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Title: Assumptions Burst
Genre: MAAN
Rating: T
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 / Chapter Three

Assumptions Burst

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

Chapter Four: Stalking with Different Aims

Pietro looked around the open area of Leonato's. His expression was grim as he investigated. At length he spotted Benedick, and his grimness softened into understanding. His lord was sprawled against a pillar, mouth hanging open and wearing the most casual of casual clothes. Clearly Benedick had partaken of more drink after the revels.

Benedick felt a finger prod him, but it set him off-balance and he hit his head on the ground. He let out a sound, and soon heard his lieutenant's voice.

“My lord, didst thou attempt to prove that nothing can force a man to loose more blood than drinking?”

Benedick groaned as he pushed himself carefully to sitting, took the cold compress Pietro offered and placed it against his aching head. He also accepted the cup of strong coffee he brought.

Pietro sat beside him, silent with his own cup until he felt a need to speak. “I'faith I spent more time yesternight in drink, for a man thwarted in love seeketh whatever solace is at his disposal.”

Not yet ready to speak of his own troubles, Benedick changed the subject. “I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by failing in love: and such a man is Claudio.”

“My lord, may I beg thee to speak not of him? Heard I that he thought the Prince was paying court to Hero, and believed it until the Prince himself enlightened him? My heart is heavy thinking that such a man so easily led shall be Hero's lord.”

Benedick's grim manner softened ever so slightly before his body shook with rage. “I fear I have thought much the same of Olivio. Word hath reached me that he, when Beatrice rightly dismissed the stuffed soldier who thought he could become her lord, nearly thrashed her with his belt! How can the men of Messina be so beloved and yet so violent with their wives and children?”

Pietro shuddered, stomach churning at the thought. “I hath no answer. Mine own father never raised one finger against my mother, and I only recall him raising a hand against myself once; my childish recklessness scared my mother so that he thought one smack against my bottom was required to alert me to her feelings. Enemies he was not so liberal toward.”

“Given some I know he hath I confess myself in amazement that he hath restrained his anger so,” Benedick remarked before groaning aloud. “Ha! the prince and Monsieur Love!” He pushed to his feet, prompting Pietro to the same. “I will hide us.

They withdrew, with Pietro making sure their cups were not left behind as clues to their presence.

Don Pedro led Claudio, Leonato and the musician Balthasar into the area. “Come, shall we hear this music?”

“Yea, my good lord,” said Claudio, looking into the shadows. “How still the evening is, as hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!”

The Prince leaned in. “See you where Benedick hath hid himself?”

“Oh, very well, my lord: the music ended, we'll fit the kid-fox with a pennyworth.”

He did not see Pietro, and his words would have been quite different otherwise – the Prince's presence or no.

Don Pedro was satisfied, and commanded, “Come, Balthasar, we'll hear that song again.”

Balthasar, sitting as he adjusted his guitar, stood. “Oh, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice to slander music any more than once.”

His modesty, which had earned him the hand of Maria of the household, was not what Don Pedro wished to hear. “I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.”

“Because you talk of wooing, I will sing,” agreed Balthasar, who began strumming the notes.

Claudio's being transformed in delight. His wordless sound caught Benedick's attention. He turned to Pietro. “Oh, now is his soul ravished! Is it not strange that sheeps' guts should hale souls out of men's bodies?”

Pietro shrugged. “Well, a horn for my money, when all's done.”

Balthasar's voice was in the nasal range, which was annoying to the hungover Benedick. Pietro was more forgiving, but focused his efforts on making sure his lord did not accidentally place his hand into the wet paint or knock anything over when he silently mocked the singing and the accompaniment of Claudio or two of the gentlewomen of the house.

Benedick was no less in a kind mood when the music finally ended. “And he been a dog that should have howled thus, they would have shot him!”

Pietro smiled then. “Do not do him such a wrong; for what air is truly soothing to ears already rent by the revels of the mouth?”

Benedick waved in only a slight dismissal of the words, not having the energy to argue. He leaned against one of the pain trolleys and finished his cup.

Once Balthasar left Don Pedro motioned for Claudio to check where Benedick was. The Count, still unaware of Pietro's presence, nodded. Olivio not being present allowed him to be as free with his words as he wished. Yet they had to honor the spirit of the Viscount's wish that Benedick be discouraged; and Leonato could not be asked to go against his brother, not when he agreed that the father should be able to dictate who his daughter should marry.

He hoped that more peace would come from this as he began. “Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of to-day, that your niece Beatrice was in love with Senor Benedick?”

Benedick slammed his free hand against the trolley in shock, and then fled to another spot with Pietro before the latter could even half-heartedly caution him.

“O, ay: stalk on. stalk on; the fowl sits,” whispered Claudio before he raised his voice again. “I did
never think that lady would have loved any man.”

Leonato carried it on. “No, nor I neither; but most wonderful that she should so dote on Senor Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor.”

Benedick turned to Pietro. “Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?”

“I know not, my lord,” Pietro replied in whispered words. “But do not show yourself. Listen further.”

Leonato exhaled loudly. “By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it but that she loves him with an enraged affection that my brother hath tried ten years and failed to cure her: it is past the infinite of thought.”

Don Pedro quickly thought of a response. “May be she doth but counterfeit.”

“Faith, like enough,” agreed Claudio, ready to help.

Leonato's explosion was not feigned. “Oh God, counterfeit! There was never counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion as she discovers it. But my brother would wish it ill; that it be an ill-wind or fleeting. He is vexed with her headstrong nature. And he doth despise the man as unworthy of her. He is of Padua, and old hatreds are still bright in some. They, to a oneness are passionate.”

Don Pedro saw an opening. “Why, what effects of passion shows she?”

Claudio had hurried to check that Benedick was attentive, and only saw him with his back against a nearby pillar. Pietro was standing just out of sight. The count hurried back to prompt Leonato. “Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.”

Leonato struggled. “What effects, my lord? She will sit you, you heard my daughter tell you how.”

Claudio's nod was not enough for the Prince, who was desperate to carry it on. “How, how, pray you? You amaze me: I would have I thought her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.”

“I would have sworn it had, my lord; especially against Benedick,” said Leonato.

Benedick looked back at his right hand. “I should think this a gull, but that Leonato speaks it: knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such reverence.”

Pietro grabbed his arm in warning. “Tarry and thinkest more. What affection, my lord, hath the lady ere’ given thee?”

“You suspect some trick? I saw marks of love in her before her father forced us apart.”

“If not a gull then a parrot,” cautioned the Duke. “For it hath been ten years since she showed them to thee.”

Don Pedro's voice was the next they heard. “Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?”

Leonato shook his head as they moved, unknowingly forcing Benedick and Pietro to shift to remain in hiding. “No; and swears she never will: that's her torment.”

Claudio nodded. “'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says: 'Shall I,' says she, 'that have so oft encountered him with scorn, write to him that I love him?'”

“This says she now when she is beginning to write to him; for she'll be up twenty times a night, and there will she sit in her smock till she have writ a sheet of paper: my daughter tells us all,” Leonato assured them. “And my brother would shut us up to secrecy. There is nought I can do to alter his path, even if I were to show him such paper.”

“Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty jest your daughter told us of.”

“O, when she had writ it and was reading it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet?”


Leonato could easily see something like the tale they were spinning happening, and gave it voice. “Oh, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence; railed at herself, that she should be so immodest to write to one that she knew would flout her; 'I measure him,' says she, 'by my own spirit; for I should flout him, if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I should.'”

Claudio acted out the first part of his next part. “Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses; 'O sweet Benedick! God give me patience!'”

Benedick, watching attentively, straightened slowly and rubbed his face in shock. Even Pietro was silent from disbelief.

“She doth indeed; my sister even says so: and the ecstasy hath so much overborne her that my sister
is sometime afeared she will do a desperate outrage to herself: it is very true.”

Leonato went so far as to mime wrist-slitting, which Claudio and Don Pedro each waved against, but both of the men in the shadows were stricken still with horror.

Don Pedro chose instantly to change the subject. “It were good that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it.”

“To what end?” Claudio protested. “He would make but a sport of it and torment the poor lady worse.”

“And he should, it were an alms to hang him,” agreed the Prince. “She's an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion, she is virtuous.”

“And she is exceeding wise,” conceded Claudio.

“In every thing but in loving Benedick.”

The Prince's words struck like an arrow to Benedick, making him shake enough that Pietro had to stabilize him.

“O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one that blood hath the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle,” Leonato admitted.

“I would she had bestowed this dotage on me: I would have daffed all other respects and made her half myself.”

Benedick could not hear the next words. The very idea that the Prince was even looking in Beatrice's way cut him through his heart.

“Hero thinks surely she will die; for she says she will die, if he love her not, and she will die, ere she make her love known. I fear if not by her own hand then her father’s, mark me. And she will die, if Benedick woo her, rather than she will bate one breath of her accustomed crossness. I doubt not your word, sir,” Claudio said to Leonato. “But if her father should see Benedick in her company thee implies he will not meet old age?”

“I doubt it not,” Leonato replied. “There must be an avenue we have missed, one that would appease my brother and bring Benedick and Beatrice to the truth.”

Pietro's eyes widened, showing that even he was being caught in the trap.

“She doth well: if she should make tender of her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit,” said the Prince.

Claudio had to defend Benedick, as he could see the man standing straight over such an accusation. “He is a very proper man.”

Don Pedro, unaware that both men in the shadows were paying careful attention, nodded. “He hath indeed a good outward happiness.”

“Before God! and, in my mind, very wise.”

“He doth indeed show some sparks that are like wit.”

“And I take him to be valiant,” Claudio finished. “Hath not the war prov'd so?”

As Hector, I assure you: and in the managing of quarrels you may say he is wise; for either he avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes them with a most Christian-like fear,” agreed the Prince.

“If he do fear God, a' must necessarily keep peace: if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling,” reflected Leonato.

“And so will he do; for the man doth fear God, howsoever it seems not in him by some large jests he will make. Well I am sorry for your niece. Shall we go seek Benedick, and tell him of her love?”

“Never tell him, my lord: let her wear it out with good counsel,” suggested Claudio.

“Nay, that's impossible: she may wear her heart out first,” cautioned Leonato.

“Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter and sister: let it cool the while,” declared the Prince. “I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy so good a lady.”

As the three exchanged silent assurances that they thought it all worked, Leonato urged them off. “My lord, will you walk? Dinner is ready.”

Once they were definitely gone Benedick and Pietro came forward. Benedick was out of breath as he reflected on what he heard. He slowly turned to Pietro, pointing in the direction they saw the men walk. “This can be no trick: the conference was sadly borne. They have the truth of this from Hero.”

“I am aggrieved that I appear to have spoken too soon,” Pietro agreed. “They spoke with such honesty and are men of integrity. Even Claudio, despite the history between his father and I.”

Benedick's reflections grew inward. “They seem to pity the lady: it seems her affections have their full bent. Love me! Why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured: they say I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say too that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. And that her father would rather she die than love me. I did never think to marry: I must not seem proud: happy are they that hear their detractions and can put them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I am horribly in love with her!”

“What will you do?” Pietro asked. “For to tread lightly, you must on the one hand deny all to the Viscount, whilst on the other bear your love on open view to the lady. In any and all lights, she will not take it as truth given your past wit with her.”

Benedick nodded in agreement. “I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have railed so long against marriage: but doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age. Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of
the brain awe a man from the career of his humour? No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.”

Pietro had to smile. “Very well, my lord. What is thy next action?”

“I will go... prepare my papers so I may petition Olivio with the best arguments for my ability to provide for her and our heirs independent of her own fortunes. Never shall a father find as earnest a suitor for his daughter as I! I shall show I am not my father's son, that whatever his dispute with my sire hath no bearing upon my suitability as a son-in-law. Pietro, wilt thou be witness to my character, connected to the Viscount's family through thy brother?”

“In every thing, my lord.”

Chapter Five: Sporting With A Lady's Feelings (Or Not)


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 27th, 2015 06:58 am (UTC)
Olivio's been trying to keep Beatrice away from Benedick and his family and the Prince are scheming to bring them together. I wonder how he'll react when he finds out.

Time for Pietro to help his friend out. Benedick needs all the help he can get. He has to convince stubborn and hurt Beatrice that he has always loved her and also convince her father that he's worthy of his daughter. It feels like such a tall order for him. He has a lot of work to do...
Dec. 28th, 2015 03:21 am (UTC)
The Prince is walking a fine line because he doesn't KNOW what Benedick's feelings are. If he did, I think he wouldn't hesitate to support the match actively. In fact... No, that's spoiling another idea I got today, for a new story. ;)

You might prove a prompter for MAAN fics, IA. :D
Dec. 28th, 2015 11:41 am (UTC)
Another one?! Because of me?!

The Prince bringing them together because he knows Benedick's true feelings towards Beatrice sounds like it will be amazing. Benedick will probably endure lots of teasing from his friend but it'll be worth it...

I look forward to it.
Dec. 28th, 2015 04:39 pm (UTC)
Yes. :D

Worst of all is my muse is prodding me with scenes. But I need to get Flipped 3 fully posted, and start work on finishing other fics first. But this one may get started despite all of that since I might not have the most up to date files of some of the fics with me. *snaps fingers in frustration*

Anyway... it'll be good. :D
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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