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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 (and all other photos with - unless specified - come from the same source):
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! And now for the moment that triggered this whole story to begin with... and the start of the changes... :DDDD

Sigh No More, Ladies / Seals of Love

Chapter 3: Light of Love

In the club, the men were gathered. Don Pedro was seeking a drink – for who, it wasn't certain yet. He was already well on his way to being rather merry. Claudio was seated, laughing with and teasing back the officers and members of Leonato's house who made sport of him as the lager was passed around freely. Along with other alcohol.

Benedick was off to the side, absorbed in his own thoughts. All of them about Beatrice.

Suddenly, Margaret appeared, running into the grounds nearby, shrieking in delight. She had not yet indulged in any drinking, but those who knew her knew it wasn't far off. Especially as her excited mood led her to carrying an inflated, nude and featureless male doll by its upper torso. It belied the wings she wore over her shoulders.

Hero came right behind her, swatting at her arm and trying to convince her to drop it. But Margaret, thinking her lady needed to relax, just shrugged and ran off to their nearby destination. Hero groaned and complained to her approaching mother, and rushed after her trusted gentlewoman to keep her out of trouble. Innogen stopped long enough to encourage Ursula to follow, but even she gave up when Ursula's right shoe once again proved problematic. That gentlewoman paused long enough to remove it, check it for pebbles, and then rush after Innogen without putting it back on.

The final member was Beatrice. Strolled behind with her hands in her jean overall pockets. Her cousin had argued for her to wear some other outfit, but she pulled the right to ignore her cousin. She had not yet forgiven her for saying that she would go to Benedick with some 'honest slanders to stain' her with, or for saying he should 'consume away in sighs' rather than endure her wit. Or for letting her be caught in the painter's cord. Her eyes were on the ground, her thoughts on the gentleman himself.

Benedick had not truly registered who was passing or approaching. His thoughts were too important. Until his eyes caught sight of a familiar head of hair slowly coming by...

Beatrice did not look up or stop her progress toward the events for Hero. Until she noticed something familiar out of the corner of her eye...

They froze, him first as he realized she was there before she consciously noted him sitting there. Their mouths went slack – it was their first sighting of each other with each fully aware of their own feelings.

He could barely draw breath. Even in clothing clearly meant to hide her body, she was the most beautiful creature alive.

Her mouth went rounded as she tried to catch her breath. When had he shaved?! O God help her! It made him more appealing! She had to move before she embarrassed herself, so she broke eye contact – reluctantly.

Benedick watched as she slowly moved away. He could not look away, and his body turned to keep her in sight.

Beatrice could not resist turning back – not the short way, but the longer one to give herself more time to try to compose herself – to catch one more look. She had to touch her shirt, to remind herself that she could not approach him first. She wanted to give him some clue that she would welcome him speaking to her – especially to give her an out of this night.

But he could not find his voice. And so he watched her walk away. His breath came in bursts through his mouth as she left his line of sight. Why did she cover herself in clothing that was unworthy of her? It did not flatter her at all. Although if it helped keep others away from her, then he would not object.

He was of half a mind to follow her, forgoing Claudio's merry-making, until Don Pedro spoke. It snapped him out of his trance.

Not that it was pleasant. He had a disgusting fruity drink with a sparkler placed in front of him. He had pushed that aside, claiming he was 'not as I have been.' But he endured a teasing that he could not tolerate for long. These men knew of Beatrice's love for him, and they spoke so disparagingly of a woman who might love him?! He had to get out, and used the excuse of 'eight or nine wise words' to speak with Leonato about.

He had the suspicion that someone would bring a 'lady' in for the men's entertainment. Once he might have been amused at how stupid his fellow men behaved, and encouraged the dancer to frustrate the man in whose honour the event was thrown. Now he did not want to look upon a woman's skin – if it did not belong to Beatrice.

Beatrice needed a drink within moments of the dancer arriving. He reminded her too much of Titus, one of Leonato's gentlemen. He was too dark for her tastes, lacked the freckles that she now found darling, and he did have the look of a man who was more interested in men – and only performed for women because they would pay well. This man was surely making a fair bit of money from this one performance.

So she had persuaded the bartender to give over a bottle of vodka just to her. No one seemed to notice. They were all too excited over his teasing – particularly of Hero. Poor Hero – she was smiling, laughing, and shocked. Especially when he was down to his undergarments – which barely hid the family jewels.

Beatrice slipped off to the side. No one had taken any notice of her since. No one had noted she kept to the side or was hardly watching the performance. She sighed and sank to the floor, leaning against a pillar. She ditched her empty glass – it had once had ice in it, but now she felt more like drinking straight from the bottle. She had never done so before, and she just wanted to act like a man tonight. Maybe she would find an answer to her dilemma of how to encourage Benedick without degrading herself.

She had to use her wit to send off a few unpleasant males who happened to come near the party. Not all were seeking one last bit of attention from Hero – some men still approached her despite her reputation, all clearly after her fortunes. There was only one man she wanted to see anytime soon... but when might that be? At the wedding?

Benedick left Leonato at his house, having discussed those words. He had finished his beverage, and felt restless. He was not ready yet for bed, but he was not returning to the men's gathering. He wanted to find Beatrice – he did not like the misunderstanding existing between them. So he gathered his courage to apply a soldier's mantra to a non-war situation: get unpleasant tasks out of the way first.

He had to pray that his wit would not fail him. This was critical.

Passing the men's gathering at a distance, he wasn't surprised to see a dancer near Claudio. He was a bit surprised that Claudio had consented to be tied up and blindfolded. But he did not dwell on that. It was not his concern that Claudio's actions were a bit disrespectful to Hero, or that the practice was all too common among men of his station – of any wealthy station.

He would proceed to find the women's gathering place. Surely he could find a moment to speak with Beatrice.

He had to walk past a number of Hero's waiting gentlewomen. One reminded him a bit of the dancer by Claudio. He hoped it was a coincidence – it did not bode well for a woman to be known to look like one who was considered a step above a lady of the evening.

Then he saw a jean-covered knee poking out from behind a pillar. It was baggy over that knee, so his instinct told him she was there.

His courage almost failed him. Fear told him to turn around now, that he wasn't ready to plead his case yet.

But if he did not do it now, when would he find another moment? Days from now? No, that was not acceptable. He had come this far. He had to see it to the conclusion. So he walked a bit closer, and his breath caught when he saw the beautiful red hair that had captured his imagination.

Beatrice stilled. What man was approaching her? Had he noticed her bottle? Did he intend to try to take it from her? She turned to give him a piece of her (admittedly slower than normal) mind, and gasped when she lighted on Benedick's face.

They stared at each other, the sounds of the club pulsing around them. But they couldn't hear anything. Except their own respective heartbeats, breaths.

Chapter 4: We Go Together


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 9th, 2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Ohh! Another gorgeous instalment ♥ You describe it so well it's like being back there :D Now you've got me wishing it had played out like this ♥ ♥ and I love how well you understand their motivations - like for wardrobe choice and to drink or not, really brings this play to life.

*sighs in utter contentment and hope for more*

(BTW if my comments slow down or are nonexistent during weekdays that's just my work keeping me away from a computer til late every night, I'll catch up I promise)
Sep. 9th, 2012 11:24 pm (UTC)
LJ just ate my answer to this. GAH!!!!

Anyway... so glad I'm hitting all the right notes and taking you back. Wish I'd been there with you, and don't we all wish this had happened. :DDDDD

More coming tonight!

Take care this week. *hugs*
Sep. 9th, 2012 10:48 pm (UTC)
I love this series! You have outdone yourself this time! Can't wait for the next installment!
Sep. 9th, 2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
LJ just ate another answer. And maybe a post I saw on my friends page. Grr....

Anyway, thanks! Please enjoy the rest, and let me know if there's anything in particular about any of the posts that you liked.
Sep. 10th, 2012 03:44 am (UTC)
LJ has been doing strange things lately. I tried to post something earlier and it got eaten. I just gave up.

I can really tell you spent time analyzing the characters in this play. You have really tapped into their emotions well. I think Beatrice as a character is fascinating. The bit you put in about her clothing was genius. She is a vulnerable person. Whether she wants to admit it or not all she wants is somewhere to belong and someone to belong to. She has no parents and even though her uncle gave her a place to live it's not the same as having someone to call your own. I can see her having abandonment issues and not wanting to open herseif up to Benedick for fear of being left by him as she was left by her parents. I think something like that would scar anyone.
Anyway, now that I have left an epic comment. I feel the need to tell you that I love the screencaps. The one of David with the paint made me laugh. It makes it easier to imagine the scenes playing themselves out. I have yet to be able to see any footage of David and Catherine's version. I did buy a poster from the show on eBay though. :D I hope to get to see it eventually.
Sep. 10th, 2012 06:43 pm (UTC)
You're doing a good job there. Anyway, it was completely worth the hassle of getting my Mac fixed to play the Digital Theatre version. That said... I really want a hard copy on DVD. Might have to get a Region 2 player, if there is a version... *sighs*
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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