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Recap / It Feels More Like A Memory Chapter 4 This Whole Affair

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TL;DR: Alexander gets mad Aaron pursued political power and allied with Jefferson, and their relationship deteriorates.

Canon equivalent: Covers "Schuyler Defeated" to "The Election of 1800."

Summary: Alexander is angry with Aaron's political activity: specifically his running for Senate, unseating Alexander's father-in-law Philip Schuyler (especially because he earlier said he's too dangerous to be in office on account of his Seer status) and his alliance with Thomas Jefferson (needed his support to pass laws against slavery). Alexander and Aaron's relationship recovers somewhat but Aaron's wife Theodosia does not and she dies. John Adams becomes president, the Reynolds Pamphlet happens, and Aaron talks James Monroe out of the duel Alexander challenged him to. Alexander and Aaron's relationship deteriorates while Aaron helps Maria Reynolds get divorced, Philip dies in a duel, and Aaron openly campaigns for president with Jefferson. Aaron and Jefferson tie 36 times, and Alexander endorses Jefferson on the grounds Aaron is more dangerous and has no beliefs.

    Longer summary 
Aaron has a nightmare where Alexander hates him for running for Senate and he shoots Alexander. Out of the nightmare, Alexander's angry he ran for Senate against Alexander's father-in-law despite Aaron's claims he was too dangerous to hold office. Aaron makes a deal with Jefferson to get a bill blocking the spread of slavery into new territory America acquires in exchange for his support of the Democratic Republican party and Jefferson's eventual presidency. Aaron's wife, Theodosia, gets sick and dies. He and his daughter fall asleep holding each other afterwards, and Aaron has a dream of water everywhere.

Alexander and Aaron have a working relationship again after Alexander trades away the nation's capital. John Adams becomes president. Alexander publishes a letter smearing Adams and an essay attacking Thomas Jefferson. In retaliation, Jefferson brings James Madison and Aaron with him to confront Alexander with the knowledge he paid $1000 to James Reynolds and accuse him of speculation with government funds. He denies it, and admits to an affair with Maria Reynolds which he paid James Reynolds to keep quiet. Aaron stays behind to talk to Alexander, who asks him what he sees in Democratic Republicans (wider voting rights), and they disagree, with Alexander prioritizing stopping Jefferson and Aaron prioritizing stopping slavery. Alexander admits to missing Aaron and invites him for dinner. Alexander publishes the Reynolds Pamphlet. Later, he confides in Aaron that he challenged James Monroe to a duel and asks Aaron to be his second: Monroe is the one who initially accused him of speculation after noticing he'd been secretly paying James Reynolds, Alexander showed him letters revealing the affair as proof of his innocence, Monroe copied and sent these letters to Jefferson, and Monroe denied the copying and won't apologize. Aaron agrees and successfully prevents the duel by telling Monroe about the nasty fate of Alexander's killer.

Dinner with the Hamiltons is awkward but the invitations keep coming and Aaron keeps accepting. Aaron serves as Maria Reynolds' divorce lawyer, and stops receiving invitations to dine with the Hamiltons. Aaron doesn't run for reelection in the Senate, but for New York State Assembly, hoping Alexander sees this as a peace offering, but Alexander doesn't write him. Philip dies in a duel, and Aaron reflects on how he could have prevented Philip's death if he shook his hand and knew. He doesn't write to Alexander, feeling he has no right to. Aaron openly campaigns for President, intending to end up as Jefferson's Vice Presidentnote , further angering Alexander. When Jefferson and Aaron unexpectedly tie, Aaron does nothing instead of giving the presidency to Jefferson or trying to get more votes for himself. They tie 35 more times. Alexander endorses Jefferson saying he's less dangerous than Aaron and actually has beliefs, so Jefferson wins in a landslide.

"this whole affair" contains examples of:

  • Accidental Truth: Aaron thinks he’s lying when he tells Monroe the fate of Alexander’s killer in order to convince him not to duel Alexander. This is actually truth, everything he said will happen to Alexander’s killer happens to Aaron after he shoots and kills Alexander.
  • Adaptational Context Change:
    • The musical's Alexander is angry Aaron ran for Senate and defeated his father-in-law Philip Schuyler, and calls him out on switching parties to do that in "Schuyler Defeated." In the fic, Alexander mostly says the same lines and is still angry at him for running for Senate and defeating his father-in-law, but he makes no mention of party changes, instead focusing on how he ran for Senate after saying he was too dangerous to be in public office, which didn't happen in the musical. If party changes and opportunism make any part of why Alexander is angry at Aaron, he never mentions it.
    • "The art of the compromise, hold your nose and close your eyes" from "The Room Where It Happens" has Aaron reference the unknown happenings in a dinner between Alexander, Jefferson, and Madison where Alexander got support for his financial plan, and Jefferson and Madison (both Southerners) got the nation's capital put in the South. In context, he's talking about not knowing, possibly worrying about what happens in these closed-door deals; and wanting to be one of the people making these deals. In the fic, he's still referring to this dinner and potentially corrupt closed-door compromises, but he's reassuring himself thinking that "Hamilton does this all the time" instead of wondering and possibly worrying about what he did at the dinner, and he's thinking this while making his own closed-door deal with Thomas Jefferson instead of just wishing he was making such deals.
    • Alexander tells Jefferson "We're running a real nation" and insults him for being a slaver in "Cabinet Battle #1." In the fic, he tells Aaron "We're running a real nation" as part of why he's not prioritizing getting rid of slavery like Aaron, though he still clearly disapproves of slavery: he thinks the government will never pass a real solution to get rid of it so it's better to spend time on other legislation.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • This chapter goes over Theodosia's death by stomach illness, in contrast to the musical which only obliquely mentions it by saying Aaron's daughter will be an orphan if he dies.
    • In "The Election of 1800," Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson are presented as just opponents in the race. In this fic, Jefferson asks Aaron to run, both intending that Jefferson gets the most electoral votes and Aaron gets the second-most to end up with President Thomas Jefferson and his Vice President, Aaron Burr. They only become flat-out opponents when Aaron and Jefferson accidentally tie and Aaron doesn't step down to give him the presidency.
  • Adaptational Intelligence: In the Hamilton musical, Alexander publishes the Reynolds Pamphlet out of paranoia that his enemies would reveal his secret, but the publication ends up exposing it in the first place and making him look worse. In this fic and in reality, he publishes the pamphlet for a more sensible reason: the speculation and infidelity accusations are already in the press along with copies of actual letters he sent, and denying everything would make it clear he's lying, so he tells the truth with the pamphlet that he didn't speculate but did have an affair. This case of Adaptational Intelligence is really just reverting the case of Adaptational Dumbass that Alexander suffered regarding the Reynolds Affair in the Hamilton musical. The fanfic doesn't make him smarter than he was in reality, it adjusts his musical self back to his real level of intelligence.
  • Affair Letters: Heavily implied. In both the musical and fic, Aaron, Jefferson, and Madison show up to accuse Alexander of speculation and embezzlement, because of the money he paid to James Reynolds. Alexander proves his innocence by showing them letters. This happens shortly before he publishes the Reynolds Pamphlet detailing his affair. The fic doesn't show the contents of the letters, but in the musical, the audience sees the contents of the letters: James demanded Alexander pay him money otherwise he'd reveal Alexander's affair with James' wife Maria Reynolds. Since the fic follows the musical and history, one can presume the letters' contents are the same. Though these aren't the usual affair letters in the sense of lovers exchanging letters, they're still proof of two Secret Relationships: an affair between Alexander and Maria, and James blackmailing Alexander into paying him, so they still count as this trope.
  • all lowercase letters: Like every other chapter title of this fic, this chapter's title is in all lowercase letters.
  • Anxiety Dreams: Aaron has a nightmare where his daughter asks why he lies and cheats to get power he shouldn't be trusted with. He's previously said he shouldn't hold power because of his Seer status, and although he ran for Senate anyways he's still worried about this issue. Alexander disowns him as a friend for campaigning in this dream, likely something he's anxious about, and he sees his vision of himself shooting Alexander, something he definitely dreads will come true.
  • Artistic License – History: The fic mostly follows the musical’s order of events, which are not the same order of events as real history. The author acknowledges this inaccuracy in the author's notes after the end of the chapter.
    • In the fanfiction, the Reynolds Pamphlet is published, then Maria Reynolds sues for divorce. The real Maria Reynolds sued for divorce before the Reynolds Pamphlet was ever published.
    • In the fanfiction and musical, Philip Hamilton dies before the Election of 1800, but in real life he dies in 1801.
  • Character Filibuster: Aaron spends an hour telling James Monroe what will happen to the killer of Alexander Hamilton.
  • Decided by One Vote: Aaron and Jefferson intend for the Election of 1800 to be decided by one person's vote. All the electors have two votes, so everyone voting for Burr/Jefferson gives one to Aaron and one to Jefferson, with only one person voting Jefferson twice to ensure Jefferson gets the most votes (74) and Aaron the second-most (72) so that Jefferson ends up president and Aaron his Vice Presidentnote . Instead, they tie at 73 votes each, so the election moves to the House of Representatives. The outcome there is a tie too, 35 times, so it looks like the end outcome of who is President and who is Vice President will be Decided By One Vote, but that's subverted when Alexander endorses Thomas Jefferson and Jefferson wins in a landslide. Aaron Burr is still Jefferson's Vice President, as originally intended, but the election was definitely not Decided By One Vote in the end.
  • Double-Meaning Title: This chapter title comes from Alexander advising Philip to throw away his shot to "put an end to the whole affair," the "affair" being a duel Philip is to fight against George Eacker. This chapter is the one where Philip dies in that exact duel. It's also the chapter where Aaron puts an end to Alexander and James Monroe's duel by talking Monroe out of it, and where Alexander's affair with Maria Reynolds is exposed.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • Alexander asks Aaron if he had a vision, as a reason why Aaron might have run for Senate. Aaron says he doesn't have visions, he's been having nightmares. The reader knows his nightmare of the Civil War that prompted him to run for Senate really was a vision. If Aaron knew that too, he could have told Alexander as much, and he wouldn't have gotten angry at Aaron.
    • If the reader knows the historical fact that Theodosia gets on a ship lost at sea and is presumed to have died there, they know that Aaron's dream when he falls asleep holding her is actually a death vision, but he doesn't know that.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Aaron and his daughter fall asleep holding each other. Aaron dreams of rushing darkness and water, and water everywhere. She drowns to death in this lifetime before Aaron dies. However, this dream’s prophetic power is entirely attributable to the fact that Aaron and Theo had inadvertent skin-to-skin contact, activating Aaron's death-seeing powers, while they were sleeping, as confirmed by Word of God in this comment thread.
  • Duel to the Death:
    • Alexander Hamilton challenges James Monroe to a duel. It doesn't end in death because Aaron, Alexander's second, talks both Alexander and Monroe out of participating.
    • Philip Hamilton dies in a duel against George Eacker.
  • Foreshadowing: Aaron outlines what will happen to the murderer of Alexander Hamilton to James Monroe: political prospects destroyed, allies deserting them, being accused of treason, sent into exile, dying alone, and only being remembered for shooting Hamilton. He thinks he’s lying to protect Alexander, but this actually all comes true for himself after he shoots Hamilton, as it did in real life.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Part of Aaron's nightmare has his daughter innocently ask him very accusing questions that poke at his fear he's abusing power by running for a political position.
    “Why did you lie and cheat to get power that should never be entrusted to you? Why are you starting on this path, when you know that you’re going to fall?” Theo’s expression hasn’t changed, her eyes are still wide and innocent, and the words keep coming out of her mouth. “Why are you going to hell?”
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Following the convention of naming every chapter title after a Hamilton lyric, this chapter takes its title from "This will put an end to the whole affair" from "Blow Us All Away." The chapter title is ever so slightly different in that it says "this" where the lyric says "the."
  • Landslide Election: After Alexander endorses Thomas Jefferson in a presidential election, Jefferson wins the presidential election "in a landslide."
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • "Alexander doesn't write" ends one section where Aaron and Alexander's relationship deteriorates, and "Aaron doesn't write" ends the next.
    • "And [Aaron] wins in a landslide" is an Adaptational Context Change used in chapter 3 when Aaron wins Philip Schuyler's Senate seat, as opposed to the regular context where Jefferson wins the Election of 1800 against Aaron Burr. "This time, it's Jefferson who wins in a landslide," and this time the quote is put back in its regular context from "The Election of 1800."
  • Nightmare Sequence: Aaron's dream where Alexander disowns him as a friend and calls him a liar, where his daughter asks him why he lies and cheats to attain power and why he's going to hell, and then he sees himself shooting Alexander.
  • Not in Front of the Kid: In Aaron's nightmare where Alexander is furious with him and doesn't want to be his friend anymore, Aaron points out his daughter Theodosia is right there when Alexander swears at him.
  • Real Event, Fictional Cause:
    • Overlaps with Adaptational Context Change. The real Alexander Hamilton was not pleased with Aaron Burr for defeating Philip Schuyler in a bid for Senate, but the real Alexander Hamilton did not get upset because Aaron ran for office after telling him his Seer position meant he's too dangerous to hold public office.
    • The real animosity between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton likely had nothing to do with the also-real event of Aaron serving as Maria Reynolds' divorce lawyer, though it's implied in the fic that this is another thing driving a wedge between the two. This may be because she sued for divorce before the pamphlet was published in reality, meaning real Aaron probably wouldn't have known of the connection between the two, whereas in the fic she sues for divorce after its publication, meaning Aaron knowingly helped someone who was involved in the affair that hurt Alexander.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Diverges from the musical timeline here to follow that of the real Reynolds Affair, sans having Maria Reynolds get divorced later than she really did. Alexander spends a whole paragraph telling Aaron about James Monroe's involvement, which didn't make it to the musical at all. The Reynolds Pamphlet's real name Observations on Certain Documents also makes it to the fic, as does Maria's divorce case handled by Aaron Burr.
    • Theodosia hostessing at the Richmond Hill Estate happened in real life.
    • It's shown in the fic and not the musical that Philip Schuyler regained his Senate seat after Aaron Burr served a single six-year term, and after that Aaron Burr served in the New York State Assembly again.
    • Aaron Burr really was Thomas Jefferson's running mate, and they did intend to have electors (who had two votes) give one to Aaron and one to Jefferson, with one elector voting Jefferson twice to make sure they get a President Thomas Jefferson and his Vice President, Aaron Burr. The musical omits this and has them as flat-out opponents in the election from the very start instead of including their cooperation.
    • Not shown in the musical, but Aaron Burr used the organization Tammany Hall (which he turned from a social club to a political machine) to help himself and Jefferson in the Election of 1800 in history and in the fic. He's also sometimes credited with inventing the modern electioneering process, since as mentioned in the fic but not the musical he established a campaign headquarters, created a list of every New York City voter and their political leanings, and organized his supporters to go door-to-door, which was probably the first time such things were done.
  • The Stations of the Canon: Alexander gets mad at Aaron for defeating Alexander's father-in-law in a race for New York Senate, Aaron allies with Thomas Jefferson, if you count the cut song Dear Theodosia (Reprise) as canon Aaron's wife Theodosia dies; Alexander, Jefferson, and James Madison decide where the state capitol will go, John Adams is made president and Alexander publishes an open letter smearing Adams, Jefferson confronts Alexander with claims of speculation, Alexander publishes the Reynolds Pamphlet, Philip dies after being shot in a duel, the Hamiltons move uptown, Aaron openly campaigns for president, Alexander supports Jefferson over Aaron, and Jefferson wins the election.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Aaron used to call Alexander “Alex.” Aaron wins an election for Senate against Alexander’s father-in-law. The next time he talks to Alexander and calls him “Alex,” he glares at Aaron until he corrects it to “Alexander.” In other words, he revoked Aaron’s Friendly Address Privileges of using a nickname. Downplayed, because he uses the nickname again in the next sentence without Alexander making anything of it.
  • Title Drop: The chapter title is titledropped when Aaron says "Monroe will apologize, that will put an end to this whole affair."
  • You Taught Me That: Just like in the musical, Alexander is angry with the usually-passive Aaron for uncharacteristically openly campaigning for president. Aaron says he learned to actively pursue what he wants from Alexander, who usually passionately and openly pursues his goals.