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Title: Assumptions Burst
Genre: MAAN
Rating: T/M (some violence within)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: The lives of Beatrice and Benedick are made more complicated by the presence of her father, who has plans for his only child. Plans she does not agree with.
Disclaimer: Don't own anything Shakespearean. Also don't have anything to do with the Josie Roarke production that I adore so much. If I could make money off these...
Dedication: sykira, whose praise has inspired me to try writing even more MAAN fanfics. This is your fault, lovely. ;) Also dedicated to inward_audacity, whose comments were the basis for this idea. And thanks to tardis_mole for betaing.
Author's Note: Posted in sykira's honor. You know why. Sorry this is so late. But I think you'll like this one. I've created an OC, and I think I'm almost as in love with this one as I am with Benedick. You'll see why. :D

This was supposed to be a “just because” present, but given how long it's taken me it's turn also into a Christmas present. Enjoy and have a Happy Holiday season!


Chapter One / Chapter Two


Assumptions Burst

Started September 2, 2015
Finished December 23-25, 2015

Chapter Three: Desires Beginning to Collide

The preparations for the revels were almost done, and so the families could gather and enjoy some relaxation time.

Or should have.

Much to Beatrice's disgust, yet another man from the Prince's company had approached her father with platitudes in both hands and grace and words for her father in asking for the hand of his daughter. As if she were not a person but a commodity to acquire, or a trophy to win.

“I do not agree to marriage,” Beatrice interrupted, getting to her feet.

“Daughter, you will be silent,” Olivio cut in like a blade of ire-stone.

“I will not,” she responded tightly. “I am not chattel to be bought or bartered at the whim of a man! Least of all yours, Father. All respect, but this man is beneath me.”

“No man is beneath a woman!” Olivio roared, getting to his feet. “For far too long a count of years have I restrained mine anger at such an ill-mannered daughter!”

“This man has said nought of me in his finery and compliments,” Beatrice argued. “He sounds as if his head wishes to marry you in my stead. What of me? Doth any man on God's Earth even know my name?”

“Your wishes are of little import!” Olivio rounded on her, missing the cringe from his own wife.

“One after another men have come before thee and oiled your ego and dug about your vines with compliments, but not one had spoken to me,” Beatrice pointed out strongly.

“You impugn my honour!”

“Every gloating buck of Italy hath had his turn with words of spice to your ear, so full on himself that I fair swoon! I should marry the Pope instead.”

“Blasphemy so added to your repertoire, maid of Messina!” Olivio countered in contempt. “What wretch did you lie with, wife, that I have raised a bastard as mine own blood!”

Beatrice shrank from him, as stunned by his accusations as her mother. She sucked in a heavy breath, not daring to burst into tears. “Then a spinster I shall remain and wish I had been born a man that my heart would have welcomed the love of a father as myself and not a trophy for men to fight over.”

“I will not be spoken to in this manner! Perhaps a reminder of who is head of this House will tighten your tongue!” Olivio raged, reaching for his belt buckle to untie it to thrash her with it.

Elena threw herself in front of him as he drew it off and lunged at their daughter. “Olivio, please,” she begged him quietly, her hands on his arm.

Olivio thrust his wife aside, uncaring that she fell against the table. Beatrice flew to her mother's side, joined by Innogen and Hero, both having witnessed the horrors of the confrontation. He ignored this all as he looked at the suitor, still on his knee in front of him, having not dared to move or speak. “Leave. You have failed.”

The suitor scurried away, taking the opportunity as it presented itself.

Leonato emerged from the shadows as the ladies seated themselves, whispered to check on Elena who silently indicated she was unharmed except for her feelings. His fixed his brother-in-law's gaze with a harsh glare. “I pray thee that anger led thy hand to strike at a lady so virtuous she would not permit a known rake of great fortune to pay court to her,” he cautioned him, not challenging a man's right to strike a member of his family but reminding him that it was his beloved sister in question.

Olivio nodded and turned his glare on his daughter as he put his belt back on. “You have aggrieved me in public and in private, yet this day we shall say no more of it. But be assured, wayward child. This is not over!” he warned.

Beatrice took the relief no matter how it came. Although her uncle was not in her books for not speaking more strongly against the treatment of her mother, his sister.

Leonato changed the topic after handing Olivio a spirit on the rocks. “Was not Count John here at supper?”

Innogen was grateful for the diversion. “I saw him not.”

“How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him but I am heart-burned an hour after,” declared Beatrice.

Hero smiled, but tried to defend the man. “He is of a very melancholy disposition.”

Beatrice did not think so of Don Grouch. “He were an excellent man that were made just in the midway between him and Benedick: the one is too like an image and says nothing, and the other too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.

Leonato decided to try to show how ridiculous her thought was. “Then half Senor Benedick's tongue in Count John's mouth, and half Count John's melancholy in Senor Benedick's face,--”

“With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world, if he could get her good-will,” she countered.

“By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue,” Leonato chided, more gently than her father ever would.

“In faith, she's too curst,” Olivio declared.

Beatrice took a philosophical approach to that idea. “Too curst is more than curst: I shall lessen God's
sending that way; for it is said, 'God sends a curst cow short horns;' but to a cow too curst he sends none.”

“So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns,” said Leonato.

“Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening.” She saw the looks on her father and uncle's faces and quickly directed her next comment to her mother. “Lord, I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woollen.”

Elena smiled gently. “You may light on a husband that hath no beard.”

“What should I do with him? Dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not for him: therefore, I will even take
sixpence in earnest of the bear-ward, and lead his apes into hell.”

“Well, then, go you into hell?” asked Leonato.

Beatrice smiled. “No, but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say 'Get you to heaven, Beatrice, oh get you to heaven; here's no place for you maids:' so deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for the heavens; he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.”

Olivio turned to Hero. “Well, niece, I trust you will be ruled by your father.”

Beatrice put down the lager she had needed after her confrontation with her father to speak seriously. “Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make curtsy and say 'Father, as it please you.' But yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another curtsy and say 'Father, as it please me',” she finished with a gentle tease.

“Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband,” Leonato said.

“Not till God make men of some other metal than earth,” Beatrice declared, aware that his was an old complaint but needing to say it in any case. “Would it not grieve a woman to be overmastered with a pierce of valiant dust? To make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren; and, truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.”

Leonato changed the topic by addressing Hero. “Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.”

Beatrice saw the horror in Hero's eyes and had a prompt answer. “The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in good time: if the prince be too important, tell him there is measure in every thing and so dance out the answer. For, hear me, Hero: wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.”

“Niece, you apprehend passing shrewdly,” snapped Leonato, highly displeased.

Beatrice's response was as quick as her hands were to place glasses upon her face. “I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by daylight.”

“I must declare that I cannot reconcile that with what I saw of the Prince this afternoon,” said Olivio, swirling his own rocks libation. “A grand match it would be for Hero, but I am sure that he hath looked more on Beatrice.”

“If the Prince is wise, he will know that a harpy as myself would never suit as the future Queen,” his daughter declared boldly. “He hath the example of a man who made a woman the mother of fools. Father, I could not bear enduring such shame knowing my husband did not value me enough to honour his vows.”

Elena sighed. “True, daughter, I have been fortunate that my husband forswore all that many consider their right, and I would wish that you could have such a match.”

“You have heard me before, Mother. No man my father hath shown me is such a man, and I hath not the proof that he is not of the ilk that molded his father, the King – who is, I confess, honourable in every other respect.”

Olivio glared her down, but held his peace. She was sorely trying his patience and his promise, and she had to know it.

/=/=/=/=/

Benedick's patience was sorely tried. He had had to keep Pietro and Claudio away from each other, avoid Olivio noticing him speaking with Beatrice, and then deal with her harsh words and wonder if she really did know who he was. So he had to pretend that his anger was all at her when the words about poniards were really aimed at her father. And so when she came and he could see Olivio coming shortly thereafter, he had to continue to pretend.

“Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on; I will... fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch of Asia, bring you the length of Prester John's foot, fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard, do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy!”

It did hurt to see her react harshly, but he had to pretend he did not see.

“You have no employment for me?”

“None, but to desire your good company,” said the Prince.

“O God, sir, here's a dish I love not: I cannot endure my Lady Tongue.”

Beatrice's mocking sounds and gestures drove him to leave without another word or a by-your-leave from the Prince.

Don Pedro suppressed his laughter at how foolish he thought Benedick looked and gestured for Beatrice to sit beside gim. “Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of Senor Benedick.”

She did, and laughed. “Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.”

He could not believe that. “You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.”

“So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools.” Her words silenced the Prince, as was intended. So she would let him know the result of her errand. “I have brought Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.”

The Prince had to hoot a moment over the grim manners of his current right hand as he stood to address him. “Why, how now, count! wherefore are you sad?”

“Not sad, my lord,” Claudio denied.

“How then? Sick?”

“Neither, my lord.”

Beatrice motioned the Prince over to explain, and he sat as she did. “The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but civil count, civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.”

It made sense and Don Pedro nodded. “I' faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false.” He stood. “Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won: I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained: name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy!” he declared, all the while as Hero was led forward by Leonato and Olivio, with Innogen and Elena trailing close behind with more champagne glasses.

“Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and all
grace say Amen to it,” declared Leonato, pleased enough with the match.

Beatrice could not stand the silence that followed. She prodded Claudio. “Speak, count, 'tis your cue.”

Luckily for her she was not chided.

“Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were but little happy, if I could say how much,” Claudio defended himself before addressing Hero. “Lady, as you are mine, I am yours: I give away myself for you and dote upon the exchange.”

Hero's inability to speak prodded another retort of wit from her cousin: “Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss, and let not him speak neither.”

Don Pedro exclaimed wordlessly as Leonato uncorked the bottle, pouring into various glasses with the aid of the others. “In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.”

Beatrice accepted that gracefully. “Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care. My cousin tells him in his ear that he is in her heart.”

“And so she doth, cousin,” he said, just as startled as Hero before the pair went to the side after taking glasses.

“Good Lord, for alliance!” Beatrice muttered, her words only reaching the Prince. “Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sunburnt; I may sit in a corner and cry heigh-ho for a husband!” she added before sitting down.

The Prince thought a few seconds before he spoke. “Lady Beatrice, I will get you one,” he promised before collecting glasses for himself and her.

“I would rather have one of your father's getting. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you?” He laughed as he sat beside her, and she continued blithely, “Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.”

The Prince thought about whether to speak. The Lady Beatrice sat there, unaware of how fine she looked even dressed partly as a man and ignorant of how charming her wit was. She hated being told what to do, but he found it too merry to be offensive. Except that something vexed her in secret, not that she admitted it in public.

He took the chance as he offered her the flute. “Will you have me, Lady?”

She laughed, sure it was a joke. Until she realized no one else was laughing and she could feel her father's expectant glare upon her. Her breathing became faster, and her hands shook hard enough to spill some of the champagne. “No,” she gasped, “my Lord, unless I might have another for working days! Your grace is too costly to wear every day!”

“Beatrice!” snapped her father.

She stood, grabbing her hat. “But I beg your grace's pardon, I was born to speak all mirth and no matter! My manners surely make me unacceptable as a match for you.”

Don Pedro was hurt, but he noticed her panic and realized he was the only person who could calm the moment. “You do not offend me, for to be merry best becomes you for sure, you were born in a merry hour.”

“No, sure, my Lord, my mother cried. But then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.”

“Daughter, see to those things I told you of,” Olivio commanded.

For all her words of 'as it please me,' she knew when it was best to back down. She looked the Prince's way. “By your Grace's pardon,” she whispered, giving the tiniest hint of a curtsey before she hurried away.

Don Pedro decided he had work to do, for the lady's sake. “By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady in spite of her cannot enduring to hear tell of a husband.”

“No, my lord, she hath mocked her wooers out of suit,” agreed Leonato. “Yet there is little of the melancholy element in her, for my daughter hath often said she had dreamt of unhappiness and waked herself with laughing.”

Don Pedro thought a moment, and voiced a sudden thought. “She were an excellent wife for Benedict.”

Leonato laughed, as much to silence his brother. “O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad.”

“That would not matter, for they shall not be wed,” Olivio proclaimed. “He hath not the rank required for a daughter of my blood. Prince, forgive my daughter and her frightful answer; if thee ist inclined toward her then I promise to work on her until the wedding."

“I would hardly have her be unwilling. County Claudio, when mean you to go to church?” the Prince asked, seeking to change the topic.

“To-morrow, my lord: time goes on crutches till love have all his rites.”

Leonato shook his hand and finger. “Not till Monday, my dear son, which is a time too brief, too, to have all things answer my mind.”

And so talk should have turned to the wedding. Yet Don Pedro could not entirely shake the thought that perhaps Beatrice did hold Benedick with affection and that was driving her refusal as much as anything.

“Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing: but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us. I will in the interim undertake one of Hercules' labours; which is, to bring Senor Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into calling off their merry war.” The squawking he received was ignored as he poured for the others. “I would fain have it a match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction."

Olivio's look of approval, given reluctantly as he would not go against the Prince, ensured Leonato's answer. “My lord, we are for you, though it cost us ten nights' watchings.

“And I, my lord,” assured Claudio.

“And you too, gentle Hero?” asked the Prince.

Hero's smile was instant and warm. “I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband by helping her see how she hurts herself. Yet permit me to use my knowledge of her to work upon her.”

Don Pedro nodded in acceptance of that. “As for Benedick thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble strain, of approved valour and confirmed honesty. I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall not challenge Benedick so; and I, with your three helps, will so practise on Benedick that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he shall cease to nettle Beatrice. Go in a moment, and I will tell you my drift.”

He let them precede him, but stayed outside a moment with his thoughts. “Dare I meddle in this way? Olivio's insistence of Benedick's unworthiness is confusing for the two men are alike in many a way though they neither see such. If Benedick proves not in love and Beatrice able to be gently persuaded that she could become a worthy Queen then shall I woo her. For the man who gains her love would be fortunate beyond all means.”

He went in, nodding a greeting to his brother. He had no idea he had given fuel to his brother's anger, nor ideas for the cunning plan that Borachio had hatched.

Chapter Four: Stalking with Different Aims

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
inward_audacity
Dec. 26th, 2015 06:07 pm (UTC)
YAY! Another MAAN fic from you. And I'm so glad that I somewhat inspired this one.

I'm also sorry for only commenting now. It's been a crazy week.

I'm so excited for the rest of it. I love everything about it already.

Beatrice has a complete family and I love that she's still so stubborn and fiercely independent. For a moment, I thought she'd be a little softer/mellower since she didn't have to fend for herself as a child, but I love that she's still just as strong. Even her father who is so firm can't control her. Love his name by the way! Great choice.

I do really hate that he pushed Elena aside so easily and without a second thought. Has he ever laid hands on either of them? I hope not.

Also, how is Benedick still unworthy of Beatrice? He has served in a war and returned victorious. On top of that, he's the prince's right hand man. What more does Olivio want from him?

I can't wait for more! Thanks for sharing, sweetheart.
tkel_paris
Dec. 27th, 2015 12:24 am (UTC)
Oh, I wouldn't have written this one without your influence. :)

All is forgiven. IF you're able to leave comments on the first two chapters, especially what you think of my OC, it'd be like a Christmas present to me. :D

Given how iron-fisted Leonato seemed I could only imagine Olivio being more so, which would in a way heighten Beatrice's independence because she sees a stronger threat to her wishes and more reason to mourn not being a man. Glad you like the name.

Read on. More will become clear.

Again, you'll see.

Welcome. :DDDDD
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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