With a crackle of thunder, Alex trudges into the General's tent - completely drenched - his body shivering in weakened defense. He tries to close the tent's flap. The harsh winds have none of that. The man's frozen: a chill so deep and so cold that it slices right through the core of his bones. His flushed ears and cheeks and nose are chapped due to the conditions from which he was trapped and exposed.
It would've been wise for him to change his coat and pants, but he wastes no time - and in his desk chair, he quickly plants himself. Icy rain drips from his nose and hair, but he's careful of the parchment - Lord knows that he's got none to spare.
There on his desk is a stack of mail. Without fail, addressed to 'General G. Washington'.
"Welp, let's take a look, then."
Shaky hands clutch the envelopes of each letter.
He rubs his nose.
'Could sure use some tea with this weather.'
He reads the letter through, though it's kind of blurry. With each line, Alexander's bright red eyes sting with fury.
~'We are so sorry,'~
"Pssh. Yeah, okay."
~'Please know we pray for you and your troops each day.'~
As the conditions for the Continental Army only worsen, Alexander Hamilton mutters silently… mostly curses. He's huffing and puffing: writing, asking for little (getting nothing). Whether it's funding from Congress, or food from local merchants, the answer's always no.
He rubs his tired eyes, still reading their lame replies.
~'Godspeed, good men, until you beat the bad guys!'~
He drops the letters on his desk. A deep cough wracks his chest.
"Christ," he manages to choke out, his cheeks growing flush.
Hamilton's coughing fades with a hush.
"G-general," the aide-de-camp quickly salutes.
"At ease," the General replies, "Any word from our allies?"
"All denies," Hamilton resolutely sighs.
A small smile traces Washington's lips.
"At least we tried."
"Sir," the young man hoarsely cries, turning to the General, "When will these morons understand our dire situation?"
Washington pats his head.
"I feel your frustration."
His eyebrow quirks, "That's not the only thing I feel, either."
"Sir?" Alex questions in reply.
"Young man, you've got a fever."
Hamilton jerks his head.
"Wh-what? That's absurd!"
"Oh, so I should just ignore that awful cough I heard?"
Hamilton turns red.
'Wait. He... heard me before?'
He shrugs, "M-must've been comin' from the tent next door."
"Really?" Washington inquires, "The one on the right?"
"Noone's been in there since last night."
A blush burns deeper in Hamilton's cheeks.
"Maybe the one on the left?"
"Noone's been there since last week."
All the while, Alexander shifts in his chair. Washington's arm cross with a stern, piercing glare.
"'Something you wanna tell me, son?"
"First of all, I'm not your son," Hamilton shakily grabs his quill, "Second, there's real work to be done."
Before he can scratch the parchment, Hamilton jumps as the General slams his fist. Just for good measure, Washington confiscates Alexander's white plumed feather. Beading with sweat, Alex nervously stands by.
The General looks the pale man square in the eye.
"Pardon my French, but you look like shit."
"I've been called worse," Hamilton retorted, "'s'that it?"
"How do you feel?" Washington asks, his tone very gentle and real. As he awaits a response, his frown and brow begin to soften. Hamilton doesn't get to see that often.
"F-fine," the young man replies, "H-honest to G-god-"
In an attempt to scoff, Alexander starts to cough.
'Dammit,' he curses in his mind, 'Ugh. Beautiful timing.'
"Alexander," Washington states, his voice firm, "You are lying."
Hamilton waves his clammy hands, "J-just somethin' caught in my throat."
"What you've caught is what I'm worried for."
"I wouldn't worry anymore."
"You're soaking wet!"
"Well, you are, too."
"Alexander, we're talking about you."
"I'm tellin' you, I… heh... Hhrussh'shih!"
"Was that a sneeze?"
"I-it was nothin'. Just from the evening breeze."
"I-I feel quite well."
"Yeah? Not from what I can tell."
Alexander's brow knitted in frustration. His body shook with consternation.
"Sir, I'm just fine."
"Don't you think it might be time-"
"Be time to write? Hell, yes."
"No. Time for you to get some rest."
"As I said."
"Look, I'll just rest when I'm dead."
"Mhm. So I might've guessed."
"Rest assured -"
"Oh, I'll rest, for sure… if I knew you'd rest for sure."
"And what good would be resting for? To waste time, waste money… throw away the War we're fighting?"
"No. You're exhausted."
"So is everyone. Go on?"
"You need to take a break, son."
"I'm telling you, I'm not your son."
"If you rest, I know you'll kick this thing. And you'll kick it quick!"
"But General," Alexander screams, "I am not sick!"
He leans on the desk, white knuckles clinging with restraint.
'Shit. Was I about to faint?'
"Young man, you can barely stand."
"At your command, I'll sit to write."
"Just go to bed and end this fight."
Alexander's bag-ridden eyes flash. He grimaces. His teeth gnash, his words burning against a hoarse, fiery throat.
"That is why I write. I write to end the fight, and make the wrong that's all around us right. That's why I can't let a bit of wind or rain or a few sniffles whistle away my chance to make a difference in our growing plight. And - hhH'rshhih! - If you'll pardon me. Every little cough and sneeze and ailment will be worth it once we liberate our colonies. There's gotta be some passion behind this fever, and I've gotta take action to go ahead and beat her, but I know for damn sure I can't go do it from a bed. So like I said, General Washington… I'll rest when I'm dead."
His chest aches as he hacks, his burning lungs under attack. Washington watches him: completely helpless as the young man struggles to come back to his senses. The General turns his head, averting his sight. When all of a sudden… he catches a glint of yellow light.
A nearby candle flickers. The General grins. Then, snickers.
"You remind me of that candle. So bright and strong and true; and things always seem clearer once they have gone by you. But as it's burning brighter, the wax is yearning tighter to push itself down. It's melting, it's fading… you see, it's burning itself to the ground. And at night, we put it out - sure, I know it'll fight it. But once it's gotten some rest, we can go and relight it. Why? We want to save it. Why? We know we need it. And, Hell, we know without it, we would be defeated. Alexander, all your wax is being tested. You'll fade and burn out… unless you're well-rested."
Hamilton shakily rises to his feet. His knees grow weak: they're knocking fast. The poor, frail man looks like he's about to collapse. Ghost white lips grimace into a frown. Hot tears trickle down his flushed face.
'Pull it together,' he thinks, 'This ain't the time or place.'
Holding back the sobs causes a throbbing in his head. Washington throws a blanket on his shoulders.
"Son… you need to go to bed."
Hamilton says nothing. He just sniffles like a child. That is, until the General hands him a handkerchief and smiles.
"Now, go. I'll check on you in two days' time, Alexander."
Washington holds open the tent flap.
"That's an order, from your commander."