Disclaimer: I am not the ghost of William Shakespeare and thus, I do not own Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentleman of Verona or anything associated with either play. I am but a Shakespeare nerd who loves Bencutio.
Author's Note: Although this fanfiction is intended to be humorous overall, it does contain some serious social issues (specifically, homophobia). I do not intend in any way to make light of these issues and will do my best to treat them accordingly. That being said, this thing isn't near as dark as many of my other fan fictions. There is a fair amount of crack and an overdose of fluff.
Though the character design for Benvolio and Mercutio are based on the musical Roméo et Juliette: Les enfants de Vérone (which I don't claim to own either), a lot of other things in here were inspired by the 1968 movie adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Both the musical and the movie are excellent and I highly recommend checking them out if you haven't already done so.
The Passionate Fountain Rescue and What Came of It
From a certain angle, it really had looked like Mercutio was drowning. Alright, maybe Benvolio wanted to look like the hero for once. Or maybe he just needed an excuse to approach the attractive young man who was sprawled shamelessly in the fountain. Whatever it was, he should have known he was going to end up being humiliated.
He hadn't woken up in the morning expecting to play untrained lifeguard/first responder that afternoon. No. He had been minding his own business on his way out for his lunchbreak when he caught sight of a human form in the town square's stone fountain. The man was dressed in a flamboyant form of business casual, not the usual type of outfit one would wear for a swim in a fountain (though there weren't exactly enough people who engaged in this activity to determine what constituted proper attire), and was lying in what appeared to be a half-drunken, half-drowned stupor.
Drawing from his experience thus far with reasonable and intelligent behavior (which was tragically limited), Benvolio didn't take long to deem the stranger's behavior both hazardous and idiotic. A moment later, he was dragging the young man out of the filthy water, praying that neither of them would catch any waterborne illness in the process.
Benvolio didn't expect a long speech of gratitude. A simple "thank you" would have sufficed. He would later learn that the young man he'd just "rescued" was not exactly one for traditional manners. This became clear when the latter squirmed out of his arms, looked him straight in the eye and shouted:
"What the fuck was that?"
It was a far cry from gratitude. People were staring at them now. Benvolio was beginning to have serious regrets about his attempted heroism.
"I… I thought you were in trouble," he said. "You looked like you were drowning over there."
"I was just trying to cool myself down when you grabbed me!" the other man screamed, making Benvolio wince. "Seriously, is this some kind of weird hobby? Do you just go around looking for sexy men to snatch out of fountains so that you can carry them bridal-style to 'safety'?"
"No!" Benvolio said, wondering exactly how one would make a hobby out of snatching sexy men out of fountains. "Look, I'm sorry. I was trying to help you. I'm sorry if it made you feel uncomfortable. I'll… I'll be on my way now."
He turned to leave but the stranger caught him by the shoulder and whipped him around.
"Uncomfortable?" the stranger said, grinning like a madman. "You think that made me uncomfortable?"
Benvolio stared at him blankly. The 90% of his mind that was dedicated to logical thinking was screeching at him to run away. It generally wasn't wise to stick around lunatics one had never met before. Yet, there was something oddly appealing about this lunatic in particular.
"You acted like it made you uncomfortable," was all Benvolio could say.
"Oh, did I?" the lunatic replied. "You have much to learn about me. It's going to take a lot more than that to make me feel uncomfortable, more than you're capable of."
He took a step closer to Benvolio, who, for whatever reason, did not shrink away. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that he was pretty confident he could overpower the lunatic if the latter turned out to be dangerous. Then again, it may have had to do with the fact that the 10% of his mind which Sigmund Freud would have described as the Id had detected the presence of another man around Benvolio's age with an appealing bone structure, a full head of silky, dark curls, a suggestive glint in his eye, and other features that Benvolio really shouldn't have been focusing on at the moment.
"What you did back there," the lunatic continued, "Was one of the most exhilarating moments of my day." He brushed against Benvolio's shoulder, making the Montague blush. "Even if it was a little uncalled for and certain moments felt like they were taken out of a lousy romance novel. I hate those things, don't you? And they keep coming up with more of them, and I'm telling you they just get weirder… and not to mention the movies. You know the other day…"
His voice accelerated with every word. The lunatic could really talk forever when he wanted to. Soon, Benvolio was having seriously difficulty keeping track of the rambling. After what seemed like hours of nonsensical soliloquies, the lunatic took a deep breath and asked, "Now, what's your name?"
"Benvolio," Benvolio said before he could stop himself. The logical part of his brain was shouting at him again about all the ills that could come of giving away his name to a stranger who may or may not have been mentally unhinged. At least he hadn't revealed his last name. That would make it slightly harder for the lunatic to stalk him if the latter was so inclined.
"Benvolio," the lunatic said, pausing to think. "Benvolio Montague?"
So much for guarding his full name.
"Yeah… how did you know?" Benvolio asked.
"I know your cousin," the lunatic replied. "Romeo, right? I work with him. Well, I used to work with him before he got fired that is."
Benvolio nodded. A few days ago, Romeo had been dismissed from his last internship after following the manager's daughter home one evening, prompting his latest "true love" to call the police with reports of a stalker. To Romeo, the incident was a romantic tragedy. To Benvolio, it seemed more like a waste of a paid internship he would have killed for when he was Romeo's age, especially considering that his cousin had only met the girl a few hours before he decided to stalk her. Of course, this seemed a bit hypocritical now that Benvolio was pretty close to giving away his address, phone number, social security number and blood type to an unabashedly flirtatious man he'd met barely ten minutes ago.
"Romeo mentioned having a close friend at work," Benvolio remarked. "What's your name anyway?"
"Mercutio," the lunatic said.
"Pleased to meet you," Benvolio mumbled. "That's a nice name. It suits you."
"I was going to say unusual… uh, not to say that your name isn't adorable because it is. It's just a nice name all around, I guess…"
Mercutio let out a manic cackle. He then reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a violet post-it pad.
"You got a pen?" he asked.
Benvolio nodded. Mercutio scribbled something onto a post-it and handed it over. The handwriting was an enigma that would take some time to full decipher, but it was clear enough that Mercutio had written down his name, a phone number, and his full address.
"Um… are you sure you want to give me all this?" Benvolio asked. Flattered as he was by Mercutio's interest in him (he wasn't exactly the best at landing dates), the thought of giving this much information away to any random person on the street made his blood run cold. If they ever ended up being more than acquaintances, Benvolio vowed to instill some sense of "stranger danger" in Mercutio since his parents had evidently failed in doing so. Self-preservation was apparently a rare virtue.
"What?" Mercutio whined. "Are you not interested? What happened to the Benvolio from the Passionate Fountain Rescue?"
"It's not that I'm not interested," Benvolio tried to explain, wondering since when had he become the Benvolio from the Passionate Fountain Rescue. "It's just…"
"Are you scared?" Mercutio cut him off.
"Scared for you if this is how you handle your private details," Benvolio retorted.
"Oh, but I don't do this all the time," Mercutio insisted. "I only do it for you. This is a special occasion."
"A special occasion?"
"Yes. You're a special guy. You don't meet special guys very often. Most of the time, I'm just stuck in a crowd of assholes and boring people, but you're different."
"How do you know I'm different?"
"I just sense it."
"Uh huh. Do you have some sort of sixth sense for that?"
"Like I said, I just know that you're a special guy and I want you to have my phone number."
Benvolio sighed. Mercutio was pretty damn cute when he pouted. That was a dangerous trait to have in a romantic partner. Still, there was something unusually appealing about him.
"Okay," Benvolio said. "If you insist, I'll keep your contact info in case I need it for… something."
"Like a date."
"Um… right. Well, I'd better be on my way, but it was a pleasure to meet you. I'll tell Romeo I saw you."
"Where are you going?"
"Can I join you?" Mercutio was threatening to pout again. "Please?"
By all right, Benvolio should have refused. It wasn't in his nature to take things so fast. Looking back on that day, he shuddered to think of how easily everything could have turned into a horror story if Mercutio wasn't just a harmless madman.
"I don't see why not," Benvolio said.
It was only after lunch when they were about to part ways that he openly questioned the nature of their meeting. In response, Mercutio entered another bout of infectious (and slightly unnerving) laughter and assured his to-be partner that they had indeed just went on their first date.
A month later, they returned to the fountain in the evening for a meal at a slightly fancier restaurant. All went well until Mercutio got a little too drunk and mistook his napkin for a hat. By this point, Benvolio had had too much wine himself to care. So, their first organized date was more or less a success.
In the weeks that followed, the couple met once more at the fountain. Benvolio would later blame the hot weather for his somewhat impulsive behavior that night. Long story short, one thing had led to another and before he knew it, he was making out with Mercutio in front of the local theater. Their amorous activities were briefly interrupted when a group of angry parents approached them railing about excessive PDA. Mercutio being Mercutio decided to ignore this distraction. Benvolio didn't exactly protest. At least he managed to keep his pants on for the whole night.
It wasn't long before one of the pair's excursions ended with them tangled up together in bed. Shortly after, Mercutio was meeting Benvolio's parents for the first time. A month later, Benvolio finished his residency at the local hospital and the couple moved into a modest apartment together. Work progressed. (At least, in Benvolio's case. Mercutio remained steadily unemployed.) Their relationship progressed (despite the fact that they had already developed the tendency to argue like an old married couple).
Before he knew it, Benvolio found himself waiting at their original meeting place again, wiping sweat off of his hands and obsessively checking that a very important piece of jewelry had not slipped out of his coat pocket. Yes, he was panicking, but who could blame him when the entirety of his self-esteem and love life was at stake? He saw his cousin's car pull up by the sidewalk to let Mercutio out while Romeo supposedly searched for a parking spot.
"Is there some kind of conspiracy going on that I should know about?" Mercutio demanded as he approached Benvolio.
"What makes you say that?" Benvolio feigned innocence.
"I'm not an idiot," Mercutio said. "And you and Romeo couldn't keep a secret if your lives depended on it. So, what's the deal?"
Benvolio took a deep breath and began the speech he'd been rehearsing in the mirror the night before.
"This place is very important to me," he began. "And I think you know why. It's hard to believe it's been five years since…"
As always, Mercutio just had to interrupt. Would it kill him to just nod and smile for once? Having successfully killed the nostalgia of the moment, he gave Benvolio a sheepish smile.
"It's today, isn't it?" he muttered. "Happy dating anniversary, sweetheart. Five years already! I didn't actually forget. I mean, I didn't intend to forget, so I didn't have bad intentions, and that's all that really matters in the end, right?"
"You're about two weeks off," Benvolio said, making a mental note to check his calendar once he got home. "Five years is an approximation."
"Oh," Mercutio said. "So… what were you saying about this place?"
"Yes. It's important, because of a certain colorful character I attempted to save from drowning. Do you remember that day?"
"Of course. You know, I also remember getting drunk really early in the morning that day."
"Somehow that doesn't surprise me, but regardless, that day was one of the most fortuitous days of my life. I know, it sounds hackneyed, but I really do mean it because from then on, things just kept getting better. Not to say that we haven't had our… stumbling blocks. But in the end, you're so full of life that you've made mine a real thrill, a crazy, passionate thrill. And that's why…" Benvolio paused to calm himself before kneeling down and holding out a violet-tinted engagement ring. "That's why I want to spend the rest of it with you. Will you marry me?"
Mercutio stared at him, a smile spreading across his face. For a moment, he looked as though he was about to laugh. Instead, he said:
"Is dinner still on regardless of how I respond to this?"
"Romeo told you about the dinner reservation?" Benvolio managed to say. He was cursing himself now for making the reservation before anything was certain. "He wasn't… ah, never mind… yes, it's still on even if you… you're not… up to this… yet…"
"Well, it doesn't matter because I'm saying yes right now. Hell yes."
Benvolio barely had time to process what had just transpired before Mercutio leaped at him. This was the time that, if Benvolio had been better prepared and had stronger arms, he would have caught Mercutio and in a pose worthy of the cover of any romance novel. However, Benvolio was not prepared and had about as much arm strength as a jellyfish. He stumbled backward upon impact, his now fiancé fell on top of him, sending the lovers tumbling over the edge of the fountain just as Romeo snapped a photo from his hiding spot behind a nearby tree.
Miraculously, they did not lose the engagement ring which Benvolio promptly slipped onto Mercutio's finger. They were both drenched now, however, and there wasn't enough time to change before dinner. The restaurant hostess was noticeably baffled when two young men stepped in looking as though they'd both walked through a waterfall, but she seated them anyway.
They spent the better part of the evening trying to dry Mercutio's mop of curls with a cloth napkin. Benvolio later slipped on his way out and would have fallen on his face if Mercutio hadn't steadied him. It was a far cry from a flawless romantic evening, but neither of them would have had it any other way.
Author's Note: Thanks for reading. I will do my best to update this regularly. As always, feedback is greatly appreciated. If there's something you like, or something you think I could improve, feel free to leave a review. I will do my best to respond to all reviews, so long as they are not spewing hate against me, Shakespeare, the Bencutio pairing or other anything else.