A Tale Within A Tale (Fan-fiction)A Story by Julius Whimbird
Where Romeo is stopped from committing suicide at the end of the story. His savior is an unlikely person with a tale all their own. One that's been going on behind the scenes 'til now. Minor slash!
A Tale Within a Tale
Romeo descended from the stone stairwell of the Capulet tomb. His cerulean eyes adjusted to the darkness, the torch aiding the process. Soon enough, the former noble teen could make out the bodies of the late Capulets. He spotted his wife’s not too far away from his own position. The distance between them ebbed as he drew nearer. “Juliet,” he whispered as lightly as the breeze that drifted through the tomb.
Next to the corpse of Juliet was her beloved cousin, Tybalt, the Prince of Cats. His stone-cold hands overlapped each other on his broad chest. Romeo’s body trembled at his cousin-in-law’s presence. He felt as though Tybalt would abruptly rise and lunge at him. A lump formed in his throat, but Romeo turned his attention to his fair lady, Juliet. The blond took no notice of the dark figure standing a few feet away from him.
The unknown person who stood shrouded in darkness observed the teen. He watched from a little beyond Tybalt’s corpse, as Romeo spoke sweet nothings to his dead lover. However, he did not make a move until the young man pulled out a small vial and said that with it, he would die. “No!” the shrouded one cried, revealing himself.
“Benvolio?!” Romeo let the name escape his lips in surprise. The other Montague held in place the hand that wielded the poison. “What is the reason you are here?”
“I believe the better inquiry is why you’d sink so low that death is your only escape out of the depths of despair!” Benvolio clamored in response. His cousin could not even muster a peep. Romeo had never seen Benvolio become so enraged. “Suicide is a disgusting act " the lowest of the low! Only scum would resort to such filth! You are no scum, yes?”
There was a pause that, to Romeo, lasted decades. He gazed into the burning hazel eyes of his kin. Not only did anger blaze, but pain and sadness flickered. “Forgive me, coz,” he apologized, as said coz released him. “Forgive me for being so womanly.” The dark-blond-haired teen felt himself be pulled into an embrace. “Benvolio?”
“I apologize as well, dear Romeo. Harsh words were not necessary and I overstepped my boundaries,” Benvolio whispered in his kinsman’s ear, voiced laced with regret. Romeo could feel his cousin’s waved mahogany locks brush his cheek. “Death himself has visited me twice..”
“Alack! What e’er do you mean?” the blue-irised youth wondered softly. Benvolio pulled away to face Romeo.
“Your mother has crossed the river Styx during the black hours of early morrow. She wept for her boy who she feared she’d never see again.” The younger Montague was taken aback at the news. Not only have I lost my wife, I have lost my mother, too, thought Romeo. Marry a sad night it is. Romeo fought off the urge to fall to his knees as tears welled in his eyes. However, this did not stop him from noticing that something else was out of place.
“Benvolio, I pray you, may I ask a small question.”
“Why art thou hither. Methinks thou hast been sitting in this place for hours long.” Benvolio did not respond right away. This appeared strange to the latter Montague. Why does he hesitate? Romeo inwardly queried. He watched the fragile-looking male slothly glide toward Juliet’s cousin’s corpse. Romeo’s sky-hued eyes widened considerably. Had he come… for Tybalt.
“If e’er was thither a contented foe, Sir Tybalt was one such,” the brownish-red-locked youth wispily spoke. His fragile frame was leaning slightly over the body. Romeo was at a loss for words at the news, his mind deprived of any distinguishable thought. “We had been lost in each other for three years now. They were so wonderful and merry.”
“Pardon me, coz? For a decade that has lost seven of its years, you have been seeing a Capulet?” Romeo inquired in disbelief. “How did you"”
“"keep it a secret?” Benvolio finished. “We met once every fortnight. The two of us would wait for the other at a location even now I refuse to disclose.”
“Oh… clever was your plan. Being away from each other for as long as you could bear made it harder to see for prying eyes.” The romantic’s cousin nodded in agreement.
“Aye, and if we were to meet in public, we were to hate each other.” Romeo thought back to the fight that happened a few days ago, where the servants of both feuding parties fought sword-to-sword. From what he heard, Benvolio and Tybalt were against each other. It must’ve been hard for them to do that. Had Tybalt really wanted to harm him, he would have done so easily, the teen pondered.
“I pray for your pardon, coz, perchance you could tell me your tale of your first meeting? You and Tybalt, that is,” Romeo asked curiously, gliding over to the other Montague. He ogled at the womanly hand that caressed the cold cheek of the Prince of Cats.
“Mmm, it’s hard to remember when our hearts found each other. Three years have bygone since then. However, I do recall us being in the middle of the woods surrounding Verona. Thither were insults and methinks a duel or two. It took me many-a-time to get him to speak with me civilly. To be honest, I do not know the reason for my desire to want to know Tybalt. A foreign force just urged me to do so.”
“Eventually… he acquired the feeling as well?”
“Aye, he said to me that it was uncharacteristic of him to even want to be in the same chamber as a Montague.” Benvolio’s mind wandered back to the time of Tybalt’s confession, and his own in turn.
A lithely-built youth strolled down the palace of Prince Escalus. His wavy hair hung off his head in a strangely elegant way. The teen, Benvolio of the Montague house, had come as an escort to his uncle. Lord Montague, as well as other nobleman, was attending a meeting involving the discussion of civil affairs. No one else volunteered to vouchsafe absence from their original plans for the day, so he graciously took the office. Upon arrival, a few aristocrats mistook Benvolio for a cross-dressing woman, which he assertively denied. Such insolence! he begrudgingly thought.
As everyone appeared for the conference, the mahogany-haired boy spotted the Capulets: Lord and Lady Capulet, their daughter, and Tybalt. Youths were dismissed when the meeting began and Tybalt was ordered to guard the girl. They, too roamed the corridors of the extravagant castle. Benvolio could not help but observe them for awhile, especially the raven-haired bodyguard. In time, the fifteen-year-old grew weary of watching and ecided to go amuse himself another way. However, he did not notice that the Prince of Cats was aware of his presence.
“Juliet, wait here,” his heavy voice spoke. The brunette child nodded in obedience as her coz left her side.
Tybalt of the Capulet house rounded a few corners and stalked down a few short corridors. He had finally found his watcher and immediately caught up with him. “Benvolio!” he barked aggressively. Benvolio was spun around so he was facing the irritated man.
“Oh! Good morning, Sir Tybalt,” the reddish-brunette greeted him meticulously with a hint of surprise.
“Enough of your act of innocence, you filthy Montague! Your game of watching is over!” The Prince of Cat’s grip on the latter became firmer… or tighter, to be more accurate.
“Eh? I know not of what you say. Do explain, good man.” A slight smirk graced his effeminate features. However, that immediately disappeared when a hand made contact with his cheek.
“Hard of hearing, Benvolio?” Tybalt spat. “Don’t think me a fool, for I could tell that you were the wolf stalking his herd of elk! I will give you the chance to explain, but either way, you’ll face my wrath.” The Montague trembled ever so lightly and his palms became sweaty. He did not wish to start a brawl, but if it had to come to that, he would not hold back.
Choosing his words carefully, Benvolio finally said, “I tell no lies, I suppose. So, yes, you could say I was hunting you. However, let it be known that I meant no harm. I just… could not help myself.” Tybalt noticed a small dusting of rosiness on the smaller man’s face. Such a beauty, he inwardly admired; however, his sense of character came back to chide him. Wait! A beauty? This lowly scum is not in the slightest beautiful! How could I think such things about a Montague? As of late, the Capulet’s thoughts have been unrealistic when regarding the fair Benvolio. He had even considered befriending him! Why, oh, why do I have such a horrid mind?
“Tybalt, good sir, your holding me rather harshly,” Benvolio brought up in a shy tone His melodic voice curtailed the seventeen-year-old’s pondering, which earned him a hard glare. “D-do you mind letting me " um " go?”
That did it! Tyalt had been holding back for a fortnight and these emotions were eroding his excellent façade of a ruffian. The ebony-locked man, with blinding speed, planted his lips on the Montagues’s modestly-plump ones.
Benvolio’s hazel irises lit up in surprise and his body became still. Tybalt is… kissing me? his mind questioned. It feels so strange. Yet, I do not wish to pull away… even if it would not be for naught. He took into account the strong hands that held him in place. The young man let out a small nervous moan.
Tybalt Capulet growled in echo and released Benvolio’s lips. Dumbfounded was the latter and his eyes glistened with wanton need. The well-built man just looked down on him in slight satiation and curiosity. He waited for Benvolio to react to his actions.
Finally, he heard, “You kiss by the book, kin of Capulet. It’s true that you really are full of surprises.”
“Hmph,” Tybalt grunted, “do not take that as a token of affection. The kiss was for naught.”
“I expected nothing less from you.” Although, I wish it was for much more, Benvolio disappointedly thought.
The Prince of Cats didn’t let the latter’s heavy expression go unnoticed. He felt regret for his words " that the kiss held no meaning. His heart ached with guilt and, impulsively, embraced Benvolio Montague. Uncharacteristically so, Tybalt spoke softly, “I do not understand how you, a dirty Montague, can crack this iron mask I wear.”
“Tybalt?” Benvolio squeaked and peeked up from his supposed-enemy’s velvet-clad chest.
“These feelings of uneasiness come over me when you are near, small Benvolio. My guard is lowered and I lose my steady hand. All because of your presence.” Dark-chocolate and hazel eyes locked together in strange passion. Their faces drew nearer until finally… they locked lips for a second time. Benvolio’s thin arms looped around Tybalt’s neck; Tybalt’s, around Benvolio’s waist. No words were needed. The kiss was enough.
“Benvolio?” Romeo spoke up, “Coz, you are looking into thin air.” The mahogany-brunette snapped out of his thoughts and turned to the latter.
“O! Forgive me, for I was taking a look into the past,” he clarified with a faint smile. Romantic Romeo echoed the action, but something still churned in his stomach. Does he resent me for taking away his love? he wondered in his head. It would only be logical. Silence overcame the two kin. Neither had anything to say or were lost for words.
The fair-tempered one finally let out a hefty sigh. An unfamiliar sound of rustling reached his ears, causing him to perk up. He turned to the origin of the noise and saw a sight unseen before. “My, my… what have we here?” Benvolio queried as soft as a wind that gently sweeps across a field. Romeo whipped around in the direction of his coz’s line of vision. His sapphire irises brightened tenfold.
“My Juliet! Dearest Juliet, you have awakened! You have escaped Death’s grasp!” Romeo rejoiced and sprinted toward her.
The girl had a split second to react before she was brought into a warm embrace. “Romeo, oh, Romeo! It is so wonderful to see you again. Off to Mantua, shall we?” Romeo looked at her with a cocked head. “Did you not receive the friar’s letter?”
“Letter? My goodness no! Not even a pigeon was sent my way. I thought you were truly dead.”
“No, my lord, I haven’t left you. I’ll never leave you to be alone in this world!” The lovers kissed as Benvolio stood afar… watching. Cupid has blessed these two. They are a beautiful pair. But, the God of Love had no love for me or my Tybalt, he sorrowfully thought. So cruel is fate. Hazel eyes averted their gaze and turned to the still-unmoving corpse of Tybalt Capulet. “Romeo, who may he be?” Benvolio snapped out of his thoughts.
“Eh? Oh! My cousin, dear cousin, come and meet my wife!”
“He is not ignorant of us?”
“Aye! But do not worry. I don’t believe he will harm you. Right, Benvolio?”
“Ah, of course,” Benvolio, concurred, “I do not concern myself with the silly feud. Life is too short.” He bowed to his coz’s lady.
“Such a gentlemen!” Juliet admired.
“I would not go falling for him, love. Remember… you are rightfully mine,” Romeo joked, planting a kiss on the girl’s forehead. He didn’t notice the pained look in his kin’s soft hazel eyes. “Come! You spoke of making off to Mantua! So, let us hie!” The blond took his beloved by the dainty hand and away they went on Romeo’s horse, who stood outside patiently.
The thundering thumps of the equine faded as it gained distance with its two passengers. “Perchance I should turn in, as well,” the young man said to no one. He was about to plant a delicate kiss onto the cold lips of Tybalt when he was stopped by the sound of entering footsteps. Benvolio looked up and saw none other than Friar Laurence. Hmph, more disturbances, he said inwardly, begrudgingly. The religious man took a few precious seconds of time to observe the area. Then, his tired eyes rested on the latter.
“Good Benvolio?” the friar wondered. He noticed the Montague’s position over the corpse of Tybalt. “Wha-what are you doing here?”
“Fie, an active place this is tonight .” Benvolio chortled softly. Laurence just eyed him in utter bafflement. “If you must know, good friar, I was here for this man… my Tybalt.” The greenish-brown-eyed man only smiled at the other’s expression and proceeded to kiss the dead Capulet beneath him. Pure disgust was plastered on Friar Laurence’s face. “My, what a horrid facial expression. My coz had no such problem with my love.”
“Eh?! Romeo was hither?” the gray-haired man queried frantically, forgetting everything that he had just seen. “To where did he hie to?”
“Ah, he galloped off to Mantua with a young woman in toe. Her name… methinks it was Juliet,” Benvolio answered.
“Success then! Praise the Lord!” The Montague couldn’t quite grasp the whole situation, but thought nothing more of it. Laurence then turned to him after his brief celebration and said with slight jubilee, “Now, do not go spreading word to anyone about those two. I will address the matter, yes?” Benvolio only nodded and watched as the old man bounded out of the Capulet tomb.
“Such a short-term memory he has,” the fragile-framed man mused. He kissed Tybalt for the last time and sauntered out of the resting place of the late Capulets. As the youth exited the scene, a small band of silver fell to the stone floor. Small circular diamonds were embedded in it all the way around. It sparkled beautifully in the torchlight. Engraved on the inside were these words: For my enchanting Benvolio.
Three years had passed and Romeo was welcomed back into fair Verona along with Juliet. The feud was put an end to and all were friendly. However, Romeo’s frail coz had contracted the plague of pneumonia and fell into the depths of sleeping death. He was put into the Montague tomb and not with his beloved Tybalt. He would have wanted that, the blond thought. Fie! should their relationship be known, it would be condemned and, he would be deemed sinful and dreaded.
On a fine, sunny day, he and Juliet took a small trip to the Capulet tomb to pay respect to Tybalt. They would later go to see Benvolio. As the couple entered, the dark scene was lit up by the rays of the brilliant sun and, on the stone floor, was a single ring. It had become a bit damaged by water that seeped into the underground grave when it rained incredibly hard. Romeo Montague bent down to pick it up and surveyed it inquisitively. He was shocked by the words engraved inside. A faint smile then graced his lips and he thought, Perhaps I should take this to Benvolio’s grave. He’d probably find nostalgia in having this back. His pondering was suddenly interrupted by the worried words of his wife. “My lord, look!” The azure-irised man’s gaze fell into the direction of his beloved’s.
Romeo’s breath stopped for a moment at the sight. There, beside the rotted corpse of Tybalt, was a faint specter. It rested with its head on the dead hand within its own, faded ones. “Benvolio…” the name rolled off the youth’s tongue in a wispy way. As he neared the phantom of coz, it vanished like a dream. Romeo blinked in confusion but soon realized that his kin’s spirit did not dwell with its own body, but with its lover. So, on instinct, he placed the diamond-studded band on the hard bed of Tybalt.
The married pair then began to leave the tomb and, as they left, heard faint whimpers of joy. That must be Benvolio, Romeo inwardly mused. He must be joyous to have his ring back. And, indeed, the lone spirit was overjoyed to have, what could only be assumed, his engagement ring back.
© 2012 Julius Whimbird
AboutLet me introduce myself by giving myself the alias Julius Whimbird. I enjoy debating worldly issues and being enlightened by new ideas. I like to give out reviews that have constructive criticism in t.. more..