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the effects of your life on mine

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Alexander Hamilton has never believed in a preordained destiny. How could he? The mere thought that a God who is good and just not only condoned such atrocious acts as the death of his mother, her suffering, his starvation, his extreme poverty, the hurricane that destroyed all of Nevis and killed everyone on the island, but also actively ordered them, was a thought too loathsome to contemplate.

As a result of that, he was also skeptic to the entire concept of soulmates. How could anyone, even God, know that there was another person exactly for him? There couldn't be just one person for any one individual, because people are too complex for one single individual to be able to satisfy their every need, and, since every person was unique, there could never be another person exactly as oneself, which once again led to there not being one single person who could satisfy all of Alexander's needs. Also, even if there was, what if that person was too far away, or what if he would never find them? Was that a sufficient reason to stop living and enjoying life? Not according to Alexander Hamilton. Then there was the possibility that his soulmate was a man, which Alexander knew to be a possibility since he has often heard of such occurrences during his time as a clerk for Beekman and Cruger. While he himself discovered early on that he was attracted to both sexes equally, he could not be assured that his soulmate would feel the same way, and where would that leave him? Furthermore, even if his male soulmate was attracted to him, it was no way to live, not if one wanted to live in high society, which was Alexander's eventual goal. He wanted to rise up, always striving for more, and living with a man would be downright detrimental to the accomplishment of his goals.

At least that was how he reasoned until he met John Laurens, his fellow aide-de-camp. In the moment when Alexander laid eyes on John, he decided to fully disregard his supposed destiny because, even though John wasn't his soulmate, Alexander loved John anyway. John was opinionated, strong-willed, determined to succeed, and Alexander could not help but fall in love with him a little bit more every time he saw him. John's freckles endeared him further, and his smile – his genuine smile that he offered Alexander when he thought that nobody else saw – made Alexander want to kiss John senseless even at the risk of discovery. It was a risky existence, but it was worth it. Roughly a year into their camaraderie, John slipped up and Alexander discovered, to his astonishment, that he was John's soulmate – and yet John wasn't his. Yet another way in which the soulmate system was faulty, because it only caused heartbreak for everyone involved. No, it was better to make one's own way through life rather than wait for it to be served on a silver platter.

When he had met Eliza, he fell in love with her at first sight. It was a love as strong as the one he has felt for John. Not identical, but different. Eliza confessed that her sister was her soulmate, and that she feared that she would never find a person who would want to marry her, since they would not be her soulmate – a thought which deterred most suitors but not Alexander. She was the second person to whom he admitted his views on soulmates, John being the first, but she was hardly the last. They talked and found that they were more compatible than they initially thought. For Alexander, Eliza was the perfect companion. She was different from John, but in a good way. She would not remind Alexander of what he was giving up by marrying him.

Eliza married Alexander soon after. In one particularly rare moment, Alexander was almost thankful that sodomy was a capital crime, since that meant that he did not have to choose between John and Eliza. He truly did not know whom he would have chosen, but he knew that his heart would have been broken either way.

Alexander Hamilton needed no soulmate to be happy. He created his own happiness, and a soulmate would only have brought him heartache.

(John did that anyway.)

“Mr. Jefferson, welcome home,” Washington offered an outstretched hand. Jefferson was about to take it, glad to have the opportunity to work with George Washington, when a blur passed before his eyes and a mop of reddish hair appeared.

Violet-blue eyes were staring at Jefferson calculatingly, but also with adoration bordering on hero worship. “Mr. Jefferson? Alexander Hamilton,” the shorter man introduced himself, shaking Jefferson's hand. Jefferson thanked his lucky stars for the insight to wear gloves that day – not that he usually found himself lacking in such garments, but logic dictated that nobody would touch him at a cabinet meeting. His gut feeling told him otherwise, and he had found his instincts to be impeccable in all matters of import, which influenced his decision.

He forced a smile. “It is a to make your acquaintance, Mr Hamilton,” he said, already turning back to Washington, who was viewing the scene with resignation, as though Hamilton's peculiar behaviour was something he had become accustomed to.

When he faced Washington, however, he found that Alexander Hamilton was once again in his field of sight. “Actually,” Hamilton smiled, “it is Secretary Hamilton. Same as you – except that your name is not Hamilton but Jefferson, but you are still the Secretary of State while I am the Secretary of the Treasury, and as such would appreciate your input in my plans concerning the assumption–“

“Hamilton,” Washington cut in, putting up a palm in the universal 'stop' gesture, “let the poor man breathe.”

On one hand, Jefferson was grateful that Hamilton stopped talking; was this how it was going to be? No wonder Madison could not stomach the man. On the other hand, Jefferson bristled because he was competent enough to fight his own battles – unlike Hamilton, it seemed.

Secretary Hamilton,” Jefferson decided to humour the man, “I will discuss your plan at the assigned time during the cabinet meeting.”

“But–“ Hamilton persisted.

Jefferson internally groaned. Did this man never stop? “I wish to take a few moments to talk to an old friend of mine. We will have ample time to debate your proposition later.”

'Later' turned into a three-hour debacle turned shouting match, at the end of which Washington declared that they needed to reconvene at a later time, and ordered Hamilton to stay behind, presumably to discipline that aristocratic Tory.

Jefferson wore gloves for a simple reason: he had no wish to find out the identity of his soulmate. He had already met, loved, married, and lost the love of his life, who was not his soulmate. He promised her that he would not re-marry, and he intended to keep that promise, in part because he knew that he would never find a person whom he loved more than his Martha. And if his soulmate was a man… Jefferson did not dwell on that thought. He despised sodomites, thought them sinners who opposed God's will.

It was an uncommon decision, but nobody judged him based on it. People who knew him intimately recognized that it was a sign of immense trust for Jefferson to willingly touch another person's bare skin.

Hamilton was the very opposite of Jefferson, which may have contributed to Jefferson's growing contempt for the man. He was tactile, outspoken, and unequivocal in his views, whereas Jefferson was withdrawn, shy, and would rather weigh different opinions before coming to a decision. He preferred to work from the shadows, subtle manipulation being his preferred modus operandi, whereas Hamilton rushed ahead recklessly, hacking at everything until he got his way. Hamilton advocated markets, the monarchy, trade with the British as their primary trading partner, a powerful central government, an executive power as the engine behind the government, and a loose interpretation of the Constitution. Jefferson supported agriculture, a visceral alliance with France, a preservation of republicanism, a strict interpretation of the Constitution (which he did not approve of in the first place, viewing the Articles of Confederation as a sufficient definition of the fledging American government), and a call for Britain to relinquish the occupied territories and reimbursement of unlawfully-freed slaves.

Hamilton condemned the French Revolution as the 'catalyst of anarchy and needless bloodshed', whereas Jefferson lauded it as a magnificent campaign for freedom and liberty. Jefferson sometimes wondered how Hamilton could be so blind as to the truth of the glory of the revolution of their sister country. That Creole truly was not able to feel loyalty towards anything or anyone.

In other words, Hamilton represented everything Jefferson despised. If there was ever an antithesis to Thomas Jefferson, then Alexander Hamilton was it.

Contrary to popular belief, soulmates did not have to identical of mind or opinion. More often than not, their personalities complimented each other. Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton were soulmates, though they did not know it.

They would have continued in their blessed ignorance, too, except for how Hamilton, with his tendency to grab things during an argument, grabbed Jefferson's sleeve just as Jefferson was about to leave because dammit, Jefferson, I wasn't done, accidentally exposing Jefferson's bare skin and initiating a skin-to-skin contact.

The world abruptly changed before their very eyes. Colours they weren't even aware existed bloomed into being as they watched, breathless. Hamilton had heard stories, descriptions of how it felt to meet one's soulmate, but they did not compare to reality. It was... surreal, to say the least.

That's when the realization hit him. Thomas Jefferson, the man he had admired at first but quickly grown to hate, was his soulmate. Destiny had really screwed up with that match, because Hamilton could see, as clear as day, that there was no person on Earth less compatible with him than Jefferson.

They stared at each other dumbly. It had to be the longest they had ever been silent in each other's company since meeting each other. Hamilton was never one to stand idly by while things were happening around him, though, and let it be said that Alexander Hamilton has perfected denial, elevating it to an art. Hamilton therefore decided to pretend like nothing transpired between them. “You must be an idiot, Jefferson,” he grimaced, picking up their argument from a minute ago, “to believe that an economy based solely on agriculture is feasible–“

Jefferson stared. “You must be kidding me,” he asked incredulously. “Are you seriously debating your assumption plan even after what just passed between us?” he caught Madison's eye and shot him a look that said 'is this guy even for real'. Madison did not reply – he was torn between staring in shock at the two Secretaries, and laughing outright.

Hamilton tilted his head innocuously. “What are you blathering about?” he asked Jefferson mockingly. “Nothing has passed between us. Nothing ever will.”

Jefferson felt strangely disconcerted. Hollow. What right did Hamilton have to make him feel that? Hamilton was simply the bastard who argued with him on a regular basis. How did Hamilton not see that his opinions were fundamentally wrong?

No matter. He would not give his nemesis the satisfaction of seeing him ruffled. Two could play at the same game, and besides, it wasn't like Jefferson wanted a soulmate in the first place. He should consider himself downright fortunate that it was Hamilton and not some stranger, because this way, he did not have to fake concern or pretend to get himself involved in that person's life. Hamilton was despicable but he would at least not require Jefferson to do right by him, just as he had clearly no intention of doing right by Jefferson. “It is you, Secretary Hamilton, who are mistaken in your beliefs. You are nothing but a tool in the hands of the British monarchy and strive only towards establishing the same in our newborn nation. Go back where you've come from – maybe there, they will accept your ideas without question, but for as long as I draw breath, I will oppose your misguided proposals.”

Jefferson would be damned if he let this setback throw a wrench into their working relationship, if they even had one.

Jefferson and Hamilton were soulmates, but they refused to acknowledge it. It was better for everyone involved, Jefferson reasoned, and it wasn't like he even liked Hamilton, so what was  the point?

At some point, it became public knowledge (personally, Jefferson blamed Hamilton who never knew when to keep his mouth shut). People were so bloody perplexed and the general consensus is that there is no way these two are soulmates because they are at each other's throats all the time, it's not even funny anymore because they are literally tearing this country apart. Madison claimed that they were far too similar to tolerate each other, except that they also complimented each other. Jefferson simply rolled his eyes and told Madison that he has had too much to drink and besides, it wasn't like Madison was an expert on soulmates – or romance in general, for the matter – so if he could keep quiet on the subject, it would be much appreciated. There was no way Hamilton was Jefferson's soulmate, Jemmy, help me out here JEMMY STOP LAUGHING THIS ISN'T FUNNY.

The cabinet meeting was on fire. This was not unusual. What set this day apart was that, this time, the fire wasn't metaphorical. Secretary Hamilton, in his fervent excitement, had accidentally knocked over a vase. This vase crashed into a bottle of Secretary Jefferson's ridiculously expensive wine (whose purpose in the cabinet room still evaded Hamilton), which fell and shattered into a million pieces, knocking over the live Christmas candles in the process. From there, basic chemistry took its course, and before anyone could do anything, the room was quite literally on fire. Perhaps the only man to have missed it was Vice President John Adams – and that only because he was absent, no longer even bothering to make up excuses for not showing up to cabinet meetings.

Hamilton personally found it distasteful, having worked his entire life to get to where he was, but some people were simply impossible to understand. Case in point: Thomas Jefferson.

“God,” the man in question scoffed derisively. “You are such an aristocrat. And look at what you've done,” Jefferson pointed at the burning curtains. “You have set fire to the presidential mansion. I hope that you are satisfied with yourself.”

Hamilton bristled. “If anyone in this room is a wealthy asshole who wants to preserve the status quo,” he said sharply, “it is you, not me.”

“I think you are forgetting which of us wants to benefit the British merchants,” Jefferson retorted.

“My measures will benefit the American people,” Hamilton replied hotly, “and if they happen to indirectly benefit the British, then so much better for it, because we may acquire an agreeable trading partner. But I would hardly expect you to understand that, Jefferson,” he scoffed. “You have never shown any interest in economy or markets. Everything you have has been handed to you on a silver platter,” he jabbed his finger at Jefferson.

Jefferson flushed. “Don't you dare,” he began, “insinuate ever again that I have not worked just as hard as you have to get where I am,” he hissed.

Hamilton went on as though Jefferson had not said anything. “All you care about is your plantation and your slaves,” he paused, smirking. “Actually, never mind. You don't care about your slaves, do you? All you ever pay interest to is that they are there and that they work for you. Has it ever occurred to you that they are human beings?” Hamilton asked rhetorically.

Jefferson growled. “It may come as a surprise to you,” he spat, almost shaking with anger, “but I want them freed just as much as you do.”

“Oh?” Hamilton raised a challenging eyebrow. It infuriated Jefferson for reasons that he could not explain. “Here's a hint for you, then: free them. It's as simple as that.”

“No, it's not,” Jefferson resisted an urge to roll his eyes. “You accuse me of a lack of understanding, but it is you who are blind to reality.”

“Right,” Hamilton said skeptically, “because how else would Thomas Jefferson earn money and be able to afford that ridiculously lavish lifestyle of his? It's not like he could work, he snorted. “And how will you find your new mistress? Nobody will let you fuck them unless you literally force them to. I shudder to think of what you must have put her through. Did you force your way into her? Did you–“

Jefferson's eyes blazed. He stood up, smashing a fist against the dinner table. “That is enough, Hamilton!” he spat furiously. “Argue with me all you want, insult me freely, but do not bring my deceased wife into this. That was a low blow, even for you.

“Besides, while you were wrapped up in your little tirade, you missed a vital point. For a second, let us say that we can legislate unanimous emancipation. Where do the slaves go? Back to Africa? Do they get a separate state? Nobody will want negroes near their families. Think of what they could do if freed. Yes, slavery's a sin, it's growing like a cancer, but we can't address the question if we do not have an answer.”

“But there is an answer!” Hamilton protested hotly.

“No, there isn't,” this time, Jefferson did roll his eyes. “Don't you see? We cannot cure prejudice just like that. It is a process that will take decades, if not centuries. You cannot do it right away.”

Hamilton scowled. “If we wait for any longer, the slavery population will double, and it will be even harder to solve this problem. If we do nothing, we worsen the situation. I cannot believe that a man of an intelligence as acclaimed as yours cannot see the root of this. What we are doing is subjugating and dehumanizing an entire race. As long as we condone slavery and call our fellow humans our property, we are not living in a true democracy,” that said, he turned to Washington and continued his tirade. “Sir, even you, you have hundreds of slaves. Their descendants will curse our names when we are safe in our graves unless we do something to stop this–“

“Secretary Hamilton, that is enough,” Washington interrupted, voice stern. Jefferson seethed silently. How typical of Washington: let Jefferson argue against Hamilton for his own amusement, but as soon as the president was criticized, the debate was over. “I believe that the debate was about a trade alliance with Britain, not about slavery.”

Hamilton scoffed. “You are significantly less intelligent than I thought, sir, if you do not realize that these matters are connected.”

Washington pinched his nose. “Jefferson, Hamilton, take a walk. I will see you in my office shortly. Meeting adjourned.”

Washington glared at the two men. “I know that it may be difficult for you to comprehend,” he began frostily, “but we do need for this government to work, and you incessantly squabbling over every minute issue is not helping.”

Hamilton rolled his eyes. It was not the first time they have had this conversation, and every time Washington started on the same spiel, Hamilton became increasingly more inclined to throw himself out of the window in Washington's office that overlooked the grounds stretching for as far as the eye could see.

Washington suddenly smiled, and Hamilton tensed up, because if there was one thing he had learned during his years as Washington's right-hand man, it was that Washington's smiles rarely meant anything good. “We will go on a fishing trip,” Washington suggested, smile still in place, and it was all Alexander could do to resist the temptation to throw himself out of the window. “It will be good for you. You are soulmates, after all – you should learn to cooperate.”

The window was looking more inviting by the second. There had to a reason the word 'autodefenestration' was invented, after all.

“Sir,” Jefferson said seriously, “we are all aware of the fact that the soulmate system is not perfect. There must have been some mistake with Hamilton and myself. That is honestly the only explanation that makes sense.”

For the first time in his life, Hamilton agreed with Jefferson. Unfortunately, Washington did not.

A three-day fishing trip, he said. It will be fun, he said.

Yeah, right.

The trip was decidedly not fun. Jefferson had persisted in antagonizing him over the course of the next three days that the fishing trip lasted, and by the second day, Hamilton was sorely tempted to drive a fishing hook into Jefferson's spiteful, blue eyes. Even Washington grew exasperated with their behaviour after the first day.

Hamilton has never been so grateful to be back home. If he hugged his children a little tighter than usual, and if he spent a little more time with Eliza than he was wont to… Well, nobody needed to know.

It was as if destiny wanted them to clash at every possible moment. The sheer amount of times Jefferson met Hamilton during the day was unbelievable. If he was not so sure that their hate was mutual, Jefferson would say that Hamilton was stalking him.

“Jefferson,” Hamilton said, approaching the two men from the other end of the corridor. “I would say that it is a pleasure to see you here, but I was taught not to lie,” he smirked. “Madison,” he acknowledged the congressman courteously, letting his eyes linger appreciatively on the Virginian's body.

Jefferson scowled at Hamilton's behaviour. “Are you seriously competing against Franklin to be the biggest libertine in America?” he questioned. “You do nothing but chase skirts. And breeches, if rumours from the war are to be believed,” he added with a smirk.

Hamilton clenched his hands, fighting against an urge to punch Jefferson's ugly face. “Excuse you. Franklin would be our equivalent to Zeus,” he objected. “I'd be Apollo. Or Cupid.”

Jefferson rolled his eyes. “Yes,” he agreed, “little puffy winged nightmare is a good approximation of you. Fly away to wherever your annoying ass goes when you don't stalk me.”

Hamilton raised a finger. “Okay, first off: I do not stalk you,” he objected. “Second: how much time do you spend staring at my ass?” he asked, wiggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Jefferson pretended to gag. “I am not a sodomite, unlike present company,” he made a point of staring at Hamilton.

Hamilton rolled his eyes. “Do you honestly expect me to believe that you and Madison have never been inclined to do anything of the sort?” he retorted.

Madison cut in at this point. “It is the truth, Alexander,” he told Hamilton. He then put a hand on Jefferson's forearm. “Come, Thomas. We have matters to attend to.”

Hamilton's lewd comments followed them into Jefferson's office.

Later, when they finished the paperwork Madison had brought with him, they relocated to a couch that Jefferson kept in his office for just such moments. Jefferson retrieved a bottle of whiskey and poured them both a glass, then asked the question he had been wondering about for a long time but had never before had an opportunity to ask: “What exactly is your relationship with Hamilton?”

Madison looked puzzled. “What do you mean?” he asked. “We were acquaintances, and we cooperated on The Federalist Papers, but we were never friends. You know this already, Thomas,” he reminded his confidante.

“I know,” Jefferson waved his hand dismissively. “I am simply wondering whether there was something… more to your relationship with him,” he insinuated. “We both know that Hamilton has a certain reputation, and it would honestly not surprise me if it extended to men as well as women.”

Madison blinked. “What are you talking about?”

Jefferson rolled his eyes. “Do I really need to spell it out for you?” he asked rhetorically, but Madison merely watched him bemusedly. “Apparently, I do. Very well. I am asking, my dear friend,” he leaned forward, “if you have ever had sexual intercourse with Alexander Hamilton.”

Madison blushed furiously. “What– why– Thomas!” he protested. “That is inappropriate!”

Jefferson let out a relieved breath. “I apologize profusely for my inquiry, he said, "and please believe me when I say that I did not suspect you of being a sodomite before, but a man wonders after seeing how defensive you are of Hamilton sometimes.”

Madison snorted. “I am not defensive. At least, not excessively. I am simply aware of the fact that everything you say, Hamilton can and will use against you. It is not a good idea to have him as your enemy, Thomas. You would do well to remember that.”

“So you were just friends,” Jefferson reiterated uncertainly.

“I thought that I just stated it: Hamilton and I were not friends. He was friendly enough, I suppose,” Madison fiddled with a quill in his hand, a nervous tick of his that Jefferson secretly found adorable, “but I never perceived him as more than my contemporary.”

“'Friendly' how?” Jefferson persisted.

Madison surveyed Jefferson with narrowed eyes. “Why are you so tenacious about this?” Jefferson shrugged. Madison sighed in exasperation. “Very well. He was focused on what I was saying, often encouraging my proposals. He tended to often initiate body contact. His fingers lingered sometimes on my arm. He smiled – I have to admit that he does have a nice smile. He looked into my eyes a lot. Sometimes, he looked at me when he thought I wasn't looking. He liked to do that. Sometimes he would his hands around my shoulders while I was trying to concentrate on writing. He liked to play with my hair for some reason. He liked to question me about my personal life: what I liked, how I felt, if I wanted to come over for dinner sometime. You know, the usual interactions. It wasn't unlike our relationship.”

Jefferson stared at Madison for a long time, then let out a laugh. “I am sorry to inform you, Jemmy, but that is not our relationship. We have a strictly platonic relationship, whereas it seems that you and Hamilton – or at least Hamilton – wanted something else entirely. In simple terms, Hamilton's actions indicate that he wanted to fuck you. Which, again, proves my theory that Hamilton engages in buggery. I always knew that there was something off about the way he interacted with Washington.”

Madison stared at Jefferson, mouth open wide, eyes aghast. “Are you implying that Hamilton flirted with me?” he sounded shocked. He winced. “Wait, no. Of course you're implying that. Are you implying that Hamilton let Washington sodomize him?”

Jefferson rolled his eyes. “Yes, my dear Madison, do keep up with the programme,” he snarked.

“Thomas,” Madison groaned, “you know well that I take no interest in such matters, be it with a man or a woman.”

Jefferson leaned back in his armchair. “You know,” he began conversationally, “I have never met a man such as yourself. Most people are either interested in women or, as with Hamilton, in men and are simply hiding it behind a marriage. Not you, though – you are simply not interested in anything. Remember when I dragged you to that bordello–“

Madison flushed further. “It was a house of ill repute, really, Thomas, what were you thinking—

Jefferson smirked. “I was thinking that you needed to relax, and that a woman might achieve that. But you did not take any of the ladies up on their offers. You simply wanted to return to your work. It's incredible, really,” he studied Madison intently. “Tell me: how do you do it?”

Madison shrugged. “I confess that I do not know how you, or anyone else for the matter, can be so occupied by the matters of flesh. Isn't it distracting?”

Jefferson grinned. “Yes, but that is why it is fun,” he said, then grew somber once more. “Have you considered that there might be something wrong with you? Is your… equipment working?”

Madison groaned. “This is officially the most awkward conversation I have ever had with anyone. If you are asking whether I am capable of having an erection then yes, I am. Can I pleasure myself? Yes. Do I enjoy it? No. It is disgusting, it is messy, and I feel like I have no control over myself, just like I do when I am ill.”

“… Oh,” Jefferson did not know how to reply to that. The air suddenly felt stifling. “I apologize for upsetting you, Jemmy. I hope you know that I did not mean to do so.”

Madison waved a hand. “It is of no import. Let us never talk about it, and all will be forgiven.”

“I guess that you're a decent person after all, Hamilton,” Jefferson said finally.

“I guess you're not so bad either, Jefferson,” Hamilton paused. “That doesn't mean that I agree with your opinions.”

A snort. ”I wouldn't have it any other way.”

“Yes, you would.”

Pause. Smirk. “Yeah, you're right, I would.”

“Are you crushing on Jefferson?” Eliza asked him one day after dinner. “Because the length of time you complain about him every day seems to imply that. I know that he is your soulmate, but I wasn't aware that you had developed feelings for him.”

Alexander shuddered. “No way,” he grimaced. “Have you even seen him?”

Eliza rolled her eyes, fighting to stifle a smile. “As a matter of fact, I have,” she confirmed, “and he is quite a catch, wouldn't you agree?”

Alexander groaned. “Betsey, while you are aware that I am attracted to men as well as women, please be so kind and do not insult my taste in lovers.”

“One word: Burr,” she quipped.

“I may need a divorce,” Alexander declared.

Eliza snickered. “Good luck finding a lawyer whom you haven't pissed off yet.”

Alexander tilted his head, considering. “Rufus?”

She shook her head. “He is still angry at you over the whole ghost business. I told you that it was a bad idea,” she said, “but do you ever listen? Noooo,” she exaggerated a groan.

Alexander laughed, wrapping his arms around Eliza. He kissed her hair. “Betsey, my heart, what would I ever do without you?”

“Crash and burn, Alexander,” she smiled. “Crash and burn.”