He’d seen Mercutio, he’d seen his wound. He knew it was all over. There was no going back, no undoing what he’d done. He’d never meant to – and yet, here he was, contemplating the facts. Mercutio was dead, and he’d killed him. It didn’t matter that he never meant to – that he was just playing into their old game. What was left for him to do? Surrender to the Prince’s edict – pay with his life. If the finest Capulet blade refused to fight, maybe others would follow. And so Juliet could grow up in a peaceful town, no longer having to fear for her life. If that was the last thing he did…
And so he did not fight back when Romeo ran towards him, sword in hand. What was the point?
He did not expect to wake up in Friar Lawrence’s cell, being told that he barely made it. That he was lucky. What business did he have saving him when the Prince would no doubt execute him. He’d killed his nephew, there would be no forgiveness. That is when the friar smiled enigmatically and told him the good news. Mercutio was alive. For now. He was not as lucky as Tybalt, and he was still hanging between life and death, barely breathing. A miracle only could save him, the friar said, and he and his brothers were all praying for the young man’s sake. And for his soul should he not make it, but Tybalt refused to even consider that possibility.
He was given a second chance, he did not die – and neither did Mercutio. He had to make it. What cruel fate would take him away now, now that Tybalt could hope against hope…
The friar wanted him to stay in bed, and to rest; but how could he when Mercutio was battling death. The friar soon gave in.
He did not know how much time he spent by his side, holding his hand – thinking how stupid they had been, hiding, pretending to hate, and even in the quiet of nights spent together, never admitting to anything. Praying, too, even though neither of them had ever believed. If there was a god, surely he had forsaken this city. But Tybalt was alive, Mercutio was alive – so maybe, maybe there was hope yet.
He was there when Juliet came to see them, and ask the friar for advice. Knowing Tybalt was alive, and no mourning needed, his uncle had decided to go through with the idea of marrying her to Paris. She looked at them, and smiled through her tears. He was there too when the friar came back and told him the two lovers had killed themselves, and Tybalt lost all hope. If Juliet, who saw the bright side of everything – even him – was no longer there… outside the families were reconciled, and mourned and celebrated together, so quick it was surreal.
“You need to wake up,” he begged Mercutio, “I can’t do this without you.”
He was the only one he had left – and still Mercutio did not wake up.