Violet pulled absently at a loose thread on the sleeve of her borrowed gown. The Romeo fellow was good-looking enough, but he was more of a silent, awkward young lad; while she herself was more like that, she didn't want a dancing partner that said nothing to her. She desired a more fiery partner, one who would laugh and tell her jokes, spin her around and sweep her off her feet.

But no one as that had yet come along.

Out of the blue, a young man came up to her. He had slightly spiked, short brown hair, and sparkling azure eyes. He was smiling, holding out a hand to her. "Good e'en to thee, most fair young maiden," he greeted, bowing to her. "How goes thy night?"

She nodded to him. "Well met, my friend."

"Would'st thou care to take my hand and allow me a dance?"

Violet looked the young man up and down. He was handsome enough, though a mask hid his face from her. His eyes, however, as blue as the sky, shone through the mask. His spiky hair was slightly curled, giving the locks some degree of wave. "I… would prefer to simply stay here and stand against the wall hither."

"Ah, well." He leaned against the wall beside her, tossing his hair. "I shall stand with thee, then."

Did she hear that right? Violet glanced at him, trying to decipher some clue in his eyes to suggest any hint of deception or seduction, but she couldn't tell. "What would thou would to stay here with me?"

"I find thee quite captivating, Miss Violet."

"Aye, well, perhaps, then - soft!" She sent a glare in his direction. "I didst not tell thee my name. How dost thou know me?"

A grin split his face. "My lover (1) Romeo wrought that information to me."

"Romeo. He doth told thee my surname, as well?"

"Nay, he could'st not retain that information! Dost thou trust me enough with that knowledge, good Violet?"

She offered a slight smile. "'Tis Capulet. My name be Violet Capulet, I am ten and six years of age, and my brother be named Tybalt."

"He hath a name that likely provokes much laughter in a quiet room," the man grinned.

Violet allowed herself a slight titter. When she really thought about it, Tybalt's name did sound quite funny. "Aye, thou art correct in thy mockery, bold young man. Might I possess the knowledge of thy name, boorish bard?"

"Surely, thou doth not find me as a bard! Denying that I am rather boorish, however, would prompt taunting as to my honesty. I am ten and nine years. I am known by a great gallery of names - bold, brash, knave, great man of the swords-"

"Thou art omitting 'humble'," Violet interrupted.

At this, the young man's face tinged slightly pink as he rubbed his head, as if she'd slapped him. "Aye, and a jester am I, too. I go by the name Mercutio to friends and foes alike."

"Mercutio," Violet repeated. Deciding that she liked the way it came off her tongue, she nodded in approval. "I must admit, I adore the tone of it. Hast thou siblings to speak of?"

"Aye, a brother," he answered, sounding resentful. "His name be Valentine."

"His name hath the tone of romance."

"His name hath the tone of a weak man."

She giggled; even though it was a bit inappropriate, she found it quite funny. "Thou should'st not mock thy house, good Mercutio."

"Ah, he doth not take offense against what I say, Violet - he dare not! And regardless, he hath a pleasurable disposition… unlike myself, Mother and Father tell me."

She nodded. "Ah, well, I find thy company fairly enjoyable, Mercutio."

The minstrels began to play a jaunty tune, and Violet smiled, for she knew the song. "Ah, I simply adore this song."

"I might know it."

Violet tapped her foot in rhythm to the music, and Mercutio must have noticed, for he grinned again. "Ah! Might thou would to share a dance now?"

She shook her head. "Nay, not to this tune."

"Ah. Then I shall be content to stand here and listen to it with thee."

"Thou hath liberty to do as thee would."

Mercutio leaned his head against the wall, and the next thing Violet knew, his warm fingers were enveloping her cold hand. She made no complaint, for the affection was welcome and comfortable. She allowed him to hold her hand in his, and very lightly curled her fingers around his; not much as to give him the wrong idea, but enough to let him know his gesture was appreciated.

And the minstrels sang.

"Sing we a song that takes but a minute


Once round the clock and that is the limit


Start with one, two, three

Sung in harmony



Then it's four, five, six

Only thirty more ticks

Does this song

Make any sense?…"

Everyone, Mercutio and Violet included, laughed, and Violet had to admit, she liked the look of Mercutio's face when he laughed.

"Sing we a song that takes but a minute


Once round the clock and that is the limit


Singing seven, eight, nine

With a pressing deadline



Fifteen seconds to go

Now I hope you know

We must finish

This song on time

Now that we've sung

For most of a minute



We're tired of singing

This song, we admit it



Again, more laughter, and this time, Mercutio looked over at Violet, and gave her a warm smile as he laughed.

"Now we sing this final

Fa la…"

Pause, and the singers looked at the clock, then gasped and hurried to finish the song.



The entire room exploded with applause, some people doubling over with more laughter. Violet perused the room for her brother, and found him with a most unusual expression upon his face - a smile. He was with a young blonde woman, who was quite pretty, and she was laughing at the minstrels, patting Tybalt on the arm, most likely encouraging him to find the humor in it, and he was trying to please her.

One of the bards began to play a softer, slower melody. Mercutio squeezed Violet's hand and glanced over at her. "I would'st not suppose thee would desire to dance with me now?"

She smiled, and put one hand on his shoulder. "Carry me across the floor, good Mercutio. I put my body in thy capable hands. Do not do anything thou would'st be ashamed to admit to."

"With all the pleasure in the world, I shall bear thee across the marble floors of thy home." Putting his free hand around her waist, he tightened his grip on her hand, but not enough to hurt her. He moved gracefully, though his demeanor wouldn't suggest that he was capable of it. He was light on his feet, weaving skillfully around other people. One thing Violet found amusing was the fact that nobody was dancing except for them.

"Thou art a most adept dancer, Mercutio."

"I thank thee. Is this a good speed for thee? I am not moving too fast, am I?"

"Thou art doing wonderfully."

Then came the request that made Violet practically melt against him:

"I prithee tell if I ever begin to bruise thy beautiful body, Violet. I shall let go on the spot."

(1) Lover is Shakespeare speak for "good friend". XD I laughed when I saw it too, go ahead and laugh.