A/N: CRY WITH ME, IT'S COMING TO AN END, MY LOVELY READER FRIENDS! (Honestly, I am getting teary. I think I will be sobbing by the time I finish editing this!) There are no words to express my gratitude for reading this, truly there are an unbelievably large number of you and it blows my mind. Your kindness and support is astounding, and I have tried my best to give you the ending you deserve! So, without further ado, I invite you to embark on the adventure that is the epilogue to Dear Theodosia.
Epilogue - Someday, someday
For a man who had initially been so disapproving of his future son in law, Aaron Burr was inescapably overjoyed when the fateful wedding day arrived. If he were the type of gentlemen to be brutally honest, he would confess that he still continued to hold reservations about the wisdom behind Theodosia's choice in a future husband. But Burr was not that kind of man, and instead he forced himself to forget his personal doubts due to the fact that it was all too evident that his daughter had no qualms about her upcoming marriage. And when the young woman emerged from her dressing room before him draped in a delicate white gown and wearing a brilliant, wide grin which sparkled in exactly the same way as her dress, it was much simpler to recall the advantages of their amorous relationship: along with the fact that it had undeniably eased some of the tension in the fractious relationship between himself and Alexander and guaranteed her a comfortable future with an intelligent college graduate with boundless potential, it was impossible to ignore the fact that she was so much happier when she was at his side than when she was not, and even during the rare occasions when they were apart, she continued to exude jubilation purely because she was satisfied in the knowledge that their lives were set to be permanently joined. And on his part, Philip had learned his lesson from being proud and ridiculous, and had never once since their last argument displayed anything less than absolute adoration towards his future bride. So Burr, too, was learning, albeit slowly, to respect the bond between the couple.
And on the day of their wedding, he could do nothing but grin and make a futile but valiant attempt to blink away the tears of pride from his eyes. Taking hold of her hands in an expression of paternal affection, he remarked, "You look truly stunning, my dear Theodosia. Your Mother would be as honoured to be your parent as I am." You see, my absent love, I have not done so poorly without the guidance of your wisdom, he reflected, feeling a definite sense of connection to his absent wife as he directed his internal musings to her.
A hint of a blush darkening her cheeks, Theo replied, "Thank you, Daddy." Lowering her voice to a sombre murmured, she continued with heartfelt gratitude, "You have given me so much throughout my life - the best education, anything my heart could wish for and more, and the love of an army of people rather than one single heart. And now, in supporting Philip and I you have given me the key to future happiness too." Her voice cracked with feeling, and a single tear rolled slowly down her cheek, but it in no way detracted from her unfailing delight.
Offering her his handkerchief, Aaron Burr commented, "Come now, my dear, your wedding day is no time for tears." Not yours, at least. As for me, on the other hand, I suppose I should be upset at the prospect of losing my darling daughter. No, not losing her, he corrected himself, only sacrificing her constant company and allowing her to flourish without my protection acting as something of a hindrance. He told her as much, attempting to lighten her serious mood by teasing, "You needn't be so sentimental, Philip Hamilton is not going to steal you from me forever!"
"No," she chuckled with a delicate sniff, "not forever, not by a long way. Just two weeks, for our honeymoon, and then we'll be back here, visiting you every day." Burr had not been expecting such a generous pledge, and was visibly touched by it, prompting Theo to take her turn to comfort him, "You don't honestly believe I could go without seeing you every day again simply because I am married, do you? I have lived like that once before, and I do not want to resurrect that experience."
He nodded slowly, absorbing the information which had been apparent since the moment he first held his little girl in his arms, which was that she had an endless capacity for kindness and sensitivity. Not intending to voice his thoughts, he muttered distractedly, "No man is deserving of you."
"And yet I believe otherwise," Theo swiftly disagreed, passing him back his handkerchief as she removed all trace of bitterness from her demure features, leaving behind only sweet anticipation.
"In which case," Burr submitted, offering his arm to her, "we had better get you married to him before I change my mind about allowing you to do so!"
Theodosia giggled, knowing he meant nothing by it, and nodded, taking his arm as she inhaled a deep breath. Turning to him, she grinned, eyes dancing with excitement and anticipation, and whispered briskly, scarcely able to believe it was happening, "Let's go and get me married!"
In the mind of Philip Hamilton, there were few things as incredibly stunning on an almost fantastical, awe inspiring level as the sound of water surrounding you as it tumbles majestically down the infinitely tall cliffs, softening the jagged edges of the rocks with the peaceful silver stream rushing onto them constantly, spraying you with a fine but ceaseless mist which soon soaks through your clothes and offers sweet, merciful relief from the gloriously warm summer sun. And yet, all of that wonder was somehow made even more incredible due to the presence of his lifelong best friend, teenage sweetheart and new wife in his arms as they cradled her gently around her waist, admiring the same sight as he did while she leaned into his chest, her contentment apparent from the way she seemed to melt into him, her relaxed stance almost enabling them to become a single body.
Simultaneously considering how delighted she was to be sharing the beautiful experience with the love of her short life as a 20 year old woman, she twisted around, confident in the solitude offered upon that small bridge above Niagara falls, stretching her arms around her husband's next and pulling him down slightly to rest his forehead upon hers and allowing her to gaze into the hazel eyes she adored. There were no words to describe the overwhelming sense of unadulterated love and safety she felt in that moment, so she could do nothing but smile, hoping it would convey to Philip Hamilton how joyful she was.
He had always been attuned to the emotions held within her despite the occasional shield covering her heart, and although she had learned to trust him enough now to never shut him out, his skill was no less effective, permitting him to see from that simple gesture alone how much she cared for him - not that he needed any confirmation of that fact. Returning her smile, he moved his hands up her back to hold her even more firmly against him and closed the tiny remaining distance between their lips, enveloping her smile in his own as they relished the simple experience of being together, her warm lips both tantalizing as they teased about further pleasures unable to be shared upon that bridge and still being inviting as they permitted him to kiss her as deeply as he pleased.
They did not truly separate, but returned to staring affectionately into one another's souls as they lazily laced their fingers together, bringing their knotted palms up to eye level so that they might both admire the two rings worn by the young woman - one, the single most expensive purchase of her husband's previously to their new, modest house in uptown New York, and the other a trinket once worn by the elder Theodosia Burr, a simple golden band which had never lost it's alluring gleam due to the departed woman's appreciation for the piece which symbolized her marriage and her husband's careful preservation of it since she passed away.
Philip did not break eye contact as he kissed first the engagement ring, then the wedding ring, then each of his wife's fingertips, cherishing every part of her in reach of his loving mouth. She giggled, a subtle blush decorating her cheeks and setting the 21 year old's heart fluttering once more and prompting him to murmur, "I love you, my dear Theodosia Hamilton."
Blissfully closing her eyes and revealing her neck to his tumbling stream of kisses and allowing his hands to leave hers in favour of roaming the familiar plains of her body, she replied, "I love you too, Philip Hamilton."
"Alexander, won't you please -"
"Eliza, listen," the stubborn man implored, "it is a matter of principle. He cannot reasonably expect me to allow him to do something like this without consequences, particularly when we were supposedly working together to strive for joint ideals in a partnership. Which, might I remind you, was enacted because he shot me and we - or more accurately I - wanted to amend our fractured bond," he argued, trying fruitlessly to present his irritation in an offhand manner. In reality, however, that was impossible for the man who could never hide his true feelings, regardless of how nonsensical they may be.
"He attended one meeting without you, that is all, and acting with such a lack of reticence is something he learned from you," Eliza sighed, forcing herself to keep her voice tightly controlled, at a low enough volume that it would not disturb her sleeping infant cradled in her arms, the latest addition to the Hamilton brood who had been named after his eldest brother. "Love, I can tell you that after giving birth to eight children, I know without a shadow of a doubt that they ought to be far harder to placate than any grown man, you included. If little Phil can doze in peace after a single lullaby, I do not think it is too much to ask that you can be civil with Mr Burr for one dinner following my very logical argument."
Frowning, Hamilton complained, "Do not use my youngest son as a tool for emotional blackmail. You know full well that he should have warned me about any meeting regarding our joint endeavours -"
"And I also know that this meeting was very last minute, as do you, given the amount of times he explained that upon your last meeting," his wife scolded as she interrupted gently. "And if you are so opposed to my using your youngest son as a tool of emotional blackmail, I shall use your eldest instead: Philip is married to Aaron Burr's daughter, and if you cannot manage one single evening without arguing with him, I don't think either half of the happy couple will be at all happy with you."
Alexander pondered her reasoning, before allowing himself to begrudgingly mutter, "I cannot promise I will hide my irritation from him."
"But?" Eliza invited him to compromise, taking his hand as though she might somehow share some of her own compassionate understanding with him through the contact.
"But..." he huffed, and reluctantly decided, "I might be able to refrain from hurling blatant abuse at him, if it means so much to you, my love."
Elizabeth would have made him shake hands to seal his word had there not come a knock on the door on that very instant. Passing the baby Phil, named in honour of their admired eldest son, to her husband, she hurried into the hall and flung open the door to greet the trio waiting on the porch: her son and daughter in law, accompanied by Aaron Burr. Perhaps it might have been a trick of the light, but she thought she saw genuine kindness in the smile of the eldest man, something which was becoming less and less of a rarity since he had seen his Theodosia happily wed. Rather than questioning it, she instead wrapped first Philip, then Theodosia, in a warm, maternal hug, treating both of the pair as her true children: It was never her intention to replace the elder Theodosia Burr's position as the mother to the young girl, nor was Theo attempting to find herself a new mothering influence. But they had always been on good terms, and the new bond between them strengthened with every regular meeting, as did the affection displayed by the entire Hamilton family to the recent addition to their ranks.
In fact, previously to the altercation between Aaron and Alexander, there had been no significant disagreements to speak of at all in the six months since the two illustrious families became one. That said, the small fracture in the glaze on the otherwise perfect picture did add a palpable tension to the group, particularly when Hamilton emerged beside his wife and greeted with an obviously ingenuine sneer meant to mimic Burr's far more convincing smile, "Mr Burr, Sir. How wonderful to have your company."
His colleague was prepared to humour him, but the host turned sharply on his heels and marched away before he could reply. With a sigh of exasperation, Elizabeth realized it was as close to civil as her husband was capable of being at that moment in time, and shaking her head with an apologetic smile, invited, "You must all come in. Alexander has simply gone ahead to check that everything is just right for this dinner." And it had better be, my darling fool, else you will have my wrath to face, she threatened internally. Externally, she gave no indication of her slight concern, only stepped aside to allow the trio to enter.
Theo and Philip went unnoticed as they loitered hesitantly at the rear of the group, Theodosia leaning in towards her husband to whisper, "I have the most terrible feeling that something is going to occur to make this dinner intolerably difficult." As if that greeting did not already set the stage for some later battle.
Philip only grinned with a playful shrug as he reminded her, "They have seen worse disagreements that this, and emerged on friendly terms. And even if something does happen, I am certain we will be able to distract them from any tension." He took hold of her hands and pulled her to catch up to Eliza and Aaron, who had already made their way into the dining room and settled at the table, along with their younger siblings and the belligerent Alexander Hamilton senior. The couple took the two spare seats and shared a reassuring glance with one another, before turning their focus to the two eldest men, who had already begun their senseless bickering.
"I suppose I should express regret that our meal is not yet ready, given the fact that one person seated at this table has shown himself to be incapable of patience when it comes to allowing me to partake in something," Hamilton muttered snidely, with a glance towards Burr.
"And yet," Burr met his immature challenge readily, "previously you have criticized me for being willing to bide my time and demonstrate flawless patience. So which aspect of my character is more detestable to you, Alexander, or are your opinions as inconsistent as you have previously claimed mine to be?" He cocked a brow, fully prepared for the discussion to become a debate should the other man be willing.
"Daddy," Theodosia warned sternly, though it had no impact on either party.
Pondering it thoughtfully, Hamilton decided, "I think both traits are irritating, and it would be impossible to pinpoint which is the greater of two mirroring evils."
Philip shook his head and gritted his teeth in annoyance as her growled, "Father, this is not suitable conversation for a family gathering." Particularly when the man you happen to be arguing with is my Father in law.
"Nonsense, son," Burr contradicted with a grin to the young man, "If your Father is willing to entertain us all with his jesting about my behaviour, I would be more than happy to return the favour." His grin growing at the opportunity to unleash his private irritations which had brewed for the past couple of days, he began, "I think primarily it is necessary to remind Alexander how his relentless pace has more than once swamped people interested in hearing our arguments for gun control."
"Well at least I am always entirely upfront with my ambitions - to everyone involved," Hamilton retorted, scarcely more mature than a toddler and with a pout on his lips which made him appear even younger than the slumbering infant he had passed to Eliza.
Burr leaned forwards, a hint of menace in his challenging stance, but before he could utter another syllable, the noise which never failed to interrupt his endeavours did just that; with a shout of massive frustration, Theodosia bellowed, "Enough!" Stunned into silence, all eyes turned to her as she struggled to compose herself sufficiently enough to murmur, "You must stop arguing, it is not healthy to quarrel over something so minor, especially when you are both as flawed but simultaneously brilliant as each other." She blinked once, and took a deep breath, during which Philip reached again for her hand, wordless consent for what he suspected was to follow. Turning to face him and recreating her husband's smile as she felt the warmth of it spread across her skin, Theo revealed, "Whether you are willing to act like adults or not, you will soon see exactly how miraculous the combination of both of your sets of unique talents can be." Elizabeth gasped, but so as to clarify for the rest of the audience, Theo confirmed, "Philip and I are expecting a baby. So you see, in a time not so far from now, we will all discover that your shared descendant will have the potential to be every bit as wonderful as you both."
Expecting mother and father exchanged a look of absolute pride, before turning to see the reaction of the Hamilton clan and Aaron Burr: a colourful array of shock, excitement and emotion radiated from each person sat around the table, but perhaps most noticeable change to the couple who had unveiled the calming news was the immediate absence of negative atmosphere amongst them, as though it had evaporated without a trace.
And as a slow, intimate applause rose from the small gathering, it was the peace of the moment which resonated most strongly within Philip and Theodosia's matching hearts. The final unifying piece of the puzzle was on the way, the last connection which would present an irrevocable bond between the young lovers as well as their tempered relatives. And so, regardless of minor arguments, both felt an overwhelming certainty that everything was going to be just fine.
It may not be effortless, and there may still be complications, Theodosia reflected. But I know one thing without a shadow of a doubt that we will all be united in our love for this baby. Returning to meet her husband's adoring golden eyes, she mentally corrected, our baby, the firstborn child of Theodosia and Philip Hamilton. Closing her eyes luxuriantly as she leaned to place her head on her other half's shoulder, she decided to promise the unborn life developing inside her, you will be the most loved child on earth, because you will be surrounded by joy and affection. She regarded first Philip, then her teary Father, then the line of Hamilton siblings, and then Alexander and Eliza, before glancing at her own stomach. We will all adore one another, and as a family we will cherish you so deeply, my love. And in doing so, we will raise you to have the brightest of futures, building the foundation for you to blow us all away.
With Philip's arm draped protectively around her and a series of compliments and congratulations already flowing from the mouths of various members of the supportive crowd, she had every reason to be completely sure of her ability to keep her promise.
There could potentially be a multi chapter sequel to this story, but even if not, I intend to write at least a one-shot exploring Alexander and Aaron's adventures in babysitting. And to do that, we need a baby name, and I am incapable of making decisions, so please go to my profile and vote in the poll for what the baby should be called! Or if you have another great idea or are not able to vote due to not having an account, please comment suggestions! Thank you, and may the best name win!
A/N: IT'S FINISHED, PEOPLE! And there is a baby on the way! (I know I romanticized that kid a lot just then, in reality I strongly believe that a foetus is not a person until it can survive outside the womb - maybe I don't need to clarify that, but I don't want any of my fellow pro-choicers getting offended, I am totally with you, by the way.)
Okay so! There is potential for a sequel, I suppose, though I almost don't want to interrupt the peace by creating a new dramatic storyline! There is also potential for an Aaron Burr x Theodosia Senior prequel, which could be fun! I don't know what comes next, but I think I'll probably write a couple of one shots before embarking on another longer story. But stay tuned, and thanks so much for your time!
Oh, and Italy was amazing, if you were interested. I got the opportunity to perform Burn in front of 500+ people on two nights, it was terrifying but brilliant! And I sort of tanned, which is rare for a redhead!