A/N: Oh wow you guys... I've been procrastinating the end of this story for a few reasons: first and foremost, I've completely loved writing this, it's been so fun and writing something this long is a new experience for me, and I almost didn't want it to end! Your comments and kindness are so brilliant and really motivate me! Second, I've been fairly busy the past few weeks with school and coursework and mocks... But hey, that's life! The most important reason is waiting down below, and it made me almost not want to write this part...
Anyway, thank you so much for sticking with me on this story! I will definitely be writing more in the future - I'm currently co-writing a story with Minniemora which she's putting up on her account called "Who did I marry?" And I'm also trying to decide if my next story should be Philip x Theodosia or Angelica x Jefferson during their time in Europe? I don't know yet, but stay tuned! Anyway, here's the epilogue!
John Laurens was distracted. He had found it increasingly difficult to concentrate on his work when his heart was miles away with his lover, being part of Alexander's new family instead of fighting here. It felt that, hard as he tried, he was achieving little when his mind wasn't completely focused. Their separation hadn't been too long, but there was a constant ache in his chest as he longed to be with him, the wound of their parting raw and painful as soon as his mind even brushed upon it. But he was needed here with his soldiers, and he knew it was only decent to give Alexander some time with his wife and son to appreciate family life before he showed up again and caused the kind of emotional chaos which was certain to ensue.
There'll be plenty of time for us to be together as soon as the redcoats have all gone, he assured himself silently, jolting himself back to reality. He was at the head of a patrol, riding on horseback with a handful of his men in search of any British soldiers dragging their heels in their retreat. Not all had heard of the American victory at Yorktown, so there was every possibility that a few men lingered behind those who had left immediately following the battle. Compared to what he had already achieved, it was a dull job, but an important one nonetheless. He didn't blame Hamilton for rejecting his offer to stay with him a while - if he'd known that after the battle he'd be stuck doing this, he might've been tempted to make his own excuse to leave too.
What would you make of this, Alex? Knowing you, you'd probably just be so glad of the fresh air that you'd ignore how boring this is.
Was it too soon to write? He had never been as wordy as Hamilton, and if the man who had to be coaxed into setting down his quill of an evening hadn't written to him yet, surely that was a sign that there was no need to make contact so quickly. Which left him with no link to Hamilton. Which led him to imagine the negative outcomes the divide might cause that he could think of...
What if he realized just how deeply he loved Eliza? What if he changed his mind and wanted to end their relationship? What if he never wanted to see him again, even as friends, because it brought back memories of a life he wanted to forget? They were all illogical things to fear, Laurens knew, because Alexander was so stubborn that he'd never allow himself to stop loving Laurens; even if his abundant river affection ever ran dry somehow, he'd still love Laurens out of pure determination to prove he meant his promise. And yet, the separation was so heart wrenching that he couldn't help but consider what he thought were the worst possible outcomes of the split.
Alexander loves you, and you love him. That's enough, he assured himself, repeating it like a mantra in his mind until it sank in enough for him to believe it.
The other man had to love him - he wasn't the kind of man to do the kind of things Hamilton had done to him for anything less than complete adoration. He allowed a subliminal smile to stretch across his lips as he recalled:
Secret kisses being stolen at any moment of privacy, soft, warm, smiling lips pressing against his as they clumsily rushed to make the most of every second of seclusion; uncharacteristically shy glances across a crowded room just to see if the other man was doing the same; a twisting knot of bare limbs moving together almost feverishly in their passion as they consummated their love; most of all, those captivating, true eyes which ensnared his very soul as he uttered confessions of the thing Laurens was tempted to doubt.
The memories caused his heart to fill with renewed love, feeling as if the intense emotion was almost too much for his chest to contain, like his heart could burst in an instant. His pulse might simply cease to exist at any moment, his feelings of joy as he thought of Alexander were so consuming.
"Sir," a hushed voice hissed urgently, just behind him, forcing him out of his reverie. He spotted them immediately, the jackets a splash of blood on America's body. Only a few men, tired and slouching upon their horses, rifles held lazily at their sides. And closer than he would've liked, he'd been distracted enough that he hadn't even noticed them until they were only twenty metres or so away.
The redcoats noticed them now too, the horses brought to a halt suddenly as their riders warily examined the patriots from a distance. If they were expecting a fight, they wouldn't have stopped. They were resigned to their loss, and would keep moving.
Laurens couldn't ignore the arrogance of them: loitering here even after they'd lost, and then not even having enough courage to confront those who discovered them head-on, instead stopping, submissive and weak, like guilty children attempting to avoid scolding by denying any wrongdoing. It ignited a flash of disgust inside him, the threatening kind of heat which seems to thrum ominously inside for a few minutes until it bursts out with a blaze of aggression.
Alexander wouldn't stand for this.
The transient thought was like a trigger being pulled inside his brain, and almost instantly he darted into action, a bullet of determination. He bellowed a command to his men as he reached for his own rifle, trusting them to do the same. The opposition quickly responded to the battle cry, gripping their own weapons securely. It didn't matter to him that the only thing the fight would achieve was his own pride and the knowledge that he'd not let these few redcoats mock his country. What mattered was doing the right thing - the thing which would earn the most respect from his comrades and, of course, Alexander. The world slowed down as he took aim...
A word of caution echoed briefly in his mind, Alexander's voice, a memory from before his duel with Lee:
"As long as you don't throw away your shot."
He narrowed his eyes in silent agreement, his finger was clutching the trigger, millimetres from firing. But another shot rang out, stopping him immediately.
There was nothing to feel, there was only his mind racing in frantic circles, back and forth as if trying too late to flee from the bullet which had found him and made itself part of his body. His pulse was simply ceasing to exist at that moment, his feelings of turmoil as he thought of Alexander were so consuming. Images flashed momentarily through his panicking brain, heartbeats from his life dancing in front of him before being snatched away, the chronology wrong, each snapshot in the wrong place but somehow seeming so cruelly appropriate as he silently screamed at them, begging so desperately to change his waning life, erase that foolish mistake, escape his fate, make one final plea to his lover...
"You have to stay alive for me, okay?" Hamilton asked, intense as he gazed intently into Laurens' eyes, close enough to see all the familiar colours and patterns within them which he knew so well. "I know you're reckless and crazy, but you have to come back to me, you have to stay alive and meet my son and help me take on the world, I know we can do it together," he implored, his voice halfway between begging and ordering his lover.
I'm sorry, my love, my Alexander. I've failed you, but I swear I didn't mean to. I only wanted to make you proud.
He rushed at Laurens and grabbed his collar, pinning him to the wall as he hissed, "You're reckless and stupid, and insisted on risking two lives for no good reason!"
"No good reason? You know that's not true, Alex. You know why I did it."
Hamilton looked away, suddenly aware of their proximity and his own heavy, ragged breathing.
His smirk growing, Laurens murmured, "You know the unalterable affection I have for you. It's all for you, everything."
Please, know that I meant it, Alex. I was trying to stand for something I believe in. I was doing it for you. I love you, Alexander Hamilton.
"Then stay, we could... we might fix this," Hamilton suggested, the hint of a plea entering his words.
"I can't... it's already arranged," Laurens informed him, his regret obvious.
I wish I could stay... I don't want to die, Alex. Alexander. Alexander, please, please forgive me.
"I could never be mad at you," Hamilton sighed with a resigned, sad smile. "Just a tiny bit heartbroken."
"You don't have to be," Laurens replied, squeezing his body a little between his strong arms, "My heart will be with you, even if I can't be."
Hamilton twisted around in Laurens' embrace to face his love. "I'm afraid I'm out of humour with the world. I'll never forgive it for taking you away from me," he revealed.
Oh God, I'm so sorry, Alexander.
Hesitantly, Alexander called after him, "We will meet again, you know."
Laurens grinned and continued to walk away, calling cheerfully over his shoulder, "See you on the other side!"
I didn't mean for this, Alexander, you know I don't want to betray you, but it looks like I can't keep my word this time. Please don't be angry, my dear Alexander.
Alexander, are you listening? I will wait, Alex, I'll be there, I promise...
My love, take your time. I'll see you on the other side.