Alex's phone buzzed, and he nearly jumped ten feet in the air.
"Son are you alright?" Washington asked.
"Yeah," Alex sighed, "sir, would you mind if I checked this?"
It was no secret among the staff that Eliza Hamilton was pregnant yet again and it was also no secret that despite this being Alex's sixth child that he'd been a nervous wreck during these last months.
"Go ahead," Washington nodded.
Alex hastily checked his phone to see a series of texts from Angelica, "at the hospital... Shit." Alex jumped up from his chair.
"Sir I'm really sorry," Alex was apologizing as he collected his things, "but I have to go right now, Eliza is in labor."
Washington smiled at him, "I understand."
"Hamilton weren't you going to present a-" Jefferson started.
"Shut up Thomas, my wife needs me," Alex replied coldly as he was heading out of the conference room.
"It's not even your first!"
"Fuck you Jefferson!" Alex hollered just as the door shut behind him.
"Alright then, where were we?"
Alex's fingers were twitching against the steering wheel as he pulled out of the White House staff parking lot and into the light traffic of the early afternoon.
This had never happened before, he'd always been there for Eliza so this was very different. He always did worry about about her but not being by her side exacerbated these feelings. When he came to red light he glanced at his watch, the kids were still at school and probably had no idea what was going on.
He considered giving at least Philip a call or shooting him a text, but he light turned green and his focus shifted again to the road in front of him. It wasn't like the kids could leave school in the middle of the day, even if it was for the birth of their newest brother, but then again the school day was nearly over. After a brief struggle with the voice commands on his phone, Alex finally got it to properly dial Philip--rather than Mulligan, and really those two names didn't sound anything alike, what the hell was wrong with the voice recognition, geeze--he was slightly surprised when his eldest son actually answered.
"Why aren't you in class?" Alex asked, frowning.
"Free period," replied Philip, "What's up?"
"The baby," Alex told him, "is coming now. Or at least soon. I'm on my way to be hospital as we speak."
"Right, right, okay," Philip said. Alex could tell that he was probably running his hands through his hair the way he did when he was trying to think, a habit that Philip had picked up from Alex himself, "There's a bus that goes right by the hospital, the number 80. I'll collect the others and we'll go there."
After a brief goodbye, the call was disconnected. Alex let his foot push a little harder on the gas pedal.
As much as he would have liked to get there as quickly as he possibly could he knew that getting a speeding ticket would only make matters worse. But that didn't mean he couldn't go at five miles above... Luckily, at this time of the day there's wasn't much traffic. It was after the lunch rush and still a couple hours before the after work rush would begin.
All in all it took him a little under a half an hour to get to the hospital, but what frustrated him the most was trying to find a damn parking spot.
"Come on," Alex muttered as he waited for the young man in a shiny black BMW to finish fixing his hair in his rear view mirror and pull out of the space he was currently hogging.
"Yes, you look great, so move already," groused Alex, sorely tempted to lean on his car horn.
The man glanced at his rear view mirror eventually to see Alex sitting there. He ran a finger through his hair one last time before pulling out of the space which immediately Alexander took it upon himself to occupy.
Taking a brief moment to throw his own hair into a messy bun, Alex practically threw himself from his car and had to force his steps to not become an outright sprint.
After making it to the information desk he inquired about the maternity ward, the nurse there informed him it was on the fourth floor. Alex then let out a sigh and was about to walk away.
"Is this your first?" The nurse asked.
Alex shook his head, "Sixth."
The nurse's reassuring look faded slightly. Like he didn't have the right to be worried no matter how many kids his wife had already borne.
Alex let out a huff and went to the elevators to go upstairs and find his wife.
This would be the first Hamilton child to be born in Washington DC and Alex already felt the absence of Lydia's soothing presence.
Once making it to the maternity ward he inquired about where he might find Elizabeth Hamilton.
"She came in with her sister," Alex explained to the nurse, "I'm her husband."
"Ah yes," the nurse replied, checking her computer, "her sister said to be expecting you, Mr. Secretary. Down that hall, third door on your left. Number 409."
"Thanks," Alex said, "Our other kids should be coming at some point too, there are five of them. Four boys and one girl."
"I'll send them in your direction," the nurse assured.
Alex followed the nurse's directions and moved at a very quick pace to 409. He pushed open the door to see Eliza and Angelica and he relaxed slightly.
"My two favorite women in the world," Alex announced.
Angelica laughed, "Don't let Peggy hear you say that."
"You laugh, but I would say the same thing if she were here instead of you," teased Alex.
"I have no doubt in that," Angelica smiled.
Alex walked over to Eliza, "How are you doing?"
"Our brains make us forget the pain of childbirth," Eliza said instead of answering, "so that we'll want to go through it all again, remembering only the good parts and forgetting the ones that suck."
"Contractions?" Alex asked with a sympathetic wince.
"One giant contraction that's been going on forever."
Alex sat in the empty seat beside her, "I called Philip, he's going to bring them here once they get out of class."
"Good," said Eliza tiredly, reaching out to take his hand and giving it a small squeeze.
Eliza sighed, "You had that meeting today didn't you?"
"That doesn't matter," Alex replied, "besides you know how much I love those meetings with Jefferson, I was glad to have a good excuse to get out of there."
It was Angelica who sighed and rolled her eyes, "You really shouldn't antagonize him."
She and Jefferson had met when she was still in London and were at least friendly with each other if not actually friends.
"He's the one who does the antagonizing," protested Alex, "Most of the time, anyway."
Angelica shook her head, "It amazes me that your children are better behaved then you."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Alex raised his brow.
"Exactly what you think it means," Angelica smirked.
"You're hilarious," responded Alex dryly.
Any other banter was interrupted by a pained whimper from Eliza.
Alex turned his attention back to his wife, "It's okay," he muttered, "you are the strongest, most amazing woman I know and we are going to get through this."
Eliza took a few deep breaths, "It's worse than it's ever been before."
"It's going to be alright," soothed Alex, "nothing to get worried about."
A look of worry crossed Angelica's face, she brushed Eliza's hair from her face tenderly.
"That's my mom!"
Alex turned to see Philip standing just outside the door with Angie right beside him wearing her softball jersey.
"Young man," said a sour-faced male nurse, not one that Alex had talked to, "you cannot go barging into patient rooms and--"
"Let my children in," Alex said lowly, "they're going to have a new brother soon and they want to see their mother, so let them in."
Alex gave him a stony look and the nurse stepped away allowing the five Hamilton children to pass him.
Philip took Angie's hand as they entered and walked over towards their mother.
AJ was fairly close behind them, but James and John only barely entered the room before stopping.
"It's okay boys," Alex gestured for them to come closer.
"It's like when mama had you," James told his younger brother, pulling his gently forward to the bedside.
Eliza managed to smile at John who became a little less nervous.
"Here," Alex put his hand on John's shoulder and brought him over so he could sit on his father's lap. "See? It's okay."
"How does the baby come out of your tummy?" John asked, leaning forward to place one small hand on Eliza's swollen stomach.
"It's a very complicated process," Alex responded, trying to stall for time. What the heck did you tell a five-year-old about childbirth?
Alex looked at Angelica hoping maybe she could think of something, after all she had kids of her own now.
"You're on your own for this one," Angelica spoke before Alex could say anything.
Alex glared, but Angelica just grinned back.
"Nobody really knows, 'cause it's kind of like magic," Angie put in, digging an elbow into Philip's side to urge him to add his two cents.
"Right," Philip said, "We can't tell you how because only the people who do it get to learn."
John listened to his older siblings intently but he still seemed very confused about the whole matter.
"I tried," Philip shrugged.
"Don't worry about how, my Little John," Eliza said softly.
John pouted slightly, but didn't argue.
"So how was practice today?" Alex asked his daughter.
"I skinned my knee sliding into third base," Angie explained, but she was far from upset, in fact she seemed proud as she showed off her injury to everyone.
"Not as bad when I got hit in the head with the ball at the big game last year," Angie added with a smile.
"That wasn't funny," Alex shook his head, "you could have a had a concussion."
"But I didn't," Angie reminded him.
Alex sighed, it always worried him when anyone in his family was sick or injured, and ever since joining the softball team at school Angie had become a lot more accident prone, as if he didn't worry about her enough when she did gymnastics. He was certain that Angie was going to be the cause of his hair going grey.
Any other conversation was interrupted by the entrance of the doctor and two nurses. The doctor faltered slightly at the sight of so many people in the room, but recovered quickly.
"This must be the rest of the Hamilton clan," she said with a tight smile.
Alex took James off his lap and his son went to reach for Eliza's hand while Alex walked over to the doctor.
"My kids got out of school and I'd rather have them here than waiting at home," Alex explained.
"I completely understand," the doctor assured him, "If you wouldn't mind all stepping on the other side of this curtain, I need to give Eliza a quick exam."
Alex complied, getting the kids out of the way with Angelica close by his side. One of the nurses closed the curtain around the bed and a few moments later it opened again to reveal the doctor tossing a pair of gloves in the trash.
"Okay, we're ready to go," she said briskly before turning to Alex, "We're going to take her to a delivery room now and I'm sorry, but only one of you can come in with us."
It was certainly different than their old hospital in New York. Angelica looked like she was about to protest or make a fuss, but Alex put a hand on her arm.
"Angelica, why don't you go? I'll stay here with the kids."
Angelica looked at him with surprise, "Are you sure, Alex?"
Alex nodded his head, "I'm sure."
Angelica sighed and pulled Alex into a hug, "Alright."
One of the nurses darted out of the room and returned with a wheelchair, which he then helped Eliza get into.
Alex pressed a kiss to the top of Eliza's head and when she looked up at him he placed another on her lips, "I'll see you soon, my love."
Eliza gave a small, pained smile, "Love you."
Alex held his breath until Eliza, Angelica, and the medical professionals had left before letting it out in a slow stream as he sat back down in his chair.
"That's a stupid rule," Angie muttered.
Philip shrugged and stuck his hands in the pockets of his jeans.
Alex leaned forward to rest his elbows on his knees, his head hanging, hair swinging forward to hide his face from view.
"Ange, my don't you take the others down for a snack," Philip suggested softly, "Bring something back up for dad."
"Okay," Angie sighed, "come on gang," she gestured to her younger brothers and they shuffled out of the room.
Alex heard the scratch of chair legs on the floor and then a soft whump as Philip dropped into it.
"How was school?" Alex asked after a long moment of silence.
"Good," Philip muttered tapping his fingers against his legs, "I got my short story back from Ms. Moreno."
"I guess you figured out that ending after all," Alex said. He had been so busy lately that he hadn't had a chance to ask Philip about it. The ending to the story had had the boy practically in tears the previous week because it wouldn't go the way he wanted it to.
"Kind of," Philip admitted, "I don't really like it, but I couldn't just leave the story without one."
"What did Ms. Moreno have to say?" Alex asked.
Philip crinkled his nose, it was easy to see how disappointed he was with himself.
"She said it was great," he replied, "but she always says that. It doesn't really mean anything, it's all she ever writes on our writing assignments, even Billy Ramero and he can barely string a sentence together."
Alex put a hand on Philip's shoulder, "We'll yours is probably the best of the lot."
"You’re my dad, you’re supposed to say that.
"I mean it," Alex smiled, "you’re a great writer, and you know I'm not the only one who thinks that."
"I prefer poetry," mumbled Philip, "you don't have to worry about whether it makes sense or not."
Alex laughed and wrapped his arm around Philip, pulling him into a sideways hug.
Philip couldn't help the smile that broke across his face.
"So anything else happen today?" Alex was alway genuinely interested in what his kids did it at school. To him it was more than asking just for the sake of asking, he even asked John what he did in kindergarten.
"Nothing important," Philip muttered, leaning into Alex and resting his head on his father's shoulder, "Teachers assign too much homework, school food tastes terrible, they still only let juniors and seniors submit work to the school literary journal."
"Well that's just stupid," Alex commented ruffling his son's curly hair.
"I tried to convince Mr. Dawson to let me submit something but he wouldn't even talk to me.
"And that's just rude," added Alex, "I'll go talk to this Mr. Dawson and--"
"Pops, don't," Philip requested plaintively, "please don't."
"Why not? Regardless of whether you're an upperclassman or not, a teacher ignoring a student because of some stupid age-based prejudice is--"
"What?" Alex raised his brow.
"It's not that big of a deal," Philip shrugged his shoulders.
"Pops," Philip's tone was serious, "you don't need go all Secretary of the Treasury on him-"
"What's that supposed to mean?" Alex asked.
"You can't solve all problems by quoting legislature and writing debt plans," Philip told him, "Sometimes, you don't need words at all. Sometimes you need to let your actions speak for you and that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to show Mr. Dawson that I don't care what he thinks. I'll keep submitting my work to him even if he never looks at it."
"Alright," Alex nodded, "well hopefully that will work out for you."
"Well either he'll publish something or he's going to get very annoyed," Philip laughed.
"You could always submit your work to a professional literary journal," suggested Alex.
"I'm not sure I'm ready for that," Philip responded.
"You'll never know if you don't try."
"I know that it's just--"
"Maybe I can convince Angie into persuading you," Alex mused, "your sister is very persuasive."
"I blame you," Philip replied, "you taught her that."
"As if you can't do the same?" Alex raised his brow.
"Sure," Philip shrugged, "but Angie excels at it."
Alex chuckled again and squeezed Philip tight against his side.
"Ow, pops, let go," complained Philip with a laugh, "the arm of the chair is digging into my ribs."
"Never," Alex replied smugly.
The door creaked as Angie held it open for her siblings as they all shuffled in.
"Here, papa," John chirped, running forward and holding a small muffin out at Alex, "It's 'nana with walnuts."
Alex released Philip in order to pull John into his lap, "Thank you, Johnny."
Angie sat herself in the empty seat next to Philip, "We barely got there before it closed," she sighed. "What kind of hospital cafeteria closes at 4:30?"
"I don't know," Alex sighed as he began to unwrap the muffin, attempting and failing to not get crumbs on both himself and John.
"When's mom coming back?" asked James, sitting cross legged on the empty hospital bed.
"I don't know," Alex repeated. He hated not knowing.
Angie pulled up her leg examining the large bandage covering her knee.
"Stop it," Philip batted her hand away, "it'll scar-"
"Thanks mom," Angie rolled her eyes.
Philip smiled, "I'm just saying."
Angie stuck her tongue out at him playfully and Philip laughed.
"Will you two stop already," grumbled AJ.
"You're no fun," Angie grinned at her younger brother.
AJ just pulled the hood of his sweatshirt over his head and slid to the floor, leaning his side against the wall.
Alex watched him do this, about six months ago he started to refuse going by Junior and insisted that everyone call him AJ. They had all complied but ever since then AJ's behavior was starting to change, this was something he had talked about with Eliza who told him he needn't worry and that he was overreacting.
"He's just going through a bit of a phase," she'd said, "Give him time."
"Philip never did this," Alex had replied, his fingers tapping on his thigh.
"Philip had Angie," Eliza had laughed, "My brother Sky did the exact same thing."
Alex absently noticed that he was finishing the last piece of the muffin and the wrapper was replaced by Angie. with a glass bottle of Starbucks iced coffee.
He looked up at his daughter and the smile on her face, now more than ever did he realize how much she looked like Eliza.
"Thought you might want this," Angie shrugged brushing some the hair that had gotten loose from her braid away from her face.
"Mon ange," Alex said fondly, watching the pleased flush spread across Angie's cheeks.
He forced himself to drink slowly, trying to take up as much time as possible with the simple task. Maybe if he drank slow enough, Eliza would return.
Magic, Alex thought to himself as the door to the room did indeed open when he was just past halfway finished with the overly sweetened ice coffee.
He saw Angie reach for Philip's hand and James got off of the bed, even AJ looked up to see what was going on.
Angelica pushed Eliza's wheelchair into the room. Eliza looked exhausted but pleased and Angelica was beaming.
"Mommy!" John called out.
"Now Peggy has nothing on me," Angelica said with a laugh putting a hand on Eliza's shoulder.
"Well maybe next time I can return the favour," Eliza replied.
"Oh no," Angelica shook her head, "two kids is more than enough for me."
"Where is he?" Alex asked.
"They'll bring him soon," Eliza informed him, wincing slightly as Angelica helped her get back in the bed and get the blankets over her, "He being cleaned and weighed now."
Alex put John down and went over to Eliza's side, "I knew you could do this."
"Didn't have much of a choice," Eliza sighed.
Alex leaned over to murmur in her ear, "Any regrets?"
He felt her smile against his cheek, "Never."
"Glad to hear it," Alex smiled.
"So we bring the total to six," Eliza let her shoulders relax.
"Maybe you can stop now?" Angelica smiled, "there are more than enough Hamiltons to go around."
"What do you think?" Alex turned to Eliza.
"We'll see," Eliza said. She was obviously having trouble keeping her eyes open.
"Sleep," Alex said, brushing a few errant strands of hair from her face, "I'll wake you when they bring him in."
In the corner of the room, the kids were conversing a quite voices.
"That's stupid," AJ grumbled.
"It is not!" Angie folded her arms across her chest, "it's a perfectly good name!"
"Will you two please stop," Philip sighed, "James what do you think?"
The nine year old shrugged his shoulders in response to Philip's question.
Alex was more than a little intrigued, "What are you getting up to over there?"
"Nothing," Angie responded sweetly.
"Well that's never a good sign," Alex smiled.
"Don't worry, Pops," Philip said, "I'll keep these hooligans in line."
"Whassa hooligan?" John asked.
"You are," Philip said with a teasing growl, swooping down to grab his youngest brother, playfully tossing the five year old over his shoulder. John's giggles filled the room.
"Angie look!" John called out to his sister.
Angie was momentarily torn away from her debate with AJ to look at John.
"You only like it because of that dumb book," AJ replied once again getting her attention.
"Oh, stop being a sour puss, Junior," Angie shot back, putting emphasis on the old nickname, before turning her attention back to their youngest brother.
"It's AJ," AJ muttered, but it was obvious that he had lost this argument. It was nearly impossible to win an argument with Angie unless you were Philip.
"Wow, you're up so high!" Angie cooed with a grin as John wriggled in his perch bent over Philip's shoulder.
"Taller'n you!" John giggled.
"Oh that's not fair," Angie crinkled her nose, "I'm not that short!"
"Sorry," Alex replied with a laugh.
John reached out for his sister who got up to take him from Philip, "My turn," she informed her brother.
"Fine," Philip replied in a teasing manner and passing John to Angie, "so are we decided?" he asked his siblings.
John nodded as he settled himself in Angie's arms. He would agree with most things his older siblings said, but at his current age he thought that Angie had hung the stars in the sky. If she said something, he was one of the first to concur.
"Sure," James said, shrugging.
"I guess," contributed AJ.
"I knew that you were plotting something," Alex said triumphantly, "Care to share with the class?"
Before any of the kids could reply, the door to the hospital room swung open and a smiling nurse entered pushing a small bassinet on wheels.
"Baby!" John exclaimed loudly.
"Delivery for the Hamilton family," the nurse said jokingly, "One baby of the male persuasion."
Eliza, who had been woken from her light doze by Angelica, sat up slightly in bed and gestured for the child. After securing the bassinet to the side of the bed, the nurse lifted the swaddled bundle and placed him in Eliza's arms. The baby was squirming slightly, but instantly settled when Eliza held him.
"He's beautiful," Alex said reverently, approaching the bed.
"William," James piped up suddenly, drawing the attention of his parents, "That's what we were talking about. We think his name should be William."
Alex began to smile, he thought it great that was kids had been up to, "Well what do you think Betsey? Is William a good solid name for a Hamilton?"
Eliza placed a soft kiss on the baby's head and then smiled over at her other children.
"I think that William is a wonderful name."