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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 / Chapter Four / Chapter Five / Chapter Six / Chapter Seven / Chapter Eight / Chapter Nine

Assumptions Burst

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

Chapter Ten: Ladies' Honour Acknowledged

Beatrice and Hero sat with the ladies in their chamber. All were in black now, wearing veils and staring of into the distance.

Hero sighed heavily. “My heart is broken, cousin. How shall I ever mend when I cannot leave my father's home, and even then I must keep to a small part of it?”

“In truth I warned thee against Claudio, sensing he was an impressionable scamp. He hath not the steadiness of Benedick or the constancy of even the Prince, or even my cousin, the Duke.”

“First that I have heard thee praise the Prince,” Maria noted.

“Never let it be said that I think he doth not honour his obligations, but I would not wish for a man whose influence is heavily weighted on a man who did not honour his wife above all others. My father would not betray his vows to my mother, and she adores him for that. Whilst I wish he would accept that her wisdom is superior to his own in certain matters he will not. And how can I forgive him for this refusal to accept mine own wishes?”

They heard footsteps. Ursula came into the room, also wearing black but without a veil. “My ladies and equals! Word hath reached us! Yonder is all coiled outside! It is proved that my lady Hero is falsely accused, the Prince and Claudio might'y abused, and Don John who is the author of all is fled and gone!”

There was a general shock and awe. Murmurs spread across the room as they took in the news.

“Well, that is all and well, but how can Hero be restored without having to marry Claudio?” Beatrice demanded. “How can such a man be a steady husband who my cousin can trust to protect her and their children? Completely under a man's power would she be, and he hath proved untrustworthy before.”

“I think him capable of turning himself into the man I see in him,” Hero declared, feeling a lightening of her spirit and hope for the first time in hours.

Ursula shook her head. “My lady, I must agree with Beatrice. She is not wrong, for we must trust that the man shall protect us above all else. A man who will put his own blood or honour completely before his own spawn and wife cannot and should not be trusted. Do not be sure that thy father shall permit the match to happen. Not without a great penance on Claudio's part, which is only proper.”

Hero sighed. “I can accept that, but wish for a speedier conclusion that shall thwart Don John's wishes.”

Maria nodded. “That is the rub, is it not? 'Tis a great pity that there is no resolution that would truly sit well with all of the demands this unlucky situation hath imposed on my lady and both households.”

There was no disputing that. Not even Beatrice had a remark.

Then Olivio, Leonato, and their wives entered the room. The men looked stricken and the women grimly triumphant. Innogen went straight to Hero, taking her hands. Elena sat beside her daughter, taking her hand tightly.

Beatrice glared at her father. “What news, my lord?”

He felt the sting of her words, the implication that he did not deserve the title anymore in her beliefs, and stunned the room by kneeling before her. “Daughter, I must make a confession. I acted according to mine own beliefs, not willing to see what was contrary to them in the world around me. Always did I dote upon thee, but claimed that I was only indulging the whims of my headstrong wife. Troth, I would not have indulged a son more than I did thee, for I saw so much of myself in thee even as thou art the image of thy mother in your present years. I must now confess that I indeed ordered Benedick to leave thee and even commanded his absence from the wedding. Had I not he would have defended thy words of defence and supported them. I know now that thou speaks only the truth and that we could have protected Hero better had my brother and I listened to thee.”

Beatrice could not look with wider eyes. She looked around the room, looking for confirmation in the shocked expressions surrounding her. “Do mine ears deceive me? Is this my own father, telling me that he was wrong?”

“Indeed, Beatrice; I thought only of securing a title for thee through thy husband, never thinking of permitting a man to take our name. Now do I see that Benedick is everything a man as myself could wish in a son and heir, and yet I offended him not an hour ago after he challenged Claudio.”

Gasps erupted from all the women, “Challenged him?!” cried Beatrice, standing from surprise. “He would do that in spite of thy decrees! O blessed senor! Thou art a friend who would be a man for my sake!”

Olivio lowered his eyes, not wishing to meet his daughter's anger when he admitted to the next part. But his honour demanded it. “I offered him your hand, but I said it such that it was meant to satisfy the debt we owe him for defending Hero's honour.”

“What?! To appease thine own honour?! How can thou think it could possibly be any better than how thee hast ignored my own wishes completely over my entire womanly years?!”

“I know now, for he refused me for reasons close to that.”

“What?!” Beatrice cried, terrified. “He hath not changed his wishes, has he?”

“Nay, he said he still wishes to marry thee, but would not unless thou came freely to him. He accused me from using you to satisfy my own honour and said it did nothing of the sort. He called thee a flower that hath withered under my care, and only now do I see it is completely so. Thou wouldst have blossomed under his tender care, and hath struggled to remain vibrant under mine harsh rule. I beg thee, daughter, for forgiveness; and I say to thee that I step aside and shall support whatever thy wish is in marriage. If thou insist on letting the title revert to another branch of the family so it shall be and never again shall any effort be made to fit thee with a master. If instead thou wishes for Benedick then I leave thee to decide where and how; your uncle and I shall exert ourselves to ensure that it could be on the morrow if thou both wish it.”

Beatrice took a deep breath and smiled widely. “O may god forgive me! He hath stayed me in a happy hour! Father, where is Benedick?”

“I do not know. He left shortly after his words of refusal toward my mistaken and wrongful offering.”

Leonato spoke instead, hugging Hero. “I believe he and his right hand went to their quarters. He left the Prince's service when he challenged Claudio.”

Hero drew back in shock. “Did he? And his men follow him?”

“Yes, and you should know that the Duke of Venice, also, spoke for thy honours. He witnessed your return to this house. The Prince and Claudio knew better than to challenge both men's words, particularly when it would mean war with both Padua and Venice; and the Watch captured the men who aided John the Bastard in accusing thee, my daughter. Claudio shall undergo a penance for a year; during that time he cannot approach thee or communicate at all with thee. I urge you, Hero, to take after your cousin and look for a man who treasures your honour even more closely than his own; for Benedick hath done so for Beatrice, and I believe he shall be the finest lord the house of Tomasi shall ever know. And mine brother doth agree with mine assessment.”

Beatrice looked at Bruno, a young servant in her father's employ. “Does thou knowest if the senor and Duke returned to their quarters?”

“Yea, my lady. They did.”

“I shall go to him. And yes, my father, I shall take ladies with me so we are not alone. I shall respect mine honour as he hath, which is more than I have seen from those who ought to have properly protected me.”

She left quickly, leaving three of the ladies in veils to hurry just as fast to accompany her. It was just as well, for Olivio and Leonato each had to be seated to avoid buckling under the pressure of all the humiliations of the day. But Olivio felt the sting of Beatrice's words all the way to his loins. She plainly had not forgiven him for costing her ten years of happiness, nor for not defending her honour when she defended Hero's.

They were overcome enough that Elena had to get their attention. “Husband. Brother. There are a great many things that need to be done before this night. Where shall we begin?”

“I have a spade my brother can borrow,” Leonato voiced more to himself. “Mayhap he shall use it once I have done with it.”

Olivio weakly raised a hand in a wave to appease his brother-in-law. “Before you, in troth, brother, so thee may pat down my sod and erect my dishonour’d stone. And mark you the words that thee should ask of the mason; here lies a dog. Pay him twice to writ upon it, for a mason of good standing would be discouraged to make it. And pay the digger thrice, for he may wish mine body expos’d to the air and left for the crows, yet they may refuse lest they also be sick from my dishonour upon the feast. Perhaps herbs to sweeten me would entice them? Or perhaps pay the digger thrice and thrice more to lay me deeper and hotter than God’s hand can reach? All this and more is fit for what I have done,” he said. He wiped the unmanly but deserved tears from his face and turned to his wife. “Elena, my beloved, I believe I need thee to make the decisions. I must acquaint myself with the feeling of not being in control of my House's future, and thy quiet judgements have benefited the lands before.”

Elena's eyes softened as she sat beside him. “My love, I would never have wished such pain upon thee. I wished only that thou would see that Beatrice's wisdom was enough to be a worthy heir. Trust in her, my husband, and all will be well.”

He nodded, accepting an embrace from her. He would need more later, in private; not that he felt assured that he would receive such

Leonato looked to his own wife, eyes tired and defeated. “Innogen, will thou act in my name to ensure that all rites are performed?”

“That I shall, having known them from early in mine life.”

Chapter Eleven: Lovers' Quarrel Silenced Forever


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2016 03:19 am (UTC)
I always feel so bad for Beatrice and the other ladies. They have no one to protect them and they can't protect themselves. I hate how the men let their egos blind them.

I thoroughly enjoyed how Beatrice verbally bitch slapped her father. He deserved it. It was quite tame for someone who has been duped into thinking that the love of her life dumped her when the truth was that her father forced him to leave.
Jan. 6th, 2016 05:29 am (UTC)
Yes. I hope the women in the Houses all gained something important from this.

Well, she's better than that. She looks for something sharp that'll leave the biggest impression, and she knows she's made her point.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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