Disclaimer: Ugh. No thank you.

A/N: I hate Shakespeare. I really, really do. I wrote this one for that same teacher I wrote R&J for. Honestly. The things I do for grades sometimes… kidding. But still.

I was her favorite.

Takes place after Claudius sends Horatio after Ophelia in IV.v.


"Secrets of Halls Long Past and Gone"

Horatio watched her warily as she ambled around her chamber. Keeping an eye on Ophelia while Claudius and Company were busy with other stuff was all very well and good, but the lady hadn't stopped singing since he'd entered the room, and quite honestly, it was starting to freak him out.

Not that he'd ever admit it.

The Lady Ophelia had a certain air about her, he admitted, that promoted the idea of insanity, even without the mumbo-jumbo singing and twirling around routine. There was something… Otherworldly about her, a touch of eldritch in her eyes and face. You could somehow tell, just by looking at her, even when she was perfectly still and silent.

She isn't all here.

Maybe it was Hamlet. Certainly, that man could drive anyone to distraction. Horatio was his friend, and he loved the boy dearly, but the prince didn't exactly have all his horses in the stable, either.

Made the two of them the perfect match, didn't it?

Ophelia turned to him and smiled, a child's smile. Full of delight and cheek and smugness at having his attention all to herself. He was her new plaything, a new friend. The girl didn't know why he was there, and she didn't care. All she cared about was the one thing she was certain of: he was there for her.

He smiled back. No use in upsetting her, and he knew –from taking care of Lord Hamlet– how people could get when they were… like this. If he didn't acknowledge her favor, she'd be pouting and whining, and quite honestly, that just wasn't something Horatio felt equipped to deal with at the moment.

She danced toward him slowly, a meandering, lonely ballet that led her all over the room and yet always in his direction. He braced himself for whatever it was she wanted.

When she finally stood in front of him, she looked up at him with big eyes and said, "Are you taking care of me?"

That's when he realized that those big eyes were entirely too innocent. His own narrowed.

"Heard that, did you?"

She smiled again, but it was a woman's smile this time, telling half-formed, vague tales of secrets that he, a mere man, could not possibly understand. "The king does speak so loudly."

"He does, at that," he answered, guardedly. She beamed at him, then began circling him. Horatio began to get a horrible feeling of being… measured. He also had a feeling that he probably didn't want to be found wanting.

"My lady," he began.

She cut him off with a wave of her hand. "Shhh! I'm listening."

He couldn't help himself. "To what?"

She stepped closer abruptly and leaned her head on his chest, cheek pressed against his doublet. "To your heart," she whispered.

He stood frozen, unsure of what to do, an endless mantra of Hamletshe'sHamlet'sladywhatwould Hamletdo? running through his mind. And whilst he was caught on the proverbial horns of the dilemma that had placed itself so tantalizingly in his path, Ophelia had pulled away and was watching him with far too much amusement in her far-too-innocent eyes.

She leaned in again and he stepped back smartly. Laughter danced across her face before it suddenly became serious. "I know something you don't know," she sang softly, looking into his eyes.

He found himself caught, without warning. "What?" he croaked. She grinned at him again, that woman's smirk that said nothing and everything at once.

"The king is all at sixes and sevens, because of the rabbits in the garden."

Horatio stared at her. What?

"I beg your pardon?"

She was dancing again, away this time. "Ophelia," he tried again, because he was getting the feeling that this was sort of important. "What do you mean about the king?"

She looked over at him in exasperation. "King Claudius has got an itch." She giggled. "And he can't ever scratch." He stared at her.

"Don't you know the story of the man who came to tea –" she began singing again. Frustrated, he darted forward and grasped her upper arms.

"Ophelia! Focus for a moment, this is important!"

She gasped up at him, but he could see it now, this close to her. Deep in those eyes, a spark of sanity lurked, daring him to say something about it. He took a deep breath and gentled his grip. Now was not the time to spook her.

"Please," he said, coaxing now. "Tell me what you mean."

And now the child's smile was back, with a giggle. "Welllll…" she drew it out. "Since you said please…"

She spun away, and the song began again.

"The king in the garden was sleeping,

When upon him his brother came creeping.

And into his ear,

With disturbing good cheer,

Poured a brew from which foul smells were seeping.

'Twas the end of the monarch,

Though it wasn't for long, mark;

Thanks to that brother of his.

That's why we now sing:

'Hail! Long live the King!'

Whoever that bloody well is."

He felt his head spinning and shook it to steady himself. "Claudius killed King Hamlet?" He already knew that of course, Hamlet had told him, but how did Ophelia know about it?

A curt nod was his answer and then she was off, dancing once again, and leaving him to sort out this new information.

"Lady?" he asked tentatively. "How do you know this?"

And for the love of all that may have once been good in this world, that infuriating smile was going to be the death of him. Or her. Whichever of them he killed first.

"The king told me," she said simply.

"Claudius confessed to you?" he said dizzily.

There was that exasperated look again.

"King Hamlet told me. Really, Horatio, do try to keep up." She swept away, leaving her chambers for God only knew where. He scrambled to catch up.

"But-" he started, only to be cut off again.

"I do believe we're at an end," she sang out in a whisper. "'Tis all that's left, you know."

Lovely. She was crazy again. "Ophelia…"

She smiled up at him, the woman's smile, but this time it wasn't the smile of a thousand women through the centuries, but simply Ophelia, who was beautiful and insane and smiling at him like she once had at Hamlet.

Heaven help him, but he was in trouble.


A/N: Does Zany like crack pairings in Shakespeare's works?

Does a Twilight fangirl rub herself with a glue stick and break out the glitter on comic con day?

(Actually, I don't know that for sure. And if you are, and you do? Don't tell me about it. Really. I do not want to know.)

But the answer to the first question would definitely be a yes. In case you couldn't tell.