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The Presidential Succession Act of 1947

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In bars across D.C., political minds often joked that Eliza - and occasionally President Washington - was Alexander Hamilton’s impulse control.
It was funny mostly because it was true.

So when the Secretary of the Treasure had to attend a dinner without his wife, everyone watched with bated breath to see what, exactly, he would do.

***

“Do you have to nearly knock over a vase every time you put on a suit jacket?” Eliza sighed. Alex shrugged sheepishly as he buttoned the top button on his jacket. The coat twirl was one of his favorite accomplishments from college; it had taken nearly six months to perfect. No matter how many catastrophes he almost caused, he wasn’t going to apologize.
“Okay, I’ll be back before 10:30-”
“Providing you don’t have to issue a public apology on national television again.”

He kissed her briefly on the cheek, grinning in admittance to the accusation.
“You sure you don’t want to come with?”
“No, I really need to get some work around the house done.”
“At least have the kids help.”
“Angie’s already running a load of laundry and AJ should be vacuuming.”

Alex tugged on his shoes and stood before his wife for her permission to walk out of the house looking like he did. Eliza took in her husband: gray suit, subtly patterned tie, solid colored shirt and shoes that matched his belt.
“Pull your hair up and you’re good to go,” she smiled.

Alex kissed her again and started out of their bedroom, taking the stairs two at a time.

Eliza, four months pregnant and content with a night in, followed at a much more sedate pace. She landed on the ground floor of their home just in time to see Alexander’s bun disappear out the door as the man tossed a, “Love you!” over his shoulder. She smiled and waited for the car to pull out of the driveway before she made her way into the kitchen.

***

All things considered, the dinner was going well. Aaron Burr was in attendance,so the embarrassing incidents were mostly passive aggressive stories about their respective previous law firms.
But it was getting later in the evening - almost 6:30 by now, and conversation was becoming repetitive. The bounce in Alex’s knee was only becoming more pronounced, but as listless as he was, he’d already excused himself to the bathroom twice this evening.
His phone vibrated and Alex jumped to answer the call. Phillip, the screen read, which was kind of weird because Phillip always texted before calling, especially when he knew that his father was working.
“Excuse me, I need to take this,” he told the others at his table before leaving in a rush.

Alexander answered the call as he pushed the door to the bathroom in.
“Phillip?”
“Dad! Sorry, I know you’re working-”
“It’s okay, buddy, what’s wrong?”

***

“Okay, mom, laundry’s done!” Angie called as she came down the stairs.
“Thank you, darling. I’ll wash the little boys’ things tomorrow.”
“Are you sure? It’s not an issue.”
“It’s okay, I’ve been nesting anyway.”
“Okay!”
The thirteen year old darted back up the stairs to knock on her brother’s door; while she would be willing to wash her younger brothers’ clothing if her mother asked, Angie had a plan. She had been cooped up in the house for far too long.
“Phillip!”
“What, Angie?”
“Do you want to go to the park?”
“...Sure, yeah. Give me a minute to get ready.”

Angelica darted back down the stairs, skidding into the kitchen where her mother was.
“...Do you need something?” Eliza asked her daughter, an eyebrow arched.
“Can Phillip and I go to the park?”
“That’s fine. Dinner’ll be about 6:30.”
“We’ll be home by then.”
“Text me when you get there!”
“Yeah, of course!”

And so the oldest two Hamilton children left, chorusing “Love you!”s over their shoulders right before the door shut behind them. Eliza shook her head, smiling at just how similar those two were - to each other, and to their father.
"AJ, do you want to help me make supper?”
“...Sure,” the eleven year old drawled, shuffling into the kitchen.

***

It took about ten minutes to walk to the park nearest the Hamilton house.
“Isn’t dad having supper around here?” Angie asked, looking further down the street at the collection of restaurants.
“I think so,” Phillip shrugged, “but we could never get in - dress code and all that.”

Angie laughed, shoving her hands in the pockets of her ratty jeans.
“What, my holes aren’t classy enough?”
“Everyone knows that 2 ½ inch diameter tears are what’s in right now, Angelica.”
“Of course, of course!”

***

They were there for about an hour; Philip had been working on a particularly difficult poem, murmuring lines to himself as he wrote. Angie contented herself with the swings for nearly forty-five minutes. The wind and birds and people rushing by was what she was really interested in, anyway. But the day Angelica Hamilton passed up an opportunity to climb a tree was the day she died. The light was starting to disappear, so it was now or never.
“Be careful,” Phillip called after her distractedly. He always did that, and she was always fine. Angie was an expert tree climber.

She swung into the lower branches, scrambling up as fast as she could before the branches started thinning and she actually needed to watch.
See, Phillip? she thought, grinning to herself, Careful!

No sooner had the thought passed her mind had Angie put her foot on a branch that had died some time ago - with the orange wash across the landscape, Angie hadn’t been able to see the coloration as well as she would’ve needed to be able to tell that.
When she transferred her weight, the branch gave. Angie fell almost thirteen feet before landing hard on her arm. The sound of a branch breaking had brought Phillip out of his poem, but his sister’s cry of pain brought him running.
“Oh my God, Angie!”
“I - I think I’m going to get sick,” she mumbled, still lying stunned on the ground. Phillip grabbed her by her good arm and pulled her to the park trashcan - just in time for Angie to get sick. He pulled her curly hair back, holding it until she was done.

Had she broken her arm? Didn’t people usually puke after breaking a bone? She’d landed pretty hard but -but it didn’t look out of shape or anything-
“Isn’t dad having supper around here?”

Those had been Angie’s words nearly an hour earlier. She seemed done vomiting, so Phillip dug out his phone from his pocket and called their father. Angie was crying now, the shock having worn off. Every movement sent more pain shooting up her arm. As the phone rang, Phillip stripped off his light hoodie and wrapped it around her arm as tight as he was able.
“Phillip?” his father’s voice crackled across the line.
“Dad!” Honestly, Phillip couldn’t remember a time he’d been more thankful to hear his father, “Sorry, I know you’re working-”
“It’s okay, buddy, what’s wrong?”

This was the tricky part. Phillip licked his lips nervously, but Angie whimpering again and that sound forced the words out of his lips.
“Me and Angie are at the park and - and Angie fell out of a tree, I think she broke her arm-”
“What?!”
“She landed on it really hard and got sick after - I think she’s done with that now, but-”
“Okay, where are you?”

That was the Panic Mode voice; Phillip knew that his father (probably in the hallway or bathroom) would be pacing and wondering just what drastic measures would need to be taken to rescue his children.
“The park by the house.”
“That’s on the same street I’m on, I’ll be there in two minutes-”

Angie, who was close enough to hear the conversation through her brother’s speaker, moaned and shook her head.
“No cameras,” she managed through her tears and grit teeth.
“Angie said she doesn’t want any cameras.”

On the other end, his father swore. Alexander didn’t swear around his children, even the oldest two. Phillip’s eyes darted to see if Angie had heard that too.
“Okay. Okay, that’s okay. Do you see the building - should be about three blocks away, it’s white and called La Caille.”
“I think I see it.”
“I’ll be right front, okay?”
“Okay. We’ll be there in a minute.”
“Yeah. Love you, buddy - let me talk to Angie for a second.”

Phillip passed the phone to his sister, who took it with her good hand.

***

Alex had to force himself to calm down before talking to his daughter.
“Hi, daddy,” she nearly whispered.
“Hey, baby girl. How’re you feeling.”
“My - my arm hurts.”
“I know, I know. Are you sure you don’t want me to come get you?”
“No cameras.”

The Cabinet members weren’t followed by paparazzi, but Alex was - well, he was a loud mouth, and many a novice journalist from some D-list gossip rag had followed the Hamiltons, hoping for their big break.
“You sure you’re okay to walk?”
“Yeah. It’s just down the street, right?”
“Just down the street. I’ll be waiting for you at the front.”
“Love you, daddy,” she mumbled.
“Love you, too, Ange. I’ll see you in a minute.”

She passed the phone back to Phillip, who confirmed that they were on their way and hunt up.
Alex took a deep breath, released half of it, and called his wife.

***

In short, Eliza was annoyed.

Logically speaking, she knew it was hormonal - Phillip and Angie were only a few minutes late, and dinner wasn’t even ready yet. But she was still annoyed.
Her phone buzzed from the counter, and Eliza sighed before heaving to her feet. It was almost certainly Phillip, apologizing for being late-
So when caller ID showed ‘Alex’ instead, she paused for just a moment before answering.
“Hello?”
“‘Liza! Hi, everything’s okay here but - Phillip just called me, they’re okay, but he thinks Angie might have broken her arm.”
“What?!”
“She - fell out of a tree, I think? They’re almost to the restaurant, it’s just down the street from the park and we’ll go to the ER from here.”

Eliza was a half second from ripping into him - they were walking when he could have picked them up? - but Angie’s voice, a common mantra anytime they did something as a family-
“No cameras,” she murmured, half to herself.
“No cameras,” Alex repeated. Then, after a moment - “Do you want me to come get you before we go to the hospital.”
“...No. No, I’ll be up there after dinner, the boys haven’t eaten yet and she’ll need to be looked at as soon as possible-”
“Okay. I’ll text you updates.”
“Please,” Eliza sighed, raking a hand through her hair, “Love you.”
“Love you, too.”
And then the line went dead, and Eliza set her phone back down and pulled the lasagna out of the oven.

***

“Sir, I’m going to have to ask that you return to the dining area.”

Alex had been intermittently pacing and sitting in the lobby of the restaurant, and apparently, he was making the staff nervous.
“I’m waiting for someone, it’ll just be another minute.”
Honestly, they couldn’t be too much longer. How long had it been? Ten, fifteen minutes? He checked his watch. Three minutes.
“Sir, please. We will bring them into the dining room when they arrive, but-”
“Fine. Okay. Whatever.”

Alex stood abruptly and stormed back to where his colleges and Congressmen and voters and donors were all still dining. He forced himself to take a steadying breath as he went back to his seat (no cameras, no cameras) and made excuses.
“I’m sorry, there’s been a bit of a family emergency - no, Eliza and the baby are fine, thank you - well, I don’t want to say much right now, since we don’t really know anything - yes, I’ll be leaving in just a minute, I really am sorry-” And then, blessed Lord just take him now, Aaron Burr walked over.
“Everything alright, Hamilton?”
“Something came up with the kids, I’ll be leaving in a few minutes."
"Is Eliza-?”
“It’s not the baby.”

Then he sighed; professional and personality differences aside, Burr was a good man - and more importantly, his daughter was one of Angie’s best friends.
“Actually, it - and please don’t spread this, she’d be so embarrassed - it looks like Angie broke her arm.

Burr’s face cleared with understanding and then clouded with sympathy.

“I hope she’s alright. Theodosia will be all over this in a hot second, I am sure-”
“Thank you. I just - yes. I will be leaving soon.”
“...Of course, Alexander. I hope everything works out.”
“Thirteen year olds break bones all the time.”

And that was Alexander Hamilton trying - and failing - to appear dismissive. But Burr took the hint and faded away, back to his own table and people to schmooze while Alex anxiously awaited his children.

Minutes continued to pass with no news. Alex was about to go back up front - had actually started to shift his chair back - when his phone buzzed.
Phillip: were here they wont let us in
Phillip: where are you??

Alex didn’t even take the time to reply, shooting up and clearing his chair, the table, and the room as a whole in record time. When he pushed through the door, he darted down the hallway and through the general dining room, back to the lobby.
The same host who had kicked him back to the room was arguing with his son.
On the one hand, Phillip was absolutely holding his own and it was awesome. On the other, Angie looked positively miserable - green-faced, tear-stained, and clutching her arm to her chest.
For a brief second, Alex saw red.

No cameras, no cameras, no cameras-
“Excuse me?”

His voice stopped the argument. Phillip looked up in relief; the host looked up in exasperation.
“Sir, if you’ll give me just a minute-”
“No, I think you’d better let me talk - and let them inside, for Christ's’ sake, it's nearly dark!”
“Company policy-”

Alexander took a step closer to the young man currently barring his children.
“My name is Alexander Hamilton. I’m the Secretary of the Treasury and fifth in line to the Presidency. Let my children in the room.

Even Phillip looked a little cowed by that speech, but nevertheless, he rushed past the man and straight to his father, Angie in tow. Alex dropped to his haunches to catch Angie.
“Phillip, did you wrap her arm?”
“Y-yeah, it was just to - protect it, I guess.”
“Good thinking, son.”

Gingerly, Alex unwrapped the boy’s slapdash brace. Angie closed her eyes - either out of pain or fear for what she would see. He was humming under his breath - a lullaby he’d grown up with, straight through his mother’s death, and one he’d sung to all of his children - but neither Angie nor Phillip could relax.
Alex dropped the jacket on the floor unceremoniously.
“No bones are sticking out, and it’s really swollen, so it was probably just a clean break,” he murmured, “You’ll be okay, baby. Let’s get to the car, your mom is gonna meet us there.”
Angie nodded, but she looked so miserable that Alexander felt no qualms about picking her up and cradle carrying her to the car. Phillip trailed behind, clambering into the car as Alex settled Angie in the front seat.

“Dad?” Phillip finally spoke up. The fifteen year old had been strangely silent throughout the whole ordeal, but now Alex glanced up in the rear-view mirror.
“Yeah, buddy?”
“Sorry it took us so long. We were walking and - and Angie got sick again, and then the dude wouldn’t let us in even though I told him who you were-”
“It’s okay, Phillip. It’s not your fault, you did everything right.”

And honestly, the boy had. It was almost remarkable how well his oldest had acted under pressure. A thought occurred to him-
“Phillip, will you text your mother and tell her we’re on the way?”
“Yeah, of course.”

Alex pretended not to notice how badly Phillip’s hands shook as he got his phone out. It would just embarrass him.

***

“John, are your shoes on?”
“Almost!”

How could shoes be almost on? Eliza would never know. James was sitting, swinging his feet on the couch. AJ had helped him get ready, so they were just waiting on the toddler. Finally, John emerged from the room he shared with James. His socks didn’t match and it was a little cold for shorts, but Phillip had texted nearly ten minutes again. It was a fifteen minute drive - Angie could already be getting casted by the time they got there.
“Alright, boys. Let’s go.”

Getting her two youngest in the car was - as usual - an even in and of itself, but soon enough, Eliza and AJ and John and James Hamilton were on the road.

***

The only thing keeping him from pacing the length of the ER waiting room was Angie laying on his shoulder. Instead, he had braided her hair four separate time in completely different styles and mentally drafted three Congressional resolutions calling for shorter wait times in emergency rooms.

Be it enacted by the Congress here assembled-

He could almost hear Jefferson screeching at him that they weren’t allowed to do that.

“Dad?”
That was Phillip again, on the other side of him.
“Hmmm?”
“Think you could do the Secretary of Treasury trick again?”
“...What?”
“Like what you did at the restaurant.”

...It was worth a shot, at least. Alex didn’t throw his weight around like that in the real world often, but they had been waiting for a long time and Angie was seriously hurting. He shifted her off his shoulder, whispering apologies as he did. Alex draped his jacket over her shivering shoulder and approached the nurse he’d checked in with.
“Hi, Alexander Hamilton, just wondering how long we’d be waiting for Angelica.”
“Well, sir, we do have a limited staff-”

She stopped, looking oddly at him. When the family came in, he’d been too disheveled to be mistaken for a Cabinet member, but now she was able to see the nice slacks, the impressive watch, and the quality of his button-down, regardless of how hastily the sleeves had been rolled up - but most of all, his characteristic man-bun.
“...Sir, are you possibly - are you the Treasury Secretary?”
“I am, but honestly, I just want my daughter to be looked at-”
“Of course, Mr. Secretary, let me look at our available doctors-”
“Thank you.”

He made his way back to his children and gave Philip a small thumbs up.
“C’mon, Ange, we’re gonna get called soon.”

No sooner had she sat up had a nurse come out into the waiting room and called his daughter’s name.
“Finally,” Alex breathed as he walked his children back.

“We’re going to need to do some x rays to see where the break happened so we know where to cast, but it’s definitely broken.”

The doctor had looked and prodded at her arm for maybe forty five seconds before making his pronouncement. The nurse who took Angie’s vitals also gave her painkillers, so some of the color had now returned to her face, but it was clear that Angie was feeling the effectors of a broken arm.
“Her mother is going to be here soon-”
“We’ll show her to this room and have a tech explain what’s happened - if they come while we’re having x rays done.”

***

In the end, Phillip stayed in the exam room. It was a race at this point - if Angie could get out of x rays first, or if their mother and brothers would get to there first.

“Mr. Hamilton, you may have to help keep her calm while we manipulate the arm for the machine,” the doctor warned lowly, “It could be quite painful.”

Despite the warning, nothing could have prepared Alex for how his daughter would cry during the process.
“You have to keep still, Ange, you have to keep your arm still-” he was speaking directly in her ear, holding her shoulders to try and help the doctors, but Angie was stronger than anyone gave her credit for.
“Angelica- Angelica, I know, I know it hurts, you are so strong and brave-”
They paused in their violent ministration of his daughter, and Alex desperately wished for Eliza. He was comfortable in his role as a father, but Eliza was just inherently calming.
What would Eliza do?

They’d watched Tangled a few days ago and he hadn’t been able to get that song out of his head since-
“Flower gleam and glow, let your power shine.”

It startled her into a short, watery laugh.

“Make the clock reverse, bring back what once was mine.”

Her breathing was slowing as she calmed down, and he stroked her cheek as the tech went to move her arm into a new position. There was no way he could make her just not notice, but he could prevent her from seeing it, and he could give her something else to think about.
“Had what has been hurt, change the fates’ design-”

Angie whimpered and squeezed her eyes shut as they moved her arm again. Tears raced down her face - across her cheekbones, down her nose. Alex wiped them with his thumbs as he sang.
“Save what has been lost, bring back what once was mine.”

Thankfully, gratefully, the technicians let go of her arm and stepped back to process the film. Angelica laid on the examination bed, still whimpering from her arm being moved in such a way.

“What once was mine…”

He finished the song, smoothing her hair and kissing her forehead. After a minute, Angelica made to sit up.

Alex was helping her upright when Eliza rushed into the room.
“Ma’am, this is x ray-”
“Is the machine on?”
“Well, no-”
“Will we be moved soon?”
“In just a minute.”
“My baby’s a Hamilton, he’s already a mutant.”

Angelica, in a rush of relief of seeing her mother, laughed. Eliza smiled, kneeling next to her husband and rubbing her hand down Angelica’s good arm because Alex had claimed her hand.
“How’re you feeling?”
“They did x rays and moved my arm all around.”
“She was very brave,” Alex assured Eliza, glanced at his bride, trying to look reassuring.
“Dad sang the - the healing song from Tangled.”

Eliza laughed aloud at that. Her laugh brought a smile of both her daughter and her husband.
“Did he now?”
“It’s been stuck in my head since we watched it the other,” he admitted with a sheepish grin.
“Weren’t you the one who went off on how terrible Disney is - both as a storyteller and a corporation?”
“Songs aren’t included in either of those categories!’

Before the Hamilton couple could continue bickering - though the ridiculousness of the argument did make Angelica smile, which was the ultimate goal - one of the nurses cleared her throat.
“We’ll take you back to the room to be casted and then we’ll take a look at the x rays and see what should be done moving forward, if you’re ready?’

Angie nodded and Alex fought the urge to carry her again as he helped her down from the table. The thirteen year old didn’t let go of his hand as they walked, though, and Eliza walked back with the doctor to introduce herself and answer any question Alexander hadn’t been able to.

***

When they came in, John and James were coloring all over the paper covering the examination bed while Phillip hovered to make sure they didn’t fall off. AJ was playing on what looked to be Phillip’s phone on the floor.
“Alright, boys, off.”

Eliza’s voice was light but firm, and the two children scrambled down without complaint.
“Dad, I can get up on my own,” Angie complained. Alex lifted her regardless.
“Not until your cast is on.”

Angie looked at her mother and rolled her eyes. Eliza clucked her tongue despite the smile.

When the doctor and aide came in, the scene was typical to the Hamilton family: Phillip was hovering by Angie, Eliza had John in her lap, James was in the chair next to her, and AJ was still playing on Phillip’s phone, not having moved at all. Alex was pacing.
“Well you must have a full home,” the doctor smiled as he shook Alexander’s offered hand, “I’m Dr. McKnight.”
“Alexander Hamilton - Angelica, Phillip, Eliza with John on her lap, James next to them, and AJ on the floor.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Secretary - and family.”

Eliza looked at her husband, an eyebrow arched. He just shrugged, his expression promising to explain later.
“Alright, Angelica, let’s get you casted - do you have any preferences on color?” the doctor asked, sitting down on his stool next to the bucket of plaster.
“Green,” she shot off immediately.

The technician opened the cabinet and picked out the right roll of casting material. Alexander wasn’t going to pretend to know what it was called. So he slid back behind the doctor to grab Angie’s hand as her arm was wrapped.

***

Forty five minutes later, the Hamiltons finally arrived back home - Angie with a new cast that already bore eight signatures, Phillip and Angie with McDonald's, and John and James nearly asleep.
Phillip had John and Alexander carried James while Eliza managed all the paperwork from the doctor. AJ trailed after Angie, asking her about what had happened in the park and at the ER before they got there.
“Okay, Ham-Fam-”
“Dad, that’s never going to be okay,” Phillip grumbled.
“Time for bed - and a shortened curfew for the oldest.”

Phillip just rolled his eyes, crossing the hall to drop John in his bed. Alex put James in his still-sorta-new toddler bed and tucked both boys in.
Angie, Phillip, and AJ all disappeared - presumably to their rooms; AJ was young enough to not argue with early bedtimes, and the two teenagers had been remarkable over the course of the day. Brave and resourceful and all grown up - but they were still kids. And it had been a long day.
So, faster than any of them would have guessed, Eliza and Alex had the living room to themselves.
“I’m gonna turn the news on - we were expecting an endorsement and I need to make sure nothing changed while I was gone.”

He sounded apologetic, begging her forgiveness for staying up a half hour later. Eliza smiled and lifted the stack of papers she was still carrying.
“I’ll stay up with you and sort through all of this.”

Alex smiled his thanks and the two settled onto the couch. The Secretary pulled out a report; his wife started sorting.

***

“Today at the Democratic dinner fundraiser, a waiter claims that Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton threatened him. The Secretary, a close confidant of the President, was later seen at a local emergency room. Senator King, who was also in attendance of the same dinner, came out in support of President Washington’s stimulus package-”

They cut to a clip of Rufus King speaking. His words didn’t matter to Alex - only the endorsement did. He heaved a sigh of relief even as Eliza stared at him in horror.
“You threatened a waiter?!”
"He was actually just one of the hosts.”
“Alexander!"
“Okay, no - okay, that sounds terrible, but-”

So Alex was forced to tell his wife the story in its entirety.

Her guarded expression melted into outrage that Alex had needed to use his proximity to the President to get someone to let two children into a restaurant that close to night time.
“Honestly, Phillip was holding his own but Angie looked so miserable-”
“I would have called in the 82nd Airborne,” Eliza snapped.

Alex stared at his wife.

“You think I’m joking,” she warned in a tone that confirmed that she was not, in fact, joking.
“I know you aren’t,” he rushed to assure her, “I just - I don’t think you have that power, exactly, Betsey.”
“Oh, because George would stop the command.”

And for that, Alexander had no answer. The President was very fond of the Hamilton children.

Another moment of silence passed between the two of them, a trashy late night talk show droning in the background. Then Eliza giggled.
“What-?”
“‘My name is Alexander Hamilton. I’m the Secretary of the Treasury and fifth in line to the Presidency. Let my children in the room.’”

Her impression of him was scary accurate, but Alex laughed along with her, even with bright red ears.
...Yeah, it would take a while to live that one down.

~FIN~