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Story [Hamilton] "Pen Strokes", UDC VIII, Week 2 & 3 up 5/14!

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Mira_Jade , Apr 1, 2017.

  1. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Title: "Pen Strokes"
    Fandom: Hamilton: An American Musical
    Author: Mira_Jade

    Genre: Everything
    Time Frame: Everywhere
    Characters: Everyone

    Summary: A collection of drabbles for the Ultimate Drabble Challenge VIII.

    Notes: Because I am helpless, and my muse wouldn't be satisfied until I picked up a pen and wrote my way - okay, I'm done now with the cheesy lyrical references. But, in all seriousness, this musical still owns my soul, and I couldn't resist. :p [face_love]

    Disclaimer: Nothing is mine, but for the words. :)

    The Index

    Week I: "If This Would Really Mean Freedom"
    Week II: "Where Even Orphan Immigrants Can Leave Their Fingerprints"
    Week III: "Freedom for America, Freedom for France"

    ~MJ @};-
  2. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Week I: “If This Would Really Mean Freedom”

    I. Valor

    His youthful dreams of war were, in the end, vastly incompatible with the more tangible realities of combat.

    You've got too many damn Greek epics rolling about in your brain, boy, Mulligan had been the one to chortle as they tugged their last stolen cannon into place. I, for one, never want to hear another sodding bullet again.

    It was true: as the batteries thundered from the Asia, filling the cool harbor air with smoke and screams and death, a part of him recoiled from the horrors inherent to battle. And, yet . . .

    . . . another part opened its eyes . . . smiled . . . and awakened.

    II. Honor

    The winter of 1778 was deadly in its intensity. Their army was under-provisioned to the point where their soldiers had nothing but flour and water to fill their bellies. They walked barefoot on the snow, leaving bloody footprints behind them as -

    “ - no, Alexander,” Washington made him start over. “That tone will get you nowhere.”

    Hamilton snorted, but obediently wet his quill again. “Congress fears you for a Caesar,” he muttered, “but none of Caesar's men ever had to beg for bread. Their lack of honor disgusts me.”

    Washington's smile was brittle. “Get this right, and America will never beg again.”

    III. Sacrifice

    The wait was agonizing.

    The genteel pursuits that once occupied her brought little joy. She helped manage her parents' household; she minded her siblings. Yet, knowing that the men of their country lived and died, while she . . .

    Eliza simply wanted to find contentment in her corner of the world again - but contentment would elude her until her husband was returned to her.

    She caught Angelica's eye, knowing that if she was restless, then her sister was suffocating - drowning, even. Her mind ever was such a caged bird, and, now . . .

    So: “If you could, you would have blown them all away.”

    IV. Defeat

    Word of France's aid was met with joyous celebration and revelry, but Lafayette only knew defeat. For, also from Paris was news from his wife, saying . . .

    . . . I regret to inform you . . . our daughter . . .

    He was not surprised when Alexander ignored his desire to be left alone, but Lafayette was startled when he summoned the general to tend him. Seeing Washington's sympathetic mien, Lafayette found his sorrow bubbling up uncontrollably.

    “She's gone,” he could not manage his words in English to say . . . but grief was a universal language, needing no translation.

    Washington opened his arms, and let him cry his fill.

    V. Victory

    “If they lose, I suppose Washington will be taken to England to amuse the King. But his aides . . . who can say? The last traitor – that Jacobite fellow – was drawn and quartered!” The high, twittering voice of Mrs. Stough lowered to whisper, “Which means, poor Eliza's husband - ”

    Eliza bolted from the assembly room, and Angelica discreetly followed. Lately, her sister held down but little food, and Angelica suspected . . .

    . . . sure enough, Eliza was staring dully ahead. Delicately, she wiped her mouth.

    “Well then,” Angelica soothed. “We'll just have to win now, won't we?”

    “Yes,” Eliza's hand fell to her stomach. “We must.”

    Hamilton's First Introduction to Combat: Was indeed stealing cannons from the British. It was not an organized maneuver from the army – but simply a bunch of college students staging their own act of rebellion. (Hamilton then taught himself trigonometry so that he could be an artillery captain with those same stolen cannons – because of course. :p) But that brazen act was what attracted Washington's attention, and, as you know, one thing led to another . . .

    The Last Traitor: The Jacobite Rising of 1745 would have been the last major organized contest against English rule, and still fresh in the colonists' minds. Francis Towneley was indeed hanged, drawn and quartered for high treason. But, by that time, at least, English executioners only did so after the victim was dead by hanging . . . unlike in the olden days. I know – yikes! [face_worried] But, there were very real stakes for those fighting in the Revolutionary War – lethal ones.

    Lafayette's Daughter: Henriette, only two years old, did pass away while Lafayette was abroad – and he did receive the news at the same time King Louis agreed to help America, right after that horrid winter in Valley Forge. He'd left for America before her birth, and so, in those two years away, he hardly had a chance to know his daughter. For a twenty year old, also dealing with war-time burdens, I can't even begin to imagine how that would set in, psychologically speaking. (And, an orphan himself, raised by extended family, he did consider Washington to be his adopted father. He even addressed him as such until his death. So, there's that. [face_love])

    ~MJ @};-
  3. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    AHHHH. Ninjas cutting onions alert!:_| I am amazed. @};- I love these. Sadly, details of the American Revolution were lacking from my education (even for a History major) - I know the broad strokes and the impacts on the colonies above the 45th parallel. But I love the musical and I'm hoping to rectify this over the summer, so I LOVE that you have taught me more already

    MULLIGAN! So very in character for both men.

    God damn it! Where are those god damn ninjas cutting onions. I'M NOT CRYING. I'M NOT CRYING!
  4. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    Woah.... that was beautiful and very much Alexander Hamilton.

    :_| That was so heartbreaking and beautiful. Some much heartbreak in their stories.

    I love this! I love how Angelica refuses to think anything else and will pull her sister with her.

    These were beautiful and I loved them all!
    Mira_Jade likes this.
  5. K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku

    K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku Jedi Grand Master star 3

    Apr 18, 2000
    These are lovely and capture both what we see of the characters in the musical and their historical truth (I'm about 1/2 through Chernow's biography). Well done! =D=
    Mira_Jade likes this.
  6. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Honor rang my chimes.[face_flag]
    Mira_Jade likes this.
  7. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    There are just ninjas left and right with this ridiculous musical! They're impossible to avoid. :p But I hope to work in a few laughs as we go, too, so everything will balance out. ;)

    I'm so glad that you're enjoying these so far! My inner-history nerd has had quite the time writing for this fandom, and I'm not out of words yet. (Even if my updates are glacially slow. Yikes. :oops::p)

    Thank-you so much! You definitely hit a few of my favourite points, as well; I'm thrilled to hear that you are enjoying these. :D [face_love][:D]

    Thank-you! Chernow's biographies are my primary source for writing these, so I'm glad that the drabbles rang true to history, also. Although, I have a good template to work from, in that regard. Lin-Manuel Miranda did such an amazing job adapting his characters! [face_love]

    I'm glad to hear it! I honestly worried for that line being too patriotic - that's not at all what I want these drabbles to be, but I'm glad that it struck a chord. [face_love]

    I thank everyone for reading, and for leaving such lovely comments! There will be more up in a few . . . :)
  8. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004
    Week II: “Where Even Orphan Immigrants Can Leave Their Fingerprints”

    VI. Name

    He only noticed the whispers after they returned to St. Croix. Rachel Faucett Lavien they called his mother here, not -

    “Mother, what's a bastard?” He sought comprehension in all things, and this he most certainly did not understand.

    “Nothing that can ever hurt you, unless you let it.” Fire sparked in his mother's eyes. “You're still a Hamilton - hear me, Alex?”

    . . . but was he, when his mother was not truly Rachel Hamilton? Was he, when James Hamilton himself was nowhere to be found? Yet . . .

    “Yes, maman,” he gave the only answer he could. For the moment, it was enough.

    VII. Title

    Their first time hosting ambassadors from England, a clear line was drawn between the youthful government in America and the old, hallowed gravitas of the aristocracy overseas.

    “The Creole's wife.” Eliza burned to hear everything from her husband's parentage to the lace on her dress judged, until -

    “ - they cannot push you down if you are unwilling to sink.” For being such a tiny, matronly woman, Martha Washington held herself with the grace of a queen. Sympathetic to her plight, the First Lady wove a supportive arm through Eliza's own. “Hold your head up, dear – nothing will strengthen your husband more.”

    VIII. Number

    The numbers swam before his eyes. He was no longer consciously aware of the words his pen wrote, filling sheet after sheet, until -

    - Eliza was attempting to rouse his attention. It was dark; he'd forgotten supper. Phillip had a poem he'd completed; Angie wanted a story before bed – and he'd neglected them all.

    Yet Eliza mentioned none of his patriarchal deficiencies. Instead, she sat down and picked up a pen.

    “What are you doing?” Hamilton did not understand.

    “Giving you your bank,” she answered, matter-of-factly. “At this point, I believe my handwritting is more legible than yours.”

    IX. Date

    July 11th, 1804.

    The date was burned into Eliza's mind. The idea that this would define her husband's legacy was anathema to her. His scandals; his flaws; his death – they would all be remembered. He'd picked himself up from poverty to help build a nation from dust, yet history would only recall the dirt staining his reputation. Her husband was more than his flaws, however. She'd have his love and devotion and brilliant, non-stop mind remembered; she'd fight to tell his story until she herself ran out of time.

    So, Eliza picked up a pen, and rewrote the narrative.

    X. Legacy

    He'd never had a chance to know his father, but he knew the stories, the legend. Phil knew enough about Alexander Hamilton to know when the tales were wrong. His cheeks colored, and he at first turned away – content to let the malcontents say what they wanted about his family. Not every slur was untrue, after all.

    Yet . . .

    I'm a Hamilton with pride, I cannot let this -

    “ - excuse me, sir,” he cut into the conversation, “but that's where the story is commonly told wrong. You see, it went like this.”

    Week III: “Freedom for America, Freedom for France”

    XI. Helpless

    In Versailles, the fountains ran with champagne. The palace drew the rich and powerful, all bedecked in silk and lace, dripping with gold and jewels. Perfume clouded the air; paint and powder masked the courtiers like mummers in a play. Night was indistinguishable from day when all was gluttony and glitter surrounding him. Dazzled, Lafayette knew that he was drowning, yet he was helpless to honor his birthright with more.

    His father died fighting for France; his great-grandfather commanded the Black Musketeers; he could trace his royal-studded lineage to the crusades . . . was this the fruitage of their legacy?

    XII. Satisfied

    Lafayette walked with his king through Louis-Auguste's favorite grotto, waiting for his judgment.

    “Have you set your heart on America?” Louis peered at him, searching for a path.

    “I've never known a more worthy cause, sire.” The words were inadequate to describe the brotherhood he'd found overseas, the belonging. America, in its youth, was everything France needed to revive her own ancient soul.

    Louis' gaze slipped over the artificial landscape. “What a novelty: aiding a colony over a crown. Yet it will remind France that I stand with the people.” Slowly, he smiled. “I'll have two countries thanking me for their liberties now.”

    XIII. Enough

    The divide grew between the crown and the common people, and Lafayette set his flag to preserve the traditions of his homeland while welcoming in a new era of government.

    “You cannot stand between two currents – they'll only drown you if you attempt to tread water,” Hamilton was painfully blunt to warn. “Don't trust the mob – ever.”

    “I desire only your safety,” Washington's concern was softer. “I fear the people will seek vengeance first, before democracy.”

    “When,” Adrienne little attempted to mask her fear, “will enough be enough, Gilbert?”

    When France - all of France - was free. Then, he would be satisfied.

    XIV. Non-Stop

    The boy was not faring well in New York. Eliza Hamilton gave her all to make Lafayette's son comfortable, but the youth was traumatized and far from home, and she had six little ones of her own to care for already.

    Alexander wanted the boy to come to Philadelphia - where all would view his presence as a clear breach of American neutrality . . . a policy he'd agreed to and since enforced.

    “George Washington,” Martha's tone cooled with disappointment – leaving a wound, as ever. “When will the obligations of this office finally end? This child needs you; nothing else can matter more.”

    XV. Burn

    Georges Lafayette was a youth who held himself as a man grown through the necessity of circumstance. His posture was forged by tragedy, his gaze steeled by loss. He'd watched his grandmother walk to the guillotine; his aunt too; he yet feared for the fate of his mother and sisters. Even so, Georges resembled his father with the earnest shape of his smile; no grief could dim that likeness.

    Though he knew his namesake through letters only, Lafayette was a link between them, binding them together. His eyes burning, Washington held a hand out to the boy, and welcomed him home.

    There are so many notes that I could leave for these two sets, but I'll just highlight the main points, and anything else I'll be happy to chat about in the comments. My inner history-nerd is having too much fun with these - so much so that, at times, it's hard to rope my muse into writing fanfiction for the musical, and not dovetailing into outright Historical RPF. Sheesh . . .

    Phil Hamilton: Eliza was pregnant with their eighth and final child when Philip was killed in his duel. They named the boy Phil in honor of his older brother. Phil was only two years old when Hamilton died in his own duel, and I can only imagine his thoughts on his father's legacy. I've actually written about him quite a bit over at AO3 - I should see about moving those over here eventually. [face_thinking] (The six children mentioned in the second set of drabbles included Fanny Antil, whom the Hamiltons adopted.)

    Eliza and the Bank: She did help Hamilton write his final draft of his bank proposal. The more legible pages are all hers. ;)

    Martha Washington: Is my historical girl-crush, I'm not going to lie - so I had to sneak her in for a few drabbles. Don't let the grandma portraits fool you - she was a spitfire who had no problem throwing down with her husband when she disagreed with him. My favourite example being when she protested his accepting the presidency (which was something that Washington himself only did after much debate and trying to sidestep the obligation) and did not attend his inauguration. She later described their years in office as the most trying of their lives - and that included living in tents and cabins and rented rooms for almost nine years during the Revolutionary War. Yes - she was by her husband's side for over half that time, as were many other spouses. [face_love]

    Lafayette: I may have exaggerated his maturity in thinking about legacy and civil freedoms so early in this set. :p Real!Lafayette I can only describe as an overeager puppy looking for adventure when he disobeyed the orders of his king and left his pregnant teenage wife behind to join Washington's army. (He wrote Adrienne from the ship to tell her that he was sneaking away, at that, and didn't come home for two years, only to leave her with another child, again. Yeah. o_O) But he truly did grow up in America, and he returned to France determined to win similar such liberties for his people. Sadly, the monarchy saw him as a traitor to his birth, and the people saw only his title and refused to trust him during the French Revolution. He spent years in an Austrian prison during the Terror - which, ironically, most likely saved him from the guillotine. Adrienne proved herself an amazingly resourceful woman in keeping herself and her children alive - which included sending Georges to live with the Washingtons in America until Napoleon staged his coup in France. (I wrote a fair bit more about the subject in my ficlet collection here.)

    Louis XVI's Grotto: A small side-point, but I imagined the scenery in Satisfied to be the Grotte des Bains d’Apollon - which was his most famous addition to the landscape of Versailles. The palace was lovely to tour, but it was the purposeful ruggedness of the gardens further back on the property that really stood out to me, and I had to include that little bit. [face_love]

    ~MJ @};-
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  9. Briannakin

    Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic & Costuming/Props Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Feb 25, 2010
    Ahhhhh! these are so freaking amazing! I am currently reading the Chernow biography, so I understand some of these. However, they are all so very amazing and thank so so much for the context notes!

    Number was simply my favourite.
  10. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    XV. Burn touched me in the best way, because I'm unfamiliar with the canon here and yet could picture the faces and evergreen circumstances of connections being made. ^:)^
  11. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Aug 14, 2002
    Week One, very good. You made an unfamiliar subject very accessible, with Valor's smidgen of maritime warfare, quite rewarding; and Defeat hitting all the notes too.
  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha 2 Truths 1 Lie Host star 8 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    @Mira_Jade --
    You evoke the intensity and purposefulness and the characters so vividly in this period. Lafayette's longing to belong; Alexander Hamilton's very complicated back story as to his maternal and paternal issues :p
    Then Martha Washington -- [face_dancing] I can so see her supportive of Eliza.@};-
    Defeat was ultra-touching.
    I adored the inclusion of Versailles. I can only IMAGINE the magnificence when it was in its heyday.
    Total irony that France and America sought and gained independence in the same timeframe, with completely different aftermaths. [face_thinking]

    Last edited: Feb 18, 2018
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