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FIC: Seals of Love (5/9)

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. This one's short, but sweet. I hope...

Chapter One / Chapter Two / Chapter Three / Chapter Four
DVD Extra the First / DVD Extra the Second


Hero's nerves had been climbing steadily ever since waking. She was feeling overheated from anxiety, and needed champagne in order to help steady her unease. She snapped at her gentlewomen, even over Margaret's efforts to calm her with some naughty teasing. But only talk of how special marriage was finally eased Hero's heart and allowed her to smile freely.

Satisfied that she had done her job, Margaret noticed possible support. “Ask my Lady Beatrice, here... she... comes,” she trailed off in concern.

Beatrice entered in her blue dress, ready for the wedding. She was flanked by her daughters, Rufine holding a clutch for her and Sienna holding a large collection of tissues. The girls stared at their mother in evident alarm, and neither Hero nor Margaret could fault them for Beatrice looked pale indeed.

Good morrow, Cos,” Hero greeted, her tone almost more of a question.

Easing herself to the ground near Hero's veil, Beatrice breathed, “Good morrow, sweet Hero.”

How now, do you speak in a sick tune?”

I am out of all other tunes.” Beatrice tried to smile, but it did nothing to soothe her daughters' faces.

Clap us into 'Light of love, light of love',” sang Margaret. “That goes without a burden. You sing it and I'll dance it. My younger Ladies, shall you join me?”

Beatrice prevented either of her girls from answering, although she took the water Rufine had located and offered her. “It is twelve o'clock, cousin, it is time you were ready.”

Hero and Margaret's slight disbelieving sounds combined with Heros' gestures to ask whether Beatrice herself was ready despite her dress.

By my troth I am exceeding ill. Hey, ho,” she moaned before taking a careful sip.

Margaret's mind started churning as she looked more carefully at Beatrice's face. “For a hawk, a horse, or your husband?”

Hero gestured for caution, as there were two young girls right there. But Beatrice didn't seem to notice. “What means the fool?”

Nothing, but god grant everyone their deepest desire.” She gasped as Beatrice, obviously cold, gathered part of Hero's train around her.

Mother,” Rufine asked in concern, “are you truly better? Should you have rested as Father asked you to?”

Tis my obligation to be present for our cousin. I promised your father that I would rest after, and that we would leave the celebrations early.”

Hero, noting how alarmed both of her young attendants seemed, chose to use a distraction. “These gloves the Count sent me, they are an excellent purfumed.” She waved them near her cousin's head.

I am stuffed, cousin, I cannot smell,” Beatrice snapped, with little force as it seemed she needed all her strength to remain sitting upright.”

Margaret's eyes began to gleam as she walked over. “A wife and stuffed? There's goodly catching of cold!”

Beatrice groaned as Margaret sat, the children's eyes wide with confusion. She failed to note Hero's blinking eyes even while putting on her gloves. “Oh god help me. Oh god help me! How long have you professed apprehension?”

Ever since you left it. Doth not my wit become me rarely?” Margaret nearly preened, waiting to see the reaction.

It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your cap. By my troth, I am sick.”

Rufine looked helplessly at Hero and Margaret. “Mother has been unwell since she woke. I heard my father call for help, and it seemed the physician was about to be called when Mother overrode him. He accepted her wishes, but was reluctant to part from her. He even pleaded with her to let him make her excuses so she could rest. But Mother tasted the solid cream after breakfast and Father bade me follow her lest she begged prayer at the porcelain alter.”

Sienna nodded. “Mummy not move quick. Mummy very unwell.” She stroked her mother's fringe in concern, drawing a smile from the lady.

Margaret's eyes shone bright with realization. “Why, I would think your mother hath had perhaps too much of this medicine, cardis benedictis.”

Hero turned with wide eyes. But before she or the girls could ask, Beatrice let out a loud sneeze.

Margaret laughed triumphantly. “It may be perhaps the cause for a qualm when administered in great doses.”

Will thoust prick her with a thistle?” Hero hissed in warning, even as she kept her eyes on her cousin.

Benedictis?” Beatrice sneezed again. “Why benedictis?” Another one. “You have some moral in this 'benedictis'?” Yet another.

Even Hero's eyes showed comprehension. The girls just stared between their mother and the gentlewoman, trying to make sense of the words. What did something that sounded like their father's name have to do with their mother's sickness?

Moral? No, by my troth I have no moral meaning with this cardis... benedictis.” When Beatrice sneezed again, Margaret laughed and rejoined Hero. “I meant plain holy-thistle.” She could not resist teasing the lady on behalf of Hero, with perhaps the chance to begin instruction of the ways of the world for the young Lady Rufine. “You may perchance that I think you carry the fruit of love within, nay by'r lady I am not such a fool to think what I list, nor I list not to think what I can, nor indeed what I cannot think, if I would my heart out of thinking, that you do bear fruit again, or that you will bear fruit again, or that you can bear fruit again. Yet... Benedick...”

In the midst of Margaret's increasingly smug words, Beatrice felt woozy and hid herself under Hero's long veil, praying that it would cease. Only it did not, and she sneezed again at the sound of her husband's name. She cursed Margaret in her head, not daring to let it pass her lips.

Margaret's grin turned even wider, especially as Hero slowly began to join her in the joy hidden behind the teasing. “... was such another and now he is become a man in every sense: he once swore he would never marry, and yet his heart now returns with the plainest joy to only eat his meat at home and to plant; and how you were converted I know not, but methinks it is so that you look with your body as other women do their eyes!”

What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?!” shouted Beatrice, flinging the veil off as she was growing warmer than she liked.

Margaret noted that while Sienna was still naturally baffled, Rufine was showing signs of comprehending what might to in her and her siblings' futures. She lowered her voice to a calm measure. “Not a false gallop.”

Ursula hurried back into the room, stopping for a moment when she saw Beatrice's form lying over Hero's train. “Madam, I am to fetch you. The prince, the count, Don John, Senor Benedick and-”

Hero and Margaret held their hands up, holding their breaths.

Beatrice's sneeze was the loudest yet.

Cheers erupted from Hero and Margaret. They felt vindicated.

And all the gallants of town are come!” Ursula added.

Hero's nerves returned. “Help to dress me, good Meg.”

Margaret nodded, and she was quickly aided by Maria in setting Hero up.

Ursula helped Beatrice to her feet, respectfully helped her dust herself off, and then led her to secure some tea to soothe her stomach and nose. She, too, recognized the signs, but her focus was to help the Lady whom she had helped raise until she returned to her father's house.

Rufine and Sienna breathed sighs of relief. Their mother was in good hands. Now they had to endure being part of the spectacle of their cousin's wedding. At least few eyes would be on them given that Hero would set foot into the room first.

Chapter Six: Honour and Challenges


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2014 12:21 pm (UTC)
LOLOL! “A wife and stuffed? There's goodly catching of cold!” Indeed :D Oh this is a brilliant twist on the original. I love how you completely capture every nuance of the language and how CT portrayed Bea, and yet it's all parallel-universe-ly. This fic is truly masterful!
Jan. 16th, 2014 12:52 pm (UTC)
*giggles* Oh, good. So you liked how the girls were fussing over Beatrice, and Rufine's dialogue and Margaret's revised teasing? :DDDD
Jan. 16th, 2014 02:05 pm (UTC)
I did feel bad for her daughters, scary to see your mom under the weather :/ but yes all the revisions were genius ♥
Jan. 16th, 2014 05:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah, poor Beatrice and girls. I think Rufine finally remembered her mother acting that way before, perhaps remembering that Ignac and then Sienna came afterward.

And as always, thank you for the kind words. :D
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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