*A kind of sequel to ‘Yorktown’, though can be read separately.
Warnings: Mentions of blood; PTSD
You were drowning.
The feeling was all too familiar for you not to immediately know. Your throat was clogged with an invisible adversary, your sandpaper tongue a dead-weight at the bottom of your jaw as your every sense was filled to the brim. Heavy darkness pressed against your eyelids, seducing you with a firm hand to remain ignorant to whatever was happening around you, digging into your skull and rendering you helpless.
It was squeezing something within you, squeezing a coil tight and keeping you there. You choked, but even that sounded as if it were being restrained. Your heart beat desperately, fluttering in and out in a way that you could feel it pounding away at your temples and pain racing through your chest.
Boom - -
What was that? Why were your eyes closed?
There it was again. You fought against the hold of the unknown, that cold skeletal touch of the grim reaper light against your cheek, as if to draw the very soul from your body. The coil tightened.
But you were not willing. N o t w-w i l l INg-
Your eyes snapped open.
It all fell into place.
No no no
The collision of a grenade with the ground, unsuspecting soldiers realizing a second too late that their short lives were up. Your ears bleeding, not functioning properly as the noise rocked the very ground, cannons and shouts and gunfire and screams together at once creating a symphony of utter chaos.
People you’d met that day, shared food rations with, lying still in the rubble, almost unrecognizable in the dirt and grime. Corpses littering the battlefield as though mere flowers dotting a hill.
The coil tightened even further.
And you realized what you were drowning in wasn’t water but your own blood and you couldn’t breathe-
And the coil snapped.
Your hope s h a t t e r e d and you screamed but no one came-
Your eyes opened wide.
It was blurry, and it would be for the next couple seconds as you came in terms with reality from your subconscious, but you could recognize the blur of brown above you. Calloused hands gripping your shoulders and a frantic voice cutting through the static in your head like a butcher knife.
Five more blinks and the sleep was ripped from you and you were fully awake, gasping in ice cold breaths of air like you hadn’t in years.
The figure was not so a silhouette than a real person now, details spinning into your central vision as the frantic ramblings increased in pitch.
“Get off-!” You struggled, lashed out like a wild animal, fight or flee its you or them-
“Y/N! It’s Alexander!”
And you were hooked back to sanity.
You narrowed your eyes through the wetness you hadn’t even realized was there, staring up at large eyes shining so intently in distress you momentarily forgot your own situation at hand. They were brown, so brown in fact they were hazel, a chocolate river sparkling into obscure depths. Chestnut waves alike fell over his face and waterfall-ed down onto his shoulders, curling at the edges as if deliberately hand woven silk.
His name always did bring you back.
It was a reminder of who you were, a trigger almost, that wrenched endearment deep from your chest and an unending fountain of affection that warmed you to the very tips of your fingers.
You were roughly shaken again.
You zoned back in on him and left your thoughts to see that he was almost on the edge of insanity himself, face clouded over with an intense worry. You both held eye contact for a tense couple more seconds. And the only thing you could think of when your mind was removed from the fog was that you wanted him to stop looking so distraught.
“Alexander,” You breathed quietly, and yet it was like a shout in the silence.
You watched the rigidness dissipate from his posture above you, and his hold on your shoulders lessened. He didn’t remove them, but the touch was far more gentle.
“You frightened me,” He admitted through a hot sigh that brushed your neck. “You wouldn’t wake.”
“Alexander,” You repeated, taking him in. The wrinkle under his eyes that betrayed far too many smirks, the bruise on his left cheek when he got into a brawl in the tavern last week over an insensible match of wits. The scruff lining his jaw, peach fuzz defining his character as roughened by life’s storms and challenges.
Then you saw him again, but this time there was red splattering his face and a hard set rage of a commander in his eyes.
You whimpered. “You-the battle- I-”
“The war is over, Y/N,” He brushed hair away from your face, the strands sticking to your forehead from sweat. You could see the corner of his lips twitch upwards consolingly in the golden flickering light of the candle by the window. “It has been for months. Years now.”
“The war is over, Y/N,” He repeated firmly yet still tender, as if you were a piece of stained glass that would break before his very eyes if he were not careful. He cupped your face in his weathered hands, pressing closer so that your breaths mingled and his forehead was touching yours. “Breathe.”
And you did.
He helped you through it, and with every intake of air that bloated your lungs, you felt yourself calm.
Alexander opened his eyes when he knew your tremors and shaking had subsided, and looked into your eyes.
“Alexander,” You pressed your lips together, so that they formed a line, eyebrows furrowing together in grief as you closed your eyes. “I am so sorry-”
“For what?” He interrupted. You frowned, reopening your orbs to take in his nonchalant expression.
“For this!” You gritted your teeth. This was not the first time he had helped you out of a nightmare dream like this. In fact, you were now quite accustomed to waking up to him straddling your form, hips pressing yours down into the corn husk mattress, shaking you awake. “It has been many summers. I should be over this by now.”
“One doesn’t simply forget war, Y/N,” He rose an eyebrow, absentmindedly stroking the nape of your neck with his thumb. “It is not something easily ‘gotten over’.”
But you did, You wanted to say, knew you couldn’t, and never would.
Alexander was not infallible. He was one hundred percent human, if not the oddest you had ever met, and he had his weak moments as well. It had certainly taken him a bit to fully come to grasps with what had happened those few weeks.
But then he just…bounced back.
In no time he was writing again. (How can he write like he’s running out of time-?) In no time ink stained his fingers once more, and whole universes were being carved into existence from his words alone, imagination you could never even dream of having. In no time he was aiming higher and cutting down barriers to change the game, to build a nation. In no time he had regained his spirit, that unquenchable fire craving for more and better that burned everyone in his path and made him Alexander Hamilton.
While you remained.
Overwhelming depression crushed your soul once more and you wailed internally. You were done.
(Was it because you were a woman?)
You were done.
(Was there something wrong with you?)
You were done.
(Why were you so weak?)
You gurgled a sound of despair deep in your throat. You ached and you were ready to call it quits, to give up entirely, to just give in-
Alexander smiled, squeezing your hand.
And you remembered why you had gone on so long beforehand.
The Schuyler sisters that you were so close to could not help you. Sure they had gone through horrible things of their own, but they were generally kept safe during the war, and could not wish to relate as you had at all.
Sure there were other men who you had no doubt were going through what you were, but unless you wanted to explain what the hell a woman was doing cross-dressing as a man and in the war in the first place, there was no hope in that direction either.
He knew, and he accepted. Sure he wasn’t happy about it, in fact he was furious (him pushing you against an alley wall in the middle of the celebration, fire in his eyes and his jaw clenched tight as he demanded what the hell was wrong with you-) but he had come to terms.
Alexander Hamilton had accepted you and now hovered protectively over your weak body, his eyes lidded slightly in an aftereffect of long nights, still almost asleep, squeezing your hand.
And you remembered again why you had fallen in love with this overly arrogant, strong willed, heart of gold, idiot of a man.
“Thank you,” You smiled, and it was the first real one you’d had in months.
He smirked cheekily, flicking your nose lightly before leaning closer to press a firm kiss to your mouth, nipping your bottom lip and making your head spin.
He hummed against your lips, fingers tracing invisible designs into your side with a tease. “You owe me another fresh set of quills.”