Despite being sorted into Slytherin first year, Mercutio was often found in the other three common rooms. His best friends and brother were spread out in the other houses and he wanted to be with them. The teachers tried to stop him, but he did he research and discovered that since he was there with permission there was no rule against it.
He still slept in the Slytherin dorms (though in later years he could be found on the Ravenclaw couch) and he earned (or rather lost) points for Slytherin and was their Quidditch team's Seeker. He was, as he liked to call himself, a man of all houses.
Plus, he confided, he was sure many of his fellow Slytherins were glad he spent his time in other houses.
Mercutio, quite frequently found himself surrounded by first and second years who wanted to hear his stories. He's always had a knack for storytelling. Did you really save the Sorcerer's Stone? And the dragon, tell us about the dragon Mercutio. Oh, oh, your Patronus, we heard you could do a Patronus at thirteen. Mercutio pretended to be annoyed but he really liked kids. He didn't mind telling stories, though he often added embellishments.
The kids were scared of the war, they were scared of the tales they heard about You-Know-Who and they were scared of the dark reputation that preceded Slytherin.
But this boy, this boy who transfigured his friends homework to chase (and occasionally Filch) around, this boy was not evil.
This boy who defeated Voldemort as a baby would surely do it again if he needed to. He assured them he's do it, no worries. People trusted him.
In later years, when news of an attack, or disappearance was on the front page of the news, Mercutio could be told telling anyone who was nervous exactly how he would defeat Voldemort. It often involved very complicated spells, that, unbeknownst to the kids, did not exist. This earned a smile from the older students. Even during our fifth year, when the Prophet denounced him, and dragged his name through the mud, and said he was just like his father, he continued his stories, to anyone who would listen.
During fourth year, when someone entered him into the Triwizard Tournament with the hopes of killing him, he excelled. To this day he loves telling people how the dragon nearly burned him alive (it singed him at best, but he tells me that's not very exciting).
He fell in love with a Muggleborn (technically a Half-Blood, but no one knew that yet) and his two best friends were the epitome of the term blood traitors.
He would have made Salazar Slytherin want to pitch himself off the Astronomy Tower.
But, oh how he suffered. The people who cared for him were routinely ripped from his life. At fourteen the man who murdered his mother returned before his very eyes. At fifteen the man who had raised him, who had loved him as if he were his own was killed and he used to dream horrible things, that he was inside Voldemort's head. Sometimes he woke up screaming.
His brother was often away on top secret missions and only rarely sent vague letters that told us things were fine, but then he's disappear for weeks on end. We'd scan the news every morning, praying his name was nowhere to be found.
I'm getting ahead of myself. You don't even know who Mercutio is, and if you do, it's only as a hero, the hero who saved us all. I grew up hearing stories of the boy who lived. We all did. He was famous before he could even walk.
Let me tell you about when I met him, before he was a proper hero, before all that. He was an 11 year old boy, in an oversized jacket, and legs that didn't quite reach the floor when he sat on the train.
Voldemort (You-Know-Who) tried to kill him, when he was just a baby. Something about a prophecy. The curse rebounded and Mercutio survived. Voldemort's soul was ripped from his body. His uncle, Antonio, an employee at the Ministry was the first on the scene. His sister was dead, but his nephew had survived. Thankfully he had been babysitting Valentine, Mercutio's brother. Their father was missing, but we'll get to that later.
People toasted in secret to Mercutio, the boy who lived. He's brought down the most powerful dark wizard in years. But their uncle raised them away from all that. He left his job at the Ministry and brought them up in a quiet country home. Mercutio told me he loved that house and the surrounding area. He and his brother could play Quidditch in the backyard as the nearest Muggle was miles away.
When I met Mercutio on the train, he was as humble as could be. He laughed when I asked if I could see his scar. We met Tomasso then, a blonde boy who nervously asked if he could sit in our compartment as everywhere else was full. I like to think we all developed some sort of friendship by the time the train arrived at school.
Tomasso and I were sorted first, into Ravenclaw and Gryffindor respectively. Tomasso took a seat across from Mercutio's brother who I met briefly on the train.
The sorting hat paused for a moment when placed on Mercutio's head. He didn't look nervous, though I would have been. I always forget how short he used to be.
When the hat called out Slytherin, the Great Hall fell deathly quiet, I remember it like it was yesterday.
Mercutio only shrugged, like he hadn't been sorted into the same house as his mother's murderer. He turned to Professor McGonagall and said, "I think I'll sit with my brother if it's all the same to you," and he plopped himself at the Ravenclaw table before anyone could stop him. No one had really been expecting that, not even Valentine judging from the look on his face.
Mercutio flitted between his own common room, my common room and the Ravenclaw common room. McGonagall only gave an exasperated sigh when he explained the rules, or rather lack thereof. People like Mercutio.
We saved the Sorcerer's Stone that year, Mer, Tomasso and I. He had his first real encounter with Voldemort. He laughs now at how easy that had been.
"It wasn't even hard Ben, he just sort of died."
Second year was very different. Romeo, my younger cousin came to school and was sorted into Hufflepuff, so Mercutio added that to his common room rotation.
But that year someone opened the Chamber of Secrets. A horrible monster was let out that targeted Muggleborns. Everyone convinced themselves it was Mercutio, partially because we all (Mercutio included) found out he could talk to snakes. He was banned from all common rooms that were not his own, though I think he still snuck into Ravenclaw with his uncle's invisibility cloak.
But when Tomasso got attacked, that suspicion went away quickly. No matter what, he would never attack Tomasso. One by one, someone slipped him the other passwords.
And Romeo got taken, down into the chamber. Thank Merlin we saved him. Mercutio tells kids the Basilisk was at least a hundred feet long, which I don't think he was exaggerating.
Third year, Mercutio really began his storytelling career. Younger students started clamoring to hear him talk.
He learned to produce a Patronus too, after the Ministry, fearful of an Azkaban breakout placed Dementors as the new security.
This year, Mercutio and Head Boy (We're so proud) Valentine learned the horrible truth about their father. That was the same man who escaped Azkaban, the man who sold him and his mother out to Voldemort. Antonio had raised them with his last name, to shield them for as long as he could.
The horror on my friends face is something I still think about. Tomasso was the only one who could talk him into forgiving his uncle.
The news got out, as news always does, but instead of the awful reaction we imagined, people laughed. Mercutio figured out how to bewitch the Great Hall banners to display insults, (which Valentine was pretty impressed by) he was not a Death Eater.
Fourth year marked the end of our childhood, though we didn't know that going in.
Though still regaled for his storytelling, a nomad of common rooms, and terrible at Potions, Mercutio got entered into the Triwizard Tournament. I'll admit, Romeo and I were angry, what he wanted more fame and fortune?
But after that first task, we realized that no sane person would enter. This was all very suspicious, especially considering the Dark Mark we had seen over the summer.
However, there was more important things to deal with. Mercutio asked Tomasso to the Yule Ball, as friends of course. Romeo and Rosaline Capulet, who turned him down.
And after that third task, our worst fears were confirmed, no more ignoring it.
Voldemort was really back.
The Order of the Phoenix was once again called to arms, and they wouldn't let us join.
It was really a tossup on who at Hogwarts would believe Mercutio and who would believe the smear campaign the Ministry was running ("Son of notorious Death Eater…" or "Slytherin student…")
The kids (and Merlin, we were all so young) who did believe him, were terrified. But Mercutio never showed them any fear.
In fact, sometimes after his stories, even I felt more reassured.
"I'm only in Slytherin because I'll do anything to get Tomasso to go out with me." He once told a group of Ravenclaw first years, "Right Tomasso?"
We formed our own defenses as the Ministry appointed a horrid woman to ensure we would be clueless as to how to protect ourselves.
Mercutio was a brilliant teacher and I think he and Tomasso kissed that Christmas, though I can never get a straight answer from either of them. Mercutio was a brilliant Seeker on top of everything else (and this is the only year Slytherin didn't take the cup and I think it's because Mercutio got banned.)
But his uncle died that year, killed by his father at the Ministry. I do not think he will ever truly come to terms with that. And the world finally knew Voldemort was back. As if that was really any consolation.
Sixth year was a strange one. Juliet Capulet agreed to go out with Romeo. Mercutio started reassuring people that he was just going to punch Voldemort in the face. But so much of the light was gone from his eyes. I know he spent most of his nights with Tomasso. He Slytherin peers were joining their parents (whether voluntarily or not) in Voldemort's ranks and he couldn't stay there. It seemed as if every day brought more bad news.
Mercutio could be heard saying things like, "I've already got a plan, involving very complex magic dating back to Merlin himself, you needn't worry" to a group of second years and "I may just give up the wand and tackle him. That worked with Tybalt Capulet" to some fourth years, and "I have no idea what I am doing" to us over breakfast.
He was such a presence in the school and I know people looked up to him. The only thing that changed his demeanor was thinking about his brother. The vague letters were meant to be reassuring but they were not.
I know people were still wary of Mercutio. The Slytherin bias in so many came to the surface. Finally, in some sort of last ditch effort, after lunch one day, Mercutio pulled Tomasso into a kiss that caused several Slytherins to make a slightly horrified face and Tomasso to need to sit to compose himself. People relaxed a bit after that.
Dumbledore died that year and we knew it was no longer safe to return to school, and we had a job. We needed to find the bits of Voldemort's soul so we could kill him. We did not return to Hogwarts for our final year.
When we did, Mercutio discovered he could still calm a crowd. He explained what he was going to do in hushed tones, as if he couldn't manage a louder voice. Tomasso cried, I couldn't find any words.
He smiled, told us he was going to see his mother and uncle, kissed Tomasso and made us swear not to follow.
The scream that came from Tomasso was inhuman. Valentine has to hold him back. Mercutio's lifeless body is right there. People stare. How can he be dead, the question hangs in the air. Rosaline leans on me slightly. He can't be. He can't be dead. He had so much life in him.
Voldemort gloats. He's won. Our savior is dead.
But just then, when we think it's all over, Mercutio hops up, smirking and the battle continues.
When Voldemort dies, it's just like everyone else. I think he would have hated it and the thought makes me smile. People start to gather, insisting on a story. People are tired and covered in blood. They've lost parents and friends and family. Tomasso's face is still tear streaked but he manages to smile.
Mercutio's story is one of love and friendship and sacrifice. Adults listen in too because they've just as scared and confused and relieved as the kids. I'm happy to say every child had someone to take them home, though no family was truly untouched by the war.