This is my first Shakespeare fanfic, so any praise or criticism is appreciated! Please pardon my inadequate Shakespearean English; it's rather rough as of yet. :) Don't worry, it's only the dialogue! Anyway, I guess you have some sort of idea what it's about, seeing as you most likely read the summary.
I love Mercutio. He's my all-time favorite Shakespearean character. Be forewarned.
By the way, Tybalt and Mercutio are fourteen in this story. It is pre- R&J.
Tybalt awoke to the clattering sounds of the great horse's hooves on the cobblestone streets before the noble house of Capulet. Rollicking laughter boomed through the crisp morning air and Tybalt recognized that deep accented voice of Lord Montague. He gritted his teeth in anger, but calmed down when he realized the purpose of the sounds that woke him up. The awful house of Montague, his uncle Capulet had explained a few days before, had planned some sort of outing to the countryside for a couple of days. Tybalt and his dear young cousin Juliet would not have to deal with the Montague brat Romeo. Tybalt, in fact, thought of Romeo as an emotional, cowardly, pompous fool. As much as the fourteen-year-old boy wanted to beat his nemesis into oblivion, Romeo's absence was much preferable to his presence in any manner. He smirked. Today he could do whatever he so pleased- even frolic in the Capulet orchards. That is, if one such as Tybalt bothered with such things as frolicking. The boy pushed himself up from the makeshift bed his aunt, the Lady Capulet, had made up for him and made his way to the corridor. Without even bothering to change from his nightclothes, Tybalt strode across the halls.
The silver rapiers were of the same origin as the noblemen's blades, and they were better kept by Tybalt than by those lords. The swords had been gifted to the boy at Yuletide years ago and he treated them like a mother treats her favorite child. Tybalt rescued the blades with their ornate hilts and fine harnesses; tenderly cradling his beloved sabers in his arms, he hurried across the magnificent Capulet grounds. In the fields beyond the orchards in an empty patch of land, Tybalt's father had set up mannequins similar to the dummies soldiers trained with. Tybalt used them as dueling partners. And today his partners would be exhausted and die from their 'wounds', or so the boy planned. With dark eyes flashing as he imagined Romeo's face on one of the mannequins, Tybalt attacked; in his raging battle his rapier scored many cuts in the already-scuffed material. When beads of perspiration began to slide down his back, he sheathed the blade and took a break. Two figures then emerged from the orchard trees behind Tybalt. The young girls were attired in their best dresses and Tybalt even stopped to wonder the cause for such vestments on a quiet day.
"Mother doth wish to see thee in her rooms afore the sun breacheth the tallest trees," ten-year-old Juliet chirped, her fair curls shining in the morning light. The nurse's child, meek Susan, held her head low and occasionally glanced at Tybalt through a curtain of her brown tresses. When Juliet finished her announcement, Susan took her hand and pulled her back to the Capulet mansion. The gentler girl knew Juliet would lose herself in the orchards if not looked after. The adults praised Susan for being such a level-headed girl.
Tybalt, greatly irritated, kicked at the cloth figure one last time and left a boot print on the canvas skin. Why would the Lady Capulet call for him so soon after he had begun to spar? With effort he stood, brushed the dirt from his swords' sheaths, and then he groaned. Tybalt meandered through the trees until he found himself back on the mansion's threshold. His aunt almost suffocated him in an enveloping swirl of skirts and breathy words.
"Tybalt! Wherefore didst thou desert the house this morn?" She looked at her nephew's dusty, sweaty clothes with distaste. Lady Capulet was in deep distress.
"What dost thou mean, fair aunt?" No great events lay on our horizons!" The stately woman sighed as her nephew spoke.
"Oft we warned thee, dearest son of my brother, of the importance of this day. I would have it that you bothered to recall but one word we spake!"
"Marry, I remember naught." The lady seemed to swoon on her feet.
"The most esteemed kinsmen of the Prince Escalus are resolved to visit us to-day! Hie to thy rooms! Hie thither, good Tybalt, and ready thyself for their arrival!"
"Methinks these 'good kinsmen' shouldst stop at an inn; they may arriveth another day," the sullen teen replied.
"Take my counsel, Tybalt- speak naught of thy wretched words as the nobles come!" The distressed lady shooed her nephew to his rooms to prepare for the visitors. Tybalt clenched his jaw in anger- it was not even noon and his day had been spoiled. He retreated to his quarters mourning the loss. Unlike the girls, dressed in their finest raiment, Tybalt chose to don simple garments made of a mud-brown fabric. He kept his swords with him as the tense household gathered. The old nurse herded Juliet and Susan along in front of her and arranged their dresses to Lady Capulet's satisfaction. When the lady of the house saw Tybalt, she sighed, but did not attempt to correct the boy. "The visitors art near to our house- they are to arrive with the noontime sun!"
"Dearest aunt," Tybalt complained, "thou hast not revealed to me which kinsmen of Escalus are due to come hither- thou art as a rose with its petals tightly furled!" The addressee pursed her lips and ignored the boy as she patted Juliet's hair back into its neat curls. However, Tybalt repeated the question until Lady Capulet finally capitulated.
"I knoweth for certain but a few names, Tybalt! Thy uncle dost hold the full list of guests. I will reveal to thee those names I do recall: the county Paris and Valentine with his brother Mercutio." Tybalt was very put down by the bare roster, but he wisely swallowed the words bubbling on his tongue and instead viciously rubbed away some dirt and tiny pebbles from his precious swords' sheaths. "And," Lady Capulet said brightly, having remembered another detail of the visit, "come the morrow we shall traverse the forests as a sporting falconry match!" She looked at Tybalt. "Doth give to me some small fleck of gladness, boy!" He nodded halfheartedly, but it managed to satisfy his frazzled aunt. At least Valentine was one of the courtiers visiting- the royal house had visited once before and Valentine, who was several years older than Tybalt, had demonstrated several fencing plays for the younger boy. If only the party were not planning to fly the falcons, Valentine might perform again. Tybalt did not know Mercutio, who apparently was a brother to Valentine. He had not come the last time.
The Capulets waited. The sun's mighty chariot drove across the sky and slowly the tension in the house dissipated into the late morning air to be replaced with weariness and an irritated anxiety. Tybalt was angered at their guests' lateness and he finally slipped out of the house to go back to his sparring. The rapier slid keenly from its sheath and the boy raised up the gleaming sword.
"Tybalt!" Lord Capulet's voice scared several squawking birds from their perches. "Tybalt, come hither!" He roared, punched the dummy, put away his blade, and began to jog towards the house. He made it past the orchards and began to scramble over the fence in an attempt at using a shortcut.
"Art thou the one call'd Tybalt?" a voice rang out. Tybalt ungainly fell from the wall and landed in a crouch, trying to locate the owner of the voice who had humiliated him.
"I am Tybalt, but tell me, beslubbering foot-licker, who are thee to speak in such a manner as to cause my fall?" A figure strode from the shade of the house, but annoyingly stayed in the shadows.
"I am Mercutio, and I did not cause thy fall as thy collapse! Tis simple truth that thou dost not have enough to fall from*, save that wall!" Tybalt scowled as the boy laughed.
"The Montagues have already put thee to shame, bold Tybalt! They are not half so quick to anger!" The boy who called himself Mercutio stepped fully into the light. He was lithe and by his quick step Tybalt knew he was agile. His dark hair was cut like a page's, but it was hanging in his mischievously glinting green eyes. His skin was burned darker than most nobles; it contrasted against the rich fabrics he wore.
'What pampered loon hast the Prince sent us?' Tybalt wondered. He noticed the other boy looking at the sabers and he swiftly shifted them out of Mercutio's sight. The other teen noticed and grinned, jokingly biting his thumb. Tybalt drew one sword and threatened the visitor with his teeth bared. When he lunged forward Mercutio ducked and snatched up the other rapier. The Capulet boy was infuriated at the tenacity of the guest- no one ever dared to take Tybalt's swords. Escalus's kinsman tossed the saber from hand to hand, taunting the already angry boy.
"Will you walk?" Mercutio teased, but Tybalt attacked- a hasty, raging blow that went far off-track.
"Boys!" Lady Capulet shrieked, "Stay your blades!" Both froze as Tybalt's aunt burst into the small courtyard. Juliet and Susan giggled from the balcony, watching the scene unfold from above. At a swift glare from Lady Capulet they both disappeared into the house. "Why art thou fighting when thou must share quarters whilst thou are here?" The tip of Tybalt's blade hit the ground in its owner's shock.
"Nay!" Mercutio smirked and spun the other sword in his hand as Tybalt objected.
"'Tis true, dearest companion!" he mocked. Tybalt used all his willpower to ignore him.
"But Aunt, thou hast welcom'd me here afore these people made counsel to arrive! Must a brace of different party members now share their rooms?" The woman pursed her lips and curtly nodded. Tybalt, for once, had the good sense to not argue. "At least tell me of the county Paris and gallant Valentine!"
"Valentine my brother hath got an illness," Mercutio piped up. Tybalt shot him a glare.
"And Paris is too old to remain with the likes of thee, Tybalt!" Lady Capulet said, smiling nervously. Suddenly a burst of raucous laughter came from within the house. The lady turned away to determine the source of the noise; Tybalt bit his thumb in earnest at Mercutio.
"The menfolk hath open'd the bottles; I must hasten thither and direct their befuddled minds! 'Tis but early- oh!" She gasped at the sight of the setting sun. "The night is soon upon us. Diana's silver light is nigh and all shall hie abed! Young gentlemen, go thither! There is no longer a place for you in the yard."
"Unless, dear lady, I am forced by the blade!" Mercutio said, still grinning- although he was only half joking. Tybalt scowled again as his aunt smiled weakly and patted the boy on the shoulder.
"Nay, Mercutio, you shall have a warm place to lay thy head, as Tybalt-" she gave her nephew a sharp glare, "-must lay aside his rapiers for the night!" She removed the swords from the boys and bustled back into the mansion with them. Tybalt was still too stunned to react as he normally would.
"Her words doth prove true!" crowed Mercutio, scampering into the house behind Tybalt, who was scowling as he led the way to his room. As the two boys settled into the new makeshift beds, the Capulet couldn't decide whether to face his visitor to keep a wary eye on him or turn away in order to keep Mercutio out of his line of sight. He ended up lying flat on his back with his eyes closed, wishing he would wake up to a world without Valentine's brother. But his nuisance would not allow him to sleep.
"Thy name is Tybalt."
"yes, and what of it, brigand? Hadst thou not yet discovered the truth? Thy witty tongue hath no mind behind it!" The insults rolled off Mercutio's back- the boy was too interested in his scheme to take note of them.
"Tybalt, as in the children's tale?" The Capulet boy fumed, but his talkative roommate continued. "Tybalt, Prince of Cats! I shall refer to thee as such, I believe!" Mercutio griined. 'Wouldst the kit enjoy a bowl of milk?" Tybalt roared and began to climb out of his bed; Mercutio only laughed and rolled over. But he still wasn't through with his new companion- no, Tybalt hadn't reached his true breaking point yet. "Thy neighbors would never entreateth a visitor to such injury!" he chortled, "I do knoweth what hast gotten into you, bold Tybalt. O, Queen Mab hath been here!" he whispered eerily, wiggling his eyebrows. Even in the dim moonlight, his green eyes shone.
Tybalt sat up and faced the other boy. "What? Who dost thou speak of?" Mercutio laughed harder.
"Thou hast heard of Queen Mab, of course?"
"Queen Mab is the fairies' midwife, and she cometh to humans in the night to deliver dreams. To lovers she bringeth thoughts of love, to tax collectors thoughts of clinking farthings."
"You jest! No man or creature couldst conceal themselves here without my knowledge!"
"Ah, but Mab is no larger than the unopened bud of the smallest flower! My good man, she must have sent to thee visions of bandying and playing at swordsmen!" Tybalt gritted his teeth at the insult to his skills, but Mercutio did not give him time to protest. "And Queen Mab shalt come again, when the soft wind blows and all do sleep. Mab shall arrive as Diana driveth her ghostly chariot, urging on her shadowed steeds! Mab shall bring-"
"Peace, man! Art thou mad?" Tybalt was beginning to worry for his safety. Mercutio's toothy smile only widened.
"Verily, 'tis true! All are but slightly sane. But thou dost not seem one for peace, Tybalt. Is it not so that you hate the Montagues without bounds and the very thought of kinship with them sickens thee?"
"Right." Tybalt's voice hardened bitterly at the mention of his mortal enemies. Then he realized Mercutio had baited him into answering a question about the hated Montagues and he rolled over in a huff.
"O, Prince of Cats, thou must not fall to sleep in anger!" Mercutio crawled over to his irritated roommate and poked him hard in the side. Tybalt sat up.
"And why not, you fiendish, impertinent changeling?" he growled through clenched teeth, "I shall turn my wrath to thee ere the night be out if you so wish, sirrah!" Mercutio's eyes grew flinty.
"I think thy feeble wrath wouldst be ill-spent against a kinsman of Prince Escalus," he snarled, taking Tybalt aback with his sudden change of tone. But the emerald gaze turned mischievous with another moment's passing. "If one sleeps with an angered mind, Queen Mab will feast upon thy black thoughts and taint thy dreams with an evil darkness!" He spoke with a bare trace of his earlier coldness, but now Tybalt was merely unimpressed and simply tried to shut Mercutio out of his mind. He was more interested in sleep.
Mercutio smiled. At that hour his only goal was to wind Tybalt to the point of snapping. He knew exactly how to do it, too. When he returned to his normal Verona haunt- the Montague household- this would be a good tale to tell to Romeo and Benvolio. Why did they have to be away for now? Mercutio finally curled up and closed his eyes with a sigh. He would make sure to add to his story the next day.
All at Tybalt's expense, of course. The Capulet boy was made to be pranked; Mercutio seemed made for playing those pranks. But it was all in great fun, of course.
So Mercutio fell asleep grinning.
* Mercutio is talking about a fall from power as opposed to falling from the wall.
I hope you enjoyed- tell me what you thought of it! Please don't expect weekly updates or anything if you're interested in keeping up with this story. They will be sporadic and anywhere from a few weeks to six months in-between. :) Thanks for reading!