Chapter 1: i couldn't seem to die
The thing is, Alexander Hamilton lives, no matter what life or the universe decides to throw at him.
It has always been that way and it will always be the case.
Always, oh how he despises that word. It is one of those that accurately sum up the hell he is living in. Always. Constant. Unchanging. Immortal.
It isn’t half as great as it sounds like. Trust him, if there is anyone who knows about this, it’s him.
Sure, when he had first found out that, no matter what, he didn’t die, he had been ecstatic—he knew how much death could hurt both the victims and those who stayed behind—but that enthusiasm died quickly once he understood what it really meant.
The constant pain of losing people he had known and loved. The loneliness that settled in after his friends and family had started to die around him.
This pain is probably the thing he is most familiar with in his life. There is no possible way to avoid it when living as long as Alexander had done.
And that is a long, long time.
The first breath Alexander had ever taken wasn’t on or even close to the island of Nevis. And even if it had been there, it would have had a different name, if a name at all.
He isn’t completely sure if people had even been there at that point in history. Probably, if one considers that humans had spread practically all over the globe by then, but he doesn’t really know for sure and it wasn’t like there was anyone around he could ask.
No one else has survived as long as him. Oh, he knew a couple of people, not even a dozen, that suffered in the same way for a century or two. Nevertheless, they all died, sooner or later, leaving him alone and unable to follow them, no matter what he tried.
He has wanted to die for the majority of his existence. This was no life and it hasn’t been for quite a while.
It all started when he had been young and stupid. Not even five years old, an age that seems so surreal now, since it is less than point one percent of the time he had spent on this planet.
Yes, Alexander is that old.
He had wandered into the river and stayed there for a while, observing the fish that swam around and the colors. Despite all the time that has passed, the memory is still clear in his mind. The swirling colours and the sounds of the sea.
He doesn’t remember how he got underwater—surely people knew even then not to let curious young children near water, especially not without supervision—and he has long since forgotten how long he sat down there. It had to have been hours, maybe even a day or two—even back then Alex hadn’t really slept and only partly since he didn’t feel the need to—but, eventually, he got out of the river and went back to his family.
The thing is, the town they lived in, Nippur, it had classified as a small town at that time. When his family hadn’t been able to find him, they had asked around and it wasn’t long until he had been—for all intents and purposes—declared dead. That was what had happened when someone was missing more often than not, after all, so it was an understandable choice.
But Alexander—had that been his name back then? He doesn’t remember. He knows he had been going by that name as often as possible since his first time in Greece, but before that? He has no idea, not really.
Anyways, Alexander? He had lived, as he always does. He had simply turned up at his house, expecting everything to be normal, except perhaps for a few worried faces and a scolding—plus a punishment, of course—but that was not what actually happened.
What happened was that everyone—his father, uncles, and brothers, his mother, aunts, and sisters—they had all looked at him oddly.
Some had seemed terrified of him, some in awe, but no one had ever looked at him quite the same way after he returned from his small adventure. They had seemed like they hadn’t been able to agree if he was a god or a monster, but everyone agreed that he couldn’t possibly be human.
To this day, he still doesn’t know if they had been correct. Because, on the one hand, he looks like humans do, he feels like them, laughs like them, and cries like them, but at the other hand? How could he be a human when he doesn’t require sleep or food? When he hasn’t aged a day since he had been eighteen-ish? When he can’t die, no matter how hard he tried—and he had tried and tired and tried over the years. Nothing has worked so far and he has long since given up hope that anything ever will.
Giving a complete overview of his life is literally impossible. Too much had happened and too much had been forgotten and destroyed over time. Some of that happened by accident and some of it on purpose.
The Library of Alexandria was one such time. He hadn’t burned it down, how could he? He had simply placed an illusion, sealed the door, and spread the rumor it had burned down.
He likes his books, alright. They give him something to do, a way to escape his reality for just a moment.
Whether fact or fiction, he doesn’t care. The lines of those blend over time. Some things that used to be the one become the other over time and vice versa. That is just the way things are. It’s one of the things he had learned. Things change, nothing is constant. Nothing, except for him.
And Alexander has quite the collection of books, scrolls, and, texts, written in all sorts of languages, some of which were lost in time. There was no one around who spoke them. No one, but him.
Logically, Alexander knows that it’s probably not good for him to focus on things like that, but he can’t stop. His thoughts drift there in the end, no matter how much he tries not to let that happen.
The only way it works is to keep himself busy, so that’s what he does. He isn’t quite sure when he had realized that and put his plan into motion, but he knew that a long, long time had passed since then. It had been before the Library Incident, likely before Alexandria had even been founded, since that still left him with two or three thousand years left over.
Quite frankly, he has no idea how old he even is. It is easy to lose track and difficult to count, difficult to measure and easy to stop caring.
He is old, older than anyone else on this planet has ever been or will ever be. Unless there is someone hiding from him, but he doubts that. He has no real proof, but the lack of such tales, tales of men—or women—older than everyone else is a strong point in his favour. Granted, stories like these exist, but does it count if they are tales of gods and monsters? Most of which even have a set home, and which Alexander visits, illogically hopeful every time.
He has been disappointed every single time so far. He shouldn’t get his hopes up, he knows that, but he can’t stop himself. He is alone in this world, is it such a wonder that he wants to have company?
Over the years, Alexander has been in many places. In fact, he’s say that there aren’t many places he hasn’t been at one point or another.
He knows that he had left Nippur when he was fifteen, he had left for Uruk, the capital. He had needed to get away from the stares everyone in Nippur was giving him. After a decade, it became too much for him to handle and so he left.
By that point, he already knew that the River Incident wasn’t a fluke. They had tested it extensively. Every way they could think of to kill someone, they did. Nothing worked, nothing left a scratch which was only logical since nothing could even hurt him!
Alexander had been young and stupid, naive and innocent, and his family—the very people that were supposed to protect him refused him food and water at times and put a knife to his chest—and many, many, other things like that.
Is it really a wonder, that it is quite a task to earn his trust? Oh, his friendship, he gives that more easily than he would like to and even his heart isn’t always his own, but his trust? That is near impossible to earn.
Unless Alexander saw someone survive something they shouldn’t, he never told anyone. And in their cases it was more the fact that he needed to explain why they should not act like reckless fools in the century or two they were given.
Times progressed, sure, but the instinct of humans to figure things out they didn’t understand and to test the limits in a vain attempt to rectify this, that stays. It is one of the few constant things he can count on. Curiosity, bloodlust, hate, love, and fear. Those are the things he always finds.
Yes, it is depressing, but honestly, what in Alexander’s life isn’t?
Uruk is a fluke when he doesn’t grow anymore. He is actually quite tall for his time and he does reach his prime when he guesses he was around eighteen, but he never ages past that point. He remains young.
He had fled as soon as he had realized the problem. Over the years, he had found a way to deal with it. Illusions are hard to learn, but once one has the hang of it, one can literally do it in their sleep.
Which means that Alexander isn’t forced to move around every decade or so anymore. From the point where he learns it—around 2,500 BC, he would guess—but he can stay around a lifetime. Granted, for a while that means a maximum of three to five decades—the average being on the lower end of the spectrum—but it is still an improvement.
Once or twice, he poses as his own son. He stops that, because people aren’t really willing to believe one can be identical to one’s father in both looks and behaviour. One of the two? Yeah, sure. But no trace of the mother, a mother that is never seen at that?
People don’t believe that and it’s too much effort to try to make it convincing. And finding an actual wife just to inevitably lose her is rarely worth it. Sometimes, for the most exceptional women, it is, but that is rare.
Don’t get him wrong, he does have sex and he’s fairly sure that there are some descendants of him luring around somewhere—Leonardo Da Vinci, for example. Alexander has no proof, but he’s fairly sure he remembers that man’s grandmother—but that just makes everything weirder over time.
Even when he goes to a totally new place, he has no proof that none of the men and women he shares a night with are his descendants. Just because he hasn’t been there doesn’t mean that their families didn’t travel between the times Alexander knew them, but as long as he doesn’t immediately guess a face, it’s fine in his book.
Plus, there are plenty of people around who do more than that. Almost everywhere he goes until at least the 1500s—AD in case that was unclear—people could name at least one couple that was brother and sister.
He doesn’t know why he views it as gross when no one else really does, but it is the case nevertheless. To think that, had he been normal, had he been human, that would almost certainly been the path ahead of him, well, it kind of makes him feel sick. Whenever he thinks about that, Alexander is almost glad about his existence for a second.
Despite everything, Alexander doesn’t stop caring.
In a way, the world stays the same—someone is always fighting over something or other, people are always sick and hungry—but that doesn’t mean that he should stop trying to improve the world. It doesn’t mean he should simply give up and hide in a cave somewhere—he had tried that once, it had been horrible and he hadn’t lasted a decade.
No, Alexander continues caring, he continues fighting for the things he believes in. He doesn’t necessarily fight out of loyalty to a king or country, but on the side he thinks will be better for the people. If someone would ever suspect the truths and links his lives, they’d probably come to the conclusion that he was a traitor, a turncoat.
He doesn’t care about that, though. He knows the truth and it’s highly improbable that anyone else will ever find out. Alexander hasn’t told anyone his entire life story—or rather those parts he still remembers—and for that to change it would require a lot of trust. Trust, he’s not sure he’s ready to give.
He fights for so many causes, aside so many people, that it all starts to blend together after a while. Single memories stood out and he would be able to sort through it, should he ever bother trying.
And at one point—it was after the Punic Wars, but before the battle in the “Teutoburger Wald”, as it would later be called, so it had to be around a century or so BC—he actually sat down and did so. His life story took up an own shelf in his library and it doesn’t look like it was going to stop growing anytime soon.
But that’s not actually the point he is trying to make here, no. That point is that even now, after five thousand years, he keeps on fighting.
And this newest war somehow manages to bring something new to his life. And that, friend, is not even close to an easy task when one had lived as long as Alexander.
Chapter 2: and i keep living anyway
The spread of Christianity is an interesting phenomenon that Alexander mostly observes from the distance—metaphorically speaking, not physically. If that were the case, he wouldn’t have gotten the news as fast as he did.
If he hadn’t stopped believing in any kind of religion around the time he must’ve hit a thousand years on this damned planet, then he might have considered this as a viable option.
It starts out pretty good. Helping others, good deeds being the cause of a good life after death—ha. He can’t help but laugh whenever he hears of it—and women being worth the same.
It’s terrible that they’re not allowed to practise their faith for the first few centuries and their numbers grow rapidly, nevertheless. It’s impressive, really.
But then the Emperor Constantine legalises the religion and then suddenly everyone thinks that they have a right to force others to join them.
There had been a few people like those before, but that number seems to explode.
Which kind of sucks, honestly. So Alexander starts to head north, because he hasn’t been there in a while and from what he hears, the guys up there are fascinating enough to warrant a visit.
The rumors are correct. Just their myths alone are worth the trip.
(Alexander realises that he probably isn’t meant to connect with Loki out of all the god and goddesses, but that is what he does.)
The first time he sets foot on the continent that will later be called America is actually centuries before Columbus is there.
No, he hadn’t arrived there with the people who would later become the Native Americans. He is old, yes, but he isn’t that old. Which is something he can’t say very often, so let him have this.
Alexander goes there with Leif Eriksson and his crew. He is in Iceland around that time and travelling with vikings is always exciting. Violent and sometimes disgusting, sure, but exciting nevertheless.
He stays over there—on the other side of the ocean—for a while, exploring as much as the continent as he feels like—which means almost all of it—before he eventually finds a ship that brings him back to Europe, once he disguises himself as one of them.
(Okay, granted, he goes back to Europe for a few years by himself. He doesn’t know when or why his skills in illusions had started to include the skill of being in two places at once—nevermind how it works—but it happens and he spends a year or so in Italy while he is still on another continent entirely.)
That is when he meets Christopher Columbus. The man is a bit of a dick, really. Then again, so were many people in Europe around that time and Alexander is certain that people are—at least in part—shaped by their environment.
As soon as he is back in Europe, he catches up to what he has missed—the Black Plague, the Hundred Year War, and several Crusades, to name just a few examples—and he decides that it had been worth exploring another continent for almost half a millennium. Plus, he had done pretty much the same thing with Asia and Africa at one point, so it is only fair, really.
Alexander simply likes to know as much as possible about as many places as he can, it is a habit of his. One he does not intend to let go of anytime in the near future at that.
He probably is the best educated person in Europe at that point in history. It is fairly easy to be so when one simply had to catch up to new developments instead of learning history and attempting to study every single thing about several sciences from the ground up.
That is one of the things that lead to a change in his life now.
Respecting other cultures isn't nearly as complicated as the Europeans make it seem—he is not one of them. He had been born in the Middle East and the place he lives in changes regularly. He doesn’t really feel at home anywhere.
And, maybe, that helps as well. Alexander supposes it would make sense, he has lived in so many cultures over the years and had left a small part of himself in every single one of them in exchange for some of their customs and beliefs. How can he choose a single home when he has so many?
Of course, this is largely made possible by the wealth he has gathered over time. When you work for centuries upon centuries, it is pretty much impossible to avoid, especially if you have less expenses—no real need for food or no children, for example. Money simply starts to pile up and why not use it for something worthwhile?
It is better than spending it all on useless things and it isn’t like he could simply carry all of it around. He doesn’t particularly like being stabbed in an armed robbery, thank you very much. Alexander may survive it without as much as a scar, but it still hurt quite a bit and, eh, no .
(It’s weird that he can actually get hurt now when he hadn’t been as he was younger. A part of him enjoys it, hoping that maybe it will get weaker and weaker and can one day finally die. Another wonders if it perhaps has something to do with his skills in illusion growing, or if it is a thing of focus or how else it could have happened.)
He has better things to do with his existence.
Once he has caught up to everything, Alexander beings looking for Nicolas Flamel.
There are rumors about that man. Rumors that state Flamel had unlocked the secret behind the Philosopher’s Stone.
Alexander isn’t sure if there is anything behind those rumors, but nevertheless he clings onto the hope that it is true. If Flamel he can figure out how to become immortal, then, maybe, he can figure out how Alexander can stop being so.
It’s a vain hope and he is well aware that he is grasping on straws, but he is tired . He has been living for almost five thousand years at this point—three hundred years more or less don’t matter that much to him anymore and he has no idea how old he is exactly—and he has more than enough of life. He has seen and experienced so much more than he ever thought he could and while that is wonderful, Alexander is still tired and alone.
There’s no one who he can talk to openly, no one who knows all his secrets.
Because—despite all this time—a part of Alexander still is a scared child in desperate need for approval. He’s afraid of losing people any more than he has to.
That’s why Alexander looks for traces of Flamel all over Europe completely on his own, which of course takes some time.
Eventually, he discovers a shack with their writings somewhere in the Austrian woods, but he doesn't find evidence of Nicolas and Perenelle Flamel being dead.
After sitting in front of the hut for three weeks—three weeks that would have been filled mostly with boredom, had he not acquired new reading material—he doesn’t have any proof of them being alive either.
When the king of Mali visits and shows off his wealth, Alexander debates returning to Africa for a while.
He sends a double there for a while.
The northern part is Islamic and not very fond of christians, which unfortunately includes his current disguise, so he heads out of there pretty quickly.
And getting through the Sahara on foot is technically possible for him, but it doesn’t feel worth the effort. Based on what he heard not much changed since he last visited the southern parts.
It only occurs to him later that these accounts might have been biased and by then it is too late entirely.
By that point, many of the cultures have already been enslaved and forced to lose their identity which is just cruel and wrong and Alexander really wishes that he had gotten to collect information and preserve it in his library.
Hindsight always reveals the ‘should haves’. Alexander likes to think he’s gotten better at ignoring them when they are too depressing.
He still thinks about them way too much, but less so and everything counts here.
Alexander is miserable enough without those already.
Alexander spends the beginning of the sixteenth century in Italy and France. Right up until Leonardo Da Vinci—a great friend, despite the fact the man may have been his great-grandson—dies.
After that, he briefly considers heading back to Germany, but he sees the war on the horizon and had decides to opt out of that. Wars about religion are all the same and, essentially, pointless.
So Alexander decides to return to Asia. He hasn’t been there in a while and there is a new system in China. Well, sort of new.
Systems always change. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower, but change is unavoidable. Sooner or later, people begin to get tired of old systems, when they realise that they don’t work—at all, for them, as well as they used to; take your pick.
He hasn’t been in China since it had been in part for the what? Second, third time? Something like that.
And since it was now in one part, the fact that there were changes is a logical consequence. He’s curious to see how far these changes extend.
And then, of course, the Europeans arrive. While he’s in China, he doesn’t actually notice all that much from them—good work from the government there—but eventually he leaves the kingdom—they were a bit pretentious as well, calling themselves Celestial Empire and all that—and suddenly there are Europeans everywhere.
This is why he heads to the sunrise kingdom. Sure, they have their own problems, what with the emperor being more a figurehead than a real leader and the last couple of shogunate having been fought about.
By the time the government in Edo closes the country, he’s already in.
It doesn’t take all that long until Alexander decides to leave Japan. The government is too strict for him and it’s even worth sailing away on a dutch ship—which is saying something.
It doesn’t take much consideration until he decides to return to America, as they had started calling it a while ago. He’s not completely sure what that Italian it had been named after had done to deserve the honor, but there are worse choices.
He’s just glad they didn’t name it after Columbus.
The continent across the Atlantic Ocean continues to change so much faster than Europe did and the fact that it seemed interesting was all Alexander needed as a reason to do it. After one had spent a certain amount of time on the planet and seen a certain amount of things, it is simply not particularly easy to get excited anymore.
So many things simply seemed old and boring, like he had seen them before. And repeated exposure had just made everything boring over time, as sad as it was.
But by now America was shaping up to do something that Alexander hasn’t seen happen before. He can feel it.
He doesn’t actually have any tangible reasons for it or know what exactly it will be, but he knows this is going to be interesting.
Sign him up.
He gets back to the American continent around the the shift of the fifteenth and sixteenth century.
At first he explores the southern half and wow, did those Spaniards and Portuguese change everything. Most of it looked like it was for the worse at first glance. A whole lot of people died because of them, that much was sure.
Alexander explores the rainforest for a decade or two, since he had barely done that last time. There are so many animals he has never seen before—and he may have mentioned it, but it’s not easy to find something he hasn’t seen at all.
He manages to befriend a few animals during that time. It’s unlikely to ever be of use to him, but never say never. The unexpected is the exact thing that should be suspected around Alexander.
Once he’s done there, he starts to head north. He gets to the West Indies—a name that doesn’t really sits all right with him, but who is he supposed to complain to?—when he gets a new idea.
He manages to set up a fake pregnancy and he is going to pose as the infant once it is born. It is mainly just a test to see if he can do it.
And it seems like he can. Alexander hides nearby as the ‘pregnancy’ progresses and all seems to be going normal.
By the time the ‘baby’ gets born, Alexander has decided to try something else.
If he already gets the chance to grow up again—he had figured out how to copy realistic aging before the Romans had really been a major player—then he might as well do it properly.
Without all the years and years and years and years of memories that weigh him down.
He locks his memories. He has practised on people minutes before death for anything larger, and minor things, like names of former neighbors, on random people on the street once he is pretty sure he’s not doing any harm.
And it all seems to work. Infinitely, or until something of his choice is triggered.
Alexander sets his memory up to unlock when any normal person would die. Given where he is doing this, he doesn’t expect it to last seventy or eighty years, but a break of fifty years would be just as helpful at this point.
It doesn’t even come close to that.