My name is Antonio and this is my most tragic tale of love lost, loyalty, courage and forthrightness.
My story truly begins the night of a terrible storm. I myself a sea captain of a sturdy vessel tragically taken by this tempest of an evening on the treacherous seas. However, this moment is not a heartbreak of loss. It was in this moment whilst I struggled in the heaving waters in a dinghy boat with too small a number men of my once sturdy ship. As I sadly realised my way of life and monetary gains was now deep beneath the waves that I saw the face of an Angel.
He, the angel that is, was half drowned and seconds away from succumbing to the thrashing sea. And in that strange wonderful moment as his angel face was illuminated by the crackling lightning, I found myself on my feet calling out leaping from the dinghy to the cries of my men. I swam to my angel fighting the sea itself and brought him to shore.
I must admit, as my men strove sensibly about the shore finding shelter and searching for any others I sat with my angels head resting on my knee. My hands in his damp golden curls. He had a face carved by the gods themselves, sharp angles and gentle curves. He possessed fine cheekbones and a noble nose. He was built like a warrior of ancient times, strong shoulders and fine legs.
He was like a siren of the sea and when his gentle eyes opened I fell in love with the colour of the sky on a warm summer's day.
Sebastian woke feeling like he had swallowed the entire sea what with how his lungs ached in his sore chest. As Sebastian opened his eyes he became aware that he was lying on the beach his head in someone's lap. Sebastian’s stomach rebelled. After coughing up what felt like both his poor lungs Sebastian was able to acknowledge his saviour.
Sebastian’s saviour was a man in military uniform, Sebastian noticed his saviour had soft dark eyes and a well kept beard. “Sir I must thank you for saving my life” Sebastian’s saviour smiled his concerned face transforming in a gentle movement of his lips “please, no thanks is required-” frowning Sebastian protested “but I must, I insist” Sebastian’s saviour smiled further he appeared amused at Sebastian’s addled actions. “Perhaps then, tell me your name?” “Sebastian” Sebastian answered promptly. “I am Antonio” Sebastian’s saviour- Antonio replied.
Sebastian was all at once filled with fear his twin sister Viola! Had she survived the wreck? Where was she? “I am sorry I do not know, perhaps my men can help?” Sebastian turned to Antonio realising he had spoken out loud. “You can?”
There was no sign of Sebastian's twin sister Viola, Sebastian was distraught. Despite his grief Sebastian still feels he must thank Antonio. “Sebastian, please, I need no thanks” Sebastian runs his hand through his soft curls. His hair is dry now, and it glints in the sunlight. Antonio’s heart constricts. “You are a true gentleman Antonio, you do not boast your courage” Sebastian’s blue eyes meet Antonios and Antonio finds he needs to steady himself.
Antonio takes a breath and steels his heart “stay longer” Sebastian breaks their eye contact “I cannot I must go to the court of Duke Orsino”. Antonio finds himself saying Orsino's court is full of his enemies, it is not untrue. Orsino is one of his brothers many long standing feuds. His brothers feuds are very foolish and annoying and in that moment Antonio hates his brothers enjoyment of rivalries.
Sebastian takes Antonios forearm, and Antonio’s heart stops right there. “I will go alone” Sebastian looks into Antonios eyes and Antonio drowns in the summer warm blue.
The sky stretches out across the horizon. Antonio sits alone on the seashore and stares at the pink sky and clouds. Antonio wishes the sky was a warm blue. Antonio wishes Sebastian was still next to him. Antonio realises that he has fallen in love with Sebastian.
Antonio stands a wild smile on his handsome face, he was going to follow Sebastian to Orsino’s court despite his brothers feud with Orsino. Because that was what Antonio’s heart truly wanted, and who was Antonio to deny his own heart.
Antonio playfully drew his sword facing the sea and made a vow laughingly Antonio declared to the foamy waves “come what may, I do adore him. Danger shall seem a sport and I will follow Sebastian!”
The setting sun shone on Antonios sword and the waves heard his oath. Somewhere far away on lone Island Antonios elder brother raised his eyebrows.
Unfortunately Antonios tragic tale began in that moment he recognised the beginnings of love in his heart. Illyria holds nothing but bad luck for Antonio.
Not five minutes past the gate and Antonio already has a soldier in his face declaring Antonio an enemy of Illyria (seriously Antonio’s brother is the worst).
Then Antonio sees his Angel and everything is miles better “Sebastian!” Sebastian barely looks at Antonio “My thanks sir” and with that turns to go. Antonio is taken aback, what is Sebastian doing? Antonio takes a hold of Sebastian's shoulder, it seems smaller in person “Sebastian? Do you not know me?” Sebastian moves to shake of Antonio’s hold, he struggles “I do not!” Antonio finds he is alarming agony, the cause of which is Sebastian's cold brush-off. “I do not know you sir, I thank you for your help”. Antonio watches Sebastian disappear each step Sebastian takes from Antonio feels like a knife in his back.
Antonio is unsure of how long time passes it is a blur of confusion and embarrassment. Of course Sebastian does not want to associate with an outcast of Illyria. Of course Antonio was alone in his love. Of course Antonio is getting arrested for sitting on the side of the street. Of course Antonio is going to be executed because of his idiot brother’s feud with Orsino.
But then Antonio’s Angel is there. Sebastian throws himself into Antonio’s arms thrumming with joy. Antonio is bewildered why is Sebastian acknowledging him now when before?
And then suddenly everything is worse “I am married now Antonio!” Sebstian was glowing his hair golden in the daylight his eyes soft and blue as warm summer skies. He was alight with smiles and Antonio was heartsick with love.
Stripped of his heart Antonio somehow managed to board the next ship out of Illyria.
Verona. Antonio thought the city was. Well he supposed the city was just another city. Antonio’s brother of course had enemies in this city, (the Montague family) but he also had allies in the Capulet family.
Antonio found himself at the Capulet house his general silence meant Antonio somehow finds himself in the servants quarters. A huge feastival is being held by the Capulets. A harried serving woman thrusts a set of work clothes at Antonio and instructs him to change. So he does.
Antonio keeps on being called Anthony. It irritates Antonio, however the simplicity of honest work is soothing and Antonio is beginning to feel the niggilings of enjoyment in his work.
Well into the night, hours later Antonio is regretting his earlier thoughts of enjoyment. This is hell. The party is a grand affair with many guests, truly a great spectacle of Verona. But of Antonio? A servant with no previous experience in serving? Worst. Idea. Ever.
Antonio notices Capulet's daughter dancing with a Montague boy. Well. Antonio was not sticking around to be recognised by his brothers enemy.
Antonio stays in Verona. Why? He cannot say it is a pleasant enough city and far from Illyria and. Everything.
Strangely enough Antonio finds himself befriending Capulet’s daughter Juliet. It happens in the most peculiar fashion. Antonio is speaking with the friar Lawrence after the good Friar had noticed Antonio’s sour mood and offered guidance. Anronio is halfway through unloading his deepest thoughts “-and Sebastian looked right through me like I was a stranger!” Antonio may or may not have been sobbing into a handkerchief at this point when Juliet appears.
Juliet looked as lovely as ever her golden hair lose about her pretty face like a halo of light. Golden like Sebastian’s. Antonio sobbed. Juliet shifted from foot to foot awkwardly. “Sorry, I can come back later?” Juliet offered obviously unwillingly from how she lingered in the open door. “Isokay” Antonio sniffed into his soggy handkerchief Juliet grimaced and handed Antonio a fresh handkerchief “sankyou”.
They ended up bonding over their shared romantic tragedies. Juliet had fallen in love with the Montague boy she had been dancing with at the Capulet party. Friar Lawrence had secretly married them (so romantic) but tragedy struck and Juliet's Romeo had been exiled and Juliet was due to marry Paris!
They hatched a plan to save Juliet from a second marriage. Friar John leaves to inform Romeo.
Antonio returns to the servants quarters and immediately sent out to invite guests to Juliet's wedding. That never happens. Juliet's funeral is a lovely affair the music is tragic. The flower arrangements are incredibly stunning and Juliet looks so beautiful feigning death.
And then it all goes so horribly wrong. Friar John doesn't make it to Romeo in time. Romeo hears Juliet is dead and-and
Antonio and Friar Lawrence find them. Romeo ghost like in his death. Juliet cold, her white dress red with blood.
Bereft Antonio takes his leave of Verona.
Antonio somenow puts himself together. He is good with ships and in Venice he becomes a master of ships. Antonio throws himself into work, it proves an excellent distraction. Antonio becomes a merchant and makes a few friends along the way.
Antonio becomes notorious for his melancholy, and his friend Bassanio is often in need of money. Not that it is much of a problem to Antonio. Until it is.
Bassanio is in love. Her name is Portia and Bassanio needs courting money. Reminded of Juliet Antiono is ready to help. Although there is a problem, Antonio currently has no money. His ships and merchandise happen to be at sea. Bassanio believes he can help “Shylock! Antonio he is a money lender the bond will not be a problem” Antonio internally grimaces. Shylock is another of Antonio's brothers enemies. It is not going to be a good idea to give his brothers enemy canon fodder.
But love, Antonio thinks, love should never be denied or else tragedy strikes. Juliet lost her Romeo and Romeo believed his Juliet died. And Antonio let Sebastian go to Illyria alone.
So Antonio takes out a loan with Shylock. The conditions are less than ideal. Far less. A pound of flesh. Antonio hates his brother.
Of course Antonio's ships sink. Of course Shylock's daughter runs off with Bassinos friend. Of course Antonio is about to die. Again.
Bassinos Portia comes in like a fiery lion of justice. She is magnificent and brings back memories of Viola’s disguise. And Sebastian. But Antonio is saved by Portia truly she is a kind soul. “Antonio! Have you heard? Three of your ships have returned!”
Of course Antonios brother has been spying on him. And of course he chooses now, when Antonio has settled, has friends, is doing well, barely thinks of Sebastian (only when the sky is above him. All the time) to interfere.
“Antonio! It has been so long since you last visited!” Prospero emerged from his dramatically placed fog to embrace Antonio. Antonio scowled at his brother “You magiced me from my bed. In Venice. To Milan.” Antonio was awake and cold his nightshirt was not something to wear outside on a cold night. In Milan. “Antonio! You wound me” Propsero dramatically clutched his chest. “I will usurp you” Antonio grumpled angrily irritated at his annoying brother. Prospero's eyes glinted. Oh no. He was having an idea “Pros-!”
Antonio was on a ship. A sinking ship. In the middle of a storm. A horrible storm. A tempest. Antonio hated his brother. Antonio got into a dinghy with some other men and as they fought against the heaving waves Antonio saw him.
Oh gods Antonio is going to kill Prospero.
Sebastian was half drowned and seconds away from succumbing to the thrashing sea. Antonio was so very angry. He angrily stood in the rocking boat and angrily dove into the stormy sea. Sebastian was in Antonios arms again and Antonio was hating the situation less. But he would never admit that to Prospero (interfering arse).
“Sir I must thank you for saving my life” Antonio sighed. He had brought Sebastian to shore and then he had walked away. Antonio had spent the remaining time with some men around a fire (they kept on calling him ‘Duke’). How Sebastian had discovered it was Antiono who pulled him out the sea was beyond him (Prospero). “Don’t bother” Antonio said glumly into the campfire not bothering to look up at Sebastian.
Clearly still addled from being half drowned Sebastian did not understand “but I must, I insist”. Okay this was all playing out in a much too familiar way. Frustrated Antonio glared up at Sebastian (oh gods he was stunning all wet curls and cute frowns and-) “Any man with any shred of a heart would pull a drowning man from the sea”. Sebastian blinked his blue eyes (warm like summer skies) “You are a true gentleman, you do not boast-” No no no “PROSPERO”
“Aw Antonio it was going to be so good. I was going to set up my daughter-”
“You don’t have any daughter’s”
“-with Sebastian's son-”
“He has a son?!”
“-and then reveal it all in a huge party- Antonio? Oh no Antonio Sebastian doesn't actually have a son I made that up. Wait Antonio! Come back! I’m sorry! I’ve got another idea! We could make it Roman! You could have a tragic affair with a Pharaoh! Antonio!”
“Can you believe him Leonato? The gall! And pretending to have a daughter on top of it all, I mean it's an insult to you!”
“Well I’m sure Beatrice and Hero wouldn't actually mind-”
“That’s not the point!”
Antonio had decided the best place to go after the whole Prospero thing was his other brother’s house, Leonarto.
But of course, things didn't go smoothly. Hero gets herself engaged and Beatrice gets distracted by an arrogant soldier (they are perfect it's disgusting).
Much ado and all that Leonarto pulls strings and its resolved.
All's well that ends well. Antonio is old now. He realises this slowly and he decides that he doesn't mind.
Chapter 2: Sebastian
An unexpected visitor arrives and in Messina
I'm a sucker for a happy ending
"Antonio!? What are you doing here my friend?" Sebastian immediately turned to his entourage " this man here saved my life"
"I'm Leonardo's brother"
"How's your wife?" Antonio snapped
"Wha-my wife? Oh. Olivia. Ah well you see she's not actually my wife. We're just friends. " Sebastian awkwardly scratched his head. Antiono blinked confused. "Well we did say I do and all that but we were both incredibly drunk and the priest was actually one of her servants dressed up. So um not married?"
"Oh. Fancy a dance?" Antonio gestured in the direction of the masquerade.
"I'd love to"