Washington watches during their off time.
Hamilton and Laurens talk— loud, happy. Quip with one another, not loud enough for him to know about what. They smile and Hamilton bumps heads with his fellow soldier, smiles at him with this ferocity so unlike him and like him at the same time. Laurens gives him this starstruck look of hope and understanding and all-consuming guilt, and Washington stands up and turns around.
He goes back to his tent, back to the battle plans and the future, present and past bloodshed. It's too quiet without Hamilton inside— only quill against parchment can be heard.
Hamilton, maybe, is like him. Maybe his hopes and his desires and the way his breath gets stuck in his throat isn't for nothing. He sees the way Laurens looks at him— Laurens, with his never spoken of wife back in London. Hamilton, with his bachelor status and his twinkling brown eyes and his long hair.
And his youth . God, his youth.
He stops writing and takes a moment just to wallow in his unspoken feelings. Hamilton is twenty years younger than him, bright and ready to fight, a similar exhaustion to his in his eyes. Hamilton is his subordinate— he saw the exhaustion in his eyes, the rapid movements of his nimble fingers and decided he wanted him.
Hamilton is twenty years younger than him, and Hamilton is his subordinate, and Hamilton has someone . Maybe Laurens— maybe he's wrong, maybe it's not him. But Hamilton loves, loves way too strongly, and loves in a youthful way he can't understand anymore.
Hamilton comes inside his tent with a slight smile and his light step and asks how the battle plans are coming along.
Washington finds himself gazing at Hamilton's lips, wondering just how easy it'd be to grab him by the chin and kiss him senseless, make him gasp into his mouth.
“They're coming along great,” he replies, mind blanking as he goes back to the parchment in his hands.
Hamilton chuckles and nods, stepping back out. Laurens and him chat outside the tent, and Washington's desire to stop his thoughts and his wants isn't quelled in the slightest.
Hamilton is reckless.
Maybe that's why he wants him so much— he is so very different from what he values, from what he needs. He's a match dying to be lit, a fire dying to spread. He argues and makes arguments in quick succession, like his brain doesn't have enough of a workload already.
Hamilton is reckless— and so, so stubborn. Youth makes one stubborn, yes, most of the time; Washington knows the same stubbornness costed him so much by the same age Hamilton is now.
The duel is quick, almost done by impulse. It ends with another of his subordinates notifying him just as Laurens aims and shoots.
Hamilton's hair is a mess, hastily put into a ponytail. His brows are knitted together with anger and with a desire to fight, his eyes dark-hot brown and desperate for something more than a bullet to a rib.
Washington drags Hamilton back into his tent, tries to talk to him, tries to argue with him.
He reminds himself of Ms. Hamilton's letter, hurried writing begging for him to send Hamilton home. Half a year ago— it seems like an eternity— he was a bachelor, and now he has a child in the way. The thought makes his heart sink further.
“Your wife needs you alive, son, I need you alive!”
Hamilton snaps, lips twisting and turning and brows furrowing, “Call me son one more time!”
Washington steps back, looks at the man who’s shaking with fury, short and fragile and oh-too-skinny. Ribs poking underneath his uniform, soft paleness underneath his light skin.
“Go home, Alexander. That's an order from your commander.”
Hamilton's demeanor changes in a matter of milliseconds, his brows raising and his mouth opening in a silent plea. “Sir—”
“Go home .”
Hamilton's shoulders relax, his position gets less tense, and he's defeated, almost. Not victorious, for once.
I want you here , Washington thinks as he turns and steps towards the exit from his tent. I want you all for me.
But Hamilton is himself (young and youthful and underneath him and scrappy and hungry), and he knows there is no use in it.
Hamilton steps outside the tent, and if anything, Washington hopes him not being oh so close will quell his desire for Hamilton's mouth on his.
Hamilton is a force to be reckoned with.
“History has its eyes on you,” he whispers as he gives him the command he's fought tooth and nail for.
Hamilton looks… calmer, almost. More sure of himself, more adult. Like he knows what he's doing, like he's sure of the way his life is going. A child, a wife, a lover maybe, ghosts of the past haunting him.
“History has its eyes on me,” Hamilton echoes, eyes glinting with a pride well-known. He grins like he's already won this war, heads out of the tent and speaks to Laurens like he's got all the time in the world.
The battle drags on infinitely, bodies piling up and the stench of death following them everywhere they go. Hamilton fights like he's taking his last breath, like he's going to die this instant.
Washington wonders if he will, for a second. His resolve is followed by a panic clenching at his heart, and he continues with the orders. He ignores the way he wants to make sure he's okay, make sure Hamilton will live longer than this battle will drag on.
He ends up injured, like most, as the British sing their drinking song, as the British surrender. Laurens gives Hamilton a reassuring smile before helping with the terms of surrender, of getting their land as their own after so many years.
“Are you okay?” Washington asks, stepping closer to Hamilton.
A bit of blood is trailing down his chin, and his eyes have the same resolve of always. He leans against a tree, his hair unkempt and his posture as sure as always.
“Never been better,” he replies, coughing a little afterward.
Washington gives him a tense smile, and wonders how much it'd cost to kiss Hamilton breathless, feel his scraggly beard tickle his jaw, feel the blood on his mouth, taste it and push farther into him, meet his tongue with his own.
His heart pulses with a known want, and a well-known guilt that plays at him oh so often.
I want you all for myself , Washington thinks as he steps away from Hamilton. He knows it's not the first time he thinks this. And he knows it won't be the last.