If Romeo chose silence, his friend had other things in mind, however. Mercutio’s pointed smirk and the torchlight flickering in his light eyes revealed his interest, even before he spoke up in a lilting tone. “Sweet Tybalt stirs at last, released from Hypnos’ chains! Will you alone join us in our imprisonment, or come also Lyssa and her sisters to visit? Either way, we will surely have a merry dance tonight!”
At that, Romeo felt forced to break his silence. “No, Mercutio. No more of this.”
“He speaks! He breathes! Enmity awakens the tongue, where friendship fails! Grudge –”
“– thy name is Montague.”
Rule 34 of the Internet states that if it exists, there is porn of it. This means that there is fan work, lewd though it may be, of everything. And if there is fan work, there is fanfiction. So, a variation of rule 34 also exists, at least in my own mind: if it exists, there is fanfiction of it. Now that I’ve covered many of the most mainstream of Internet fandoms, I thought it was time to recommend something a little less common.
A dedicated fanfic reader such as I will notice a distinct lack of fan work about a lot of content, especially content created before the rise of the Internet. This doesn’t exactly mean that no fan work exists for those pieces, only that those fandoms had a lesser community and a lesser outlet for their interests. So fan works of obscure Russian films are probably circulating in file cabinets somewhere in the world. A work’s age and its fanworks have a sort of relationship that appears as a graph involving a negative exponent, wherein the x-axis is age, and the y-axis the number of fanfictions. The older the work, the less likely even a devoted fan is to find fanfic of it. But then there are those odd few, those pieces that seem to ignore the passage of time, the way we still listen to Mozart today, the way literary clubs still gather to discuss Pride and Prejudice, the way legions of fans continue to swarm around Star Wars and Star Trek and all manner of works that, if forgetfulness was free, should have been long gone, resigned to the past, confined in the graves of their creators. So why are they still around? Why are there fan works of them on the Internet?
It is because these works have transcended cultural amnesia, have become so popular that one generation will not allow the next to forget. Even we estranged millennials have been educated in the ways of our forefathers – and so the greatest geeks live on.
What I’m saying is, yes, Shakespeare fanfiction is a thing. There are, as of now, 731 fanfics of Romeo and Juliet on Archive of Our Own alone. Surprising? I admit it, even I am surprised by the quantity. We are used to seeing fanfiction for works we know to be in the geek zone. I imagine those outside the community think it both bizarre and disconcerting that a work considered so much higher than any fantasy show, anime, or simple novel could be treated in the same manner. It is the kind of thing that I imagine would be considered sacrilege by learned literary professors. Such an ancient work, to be spoiled so by the children of the modern age. Surely, if there was anything that could not be touched, it would be the virtue of classic theater?
But then, I must argue, if those stories were never meant to be handled, why free them of the historical record? Why lift those words from their parchment into the hands of the students? Shakespeare is taught to every high school student around the country; is this not what was meant by those teachings? To learn, and imitate, and expand? In fact, Shakespeare is not as distant from modern culture as we would like to believe; fascination with medieval times is a staple in the geek community, with Renaissance fairs being a well-known exhibition. Fanfiction is no insult or degradation of the canon. It is the greatest decoration of respect that the Internet can give.
And this work in particular deserves all of the tolerance given to other kinds of fanfic, and so much more. Confined Sessions chronicles revelations brought to three souls who find themselves imprisoned. They may think themselves unfortunate, but true to dramatic irony, they don’t know how lucky they are. Unknowingly parted from death, they must solve their respective issues in a much less eternal fashion. The confrontation breeds an oddity in fanfic, an OT3, defined in my Glossary as the favorite threesome. This dynamic adds a fascinating tension between not only the characters, but between the readers and this story. And as Romeo, Tybalt, and Mercutio’s relationship is three-cornered, so each partner seems to represent one of the three fundamental human feelings: friendship, hate, and desire. Through their struggles, they learn that beauty is not simple. It is dirty, needy, and rhythmic as a funerary toll.
This work does contain risque material, which begins about 3/5 in. Never can it be said that it was a short act, for its description numbers almost 7,000 words. But it is the most erudite of sexual acts, sad and lasting and beautiful as flowers etched on gravestones. If there were ever words to please, to strike the soul of the most skeptic of readers, these are they.
Lastly, this fanfiction is not only rare for its community, but for its prose. This is a piece that deserves every letter of the fandom that appears under the work’s title. If nothing else, read this fanfic for its dialogue, its metaphors, the beauty with which it turns a phrase. Truly, a masterpiece to fit the master. No words can do these words justice.
Overall Rating: +++++
Read it here: http://archiveofourown.org/works/925261
I am incredibly sincere with my praise of this prose. Please enjoy as I have enjoyed.