01 ~ Touch Starved
Tybalt barely looked up from where he was sitting, his back against a damp, cold wall, he heard the metal keys against the bars of his cell, a voice whistling softly but he didn’t look up, he knew if he did so he would be lost, for good. He couldn’t give in, not yet, he knew he had every reason to be imprisoned like that, away from the world, away from the sun, with heavy chains around his wrists, he knew it was mercy after what he did, he deserved death. But maybe death was the merciful ending for his crimes and this– this was the true punishment.
He couldn’t look up.
The cell bars got opened and he fixed his eyes on the floor, brown boots soon entered his vision, fine polished and shining, not even some dust from the floor on them.
“Don’t look up. Don’t look up.” He repeated to himself, he had to resist. He heard some rustling from the chains, they were checking everything was still in place, they feared he would try to escape.
Oh, but he tried. For the first five days, then he gave in, no point on trying, the chains were resistant and he had lost any will to run. Run where, anyway? He had nowhere to hide, not from the Prince’s men. So he became quiet, submissive, he took every punishment they sent him. Words? Knives? Traditional tortures? Never before he thought the Prince to have this much knowledge on tortures, how wrong he was to think that. - How wrong it had been underestimating Valentine. - but the real torture was that.
“Don’t look up.” He swallowed on dry throat, it almost hurt doing so.
“My poor Capulet, - the man said, his voice soft, falsely worried, he knew it by then. - I have some water for you.” Tybalt almost heard him smile.
“No…” He forced with what little voice he still had, it hurt to speak, he felt his lips crack, he felt blood on them, warm and sticky.
“No? - He asked, Tybalt didn’t see him tilt his head, long hair falling on the side. But he could almost hear it. - Oh, yes! We’re playing this game again.” He sounded so childish, an excited child but Tybalt had no strength to roll his eyes at him, too tired, too weak. “You say no, I force you, I win. I like this game.”
He stepped closer and knelt on the dirty floor, a goblet in his hand. There was no kindness when he pushed it to Tybalt’s lips, no kindness when he grabbed his hair and pulled back his head forcing water down his chapped lips. When the goblet was blissfully empty and he let go Tybalt let his head fell forward coughing what water he couldn’t get down.
A hand, soft as silk, long fingers he once had known so well, caressed his cheek.
“Don’t look up.” He repeated once again, but leaned in the touch nevertheless. His hand was cool on his warm skin. He thought that staying in a cell under the palace would have been cold but it wasn’t, after a week or so all he could feel was warmth. - That was when the first sign of a continuing fever kicked in, but he didn’t like to think of that. He didn’t like to think. -
The hand suddenly retracted, as if burned at the touch. And that was it. That was his downfall.
Tybalt looked up. Through dazed sight Mercutio stood in the light of a torch, dark curly hair falling free on his back, his eyes shining maliciously in the light, the empty goblet in his hand. He looked down at him and smiled.
“Cu–tio…" Tybalt tasted blood when he spoke, he tried to move, to lift a hand toward him, toward the man that was once his lover and now his jailer, he tried to get closer to him, to his hand, again, to feel it on his skin. Oh, how he longed for that touch, for any touch. But Mercutio only smiled and took a step back.
"I– I’m sorry. - Tybalt stammered out. - I love you…” Nothing changed on Mercutio’s face, no surprise, no shock, not even a fake one. Instead he kept smiling, he turned and closed the bars with the heavy key before looking back at his prisoner once more.
“Oh, Tybalt… - He whispered. - if only someone loved you.”
And with that he left.