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Title: Shakespearean Cupids

Rating: T for emotional angst, innuendo, and Jack-style machinations

Summary: When two people are reminiscent of a Shakespearean couple, friends and family are liable to borrow from the Bard himself to bring them together.

Disclaimer: I don't have the money to go see the awesomeness of David Tennant and Catherine Tate in a Much Ado About Nothing production – let alone own anything related to Who aside from a Disappearing TARDIS mug. And one pair of Converse - that I started breaking in on May 16th...

Author's Note: I was working on another idea, and was stuck. Out of boredom, I started thinking about all of the fanfics that will surely emerge once MAAN starts its run, and was preparing a prompt list for the Doctor/Donna LiveJournal community... when Muse grabbed one of my own suggestions and ran with it. At least I get to play with the moments I hope I'll get to watch... if the BBC makes a video production... We American fans are going to depend on it! Just please let it be the quality of the one made of Hamlet...

Special Disclaimer: This story will have more than one chapter in the Doctor and/or Donna don't appear at all. Sometimes it's because some set-up is happening for the plot (as in the first three chapters), and sometimes it's because of the story-line. Also, woolSmynx on FF.N asked in a review how closely I would copy the play and whether there'd be a Claudio, Hero, etc. From what I can tell based on my notes, aspects of a variety of MAAN characters will find themselves in equally various characters here. But I have found inspiration for the chapter titles, which I'm trying to keep to MAAN lines, but one chapter so far is going to be an exception...

So.... without further Ado...


Jack Harkness could have some really good ideas, Dr. Martha Jones reflected as she entered Sarah Jane Smith's home. Some were almost as hare-brained as what the Doctor could come up with, but they usually worked – sort of like their friend's did.

Although this begged the question of why Jack wanted to gather so many of the Doctor's companions together in one place. Without him or his current (primary) companion around. After all, this was the man who was pretty much attracted to anything humanoid and sentient.

Ah, she noticed on entering the living room, Gwen was also there. As well as the rest of Jack's team. Maybe now she could hear about that so-called friend of Jack's whose tastes ran along an even wilder range. To think that the randy Captain actually had standards...

It also begged the question of why Sylvia Noble and Wilfred Mott were invited. Martha knew her family wouldn't come unless some major emergency were happening, and she wouldn't blame them. So why was Donna's family here?

She entered the room to hear Jack trying to explain to Donna's family how the Doctor kept managing to arrive in time to save worlds – and that he never sought to hurt anyone. So he must've already told some Time Agent stories. Damn, I would've liked to hear them.

This gathering wouldn't have been possible without Martha telling Jack about the surprise addition to the TARDIS family, the Generated Anomaly. The Doctor hadn't been thrilled to return to Earth after the 1920s adventure to find that a bunch of people wanted to meet the young Time-Lady known as Jenny. Martha had never seen him so tense. But one thing from the morning's meeting stuck out in her mind. “You know, Jack,” she said as she accepted some juice mix (which Gwen swore hadn't been spiked), “I've seen you flirt with pretty much anyone you meet, or at least act like a tart. From how the Doctor warned me when I met you, I'm guessing that... you considered Rose fair game.”

Jack grinned sadly, lost for a moment in a memory. “She was a sweet girl, and she liked being around me.”

Not as much as she liked being around the Doctor. The thought didn't need to be spoken between them.

Sylvia frowned. “So this... alien... goes around and picks up young girls as companions?”

Sarah Jane and Martha shook their heads, and simultaneously shouted, “No!” Martha let the older woman defend their friend. “More like whoever happens to be around, and proves themselves useful in a tough situation. Some prove more capable than others, and some become better friends than others.”

Martha nodded, and added, “And no one seems to be proving a better friend to the Doctor than your daughter, Mrs. Noble. I've never seen him so challenged by someone, or have someone whose abilities compliment his so well. They're a fantastic team. You should've seen them working to defeat the Sontarans.”

“And your daughter joins my ranks in taking on a Sontaran soldier,” Sarah Jane noted, “and winning.”

Jack's grin got bigger. “That's right. Your daughter helped free an entire race called the Ood from slavery, Earth is safe because of what she did on the Sontaran ship, and she helped the Doctor accept his daughter – despite her creation and thinking he'd lost her. Donna is an amazing woman, and you should be very proud of her.”

“Oh, of course we're proud of her!” Wilf was quite offended at the thought. “We just wish she'd have more confidence in herself.”

Sylvia felt all eyes on her, and sighed. “I know I don't show it very well, but I do love her. I know when she's hurting, when she's happy, and when... all sorts of emotions are running through her heart.”

That reminded Martha of her earlier question. “Back to what I was saying, Jack. You clearly flirted with Rose, you flirted with me, and you're still trying to flirt with Jenny – despite her Dad's warnings.” Jenny merely rolled her eyes and continued sipping on the banana smoothie her “grandmother” mixed for her, and waited for the rest of Martha's question. “So how come you didn't flirt with Donna when you met her this morning?”

“Ah,” Jack began, rubbing his hands together slowly – showing how carefully he was thinking about his answer. A rarity for him. “Well, I like having the Doctor's good opinion, but I apparently can't resist a Gallifreyan.”

Jenny, still sipping, flipped Jack a rude gesture that she could only have learned from Donna.

Sighing over being shot down again, Jack added, “As for Donna... Let's just say that I know better than to flirt with someone who is not only taken but whose partner won't share.”

Wilf nearly choked on his drink, while a startled Sylvia screamed, “She swore that they're just friends!”

Jenny laughed – having swallowed her most recent sip. “I know they do, but I was watching them when we saw Agatha Christie. You should've seen how they stayed together, how they gravitated toward each other, and their faces when Mrs. Christie thought they were a couple. They might not be one, but I'm convinced that they're just fooling themselves. How can anyone not know that they're in love?”

Gwen cleared her throat. “I can answer that. One can get so caught up in the details of their life or situation, or perhaps in some big picture deal, that they ignore or misinterpret what their feelings are telling them. It sounds like she's had some bad experiences with men in the past, and he doesn't exactly seem like a guy who's comfortable dealing with feelings.”

Martha snorted. “God, he's total rubbish when it comes to knowing exactly how he feels about someone. Let alone recognizing how others really feel. This particular Doctor is also an unconscious flirt – and yet he has no clue why he keeps being hit on. Donna's right when she calls him a bloke.”

It was Jack's turn to sigh. “And being someone with so many years on everyone else, and facing the hardship... of out-living everyone you care for, takes a lot out of you. I'm not really surprised that he didn't seem aware of the plethora of 'mine' signals he was giving off this morning, but I am surprised that – as observant as Donna is – she hasn't detected them.”

Wilf suddenly remembered something. “Wait, I might know the answer to this. He told her, back on that day with those blobs of fat, that he was looking for a friend. Although she said he put it in a way that he didn't realize how it sounded. She told him off for it.”

Jenny nearly did a spit-take of the last of her smoothie. “Oh, my God! The TARDIS was showing me that conversation just before I left for here! He was talking about just being 'mates', and she actually told him, 'You're not mating with me, Sunshine!'”

“Ooh,” Owen murmured. “Hard to go from friends to more with that kind of a mess.”

Jack held up his hands to forestall any further comments from Sylvia. “I'm betting he's been closing himself off for a while, out of guilt. He's probably been focusing on not letting himself get too attached to anyone, and I don't doubt that he might've been relieved that Donna wasn't interested in him.” He paused a moment, and grinned. “But... he may be an alien, but he's also a guy, and guys are intrigued by challenges. And what could challenge a man's ego more than – after running into scores of women who want him – finding the best person for him and she's not impressed with him?”

He didn't let anyone answer the rhetorical question. He just continued, “He didn't seem aware of the intensity of the glare he gave me. I mean, he's always saying, 'Don't, Jack.' But this time? If looks could kill, I might've been permanently vaporized. I first thought it was over Jenny, but his body language was telling me a different story. I'm afraid that, because she appeared in his life when he really needed someone, he built Rose up to be something more than she really was to him – and didn't realize it until it was too late. He was never that protective of her... or Martha.” The last was said with a bit of apology to the young doctor.

Martha vaguely waved off his concern. She was over him, after all.

“Hmm...” Jenny thought about her previous day. “So that explains why he was so much more reactive to when Lady Eddison's son flirted with Mum than with me. Even though I'm his daughter!”

Sarah Jane had a point to raise about that, to play devil's advocate. “He can partly justify that because you're still so young and innocent regarding people. He can trust that you won't get into that kind of trouble. As for Donna... I always knew he liked gingers, so it doesn't surprise me to hear that he developed a thing for her. But to have it so bad that he's clueless about it?”

“Donna's the same way right now,” Wilf exclaimed. “She talks about him as her blokish friend, but her eyes sparkle when she talks about him – even more than their adventures. I know men and woman can be just friends, but I'm afraid her past is blinding her to the truth. That she's protecting herself as fiercely as she can.”

Sylvia slowly nodded, breathing sharply out her nose. “That's why I'm concerned. My daughter's showing all of the symptoms of being in love, and I need to know that she's not setting herself up for heartbreak again.”

Sarah Jane shook her head firmly, needing to defend him. “He never wants to cause any companion pain. Yes, it is dangerous traveling with him, but you see so many amazing things, help so many people, and become a better person in so many ways that it's all worth it. I believe Donna decided that she would be happier doing something worthwhile than pursuing the one thing that seemed to always elude her.”

“But,” Jack interjected, “a woman that extraordinary shouldn't have to choose. She should be able to have the best of both worlds. Which is where we come in.”

Ianto groaned. “Matchmaking? Sounds like you're asking for trouble.”

Jack laughed, shaking his head. “No, more like we make them aware of their own feelings, and then work from there.”

Martha frowned. “You might just make things worse that way. If they both have insecurities about whether they can be happy, then they'll surely have them over how the other feels. Then, if we do what you're thinking, they'll just get awkward around each other and Donna might feel compelled to leave. Putting them each in a worse place where they started from before they met. You need a better plan than that, Jack.”

The Captain's face fell, as he realized the problem.

“Mum?” Luke came in with his friends, each with books in hand. “We're back from the Library. We got what we need for our Shakespeare paper.”

Then Martha noticed one of the books. “Wait, is that 'Much Ado About Nothing'?” A brainwave was building, but it was missing some details.

Everyone gave her a puzzled look, and Luke answered, “Yeah, we've got a paper to write on the play. We chose to write about how Benedict and Beatrice were manipulated into realizing their own feelings with the idea of the other loving them.”

Gasping, Martha leaped from her seat. “That's it! May we look at the book for a bit?”

When Luke – although completely baffled – handed it over, Jenny stood to join Martha. “Who's Shakespeare, what's a 'play,' and what is this 'Much Ado' thing?”

“Oh, Jenny,” Martha gushed, her mind working at light speed to piece together a plan, “you are in for a treat. Shakespeare is only the best English writer of all time, and – according to your father – the most human of all humans. A brilliant mind with words, who gave our language more new words than anyone else up to this point. Bit of a flirt, I will admit.”

Gwen gasped, awed by the implication. “You met him?!”

Martha grinned, a mix of bashful and proud as she noticed that everyone was looking speculatively at her. “You're looking at Shakespeare's Dark Lady.”

“Well, as much as I'd like to hear about his randy side,” Jack commented appreciatively as he approached Martha to look over her shoulder, “I know we don't have much time before Donna brings them back from the store, so we have to pull our best impression of the Doctor and wing it.”

“Wait a flippin' minute!” Syliva stood, reminding everyone where Donna got her scary side from. “You're going to set her up with him?”

Jack gave her a pointed stare, mixed with a bit of flirting. “Does he treat her better than all the others before him did?”

“Yes.” Reluctant, proving how much she knew her hopes for her daughter had vanished.

“Oh, Sweetheart,” Wilf said, patting her arm, “she'll be fine. Better than fine, I'd say.”

When Sylvia sighed in reluctant acquiescence, Martha's grin turned practically wild. “All right, we need to quickly brush-up on how Benedict and Beatrice were tricked, and then quickly decide who's going to be overheard by which one of them. I swore I'd never meddle in a friend's life like this, but I like the idea of messing a little with his head before pushing him on the right path. Jenny, do you think the TARDIS will help us afterward?”

Jenny thought about it, and shrugged. “I'm sure if worst comes to worst, I can nick Dad's Sonic and lock them in a cupboard together. Think that would help?”

Jack's grin was positively wicked. “Oh, I think you may be doing that, period. Just please plant a listening device first.”

The Time-Lady was affronted. “I might want them together, but there are some things I don't want to know about – and I think we'll find a lot more success with them if I make sure no one else does, either. Got it, Captain Horny?”

Jack's face took on such a comical pout – so much more extreme than the ones she'd seen her Dad give – that Jenny began to get what her Mum meant when she'd called Jack a “sneaky tart.” Nothing with Jack Harkness was “strictly professional.” Nothing.

Chapter 2: A Well-Baited Hook


May. 22nd, 2011 01:11 am (UTC)
oh fabulous idea! fabulous! I can't wait for more!
May. 22nd, 2011 04:44 am (UTC)
Yeah, I didn't fight my muse on this one. I was already too excited about MAAN, and this is kind of a therapy for not being able to see it. Yet... Am holding out hope for a film version, like what was done with Hamlet...

I'll post the next two chapters soon, but I'm struggling with Chapter 4, where our matchmakers run into something they weren't expecting - but should've given the discussion within this chapter...

BTW, love the userpic! I might ask to borrow it later on in the story...

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