Hercules Mulligan was friends with Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton who was young and brave and eager to fight and to win and to bleed for this country and for freedom and a legacy.
After the war, when he sews pants for men richer than he (Socially advancing for a tailor isn’t all it’s cracked up to be) he thinks of Hamilton. He thinks of Hamilton who had stepped off his ship, the one he let in because Hugh asked him to and he trusted Hugh.
He remembers trusting Alexander, and Laurens, and Lafayette, and long nights of raising a glass. (He remembers Burr too, and he regrets not inviting him to share a drink)
He thinks of Laurens, young and reckless and looking him in the eyes and thinking, ‘I’d die for this kid.’ (In the end, Laurens is the first of them to go) He thinks of the way Laurens and Hamilton looked at each other like they were ready to take on the whole damn world when really they turned it upside down.
He thinks of Lafayette, spoiled and happy and honest and brave and one of the best friends he had. (He wonders if Gil is still alive)
He remembers spying on the British, remembering his loyalty to his fellow Sons of Liberty (Remembers being the one to introduce Hamilton to the idea of Liberty) He thinks of sharing breakfast with George Washington years after his spy days are over.
George Washington, with kind words and strong shoulders and a mouth full of whalebone and slaves’ teeth. He thinks about how this revolution is for the people but led by men richer than he will ever be. (He knows to them, he’s nothing to dirt on their boots.)
When he’s older he sends his son to Hamilton so he can be a lawyer. (So he can grow up and not live under another man’s boot)
Hamilton has also grown older, he dresses like new money, and he is. Hamilton lives a life just like he did during the Revolution, constantly on the offense, never stopping, never slowing down. (He slowed down when Laurens died, he remembers, because it all seemed to slow down when John died because John was every decent thing about the revolution and god he was so young.)
Hamilton lives life on a new battlefield, the cabinet meetings, Washington is still his commander and he fights debt and ignorance and Jefferson and Madison. (Hamilton and Madison used to be friends, so did Burr and Hamilton, and he realizes he may be one of Hamilton’s only friends because Gil is an ocean away and John has been dead for too long.)
Eventually, Hamilton compromises with them, chooses to trade the capital away for a plan meant to save even the poorest man. (He also turns away from everything John believes in and leaves Gil, brave, kind, Gil to a bloodthirsty country.)
Hercules is proud of Hamilton, he is because Hamilton got out from under the boot and he’s his friend (he was his friend) and he’s proud of the kid (even if he’s not the kid he knew.)
Later, Hamilton will make a lifetime of mistakes in just a few years (poor Philip, poor Eliza) and die because Aaron Burr kills him in a duel after thirty years (they’ve all gotten old) and Hercules will sit at the same bar where they all raised their glasses a lifetime ago.
Aaron Burr will walk in and drink and look so miserable that Hercules thinks of either wringing his neck or throwing his arms around him (like he used to do with John and Alexander and Gil) Instead, he tells him he should hide.
When he is old Hercules will think of many things, of Alexander and John and Gil and Burr and his wife and his children. He will think of Hamilton’s legacy, and how he disappears from it. He will think of the country they built (and everything they broke in the process and everything that they are still breaking)
He knows now that Gil is alive and how Gil will be the last one to meet John and Alexander on the other side.
He remembers the early days of the revolution, blood pumping in his veins (rise up, he was living on his knees and rose up as far as he could but there was no place for him up there) and he thinks of the men he was willing to die for.
When he is dying he thinks of his wife, and his children and the Sons of Liberty, and his friends and everything he did and everything he should have done (he never could have done any of it without Cato god what happened to Cato)
He thinks finally, of a young maybe, maybe fifteen or seventeen-year-old boy from the Caribbean who he took under his wing (in locos parentis indeed) He thinks of the man he used to be friends with. ‘Alexander,’ he thinks, ‘I’ll see you on the other side.’