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A Revolution's Revelation

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They get the call on the second Thursday in September. "A theater," says Patty. "A theatre that was built in 1925 – what the hell these ghosts thinking?"

"It was a good year for blimps, 1925," says Erin from the back seat of the car.

"Bad year for drinking," Abby offers.

"Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin discovered that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe in 1925," says Holtzmann. Patty turns to look at her. "I'd have reversed the layers of her stars," Holtzmann says, smiling as she looks back at Patty and running the tip of her tongue along her teeth. She yanks on the steering wheel without looking at the road and they screech around a corner too fast. The usual.

"I'm just sayin' – there's no good reason for two grown ghosts to be haunting a theater just because they're all riled up about their goddamn reputations," Patty offers.

They pull up outside the theater. Holtzmann throws on the hazard lights, as if the flashing beacons on top of the car aren't enough. "Let's go zap some Revolutionaries," she says gleefully.

"It couldn't have been George Washington?" Patty mutters to herself. "A girl can reason with a man like George."

------

Despite being constructed entirely out of phantoplasm (and sheer stupid, Patty thinks to herself), Thomas Jefferson still cuts a pretty good figure up on the stage of the Richard Rodgers. He's dressed like the wealthy enslaver he was – buckled shoes, silk stockings, long coat and fine breeches – and while his face his caught in an ugly sneer, his hair's still finely coifed. Not so Hamilton, who's up in Jefferson's face, gesturing and yelling, his hair coming loose from its queue. He's in military uniform, which Patty thinks says something telling about his life, and she'd like to get into it with him if not for the fact that he's going to hold up the evening performance of his namesake musical if he doesn't get gone and fast.

"It's all yours," says Abby cheerfully, giving Patty a big smile and a thumbs up.

They've learned over the last year and some to give Patty the lead when there's some sort of historical grudge at play. Your everyday jealousies, revenge killings, souls with unfinished business, and random demons they're all good at dealing with, but there's something about the long-gone that only Patty can handle. They need a finer touch, an acknowledgment of their legacy, maybe – they like to talk, is the thing, and no one else knows what the hell they mean.

"Gentlemen," says Patty, ambling down one aisle. "Gentlemen, we have a problem."

The yelling stops, and Jefferson and Hamilton swing around to give her a thorough looking over.

"I'm afraid you got no business here," says Patty pleasantly. "I'd like it if we could talk this out and you could go back to haunting your descendants and such, but I will end you if you keep this shit up."

Jefferson looks like he's been slapped in the face.

"That's right," she says. "I'm a competent, free, black woman and I am going to blast your sorry ass back to 1825 if you don't shut your mouth."

Hamilton laughs, and quickly covers his mouth when Patty raises an eyebrow.

"Don't you get all joyful on my account," she says. "The way I understand it, this is all your fault. Which, pardon my truth-telling, but wasn't that always the way?"

"Madam," says Hamilton, chin jutting out in indignation. "I am here merely because some upstart young man has soiled my reputation and I must demand redress."

Patty whistles and flashes a grin. "Oh, that's rich."

"I beg your pardon?"

"First, sunshine, you're an upstart yourself, so don't get all high and mighty about your station. You," she says, pointing a finger at Jefferson, "I'ma get to you, so wipe that look off your face right now."

Jefferson nods.

"You," she says, turning her attention back to Hamilton, "you did this all yourself."

Hamilton splutters. "He has published my private affairs to an audience of I know not how many thousand . . . "

"Million!" Holtzmann yells from further back in the mezzanine. Hamilton growls.

"Dude, you published the details yourself," says Patty, hands on her hips by now. "You seriously forget that whole Reynolds pamphlet business? Did you think no one would keep a copy or two of that thing? You air your laundry, sweet cheeks, it stays aired."

Hamilton crosses his arms churlishly.

"And you," she says to Jefferson. "You hate New York. What did he do, send you a letter through ghost post and taunt you to get you here?"

Both Jefferson and Hamilton look shifty.

"Sweet baby Jesus," Patty sighs. "Look, let's man up, real talk, okay? The world knows you're a butthead, Jefferson, but that's no excuse to go wandering around the dressing rooms with your head under your arm just because you can. And I don't know which one of you trailed goop all through the lobby, but the custodians make minimum wage and the union's saying it's not their responsibility, which, amen, it is not."

"I merely . . . " says Hamilton.

 

But Patty's not done. "Lin-Manuel is in London shooting a Mary Poppins movie and yeah, I know that you don't have a clue what that means, but believe me, he's not coming back so you can talk to him about how misunderstood you are."

"He is a . . ." Hamilton begins.

"Nuh-uh," Patty says. "He's done good, you hear me? This play, it's good, I've seen it, I liked it, and god knows we need the tourism dollars, so you will behave."

Jefferson looks at if he's about to walk off-stage.

"Hey, hey, you bring your slave-owning ass to attention," Patty tells him. "You think I have you here and I'm not about to give you a piece of my mind about my people? Because you're wrong. You're gonna stand there and be wrong and I'm gonna tell you all the ways you're wrong."

"I can admit my mistake in allowing myself to be lured here," Jefferson offers. "I would be glad to vacate the premises – I have pressing business with . . . "

"If that sentence ends with 'haunting Daveed Diggs' then we're gonna have issues," Patty says.

" . . . my home in Virginia," Jefferson finishes.

"Good, good, they could use some local color, I can see that, but you come to my town, in my lifetime, and start scaring some good people who are just doin' their jobs at a place you have absolutely no connection to? You better believe we have a discussion coming."

"Yes ma'am," says Jefferson, picking at his fingernails.

"Hamilton?" Patty asks.

"Your obedient servant," Hamilton says with a slight bow.

"Here's how this works. You get yourself some ghost therapy, you hear? Take some responsibility for yourself, stop projecting that on all of us. You've got a good mind, son, use it, and go back to where you came from."

Hamilton swallows. "I see the justice of your words. I will . . . do as you say."

"Ha," Patty laughs. "That about killed you. Now go on, shoo."

Hamilton fades away.

"Just you and me now," she says to Jefferson. "So let's start by talking about your messed up notion that white folks are superior to blacks, and finish with you apologizing to me for ever, ever thinking you should own a human being, you great gangling douche canoe."

_____

Patty's always spent after a history haunting, so they stop for Chinese food on the way back to HQ. (Everyone shouts down Abby's request for soup when she tries to make it.) By 8pm, it's just Patty and Holtzmann in the rec room, Holtzmann tinkering with something that's tiny and probably lethal, Patty systematically smoothing out everyone's fortune from their cookies and trying to match predictions to people.

"I like it when you talk history," Holtzmann says, out of the blue.

Patty tilts her head. "You do?"

Holtzmann rolls her shoulders and offers a brief smile. "You know a lot," she offers, and spins her screwdriver around between two fingers. "I like that in a woman."

"You comin' on to me?" Patty asks.

Holtzmann's smile gets wider. "For six or seven months," she says.

Patty laughs. "You gotta learn the difference between flirting and telling me about carbon dating," she offers. "Not that I'm saying I'm not interested."

"You're interested?"

"I'm interested."

Holtzmann looks directly at Patty's mouth and licks her own lips. "Tell me about the Depression of 1837," she says huskily.

"Well, I gotta rewind, tell you about Andrew Jackson," she says, "because that shit would never have happened if he hadn't been a ten-ton jackass. The man defied the Supreme Court! Can you believe that? And to understand that, we're gonna need a quick primer on the nullification crisis so you better have time, because I got Cherokees and enslaved people and Clay's bullheaded opinions. . . "

Holtzmann props her head up on one hand and smiles blissfully.

"I got all the history you need, girl," says Patty.

"Counting on it," Holtzmann replies.