The world that this is set in is very similar to the world created by Lisa Mantchev in her Eyes Like Stars trilogy. In fact, I was debating putting it in that fandom, but the only thing I really used from that series is the setting. The characters, I altered myself. Though, if anyone thinks I should move fandoms, let me know. (that is, assuming you've read the Eyes Like Stars trilogy. Many haven't, unfortunately. As brilliant as it is, it is vastly underappreciated and for that fact, I mourn.) Anyway, the gist of the idead for the setitng is this; all the characters from all the plays in the world 'live' in this sort-of theatre. They get food from the green room, (I know that's mostly used for tv, but I couldn't think of what else to call it.) their dressing rooms are where they sleep and such and sometimes they perform their plays for an audience. If you have any questions about it, feel free to PM me, or ask in a review.
Ophelia/Mercutio = 3 Their madness is beautiful and when this idea came to me, I just couldn't do anything else until I wrote it out. Here's what came of it!
The first time she really sees him she is hiding in the curtains, stage left. It is the beginning of Act Three and he is dying. They are performing in front of a full house and there are people lining the walls and the doors and every single one of them is silent, captivated by him. And how could they not be? He dies spectacularly; he is burning brightly with the exuberance of being young and then suddenly with one big explosion of light, color and sound he is gone, just like a star going supernova.
With a few shouted words and a character appropriate, but grim joke he manages to bring the entire theatre to near tears and throw Romeo into a fit of anguished rage the likes of which she has never seen before. Even she, Ophelia, who has one of the most heartbreaking deaths (or so Katherina tells her) there is and has perished on that stage more times than she likes to remember, has never been able to accomplish a thing like that.
The lights fade out for the next scene and she watches, enthralled as the stage opens up to take his and Tybalt's bodies away. She doesn't even remember what or whom she was hiding from that night; the only thing she remembers is thinking how have I never noticed him before?
After that night, Ophelia can't seem to stop noticing him. It seems like everywhere she goes, he is there. When she goes to the prop department for a new hairbrush, he is there, trying out a new sword. When she walks backstage to Juliet's dressing room because Juliet is a ball of nerves before a performance, he is there, sauntering down the hall like he owns it towards his own dressing room.
When she goes to the green room to get some chocolate cookies because Katherina insisted that a girl's night was not a girl's night without chocolate cookies, he is there, flirting with Glinda and Elphaba to get the last piece of strawberry shortcake.
She grabs the cookies as quickly as she can, refusing to look in their direction. Ophelia isn't sure why, but suddenly she isn't in the mood for sweets anymore.
The next time they pass each other backstage she must not be as subtle in her staring as she thought because he turns to her and winks. Ophelia huffs at him and turns away, feigning indignance in place of embarrassment at being caught.
She hears his low laugh over her shoulder as he vanishes into his dressing room. She tells herself the heat in her cheeks is just anger at his arrogance. But the second his door closes behind him, she whips around to read the name on the door. Mercutio.
Ophelia knows what they say about her. She hears the whispers behind the cupped hands of the chorus girls and most of the other players. Unstable. Crazy.
Basket case. Her own 'true love' had come up with the last one.
Hamlet never failed to take every opportunity he could to create or use a new "term of endearment" as he called them, on her. That is, when he wasn't out trying to sleep with every player in the theatre. She had seen him, with Lady Macbeth this time; disappear into the costume chamber a half hour ago.
Ophelia tries her best to pretend that it doesn't hurt, the way Hamlet needs to flirt like he needs to breathe and takes lover after lover, without a thought to
what Ophelia might think or feel. So far she's managed to fool everyone but herself.
Her best friends can usually be distracted by cookies, boys and movie marathons and when they can't Ophelia convinces them that she is perfectly capable of handling this in a composed and healthy manner. And if she drowns herself a few more times a week than she is technically supposed to, that's no one's business but her own.
She is on her way to the main stage to do just that, when she bumps into something hard and falls to the floor. A pair of strong arms reach down to help her up and Ophelia has to fight the urge to sigh, because of course, it just had to be him.
"Thank you," she says, not looking him in the eyes. He gives her a combination of a smile and a smirk.
"You are most welcome." He doesn't let go of her hand. "I'm Mercutio." The "I know" slips out before Ophelia can stop it. She ignores his now full-on smirk, tosses her hair back haughtily to distract from her blush and quickly adds;
"I am Ophelia." Mercutio continues to smirk at her.
"I know." He still doesn't let go of her hand. She doesn't bother to hide her blush this time and is about to reply, when a group of chorus girls walk by, snickering.
"Aww, look! The crazies are bonding; how sweet. Maybe they'll get together and have a whole batch of lunatics! That is if she doesn't scare even him away first!" They delve into another round of cackling as they parade away.
The backs of Ophelia's eyes grow hot before she can stop them and she bows her head, squeezing them shut.
You can't take much more of this. A little voice whispers. They may be airheads, but you have to admit, they might be right. It echoes the laughter of the chorus girls. Shut up! She tells it, shutupshutupSHUTUP! She doesn't look up, doesn't want to see either the pity or the mirth in Mercutio's eyes.
"Excuse me," she manages to choke out and tries to run- but Mercutio has her hand captured in a grip like iron. She tugs again and again, desperately trying to get free, but to no avail. Finally, Ophelia stops struggling and just stands there, breathing hard and not even trying to hide the tears streaming down her cheeks anymore and she's just, she's just so tired-
Mercutio tugs her forward again, buries her face in his chest and just holds her as she starts to sob.
"Hush now," he whispers. "It's okay. I know, I know. Shh . . ." She doesn't know how long they stand there, just holding each other. It's only when she pulls back, sniffling, to wipe her eyes that she realizes that she has soaked and possibly ruined the front of his shirt and he doesn't seem to care; he is only looking at her, concern in his eyes.
Hamlet would never have done anything like this for her. For some reason, the thought fills her with a strange kind of warmth instead of the crippling sorrow it usually would. Mercutio senses that she is done her blubbering fit and gives her a bright smile.
"C'mon," he says, "I heard the green room was going to have ice cream sundaes today. If we get there fast enough, maybe we can get some and go drop little bits onto the Capulet house guards from the rafters."
Even though Juliet is one of her best friends, and even though Ophelia is supposed to meet Hamlet for tea in less than an hour (though he'll probably still be busy trying on kilts with his newest conquest) and even though it is definitely not the kind of thing Ophelia normally does and even though a lot of things; Ophelia just giggles, wipes her last tear off of her cheek and says,
After that they are hardly ever apart. Every morning Mercutio is waiting for her in the green room with a cup of raspberry rooibos tea and a story that always ends up making her laugh so hard it comes out of her nose. Eventually Ophelia learns to swallow only when he pauses to take a breath and even then sometimes she has to dab at her nose with his handkerchief.
Mercutio shows her how to fly on the wires like the fairies and Ophelia teaches him the names of all the flowers and herbs she knows and how to make medicines out of them. She learns how to fence and how to use a myriad of curse words that she didn't even know existed until Mercutio challenged one of the pirates from "The Little Mermaid" to a duel. The pirates, incidentally, turn out to be better teachers than Mercutio.
She goes to every one of his performances, watches as he burns so bright, right up until his death, mesmerized until the moment the sword pierces his body. He says that steel feels cold and clean, and that it's actually a very pleasant way to die. Ophelia tells him what it's like to drown, to feel the air being squeezed out of her lungs and replaced by heavy wetness and Mercutio just listens, gently rubbing circles into the back of her hand with his thumb. Ophelia can't remember the last time she's felt so happy, so content.
Laertes tells her she's being foolish. Gertrude goes even further and tells her that she's stupid and that she finds her new 'friendship' revolting and to never bring it up in her presence again. Katherina tells her that she's happy that Ophelia is, but that she shouldn't be happy just because of some man. Juliet seems to be the only one that is truly happy for her, but half the time Juliet is so wrapped up in her husband she doesn't realize half of what is going on. Hamlet won't even look at her. Ophelia hates how much it still hurts.
The first time they kiss it's teeth and tongue and somehow everything and nothing like what she was expecting. They're coming back from dinner with the pirates and they're play-arguing about something (again) and she's just about to snap out a witty retort, when suddenly, Mercutio holding her face in his hands and his lips are on hers. Almost immediately Ophelia relaxes into it, reaches up to twine her fingers in his hair, so unlike Hamlets-
And then it's like someone has dunked her in ice water. Oh, God, Hamlet! Part of her screams. The other part, the part that is still kissing Mercutio counters that if Hamlet takes multiple lovers, why should Ophelia not be able to do the same? The answer comes almost immediately and with it brings equal amounts mix of exhilaration and fear; because Mercutio isn't like one of Hamlet's conquests, is he? He is more, so much more.
It's that realization that shakes Ophelia to her core. It goes against every word and every part of her that Shakespeare wrote, that has been ingrained into her, since the time she appeared on the Stage Grande so many years ago. Shakespeare did not write an Ophelia that had the ability to love another. And certainly not one who isn't even in her own story. But yet, Ophelia can feel the truth in the fast pace of her heart and the lightness she feels throughout her body.
And it feels so right, being here with him, but she can't get the feelings of confusion and wrong out of her mind fast enough and when he pulls away to look at her she knows, she knows what Mercutio sees in her eyes and it isn't what is plainly broadcasted to Ophelia in his.
Slowly, the light dims from his eyes and his face becomes expressionless. Up until now, Ophelia has always thought the worst feeling in the world is having someone you love furious and shouting at you. Now, looking at the blank mask that has become Mercutio's face, she realizes that she was very, very wrong.
He all but slaps her hands away when she reaches out to him. As he turns and walks away, Ophelia sees something tiny glistening on his cheek and then she is done for. The pain in her chest is so great she can hardly stand to breathe and she is sure that the whole world can hear her heart breaking in two. The second Mercutio is out of sight; Ophelia collapses to the floor, hugs her knees and sobs.
Somehow she makes it back to her dressing room. She stays holed up inside for three days with the door locked and does nothing but sleep, cry and mope. On the fourth day, Katherina and Juliet pick the lock on the door and stay with her, feeding her chocolate, watching movies and distracting her with mindless girl talk until Ophelia can convince them that she's okay again.
And she is, for the most part. After that day, everything goes back to the way it was before Mer- he entered her life. Ophelia is on her way to the green room to get snacks for movie night because apparently it's her turn again when she looks up and sees a figure, lounging against the wall not ten feet from her. Her heart gives a little jump.
"Mercutio?" she calls, softly, hopefully. "Is that you?" The figure steps out into the light and the little sliver of hope in her heart crumbles when she sees that it is Hamlet, a look of disgust marring his handsome face.
"Oh, how the tables have turned," he sneers at her, echoing the voice inside her head. "There was a time, dear Ophelia when it was me, you would have called for with such hope." Ophelia swallows and takes a step back at the absolutely predatory look on his face. She clears her throat before answering.
"There was. But those days are gone."
"Ah, yes. Your new 'friend' being the cause of that, I imagine? Tell me, how is he?" Ophelia says nothing and stares at the ground and Hamlet chuckles darkly.
"Oh yes, that's right! Even with his own madness you still proved to be too much of a basket case for even him to love!" Hamlet just smirks at her; Ophelia has to bite her lip to keep it from trembling and his smirk widens. But he is so very wrong if he thinks that she is shaking from fear.
"You don't know what you're talking about!" she is screaming at him before she can stop herself and then suddenly everything is spilling out of her at once.
"You have absolutely no right to go about making assumptions about me and what I do and who I fall in love with! None! You don't know anything about Mercutio and you don't know anything about me because you are incapable of caring for anyone other than yourself! You're just angry that I fell in love with someone else and you'll never have the ability to love anything, you cruel, loathsome bas-" Ophelia hears the loud crack, before she feels the stinging pain in her cheek and realizes what happened.
"Bitch," Hamlet growls. "How dare you speak to me like that? After all I've done for you. You ungrateful wench! Listen to me, Ophelia. Every girl in this theatre would die to be in your shoes. You are nothing but a pathetic, useless, excuse for a girl. And yet, here I am, giving your unstable waste of space, a second chance to love me; like you're supposed to. Did that just slip your mind, Ophelia? You were written to love me. It's time to stop living in your stupid little fantasy world with who-cares-what-his-name-is and come back to reality. This is a very generous favour I'm doing you Ophelia, do not make me regret it." With a last menacing look, Hamlet stalks away.
Ophelia tries to calm herself down; closes her eyes and takes deep and heavy breaths. When it doesn't work, she lets out a frustrated, guttural noise and throws the bucket sitting next to her down the hall in the direction Hamlet had gone.
After a few more deep breaths, she deems herself socially acceptable and continues her way to the green room, though food is the last thing on her mind right now. She doesn't see the figure that steps out from behind the curtains and follows after the bucket.
When Ophelia walks back to her dressing room from the stage the next day, freshly drowned and hair wet, she sees Hamlet walk by with another girl on his arm. She's about to turn away, when she notices something on his face. Ophelia takes a double-take and gasps. Hamlet has a black eye.
He turns at the sound and when his eyes catch sight of Ophelia, murderous rage seeps onto his face and she just knows. Without a second thought she drops everything and runs as fast as she can down the familiar route to Juliet's dressing room- except this time, she stops in front of a different door.
She raises her hand to knock, when the door opens and all of the sudden Mercutio is there, he is right in front of her and all of the words she had been rehearsing in her head on the way over fly completely out of her head and she just stands there, staring at him. There's so much she has to say, so much she has to apologise for – She swallows. Clears her throat. Takes a deep breath and;
"Mercutio, I-" He puts his hand over her mouth and Ophelia stares up at him, wide eyed. He slides his hand up to trace the mark on her cheek before letting it slide down her neck, her shoulder, her arm . . . and finally, he takes her hand in his, twining their fingers together.
"Shh," he says. "I know." Ophelia looks down at their clasped hands and then back up at Mercutio and smiles, because no matter what happens now, she can handle it. Everything is going to be okay.