What they’re doing is foolish, perhaps downright stupid, and Burr can’t fucking wait.
The day they’re set to leave dawns clear and bright, and Burr wakes much too early, excitement stirring him. Hamilton’s awake too, the same bundle of nerves and excitement. Their bags are packed, sitting near the doorway. The coaches will arrive in a few hours, so they sit down for a breakfast that neither one of them touches much of.
“I feel like none of this is real,” says Hamilton, “like this is some crazy dream, and any moment I’m gonna wake up, be in my bed alone.”
Burrow reaches across the table, takes Hamilton’s hand.
“I know the feeling,” he says, “but it’s real, Alex. It’s real.”
Hamilton grins, and Burr feels his fingers tighten on his hand.
Time passes all too slowly, but eventually, there is a knock on the door. Burr greets the driver, and they load up their suitcases. Burr casts one final look to the house, at the garden in its fading bloom (summer’s come and gone, and much of the garden lies fallow, but they will plant it again come spring). He climbs into the coach, settling next to Hamilton. As the coach sets off, Burr notices Hamilton’s hand flutter upward, touching the spot on his chest where the ring sits.
The wind’s picked up by the time they arrive at the docks. Burr gets out of the coach, glancing back at Hamilton. Much of his hair’s come loose from its ponytail, whipping about his face. Burr smiles, inhales the scent of the ocean. He squints toward the horizon, but doesn’t see anything, not yet.
“They'll be here soon, right?” Hamilton asks.
“Yes,” Burr says, “soon.”
They look again to the ocean, when Burr hears his name called. Theodosia hurries up, Mary Louisa behind her, Isaac trailing with Theo riding him piggyback.
“Couldn’t let you all leave without saying goodbye,” she says, and Burr’s touched by this. There’s an odd bit of humor to it as well - last time he’d set off overseas, when they’d been lovers, she hadn’t come to the docks to see him off. Not that she could have, of course - wouldn’t have been proper - but the irony of it makes him smile all the same. Theodosia hugs him, arms wrapping tight, and draws back to look at him.
“Don’t die on me again,” she says, voice solemn, “we need a babysitter.”
“I trust this captain far more,” he promises. She smiles, and moves on to Hamilton. When Burr looks over, she’s whispering something, too low for him to hear. Burr moves to shake Isaac’s hand, but is surprised when the other man pulls him into a hug - brief, hands thumping at his back, but a hug nonetheless.
“Congratulations,” Isaac says, “you’re a lucky man.”
Burr couldn’t agree more.
Mary Louisa hugs him tight enough that Burr has to beg for mercy. Theo hugs him too, wrapping her small arms around his calves, looking up at him with those familiar eyes. He kisses the top of both girls’ heads, picks Theo up for more, when Mary Louisa’s shout rings out.
“Look! The ship!”
Indeed, a dark thing has materialized at the horizon line, through Burr struggles at first to make it out, his eyes no longer quite as sharp as they once were. It grows closer soon enough, and the shape is unmistakable. At his side, Theodosia has quietly taken Theo from his arms.
“We’ll leave you to it,” she says, “congratulations.”
Another round of hugs, and then the family heads off, and when Burr looks back toward the ocean, the Wolverine is closer than ever, close enough that he can spot a figure standing at the bow of the ship, already waving.
Burr feels a delightful sense of déjà vu, standing here with Hamilton, watching a ship come towards them. There’s no exploratory boat this time, instead, the ship rolls right up to the docks as if she belongs there. There’s a thud as the gangplank hits the dock, and once again, in that same déjà vu, Higgins is the first off the boat, the first to greet them. He looks much the same as he had when Burr had last seen him, save for the new scar cutting across his face. The scar diminishes nothing, only adds to the mystique of the Admiral. When his boots hit the dock, Higgins opens his arms and embraces both of them at once, pulling them in towards his chest, as if they are old friends who haven’t seen on another in years.
Except, of course, that’s exactly what they are.
“Never thought I’d see you boys again,” Higgins says.
“We’re full of surprises,” Hamilton says, smiling. Higgins glances down at Hamilton’s hand, noting the ring there. Burr hadn’t even noticed Hamilton slipping it on. But here, against the backdrop of the ocean, it looks perfect. Absolutely perfect.
“Actually,” Higgins says, “this was entirely predictable.”
“I suppose,” Hamilton says, “some things are inevitable.”
He brushes his hand against Burrs’. Only a slight touch, but all the men notice. Burr grins like a fool.
“Thank you again,” Burr tells Higgins as they load their luggage onto the boat, “you have no idea how much this means to us.”
“Oh Aaron,” Higgins says, laughing, “pirates are huge romantics, don’t you know? We’ll do anything for love.”
“Well, it’s true enough for Sebastian and I. Who wouldn’t want to see this through? Besides, we had business around here. Wasn’t much of a detour.”
“Still. Thank you.”
Higgins’s face softens.
“I’m just glad you two came to your senses. The pining on the boat was painful.”
“We weren’t that bad.”
“Darling, it was palpable. I was practically choking on it.”
Behind him, Hamilton chokes on his own laugh. Burr’s glad - the two men had been immediately friendly, none of that odd tension that had dogged them their first time aboard. He knew the two had been in contact, Hamilton pestering Higgins about the pirate code, adapting some of its measures for the Constitution (well disguised, naturally, but fundamentally similar).
They all seem like old friends, now.
The ship is much as Burr remembered it, old wood kept polished to a new sheen. His feet traverse the familiar layout, finding his way below deck, weaving through to the crewman’s quarters. The room itself seems smaller than it was in Burr’s memory, the hammock he and Hamilton had shared almost ridiculously so. They were used to the luxury of a larger bed now, he supposes, and wonders if they’ll be able to sleep at all.
Sleep is not their concern now, though, and Burr banishes the thought from his mind as he drops off his luggage and heads back above deck, ready to set sail.
He finds Hamilton surrounded by the men, all of them impaled on the hooks of Hamilton’s story about a particularly riotous client. It was a story Burr could recite verbatim alongside Hamilton, though in this instance he refrains, showing a rather remarkable amount of restraint.
“There you are,” Hamilton says when his story’s finished. He takes Burr’s hand, pulls him closer. Without thinking, Burr glances around, feeling watched, spotlighted, but no one’s paying them any mind, too busy preparing the ship.
Here, Burr and Hamilton are completely, perfectly unremarkable.
Shouts ring out as the final preparations are made, and Burr stands next to Hamilton at the railing, shoulders touching, watching as the final ropes are cast off. There’s a soft whump as the Wolverine’s sails unfurl, catching a handful of breeze and billowing outward. The ship rocks, unsteady for just a moment, then steadies as she turns, and lights off for the horizon.
They’re both quiet as they watch the docks fade to specks in the distance, until finally it’s just water, all around. Burr waits to feel something - fear, perhaps, at once again being surrounded by water; or maybe some kind of déjà vu, as he once again sets off from New York with Hamilton. But there’s nothing, only the pleasant churn of excitement in his belly, a contentment as the sun beams down, warm on his face.
“I thought this would feel more familiar,” he says, breaking the silence.
“Why?” asks Hamilton.
“You, me, a ship, leaving New York behind…”
“So then what does it feel like?”
Burr considers, but not for long.
“Like a new adventure.”
“I was hoping you’d say as much. I don’t want this to feel familiar. It should feel new. Exciting.”
“Trust me, I’m very excited.”
“Good, because I like to think I’m quite exciting…”
Burr rolls his eyes and bumps his shoulder into Hamilton, who’s too busy being pleased with himself to care.
“Come on, Mr. Exciting,” Burr says, “we’d best go make ourselves useful.”
The pirates are quick to put them to work. Many of the faces are new, but there are enough familiar ones that Burr can imagine no time has passed at all. The chores are the same, the ship’s the same, and, just as they had on the voyage home, his eyes fall to Hamilton, again and again.
Burr’s bone-tired when they finally retire below deck, a cruel reminder that he hasn’t done much in the way of physical labor lately. He’s first to the hammock and flops in, unsteady, sending it rocking. He grips the fabric sides, eyes closed, willing the thing to be still. When he opens his eyes Hamilton’s peering over him, a small, amused grin on his face.
“Room for one more?”
Hamilton doesn’t wait for an answer, climbs into the hammock in the most efficient way - by straddling Burr, knees on either side of him, hands gripping the sides next to Burr. Hamilton takes longer than is entirely necessary to scoot beside him, bodies pressed tight, almost uncomfortably so.
“Jeez,” Hamilton complains, “I remember us fitting a bit better in this.”
“Our diet has changed a bit since then,” Burr deadpans. Their diet is years from the fish and tubers that had left them kissing distance from gaunt, and yes, maybe he’s indulged a bit lately, in the fine meals granted to men of their position, maybe a glass of wine too many. He’s certainly feeling it now.
“Well,” Hamilton squirms, setting the hammock back into motion, “there’s nowhere I’d rather be than here with you. Except maybe a slightly larger hammock.”
Despite his complaining, Hamilton curls against him, and soon enough the hammock stills. Hamilton shifts just slightly, chin tilting up towards Burr, kissing him goodnight.
“I love you,” Hamilton says, voice soft in the darkness.
“I love you, too.”
The days pass with the same stuttering familiarity, and soon Burr falls into a similar routine as he had the last time he was on board the Wolverine. It’s hard, physical labor, and Burr’s body aches in ways that it hadn’t the first time he had been on the ship. Still, he takes a sort of pride in the exhaustion, and putting his muscles to good use.
He had volunteered to move boxes, the grunt work - he made a point to volunteer for as much of this type of labor as he could, his own small thanks to the pirates, though he knows all the petty labor in the world couldn’t truly express his gratitude. He falls into the same routine, making note of contents, re-stacking boxes, granting the room some semblance of order. It feels as if no time had passed at all, back here in the cargo hold. He hears footsteps on the stairs, looks up to see Hamilton standing there.
“Need any help?” Hamilton asks.
“If you’re offering…” Burr says, smiling, and Hamilton makes his way into the room, looking about and surveying the contents. The hold itself is poorly lit, with the stacks of boxes giving it a maze-like, almost labyrinthine quality.
Burr takes them to a corner, where one of the boxes he needs is stacked toward the ceiling, just out of reach. He glances at Hamilton.
“I could use a boost,” he says, grinning, “or I can boost you and you grab it. Whichever suits your fancy.”
Hamilton considers, looking up at the box, gauging the distance.
“I’ll boost you,” Hamilton says, finally, leaning forward and lacing his fingers together to provide a step, as if he were helping Burr mount a horse. Precariously, Burr places his boot into Hamilton’s hands, pushes off the ground with the other foot. As Hamilton lifts his hands, raising him up, Burr grabs on to the ledge of one of the larger boxes, Hamilton pressing in closer, half-pinning him. It’s awkward and inefficient, but mostly works. Burr’s fingers brush the box, he stretches higher, manages to grab it - thank god it’s light - and Hamilton lowers him back down, trying to be careful, but Bur ends up stumbling on his landing anyway.
“I might be out of practice,” Hamilton admits, and Burr notes the sheen of sweat at his hairline.
“You and me both. But hey, it worked.”
“I did like the your ass in my face part…”
Hamilton grins in the low light, and Burr grins, too, placing the box on the ground. He takes a step closer, and Hamilton watches him, gaze heavy and intent. They haven’t been alone, much, and Burr considers where they are - in the corner of a dimly lit cargo hold, mostly surrounded by boxes, not immediately visible upon entrance to the hold. So Burr puts a hand on Hamilton’s hip, drawing him closer, kissing him. Hamilton kisses back, arms wrapping around Burr’s waist, and soon enough Burr has Hamilton pressed against the wall of the ship, kissing him harder, finding himself overcome with want, with hunger for him. Hamilton is just as eager, kissing him voraciously, pulling Burr tight against him, so that Burr feels every inch of his excitement, which only spurs him on further.
Burr drops to his knees, hands swiftly undoing Hamilton’s breeches, yanking them down to his ankles. Hamilton’s cock juts free, and Burr wastes no time in taking him into his mouth, one hand still on Hamilton’s hip, pulling him in. He cannot take Hamilton in as deep as Hamilton can him - he lacks that particular talent, though not for lack of trying - but he still takes him in deep, tongue flicking over him, his other hand covering the space that his mouth can’t. Hamilton moans as Burr’s head bobs, savoring the taste of him, the feel of him in his mouth.
Hamilton’s hand grips his shoulder, fingers curling in tight, and Hamilton stutters out his name - Aaron - and then Hamilton is coming, Burr swallowing, giving Hamilton’s cock one final lick before rising up, kissing him again. Hamilton is quick to take Burr in his hand, stroking him deliberately, then, with a devilish grin, turns so that he’s facing the wall. He plants one hand there, the other one, spit-slick, takes Burr’s cock and guides it between his thighs. Burr needs no further invitation, ruts into Hamilton, half-delirious with need, spurred by the glorious debauchery of the moment, the risk of it, and, of course, the sight of Hamilton braced against the wall.
One hand grips Hamilton’s hip, the other his hair, still fucking into him urgently, lost in the sensation. He groans, muffled against Hamilton’s still-clothed shoulder, the cotton growing damp under his hurried breaths. Hamilton arches against him, head rolling back as Burr pulls at his hair, and that’s all it takes, he comes with another muffled shout, spilling between Hamilton’s thighs, covering his shoulder in breathless kisses.
Common sense prevails, then, and Burr withdraws, sticky, awkwardly refastens his breeches. Hamilton looks worse than he does, long hair disheveled, sweating, pants pulled up from around his ankles but still unfastened.
“You’re a mess,” Burr says, laughing, and Hamilton, back still leaned against the wall, pulls him in, kissing him.
“We’re both messes,” he says, the words murmured low against Burr’s lips, and Burr opens his mouth to respond when Higgins’s voice echoes through the hold.
“Aaron, you there?”
“One second!” Burr manages, looking at Hamilton, adrenaline now dumping into his veins.
Hamilton just finishes fastening his breeches when Higgins rounds the corner, taking in the scene before him, which Burr suspects is glaringly obvious - the both of them disheveled, the odd stains on Hamilton’s breeches, and the inevitably guilty looks on both their faces.
Higgins only smiles, shaking his head.
“I’d come to share that supper’s ready,” he says, “but it looks like you’ve found something better to do.”
“John, we -”
Higgins cuts him off, which Burr supposes is good, since he wasn’t quite sure how he was going to finish his plea.
“Come down when you’re a bit cleaner.”
Higgins turns, heading back for the stairs.
“Oh, and boys? The door swings inward. Put a few boxes in front, next time.”
Somewhere in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Burr dreams of their nameless island.
This was nothing new - since they’d departed from it several years ago, Burr had dreamed of it often. It was one of those locations that manifested itself as a dreamscape, again and again. He told Hamilton about how often he dreamed of it, once, and Hamilton had smiled.
“A touchstone,” he’d said, “a formative place.”
Burr had taken Hamilton’s hand in his. He knows every inch of it, now, almost as familiar as his own.
Hamilton’s hands are a touchstone, too. Formative.
“Is it wrong,” Burr had said, “that sometimes I want to go back?”
Instead of answering his question, Hamilton only said, “sometimes I do, too.”
What is a legacy?
It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.
They talked, often, of the world they’d leave behind. Of the changes they could enact. Washington wouldn’t hold office forever - he’d said as much - and there were low murmurs of who would take his place, when the time came. They’d begun to talk, Burr and Hamilton, in their joking-but-not-really way, on what-ifs. On who might be best for the job.
Either way, Hamilton said, we can change the world.
Their legacy is already in motion, of course - renowned lawyers, secretaries of treasury and war, instigators of the banking system. But there’s more. There will always be more.
Burr thinks, with enough time, he and Hamilton could change the world.
Burr expects the day they’re to be married to dawn storming. So many other formative moments between them had transpired in storms, in gray skies and thunderbolts, so he expects the grand symbolism of the universe to mimic it - that this day, too, should come about in a grand flash of lightning.
It doesn’t, though. The day dawns bright, almost hot, and the sky is cloudless and achingly blue. Burr wonders if it’s a sign, and if so, if it’s good or bad.
But maybe not everything has to be a sign. Maybe it’s just a good day.
Hamilton joins him at the railing, arms wrapping around his waist, and for a moment they stand there, looking out at the gently-moving sea, sun and a salted breeze on their skin, and Burr is once more struck with wonder, that this is his life, his legacy.
Higgins comes to get them not long after, leads them to the bow of the ship, where the pirates have gathered. Trumbull stands at the forefront, book in hand, and smiles when he sees them.
It’s a simple setup - no decorations, and neither of them is dressed up, having not brought their finery with them, but they don’t need finery, don’t need anything in this moment, as long as they have one another.
Burr’s unsure how to proceed, from here, doesn’t know how much ceremony is involved - pirate weddings are an unknown thing to him. He looks at Higgins, who smiles, and nods toward Trumbull.
“Go on, then,” Higgins says, voice low, and so they proceed together, footsteps creaking on the planks, and as they reach the bow of the ship Burr feels Hamilton’s hand find his, fingers entwining. Like knots.
“Face each other, please,” Trumbull says, and they do, neither one letting go of the other’s hand.
“We are gathered here today to join these men in matrimony…” Trumbull begins, reading a modified prayer, but Burr can barely make out the words, too preoccupied by Hamilton’s gaze on him. It feels unreal and too-real at the same time, completely impossible, here on the bow of a ship with his love, ready to pledge everything to him.
“Aaron,” Trumbull says, coaxing Burr from his reverie. He looks at the captain, realizes Higgins has joined him at the ship’s bow, smiling encouragingly at him.
“Will you have this man as your wedded husband in matrimony? Will you love him, honor him, keep him in sickness and in health, so long as you both shall live?”
“I will,” Burr says. Will. An ongoing promise. Hamilton’s hands tighten on his. Trumbull looks to Hamilton.
“Alexander,” he says, “will you have this man as your wedded husband in matrimony? Will you love him, honor him, keep him in sickness and in health, so long as you both shall live?”
“The rings,” Trumbull says, and, to Burr’s surprise, Higgins pulls out two gold rings, similar to the one on his own finger, and hands one to each of them. The metal is warm in his palm.
“Aaron, repeat after me,” Trumbull says, “with this ring…”
“With this ring…” Burr echoes.
“I thee wed…”
“I thee wed…”
“With my body I thee worship…”
“With my body I thee worship…”
“And with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”
“And with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”
Hamilton releases his grip on Burr’s hand, holds it out. Burr slides the ring on, breath catching at how perfect it looks there. Hamilton’s fingers fold, grasping his for a moment, and then it’s his turn.
Hamilton repeats the vow, and when it’s finished Burr extends his hand. The ring slides on, a perfect fit, and the smile that alights on Hamilton’s face is quite possibly the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.
“I pronounce you wed,” Trumbull says, “you may kiss your matelot.”
Hamilton pulls him in, lips finding his, a bold kiss met with applause and whoops from the pirates, and Burr can barely kiss him back, he’s grinning so hard.
“I love you,” Hamilton says as he pulls back, and Burr sees tears stinging the corners of his eyes, “I love you so much, Aaron.”
Burr kisses him a second time, and when he pulls back, he tells him, “I love you, too.”
Dinner that night is as extravagant as can be expected aboard a pirate ship. The meal is rich and flavorful, beer and wine flowing, the men stopping by to clap Burr and Hamilton on the shoulder. As Burr stands, watching Hamilton move about the room, Higgins sidles up to his side.
“I have a present, for you two,” he says.
“You’ve already done more than I could ever hope,” Burr says, made saccharine by the wine and the euphoria that still swirls through his body. He touches the gold ring. Married.
“Take the captain’s quarters for the night,” Higgins says, and, seeing Burr’s mouth open in protest, continues on, “we insist. It was Sebastian’s idea - my idea was to invite you to share with us, but given it’s your first night as newlyweds and all…”
“It’s too much.”
“Oh, there’s plenty of time to pay us back.”
Higgins winks, and Burr laughs, hugging the pirate.
“Thank you, John,” he says, “thank you.”
He looks for Trumbull, to thank him as well. As he heads towards the captain, Trumbull turns, grabbing something out of a case on the floor. A fiddle, old but well-looked after. The other men stomp their feet, cheering and shouting. Trumbull tucks the instrument under his chin, then begins the first few notes of a song the pirates seemed to recognize immediately, shouting out their approval. The song rings out through the night, and Trumbull lifts his head and sings out, in a voice that is surprisingly clear and sweet.
“Come all ye young fellows that follow the sea-”
On cue, the men all around Burr shout back.
“to my way haye, blow the man down!”
“And please pay attention and listen to me-”
“Give me some time to blow the man down!”
Burr feels a hand on his shoulder, turns, sees Hamilton. His husband.
“May I have this dance?” Hamilton asks, raising his voice to be heard above the drunken shouts. Burr, laughing, places his hand in his.
“I don’t think this is much of a dancing song.”
“We can make it work.”
Hamilton pulls him closer, wraps an arm around his waist. He sways, slow, a strange movement in the wake of the raucous shanty, but Burr finds the rhythm easy to match.
“You’re beautiful,” Hamilton says, still swaying, “I can’t believe you married me.”
“I can’t believe you married me.”
“Guess we’re both in disbelief, then.”
Burr lays his head on Hamilton’s chest. Still swaying. Dancing to their own private rhythm as the men shout and stomp all around them.
“Alex?” Burr says.
“I think I’m ready for bed.”
“God, I’ve been waiting for you to say that.”
They bid goodnight to the other pirates, stopping to thank Higgins and Trumbull last. Burr hugs both of them, still overwhelmed with gratitude.
“Thank you both, so much, I don’t know how we can ever repay you, thank you, thank you--”
He’s cut off by Higgins’s palms on either side of his face, cupping it gently.
“Aaron,” Higgins says, kind but firm, “you’re welcome. Now, if you don’t take that beautiful husband of yours to bed right now, I’m going to do it for you.”
“You heard the man,” Hamilton says, nudging him, and Burr relents, taking his husband’s hand and retreating for the captain’s quarters.
The room itself is simple, but after their days of sleeping in the hammock, it seems like a paradise. There’s a table, two chairs, a small chest of drawers - and, of course, the bed. The bed is likely the most extravagant thing in the room, large and made up with fine coverings. The lamps are already lit, casting a warm glow about the space. Behind him, Hamilton closes the door and locks it. Faint, muffled strains of music and shouts drift through, but the sound is surprisingly dampened, and Burr once more admires the craftsmanship and soundproofing of the ship.
Hamilton comes up behind him again, this time pressing unabashedly close, laying kisses on the side of Burr’s neck, teeth nipping at the base in a way that makes his skin break into gooseflesh.
Burr turns into the embrace, wrapping his own arms around Hamilton’s waist, capturing Hamilton’s lips with his. They kiss, long and deep in the lamplight, Hamilton’s tongue finding his, hands traveling slowly over his body. There’s no urgency, no fervid desire to strip each other, just the pure delight of being in this moment, pressed tight.
Still, Hamilton’s hands do eventually find their way under Burr’s shirt, unbuttoning it, hands stroking across his bare chest. Burr does the same for Hamilton, freeing him of his shirt. He presses a hand over Hamilton’s heart, feeling the rhythm of its beat. On his hand, the ring shines gold. He lifts his hand, traces a finger lightly around Hamilton’s nipple. Hamilton presses into the touch, his own hands reaching down to grope Burr’s ass, eventually working around to unfasten his breeches, hand sliding inside, palming across Burr.
Burr groans, hips rocking forward into the touch, his previous casual intimacy metamorphosing into something more like urgency. He grabs at Hamilton’s waistband, gropes for the buttons, his motor functions declining as Hamilton takes him in hand, stroking him. Burr slides Hamilton’s breeches all the way off, pulls at his own until they puddle at his ankles. He steps out, gingerly, and Hamilton follows, hand still stroking him, mouth moving to Burr’s collarbone, the hollow of his throat.
They find their way to the bed, pausing long enough to throw the sheets back before collapsing onto it, Burr on his back and Hamilton straddling him. Hamilton spits into his hand and then takes both of them in a loose fist, and Burr groans at the sensation, his cock sliding against Hamiltons’, the grip of Hamilton’s fingers on him. He bucks his hips forward, seeking the patchwork friction of his position. Hamilton strokes both of them, moving slow, leaning down to kiss him. Burr reaches up, places a hand on the back of Hamilton’s neck, keeps him there, chest to chest. Hamilton acquiesces for a while, kissing him, moving his hand ever-so-slowly across their cocks, and Burr feels lost in sensation, drunk on it, flat on his back in the captain’s quarters of a pirate ship.
Hamilton works his way down, kissing across Burr’s ribs, his hips, his thighs. His mouth moves tantalizingly closer to Burr’s straining cock, he can feel the warmth of his breath across the delicate skin. Finally, Hamilton places his hands more firmly on Burr’s hips, lowering his mouth closer, tongue stroking across him. Burr moans at the sensation as Hamilton takes him deeper into his mouth. Hips pinned down by Hamilton’s hands; Burr tries to remain still, to let Hamilton work at his deliciously slow pace, mouth taking in most of his length (a feat that never fails to impress Burr). Hamilton hums, pleased, and Burr feels his tongue swirl around the head of his cock, focusing on his most sensitive spots. Burr closes his eyes, savors the sensations a few moments longer, then touches Hamilton gently on the shoulder.
“Wait,” he says, voice choked in his wanting.
Hamilton obliges, moving on to different parts, kissing his way back up Burr’s body until he finds Burr’s mouth, kissing him again, slick and warm. Hamilton leans forward, reaching for a bottle of oil, pouring it carefully into his hands. Still straddling Burr, he reaches back, grasps Burr with a slick hand, coating his cock, and then slips fingers into himself. Burr’s not at an angle where he can witness it, but he watches Hamilton face, his eyes fluttering closed, mouth slightly open. He’s still watching him as Hamilton takes him in hand again, guiding Burr into him, and as Burr’s cock sinks into him Hamilton’s head tilts back, eyes fully closed now, hips rocking to welcome him in.
Hamilton rides him slowly, hips rocking, and Burr puts his hands on Hamilton's hips, matches the rhythm. Hamilton’s hands graze over his chest, barely touching, and Burr’s skin breaks out in gooseflesh. Smiling, Hamilton leans forward, stilling his motion, and kisses him. Burr stills, too, and kisses him back.
“I love-,” he begins, only to be interrupted by Hamilton saying, “I love y-.”
The same romantic moment, seized by the both of them. They laugh, still joined, and Burr feels the faint quaking in every inch of his body.
“You first,” he says, and Hamilton kisses him again, and again, and says, “I love you, Aaron.”
“I love you too, Alex.”
Hamilton rolls his hips again, and Burr feels the hard length of him against his stomach. He lifts his hips, sinking more fully into him, engulfed by him. They stay like that a bit longer, and then Hamilton slides off, reaches again for the oil, coats them both. Hamilton rolls onto his back, legs open, pulling Burr in, an invitation that Burr is more than happy to oblige, positioning himself between Hamilton’s spread thighs. He takes a moment to run his hands over Hamilton’s legs, hands creeping higher, fingers circling lightly at Hamilton’s rim. He slips two fingers in easy, Hamilton already so open and eager. He fucks his fingers into Hamilton, the other hand stroking him slowly, the not-enough rhythm soon driving Hamilton to profanity, and then begging.
“Please, Aaron,” Hamilton says, voice heavy, and at the sweetness of his voice Burr withdraws his hand, slicks it once over his aching cock, then slowly slides himself into Hamilton, exhaling deeply as he does, focusing on controlling himself.
He fucks him in a rhythm not much quicker than the one he used with his hands, at first. The ship rocks as he moves in Hamilton, the gentle pitch moving their bodies together, their rhythm, nature’s rhythm, matched and moving.
It’s not til Hamilton’s back arches, til he starts begging, the same few words (please and god and fuck) that Burr speeds up, fucking him harder, and Hamilton comes without being touched, shouting loud enough that Burr’s sure the whole ship can hear them, but not caring. He manages a few more thrusts, Hamilton’s orgasm squeezing him tight, and then he comes, shouting too, hips stuttering, and he collapses across Hamilton’s chest, kissing him for all he’s worth, still rocking, ever-so-slightly, as the ship moves south across the waves.
He wakes with Hamilton pressed to his back, one arm draped over his side. Predawn light seeps in through the small cut windows, and Burr yawns, shifting slightly to stretch out his legs, when yesterday’s memories hit him, sudden and loud as a thunderclap.
He’s married. To Alexander fucking Hamilton.
He wiggles his fingers, feels the slight drag of the warm metal against his skin, a reassurance. Burr rolls carefully on his back, looking at the ceiling, paralyzed for a moment at the surrealism of it all.
And then Hamilton wakes, looks at him with his sweet, sleep-heavy gaze, leans forward to kiss him, and Burr kisses back, forgetting about surrealism and the strangeness of the world, focused only on his husband in bed next to him.
The air grows warmer as they travel further south, the sun leaving Burr’s skin feeling warm, almost hot. One night, Burr is alone on the deck, acting as the Wolverine's lookout. It’s a quiet night, cloudless, with a gentle breeze moving them along across the ocean. Burr looks up at the stars, the wild pinpoints of brightness, and looks for the constellations he’s most familiar with, the big dipper, the king, the queen. He realizes, as he stares up at the night sky, trying to discern patterns amidst the crepuscular chaos, that they have crossed some unknown line, and that the constellations have changed. Gone are the constellations familiar to him in New York, what has emerged are the constellations he recalls looking up to with Hamilton, backs in the sand, as Hamilton tried and tried to make him see patterns where Burr would have sworn there were none. He still remembers that moment, the shapes springing to life, bursting into brilliant focus in a blink, suddenly so obvious that he had no idea how he could not have seen them. Burr smiles, and then outright laughs, feeling the still warm air on his skin.
He recalls a quote he’d once read, though he can no longer recall who’d said it: the constellations exist because someone saw them, pointed, and someone else said, Yes, I see it too.
He slips below deck, rouses a dozing Hamilton (now back in the crew area, the captain’s quarters having been only for one glorious night), and when Hamilton looks at him questioningly, Burr simply places a finger over his lips.
Hamilton follows him, trusting, and Burr leads them onto the deck, points up to the stars.
“Look,” he says, “what do you see?”
Hamilton, still confused, obeys, looking up at the sky, and rather than following his gaze, Burr just watches Hamilton, drinking in the unfurling smile that makes its way over Hamilton‘s face as realization dawns.
“Oh,” Hamilton whispers, almost reverent, “it’s like coming home.”
I see it too.
Burr had assumed, perhaps foolishly, that he would recognize the island immediately upon seeing it. That it was ingrained in his memory, the piece of land he had spent the better part of the year on, the place where he had discovered things about himself (and Hamilton), and where he had not only survived, but thrived. The place where he had fallen in love. Surely, a place that he had lived on, that had nourished him and sustained him, the place he looked back on as they sailed away – he would know it. He is sure he would.
So it’s a bit of a nasty surprise when they finally reach the general area, and all the islands look pretty much the same. Size varies, but they all look like stretches of sand, clumps of trees, and several times Burr swears he sees it, rushing to tell Higgins, only to be shot down.
“Well, how do you know?” Burr asks, having had his identification disregarded yet again, “I’m the one who lived there.”
“Exactly,” Higgins says, voice remarkably calm, “you lived there. How many times did you see it from afar? And even then, were you memorizing the island, what it looks like, specific landmarks visible from the sea?”
Burr is quiet.
“Exactly,” Higgins says, “I know you’re eager, Aaron. But please, leave this to the professionals.”
“Fine,” Burr acquiesces, turning back to the railing, not quite sulking, staring out at all the goddamn islands that look the exact goddamn same.
For this reason, Burr half thinks that Higgins is kidding when he cries out land ahoy.
When Burr rushes to join Higgins near the bow of the ship, Hamilton is already there, looking out. Burr follows Higgins’s extended finger, looks toward the direction he’s pointing. The island looks about the same as all the other ones, including several that Burr had seen earlier, and that he’d swore were the right island.
Still. He’ll trust the pirate.
“Are you sure?” Hamilton asks, “how do you know it’s the right one?”
Higgins sighs, a bit theatrically, if you ask Burr, but answers.
“Look,” he says, finger moving, pointing at a curved area at the edge of the island, “see that rocky outcropping? How it kind of looks like the letter C? That’s unique.”
Higgins pauses while they take in the area. Burr sees it now, remembers coming to that spot when they’d first circled the island.
“You learn to spot these things, spending a lot of time at sea, not like you fucking landlubbers.”
The ship turns, slowly, and gradually the island pops out in greater relief, and Burr takes Hamilton’s hand, watching their old home come into view.
The ship drops anchor half a mile out, where the water is still deep. He and Hamilton have a rucksack each, filled with basic materials. They won’t be on the island long, a week at most, enough time to let the Wolverine finish out some of her trade routes (it turns out they’d been just a day’s sail from a popular trading route, a realization that Burr had found almost hysterically funny – so close and yet so far). Still, it’s an abundance compared to what they’d had previously – knives, utensils, hardtack biscuits, extra clothes, even a bottle of rum. They load their things into the small exploratory boat, the same one Higgins had used when he first came to the shore of the island, and they turn back towards the pirates.
“Thank you,” Burr says.
“Enjoy,” Higgins says, a knowing smile on his face, “we’ll see you boys in a few days.”
He hugs them both, and then Burr and Hamilton clamber into the boat. Higgins lowers them into the water, and once they touch down Burr raises his hand in a wave. Higgins gives a small salute, and then turns away, commanding shouts drifting down to them as the Admiral gives his orders.
Burr meets Hamilton’s eyes.
Burr begins to row.
What is a legacy?
It doesn’t take long til the boat scrapes the shore. It’s not the same part of the beach where they’d originally washed up, Burr realizes as they get close, but they’ll figure it out, he’s sure.
Their arrival is much less dramatic this time around, both men jumping out to haul the boat onto the sand, pulling it as far up as it would go to prevent it from washing back out to sea. Burr surveys the area, but it still mostly looks like wilderness, and he feels a scrabble of panic in his chest, wondering if they were completely stupid, doing this, honeymooning at a place that very well could have killed them.
Hamilton shows none of the panic Burr feels, calmly unloading their rucksacks, handing one to Burr, who takes it and shoulders it. The weight feels almost comforting, the tangibility of the modern world, and he takes a deep breath, steadying. Hamilton studies the beach, the treeline, making calculations Burr cannot deduce, and then begins moving, muttering under his breath. Burr follows, boots heavy in the sand - he considers stopping to take them off, but he’ll appreciate them once they move into the trees. Hamilton leads them a quarter of a mile down the beach, stopping every minute or so to listen, cocking his head like a wild animal. Burr simply follows, staying quiet, letting Hamilton work things out. They continue to move down the treeline, and Burr can’t help but take slightly bitter note of the plethora of coconuts at their feet, feeling, once more, like an ass. Finally, at a place that looks the same as everywhere else they’d stopped, Hamilton motions him forward.
“I think I hear it,” he says. Burr strains to listen, but if the river-noise exists, it’s drowned out by everything else - the crash of waves on the shore, the chittering of the birds, his own pounding heart.
But he trusts Hamilton, so he follows.
They make their way through the trees, the foliage growing thicker, more difficult to maneuver through. Hamilton stops again, so suddenly that Burr almost crashes into him. Hamilton stoops down, picks up a small, oval fruit Burr immediately recognizes.
“Mangos!” he says, mouth already watering, and Hamilton hands him the fruit, picking up one for himself. Burr pulls out his knife, peeling the fruit, not bothering to cut a slice, simply biting into it whole, teeth scraping across the pit. Juice runs down his chin, over his fingers, the fruit’s wild sweetness bursting over his tongue. Hamilton is more restrained, cutting small pieces and popping them into his mouth. Burr does his best to wipe his hands on nearby leaves, but they’re still left sticky, though he doesn’t mind.
“These only grew in one spot,” Hamilton says, “we should be able to find it from here.”
They continue on, and after a half-hour they come to the river, and the first real thrum of recognition reverberates through Burr as he kneels to wash his hands and face in it.
They follow the river, and soon the world around them springs into familiarity, the same way the constellations had - in a sudden, obvious way, and Burr can’t believe the woods ever felt unfamiliar. There’s no path, not anymore, though Burr can imagine where it once was.
Hamilton stops by a large tree, places a hand on it. Burr looks at the trunk and realizes it’s the tree where they’d once counted days. The marks are well healed, nature reasserting herself, but Burr can still discern them - their names, a date, a number of marks tallying the days.
“I stopped counting,” Hamilton says, tracing the marks, “once I started falling in love with you.”
Burr’s heart speeds up, stunned by the sweetness of it. He moves closer, kisses Hamilton.
“I stopped counting, too.”
Time doesn’t matter, here.
Planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.
Planting seeds in a garden you
never get to see.
The place is almost as Burr remembered it. Their cave is still there, the entrance still open. The pond is undisturbed in the heat. The rocks they’d sat on are still there, and there’s a strange, moss-covered pile that Burr thinks might have been the wood they’d once gathered. The shell he’d placed atop is long gone. The world has moved on, given back to nature.
Their garden, though, is huge.
Everywhere, plants twist up, those seeds sown years ago bursting into life, into fruition. Burr spots tubers, wide, fibrous leaves, smaller clusters of herbs he couldn’t name, other things Hamilton had deemed edible and suitable for cultivation.
The white flowers - the ones Hamilton had planted in secret, a surprise neither one of them thought he’d see - are in bloom, the clusters of flowers white and wild. Burr inhales, smelling the sweet scent of the flowers - butterfly jasmine, he remembers, it’s called butterfly jasmine.
“Surprise,” Hamilton says, voice soft.
“I love it,” he says, kissing Hamilton, and adds, “I love you.”
“I love you, too.”
The garden has spread well beyond the bounds they’d set for it, having gone to seed and regrown multiple times. It may take over the entirety of their little homestead, in time. They’ll pick some of it, food for their time here, medicinal herbs to bring home, and Burr intends to pick some of the flowers, to press them in a book as a keepsake. A touchstone.
For now, though, it grows.
Looking at the garden, taking it in, their hands once more find each other, fingers lacing together, entwined.
Bound together, like knots.