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FIC: Seals of Love (4/9?)

Title: Seals of Love
Genre: Much Ado About Nothing
Rating: T (some implications)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Written as a Christmas present for sykira. A what if inspired by my writing “Glance of Love” and the indications of what might have been for Benedick and Beatrice had their merry war not been triggered.
Disclaimer: Good lord, I'm writing fanfic about a Shakespeare play! Do I need to write that I own nothing? Especially when it's inspired by a particular stage performance?
Dedication: sykira. Merry Christmas, love. :D With thanks to bas_math_girl for beta reading.
Author's Note: When my Muse got the bug that later became “Glance of Love”, she got a few other ideas as well. And now that NaNo's over, I'm working on the Christmas stories. Thank goodness some of them were already done. :D

And I picked names out of my character name book. I was on a meaning kick, so that explains the five I chose. :)

And sykira, I'm trying hard to finish this ASAP. There are still chapters that need a little expanding, and RL has been keeping me busy. But I'll try to keep the chapters coming.


Chapter One / Chapter Two / Chapter Three
DVD Extra the First







CHAPTER FOUR: TO BREAK UPON THEM

It was the night before the wedding, and madness seemed to have fallen over Messina.

Beatrice was not pleased about where she was. She had had to ensure her children were off to bed so she could answer the summons to attend to her cousin tonight. Innogen wished for Hero to learn a little of what she should expect to see and feel upon marriage, and thus they were to attend a local club. Knowing the look on Margaret's face, a dancer would be involved.

The ginger-haired matron anticipated no pleasure in the evening. She tried to stay out of the joking that was bordering on inappropriate, especially in her aunt's presence. She could only imagine what Margaret would let loose when she thought their elder escorts, Innogen and Ursula, were not looking.

Margaret!” cried Hero. “Put that away!”

The gentlewoman just smiled, as though the angel wings she had slipped on were an accurate representation of herself. “Tis the only time a lady could never be accused of doing wrong in wearing such, other than a revel after marriage.”

Beatrice looked up and groaned. “Are you out of your wits, Fool? To have Hero wear a red veil with horns like a devil's? To risk her reputation?!”

My Lady Beatrice!” cried Margaret. “I suggest only in merriment, for my Lady is to learn a little of what to expect.”

Beatrice laughed. “It is hardly representative of marriage,” she snapped. Certainly she could not imagine Benedick even acting such as she knew the dancer would for her sake in their chamber, behind closed doors. “One little thing can sometimes ruin a lady. It takes only one man to ruin a lady, but three to ruin a man; and yet that is not assured! The risk of her enduring slander is too great!”

Peace, Cos!” cried Hero as she grabbed the red veil and threw it to the side. “I know well enough of the dangers to my reputation of maiden modesty. Good Meg, find me a white one.”

Maria approached in a hurry. “Put that red veil away, Margaret! Our Lady Innogen comes, and she expects us to be ready very soon.”

Margaret sighed and followed the suggestion from Maria and the order from Hero. She had hoped that if it had already been done, the Lady Innogen would accept it.

Beatrice eyed her carefully. She suspected that Margaret would still make some mischief before the night was over. She had certainly exhibited signs of it when she began as a gentlewoman in the house ten years before.

Hero seized Beatrice's hand and whispered. “Cos, what happened on thy night when Mother did this for you? Did thou enjoy thyrself? Did it prepare thee for the marriage bed?”

She took her cousin's hand in both of hers. “Nay, I did not enjoy the events planned for me. I imagine much the same as what was planned for me hath been for thee. They exist for the hope of making the bride more relaxed for her wedding night, but I found myself tense. It was only my husband's patience and tenderness, along with the knowledge that he would never hurt me, that allowed me the peace I required on mine wedding night.” She blushed in memory of the night. "Secure that trust, sweet Hero, and that shall take you far.”

Hero embraced her. She understood that her cousin was not like her, but she also knew there was a wisdom of ten years being married to a soldier that she could benefit from. She drew back with a sigh. “I do hope there shall be some enjoyment tonight for thee, Cos.”

Innogen and Ursula appeared. “Daughter, Niece, it is time. Shall we go on?”

Hero was silent. Beatrice had to prod her with a gentle tap on the arm and a smile. “Tis your cue. Hero. Lead us on, if my company is required.”

Innogen looked at her. “Oh, niece, surely this shall be better than your night.”

Are such revels truly enjoyed by all women, aunt? Does a lady really wish to stare at flesh that is not her intended's, no matter how acceptable the occasion might be? No, aunt, I'll have no pleasure in tonight till I am reunited with mine husband.”

Sighing, Innogen decided there was no arguing with Beatrice. “Well, come and support your cousin.”

Margaret finishing fixing the white veil on Hero's head, and then hurried off, motioning that she needed to do one last thing.

Beatrice rolled her eyes, certain that the gentlewoman would return with something else entirely inappropriate. She took Hero's arm and escorted her along. “Remember, Cousin, to act with at least some decorum. I am sure you shall be encouraged into some not so ladylike actions.”

Hero giggled nervously. “I doubt you have to worry, Cos. I am uncertain how far I should dare act.”

They were all about to leave when Margaret suddenly ran past them, shrieking for joy and carrying something over her head.

Innogen's eyes widened. “She is not...” She could not finish the sentence.

Hero closed her eyes. “Oh, Meg,” she muttered, before chasing her gentlewoman.

Her mother and Ursula followed, with Maria closing after them. Beatrice sighed and kept a pace that did not let her be left too far behind.

/=/=/=/

Benedick was certain that madness and stupid male traditions were the only explanation for the chaos around him. It did not help that he was forced to join the men at the local pub to 'celebrate' Claudio's final night of bachelorhood. He had his suspicions of what Don Pedro had in mind and what would come.

He only hoped he could escape before he had to witness much more than he already had. Too many of the men were already well into their cups, and would surely be further along soon enough. In the interests of remaining fairly sober, he was alternating between lagers and soda. He also kept to another table, wondering when his uncle would be 'encouraged' to leave so the lady of the evening could be brought in.

Although he paid attention to his surroundings, he wondered what forms of madness Beatrice was stuck with.

A feminine shriek caught his ears. For a moment he thought the 'entertainment' had arrived early. But then he noticed Margaret running along, carrying what looked to him like one of those inflatable dolls. His eyebrow lifted in confusion. What did that woman do in her spare time?!

On second thought, he did not want to know.

Hero, upon coming into view seemed displeased to trying to tell her gentlewoman to stop it, but sadly Margaret's tendencies were not easily suppressed. One by one a chase seemed to follow. First Hero chased Margaret, then Innogen chased after her daughter, and then Ursula ran after with one shoe in her hand. Poor woman needed to rethink her footwear if she kept having to remove one shoe. Benedick shook his head in amusement and raised his soda for a drink, but stopped mid-motion.

Slowly strolling in her purple dress with sandals instead of heels was Beatrice. She was lost in thought, her hands in the hidden dress pockets, until her eyes met her husband's.

He lowered his glass, held out a hand and begged with his eyes.

She was only too happy to slip to his side. “Have the male revels begun?” she whispered.

Not yet. I have been looking for a way out. Will thou provide me with one?”

I could be easily persuaded, as the female revels hold no appeal for me.” She curled into his lap and they began kissing.

Sadly for them, Maria came along and tapped on Beatrice's arm. “My lady, your aunt and cousin await you.”

Benedick nearly snapped at her to go on without his wife. Only Hero appeared in a rush and outright tugged Beatrice out of Benedick's lap. “I am not going through this without you, Cos,” she said.

Beatrice's longing look toward her husband left him exhaling through his mouth. He almost ran after them.

Only Don Pedro's voice froze him in place. “I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, and then go I toward Aragon.”

Claudio interrupted his own drinking to respond, without thinking, “I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll vouchsafe me.”

Don Pedro waved his words aside, yet not tipping the ridiculous drink with a sparkler he held. He spoke of the stain that would be on a mew marriage, adding, “When Benedick married I gave him two months leave to secure his position, only calling him back when a new action was required.” He continued, after just barely putting the drink down in front of Benedick – who did not want the drink, for it was hardly to his tastes – and carrying on about what fine company Benedick was and how much he would miss it.

Benedick chose to remain silent. When the Prince was this far in his cups, any comment would likely encourage him to carry on. He hoped someone would bring a change in the subject.

He was sadly mistaken. “
I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit one day before you declared your intentions. I said, thou hadst a fine wit: 'True,' said she, 'a fine little one.' 'No,' said I, 'a great wit:' 'Right,' says she, 'a great gross one.' 'Nay,' said I, 'a good wit:' 'Just,' said she, 'it hurts nobody.' 'Nay,' said I, 'the gentleman is wise:' 'Certain,' said she, 'a wise gentleman.' 'Nay,' said I, 'he hath the tongues:' 'That I believe,' said she, 'for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning; there's a double tongue; there's two tongues.' Thus did she, an hour together, transshape thy particular virtues: yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy,” the Prince concluded with a teasing smile, his words making Claudio and even Leonato laugh.

Benedick stood in disgust, not liking the reminder of his former follies. “Uncle, walk aside with me; I have studied eight or nine wise words to speak with you, which these hobby-horses must not hear.” He was pleased that Leonato gladly walked with him, and intended to step aside to free Beatrice from her obligations as soon as he had fulfilled his oath that secured his absence.

Don Pedro laughed. “For my life, to break with him about the change in his life.”

Claudio nearly pontificated on what he thought would be Benedick and Beatrice's reactions, but the other men drew his attention to see that a dancer had come in. Cheers and catcalls began as she started her special form of taunting a man.

To the side, Don John watched patiently. He would wait until both this entertainment was concluded and for Borachio to seek Margaret to begin their deception. “Let the Count have his moment,” he murmured. “Soon his happiness shall be destroyed, and mine secured.”

/=/=/=/

Beatrice's dismay over the proceedings was nearly complete. She had to watch in disapproval as the gentlewomen (particularly Margaret) made fools of themselves over the dancer, in a little horror as her aunt only blushed a little over the dancer's actions, and Hero alternating between being a blushing maiden and screaming as much as Margaret. The dancer had even made an effort to include her, but she quickly stepped to the side to stay out of it.

Claiming an entire bottle of alcohol for herself, she slowly sipped from a rocks glass and stayed as far out of it as she felt she could get away with. She had tried to step fully away more than once, but it seemed like every time someone noticed and all but dragged her back.

Bored, my wife?”

Beatrice nearly jumped in her shoes at the sound of her husband's voice. But she smiled anyway. “How did you find us?”

I took a chance to escape, and questioned one of our gentlewomen. I shall not be alone any longer tonight.” He noticed that Hero was starring in transfixed shock as the dancer finished his routine, and frowned slightly at the sight.

Innogen turned and gasped, rushing over. “Nephew!” she hissed. “You should not be here!”

I do not see my wife enjoying herself, and that is not something I wish to see. I require her company, aunt.” He drew Beatrice against him, letting the method imply his thoughts and their impatience.

Under any other circumstances, Beatrice would have protested being manhandled in public even by her own husband. But she yearned for an escape and he was her knight in shining armor providing one. Besides, she could probably use the certain implications of whatever Claudio's night involved to encourage her aunt to release her. “Aunt, I do believe mine husband is going to disrupt your evening should you attempt to keep me here.”

Quite,” was Benedick's clipped response before he swept his wife into a bridal hold, making her squeal.

Innogen opened her mouth, but her protest died on her lips. Her niece really wasn't enjoying the night, and so she sighed. “Very well, we shall do without her.”

Not that they were listening. He had moved much faster than she had ever seen him. Good lord, had watching whatever bawdiness that was Claudio's last bachelor night inflamed Benedick for his own wife's body?!

Shaking her head, she returned to her daughter's side. She would explain Beatrice's absence when she had to. Not that it looked like Hero or the gentlewomen had even a clue. She supposed they could do with one fewer person for the night. After all, what could go wrong?


Chapter Five
or
DVD Extra the Second

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
sykira
Dec. 29th, 2013 04:13 am (UTC)
DVD EXTRAAAAAAA! *chants*

Oh YES possessive protective grabby hands Benedick! Sweeping his wife into his arms! I love it.

And as a reader, we so need the DVD extra to prepare us for upcoming ANGSTy times. I love how in both your version and the MAAN DT/CT version, they could think of nothing else but each other on the bachelorette party night!
tkel_paris
Dec. 29th, 2013 05:03 am (UTC)
Ah, now to get that extra AND the next chapter under submission to my writing. :)

And the only time it suited her purposes. ;DDDDD

Yes. But there is one chapter between here and the ANGSTY times. Just so you know.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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