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FIC: Seals of Love (2/9?)

Title: Seals of Love
Genre: Much Ado About Nothing
Rating: T (some implications)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Written as a Christmas present for sykira. A what if inspired by my writing “Glance of Love” and the indications of what might have been for Benedick and Beatrice had their merry war not been triggered.
Disclaimer: Good lord, I'm writing fanfic about a Shakespeare play! Do I need to write that I own nothing? Especially when it's inspired by a particular stage performance?
Dedication: sykira. Merry Christmas, love. :D With thanks to bas_math_girl for beta reading.
Author's Note: When my Muse got the bug that later became “Glance of Love”, she got a few other ideas as well. And now that NaNo's over, I'm working on the Christmas stories. Thank goodness some of them were already done. :D

And I picked names out of my character name book. I was on a meaning kick, so that explains the five I chose. :)

And sykira, I'm trying hard to finish this ASAP. There are still chapters that need a little expanding, and RL has been keeping me busy. But I'll try to keep the chapters coming.

Chapter One
DVD Extra the First


Hero was delighting in her pink princess dress, and almost as much in the Lady Di mask her mother handed her. She was ready to praise her mother's Cleopatra dress when her young cousins burst in, instantly capturing all the attention.

Rufine wore a combination of articles that had been made popular by videos from American telly, and the look was more than a bit out of place on a nine years old girl – although everything was covered because the shirt was so big. Her father had been very unhappy with her choice, but he had not been permitted to comment thanks to her mother's non-verbal warning. Sienna was Maid Marian from a cartoon, although she was lacking the fox accessories that would have completed the look – she was too impatient to sit long enough for one of her mother's gentlewomen to put them on her. Adrian was a mustache-less Luigi from the Mario Brothers game, fitting his young version of his father's tall and lanky frame. Crispin was an obvious Luke Skywalker (although his blond curls had to be slicked down) and Ignac was Robin Hood from the same cartoon his little sister took inspiration from – complete with a fox's tail and ears poking from his cap.

Innogen praised their costumes, and wasn't surprised when her gentlewoman Ursula's eldest grandchild ran up, wearing a Mario costume (also without a mustache), and then led the others off toward something else. She watched them a moment, and then turned when she saw movement. She and Hero were stunned by Benedick and Beatrice's costumes.

The lady had adorned herself with dark shades, a man's white shirt, a black jacket, and slim black trousers that reached only to above mid-calf. Trainers, white socks, and a black fedora completed the look. The gentleman's costume was much more startling: a shiny black top that plainly covered a fake pair of boobs, a skirt rather dangerously short, lace tights, red high-tops, a wig of curly blond 'hair', a huge visor, a pig's snout covering his nose, and hints of makeup that would've looked even stranger had he not lost his beard a few hours earlier. No pun intended. And hence why his wife stopped him from ordering Rufine to change into another costume.

Beatrice cut off all comments by raising her lager bottle. Her arm was linked with Benedick's in such a way that they were taking the gender-flipping even further. At least until they all sat and she draped herself over her husband's legs, slightly unladylike. He grinned and wrapped an arm around her as she placed her hat blithely on the table.

The whispering between Hero and Innogen stopped when Leonato appeared, drinking a spirit on the rocks. He noted his niece's position and suppressed an unhappy sigh. He had hardly been able to tame her before she met Benedick, and it seemed marriage had hardly done any better. Benedick seemed disinclined to even remotely tame her, and certainly encouraged her less-than-ladylike ways. Leonato was not amused when Beatrice had unexpectedly broke into awkward singing at dinner. What had she thought she was doing and why did she glare at her equally blushing husband for several long minutes? So he introduced a topic to take his mind off the matter. “Was not Count John here at supper?”

I saw him not,” said Innogen.

Benedick listened to the rest of the discussion, wherein Beatrice commented on the man's demenor, compared him to Benedick himself in a teasing way, and then defended her wit regarding the sort of man who might be ideal and about her “curst” ways. He protested that her ways were a blessing to him, for he would not have her or their children otherwise, which ended that part of the talk. He was highly entertained by her description of how the Devil might have greeted her on her death before sending her off to heaven, even if he wasn't keen on the thought of her being merry with the bachelors.

He felt in a merry mood (even not accounting for the lager he had finished) until the talk moved to Hero being “ruled” by her father. He was uncertain whether he would be married to Beatrice had he insisted on the normal manner of a woman following a man's lead – something that Beatrice only did for appearances when it was necessary for his sake – and he had seen enough to question Leonato's judgment at times, despite the respect he did hold toward his uncle. Indeed, his aunt's intelligence and wisdom would be fit to rule a land by themselves!

He remained silent until Leonato halted the discussion about the worth of most men with a declaration to Hero: “Daughter, remember what I spoke of. If the Prince do solicit in that kind, you know your answer.”

The Prince?” Benedick questioned, noting the alarmed look in Hero's entire being. “On what grounds doth you assume that my lord looks on Hero as his future wife?”

Leonato and Innogen looked surprised, although she answered. “I overheard him confess such to Claudio.”

Benedick's eyebrow raised skeptically. He also removed his visor and pig's nose, taking the wig with them. This required not looking quite so ridiculous. “I do not doubt your hearing, Aunt, but I cannot make that agree with what I heard from the Prince's lips earlier. Not even a breath of inclination toward Hero passed from him. From Claudio, however, such a wish flowed freely.” He noticed Hero's eyes filling with hope and light. “And I see my cousin is rather pleased with that thought. Indeed, Uncle, the Prince was encouraging Claudio's inclination. It would not surprise me that my aunt missed the beginning and the conclusion of whatever Don Pedro said, which would reconcile her overhearings with the conversation that I was part of.”

The Count who returns with the most bestowed honour,” mused Leonato. “I would consider him an excellent husband for my daughter, but you, nephew would have me possibly anger the Prince if by chance he withheld his thoughts from you?”

If he doth solicit, the fault will be in music, cousin,” said Beatrice, slowly twirling her sunglasses. “If you not be wooed in good time, if the Prince be too important, tell him there is measure in everything and so dance out the answer.”

Benedick knew that Beatrice's wit was ready to move to an already discussed bit on comparing wooing and the aftermath to three respective forms of music. It amused him, but he had to calm their uncle. “Nay, but I can offer a delay that would cast no ill light on Hero. Indeed, I would urge this if Claudio solicits and the Prince doth not.”

What is it you propose, cousin?” asked Hero, intrigued.

He leaned forward in his seat, as much as he could, given that he did not wish his wife to stand. “You are your father's only heir. All the traditions of his house, they could be lost if your husband will not honour that rich history – a history with traditions that you surely treasure.” At her nod, he carried on with a smile. “Then insist on witnessing proof that any prospective husband will support those traditions, keep them alive. You will be respecting your forefathers' legacies, and no man with honour shall hold that against you. Any such man who wishes to preserve his forefathers' legacies would respect and honour you for it.”

Leonato and Innogen were surprised, but thoughtful. Innogen nodded first. “An excellent compromise. And if you, Daughter, say that you would ask this of any man who offered for you, then no one could call you in the wrong.”

Beatrice smirked. “None except those who insist that a woman must demurely thank a man for his offer and accept, no matter what sort of man he be.”

Hero covered her mouth to hide a laugh. Leonato was irritated. “Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.”

I have a good eye, uncle,” she insisted, putting on her glasses. “I can see a church by daylight.”

Benedick opened his mouth to defuse the moment, but Balthasar interrupted over the loudspeakers. “The revelers are entering. Make good room!” Before he finished, Beatrice hopped up so Benedick could also, and she helped him quickly re-don his head's attire. He soon joined the other men, and the ladies joined in the dancing soon after. The children followed suit from the sidelines, trying to copy the adults as best as possible.

Indeed, Benedick and Beatrice quickly forgot about the matter. They even failed to notice when Hero was led away by a man too short to be Claudio.


Claudio stood trying to recover his breath, his composure, and some semblance of calm. With all his dreams shattered at the word of Don John, he was not in the mood for company.

Count Claudio!”

He grimaced. Benedick stood nearby, one arm around his wife – cousin to Hero. “Yea, the same.”

Benedick had had to give himself and Beatrice a moment to respectively compose themselves. When people had started splitting off into smaller groups, he had taken the opportunity to have some alone time with her. Their familiar teasing, quickly coming back into fine form with being in each other's company again, had made him react strongly to her jesting about his reputation and thus silenced them both for a while. Only overhearing some laughter reminded them that they were in a public place, and there was no cover for their actions. So he composed himself and, to give his wife more time to finish putting her shirt back into order, approached the Count, slightly unsteady from drinking and making love to his wife. “Come, will you go with us?”

Claudio barely let himself note that Benedick's appearance was less absurd without the wig, but the glasses resting on his head – never mind the makeup for his character – ruined any attempt to look serious. “Wither?”

Even to the next willow, about your own business, Count. What fashion will you wear the garland of? About your neck, like a userer's chain? Or under your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf? You must wear it one way, for the Prince... hath got your Hero?” He trailed off in confusion because he couldn't make sense of what he was seeing in the distance.

Beatrice took quick note of how Hero was plainly asking questions that had the Prince a little puzzled as to how to answer. However, Claudio interrupted her musings. “I wish him joy of her.”

Benedick's attention was grabbed, and he scowled. “Why, that's spoken like an honest drover: so they sell bullocks. But did you think the Prince would have served you thus?”

I pray you leave me!”

Aye!” cried Beatrice. “Have you eyes?! Does Hero look as though she is truly entertaining attentions from the Prince? Have you so little faith?”

If it will not be, I'll leave you!!” And he rushed away.

Benedick followed with a hop just long enough to see the Count head back to the main gathering area, heading straight for the bar. He shook his head. “Alas, poor hurt fowl, now will he creep into sedges.”

Beatrice scowled. “How is it that a man can know a woman and not know her? To think that Hero would even accept such attentions? On whose authority?! Did the Prince perhaps offer his services, and the Count not think about how it would look to an outsider if the Prince approached Hero? The position it would place her with my uncle?! I do not care how well reputed a man is Don Pedro, for he doth not have my cousin's love. But that she should have fallen for a man so ill-suited to respect a woman's mind, too unsure of himself to approach her in the slightest, and not willing to trust that his commander may be taken at his own word?”

I know not what to call it, love. It is the base, the bitter disposition of most men that sends them into a flurry of assumptions, usually at the behest of another man, and so gives the woman out.”

Beatrice sighed, loudly and unhappily. “Well...” She reached under Benedick's skirt and pulled out the cigarette box he was keeping at his side. Taking one, she growled, “We'll be revenged as we may.”

He smiled and took the box from her, taking one out himself when Hero rushed toward one entryway and stopped before them. “Cousin,” Benedick greeted. “How goest it?”

I must find my mother, to tell her what has happened. We have already spoken with my father, but the Count is needed.” She hurried off.

Before Beatrice, after exchanging a look with her husband as he lit both their cigarettes at once, could go after her cousin to demand answers, Don Pedro appeared. “Now, Senor, Lady Beatrice, where's the count? Have you seen him?”

Sighing, she blew out some smoke. “We saw where he went.” The prevarication was not intentional. She merely didn't wish to be near the man after what she saw.

Benedick offered Don Pedro a cigarette. “Troth, my lord, I told him, and I think I told him true, that your Grace had got the good will of Hero, offered him our company to a willow-tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.”

To be whipped! What's his fault?”

Benedick sat on the nearby steps, with Beatrice joining him as he put the box into one of his high tops. “The flat transgression of a schoolboy, who, being overjoyed with finding a birds' nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.”

Don Pedro thought very briefly. “Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The transgression is in the stealer.”

Benedick spoke as much to give his wife a chance to calm further as to give a rejoinder. “Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he might have worn himself, and the rod he might have bestowed on you, who, as I take from Claudio's words and actions, have stolen his birds' nest.”

The words were not typically spoken in front of a lady, but it indicated how much Benedick trusted his wife's judgement and wisdom that he spoke so freely before her. “I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the owner,” he challenged, seating himself beside Benedick.

If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly.”

A moment of silence passed before Don Pedro made the request he had intended. “Would you please seek Count Claudio, my Lady? There is great business for him, and I shall entertain your husband while you fulfill my errand.”

Benedick paused, just about to take another puff. “My Lord, I am the only one who can by law order Beatrice around, but if I do not even attempt that, I would appreciate your doing so neither.”

Don Pedro winced slightly, realizing he had overstepped his bounds. “Then will you seek Count Claudio for me, Lady Beatrice? I wish to speak with you husband as your cousin hath given me a great many things to consider.”

She shrugged, exchanged a quick kiss with her husband, and answered, “When phrased such, I am willing,” And so she hurried off.

She smiled as she spotted her quarry finishing another beer. Good, she could surprise him.

Count Claudio,” she began, satisfied when he startled. “Come, the Prince has requested your presence, and sent me to fetch you.”

Claudio grimaced, and steeled himself for a very unpleasant interview. “Lead on, Lady.”

Beatrice laughed. “Oh, now, Count! If you think that my cousin would accept the Prince's suit, you are highly mistaken. Now I ask you to consider whatever your source is for such an assumption, and whether that even slightly fits with what you have surely witnessed of Hero's character.”

He took several long moments to reply. “A man of honour cannot reveal his sources, and I have no wish to offend you or your husband.”

She scowled, wondering if the Count was sober enough to realize he had, in a roundabout way, called her and Benedick liars. But she chose to lead him back to where she had been. Saying nothing seemed best, as the best and most effective retort would come from Benedick. Claudio would regret his words.


Meanwhile, Benedick sat in silence with Don Pedro for a moment before the Prince chose to break it. However much he wished to speak of what Hero had asked, another topic came to mind first. “Well, Benedick, how doth you answer men who would marvel that you hath not a quarrel to Lady Beatrice, or those who would say that she is much wronged by you?”

Benedick scoffed. “O, she uses her wit justly on a man and they would claim that she misused them past the endurance of a block! An oak but with one green leaf on it would have answered the accusations brought against her; my very visor would begin to assume life and scold with them. They would have stopped still when she told me in jest, which she would have said whether or not she had been thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's jester, that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest with such impossible conveyance upon me that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me. It is our way, my lord. I would defend her against any man who declared that she speaks poniards, and every word stabs: that if her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her; she would infect to the north star.”

Don Pedro gave a slight laugh. Not least because Benedick's words made those men seem foolish, but because he would defend his wife against any accuser. Though he did not wish to think that men were that terrible in their thinking toward her.

“Such fools would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed: they would instead cry that she would have made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of them!”

Don Pedro did not know what to say or do. He did notice Beatrice and Claudio approaching.

Benedick stood, needing to move. “I would to God some scholar would conjure them; for certainly, they would believe that while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror and perturbation follows not her but them!”

“Look, here she comes,” Don Pedro announced, not certain what the lady would make of such words.

Benedick suppressed a grin. He could use this venom to his purpose, to tease Beatrice back for her remarks that fueled his earlier words to Don Pedro. “Were the Lady Beatrice and I truly at war I would here ask, will your Grace command me any service to the world's end. I would vow to go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on; I would fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch of Asia, bring you the length of Prester John's foot, fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard, do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy.”

She knew he was jesting, but she still stopped still and gestured at herself in mock disbelief.

He did not look her way for long, except to lower his pointing hand. “You would have no employment for me then?”

Don Pedro suppressed a laugh, but not his smile. “None, but to desire your good company, for I would be absolutely sure that you doth protest too much.” Indeed, the suggestions themselves were far too much.

Benedick pretended to be horrified for a moment, but then smiled. “O God, sir, I thank God then that here's a dish I love most: I cannot thank the men enough who cannot endure my Lady Tongue.”

Beatrice had to smile, though it was laced with a saucy look that promised retaliation in the bedroom that evening. Benedick grinned back, and sank to sitting next to the Prince, back to smoking.

Don Pedro laughed loudly. “Come, Lady, come!” He scooted over slightly and slapped the now open space between him and Benedick. When she shrugged and honored the 'request', he added, “I am amazed to hear that you and Benedick almost did not keep each other's hearts but nearly lost them.”

She gave an awkward laugh as she sat. “Indeed, my Lord. I suppose if he had not been wise enough to ask a few questions, then I would be sitting here saying that he lent it me a while, and I gave him use for it. I would be making accusations of winning it of me with false dice and therefore your Grace would well say that I had lost it.”

Ah, you would have put him down, lady, you would have put him down?”

I would have not he should do me, my lord, lest I should have proved the mother of fools.”

Benedick's arm went immediately around her shoulders, holding her close so he could nuzzle her hair.

Smiling gently at her husband, she then gestured behind her without looking there or at the amazed Don Pedro. “I have brought you Count Claudio whom you sent me to seek.”

Benedick joined the Prince in looking behind him, but didn't laugh when he saw the stony look on the younger man's face. He also remained silent as the Prince asked about Claudio's state of being. He did smile grimly as his wife accurately described his state: “civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.”

Don Pedro nodded slowly. “I'faith, Lady, I think your blazon to be true, though I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. No, here, Claudio. I have wooed in thy name and fair Hero is nearly won.” He slapped Claudio's shoulder as Leonato led Hero and Innogen nearby. Hero's face was restrained in its pleasure and hope, but some shine was there that could only be classified as relief that the Prince would not have to be refused. “She only needs to hear some things from you, answers to very good questions she had. I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained.”

Claudio listened in growing astonishment, a smile threatening to break free. He looked in shock back at the Prince.

Don Pedro waved him on. “Answer her well, and then name the date of marriage, and God give thee joy!”

Count,” began Leonato, “take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes. His Grace hath made the match and all grace say amen to it. All that is left is your answering my daughter, who hath inquiries that I can only approve of her asking before she gives her, the final, consent.”

He waved Hero forward, and she approached, watching Claudio's stunned smiling face. She had to smile in confusion, trying to convey that she wished him to speak.

Beatrice bounced to her feet and tapped the Count on the arm. “Speak, Count, 'tis your cue.”

Benedick grinned at the surprise on his friend's face. He nodded his approval at his wife's breaking of the moment when she rejoined him, though she remained standing.

Claudio found his voice. “Silence is the perfectest herald of joy; I were but little happy, if I could say how much.” The Prince nodded his approval, and then Claudio turned to Hero. “Lady, as you are mine, I am yours; I give myself away for you and dote upon the exchange.”

Hero wanted to swoon, but she swallowed and composed herself. “As you know, I am my father's only heir; there are many traditions I dearly wish to see remain in practice in this house, and that is entirely dependent on my husband's will. If I accept you, how can I be sure that my kin and kilth are not imposed with supplanted traditions? A merging is only to be expected, but I cannot wed someone who will disregard the rich history of my father's house.”

He took a deep breath, but after a moment he nodded. “I understand; I had not thought of that consideration and that was badly done of me; I have watched many traditions be lost because a son would not respect them until it was too late to recover them. Lady, your loyalty to your father and his ancestors is not often seen in my fellows. Tell me of your traditions, and we shall keep them all alive for our children and theirs beyond, finding ways to combine yours with mine.”

Benedick watched carefully. He hoped his cousin would continue the inquiry, for as yet all she had was Claudio's word. And he hated to admit how little he trusted it where a woman's wishes were concerned.

Only Hero's own passions rendered her silent.

Beatrice suppressed a groan very badly and put out her cigarette as it no longer appealed to her. “Speak, cousin, or if you cannot stop his mouth with a kiss; let him speak neither.”

And Hero did, grabbing him into an embrace. Leonato popped the cork on the champagne.

Don Pedro laughed. “By my troth, Lady, you have a merry heart.”

Beatrice nodded slightly. “Yea, my Lord, I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care, which hath served me well when my husband is away on an action.” When she felt Benedick's hand take hers and squeeze, she smiled only a little more, at least until she saw something that made her smile widely. “My cousin tells him in his ear that he is in her heart.”

Hero and Claudio started. “And so she doth, cousin,” he announced, a little surprised that it would be spoken of.

While the couple accepted glasses, Beatrice mused aloud. “Good Lord, for alliance! How easily it could have been that everyone goes to the world but I, and I would be sunburnt. I might have sat in a corner and cried, 'Hey, ho, for a husband!'” She sat back in her former spot.

Only Benedick could hear the pain behind the mocking tone, and he hugged her silently. He did not like to think of that possibility any more than she. It had been far too close for either's comfort.

Don Pedro watched the couple, thoughtfully as he waited to collect glasses from Innogen. “Lady Beatrice, I would have got you one. Perhaps I would have played Cupid for the pair of you.”

In the security of Benedick's arms, Beatrice's wit made a strong return. “If you had made me that offer whilst I had despaired of Benedick, I think my anger and pride would have been such that I would have declared that I would rather have one of your father's getting, and asked whether your Grace hath a brother like you.”

As Don Pedro had secured glasses for the three of them, he laughed as he sat, imagining that conversation.

Your father got excellent husbands, if a maiden could come by them.”

Don Pedro handed the glasses over as she spoke, but had to avert his eyes once Benedick began whispering in her ear. Not for the first time, he realized that had Beatrice still been unmarried, he would have offered for her as no other lady had even remotely intrigued him enough to consider letting go of bachelorhood. What a shame that she did not have a sister.

My Lady Beatrice?” quietly called Maria. “Senor Benedick?”

The two turned and saw their children being led back in, looking utterly exhausted. Their two youngest were being carried in their sleep by Maria and Titus respectively, and the other three were rubbing their eyes and yawning. “By my lord's pardon,” Benedick quietly said. “They must be conveyed home, and I believe we are not required here.”

Don Pedro nodded, waving them off with his glass. He watched as the pair collected their children (after Benedick put out his cigarette) and allowed Titus to assist them. They left, with Beatrice quietly calling out, “Cousins, God give you joy!”

Once they were out of earshot, the Prince drained his champagne. “By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady! Benedick's the most fortunate man!”

Leonato let the Prince have the bottle to pour from. “There's little of the melancholy element about her, and most of it appears when news of the actions reach us. She's never sad but when she sleeps, and not even sad then for my daughter and some of the maids have reported she hath dreamt of unhappiness and waked herself with laughing.”

The men shared a laugh at the picture it painted. “I remember her from when she could not endure to hear tell of a husband.”

No, indeed, my Lord. She mocked all of her suitors out of suit. I could not believe mine eyes when she started showing preference for Benedick, for I had been sure if they were but a week married they would talk themselves mad. Yet they make an undeniably good match.”

Don Pedro was struck by a notion. “I cannot believe I have not done this earlier. How now, Claudio?” he called out when he noticed that the couple had stepped to the side.

The couple hurried back, but it was clear they had not been quite so innocent as they ought to have been. He was now wearing her tiara, and her hair was not quite so orderly. Claudio needed a moment to realize his appearance and whip the item off, and Hero had to endure a moment's remonstration from her mother. Never mind that he was was now wearing a third of her lipstick.

The Prince decided to remain silent on that matter. “When do you mean to go to church?”

Uh, tomorrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches till love has all its rites,” Claudio declared as he took Hero back into his arms.

Leonato waved a hand in patient dismissal. “Not till Monday, my son, which is but a week hence and all too soon a time to have all things looked after.”

Before Hero and Claudio could protest, Don Pedro interrupted. “Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing: but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us. I will in the interim undertake a labour that I ought to have done sooner. Claudio, you are able to attest that without Benedick's noble strain, approved valour and confirmed honesty the action would have gone poorly for us.”

Claudio nodded, his mood growing slightly grim. “There was more than one occasion where his quick wit allowed him to see what others could not in the coming moments; and I must own that many of my finest moments may not have happened without Benedick's wisdom.”

And I have not properly rewarded him in his role as the unsung hero of this ended action, and perhaps for many others; his sharp mind and leadership are the true reasons we lost but few to this and many others actions, and must be acknowledged. I shall bestow upon Benedick a property that borders those which Beatrice inherited, with all the fortunes it commands, and with it a title on them and their heirs!”

They all cheered.

This must happen in such a way as to surprise them, which shall be a feat inandof itself. Go in with me and I will tell you my drift.”


Borachio watched as his lord fumed over the marriage going forward despite their scheming. His tightly-wound master could do himself a harm when his plans went awry. So he casually informed his lord that he could cross the match yet. He thought that the use of Margaret and her affection for himself was genius, and told him how.

Don John was very pleased, although his manner would not permit him to smile over it yet. “I would tell thee to throw this into practice at once, but I am concerned about the reaction of Benedick. I have seen him not permit ill talk of his own wife, and he hath shown to be protective over his cousin. Might he yet cross this plan?”

I grant there is a risk, but we may use his honour to our own ends.”

Show me briefly how.”

When young Claudio doth accuse Hero, we may depend upon Benedick's honour to ensure that he shall challenge the Count to a duel. Think, my lord, of how well that suits your purposes. Should the Count prevail, the Lady Beatrice would stop at nothing to destroy him for killing her husband, and as we both know that she hath a fury beyond any imagining, would very likely succeed. But if I were to place a wager on the outcome, I should place mine dukets on the elder lieutenant of your brother; he is wiser, better in control of his emotions, hath experienced more in war, and would carry the fury of a man convinced of his relation's innocence. It is far more likely that Claudio would fall to Benedick's sword, which would undo Hero even as she is exonerated, shame Leonato for permitting the match, and force Benedick to carry the burden of having to kill a man he once called friend. How doth that for issue?”

Don John would have beamed if he were the sort. “Then do throw this into practice at once. Be cunning in the working and thy fee is... a thousand dukets.” The end was more of a question, given with a slightly nervous smile. As though wanting to ensure it met his man's approval.

Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me.”

I will presently go learn their day of marriage.” He hit his man in approval, although the gesture was too stiff to be seen as natural.

Borachio merely watched his lord leave, and dragged another bout from his cigarette. He was looking forward to this mischief-making.

Chapter Three: Could Not Woo In Festival Terms


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 21st, 2013 12:02 am (UTC)
Ah, you've still got it my friend! I'm loving this! You've done such an excellent job of not only capturing the Shakespearean rhythm and flow of the syntax and vocabulary but you've also got the individual characters' particular speech down beautifully. Innogen, for example, is so spot on. Great job!

And how you're retelling the story is masterful, I love recognizing the dialogue even within the plot differences, very clever!

Dec. 21st, 2013 04:28 am (UTC)
*squees* Whew! So this chapter worked. I had a lot of trouble modifying Benedick's lines, especially as it became clear that his "rant" needed to enter the chapter in an altered fashion. Still... it was fun in the end. :DDDD

Hope you like what I do in the subsequent chapters. Am still struggling with some additions that need to be made. The next chapter is basically ready, but I want the following one also ready before I post it. Still... am hoping to post sometime either this weekend or Monday morning at the latest.

(BTW, are you not getting emails from LJ? I only found this comment after logging in.)
Dec. 21st, 2013 06:30 pm (UTC)
Alas, no, I'm not getting comment notifications at the moment :( LJ is having a hard time these days.
Dec. 22nd, 2013 04:15 am (UTC)
Okay... You can email additional comments if you like. Until LJ gets its act back together. I've gotten maybe ONE email notification in the past few days.
Dec. 21st, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
Also, Bea draping herself over Benedick instead of the chair? PERFECTION
Dec. 22nd, 2013 04:17 am (UTC)
Heh. Rewriting that moment was fun and fairly easy. Including Ben's idea for how Hero could keep from offending the Prince and still leave room for Claudio to approach her.

And how did you like Ben's modified rant? Or how they seem to use insults as foreplay? *giggles* Oh, I have such fun with these characters. :DDDDDDD
Apr. 15th, 2014 01:47 pm (UTC)
Bloody hell! LMAO! I swore I wasn't going to comment till the very end but I honestly can't keep quiet! This is flipping BRILLIANT! I adore it! Poor Beatrice though! Course mind you, I feel sorry for any bloke that dares try to break her heart! LMAO! But honestly, just one question... Five kids? Seriously? Blimey! LMAO!
Apr. 16th, 2014 02:58 am (UTC)
It was good, wasn't it? Yep, five, Evidently Beatrice rather... enjoys the marriage bed, much to Benedick's delight. (I had a courser term in mind, but I decided that might spoil the effect of something in a later post.)
Apr. 20th, 2014 09:48 am (UTC)
Yup, definitely good! :D

Yeah, but seriously? FIVE? Come on! LMAO! I'd have to throw myself in a river if I had that many young ones running about. LOL!

I'm sure she does enjoy it! I think we all would if our Benedict looked like David Tennant! LMAO!

Apr. 21st, 2014 04:23 am (UTC)
It may stem from my being an only child and NOT having wanted to be. And my own wishes for a family of my own. Besides, there need to be more gingers in the world, and I'm usually happy to give them to this pairing. Or the Doctor and Donna. :)

Amen... *giggles*
Apr. 23rd, 2014 10:26 am (UTC)
Aww I'm sorry! I have four brothers in real life! You're so welcomed to take one or all of them for free! LMAO! :P

Yeah, The Doctor and Donna having ginger babies...? I honestly don't see that! But I just love seeing it in your Much Ado story! Speaking of, have you written the next chapter yet? *Goes to look!* LOL! :D
Apr. 23rd, 2014 02:16 pm (UTC)
I always felt like I should have been twins. Older brothers would have been fine, though. Assuming my parents had met sooner. I could've lived with being the eldest, though.

Eh, well, I always felt like the Doctor needed someone to be a father to, and since he's so on about ginger I fall into the camp of thinking he wouldn't mind if his children got to be ginger. Ahead of him. ;)
Apr. 23rd, 2014 08:26 pm (UTC)
Aww that's rubbish! Well one day, maybe you can have a few of your own and then you can have that sibling thing in a way by watching them!?! ;)

It's funny that you think that, about the dumbo, being a father to someone... I've always thought that and when Jenny came along, I was quite overjoyed especially with Donna being all mother hen and all! LOL!

I think I'm starting to contradict myself because now, I get the whole ginger babies thing and am loving it! Good on you. :D

Edited at 2014-04-23 08:27 pm (UTC)
Apr. 25th, 2014 01:44 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's the plan. :)

And that episode... Why revive her if she wasn't going to be there for the Series 4 end? If anyone deserved to be considered among the Children of Time... And yes, she was imprinting on Donna. :D

Ginger Time Babies always held a strong appeal to me. It'd also help the Doctor not be alone anymore. :)
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