Title: Midnight Madness
Author: Melusine
Beta: None; all mistakes are my own.
Pairings: Marcus/Susan; John/Delenn; Corwin/OFC
Author's notes: Actual lines of text from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 5, Scene 1, lines 108-111.
Disclaimer: B5 characters belong to JMS, etc., Tech James belongs to me, and the rest belong to the Bard.
Warnings: Major silliness, AU
Summary: Strange visitors arrive on the station and create mayhem.

Note: This was the result of a bout of insomnia, watching Babylon 5, and reading Midsummer Night's Dream again. Originally written and posted in 1999, under the pen name, OldHistory.

000

Act 1

Scene 1: Command and Control. Enter Oberon, Titania, and Puck.

Oberon: Puck, you misbegotten sprite, what is this place?

Puck: I know not, my lord.

Titania: 'Tis most strange indeed. Where is our garden? My lord, methinks this is some trick of yours.

Oberon: Blame not me, lady. It was not I.

(They argue.)

Puck: My lord and lady, I hear mortals yon!

Oberon(Fading): Let us hide.

Enter Commander Ivanova, Lieutenant Corwin, and Tech James.

Ivanova: Good e'en, Lieutenant. How goes the watch?

Corwin: All is quiet now, Commander, but something passing strange has happ'd.

Ivanova: Passing strange? Nay, Lieutenant. Passing strange is passing normal here. Would it were normal, that would be strange. What is't?

Corwin: Three lights from the jumpgate came, but no ship.

Ivanova(furrowing her brow): Keep me informed, Lieutenant. There is revelry tonight. We would that all were quiet. (Exit)

Tech James: Lieutenant, will you make a show then?

Corwin(eyes following Ivanova): Aye. I will.

Tech James(Aside): Would he looked at me thus. His smiles are all for her saved. Am I not fair? Nay, nought is fair. And I am left thus scorned.

(Unnoticed, the three visitors smile at one another.)

Titania: Puck, have you your potions about?

Puck(rubbing his hands together): Aye, lady.

Titania: My lord, may we play?

Oberon: Aye. But do not mistake it so as last time.

000

Scene 2: A corridor. Enter Sheridan and Delenn.

Sheridan: The party will in two hours be. The ambassadors have informed me of their presence there.

Delenn: Oh, John! I am looking forward to 't. 'Twill be such fun.

Enter the fairies.

Titania: Puck, methinks that was most sickly.

Puck: Aye, lady. She dotes on him most sweetly.

Titania: 'Tis a wretched sight. Puck, use thy potions thus: let her look on him with a more jaundiced eye. No wife should bow to her husband so weakly.

Oberon: Wife, thou art oft too shrewish. Perhaps I will make you love an ass again.

Puck: If you please, my lord and lady, more mortals approach.

Enter Ivanova and Marcus.

Marcus: What harm is in a date? We are both for the party alone. Let us make an entrance together as friends at least. (Aside) Though to be yet friends and nothing closer slays me.

Titania(Aside): He is passing fair.

Oberon: Remember the ass, lady.

Ivanova: Speak you of my ass? That makes you an ass.

Marcus(Innocently) Asses are made to bear . . . but 'twas not I. (Aside) Though it is a nice one.

Ivanova: Marcus, leave me. I must for the party dress. (Exit)

Marcus: Would I that she looked on me not with such a cold eye. She has slain me a hundred time, and yet methinks I burn more than ever. (Exit)

Titania: How sad. Puck, let us make her burn for him as he doth for her. But wait! Let her love in vain til the midnight hour strikes. Then let the fire on both sides light.

Oberon: My queen, thou art too mischievous.

Titania: Aye. That is why you will have none other. Puck, away! Do thy bidding.

000

Act 2

Scene 1: Security office. Enter Garibaldi and Zack Allen.

Garibaldi: Is all in readiness?

Zack: Aye, Chief.

Garibaldi: Good. Good. We must not have mischief tonight. I would fain our watch go well.

Zack: There is but one thing, and that is this: a strange sight from the jumpgate. But there was no ship. The Commander inform'd me of 't not long since.

Garibaldi: What! No ship? Mayhap we have need of extra men. Look you, call them in presently.

(Exit Zack)

Garibaldi(To himself): 'Twould be bad this e'en should ought go wrong. The nuptial party should go well, or else it signals disorder.

(Zack returns with more men.)

Garibaldi: You men are charged with keeping the peace. Look you, do not fail. 'Tis a most important gathering tonight. There are strange misprisions in the air.

The men: We will to the watch.

(Exit all.)

000

Scene 2

Ivanova's quarters.

Ivanova(Stepping out of the shower): Why must I to this party go? The grain doth call me sweetly. And bed, yes, fain I would to bed and hide from the world. And Marcus. He is such a lovely pest. But lo, he can but speak in jest. Yet I fear he dotes too much on me. I know not what I feel. But he is pure, and I too scarred am. I save us both with my coldness. (She goes to dress.)

Enter Puck.

Puck: Before this is night is out, the one will thaw, the other cool. But how to go about it? I must wait for the proper time, or else all is misbegot. (Stirs his potion.) I will to my other charges.

000

Scene 3: Delenn's quarters. Enter Sheridan.

Sheridan(Ringing the door chime): I wonder what keeps my love. I am so lucky to have found such a dove.

(Inside.)

Delenn: Ahh, that must be John. I am ready. Enter.

(The door slides open, and a breeze seems to rush by, touching Delenn's eyes. She blinks.)

Delenn: John, you are late. What kept you?

Sheridan: What? Me late? My love, you are mistaken. 'Twas not I who was late, but thee.

Delenn: John. Do not with me argue. Let us to the party.

John(Puzzled): Yes, dear.

Enter Titania and Puck.

Titania: This was much better. That too much pleasant count'nance she gave will serve her not so well as this one. See to the rest, to the letter.

000

Act 3

Scene 1: A large room. The party is beginning. Enter Corwin and Tech James.

James: You are most handsome this night, Lieutenant.

Corwin: My thanks. Excuse me.

Enter Puck.

Puck: He is too churlish with her. Work, potion, work your spell. (He sprinkles the mixture on Corwin's eyes.)

James: Sir?

Corwin(Turning): Yes? Aah, fair Julia. Your hair glistens like so many jewels in the light. Your skin is soft as roses.

James: Do you mock me? Or are you not well, Sir? Mayhap you should lie down.

Corwin: Would it be the cure, I would gladly do so.

James: I will the doctor call.

Corwin: Nay, you are my healer. Leave me not, else I shall die.

James: You frighten me, Sir. I will away. (Runs off. Corwin follows.)

000

Scene 2: Enter Marcus and Ivanova

Marcus: You are most fair this e'en, Susan.

Ivanova: Compliments easily fade, yet they drip easily from thy lips.

Marcus: I am an honest man. Why do you deny me so?

Ivanova: Marcus, you are tedious. You know but one song.

Marcus: And one I will sing fore'er, lest you hear me out.

Puck: I will amend this. Soon dote on him she will, and he will from her fly. But midnight we shall see the true accounting.

(A slight breeze seems to brush by. They both blink their eyes.)

Ivanova: Marcus, my heart is o'erjoyed to see you here. Shall we a turn take?

Marcus: Nay, lady. I would not with you dance. In truth, thou art too shrewish.

Ivanova: Fair prince, do not leave me so.

Marcus: My leave I do take, and leave your curdled tongue. It is much too sharp for my taste.

Ivanova: Nay, my lord! Do but stay!

Marcus: Thy pleas fall on infertile ground. Thy song is one of discord. Good e'en, lady. (Exit)

Ivanova: How does it so he does not look on me with a keen eye? I will follow presently. (Exit)

Enter Oberon and Titania. Puck reappears.

Oberon: Puck, thou hast worked thy magic spell. Let us see what happens now.

000

Act 4

Scene 1: The garden. Enter Tech James, followed by Corwin.

Corwin: Wait, Julia! I do beseech you!

James: But why? Methinks you are in jest if not sick. I will not be toyed with so.

Corwin: But thou art fair, as fair as the moon in her orb. I say I love thee so. Please do not from me run.

James(Running): Yea, I will from thee hie. Thou art mad.

Corwin: But mad for thee!

Enter Oberon and Puck.

Oberon: Methinks this is sport enough. Let them bind soon. The hour of midnight fast approacheth. Work your magic so that the lady sees his truth, or shares her own with him. These garden chases wax old with me. Fain I would the bearded fellow and the shrewish one watch. There is much amusement there. My queen plays with the stranger pair. I know her plan. She wishes in a cloying couple to cause strife. Aye, Puck. And such a lady is my wife. (Exit)

Puck: I will do thy bidding, lord. Puck, do this. Puck, do that. 'Tis well I like with mortals to meddle. (Blows a finger full of potion toward James.) There. That should do 't.

James: Sir? Is the party o'er?

Corwin: I know nought but that I love thee.

James: 'Tis true then? You do not jest? Say it's but true. I love thee, too. Nay, 'tis but a dream.

Corwin: In truth, you dream not. Nor I. Doubt me not, fair Julia.

(They kiss.)

000

Scene 2: The now empty room. Enter Delenn, Sheridan, and Garibaldi.

Sheridan: What's this? No one is about? I thought the hour was at hand. Thou hast made us late.

Delenn: 'Twas not I, but thee, I say. Forget 't. Most likely your grumpiness of late doth cause our friends to desert us so. Aye, and 'twould a lively party have been.

(Garibaldi looks away, pretending interest in the ceiling.)

Sheridan(Confused): My sweet, what doth cause this change in thee?

Delenn: Likely marriage to you. I had not realized how much you snored. Would it were this were revealed with thy true face. But let us not argue so in front of Michael.

Sheridan: I snore not. Or if I do, mayhap the bed is tilted too far. Or mayhap thine nose. I will on the couch sleep and disturb not thine. (Exit)

Delenn: He is a most vexing man. Michael, what say we thy second-favorite thing do? I have need of this duck who makes you laugh.

Garibaldi: At your pleasure, lady. (Exit together)

Enter Oberon and Titania.

Oberon: Lady, this bodes not well. Your fun you've had, now 'tis near the time we must amend this strife.

Titania: I know. But 'twere good for a laugh. To dote on one so is not well. One must have measure in all things.

Oberon: In everything, lady. Look, Puck cometh.

Enter Puck.

Puck: All is well in the garden. Mine other spells will come about presently.

Oberon: See to 't. (Exit all)

000

Act 5

Scene 1: Garibaldi's quarters.

Garibaldi(Laughing): More popcorn, lady? 'Tis a noble snack with which to ease thy hunger.

Delenn: My thanks, but it pleaseth me not.

Garibaldi: Suit thyself.

Enter Puck.

Delenn: I still understand not this 'Planet X' or this 'Duck Dogers.' But he doth have a certain charm.

Puck(Blowing potion toward Delenn): Awake now, and find thy true mate, lest Oberon should have mine head.

Delenn(Rising): Michael, I thank thee for thy kind amusements. I must to John go. I fear I was too harsh on him this e'en. And yet I will not always so sweetly act. He must know of my displeasure when it is mete. Farewell. (Exit)

Enter Sheridan. (They meet.)

Sheridan: Delenn, my sweet, I must for mine grumpiness apologize. And for my snoring if it be true.

Delenn: Forget 't. I must also bear the blame. I was not myself this e'en. You are my one love.

Sheridan: And you, mine.

(They kiss.)

Sheridan: Shall we to the party? Mayhap some have returned. I saw Corwin with a lady on his arm in that direction.

Delenn: Aye. But I wonder whither Marcus did hie? He should have been there. And the Commander also. Think you there be trouble afoot?

Sheridan(Offering his arm): I know not. Come, let us at least partake of the flarn. (Exit both)

000

Scene 2: Marcus' quarters. Enter Marcus with Ivanova close behind.

Ivanova: But will you not speak with me?

Marcus: What of, lady? I know not e'en why you dote on me. Hast thou gone mad, or do you mock me?

Ivanova: I know not. Nor do I care. I only know the truth of it, that thou art fair. Kind Marcus, show thy kindness and speak with me. 'Tis again' thy nature to turn me out so.

Marcus: Nay, this is most unnatural and again' your kind. Thou know not how to love, and I wish not to be thy teacher. Leave me, madam.

Ivanova: You are most unkind and unnatural. These two years past have been in sport of me. I would gladly leave, but I cannot. I must stay and suffer thy arrows. (Aside) Aah, Fortune, thou art cruel indeed, to make me love so when he doth now despise me.

Enter Puck.

Puck(Smiling): 'Twas not Fortune, but I and my mistress. But it shall amended be. Work, potion. Let his ardor return in full, and let the lady's stay withal.

Marcus(Blinking): Susan, why criest thou so? Art thou hurt?

Susan: Aye, and thou art the one who's done 't. I will leave, though I love thee. For you love me not, and this I cannot bear. 'Tis so strange. I thought my heart had been lost, but 'twas merely cracked, but now 'tis surely broken. Farewell. (She makes to leave.)

Marcus: Sweet Susan, 'tis not so. I love thee true.

Ivanova: Nay, you sport with me again. I did not know you were so cruel.

Marcus: Look you in mine eye and see the truth of 't. (Holds her by the arms.) Do you not see?

Ivanova: 'Tis true, then? You jest not?

Marcus: Nay, I jest not, nor sport with you make. But love I would gladly.

Ivanova: I am glad of 't. Let us seal our understanding with a kiss.

Marcus: Aye. Thou art a forward lass, but I like 't.

(They kiss.)

000

Scene 3: The party. Enter Marcus and Ivanova, arm in arm. Sheridan, Delenn, Garibaldi, Corwin, and James are already present.

Sheridan: Look you, all. This is a most happy event.

Ivanova: Nay, we do not wish to detract from thine own joy.

Delenn: There is enough for more than two to share. 'Twould be cruel otherwise.

Marcus: Corwin, methinks you have found a fair maiden.

Corwin: Aye, 'tis true I almost o'erlooked her in my haste.

Garibaldi(Standing): A toast to love true. May it always be our recompense. And now, my men have devised an entertainment.

Several enter.

First man: If we offend, it is with our good will.
That you should think, we come not to offend,
But with good will. To show our simple skill,
That is the true beginning of our end.
Consider then we come but in despite.
Titania, Oberon, and Puck appear.

Titania: Methinks I've heard this all before somewhere.

Oberon(Covering his ears): Indeed it is so. Let us away from this place, back to our bower.
(Exit Oberon and Titania)

Puck: Aye, we will away this night. My charms have this fair turn brought. And yet, there is but one thing more. Love is our binding force; to unrequite brings but discord.

(Exit all)

The End