The first shoots of green appear in the garden as spring breaches their city, and Hamilton grows restless.
Occasionally, Burr has likened living with Hamilton to living with a feral tomcat, a thing that becomes uneasy if not let out to roam. However, in this case, Hamilton's unease is not due to wanderlust, but to the increasing infusion of one Thomas Jefferson into their political spectrum. His agitation had been quick to come about, Hamilton complaining ceaselessly about Jefferson’s outlandish dress, self-serving blather, and forcing his opinions onto anyone who would listen.
(Sounds a bit like someone I know, Burr had said when Hamilton first went on his tirade, and the look Hamilton gave him could've turned him to ice.)
“We’re constantly at a stalemate,” Hamilton complains over dinner, “and I don’t know how to make him budge. It’s exhausting.”
Burr, having learned his lesson, says nothing.
“I've got a meeting with Washington today,” Hamilton says one summer morning, “he asked that you come.”
“Did he really ask,” Burr says, “or will I show up, only to be looked upon like an intruder?”
Hamilton has been known to massage the truth when it’s something he wants. Damned lawyers.
“He really asked,” Hamilton says, “promise. Said he could use an outside opinion on some things.”
Purposely vague. Burr eyes him as Hamilton continues on.
“And today’s perfect. You can support my argument.”
“Your argument on what?”
Hamilton has so many argumental irons in the fire that Burr can’t keep them all straight.
“On why we need to assume individual states’ debt.”
“I’ve heard enough of that argument to last a lifetime, thanks.”
Hamilton runs his fingers lightly over Burr’s arm. Despite himself, he gets goosebumps.
“I want you there. So does Washington. Please?”
Burr raises an eyebrow. Washington had never wanted him for much.
(Not that he’s bitter.)
“Look,” Hamilton continues, “I’m better when you’re with me. Just knowing you’re there, it grounds me. Keeps me on task, because I know I’ll catch hell from you if I go too far off.”
Burr smiles. He’d worked hard at training Hamilton out of that particular habit in the courtroom. Hamilton takes both of Burr’s hands in his.
“Just come, please? I can’t let Jefferson win this. He’s going to fuck the country up before we even get a chance to get started. I’ll beg if I have to...” Hamilton gets to his knees, and Burr’s reminded of when they’d first begun working together, how Hamilton had begged in just this way to be lead counsel on the Weeks case.
“Fine,” Burr sighs, “you know I could never resist a man on his knees.”
Grinning, Hamilton moves closer, still kneeling, places his hands on the backs of Burr’s thighs. He looks up at Burr; eyes wide in faux-innocence, as if completely oblivious to the way Burr’s breeches grow tented.
“I’m ever so grateful, Mr. Burr, sir,” he purrs, and his hands slide up higher on Burr’s thighs, cupping his ass, “whatever can I do to thank you?”
Burr leans back against the wall, one hand traveling down to lightly grasp Hamilton’s hair. He doesn't miss the momentary catch of breath as he tugs, Hamilton’s eyes fluttering for a moment as he forgets the game.
“Well, Mr. Hamilton,” Burr says, matching the faux-seriousness of Hamilton’s tone, “I’ve heard that mouth of yours is pretty popular.”
Hamilton moves said mouth closer, tracing it over the outline of Burr’s cock through his breeches. Burr can feel the heat of his breath through the fabric, and his grip tightens in Hamilton’s hair. Hamilton’s hands reach around, unfastening Burr’s breeches and letting them fall to his knees. Hamilton regards his cock for a moment, then dips his head down and flicks his tongue over Burr’s shaft.
“I am,” he says, licking again, fingernails digging lightly into Burr’s thighs, “very grateful.”
His whole mouth covers Burr then, and Burr has to lean his head back and close his eyes for a moment, the sight of Hamilton on his knees with most of Burr’s cock in his mouth too overwhelming. He feels Hamilton’s tongue tracing over the ridges of his cock head, and then swallowing deeper. His hands move to rest on Burr’s hips, and Burr opens his eyes to watch Hamilton’s beautiful head bobbing as he moves. Hamilton hums as he takes Burr in, and Burr feels the vibration through his entire body. His hips twitch slightly, hungry for more of Hamilton’s mouth, and Hamilton’s fingers tighten on his hips, pulling them towards him, encouraging. Burr moves his hips again, fucking into Hamilton’s eager mouth. He looks down, and sees Hamilton’s eyes are open, looking up at him, and the already-stretched corners of his lips quirk up, smiling with his mouth full. Encouraged, Burr fucks Hamilton’s mouth harder, hand tight in his hair, and Hamilton stays right with him, fingers digging into his hipbones, making pleased noises each time Burr thrusts into him. Hamilton’s eyes are closed, now, focused on his task, but the sight of it still drives Burr wild. The way Hamilton’s lips are stretched, the sight of his own cock thrusting into that gorgeous mouth -- it’s enough to push Burr over the edge, and he sinks one final time into Hamilton’s mouth, deep, and Hamilton’s lips close around him as he comes.
Burr slides down the length of the wall, after, weak-kneed from his orgasm. He pulls the still-kneeling Hamilton toward him, an awkward, sloppy embrace, and when Hamilton acquiesces, his weight throws Burr off balance. He ends up almost falling to the floor, still holding Hamilton, and the absurdity of it makes him laugh. Hamilton laughs too, and kisses Burr from his awkward position.
“You’re a fucking disaster,” Hamilton says, affectionate, and Burr doesn’t argue, just kisses him again and again.
They clean up before leaving the house, though Burr’s mind is still full of the sight of Hamilton on his knees. They head to the cabinet meeting, Burr staying half a step behind Hamilton, unsure of the direction.
Jefferson is already there when they arrive, makes a show of rising from his chair and coming to greet them. He shakes Hamilton’s hand first, the other hand going to his shoulder, and Burr notes the pressure of Jefferson’s fingertips, as if examining the quality of fabric in Hamilton’s coat.
“I didn’t know we were bringing dates to this meeting,” says Jefferson. He doesn’t offer to shake Burr’s hand. Burr forces himself not to look away.
Hamilton opens his mouth to reply, but Washington’s arrival saves them. He clasps a hand on Burr’s shoulder.
“Glad to have you here, Aaron,” he says, and smiles, though Burr notices it doesn’t quite meet his eyes. Still, he smiles back, and shakes the president’s hand. He breathes a quiet sigh of relief that Washington had, apparently, invited Burr, whatever the reason.
Hamilton takes Washington aside, and Burr busies himself talking to Madison – a familiar face, at least – while others trickle in. Some of the staff cast odd looks at Burr, and being noticed in this way – outsider, outsider – makes him itch, but he ignores it.
He’s grateful when Washington calls the meeting to order and he no longer has to attempt small talk.
“I called this meeting,” Washington begins, “for us to discuss Secretary Hamilton’s plan to assume state debt and establish a national bank. Secretary Jefferson, you have to floor.”
Jefferson rises – entirely unnecessary, but a good way of drawing the eye – and begins his pitch.
It’s a glory to watch, really, the verbal sparring between the two men. Burr, of course, finds Hamilton’s position the most convincing as he lays out his argument for assuming state debt.
Funny, Burr thinks, that the seeds of Hamilton’s plan were first spoken over a fire on the island. Burr remembers it, how Hamilton’s eyes had shone in the firelight, saying my first idea is how we’re going to structure the nation’s debt…
And what had Burr said, back then? Your ideas are good. I can’t wait to see them play out.
Years later and here he is, witnessing those same ideas. The fruition.
To no one’s surprise, the two men escalate their argument until it’s practically shouting, and the threat of violence – I’ll show you where my shoe fits – is the final straw. Washington slams his hands on the table hard enough to make Burr jump in his seat.
“You’re all excused,” he says, “we’ll reconvene after a brief recess when we can speak like civilized human beings.”
Hamilton rises, and Washington looks at him.
“A word, Alex.”
Burr casts an encouraging look to Hamilton before slipping out with the rest of the group. He closes the door behind him, but already he can hear their voices – Hamilton not arguing the way he had with Jefferson, but still with insistence – muffled through the wood.
Hamilton emerges a few minutes later, jaw clenched. Washington looks at Burr.
“Mr. Burr, may I speak with you for a moment?”
Burr feels a knot of dread at those words. He can count on one hand the number of times he’s been alone with Washington. But he obliges, walks into the room. Washington gestures for Burr to take a seat, but doesn’t sit himself, so Burr, too, remains standing. Washington notices this, a small smile crossing his face.
“How is Hamilton doing?” Washington says, as if he hadn’t just been in the room with him.
“He's fine,” Burr replies, “but all due respect, Mr. President, if you've only called me in here to speak about Hamilton’s well-being--”
“No, no,” Washington says, “the reason I've called you and here is because Mr. Henry Knox has had some health issues recently, and is no longer fit for duty.”
Henry Knox, Washington’s Secretary of War. No longer fit for duty. Which means – well, it means a replacement is needed. Burr’s heart speeds up. His hopes are up too, gods damn them, but he tries to keep his expression placid. Unflappable.
“There's been talk of you for the position,” Washington continues, “lord knows you have the war experience for it, and you’ve shown yourself to be quite the clever mind.”
No thanks to you, Burr thinks, still bitter from a flippant dismissal in a tent a lifetime ago. What he says instead is, “I've always been more than willing to serve my country.”
“Yes, indeed, and I know I haven't always been the most acknowledging of your accomplishments, but rest assured that they have not escaped my notice.”
“Glad to hear it.”
“In truth, you’re said to be a brilliant man, Mr. Burr. Alexander certainly seems to think so.”
A sinking feeling in his gut.
“Sir, did Alexander recommend me for Mr. Knox’s position?”
“No, it’s a decision I came to on my own, though whenever your name is mentioned around Alex, he’s always quite eager to wax poetic on your multitude of talents,” Washington pauses for a moment, considering, then continues, “and in all honesty, it would be a great boon to me if you were here alongside him. You two complement each other.”
“What do you mean?”
“Your law practice. The Federalist papers. Hell, just surviving the way you two did. Whenever you men work together, it seems…” Washington trails off, something unfinished hanging in the air. Burr can’t quite tell if Washington’s insinuating that he knows more, or if it’s his own paranoia manifesting.
“There’s a balance,” Washington continues, “with you and him. He’s a better man with you behind him. And while I don’t know you as well as I do Hamilton, I think the same can be said for you.”
Burr has to bite his lip to resist saying you have no idea.
“So, Mr. Burr, do you accept?”
Burr hesitates. He’s dreamed of such a moment, such a position being offered to him – indeed, hadn’t the idea of such a powerful role been one of the incentives for agreeing to his overseas voyage years ago? But now, with the offer on the table, with Washington’s expectant eyes on him, Burr feels a wild urge to back out, to return to the life where he’s comfortable, where he knows what will come from one day to the next.
But no. He’s done playing it safe.
“I accept,” Burr says.
They shake hands.
The way Hamilton looks at him as Burr exits the room leaves Burr suspecting that he had an idea of what Washington had intended to ask him, despite whatever Washington may have said to the contrary.
“What did he want?” asks Hamilton.
Burr only looks at him.
“I feel like you know,” Burr says.
“I may have an idea. Tell me anyway.”
“He offered me Knox’s position.”
“Holy shit, really?!”
Hamilton’s face is nothing but open surprise, and Burr realizes maybe Hamilton hadn’t known, after all. Burr feels himself break into a grin.
“That's amazing, Aaron - he’d mentioned offering some position, but he didn't specify which one, I was hoping, but you never know with him...”
“Nope. Full on motherfucking secretary of war.”
“And you accepted, right?” Hamilton’s tone is light, joking - but there’s the faintest vein of seriousness. As if he knew all about Burr’s momentary hesitation, his desire to flee.
“I absolutely did.”
Hamilton’s grin dissolves into laughter and he puts a hand on Burr’s shoulder.
“God, Jefferson’s going to be so fucking pissed.”
Things speed up, after that.
Their law practice still exists, but in a much smaller capacity, serving only a few select clients. Mostly, their days are taken up with meetings and all the strangeness that comes with politics - schmoozing and hand-holding and strategy, and while Burr doesn’t mind these things (and quite excels at them, if he does say so himself), he comes home most nights exhausted.
But they make progress. They change things. The nation takes shape, like clay formed into a vessel, and Burr thrills that his hands are a part of its creation.
Things are different now. When Burr walks into the room, he belongs.
He doesn’t see Hamilton much during the day, even when they’re in the same meetings they’re in different orbits, so most nights they stay up late, discussing strategy and offering one another advice.
Washington was right, Burr admits. They complement each other. His ideas are better with Hamilton’s input, and vice versa.
“I need to make a plan,” Hamilton says one night.
“What’s your plan?” Burr asks.
“There’s been some...disagreements lately over where to put the US Capitol,” Hamilton says, in the understatement of the century.
“I’m aware,” Burr says dryly. The last few cabinet meeting had consisted largely of non-stop arguments between Hamilton and Jefferson, leaving little room for any of the other cabinet members to get a word in edgewise.
“I have to figure out how to beat Jefferson.”
“What else is new?”
“He wants it out in bumfuck, Virginia, even though everything important is happening here…”
“And why does he want it out there?”
“Fuck if I know. Bragging rights. Closer to his home.”
“Worst that’ll happen, if it’s in Virginia?”
Hamilton pauses, considers.
“More traveling. It’s stupid.”
“So worst case scenario, it’s stupid.”
Hamilton’s lips purse and he doesn’t answer, which means Burr’s right. He continues.
“And he wants this, right? Pretty badly. So what do you think he’d give up, in exchange?”
Hamilton’s silence remains, but the quality of it changes, from sulking to pondering. Burr resists a smile.
“I know compromise isn’t your favorite, but quid pro quo. What do you want, Alex?”
Hamilton’s eyes brighten.
“You brilliant fucking bastard.”
“I believe you’re the bastard, here-”
Hamilton cuts him off with a kiss, and when he pulls back, he’s already talking.
“That’s it; I’ll go to them, crawling on my belly, offering up the capitol on a silver platter...in exchange for my banks.”
“A system you can shape however you want.”
“God, I love you.”
“I love you too.”
“Let’s make it happen.”
Once the idea was planted in his mind, Hamilton took off with it, as Burr had suspected. The man was so damn focused on winning he couldn’t always see the more insidious path to victory - which sometimes, was all Burr could see.
Complementary. The word keeps running through his head.
“We’re having dinner, this Saturday,” Hamilton says.
“We have dinner most days.”
Burr can’t help the joke. He ignores Hamilton’s look.
“With Jefferson and Madison. We’re going to discuss my compromise.”
Oh, so suddenly it’s his compromise. Burr resists the urge to roll his eyes.
“I need you there.”
That catches his attention.
“It was your idea, so you should be in room. You’re fucking brilliant. You’re a calming presence. It keeps me from being the odd man out there. I’d like something nice to look at so I don’t punch Jefferson in the face. You’re the secretary of war…”
“You expecting war to break out?”
“Be serious, Aaron. I don’t know if this can happen without you.”
Burr feels abashed, and he takes Hamilton’s hand, kisses each knuckle.
“Of course I’ll be there.”
“Good. Now, let’s practice. We’ve only got a few days. You be Jefferson.”
In the interim, Burr writes. He and Higgins have kept up a lively enough correspondence. He misses the pirate, whom he feels even closer to as they share stories in their letters, even as their paths diverge further and further.
I hope you are doing well. I am writing to you, of all things, from my new desk, in my new position as Secretary of War. Can you believe it? I was dumbstruck, though Alex says such a position was long overdue, I had assumed Washington disliked me enough to withhold such things from me indefinitely...
He writes on, updating Higgins on his life, asks after the admiral and his captain. He finishes:
Finally, my friend, I have a great favor to ask you, one that would require you to return to our docks…
He makes his request, feels oddly nervous as he seals the envelope, as if Hamilton would suddenly appear, peering over his shoulder to see what Burr had written. No such thing happens, of course, and the letter is sent off without fanfare, though once it leaves Burr’s hands he wants to grab for it, take it all back, erase his foolhardy request.
When he gets home, he opens his dresser drawer and reaches for the box with its coconut-fiber creation. The box is small, one of the few items Burr has from his mother, and sits comfortably in the palm of his hand. He moves the box into his bedside table, sliding it into the back of the drawer before shutting it. There’s a sound, and he whirls, sure Hamilton will be in the doorway, curious - but it was nothing. A door slamming somewhere. Burr’s just jumpy, is all.
Burr wakes up strangely nervous on the day they’re set to meet with Jefferson and Madison to lay out their argument. Hamilton, in contrast, is almost eerily calm, and it reminds Burr of the strange stillness in the sky before hurricanes.
There is quiet.
But he’s on the right side of the hurricane, he suppose - he hopes - so he leaves Hamilton alone, busies himself with cleaning. Even though Hamilton appears calm, there’s something in the air, an electricity, and Burr is glad when it comes time to leave.
They arrive at the venue, a rather isolated house. It was owned, Hamilton had said, by a man with more property than he knew what to do with, so he leased the place out as needed.
“Why didn't we just have this meeting at the office?” Burr asks on the way to the door, “or hell, even at our house. Why this place? Why here?”
“Neutral ground,” Hamilton says, “just like in war. So no one can be assumed to have an advantage.”
There's a smile on his face, soft and secret, and Burr has the sense that Hamilton isn't quite telling the whole truth, that there’s some other meaning to the meeting’s location, but he’s still too jumpy to prod further.
Madison is already at the house when they arrive, welcoming them like old friends. Burr supposes that they are, in some fashion, though Madison had not felt like a friend in a long while, not since Jefferson had returned and whisked Madison to his side.
“Welcome to the manor,” Madison says, gesturing them in.
The house is exquisite, probably twice the size of Burr’s own, and he can't help but gape at the ceiling, towering above them, host to a chandelier that probably cost a year’s salary.
He’d expected Jefferson to arrive early - all the more time to fight with Hamilton. But instead he strolls in in the nick of time - almost late, really - forcing all of them to wait on him. In hindsight, Burr supposes that this is a rather savvy move, and wonders if he and Hamilton should have taken a similar tactic. Ah well. Too late now. Things have already been set in motion.
Dinner is served not long after Jefferson’s arrival, and Madison herds them into the dining room. The room itself is rather grand, bedecked in artwork and velvet hangings, but the table where they’re to eat is small, almost cozy. It’s set with four places, even including name cards written in Madison’s finely scripted hand. The table’s draped in a fine red tablecloth trimmed with gold, ornate enough that it reminds Burr of Jefferson’s jacket. Burr sits at his place, across from Hamilton, and Jefferson sits across from Madison. Burr looks around and has to bite his lip to keep from laughing - the whole thing feels so strange, so surreal, as if they’re in some insane alternate universe, attending a quaint couple’s dinner. But no - instead it’s just terrible political foreplay, and by the end of the casual-but-obviously-not chatter (the weather, the coach routes, the food being served) Burr feels strung wire-tight. Finally, their plates are cleared, the table in front of them empty, save for their half-full wine glasses and a few candles that cast odd, flickering shadows across his dinner companions’ faces.
“Well,” Jefferson says, tipping his chair back as he leans away from the table, finding an angle so precarious that Burr is sure he’ll topple completely over (and maybe sends up a prayer or two for that very thing to happen), “enough small talk. I believe Mr. Hamilton has a proposal for us.”
“I thought you’d never ask,” Hamilton says, a coy smile on his face. His tone, coupled with that smile, is almost flirtatious, and Burr has to fight a ludicrous wave of jealousy. It’s all part of the plan - their plan - and hell, Burr had been the one to suggest that Hamilton be nice, in the first place.
You catch more flies with honey, and all that.
“We’d be willing to concede,” Hamilton begins, and only Burr notices the brief tightening of his jaw as he says the word - concede - “as long as you’re willing to offer us something in return…”
In the end, it’s easier than Burr thought.
They had offered up the capital on a silver platter, all sweetness and smiles, and when Hamilton mentioned his tradeoff - that the bank system stay in New York - Jefferson and Madison had agreed with almost no hesitation.
Hook, line, and sinker.
When the last wine is drunk, both parties rise from the table. They all smile and shake hands, everyone so sure that they’d won.
They all head to the door, but when Burr reaches for his coat, Hamilton puts a hand on his arm.
“Mr. Burr,” Hamilton says, “a word, if you would.”
They wave goodbye to Jefferson and Madison, and then Burr turns to look at Hamilton, curiosity piqued.
“Aren’t you ready to go?” Burr asks. He’s dying to get home, ready to celebrate with Hamilton, put his nervous energy to good use.
“Not quite yet,” Hamilton says, that coy smile back on his face, wider now, and reaching his eyes. He moves, walking back into the room where it had all happened, grabbing their empty wine classes and setting them on a nearby shelf. The candles have been moved too, Burr notices.
“They’re so gullible,” Hamilton says, half to himself, laughing, “never even thought to question it.”
Burr grins, too. He wonders when it will dawn on them, the particular epiphany of what, exactly, they had given up. Hamilton turns to him, catches his gaze.
“This is all thanks to you, you know,” he says, reaching out, taking Burr’s hands. Without thinking, Burr winds his fingers through Hamilton’s. Fitting together in all things. Complementary.
“You’re the one who saw it through,” he replies, “and let me say, Mr. Hamilton, you were a pleasure to watch. As always.”
Hamilton preens at the praise, fingers stroking over Burr’s knuckles. Burr is suddenly aware of how quiet the house is, no noise of servants moving around. He wonders if they’ve all gone home. As if reading his mind, Hamilton speaks.
“You know,” he says, “I’m friends with the owner of the house. Handled one of his cases a while back. He said I could use this place any time. Madison didn’t realize it, when I mentioned it. Nor did he thank me when he booked it. Guess he wanted to pretend he’d found the place all on his own…”
Another piece falls into place. Hamilton had played them in even the smallest of ways, all while making them think it was their idea. That they were winning, all while in a room he’d placed them in.
Not such neutral ground, after all.
“You’re the brilliant one, you know,” Hamilton’s still talking, still rubbing his fingertips over Burr’s hand, “not enough people know that. But I do, and I am in awe.”
Now it’s Burr’s turn to blush, unsure what to do with himself in the wake of Hamilton’s praise. Hamilton decides for him, leaning forward and pressing his lips against Burr. He kisses back, automatic, and as his arm wraps around Hamilton’s waist he suddenly remembers he’s in a stranger’s home, that there are other people around. He pulls back. Hamilton pulls him forward, chest pressing against him.
“I sent them home,” he says, “it’s just you and me.”
His lips are close to Burr’s again, but he doesn’t kiss him.
“We won,” he says, and Burr feels each word as an exhalation of warm breath across his face, “we won.”
Burr kisses him, this time, pressing into him harder, more urgently. It’s rash, doing this, in some stranger’s place, and even as a part of his brain clamors for him to pull back, another part guides Hamilton forward, pressing him back against the same table they’d negotiated across. Hamilton shifts when his legs hit the table, and without thinking Burr wraps his hands around the back of Hamilton’s thighs and lifts him onto it, still kissing him. Hamilton laughs a little, surprised, then wraps his legs around Burr, pulls him closer. Burr grinds against him, all rational thought gone, demolished by the excitement from their victory and the novelty of the new place; the deliciously wicked taboo of having Hamilton here on the same table where Jefferson had leaned forward, chin resting on his hands, his grin so fucking self-satisfied -
“I want you,” Burr breathes. As if it wasn’t obvious.
Hamilton’s legs tighten on him. He can feel Hamilton’s erection under his breeches.
“Then take me,” Hamilton says, though he shifts, reaching into his coat pocket. He pulls out a small bottle of oil and Burr gapes at it for a moment.
“You anticipated this,” he says. Hamilton smiles.
“I anticipated victory,” he says, “and celebration.”
Burr removes Hamilton’s boots and breeches, crouching down to tug the breeches off. He takes advantage of this position by licking a stripe down Hamilton thigh, taking his cock into his mouth. Hamilton moans at the sudden contact, and Burr tastes precum on his tongue, swallows. He lingers there a bit longer, tongue tracing over Hamilton, before he straightens up to remove his own breeches.
He takes the oil, works his fingers into Hamilton. He’s practiced at this now, learned better angles. Hamilton presses eagerly into him, ankles hooked around Burr’s lower back, rocking into his hand, already wanting more. Burr crooks his two fingers, works him a moment longer, slowly stroking the pads of his fingers against one particular spot inside him. Hamilton had lain back onto the table when Burr’s fingers first entered him, and when Burr slows, he sits up, wraps a hand around the back of Burr’s neck.
“Fuck me,” he says, “please.”
Burr is all too willing to oblige, he straightens and strokes oil over his own hard cock. He positions himself, pressing lightly at Hamilton’s entrance, then sliding in, breaching him, an exquisite welcome of heat and tightness. He moves slow - he has to, lest he come immediately - and tries to adjust to the feeling. No matter how many times this happens, there’s always a moment at first, where Burr is left overwhelmed and dumbstruck, every sensation narrowed down to the feeling of being inside Hamilton.
Hamilton croons something wordless and sweet, a hand stroking Burr’s still-clothed back. Burr begins to move, rocking his hips in the way he knows Hamilton likes. Hamilton’s hips stutter and he cants them toward Burr, desperate, and Burr rocks into him harder, knowing he won’t last, not like this, so he puts a hand on Hamilton’s cock and strokes it once, twice, and then Hamilton’s crying out, gripping onto him, and Burr fucks the last few bursts of spend from Hamilton, and then he’s gone himself, crying out Hamilton’s name and spilling into him, clinging on to him like a drowning man as his knees go weak.
They stay that way a moment, arms wrapped around one another, Hamilton’s forehead buried in Burr’s shoulder, and then he slowly straightens, slides out from Hamilton. He kisses him again, soft, not letting go, not yet, not entirely sure he could stand on his own. He finally starts to move away, to go fetch their clothing and maybe find some kind of rag (they owe Hamilton’s friend a new table, Burr thinks, and reminds himself to tell Hamilton); but Hamilton pulls him back in.
“We won, Aaron,” Hamilton says, laughing, his face alight, “we won.”
“Did you ever think,” Hamilton says as they climb into bed that evening, both still charged from the evening’s escapades, “that we’d accomplish this?”
“I always knew you would do something great,” Burr replies, “and I had visions for myself, of course. But together? Not in my wildest dreams.”
“Tell you what,” Hamilton says, laughing, “I think fucking Jefferson on a deal then getting fucked myself by an astonishingly handsome man is up there as one of my wildest dreams.”
Burr feels a momentary flare of heat at the memory of what had transpired hours earlier. He leans over, kisses Hamilton, who kisses him back.
“This is our legacy, Aaron,” he says, “the beginning of it.”
Legacy. The word sends shivers down Burr’s spine. He had always wanted to do great things, formative things, but hadn’t some secret, doubting part of him always insisted he’d amount to nothing? That voice, that doubting voice, is quiet now, made mute in the face of the things they’ve begun to accomplish. Their legacy.
Burr wakes to the sound of a storm, rain pounding on the roof overhead. There’s light shining through the window, but not much, some unknowable hour. Burr opens his eyes and for a moment he imagines he’s back in their cave, recalls that storm that had confined them, Hamilton pressed wet against him. Burr had been so afraid, then, to touch him. To take any comfort in his warmth.
He has no such limitations now, is about to curl into Hamilton - warm, dry - when he recalls more fully yesterday’s events. Securing the banks, playing Jefferson and Madison for fools; celebrating, after. The start of their legacy. Burr leans over, away from Hamilton, quietly slides open the drawer to his nightstand. The box is still there, and he brings it closer, so that it is within arm’s reach.
It’s then that he turns to Hamilton, wraps an arm around him, chest pressing against his back, knees sliding into his. He reaches, finds Hamilton’s hand, curls his fingers into his.
Bound together, like knots.
He lays soft kisses on Hamilton’s neck, continues until he stirs, head twisting to peer back at him. Hamilton smiles, sleepy. Outside, there is a rumble of thunder, but it sounds far away.
“G’morning,” Hamilton mumbles, and he turns onto his back. Burr disengages his hand to better allow him to move.
“Morning,” Burr says, kissing him, then pulling back to peer at him. He feels a helpless smile tugging at the corners of his lips, even as his heart thuds in his chest.
“Question or command?” he asks.
“Question or command?”
Hamilton shifts to better look at Burr. He reaches a hand up, strokes a finger down his cheek.
“Question,” he says. Hamilton always picks question first.
Burr takes the ring out of the box. The coconut fibers scratch lightly against his palm. The ring itself has almost no weight, but to Burr, it holds everything. He holds the ring up, and Hamilton’s eyes flick to it, the roughly woven circle of coconut husks, Burr’s laborious creation.
“Will you marry me?” he asks, and oh, now his heart is beating so quick it might burst from his chest and take off running, and that doubting voice is back, saying Hamilton will laugh, will find the whole idea preposterous.
But Hamilton does none of this; he looks at the ring with delight, looks back to Burr, holds out his hand toward him. Burr slips the ring on - it catches on Hamilton’s knuckle for a moment and Burr’s terrified it won’t fit - but then he wiggles it and it slides down, resting on Hamilton’s finger. Hamilton looks at it, moving his fingers slowly, staring with an awestruck expression. He looks back to Burr, then pulls him forward, kissing him.
“Yes,” he says, laughing, delighted, “yes, of course, of course, I love you, I love you, I love -”
Burr cuts the words off with another kiss, hand weaving back into Hamilton’s, this time feeling the additional texture of the ring. Outside, more thunder rumbles, but neither of them hear it.
They spend the morning in a sort of giddy bliss, and Burr notices Hamilton’s hand going to the ring, over and over, touching it, twirling it around his finger. Burr, too, finds excuses to touch it, to take Hamilton’s hand, to assure himself that this is real, that Hamilton is indeed wearing it upon his finger.
“I’ll find you something nicer, eventually,” Burr says, not wanting Hamilton to think he’s cheap (not that the damn coconut had been cheap), but Hamilton hushes him.
“This is perfect, Aaron. Everything I’ve ever wanted.”
“Good,” Burr replies, “me too.”
When it comes time for work, Hamilton slides the ring off with some reluctance. Burr feels a pang as he watches. Hamilton transfers the ring to a chain, slides it over his neck.
“Next best thing,” he says, and Burr places a hand flat on Hamilton's chest, feeling the texture of the chain, the soft beating of his heart.
“Perfect,” Burr says. He kisses him.
In the end, he does make him a better ring. More solid. Burr carves it out of the coconut shell, polishes the wood of it til it nearly shines. Now, when he presses his hand to Hamilton's chest, he can feel it. Though Burr insists Hamilton can discard the woven one, Hamilton keeps both rings.
It’s not exactly news they can share, though Burr moves through his days grinning like a fool. It’s all symbolic, he knows. Truth be told, the very existence of their relationship is a crime, and marriage unimaginable in most people’s eyes.
Most, but not all.
He and Hamilton visit Theodosia and Isaac, and when the news is shared Theodosia manages to grab them both in a wild hug, laughing and joyous. Isaac, too, shakes their hands and smiles, congratulating them. It’s only later, when Burr and Theodosia are alone, that she asks.
“I’m thrilled for you, Aaron, but...what’s your plan?”
Her tone is neutral, calm, but Burr senses the sympathy in it.
“Well…” Burr begins, and lowers his voice, telling her. She laughs, again, head thrown back.
“You romantic bastard,” she says, still laughing, shaking her head, “you crazy, romantic bastard.”
She smiles, and glances back to the living room, where Mary Louisa’s dressed in one of Isaac’s army jackets, performing something extravagant for Isaac and Hamilton as Theo wanders in front of her, unsure of the action but sure that she wants to be part of it. Burr smiles too, watching her watching them, realizes they’ve become family, in their own strange way.
“When?” she asks.
“Well,” he says, “I’m still waiting on that part.”
“Let me know. We’ll be sure to celebrate beforehand.”
They return to the living room, join the theatrics, Burr sitting beside Hamilton on the couch, hand in his. It feels like home, and when he and Hamilton return back and climb into bed together, well, that’s home, too.
Higgins’s letter is full of stories, detailing his adventures. The last paragraph, though, is the one Burr’s most excited to read.
And as to your request, dear Aaron, how could I say no? Sebastian and I feel partially responsible for this, after all, and it would be a pleasure and an honor to see it through.
See you soon.