A/N: So I'm studying Macbeth in English and I do love me a bit of Shakespeare and I know it sounds stupid but when we were reading it in class, I thought the quote "Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under't" seemed like it could be very symbolic of the duality in Alexander Hamilton (Yep that's where my mind is at during English class XD) so I decided I had to write this, which explores his main love interests and how he displays multiple sides to his personality with them all. It's also pretty flattering towards Eliza, because I adore her and I never actually seem to write Hamiliza, even though I love it! It's 03:52 a. I have no regrets. I hope you enjoy this, reviews and feedback of all kinds are always so appreciated, especially since I was trying a slightly different style here!
Disclaimer: I do not have any claim over Hamilton (because I am not Lin Manuel Miranda) or Macbeth (because I am not Willy Shakes) or the italicized letter quotes in this one-shot (Because I am not A. Ham)
The Innocent Flower (and the Serpent under't)
He knew from the instant he first saw the ethereal beauty in the teal gown that she was so incomparably unique: too pure for his greedy hands, too sublime for his hungry lips, too sweet for his enduring bitterness.
But he also knew she had to be his, that he could not, would not rest unless he could do so in her arms.
(Though in reality, even those precious occasions when he did so grew to be few and far between.)
So it was all impeccable manners, charming smiles, endless flattery, sweeping dances, eloquent letters littered with my darling Betsey and my pretty damsel, and unabashed declarations of a love she deserved.
And then, it was also seductive whispers, lingering touches, flirtatious gazes, to tease and tantalize the woman who would inevitably become his bride, inevitable because he willed it to be so and he always managed to get exactly what he wanted.
Eliza with a radiant gown the same luminous blue as the Caribbean ocean; Eliza with luxuriously thick hair which fell down to her waist like a sheet of silk; Eliza with skin as unblemished as a new rose at dawn; Eliza with eyes as black as dark shadows and pure onyx and the night sky, and which shone with the heavenly light of a thousand stars.
Eliza with a heart like the sea in its sprawling, endless volume; Eliza with an endless capacity for compassion contained within her body and soul; Eliza with an intelligent mind which always knew how to remain calm under countless pressures; Eliza who became his voice when his wrist became too sore for him to continue to write; Eliza with more strength in her sturdy spirit than her slender body would ever suggest; Eliza who loved too easily, fell too hard, and never failed to forgive those who had won her affection.
Eliza who deserved better than what she was given, but who was thankful for what she received even so.
Alexander displayed humility and sincerity when he asked Philip Schuyler for his daughter's hand, and because he was the only man to do so before wedding a Schuyler girl, the Senator gave his blessing without a second thought.
He paid no attention to the way his son in law spoke to his eldest daughter.
No one thought to question the bond between the pair who had been made siblings by Alexander's marriage.
Not even Eliza, naive and optimistic as she was in her youth, saw the fondness with which Angelica spoke of her husband as anything more than sisterly adoration.
It escaped her attention that when he was in the company of his sister in law, Alexander developed a curious liking for closed doors or private meetings.
She never saw those kisses from Alexander's lips which graced her sister's knuckles with the same holy reverence as she displayed when she knelt down in Church and whispered her own holy prayers.
She never caught those risque murmurs, those suggestive compliments, those intentionally flirtatious grammatical errors, those looks of pure lust which Alexander only dared to bare when his wife wasn't watching the interaction between himself and her sister.
Her sister, Angelica, whose deprived heart raced (much to her guilty antagonization) at every single one of these things.
And though she loathed herself for indulging her fantasies, she couldn't help but long for his touch, shoot him an occasional coquettish glance, return his tantalizing flirtation.
Three fundamental truths spelling out in explicit detail why this was a bad idea slipped her mind. Those same truths had never even occurred to Alexander in the first place.
How could they, when his heart skipped a beat the moment he met Angelica, her beauty matching or exceeding Eliza's and her analytical gaze penetrating any facade of his, seeing into his soul, reading his dark past like a story and wanting him anyway.
Angelica, who was so similar to her sister, yet simultaneously so different.
Angelica, who encouraged him to strive for his goals where Eliza pleaded for him to prioritize their growing family; Angelica, who inflated his ego while Eliza begged him to lose his sinful pride; Angelica whose dagger-sharp wit could either tear through his tough exterior to slash his heart or cool his fervid temper by setting the flat side of the blade against his flesh.
So while he longed for the eldest Schuyler sister, made into his own blood via marriage, undisturbed by trivial suspicion, he contented himself with the most precious thing Angelica could offer him:
Eliza who remained oblivious to the fact that the greedy hands cupping her pure face had rested for just a moment too long on her sister's body, and the fact that the hungry lips which pecked at the sublime petals of hers when he stepped through the door to find her waiting for him every evening longed to be reunited with her sister's hand, and the fact that his bitterness was only exacerbated by the fact that her sweet demeanour was so different from that of her sister's sharp tongue.
Blissful ignorance served her well upon multiple occasions, not just with Angelica, but also with Laurens.
Never in Eliza's wildest nightmares would she have imagined her husband being tempted away from his ceaseless infatuation with the fairer sex.
He was helping the war effort, he was building a future, not just for them but for his nation, too.
(Which she believed ought to have guaranteed he could only be doing good.)
But away from his new bride and esteemed sister, he was left instead with the company of John Laurens, who he learned to love in the very same way. That love took many forms, it was finding laughter in the bleakest of times, amber flames casting shadows over gaunt, half-starved facial features and somehow making them beautiful, sharing cramped quarters and not minding one bit, watching hazel eyes melt into pools of liquid gold when the sun glinted within them, sharing what little alcohol was available and allowing it to cloud his judgment and unleash his inhibitions, flirtatious letters and my dear Laurens and actions rather than words and I love you confessed in ink and by his hot, wet mouth as it left lasting roses blooming on freckled skin.
Roses which lasted for a time, but which inevitably had to fade.
Just like Laurens himself.
A single letter, and the world turned upside down.
And then falling in love with John Laurens became sobbing until his throat was raw and stinging, as hard as he had when his mother's spirit had departed from the Earth. It was feeling a gaping absence of feeling within his chest and being willing to let it consume him. It was an almost total lack of words, because how can you ever convey the loss of a friend whom I truly and most tenderly loved?
It was finding salvation in the arms of the woman he had never intended to stray from as he mourned the man who had compelled him to do just that.
And Eliza held tight, murmuring soft comforts, offering prayers, drying tears.
She intertwined her pure fingers with those of greedy hands which had searched for purchase on the internal walls of tents and, finding none, had resorted to gripping strong, muscular shoulders instead, she felt her sublime heart break with every sob which fell from the hungry lips which had kissed with bruising force and parted for his best friend and lover, she pitied the battle taking place within Alexander as he wondered if he would sacrifice all of those sweet memories to spare the most bitter punishment for his disloyalty.
And still she stayed, never, ever suspecting her husband of straying.
(Or at least, he didn't cry himself to sleep every night, which was as close to recovery as anyone had dared to hope for.)
The sweet, innocent man who loved her returned, the man who called her my darling Betsey, who sang soft lullabies to Philip to send him to sleep, who volunteered to settle the infant when he cried during the night because he insisted that he might as well seeing as he was already awake because of his demanding work, and who kissed her as though he had never kissed another.
He allowed his work to consume his time, incessantly finding new obligations, twisting them into excuses.
But he did work hard, even if he had no time for his family.
And even if he had no time for his family, he did still peck Eliza softly on the lips every time he stepped through his front door, and her woes melted away into nothing at all.
But then Eliza went upstate, and Alexander declined the invitation to join her and her sister, and John was still dead and his hands were still greedy, his lips still hungry, his mind still trapped in a state of perpetual bitterness and the idea that the universe owed him something, and suddenly it was a back door he was creeping in through and another woman with inviting scarlet lips and exhausted, hollow eyes sunk deep within her face that he was kissing, and it wasn't just a peck:
It was heat and passion and probing and a slight sense of detachment which he chose to ignore.
The woman who did not want to love him, because she would have hated to hurt a man she loved, but who could not resist.
Because he was sweet, really, kinder than anyone she had known in a long time. It was a soft voice rather than shouted accusations, generosity where she had known only senseless violence, sympathy in place of blame, love bites which sent a thrill of excitement running through her whenever she caught sight of them instead of bruises which stung when her corset pressed against them.
And she was frightened, and young, and she reminded him of himself, and yes, she was stunning. Different from Eliza, Angelica, John, but beautiful even so with her sultry voice and toussled curls and tired eyes from sleepless nights and pouting lips which quivered when she was on the brink of tears.
She loved him, that much was clear in her whispers of you're too kind, Sir, and pleading demands of stay.
And of course, her letters, her palpable guilt when she lamented her very existence, Oh my God I feel more for you than myself and wish I had never been born to give you so mutch unhappisness, her profuse apologies for her husband's manipulative plans, her courageous attempt to do anything she could to keep the situation from becoming even worse, do not rite to him no not a Line but come here soon do not send or leave any thing in his power.
Even then, he revealed nothing to Eliza.
His wife would only learn when he had no option but to confess his shameful behaviour, and even then it was not motivated by a desire to be the honest man she so desperately wished he would be, but by a deep need to clear his name, to take anything his enemies could have used against him and save them the trouble by defaming himself.
It was only then that Eliza learned the cold, brutal reality that Alexander's greedy hands had touched, caressed and exposed the body of another woman so much younger than herself, his hungry lips had found their way onto those of that other gorgeous temptress and began to freely explore every inch of her soft, supple figure, and that her sweet, kind, trusting heart had not been enough to draw him permanently away from the sort of bitter, sordid depravity he had seen taking place on every side in his childhood home.
Angelica returned home as soon as she heard, naturally drawn to support her sister, but her heart stopped before she got the chance.
Alexander was there to meet her, to profess his innocence and to paint himself as the helpless, defenceless victim, to plead for her unconditional love, forgetting that she lacked her sister's compassion.
He received nothing from Angelica, not even her hand, for a single touch or an innocent kiss.
It hurt her to refuse him, but not as much as his revelation.
He should have approached his wife first, but he did not. Best to give her space and time to recover, he had decided, only it did not quite happen that way.
He made his way to their bedroom, having not set foot in it for days, but instead of finding the peaceful order which usually greeted him, he smelt the acrid scent of a fireplace burning something other than wood.
He cracked the door, and he saw Eliza, feeding the flames with pages and pages, each covered in writing in a familiar, slanted script.
Words were his innocence, his declarations of adoration, his well structured arguments and his verbal seduction.
It might be within my power, by actions rather than words, to convince you that I love you.
Actions were his downfall, the way in which his hidden, silent, innermost desires manifested physically, seeping into his every move, every seductive smile, every touch of one other than his own wife, every kiss, and of course his misguided decisions, including the very one which lead him to unveil his own mistake.
Words had won him his bride, the best thing in his life, along with a series of lovers and admirers intended to quench his thirst for love when Eliza wasn't enough, tempting some and eliciting desperate responses from others:
Adieu ma chere, soeur.
I shall only tell you that 'till you bade us Adieu, I hardly knew the value you had taught my heart to set upon you.
Let me Intreat you If you wont Come to send me a Line.
My good, my tender, my fond, my excellent Betsy, Adieu. You know not how much it must ever cost me to pronounce this word.
Her own collection contained perhaps some of the most intimate pages he had ever written, some of the purest, most eloquent words to ever flow from his quill.
And suddenly they were gone, eaten by ravenous flames which twisted the paper into tight curls before reducing it to dust.
His words were gone, and he couldn't stand to watch Eliza a moment longer, tears streaming down her cheeks like dew drops on her new rose skin. Her hair was messier than he'd ever seen it, and despite gazing intently into the flames, there was no light in her black eyes.
Somehow, she was not his Betsey any more, and she would not be until she eventually forgave him.
(And she would, because she loved him.)
And when that day came, they would heal together, finding the words to express their renewed adoration and the strength to withstand any challenges facing them.
But for the time being, both halves of the whole were changed.
And there was nothing pure, or sublime, or sweet remaining in Alexander, because Eliza took all of that with her when she reclaimed her heart. She truly was the best thing in his life, and without her, there was nothing left but his own insatiable greed, hunger and bitterness.