Mercutio and Juliet
Chapter One -Opening Act
Summary: It's bad enough that they chose Romeo and Juliet for their senior showcase, but it's even worse that Erzsebet insisted on an all-male cast. Now Arthur has to pine from a distance as he watches Alfred, school golden boy and the object of his affections, fraternize with the 'enemy'.
Disclaimers: I don't own Hetalia or Romeo and Juliet.
Warning: Cheese, our precious boys being dorks, Hungary and France as matchmakers hon hon hon.
Author's Notes: Hey look it's another fanfic finally! This is actually my second new one, but I can't post The Green Fuse Drives the Flower because it's for the USUK Anthology (which you should all look forward to because there are a ton of great authors and artists involved!). Anyway, this one's for Foreign Compromise/america-loves-england, who won my 50 follower fanfic giveaway like two months ago oops. I hope you can look past my tardiness and enjoy it!
They were going to do a Shakespeare play for their senior showcase.
And not just any Shakespeare play, oh no, of course they all wanted to do Romeo and Juliet. Oh, it's so romantic! the girls tittered. Such a charming portrayal of love and dedication! Arthur wanted to smack them all. Romeo and Juliet was a tragedy, not a romance. There was nothing romantic about a thirteen year-old girl and a seventeen year-old boy killing themselves in the name of love after only a few days of knowing each other. But unsurprisingly no one listened to Arthur's grumblings and the verdict passed –Romeo and Juliet it was.
The next part of the meeting consisted of electing students for non-acting roles, such as producer, director, makeup artists, set designers, and stage crew. Arthur stopped paying attention at that point and instead let his eyes wander a few seats over to where Alfred was sitting.
The boy was gorgeous, strikingly intelligent (when he wasn't busy being a wanker), and equal parts jock and nerd. He was currently busy staring absently out the window, pencil twirling between his long fingers.
'The Rosaline to my Romeo,' Arthur mused bitterly to himself. Completely out of his league, yet he couldn't stop himself from wanting.
He continued to daydream (mostly about the naughty things he'd like to do to Alfred if he ever got his hands on him), but the scrape of chairs against the linoleum floor brought him back. The meeting had obviously finished and students were now filing out of the unused classroom, chattering about which people they'd like to see play which roles. He gathered up his play notes and glanced back at Alfred's window seat –he was already gone.
With a sigh he turned to leave, but instead found that his escape was blocked by a very bouncy Erzsebet. She looked ready to burst, like a small child who perceived she'd had a brilliant idea during class but hadn't been called on. Not even the very pointed look he'd given her swayed her excitement, so he just sighed and crossed his arms.
"Yes, Erzsebet? What can I possibly do for you?"
"Well, you could just confess your undying love for Alfred already," she said, ignoring Arthur's embarrassed and indignant sputtering, "but we all know you won't do that. But I have an idea that might help you out! What if we did the play the way they were done in Shakespeare's time?"
Arthur stared at her. "Do you mean—?"
"Yup! An all-male cast!"
"And how do you propose to do this?"
"Well I am the director, Arthur. Weren't you paying attention? Oh wait, I forgot. You were too busy staring at the boy you're in love with."
Arthur hissed, but she was already out the door –he could hear her giggling down the hallway.
And that was how their rendition of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet came to be performed by an all-male cast.
As soon as Alfred heard that the play would feature and all-male cast, he decided he'd try his darnedest to get the role of Juliet. He figured he might finally be able to get his romantic moment with Arthur (because of course Arthur would audition for and receive the part of Romeo, since he was English and all that…tea and crumpets) after years of being too shy to approach the class president.
However, the day the roles were posted was a day of sore disappointment. He got the part of Juliet, but his Romeo was not Arthur. He looked at it again, hoping that he'd just misread it. He even put his finger to the paper, following the line from Romeo's name to Francis' over and over just to check.
"Oh God," Alfred muttered. "Francis is my Romeo. I have to kiss him. On the mouth. Shit."
"Bad luck there, mate."
Alfred jumped; he'd been so intent on checking out the cast list that he hadn't heard Arthur sneak up behind him. He turned to find the Brit pondering the list with a thoughtful look on his face.
"Not really surprised though. Romeo and Francis have a lot in common. They both lack moderation, and they both have this amazing ability to make awkward sexual jokes. Come to think of it, you make quite a good Juliet," Arthur murmured, glancing sideways at him.
"I was hoping you'd audition for Romeo," Alfred blurted, and immediately turned his face away to hide the furious blush that settled over his cheeks.
"Why would I want to be Romeo? All he does is pine after women he can't have, and when he finally does get one, he loses the ability to emote in moderation," Arthur replied with distaste. "No, I auditioned for Mercutio instead. He's one of Shakespeare's most well-developed and memorable characters. He's intelligent and quick-witted with all the best lines."
"Damn, I should've auditioned for Mercutio then," Alfred said with a grin. Arthur smiled back at him and turned to walk away, gesturing for Alfred to follow.
"No, I think you're a fitting Juliet. She's a bit naïve and childlike, but she's got a steely determination about her that the other characters lack. She gives the appearance of being docile and obedient but in reality she is logical and sober-minded –for example, when her mother asks her to love Paris, she promises only what her mother asks and does not go out of her way to try to love him, and when Romeo is banished from Verona, she does not immediately and blindly follow him into banishment but takes the time to consider her choices in the matter. And in the end, she has more nerve and bravery in her than Romeo has –he killed himself with poison, while she pushed a dagger into her own heart."
They walked down the hallway in silence for a bit while Alfred digested everything he'd just been told. Did that mean Arthur thought those things about them? That he was childlike but loyal, naïve but determined, brave?
"You sure know a lot about a play you don't even like," he said to distract himself.
"It's not that I don't like Romeo and Juliet," Arthur replied, glancing sideways at Alfred as they pushed through a set of doors to the auditorium. Alfred thought that he might say something else, felt the anticipation of it in his gut, but then Francis approached, threw his arm around him, and dragged him away, saying something about spending some quality time with his Juliet before rehearsal.
"Nay, he will answer the letter's master, how he dares, being dared!" Antonio shouted from the stage.
Arthur jumped in, a savage grin on his lips. "Alas poor Romeo! he is already dead; stabbed with a white wench's black eye; shot through the ear with a love-song; the very pin of his heart cleft with the blind bow-boy's butt-shaft: and is he a man to encounter Tybalt?"
Alfred found that he liked watching Arthur during practices. The American came into this play knowing he didn't have an artistic bone in his body (in all reality, Alfred probably only received a lead role to draw the athletes in), but Arthur was a completely different story. He watched over the hours, the weeks of rehearsal as Arthur sank himself into his role almost seamlessly, a perfect fit for Mercutio.
He wasn't the only one watching –he often felt trapped between Arthur's warm, lingering gaze and Francis' leering smirk. It took him a few practice kisses to realize that the smirks he felt against his lips weren't directed at him at all, but rather at Arthur; in fact, he could practically feel the victory emanating off of the Frenchman at Arthur's fuming off stage.
And then one day, it all made sense.
Francis was trying to make Arthur jealous. Francis liked Arthur. And judging from Arthur's reaction, Arthur liked Francis. That would explain why there was always so much tension surrounding them, why they picked on each other so much.
Something inside Alfred broke and for the first time in a long time he felt helpless –definitely not the hero he always thought himself to be.
Romeo and Juliet had gone over supremely well. Class D's senior showcase had had the largest audience by far, drawn in by the promise of an all-male cast and Alfred's performance as Juliet, and miraculously no one had missed a line or a stage cue. Everyone was backstage, celebrating their success, but Arthur couldn't join them; his blood was still boiling with jealousy at having to watch Alfred and Francis kiss and he certainly didn't feel like making small talk with his classmates.
He felt like moping. Erzsebet had set this whole thing up to encourage him to finally confess his feelings –she'd told him so that day they'd voted to do Romeo and Juliet –and yet he hadn't been able to gather up the courage. He wanted to feel like he didn't deserve Alfred, but his mind was still stuck on Alfred and Francis and he couldn't help but feel like maybe he deserved him more than the frog did.
That's why when Alfred walked up to him and started babbling about his performance, Arthur decided to kiss him.
Arthur expected Alfred to be surprised. He'd expected that the poor boy would pull away and hit him, shun him, be disgusted by him. But he hadn't expected Alfred to pull back almost as soon as their lips touched and say in a very dejected and confused tone of voice: "but I thought you liked Francis?"
Arthur couldn't help it –he laughed.
"Don't laugh!" Alfred wailed, face flushed with embarrassment. "I thought he was using me to make you jealous!"
"Alfred, love," Arthur said, reaching a hand up to gently touch the side of Alfred's face. "He was trying to make me jealous, but not because we like each other."
When Alfred just continued to look at him, adorably confused, Arthur rolled his eyes. "Do you really need me to spell everything out for you? It's you I love, you idiot!"
"Yes really!" Arthur exclaimed, exasperated. He bit his lip and paused, suddenly nervous. "Do…do you love me, too, or should I go and murder Erzsebet and Francis now?"
"Oh, uh… 'My bounty is as boundless as the sea, my love as deep; the more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite,'" Alfred sighed, moving into Arthur's personal space once again.
"'O blessed, blessed night! I am afeared. Being in night, all this is but a dream, too flattering-sweet to be substantial,'" Arthur murmured, resting his forehead against Alfred's in relief.
"But Arthur, those are Romeo's lines, not Mercutio's."
"Mm, you're right. What if we make our own lines?"
"…that was really cheesy, Arthur," Alfred said, laughing gently.
"Yes, well, ah…" the Brit floundered, provoking more warm puffs of laughter from the American before he suddenly found himself being kissed.
And this time, neither of them pulled away.
"I told you this would work!" Erzsebet exclaimed excitedly. "Aren't they just precious?!"
"I suppose, if by precious you really mean awkward," Francis replied, smirking. "Still, I guess that's just proof that they really do belong together."
They turned away from the pair now making out heavily on the black box couch and started out the back door.
"Don't really want to see them having sex though," Francis grumbled.
"…I wouldn't mind."
AN: I got all my quotes from opensourceshakespeare. com because I'm too lazy to grab my Shakespeare anthology oops. Also it's true that in Shakespeare's time, men would have performed all the female roles.
Anyway, thank you all for reading! If you liked it and want the opportunity to send me your own prompts, please follow me at trumpet-geek. tumblr. com!
TG (c) October 24, 2012