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Title: Glance of Love
Genre: Much Ado About Nothing (2011 performance)
Rating: T (with two chapters rated M – one for paranoia, the other with... more cause)
Pairings: Bendick/Beatrice, Claudio/Hero
Summary: One chance look shared on the night before the ill-fated wedding day drew a pair of dueling lovers together... a bit earlier. Thus altering the lives of those around them as well.
Dedication: To Shakespeare for writing the play. To the people who arranged to put on the amazing performance, to Digital Theatre for putting out a download, and – most of all – David Tennant and Catherine Tate for the silent exchange that inspired this fic – as shown here (the same site is the source of all images in this fic):
Disclaimer: I didn't have the money to see this in person. So I own nothing except this idea. :( And a copy of the Digital Theatre download. :D
Author's Note: Title is a play on the song that was playing as this moment happened. My muse is a definite minx for coming up with this... and a few other MAAN-based ideas. :D

This would probably make more sense if you've seen that MAAN production, but I wrote it with the aim of trying to make things clear to any reader. Still, I know my peeps who had the great fortune to get tickets and see the play – or fans like me who had to wait for the Digital Theatre download – will get every last reference I make to the performance itself. I suppose this is also for the fans who either can't afford to get the download and the ones whose computers can't make it work – every Doctor/Donna fan should get to see this play.

Readers, this is the result of being an unrepentant Doctor/Donna fangirl, adoring the dynamic Tennant and Tate have in anything they do, and having an imagination that went into overactive squeegasm madness over several moments I refer to. :D Heck, spoiler footage of The Kiss powered me to reach NaNo winner status in under fifteen days. That and an Internet blackout at my house that prevented me from watching it over and over again. :D

Happy Birthday, sykira! I thought about writing the Trope sequel, which I know you've been waiting for since before I first published Doctor/Donna smut, but I thought you might like this even better. Hope I was right. :D Don't fret – I will finish that story one day. :DDDDDDD Oh, and did I mention there might be an MAAN fic for Christmas for you, if you like of me? ;DDDDDDD

Glance of Love

Started August 10, 2012
Finished September 6, 2012

Chapter 1: Sigh No More, Ladies

The celebrations before the wedding of the daughter of the Governor of Messina to the Count Claudio of Florence had begun. It was difficult to find people who were not sharing in the excitement and gaiety of the night.

Difficult, but not impossible. Three were most decidedly not feeling the delight.

One was plotting to ruin the event and the lives of several people connected to it. The other two were struggling with respective revelations about their own feelings – each deceived into discovering their own truths.

Beatrice trailed behind the rest of the bridal party. Margaret might have already indulged in some drinking, given her extreme state of ecstasy over getting to set the plans for Hero's night before her marriage. Evidently, Innogen had agreed to it because she felt it would prepare her innocent daughter for the variety of aspects of marriage – particularly the preparation to lay with her soon-to-be husband.

Normally, Beatrice would have taken great pleasure in pointing out – rather forcefully – the ways that the male who would 'perform' for them was lacking. (Never mind that he was almost certain to not be attracted to women.) She considered herself the voice of reason, guarding women and their right to choose how to lead their lives. They were at such a disadvantage in the eyes of the law, which considered them at the mercy of the most powerful male in their life. Be it their father, husband, son, nephew, or – in her case – uncle.

Beatrice was painfully aware of her situation. Orphaned at a young age, she was taken into Leonato's house and raised almost as his own child. He had guardianship of her and her fortunes. His aim was to see her 'fitted with a husband' and had no care as to how she might feel about that. Had he not seen how arbitrary male rule was? How much womanly wisdom was being suppressed – even within his own house? She had seen how her aunt had considerable intelligence, and chose to give in so many times to her husband's choices – even when she saw his choices were not the right ones.

She would not subject herself to such rule. She was determined ever since her father left this world to use her intelligence and wit to keep all suitors away. If that labeled her a 'shrew' then so be it. And she would do everything she could to protect Hero – the younger cousin whom she considered a sister – from such a fate. Although all she could do was encourage her to resist suitors.

It did not help her cause to see that even her cousin was tiring of her justifiable arguments against marriage. The same topic was raised the night Hero became engaged to the Count – and she feared that her cousin had rushed into the match. She thought that the Count should have argued his own case – it would have spared her cousin the fear of having to risk her father's extreme displeasure if the prince actually was intending to ask for Hero's hand.

Who knew that he would ask Beatrice herself instead?

That was the most awkward moment of her life. She'd laughed, sure he had to be joking. Surely the prince could not want a known 'shrew' as his bride. But his silence had proved otherwise. She had to make a joke out of her refusal, although she suspected she had gone too far with her humour. She had not needed to see the disappointment and embarrassment on her uncle and aunt's faces to know that. Don Pedro had seemed genuinely hurt, although he made a respectable effort to take it with humour. She had never before been grateful to her uncle for 'asking' her to do something that actually did not need doing – it gave her a graceful way out of the awkward moment.

The world would very likely call her a fool for refusing him. He was rich and he clearly enjoyed her intelligence, wit, and spirit. And he genuinely liked her, possibly even had fallen for her.

But she lacked something critical from him, and he from her. He could not see the truth of either.

She lacked the knowledge that he truly respected her and would treat her as an equal in spite of the law being on his side. Without that, how could she enter into marriage?

As for what he lacked? Her heart. She would not even entertain the thought of marrying a man she did not love. So she was determined to not wed or be wed.

Once, a few years earlier, she had thought there was a man who fit what some considered her impossible standards and wishes. He had openly respected her intelligence and wit, engaged both in conversation and debate, plainly admired her beauty, treated her with respect, and touched her heart.

Unfortunately, Seńor Benedick of Padua shared a critical fault with other men. He made assumptions about what she wanted, did not ask her first, and she had reacted on instinct – snapping at him.

That had driven them into what her uncle called their 'merry war' whenever they met. Now their wits tried to out-match each other every time, and he was willing to pull the man's prerogative of deciding when to stop the match. A jade's trick, she considered it. It angered her every time, and provoked her to leave with a parting shot. One day, she aimed to prod his pride into forcing him into responding, thus continuing the match.

He had proved true to form when they met the previous afternoon, ending their verbal sparring match early. She could never understand it since he always met her opening challenges with a rivaling wit, and was happy enough to clink glasses or lager cans as to salute the opening volleys of their matches. But when he sat down and ended their match before she could rejoin his words about wishing his horse had the speed of her tongue, she had barely kept the venom from spilling over when she pushed up her glasses and leaned down to warn him how she knew 'him of old'. She might have got a reaction – he did tense just a bit at her mention of the 'jade's trick' – had Don Pedro not made his own announcement. Thus she left the room, vowing revenge.

So when she was certain she had spotted him in 'woman's' dress at the reveling, she had gladly let him approach her and let him have it – letting him think she didn't know who he was until she appeared with Claudio, and recovered quickly from being called a 'harpy'. (She supposed it was partly because that insult was a compliment of sorts to her beauty, whether Benedick had intended that or not.) His leaving in a speechless huff when she refused to act insulted by being called 'my lady tongue' had been quite the sight, and she was not sorry for it.

This afternoon, she had her assumptions ripped away. Hero's waiting gentlewoman, Margaret, had showed a spot of solidarity with her in how women were not given the choices they deserved. She had let her know about a conversation her mother, Ursula, was having with Hero – all about her, Beatrice. The effort to hear their conference had shown her how little she was respected by the household. How else could she explain her becoming caught in one of the painter's lines? Someone had done it deliberately, known she was there. And she heard just how awful her reputation truly was – Hero was not one to exaggerate, and Ursula was known for plain speech.

Only the household's lack of respect for her – aside from her unquestioned loyalty to her cousin and her family – would have bothered Beatrice and left her furious. The reputation would not have left a mark on her soul. She had practice not letting it concern her.

Except Hero and Ursula had dropped the greatest shock of her life: Benedick was well-nigh dead with love for her.

Had she been hurting him all this time by taking stabs at his looks? His wit? His skill as a soldier?

It had waked her to another reality. She had loved him with all her heart since before the day that started their war. It was why she had always challenged him whenever they met. It was impossible to deny that when her efforts to remain calm after vowing that she would requite his feelings and letting her 'wild heart' be tamed by his 'loving hand' failed so completely. She had screamed for joy and run to her room.

Now time and reason had returned. They left her filled with uncertainty and unease. How could she gracefully change her public stance? Having railed so much against marriage, how could she make a change that would sit well with her conscience and grant her heart's – and Benedick's – desire?

It left her nervous, barely able to eat the dinner her aunt had put on for the bridal party. At the private club, Hero and her attendants and female relatives would be 'treated' to all sorts of events that were meant to help her feel better prepared. Hero was a bit shaky, but smiling as she put on the veil that Margaret had placed before her.

The fool had suggested a red veil, but Hero would not consider it. It was too extreme for her, too wanton for her preferences. Beatrice had agreed – a woman's reputation was a brittle thing, and the wrong word could stab her just as thoroughly as a sword could run a man through.

Did Benedick understand that? She felt he had the reason and wisdom to listen, but could his pride as a man and a soldier permit him to accept such a stance?

Beatrice did not know. She was not sure if she could approach him. But she had to figure out a way to give him a sign that she was receptive. What could she do or say? And how could she repair any damage she had done with mocking him? Including today, when he had acted like a grinning idiot when the prince and her uncle sent her to summon him in to dinner. Now it made sense in a way if he was so far gone for her, but what had let his guard down?

So it was with a heavy mind and a heavier heart that she followed Ursula, who once again had to remove an ill-fitting shoe.

She did not realize the party was passing by the spot where the men had gathered.

Chapter 2: Seals of Love


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2012 06:29 pm (UTC)
I saw this on my flist and my whole world screeched to a halt! You didn't only write me a birthday fic, you wrote me a MAAN fic and it's bloody brilliant! Holy carp woman! Ok you can't leave me waiting too long for the next part because that's just cruel!

Wow, honey, this is really exquisite. The character psychology is flawless and beautifully expressed. And you picked up on that MOMENT-- the moment that made the whole theater hold their breath and then ship Ben/Bea so SO hard!
Need MOAR.

Sep. 7th, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)

Next part is coming up as soon as I finish piecing together which photos to insert. :D So soon tonight. :DD

Thank you! Thank you! That means a lot since you saw multiple performances and I only saw the combination of several. (And you can tell at times in the Digital Theatre showing.) Oh, that moment? That'll be posted tomorrow night. But you have Ben's side up tonight!
Sep. 8th, 2012 03:02 am (UTC)
Update: More is up now, sweetie!!! :DDDD

Oh, and do check the other LJ pages on your flist. I know of two other stories written in honor of your birthday... One's linked to off doctor_donna, the other is on TM's LJ page. And they're both great stories!
Sep. 8th, 2012 09:10 am (UTC)
I know, I was checking on my phone but then by the time I made it home I fell into bed. I'd like to say it's cause I was partying so hard but no it was just work then kids then I got a crazy headache, bluergh. But courtesy same kids I am now awake and trying to catch up, lovely problem to have, so many birthday things to reply to!!

Sep. 8th, 2012 09:53 am (UTC)
Aw... *hugs* Did I mention that I kept your original comment up in my email box while I was posting the second part? It brought such a smile to my face. It's my honor to write this for you, and just knowing that you love it was enough for me. I would've been fine getting no other comments from anywhere as long as I knew you love it. :D
Sep. 9th, 2012 01:02 am (UTC)
Pics!! :DD Uhm, is pic number 3 (MAAN_A2_S1_2) supposed to be missing?
Sep. 9th, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)
Um... near as I can tell, it's there. But I was having trouble uploading pics tonight for Chapter 3. *groans* More things to troubleshoot...

Anyway... how's it looking otherwise? Do the pics add to the story or detract?
Sep. 9th, 2012 01:49 am (UTC)
Just a gap with an empty square in it near the top. It had a closed image icon in the middle and the ID tag at the top. That's how I knew it was missing.

Otherwise, it looks utterly brilliant :D
Sep. 10th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
LJ has been giving me trouble uploading some of the pics. Takes me an hour to upload the posts right now, it seems. *sighs*

And I'm copying the text of each comment/post just in case LJ eats an attempt...
Sep. 10th, 2012 03:32 pm (UTC)
That is frustrating. Gah on your behalf. :(
Sep. 10th, 2012 11:46 am (UTC)
I adore the inclusion of all the pictures! They complement the story wonderfully. Well done, love!!!
Sep. 10th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
*squees* :DDDD
Oct. 3rd, 2012 10:49 am (UTC)
MAAN fic!
User sykira referenced to your post from MAAN fic! saying: [...] en (completed) fic based on DT and CT's MAAN here: http://tkel-paris.livejournal.com/38442.html [...]
Jan. 10th, 2014 01:23 am (UTC)
I just found this quite by accident but I have to say, I started reading and then couldn't stop! I love the use of the pictures and of course the writing is an added bonus! You honestly made me feel as if I was there, AGAIN! It's truly touching and quite lovely! ;)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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