If Tybalt had to be fully honest with himself he never thought he would end up liking that little job.
He started it because he needed money and asking his uncle again was pretty much out of question; Juliet tried to smuggle some of her money to him only to have them returned together with a little note on a red lined piece of paper only containing a drawn frowning face. - She actually found the message quite funny coming from her cousin, but again, they spent years communicating through drawn emoticons on paper. -
He thought of giving up with the fencing class, he actually thought about it. He felt bad for it after all those years and loving it more than anything else he tried, he even wrote down something to say when he would drop the news.
That was when the Art professor dropped the proposal. He was going to make a new class focusing mostly on the human body, and they needed a model. He would even pay him for that.
There, magic words said and Tybalt didn’t hesitate a second more before accepting.
He had always been conscious of his look, not in a pretentious way, more in a realistic one; he knew there were scars around his chest and back, thin white lines that the strong light pointed at him showed more clearly than what he would’ve liked, a mark right over his heart, like a scar too, just darker, there ever since he was born. - People sometimes said that those marks showed where and how you died in your past life. If that was to be true, and Tybalt didn’t believe it one bit, then he had probably been stabbed right in the heart. - It wasn’t that he felt ashamed or shy, he was just overly conscious of what he looked like, and now there were fifteen more people staring straight and concentrated at him, sitting naked on a platform.
There were murmurs going around, as always, he had learned to ignore voices when he was working or training, it was much easier. And yet sometimes voices slipped through.
“Escalus –” The professor warned slightly.
“I fucking hate dicks. No, actually no, I don’t. I kind of love them but – - He muttered something else that Tybalt didn’t catch, charcoal scratching over the paper, he passed a hand on the face in concentration leaving a black smudge on the cheek. - Fuck his dick.”
The professor gave a strangled sound as a couple of other students tried to hide a laugh.
“It’s flat. Why is it flat? It’s not supposed to be flat! - Tybalt felt the heat rising over his face, he felt his cheek and ears turn red and looked in the opposite direction of the boy talking rather desperately. There was a little awe sound coming from someone close to the boy still muttering, and some more intense charcoal scratching. He didn’t notice the boy looking up again and stare intensely at him from behind the easel. - It is definitely not flat, for fuck’s sake.”
He kept muttering on his own, keeping the voice lower this time and Tybalt tried once more to isolate sounds from the room.
“I apologize for earlier.” The professor said passing him a robe at the end of the lesson. “He was having some troubles with the shades, he’s just… he’s very vocal about everything.”
“That’s what I though, it’s fine… really.” Tybalt smiled, what else someone in such a class could mean with comments like that one? Sure, he got him flustered but it was quite normal; shade or not, picture or not, the dick he was commenting was his. At least it wasn’t a too bad comment.
A s days went by, as the classes proceeded Tybalt found himself more and more comfortable in his position, sometimes students engaged in little chats as their sketches progressed, like what classes he was following, never trying to actually track him down or finding out more than what he was comfortable to give them. - And he was already giving them enough, said one of them nodding at the fact that he was currently standing there on a platform, naked, and with a shield prop borrowed from the theatre. He was giving them more than enough . - Everyone wanted both to know him and to keep some sort of veiled mystery, it was different from how they behaved with the other models, Tybalt saw that, he saw them being friendly and chatty while with him they all were careful. Almost like they feared him.
- “He’s quite dreamy, isn’t he?” “More than quite, yes. He seems to be out of a painting.” “Or a statue that took life.” They didn’t fear him in truth, they adored him, in hushed whispers and scratchy charcoal. -
“He should have a lyre, not a shield.” the boy commenting the previous time said, his hair tied back this time, out of the way in a loose ponytail.
“Why so? Ares has a shield, obviously.” The boy, Escalus the professor called him, laughed, he peered from behind the easel and smirked, admiring Tybalt a moment longer before returning to his paper.
“Well, then you obviously are oblivious in Greek mythology. - He commented lightly. - Or you would agree with me that he’s more like Apollo than Ares. The way he captures light, like it belongs to him and its his to direct wherever he wishes. He could just makes this whole room fall into pitch darkness only for him to be the only light and we would still be able to see.”
“Someone has a crush here?” One of the boys snickered amused.
Mercutio fell silent again, he wasn’t completely right, no. But it was also not a news that beauty attracted him, and Tybalt was indeed beautiful. Well, maybe he did have a little crush, nothing big, just… just a little innocent crush. Just a small pull toward him for some reason. Just – He felt like he should know him. Like he could stretch his hand out, brush his fingers through the golden curls, over his cheek, over his lips. Like he could do it and Tybalt wouldn’t step away.
When he looked up again, to capture the right line of the leg Tybalt was looking straight at him – Or, actually, over him, just in his direction. - and he was smiling.
How could that smile belong to a God of War? How could a God of War cast such a light where he decided to lay his gaze on?
Well, maybe it was not just a little crush after all.
Mercutio was turning the pages of his last sketchbook, the one he completed only the day before, showing his friends the pictures. Well, he was showing them to Benvolio since their other friend, Romeo, was currently too busy playing with his girlfriend’s hair. A cute girl, Juliet, Mercutio thought of asking her to pose for him, he really was going to ask her when another boy joined their little group, dropped a bag on the grass and sat there next to Juliet. He looked tired, blond hair tied back, he passed a hand over his face, hid a yawn and put his head on the girl’s shoulder.
“Tired yourself again?” He muttered an answer and loosened the hair with one hand. “You know you shouldn’t, or you’ll just fall asleep somewhere.”
Mercutio turned another page and stilled for a moment. There, on one of the last pages, one of his favorite works. Apollo holding Ares’ shield. Apollo . He started to call that model like this ever since that one class, at least now he had a name, even if not his real one.
He looked up briefly, the stranger had his eyes closed, he seemed ready to doze off on Juliet, the hair falling on one shoulder. He looked down on the paper, his Apollo smiling back at him from the picture.
Up. Down again. And up once more. And down. The up one last time.
And then he gasped attracting his friends’ attention. Tybalt opened one eye and looked at him confused, and a bit sleepy too.
The boy looked familiar, somehow, he was sure he saw him –
Oh. Oh, of course. That’s where he saw him.
“I – Ah! I’m sorry – - Mercutio looked down, suddenly embarrassed. Why now? He saw him in much more exposed ways. Hell, he saw him completely naked. Why was he embarrassed now? - I didn’t recognize you…” He admitted. Tybalt stood up a moment leaving his comfortable place on Juliet’s shoulder and crossing his legs before cocking his head at Mercutio, confused.
“You know each other already? - Juliet inquired looking at her cousin. - Why didn’t you said it before? Oh, Tybalt we could have gone out sometimes, together, instead of you closing yourself in the dorm.”
Tybalt. Mercutio repeated the name in his mind. It was… It was kind of sweet. It was familiar too.
“It’s not that we know each other, Julie… It’s complicate…”
“I never saw you with your clothes on.”
Immediately Mercutio clasped both hands on his mouth, eyes wide as he realized what he just blurted out. Damn his tongue!
“What the fuck?!”
Mercutio tried to ignore the three voices suddenly speaking as one, he kept his mouth closed and looked at Tybalt, for a moment fearing his reaction. Instead Tybalt laughed softly and Mercutio breathed out in relief.
“He’s not entirely wrong, you know? He also has quite an eye for… details.” Mercutio quickly hid his face behind the sketchbook not realizing the page dropped showing them a more detailed study of the human body.