”

“You do understand that this is a hip hop musical filled with rap,” Maurice said, rubbing the back of his hand across his forehead and leaving a large, splotchy stain. “Right?”

“And,” Eames added from his precarious perch on the school's rickety scaffolding, “if we are to be truly nitpicky, Hamilton's father left when he was eleven, and his mother died when he was thirteen.” He turned towards Maurice. “You have a little…” He gestured to his own forehead. “On your…”

Maurice stared at Eames. Robert ran over with a damp cloth and started rubbing Maurice’s forehead vigorously. Peter cackled as he watched them.

“Robert!” Maurice spluttered. “What the hell are you doing?”

Robert pulled away. “Helping?”

“Oh, there's no helping that,” Miles said. “It takes wood stain weeks to come out of your skin.”

Maurice slowly turned towards Miles. “Weeks?”

“Thought I mentioned that,” Miles said.

Mal stared at the paintbrush in her hands and carefully extended her arm until it was farther away from her.

Peter patted Maurice on the back. “You’re still pretty to me, baby,” he cooed.

Maurice swatted angrily at him, muttering profanities.

“Is there no one else who can build this set?” Saito asked.

Miles sighed loudly. “How many times to do I have to remind you all that we have the chorus filling in as our ensemble? No one wants to be in theater anymore! I have freshmen playing major roles!” He gesticulated wildly. “You should all be grateful I managed to get the funds for the rights to Hamilton instead of some old show like Bye Bye, Birdie that no one would have come to!” He stalked out of the room, muttering to himself.

Everything was quiet for a moment. Then Ariadne said, “Do we want to read through our lines while we work?”

“I'll get the scripts!” Yusuf lept to his feet and kicked a large can of wood stain. It toppled and slowly spread across the stage floor.

“I guess we'll be staining the floor as well, hm?” Eames said.

“I, uh,” Yusuf stuttered. “I’ll go get the scripts.”

“James!” Dom shouted, “what are you doing?”

He and Phillipa looked up from their corner, brushes and towels in hand. “Staining,” James said.

“Yeah,” Phillipa said.

Dom sighed. “You're making it uneven.”

“I'm making worms,” James said. “Everybody likes worms.”

“You can't make worms,” Dom said.

“Why not?” James said. “You know, you can't boss us around just because you're our older cousin.”

“Yeah,” Phillipa said.

Dom flushed. “Yes I can!”

“No you can't,” Phillipa said.

“I mean, they probably had worms in their wood back then,” Robert offered as Yusuf returned with the scripts.

Dom squinted at him.

“Something in your eye?” Eames asked.

“What?” Dom frowned, making the squint more pronounced. “No.”

“Here, Ari,” Yusuf said. “Um, sorry. Ariadne. I meant. Um.”

“Thanks, Yusuf.” Ariadne smiled as she took the papers from him. “Who needs a script?”

Arthur looked around and sighed as almost every hand went up. Rookies. He scanned the room quickly. Saito, Robert, Nash.

His eyes stopped at Eames, and naturally, Eames chose that moment to look up and meet Arthur’s eye. With a grin, he climbed down from the scaffolding and sauntered over. “Something on your mind?”

“No.” Arthur turned away.

“Alright.” Eames sat on the ground next to him. Arthur steadfastly ignored him, until Eames shifted, and said, “I really think someone should wipe up that wood stain puddled on the floor there. Bit of a hazard, hm?”

Arthur sighed and gathered as many towels as he could find.

“Where do we want to start?” Ariadne asked, rifling through her copy of the script.

“My Shot,” James called out.

“Then we have to start with Aaron Burr, Sir,” Eames declared. “Don’t you agree, Arthur?”

Arthur sighed from his careful crouch on the edge of the wood stain puddle. “Sure.”

“Talking or rapping?” Mal asked.

Ariadne looked around. “Any preferences?’

“Talking,” Yusuf and Saito said, just as James and Eames cried, “Rapping!”

“You guys aren’t even in this scene,” Ariadne said to Yusuf and Saito.

“Rapping!” James shouted again.

Arthur wrinkled his nose as the soggy towels in his hands leaked wood stain onto his fingertips. “Rapping,” he said. “Because why not.”

“Exactly, Arthur!” Eames said. “Because why not?” He crouched down at Arthur’s side. “Pardon me,” he said, putting on a surprisingly good American accent, “are you Aaron Burr, sir?”

Arthur sighed. “That depends, who’s asking?”

“Oh, well sure, sir,” Eames chuckled. “I’m Alexander Hamilton, I’m at your service, sir. I have been looking for you.”

Arthur stood, carefully holding the towels, and said, “I’m getting nervous,” as he walked around in search of a trash can.

“Sir,” Eames said, following close at his heel, “I heard your name at Princeton. I was seeking an accelerated course of study, when I got sort of out of sorts with a buddy of yours. I may have punched him. It’s a blur, sir. He handles the financials?”

Arthur couldn’t help but stop and turn around to face Eames. “You punched the bursar,” he said.

There was a second of silence. “Yes!” Eames exclaimed brightly.

Arthur tamped down a smile and turned away again. The others laughed outright.

Eames kept talking, and he just wouldn’t shut up, and Arthur could almost feel his hackles rising, could imagine he was just a guy on the street who had this scrawny, scruffy kid following him around, and it was only too easy to look into Eames’ eyes and tell him, “Talk less. Smile more.”

“You can’t be serious,” Eames said, staring at Arthur.

“You want to get ahead?”

“Yes.”

“Fools who run their mouths off wind up dead.”

“Ah y-yo, y-yo, yo, what time is it?” James bellowed.

“Showtime!” Mal and Ariadne chorused.

“Like I said,” Arthur sang, trying to hide his jackrabbiting heart. Shit, he had forgotten there were other people in the song. Other people in the room. He managed to escape to find a trash can while the others took over, and he returned just in time for Ariadne’s part.

“Bruh, bruh,” she said, “I am Hercules Mulligan, up in it, lovin’ it, yes I heard your mother say ‘come again’!”

Yusuf cheered loudly, Eames wolf whistled, and even Saito started to smile. Arthur couldn’t help but laugh. The small quiet head of the art club who wanted to be an architect could rap like the best of them. Who knew?

~+~+~

When Miles finally returned to the room, they had made it to Helpless, and everyone was trying not to laugh as Robert struggled to sing a complete measure without dropping character. Arthur and Saito were the only two still staining, and they were working on the last piece of the set.

“Oh, screw this,” Robert said finally, and he sat on the edge of the stage.

“No, no,” Eames said, cackling, “please, I beg you, keep going.”

“Come on,” Ariadne coaxed. “My sister made her way across the room to you,” she sang softly.

“Hello, Miles,” Saito said.

Everyone else froze, horrified.

“Um,” Yusuf said, “this isn’t what it looks like.”

“Isn’t it?” Miles asked. “It looks like my wonderful cast getting some extra practice in. Robert, you sing wonderfully, but you need a little more shyness, just a hint of passion. Eliza is in love!” He spread his arms demonstratively.

Robert nodded feebly.

Eames moved closer to Saito and Arthur. “Well, he’s certainly perked up,” he murmured.

“Go home, everyone,” Miles said. “You’ve done great work. I’ll see you all tomorrow.”

“What’s tomorrow?” Ariadne asked.

“Singing!” Miles clapped his hands together. “Everyone knows the words to Non-Stop, right?”

~+~+~

“How was your day?” Arthur’s mother asked when he walked in the door.

“Fine.” He glanced down at his darkened fingertips and sighed.

“That wasn’t a happy sigh,” his mom said.

He smiled. “No. I got wood stain on my fingertips.”

“Wood stain?” She came over to investigate. Arthur obediently held his hands up for her to see.

“From working on the set. We ran through our lines while we stained.”

She smiled and gently nudged his cheek with her knuckle. “Look at you. I haven’t seen you this happy in a long while.”

Arthur frowned. “Happy?”

She rolled her eyes. “Yes, Arthur. Happy. It’s not a crime, you know.”

He sighed and hefted his backpack on his shoulder. “Whatever. I gotta go do homework.”

“Alright.” She turned away and opened the refrigerator. “Dinner’s at six.”

Chapter Text

“Stop, stop, stop. Stop!” Miles roared.

The cast glanced at each other, perplexed.

“This is absolutely horrible,” Miles moaned.

“Good thing this is just rehearsals, then.” Yusuf chuckled and looked at the others.

Ariadne smiled weakly.

“Horrible,” Miles repeated, clearly not comforted by Yusuf’s words.

“What did he expect,” Nash muttered. “None of us know what we’re doing.”

Miles turned and shot Nash a glare. “Places!” he yelled suddenly. “Places!”

“For what?” Mal asked.

“Our funerals,” Maurice intoned.

“Don’t be so dramatic,” Peter said. “It’s probably just our deaths.”

Miles aggressively thumbed his phone screen, and the drum riff of Non-Stop flooded the empty auditorium.

“After the war, I went back to New York,” Arthur called, frantically trying to jump into the song.

“A-after the war, I went back to New York,” Eames echoed.

The rest of the cast looked around, horrified. “We haven’t gone over any of this yet!” Ariadne called over the music.

“I finished up my studies and I practiced law,” Arthur said.

“I practiced law. Burr worked next door.” Eames waved his hand dismissively in Arthur’s direction.

Arthur felt himself slowly fall into character as the others scrambled frantically about the stage. “How to account for his rise to the top? Man, the man is non-stop!”

“Non-stop!” Robert called out belatedly.

And they were off and running. Eames clearly knew all of his lines, and it became a personal challenge for Arthur to best him.

“I intend to prove,” Eames rapped, “beyond the shadow of a doubt, with my assistant council—”

Co-council,” Arthur interrupted. “Hamilton, sit down.”

“What the hell is going on?” Nash asked.

“Sing!” Ariadne commanded.

“Sing what?” Nash asked.

“At least it’s not dancing?” Saito suggested.

“Dance!” Miles shouted over the music.

“You had to say something,” Dom muttered.

“How do we dance?” Peter asked.

Mal stared at him.

“What?” he asked her.

“Americans,” she muttered, and turned away.

James grabbed Phillipa’s hand and twirled her around.

“I’ve seen injustice in the world and I’ve corrected it,” Eames sang, catching Arthur’s eye and winking.

“Hamilton at the Constitutional Convention,” Arthur called, instead of dwelling on whatever that was.

“What the hell is happening,” Peter said.

Maurice patted him on the back. “We bypassed the death and went straight to the funeral. Called it.”

“Talks for six hours the convention is listless,” Arthur sang.

There was a pause as no one jumped in for the next line. Then, James hopped up and shouted, “Yo, who the eff is this!”

Everyone stumbled through the next few lines, completely out of sync. When the music slowed slightly, they all sat on the floor with a groan while Arthur and Eames continued with their lines.

“I’m dead,” Yusuf moaned.

“I can’t feel my feet,” Dom whined.

“Alexander?” Arthur said, turning to Eames.

“Aaron Burr, sir!”

“It’s the middle of the night.”

Eames stepped forward eagerly. “Can we confer, sir?”

Arthur tilted his head to the side. “Is this a legal matter?”

“Yes, and it’s important to me.”

“What do you need?”

“Burr, you’re a better lawyer than me,” Eames blurted.

Arthur paused for a moment. “Okay,” he said.

The others laughed at his tone. Arthur suppressed a pleased grin. The lines flowed easily between him and Eames, and Arthur wondered why real life couldn’t be this simple, just a dialogue between two characters, perfectly in time with the music.

A fleeting piano riff fluttered through the speakers and Yusuf jumped to his feet, swearing. “Um, sailing, uh, London,” he stuttered. “Uh, always pays!” He ran across the stage to stand at Eames’ side as Arthur stepped back. “Comfort,” he tried, “all my days?”

“Close enough,” Eames said, and patted him on the shoulder.

There was a pause. “Robert!” Miles shouted.

Robert gasped. “Me? Um, thefacthatyou’realiveisamiracle. Um. That would be enough.”

Arthur stepped forward again to talk about the Federalist Papers. Robert sank to the floor. “I’m not cut out for this,” he said, nervously tugging at the hem of his shirt.

“Get back up!” Ariadne said. “You’re not done.”

“What?” Robert cried, but he stood up anyway.

Dom stood as well, straightening his polo. “They’re asking me to lead,” he sang flatly. “I’m doing the best I can.”

“Unfortunately,” Arthur heard Maurice whisper.

As they approached the end of the song, Arthur realized with horror the true danger when nobody else knew their lines or harmonies.

“History has its eyes on youuuuu!” Dom warbled at the top of his lungs as Yusuf shouted, “He will never be satisfied!” and Robert sang so softly that no one could hear him.

“Non-stop!” James and Phillipa shouted repeatedly, hopping around the stage, hand in hand. “Non-stop! Non-stop! Non-stop!”

The cacophony ended as Eames whirled around in the center of the stage and cried, “I am not throwing away my shot!”

The final beat echoed through the auditorium, and everyone groaned.

“I am never doing musical theater again,” Mal declared. “Amateurs, the lot of you.”

“This is your fault,” Maurice said, whacking Peter on the arm.

“Nobody asked you to come!” Peter shouted.

“That was not as horrible as I anticipated,” Saito said.

“Non-stop!” James and Phillipa sang. “Non-stop! Non-stop!”

“Somebody shut them up,” Nash groaned. “Oh my God, I’m going to have nightmares for years.”

Miles tutted. “I expect more from you next time.”

“You mean, you’ll actually teach us what we should be doing?” Dom asked.

“Please,” Yusuf whined from where he was sprawled on the floor.

Miles sighed loudly. “Fine.” He threw his coat over his arm. “I thought high schoolers were supposed to be obsessed with Hamilton.” He started to walk out the door. “Oh, right, I forgot to mention. The school newspaper is doing a piece on our performance, and they want to talk to the cast, so they’ll be here at the next rehearsal to interview you all.”

“What?” Mal shrieked.

Maurice hit Peter on the arm again. Peter muttered something back.

“Have a good day!” Miles called, already halfway out the door.

“Interviews,” Saito said blankly.

“I can’t wait,” Dom said. “This face was made for the camera.”

“Clearly,” Yusuf said.

~+~+~

“I’m going to be interviewed in the school newspaper,” Arthur announced when he got home.

“Lovely!” his mom exclaimed. “What for?” She gave him a tight hug.

Hamilton.

“Exciting.” She moved back over to the counter to cut some vegetables. “How are rehearsals going?”

Arthur snorted. “They’re a nightmare. I can only imagine what our dress rehearsal will be like.”

“Well,” his mom said, “you’ve still got time.”

Arthur smiled and gave her another quick hug. “I’ll be upstairs,” he said.

“Make sure you wear something nice on the day of the interview!” she called after him.

Chapter Text

Arthur blinked, blinded, as Miranda’s flash went off. “Sorry!” she chirped. “I’m still getting the hang of all these kooky settings.”

“Aren’t you Editor-in-Chief of the paper?” he asked.

She frowned at him. “Yeah. So?”

“Nothing,” Arthur said.

She stared at him a moment longer. “Okay,” she said, forgoing her camera for a pad of paper and pencil. “Is it alright if I record this?” she asked, hitting the red button on her phone.

“Yeah.”

“Great!” She beamed and leaned back in her chair, pen poised over her legal pad. “How does it feel to be playing the one and only Aaron Burr?”

Arthur twisted his fingers together. “Fine,” he said.

Miranda pursed her lips. “Arthur,” she said.

Arthur sighed. “Well, it’s fun, but not what I expected.”

“Why’s that?” Miranda was already writing furiously.

“I originally auditioned for the role of Alexander Hamilton,” he admitted, “but it was decided that I was more suited for the role of Aaron Burr.”

“And how do you feel about the role now?”

Arthur shifted in his chair. “I’ve grown to appreciate Burr’s character,” he admitted, “and the way he takes his time to carefully weigh each decision instead of letting his emotions overtake him.”

“Okay,” Miranda said slowly, scribbling away. “And what have you learned from your role in this play?” She caught Arthur’s look and added, “Or what do you hope to learn?”

Arthur suppressed another sigh. “I mean, in terms of Burr,” he said, “I hope that I’ll be able to learn from him and bring some of his policies into my own life.” He shrugged.

“Awesome!” Miranda chirped, finishing her last note with a dramatic flourish. She beamed at him. “Thank you for your time.”

“Is that it?” Arthur asked.

“Yup! Article should probably be out by opening night.”

Arthur frowned. “That’s weeks away.”

Miranda arched an eyebrow at him. “Your point?”

Arthur hesitated. “Shouldn’t newspapers be more…regular?”

She rolled her eyes. “You try running an entire newspaper by yourself and let me know how regular you are.”

Arthur nodded. “Right. Sorry.”

“No prob!” She grinned and waved merrily. “Now go get someone else for me to interview!”

Arthur stood from the rickety plastic chair in the hall and reentered the auditorium.

“How was it?” Ariadne asked.

“Fine,” Arthur said. “Who’s next?”

“I’ll go,” Dom said. He tugged on the hem of his polo shirt and squared his shoulders. “How do I look?”

Yusuf snickered.

“Like a President,” Eames said solemnly.

Dom puffed up his chest and strutted out to the hall. Ariadne and Mal collapsed into giggles the moment the door shut behind him.

“Like a President?” Nash asked Eames. “Really?”

Eames shrugged. “It worked, didn’t it?”

“I need Burr and Hamilton!” Miles shouted from the stage.

Eames arched a brow at Arthur. “Ready?”

“Of course,” Arthur said.

“Today,” Miles said to them, “we’ll go over ‘The World Was Wide Enough.’”

“Lovely way to end the day,” Eames said.

“Exactly!” Miles smiled. He fiddled with his phone and the opening beats of the song filtered through the hall. “Just sing your parts, to start.”

It went well, at first. He and Eames melded together much more smoothly as Hamilton and Burr than as Arthur and Eames. Each of their monologues was flawless, but after Burr shot Hamilton, Miles abruptly shut off the music. He breathed deeply and turned to Arthur.

“Arthur,” he said.

“What?” Arthur asked.

Miles wrinkled his nose. “How do I say this? You need more emotion.”

“Emotion?” Arthur repeated.

Miles gestured vaguely with his hands. “You’ve just shot a man, Arthur. You should be distraught.”

Arthur frowned. “He just endorsed his long-time enemy to keep me from becoming President.”

Miles stared at him for a moment. Then, he turned to Eames.

“What have I done now?” Eames asked, wide-eyed.

Miles shook his head. “Let’s try again. Emote a bit more, Arthur.”

Arthur didn’t emote enough the second time. Or the third. Or the fourth. Miles spent so much time on that single part that every other cast member had been interviewed before they moved on.

“What’s the issue?” Ariadne asked after Miles cut the music for the millionth time.

“Arthur,” Miles said.

She looked at Arthur, who shrugged. “I’m not emotional enough,” he said.

She hummed. “What if you just think of something sad?”

“Like what?” Arthur asked.

“Dead kitties,” Yusuf offered.

“Yusuf!” Ariadne cried, eyes wide.

“I’m sorry!” he shouted back.

“An F on a test?” Robert offered.

“That’s not sad,” Nash said. “That’s just life.”

“Finals week,” Maurice said.

“I don’t take finals,” Arthur said. “I get straight As, so I don’t have to take them.”

“Of course you do,” Peter said.

“A chipped nail?” Mal offered. “Ruined clothes.”

“Let’s not,” Dom said with a frown.

She glared at him.

“Bugs!” James cried. “Bugs make Pippa sad.”

“Yeah,” Phillipa said.

“What if you just try again?” Saito asked.

Miles sighed. “I’m sick of this song,” he groaned. “Practice it on your own time. I’m going home.” And he picked up his bag and coat and left.

Everyone looked at each other.

“I’m out of here,” Peter said. “Come on.” He grabbed Maurice’s arm, and they were gone.

Ariadne looked at Eames and Arthur. “We can meet up tomorrow to practice, if you want,” she offered.

“What do you mean?” Arthur asked.

“Well, you’re going to have to work on that scene,” she said.

Arthur hesitated.

Eames hummed softly. “Maybe Arthur and I can work that out for ourselves,” he suggested. “Give you a break from all this extra practice.”

She smiled. “I don’t mind.”

Mal tutted. “Let them work on their own scene, silly girl. You’re not even in it. Come. I want to show you my newest purchase.”

Ariadne smiled. “Is it makeup?”

“Better.” Mal smirked. “Perfume.”

“Ugh,” Dom said. “Girls.”

Eames walked over to Arthur. “Want my phone number? So we can arrange a time?”

Arthur sighed and handed Eames his own phone. He zoned out while Eames typed in his information. He thought he was a good Burr. He had finally accepted his role, and then this had to happen.

“Hey.” Eames’ voice broke through Arthur’s thoughts.

“Oh.” Arthur grabbed his phone. “Thanks.”

“Yeah,” Eames said. “Oh, Arthur?”

Arthur stopped and turned back.

Eames smiled. “Don’t worry about it, yeah?”

Arthur didn’t know what to say, so he turned and walked out of the auditorium.

~+~+~

“I’m not emotional enough for musical theater,” Arthur announced to his mother.

She smiled.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Arthur asked.

She shook her head, still smiling. “You’re so sweet,” she said, and kissed him on his forehead.

He rolled his eyes and went upstairs. When he got to his room, his phone chimed.

Allo, the text message read. Care to practice tomorrow during lunch? Meet in the library???

Arthur frowned. I don’t remember giving you my number, Eames, he wrote.

You didn’t :D I called myself from your phone :DDD

Arthur sighed. His phone chimed again.

Sooooooo, is that a yes to practicing???????

You abuse punctuation, Arthur wrote.

Y/N?

Arthur sighed again. Fine.

~+~+~

Eames shook his head. “Not quite.”

Arthur rolled his eyes. “How can you tell? We’re not even singing it.”

Eames smiled. “If you can speak it, you can sing it. Just think about...” He hummed thoughtfully as he lounged in his chair, hands folded across his chest. “Well, see, Burr and Hamilton weren’t always enemies, they worked together in the war, took court cases together as lawyers—”

“You know, Eames, I’ve read the biography too.”

“Brilliant!” He beamed at Arthur. “So you know that they actually sort of almost used to get along. But then, well, miscommunication and whatnot.” Eames shrugged. “It happens all the time.”

Arthur smirked. “The dueling doesn’t.”

“No,” Eames admitted. “But the misunderstanding bit, I’ve seen that before.”

Arthur looked at him.

“What?” Eames asked.

“Nothing,” Arthur said.

Eames smiled slightly, tightly. “Right, well, anyway. Just, try to emote during rehearsal, yeah?”

Arthur nodded slowly. “Yup.”

Eames opened his mouth to say more, but the bell rang. Arthur grabbed his backpack and most definitely did not flee from the library. He just wanted to get to his locker before his next class.

Chapter Text

Robert shifted nervously on his feet and the fabric around his legs swayed with him. “Um,” he said, “I don’t feel very comfortable about this.”

Yusuf pirouetted past him, arms raised over his head. “Angelica!” he trilled.

Saito plucked at his skirt. “Yellow is not my color,” he said.

“It’s Peggy’s wardrobe,” Mal said, haphazardly flipping pages on old, chipped clipboard.

Robert glanced down at the skirt, hands raised awkwardly so that he wouldn’t touch it. “I don’t like this. Can I change roles?”

Peter and Maurice reemerged from backstage, dressed in jackets and shirts with ruffled sleeves.

“Maurice,” Robert called, twisting his torso, “wanna switch with me?”

Maurice glanced at Robert’s dress. “No.”

“Oh, cheer up,” Eames said. “Look at how magnificent these costumes are!”

Arthur wasn’t sure he agreed with Eames. The ruffle on his sleeve kept tickling his hands.

“Our first almost-dress rehearsal,” Miles said, gesturing expansively and nearly hitting Dom in the face with his clipboard. “What a miracle that we’ve made it this far!”

“What do you think of my hat?” Dom asked Mal.

Mal turned to Ariadne, clearly unimpressed.

“It looks nice,” Ariadne said.

“But we look better,” Mal said, running a hand proudly down her waistcoat.

Dom frowned.

“Places!” Miles shouted.

James and Phillipa ran onstage. “Me, I died for him!” James cried.

“Yeah!” Phillipa shouted.

“No, no.” Miles shook his head. “We’re starting on Act II today, or else we’ll never get to the end.”

James and Phillipa looked at each other. “Me, I died for him!” Phillipa said, putting her hands on her hips.

“Well, she isn’t wrong,” Eames murmured with a smirk.

“Places!” Miles shouted again.

“Where are we supposed to go?” Nash shouted back.

Miles stopped short and glanced down at his clipboard. “Oh right,” he said and chuckled.

Arthur rolled his eyes. “Good thing we still have two weeks,” he said under his breath.

“Good thing indeed,” Eames responded.

Arthur bit back a sharp retort.

“Feeling more emotional?” Eames asked.

“Sure.”

Eames glanced at him. “You don’t sound it.”

“Burr!” Miles called. “Stand here!”

“Duty calls,” Arthur said, feigning regret.

Eames saluted.

~+~+~

Things went well until they reached “The World Was Wide Enough.”

“Still not what I’m looking for,” Miles told Arthur. “Haven’t you two been working on it?”

“Yes.” Arthur scowled. “What exactly is wrong with it?”

Miles hesitated, then shook his head. “Let’s just move on. Eames, fix this”—he gestured to Arthur—“by opening night.” He turned away. “Robert! I need you!”

Arthur stood in silence for a moment.

“He didn’t mean it like that,” Eames said quietly. “He’s just got a lot on his mind right now. And let’s be honest, Miles never had tact in the first place.”

Arthur shook his head roughly. “Yep,” he said and walked across the stage. He couldn’t deal with Eames’ pity right now.

Robert emerged from backstage. “What?” he called, and tripped over the hem of his skirt.

~+~+~

Arthur met Eames in the library again to practice emoting.

It didn’t help. To be fair, Arthur didn’t really try, either.

Eames’ phone vibrated at the end of the period. “Oh,” he said when he glanced at the screen. “Miranda says our interviews will be published in tomorrow’s edition.”

“Oh,” Arthur said. “She said it wouldn’t be out until just before opening night.”

Eames glanced at him. “Well, opening night is next week.”

Arthur hesitated. “Oh.”

Eames smirked. “See you later.” He left just as the late bell rang.

”Shit.” Arthur ran to his next class.

~+~+~

Arthur got to school early the next day. It just so happened that he woke up earlier than usual, and got dressed faster than usual, and arrived at school earlier than usual. And it just so happened that he walked past the stack of The Cobol Planet and grabbed a copy, or two, or four.

He hid in the back of the second floor of the library to read it before his first class.

Quickly, he scanned over the names, and stopped at Eames’.

“I actually,” he read, then stopped as his eyes jumped ahead. “What the actual fuck,” he breathed, crumpling the edges of the paper in his fists.

~+~+~

What’s Your Name, Man?

Meet the cast of Cobol High’s Hamilton Production!


Miranda, Editor-in-Chief

April is quickly approaching, and our drama department has been hard at work preparing to blow us all away with this year’s musical—the Tony Award-winning Hamilton. This smash-hit hip-hop musical featuring America’s very own Founding Fathers will make you laugh, make you cry, and most importantly make you care about state debt (spoiler!).

But who has claimed the roles of our Founding Fathers (and debt-educators)? The editors of The Cobol Planet sat down with the main cast of Cobol High’s Hamilton to learn more about them and their insights into the characters that they play.

Aaron Burr

Arthur

“I originally auditioned for the role of Alexander Hamilton, but it was decided that I was more suited for the role of Aaron Burr. I’ve grown to appreciate Burr’s character and the way he takes his time to carefully weigh each decision instead of letting his emotions overtake him. I hope that I’ll be able to learn from him and bring some of his policies into my own life.”

Alexander Hamilton

Eames

“I actually auditioned for the part of Aaron Burr, because I related to his “wait for it” attitude and his frustration over never quite being able to get what he wants. Plus, I knew that Arthur was interested in the role of Alexander Hamilton, and I was confident that he would do a wonderful job of it. Still am, actually. He would make a great Hamilton. But I do appreciate being given the change to tackle Hamilton’s journey. I mean, he had the nation’s first sex scandal and then got shot. Who wouldn’t want to play that?”

George Washington

Dom

“At first, I wasn’t sure about playing Washington, but then I realized the George Washington is a natural leader, and that really helped me relate to him, because people look up to me a lot, too. And I guess it’s cool that he made so many sacrifices just to come back home.”

Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson

Mal

“I know that a lot of people will say I got the role of Lafayette because I already have a French accent, but both roles—Lafayette and Jefferson—are near and dear to my heart, and being in this production is a dream and I never want to wake up! Lafayette is a courageous soldier, and no one else was fabulous enough to portray Thomas Jefferson. Though I do not approve of him having slaves.”

Hercules Mulligan/James Madison

Ariadne

“I’ve been in most of the school productions, but I’ve never played anyone quite as cool as Hercules Mulligan, the revolutionary spy! He’s the most badass character in this thing—oh, sorry, can I say that?—well, anyway, then you have Madison who is his complete opposite, and it’s fascinating to deconstruct Madison’s relationship with Jefferson, because they’re obviously very close and trust each other intimately. Or they should.”

John Laurens

James

“Phillipa and I are super excited to be part of Hamilton in our first year! John Laurens is really cool, and I like that he wasn’t super racist. It really sucks that he dies, though.”

Philip Hamilton

Phillipa

“James and I are really excited to be part of Hamilton as freshmen! Philip is really cute and just wants to defend his father, which is cool? I was really sad when I found out that he died, though.”

Eliza Schuyler

Robert

“I’ve had small parts in the past couple school productions, but it’s my first time playing a role of this size. I admire Eliza, because she is nurturing and kind, but also has the best character progression in the show. She’s able to grow out from under the wings of her sister and Hamilton to be confident and succeed on her own, which is something that I really respect.”

Angelica Schuyler

Yusuf

“This is actually my first school play: I mostly joined to support my mate, Eames, but it’s also been a lot of fun. I admire Angelica because she is obviously brilliant in a world that makes it difficult for her to live up to her full potential. And besides, she’s loyal to her family, and that’s admirable even if sometimes I wish she would just take what she wants. Sometimes I imagine what a scene with Angelica and Mulligan could be like, or even Angelica and Madison. I think that they would be good together, and balance each other out while still having a good time.”

King George III

Maurice

“Get out of my face!”

The cast also includes: Saito (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds), Peter (Samuel Seabury/George Eacker), Nash (Charles Less/James Reynolds), some extras, and the Cobol High’s Chorus.

Opening night is only two weeks away! Performances will run from 7-10pm every night. Tickets are $10 and will be sold by the drama department every day at lunch and at the door on performances nights. Don’t throw away your shot to see this musical!

Chapter Text

It didn’t make any sense. Eames hated Arthur, had hated him since that first day they met. And that was why Eames was always smirking at Arthur and cracking jokes, and that was why he got the role of Hamilton that he obviously auditioned for.

Except.

I actually auditioned for the role of Aaron Burr…

If Eames didn’t audition for Hamilton, that would have to mean that he didn’t actually want to undermine Arthur, which would have to mean…

Arthur scowled at the crumpled paper in his hands. It didn’t make any sense.

He arrived at rehearsal and walked straight to Eames. “What the hell is this?” he growled, shoving the paper against Eames’ chest.

Eames’ eyes widened. “Oh, you got the article already.”

Arthur just looked at him.

Eames chewed on his lip. “I’m not sure what you’re really asking me, here,” he said eventually.

“You auditioned for Burr?”

Eames’ lips moved, but no words emerged. He glanced at the floor, then the article, then Arthur’s face. “Yes?” he said.

“Why?” Arthur demanded.

Eames frowned. “Because you were auditioning for Hamilton.” He tilted his head to the side. “You look rather stormy right now, Arthur, you feeling alright?”

Arthur glared at him. “Why would you do that?”

Eames hesitated. “Still not quite sure what you’re asking.”

Arthur grit his teeth. “You hate me,” he said. “You auditioned for Hamilton.”

“No,” Eames said.

“What?”

Eames stepped closer. “I didn’t audition for Hamilton,” he said softly. “And I don’t hate you.”

Arthur was silent.

Eames took another step. If Arthur moved his head, their noses would brush. “I don’t hate you, Arthur. Never have done.”

Arthur stepped back. “Then why—” He cleared his throat. “Why all the jokes and smirks? The names and the teasing?”

Eames moved forward and put a hand on Arthur’s shoulder. “Arthur,” he breathed, his accent curling around his name. “I don’t hate you. I didn’t steal Hamilton from you. I think you’re one of the most brilliant people I know.”

Arthur stared at him.

“Okay!” Miles shouted, clapping his hands “Places, everyone!”

Arthur jumped at Miles’ voice and hastily ducked out of Eames’ hold, looking away.

“Arthur,” Eames said, but Arthur walked away. He needed to think about this.

“Arthur!” Miles called. “Eames! Why aren’t you in costume? Hurry up!”

Arthur hurried backstage.

~+~+~

It was their first rehearsal with everyone—lighting, ensemble, everything. It was a little disorienting to Arthur, who had gotten used to the almost-empty stage, but he adapted.

“How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a Scotsman…”

He avoided Eames between scenes, didn’t even let himself look at him.

On stage, it was different. He was Burr, and Eames was Hamilton, and they were two men in the American Revolution who were trying to make a name for themselves. But off stage…

“What’s up with you and Eames?” Mal asked him while Miles yelled at the chorus-slash-ensemble.

“What?” Arthur asked. “Nothing.”

Mal laughed. “Sure,” she said. “Just like how there’s nothing weird about Miles.” She strutted away, hand resting on the hilt of her fake sword.

Arthur frowned.

~+~+~

The lights dimmed.

“I imagine death so much it feels like a memory,” Eames said.

Arthur slowly moved to his left, making sure Eames was always directly across from him. In lieu of a rotating stage, Miles had instructed them to walk in circles.

Arthur wasn’t listening to Eames’ monologue. He’d heard it a million times before.

I don’t hate you. I didn’t steal Hamilton from you. I think you’re one of the most brilliant people I know.

What did he mean by that?

“Raise a glass to freedom,” Eames sang softly.

“He aims his pistol at the sky,” the ensemble chanted.

“Wait!” Arthur cried, hand outstretched.

The sound of a bullet firing echoed through the auditorium.

Emotion flickered in the bottom of Arthur’s stomach, and the words bubbled to the surface, so instinctual. The music thrummed along in the background.

“Now I’m the villain in your history. I was too young and blind to see. I should have known. I should have known the world was wide enough for both Hamilton and me.”

The music faded away and Dom stepped forward.

“Let me tell you what I wish I’d known,” he warbled.

Arthur shook his head roughly and refocused on the musical.

“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story,” the chorus sang softly.

The lights dimmed, then darkened.

In the silence, Miles started clapping loudly. “Wonderful!” he called as the house lights went up.

“Really?” Yusuf asked brightly.

“Well,” Miles said. “No. We have a lot of work ahead of us.”

Yusuf visibly drooped.

“But it was still a vast improvement over the last rehearsal,” Miles continued. “Arthur, nicely done. Could do with a bit more emotion, but much better than before.” As he turned to Mal and Ariadne, Eames sauntered over to Arthur’s side.

“Well done,” he murmured.

Arthur didn’t answer.

“Want to practice a bit more after school tomorrow?” Eames asked.

Arthur looked up at him. “You don’t make any sense,” he said. It came out a bit louder than he had intended, and heads turned.

Eames glanced around and ducked his head, placing a hand on Arthur’s arm. “How about we talk about this after school tomorrow?” he asked. “In private?”

Arthur sighed and pushed Eames’ hand away. “Yeah, whatever.”

~+~+~

“Mom,” Arthur said when he got home.

She hugged him. “What is it?”

He sighed and passed the article to her. She read it quickly, eyes scanning back and forth. When she was finished, she looked up at him.

“Does Eames like me?” he asked.

She smiled slowly and hugged him again.

“That’s not an answer,” he said, his voice muffled against her soft shirt.

“Of course he does,” she whispered and kissed the top of his head.

“Oh,” said Arthur faintly.

Chapter Text

Arthur found Eames sitting on the steps in front of the school, long after the mobs of students had left. He sat next to him and stared at the mostly-empty parking lot and said nothing.

“I’ve been going about this all wrong,” Eames said abruptly.

“Going about what?” Arthur asked.

Eames snorted and ran a hand through his hair. “You think I hate you.”

Arthur stared. “Eames, you called me an arrogant prick the day we met. How else was I supposed to interpret that?”

“You had just listed all the Kings and Queens of England in like a single breath,” Eames said. “I can’t do that, and I’m from England. I didn’t mean it offensively.”

Arthur thought about that. It was entirely possible that he’d had the wrong impression of Eames for the last five years or so. It didn’t exactly boost his self-confidence to think that, but it was possible.

Eames sat at his side and let him think, waiting patiently.

“So where does this leave us?” Arthur asked.

Eames shrugged. “Hopefully in a better place than we’ve been?” He smiled and held out a hand. “I mean, we get along alright as Hamilton and Burr. Can’t we be like that in real life, too?”

“I shoot you at the end of the play,” Arthur said, shaking his hand. “I don’t think that should be our standard.”

“Musical, darling,” Eames said, smirking. “It’s a musical.”

~+~+~

“Places!” Miles shouted, waving his clipboard in the air. “Places! Robert, you’re not on stage right!”

“Sorry!” Robert called, running across the stage. He tripped on the hem of his dress and went flying.

Miles pressed his forehead against his clipboard. “Robert,” he said, “don’t rip that hem again. We don’t have time to resew it.”

“Sorry!”

“Angelica!” Yusuf sang as he emerged onstage in full costume.

Robert smiled. “Eliza!”

“And Peggy.” Saito stepped out from behind the curtain, impassive.

“For the last time,” Miles said, “be more emotional!”

Saito breathed deeply. “And Peggy.”

Miles sighed. “We’re doomed,” he murmured. “Totally doomed.”

“My name is Philip,” Phillipa chanted as she skipped onto stage. “I am a poet.”

“No, no, we’re starting with Act I,” Miles said. “It’s the dress rehearsal, for god’s sake.”

“But we will never be truly free,” James started rapping at her side.

Miles groaned.

Eames appeared at Arthur’s side and lightly hip-checked him. “You’re looking dapper as always,” he said.

Arthur laughed and fidgeted with his sleeves. “Thanks.” He glanced at Eames. “You look nice too.”

Eames preened. “Like a man looking for a war?”

Arthur smiled. “Yeah,” he drawled. “Definitely.”

Mal walked past, sword buckled at her hip.

“I think your pants look hot!” Eames shouted at her.

She turned and winked, then continued across the stage towards Ariadne and Dom.

Arthur shook his head. “You’re so…” He didn’t know what word to use.

“I’m so what?” Eames asked, grinning.

Arthur rolled his eyes.

“Peter, cut it out!”

Arthur and Eames turned and saw Maurice, dressed in full costume as King George III, trying to evade Peter and the white wig clutched in his hands.

“You’re gonna have to wear it,” Peter said, smirking. “Might as well get it over with.”

“Screw you,” Maurice muttered, snatching the wig from his hands. He put it on backwards and the white curls flopped in his face.

Some of the girls from the chorus giggled. Maurice snarled at them from underneath the wig.

“Places!” Miles called. “For the last time, places!”

Eames smirked. “That’s our cue. See you soon, darling.”

Arthur rolled his eyes, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.

“Burr!” Miles shouted. “Get your butt over here!”

Arthur sighed and hurried across the stage.

~+~+~

Afterwards, they all went out to eat.

“I didn’t know that many things could go wrong in a single night,” Robert moaned, dropping his head on the table.

Mal snorted as she studied her nails. “Well, everything that goes wrong during the dress rehearsal is supposed to be perfect an opening night.”

“At that rate, we’ll be Broadway stars,” Nash said, rolling his eyes. “You really think all that shit is gonna fix itself in three days?”

“I think our main concern,” Eames said, “should be where Hamilton’s glasses went.”

“Who gives a shit about your glasses?” Dom asked. “My hat is gone!”

“Are you sure it didn’t just fall behind something?” Ariadne asked.

“Yes, I've looked everywhere!” Dom said, then frowned. “I think.”

Arthur leaned back in his seat. “Is nobody going to mention the sizeable piece of railing that broke off and almost killed the ensemble?”

The others looked at him. “I mean, at least it wasn’t us,” Yusuf said.

“But we’re the ones who have to fix it tomorrow,” Arthur reminded him.

Yusuf shrugged.

“Oh, Eames,” Robert said, “Peter asked me to tell you not to point so much next time. You almost poked him in the eye today.”

Eames laughed and shifted in his chair, his foot knocking against Arthur’s under the table. “I was being authentic, Robert. You can’t honestly tell me you didn’t want to poke him too.”

Robert smiled. “Yeah, but we aren’t talking about me.”

“Let’s all just agree that Peter is an authentically annoying Samuel Seabury,” Ariadne said.

“Great, because he is,” Eames said.

“But that does not make it alright to poke him,” she added. “Especially not in the eye.”

Eames pouted. “You’re no fun, Ari.”

“Look!” James cried from the other end of the table. “Worm!”

Dom sighed. “James, we’ve talked about this, worms aren’t—”

“Worm!” James repeated, holding a long, slimy, wriggling worm in front of Dom’s face.

Dom let out a shriek so loud that it left Arthur’s ears ringing and promptly fell out of his chair.

“James found it outside,” Phillipa said brightly. “Do you like it?”

“I named it Mister Charles!” James said.

Dom groaned from where he was lying on the floor.

“I hope that doesn’t happen on opening night,” Saito commented.

Chapter Text

“Hear ye, hear ye,” Peter called in an exaggerated British accent, “my name is Samuel Seabury, and I present Free Thoughts on the Proceedings of the Continental Congress.”

He trilled when he said Free.

“Oh, my god, tear this dude apart,” Ariadne called.

“Chaos and bloodshed are not a solution,” Peter sang. “Don’t let them lead you astray.”

Arthur stepped in front of Eames as he approached Peter. “Let him be,” he said.

“For shame,” Peter sang. “For shame!”

Eames all but leapt over Arthur to dash up to the podium.

Arthur watched them from the side, wondering if he would need to intervene before his cue.

“Honestly, look at me,” Eames rapped, shoving his hand in front of Peter’s face to block his view of the paper he was holding. “Please don’t read.”

“Not your interests,” Peter gritted out, slapping Eames’ hand away.

“Don’t modulate the key then not debate with me,” Eames said, slapping Peter’s hand in return.

Peter dropped the page he was holding and turned to face Eames, hitting both of Eames’ hands with his own.

“Why should a tiny island across the sea,” Eames called, slapping Peter back, “regulate the price of tea?”

Arthur leapt onto the podium and pushed the two apart. “Alexander, please,” he said. Peter tried to reach over his shoulder to slap Eames’ hand one more time.

“Please stop slapping each other,” Miles said from his seat in the auditorium. “And please don’t do that tomorrow night.”

Eames smirked at Peter then moved aside as Maurice made his grand entrance.

“What did you think?” he murmured in Arthur’s ear as Maurice started to sing.

“Less slapping, more rapping,” Arthur responded.

Eames laughed. On stage, Maurice sang, “I will send a fully armed battalion to remind you of my love.”

~+~+~

“Saito,” Miles called, “you’re supposed to be seducing him!”

Saito glanced over his shoulder. Eames was standing behind him, hands resting on Saito’s hips. “Am I not being seductive?” Saito asked.

“No,” Miles said.

Eames hummed. “I was getting there,” he said.

In the wings, Arthur face-palmed.

“Be more seductive,” Miles instructed.

“I thought this was a high school production,” Saito said.

“Seductive!” Miles called.

The orchestra started up again. “Lord, teach me how to say no to this,” Eames sang.

Saito batted his eyelashes.

~+~+~

The rest of the night’s rehearsal went well, except for that one person in the chorus who shouted, “Pay your fucking taxes!” during One Last time.

The railing that Arthur had repaired thankfully did not endanger any other cast members, and Miles told him he was getting better at being more emotional.

It was a good night, in all.

“Hey, mom,” Arthur called when he got home.

“How was rehearsal?” she asked.

“Good.” He hugged her. “You have your ticket?”

She smiled. “Yeah, it’s in my purse. I can’t wait to see it!”

He smiled back. “It’s probably gonna be a train wreck tomorrow, because it’s opening night, so—”

“Arthur.” She kissed his head. “It’s going to be amazing. It starts at seven, right?”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll be there,” she said, smiling.

~+~+~

The cast decided to assemble backstage for one last meeting before the curtain went up. Arthur got there first, with Eames on his heels.

“Oh, my god,” Arthur said.

“Who are you?” Eames asked from behind him.

The random kid sitting back stage looked at them blandly. “Tadashi,” he said.

The others arrived in a flurry of ruffled sleeves, skirts, and hats.

“Who are you?” Ariadne asked.

“Tadashi,” the kid repeated. “I’m the doctor.”

They all looked at each other.

“Have you been to any of the rehearsals?” Dom asked. “I don’t remember seeing you.”

Tadashi nodded. “I’ve been here the whole time.”

“Right,” Yusuf said slowly.

“Can somebody get the top button on my collar for me?” Mal asked.

Nash moved to help her. “What the hell kind of button is this?” he asked.

“A historically accurate one,” Mal answered.

“Did they even have buttons back then?” Nash swore as he struggled with Mal’s collar.

Dom stared at him. “Are you serious?”

“Is everyone excited?” Robert asked. His skirt hit Arthur as he walked by.

“I think I’m about to throw up,” Ariadne offered. “Does that count?”

“Don’t be nervous,” Yusuf said. “You’re amazing.”

She smiled brightly at him. “Aw, thank you.”

“It’s a full house,” Tadashi said.

Robert looked at him. “Wait, who are you?”

“Tadashi.”

“Who?”

“Apparently he’s been here the whole time,” said Nash.

“Okay,” Robert said.

The orchestra pit was warming up. Arthur closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and forced himself to unclench his hands.

Eames leaned in closer to him. “Don’t be nervous,” he murmured in Arthur’s ear. “You’re amazing.”

Arthur opened his eyes. “Um,” he said eloquently. “Thanks? You too.”

Eames smirked.

“Dammit, Maurice,” Peter shouted from somewhere else, “this is the last time I’m dealing with your bullshit!”

Everyone turned to Robert, who shrugged. “They’ve been fighting. I don’t know why.”

“Maybe now they’ll be emotional enough for Miles,” Saito said.

Robert twisted his mouth. “Maybe.” He seemed unconvinced.

James and Phillipa ran past them, giggling. “Worm!” James called.

“Please, God, no,” Dom whimpered, covering his eyes.

Arthur turned and watched them run past. “No worm,” he reported.

“Thanks,” Dom said.

Miles appeared out of nowhere.

“Let me guess,” Eames said before he could speak. “Places.”

“Yes,” Miles said. “Good luck everyone! Have fun! Try not to embarrass me!” He disappeared again.

“Now I’m really gonna be sick,” Ariadne said.

Yusuf patted her on the back.

Arthur inhaled steadily.

“Should I be saying break a leg?” Robert asked.

“Please don’t,” Nash said. “With our luck, it’ll happen.”

“Good point,” Robert said. “Don’t break any legs tonight!”

Tadashi stood. “I have to go find my stethoscope,” he announced and walked away.

“Does my corset look alright?” Saito asked.

Beyond the curtain, the audience quieted. “Welcome, everyone!” Miles said.

“Oh shit,” Ariadne squeaked.

“We’re all gonna be great,” Eames said, smiling. “Let’s blow ‘em all away!”

They formed a circle and stacked their hands on top of each other’s. “Blow ‘em all away!” they called, raising their hands over their heads.

“And don’t break any legs,” Robert added.

“I am so pleased to see so many of you here tonight,” Miles was saying.

“Places,” Arthur said. “Now.”

They all scattered. Eames’ hand brushed against his hip as he walked away.

“These students have been working very hard,” Miles said, “and we are all very eager to share with you the final product. Please enjoy the Cobol High School Drama Production of Hamilton!

The audience cheered and applauded. Arthur took one last deep breath as the orchestra pounded out the opening riff, and he walked onstage.

Chapter Text

The spotlight was almost blinding, but it helped because Arthur couldn’t see who was in the audience. Almost like rehearsing in an empty auditorium.

“How does a bastard, orphan son of a whore and a Scotsman…”

James joined him on stage, then Mal, then Ariadne. Really, it was just like rehearsal.

“And the world’s gonna know your name,” Arthur rapped. “What’s your name, man?”

“Alexander Hamilton,” Eames sang, stepping into the light. “My name is Alexander Hamilton. And there’s a million things I haven’t done. But just you wait, just you wait.”

Robert emerged, and didn’t trip over his skirt, and then Dom came out, singing in key for once, and Arthur couldn’t believe how well everything was going.

“We fought with him,” Ariadne and Mal said from the balcony.

“Me?” James cried. “I died for him.”

“Me?” Dom said. “I trusted him.”

“Me?” Saito, Robert, and Yusuf said. “I loved him.”

“And me?” Arthur stopped in the center of the stage. “I’m the damn fool that shot him.” He stepped aside as the ensemble sang, then extended his arm, shouting, “What’s your name, man?”

Eames took his place center stage, head raised. “Alexander Hamilton.”

The stage lights darkened as the orchestra played the final chord, and the audience burst into applause.

They all rushed to their next positions as the music restarted, and in the chaos, Eames briefly grabbed Arthur’s hand and squeezed it.

Arthur squeezed back and fought down the urge to laugh. They were actually doing it. It was opening night, and they were performing, and nobody had died yet. It was a miracle.

“1776,” the ensemble sang as the lights rose. “New York City.”

“Pardon me,” Eames called, hurrying across the stage, “are you Aaron Burr, sir?”

“That depends,” Arthur answered. “Who’s asking?”

Off stage, he heard something clatter. He hoped it wasn’t anything important.

Eames must have heard it, too, because he laughed, covering it up with his line. “Oh, well sure, sir! I’m Alexander Hamilton, I’m at your service, sir.” He sketched a bow. “I have been looking for you.”

“I’m getting nervous,” Arthur said. The audience chuckled.

He and Eames continued with the scene, and Arthur felt a swell of pride at the volume of the audience’s laughter as he told Eames, “Talk less. Smile more.”

James jumped up on top of the table on the other side of the stage, waving his cup in the air. “These redcoats don’t want it with me!” he shouted. “‘Cause I will pop chick-a pop these cops ‘til I’m free!” He waved his hands in the air and almost overbalanced. The table wobbled alarmingly. Ariadne reached out, caught him, and helped him stand up straight again.

“I came from afar just to say ‘Bonsoir!’” Mal said, running a hand over her hair. “Tell the King ‘Casse toi!’ Who’s the best? C’est moi!”

Ariadne was next, and the audience went wild as she rapped, “Yes, I heard your mother say, ‘Come again!’”

Arthur had a moment where he wondered if they were going to get in trouble for the R-rated lyrics. It was a bit late for that now, but he wouldn’t be surprised. Oh well. Miles could deal with all of that.

James called him out, pulled him into the conversation, then Eames jumped in, and then they were at—

“Hey, yo I’m just like my country, I’m young scrappy and hungry, and I’m not throwin’ away my shot!”

The ensemble joined in, and they fell into line, filling the stage. One of the chorus girls bumped into Arthur and winked at him. It was much more charming when Eames did it, he decided.

“I’m past patiently waitin’,” Eames shouted, “I’m passionately smashin’ every expectation, every action’s an act of creation!”

Arthur almost fudged the choreo because he was too busy listening to Eames.

James, Ariadne, and Mal joined Eames in the center of the stage. “And I am not throwin’ away my—”

The chorus echoed: “Not throwing away my—”

“Shot!”

The final note sounded, and the auditorium thundered with applause.

Arthur exited with the rest of the ensemble and took a breather.

“You were great!” Yusuf loudly whispered.

“Thanks,” Arthur said.

“Ready to flirt with me?” Yusuf asked, grinning.

Arthur laughed softly. “Oh, yeah.”

Robert and Saito crowded in around them. “Lookin’ for a mind at work,” Robert said under his breath.

“Hey.” Yusuf nudged him. “That’s my line.”

There was their cue—Arthur went back onstage, let that messy intro fill his blood. He had the stage to himself for the first few lines. He’d better make the most of it.

“Take Philip Schuyler: the man is loaded. Uh-oh, but little does he know that his daughters, Peggy, Angelica, Eliza sneak into the city just to watch all the guys at—”

“Work, work,” the ensemble sang.

“Angelica,” Yusuf trilled, sashaying onstage.

Robert followed. “Eliza!”

Saito jumped in front of them both and dramatically flicked his wig’s hair over his shoulder. “And Peggy!”

Arthur heard everyone backstage cheering.

“The Schuyler Sisters,” the ensemble sang.

“Angelica!”

“Peggy!”

“Eliza!”

“Work!”

In perfect unison, they snapped their fingers over their heads, hands on their hips.

The audience roared.

Saito put on an overexaggerated pout and tugged on Yusuf’s sleeve. “Daddy said to be home by sundown.”

Yusuf turned away and crossed his arms. “Daddy doesn’t need to know.”

Saito turned to Robert and grabbed his hand. “Daddy said not to go downtown!”

“Like I said,” Robert sang, waving his other hand in the air, “you’re free to go.”

“But!” Yusuf stepped in between them beaming. “Look around, look around!” He spread his arms. “The revolution’s happening in New York!”

“New York,” Robert and Saito echoed.

“Angelica,” the ensemble sang.

“Work!”

They snapped their fingers again. This time, when Saito flicked his hair, it hit Robert in the face. Arthur heard laughter from the wings.

Soon it was his cue. He strutted across the stage. “There’s nothin’ like summer in the city. Someone in a rush next to someone lookin’ pretty. Excuse me, miss”—he slid in front of Yusuf with a smirk—“I know it’s not funny, but your perfume smells like your daddy’s got money.”

Someone in the audience wolf whistled.

Yusuf leaned away and held out a hand. “Burr, you disgust me.”

“Ah.” Arthur leaned in closer. “So you’ve discussed me.” He put a hand to his chest. “I’m a trust fund, baby, you can trust me.”

“I’ve been reading Common Sense by Thomas Paine,” Yusuf said, pushing Arthur aside. “So men say that I’m intense or I’m insane. You want a revolution? I want a revelation! So listen to my declaration!”

Saito and Robert stood behind him and they all danced together as they sang, “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”

“And when I meet Thomas Jefferson,” Yusuf said, “I’m ’a compel him to include women in the sequel!”

A few people in the audience cheered.

The stage turned into a whirl of people as the ensemble danced in circles, singing and filling the auditorium with expectant energy.

“History is happening in Manhattan and we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world!”

Yusuf, Robert, and Saito made their way across the stage and hit their final notes, amazingly high, and the applause was deafening.