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The Top of Happy Hours

Title: The Top of Happy Hours
Rating: PG
Fandom: Shakespeare
Characters: Hamlet, Horatio
Genre: Humor

Written for Yuletide 2012

Please check out the gift I received this Yuletide, an indescribably delicious Robin Hood/Will Scarlet slash story called "Hearts of Oak" by Zeen: http://archiveofourown.org/works/603611



Two students, both alike in knavery,
At Wittenberg Uni, where we set our scene,
Where final exams break young brains to mutiny,
And ink-stain’d wretches, frenzied, swill caffeine.

It was a nipping and an eager air that found Hamlet upon the observation platform of Wittenberg University during finals week at the very witching time of night. He looked up at the stars then referred to his textbook and a sheaf of notes by the light of a small lantern. So intent was he that he did not hear his friend Horatio approach.

“Hail, dearest Hamlet!” called Horatio. “What art thou reading?”

“Words, words, words,” Hamlet said with a cheeky smile. “How now, Horatio, what dost thou here at this most unlucky hour?”

“Seeking for thou, for my roommate hath hung his baldric upon the door and I must needs find other lodging this night.”

“He is with his fair Desdemona again?”

“Ay, and again and again. Verily they are making the beast with two backs even as we speak. Methinks he is obsessed with her in a most unwholesome way. Her lab partner, Iago, remarks upon it with great frequency.”

“Methinks Iago is obsessed with Othello in a most unwholesome way,” Hamlet said. Oft have I passed him as he watched Othello from a distance, speaking some aside, and when he saw me he fell silent and slunk guiltily away.”

Horatio laughed. “Thou know’st what they say, ‘Once you go Moor, you always want more’. Besides, coming from one who soliloquizes as oft as thou, thou hast much room to speak.”

Hamlet snorted. “At least I do not, like a whore, unpack my heart with words in bad poetry like mine roommate Romeo. If I must listen to one more of his daft odes to that Capulet baggage of his I will go mad. ‘Love goes to love as schoolboys from their books…’ Why dost thou not simply look around the room and write a love poem about the first thing thou see’st, Romeo,” Hamlet said, his voice dripping with scorn.

Horatio raised an eyebrow, pulled a note from his pocket and read, “Doubt that the stars are fire, doubt that the sun doth move… Did’st thou write this during thy Astronomy class, perchance?” he teased.

Hamlet leapt to his feet and tried unsuccessfully to snatch the bit of parchment from his hand. “Would’st thou wound me with my own words, Horatio?” he said with a laugh.

“Nay, I am jesting merely,” Horatio said with an affectionate gleam in his eye. “Thou know’st I carry thy mash notes with me everywhere.” He put the parchment back in his doublet, next to his heart.

Hamlet graced him with a smile as brilliant as the stars overhead. A sudden realization struck Horatio and he nodded at the book Hamlet was holding. “Is this what thou art doing atop the library instead of inside it on this chill night,” he asked, “cramming for thy Astronomy final?” He gazed at the sky where the stars shone like diamonds in the velvet darkness. “In truth, ‘tis a beautiful night for stargazing.”

“Beautiful to you, mayhap, flat, stale and unprofitable to me,” Hamlet said with a sigh. He sat down and perused his book, turned it upside down, then looked skyward with a frown. “I have not attended class since the first day and I do not know Pegasus from the Pleiades. I am lost, Horatio.”

“The fault is not in the stars, my good Hamlet,” Horatio admonished. “Why hast thou been skipping thy classes?”

“It falls at a most inconvenient hour, and the light through yonder window doth not break soft after our nightly revels i’ the taverns... and other places.”

“Indeed, this is why none of my classes start before noon,” Horatio said. “Still, had I known thou wast not making it to thy class I would not have so importuned your company.”

Hamlet pulled Horatio down next to him and thumped him companionably upon the chest. “Thou art a gentleman and a scholar, Horatio, whereas I fear I am neither. Yet my plight is worse than thou know’st. If I fail this class I will flunk out and be forced to remain in Elsinore to be home schooled by Polonius.”

“’Swounds, then thou must pass!” Horatio said emphatically. “I will help.” He took the book from Hamlet, scrutinizing it for a moment, then looking up at the stars, then turning the book sideways with a frown. “You are lost, Hamlet,” he said at last, handing the book back.

“Nay, I have until Friday,” Hamlet said, warming to his sudden inspiration. “I will engage a tutor upon the morrow. Prospero sits next to me in class and is on the honor scroll. I will seek his help for he doth always screw the curve to the sticking place on these exams.”

“That sound’st like a plan,” Horatio agreed.

“Now that is settled, what would’st thou say to returning with me to Elsinore at the end of term? The castle is exceedingly merry this time of year and my father hosts the best holiday feast in Denmark.”

Horatio beamed. “I must admit I was hoping thou would’st ask. My family is vacationing in Illyria until Twelfth Night and I did not wish to spend the holiday listening to my parents quarrel and my brother snore. Art thou certain thy father will not object to the inclusion of a skinny schoolmate in your family festivities?”

“Hamlet the elder will be delighted to see you. He likes all my friends save for Antipholus and Antipholus - he can never tell those two apart - and I will need a plus one when he sees my grades this term.”

“Come Hamlet,” Horatio said, “let us get out of this chill air and into a warm ale and warmer bed. We can go to your dorm or, if Romeo is there, the Boar’s Head has some nice rooms upstairs, and the owner is the soul of discretion.”

“Let us skip the tavern and go to my room,’ Hamlet said. “Romeo left for Verona yesterday so we will have the place to ourselves. But let us make haste, for the glowworm shows the matin to be near and I have my penultimate Astronomy class in two hours.”

“Thou might be late for class,” Horatio said with a wink.

Hamlet smiled and pulled him into a burning kiss that Horatio returned with his own particular heat.

The rest was blissful silence.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
heartofoshun
Jan. 10th, 2013 03:43 am (UTC)
This is just so good and so much fun! Glad to see you posted here finally.
ignoblebard
Jan. 10th, 2013 03:46 am (UTC)
Thanks! It took me long enough but here it is at last.
chaotic_binky
Jan. 10th, 2013 11:43 am (UTC)
I smiled all the way through this. Being forced to read Shakespeare at school had its uses after all lol
ignoblebard
Jan. 10th, 2013 01:41 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed this one. Binky. See, your teachers were right, Shakespeare can be fun. lol Thanks for your comments.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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