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FIC: Thou Wilt Quake For This (2/9)

Title: Thou Wilt Quake For This
Genre: Much Ado About Nothing
Rating: T (except for the DVD extra)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Benedick and Beatrice have found themselves forced to marry. While their family and friends are determined to make them fall in love, a chance emerges to expose the villains who trapped them. Can they succeed and protect Hero?
Disclaimer: I don't know who owns what where Shakespeare is concerned. However, Josie O'Rouke owns the version of MAAN I'm basing this on.
Dedication: sykira. You know why. May you have plenty of Benedick-flavored dreams after reading this. ;D
Author's Note: This was the third idea that came rather quickly when my Muse was originally prompted by THE scene in MAAN. And a huge thanks to tardis_mole for beta reading. I needed to figure out how to make this plot bunny work, and that wouldn't have happened in a timely fashion without you.

Thou Wilt Quake For This

Started February 26, 2014
Finished October 9, 2014

Chapter One



Don Pedro had listened to Benedick's rant about Beatrice with disbelieving ears. Whilst the pair seemed to have more or less resigned themselves to the match that had been wrongly foisted upon them they had neither made peace with each other. If they preferred to rattle each other's cages so much, how could they be as indifferent to each other as they professed? Surely there was mutual respect at least?

So he had tested it by noting that the lady was returning. Benedick's near freak-out made him all the more convinced that the man was hardly as despising of the lady as he proclaimed himself.

Therefore once the lord from Padua left in a huff from a wounded pride Don Pedro spoke a little with Lady Beatrice to hear her side. Her professions that she may as well have never had the heart of Benedick seemed at odds with the subtle ways she acted around the man. She never shied away from challenging Benedick with a war of words, and he sometimes sought her out. Neither ever backed down from an initial challenge, and whilst Benedick would usually end the matches it was clear that only social custom supporting him prevented Beatrice from responding as she wished. And therefore more proof that the accusation against them could not be true.

Unfortunately even his rank did not permit him to act, which rankled him, and Benedick moreso. Only a closer friendship with the lord of Padua, Benedick's father, might have permitted that. If so, then the fact that Leonato's lands had once belonged directly to the kingdom might have allowed him to declare it a falsehood and thereby defend both honours. If only he had felt able to befriend the man that Benedick had left Padua to avoid.

With Claudio and Hero sorted out, it seemed a surprise to the Prince that Beatrice would say, “Good lord, for alliance! Thus goes every one happily to the world but I, and I am sunburnt; I may sit in a corner and cry heigh-ho for free choice!”

The quiet that happened afterward bothered Don Pedro, who quickly accepted two glasses from Innogen and had them filled by Leonato. “Lady Beatrice, your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in a merry hour.”

“No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.”

He sat beside her and held out one of the glasses. “Would that I had found those whose lies hath placed thee into thy present circumstances I would have thee freed from any promise; for I know you thou art innocent of any wrongdoing.”

“And yet the law would have me fitted with a husband, no matter that God hath not made men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve anyone to be overmastered with a piece of valiant dust? To make an account of their life to a clod of wayward marl? No, my lord, I would have had none were the choice left to me.”

If he understood her correctly, she feared being overpowered by someone who knew not the ways of her ancestors' lands, their traditions and customs. He did not doubt that she knew them better than anyone. He hoped to reassure her. “Well, take comfort in that you will marry a man with a fine wit.”

She laughed. “True, a fine little one.”

“No, a great wit.”

“Right, a great gross one.”

“Nay, a good wit.”

“Just; it hurts nobody.”

“Nay, the gentleman is wise.”

“Certain, a wise gentleman.”

“Nay, he hath the tongues.”

“That I believe, for he swore a thing to me on a Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning; there's a double tongue; there's two tongues.”

“Wilt thou for an hour together transshape Benedick's particular virtues?” the Prince inquired in amazement.

Beatrice sighed. “If you insist upon knowing, my lord, I do consider Senor Benedick the most proper man who hath ever set foot in Messina; he hath sworn an oath that he shall be honourable to me in marriage, and such an oath as he gave I hath ne'er heard of him breaking. And yet, how can either of us be happy? Our reputations slandered and we are unable to act to defend them as we do not know the source; we neither sought marriage nor wished for it; and so I must trade one lord for another with no assurance that I shall be any happier and whilst still being looked upon with scorn.”

In the ensuing silence she was very uneasy. She had to try to make the mood lighter. Yet she could not find the words. At least not on that score. “Instead of marriage I would rather have one of your father's geldings. Hath your Grace ne'er a kiss and found it talk'd a groat when it worth a penny? Or found himself placed in company that questioned his honour more than mine and yet knows himself not placed there in truth?”

Don Pedro flinched reflexively. He knew that she was hinting at whether he would trust the word of a friend if he would not trust a woman's. That told him that Benedick had at least hinted at why he was going along with the forced match. “Lady, I wish that mine word alone could be enough to free you from something that causes so much pain and frustration. I offered to speak of Benedick's innocence but he asked me to keep my peace; I believe it was more for your sake than the mission I handed him. Believe me when I say that I hath given Benedick every aid possible in uncovering the villains.”

Every aid that he would think of, but she knew that there were some that he could not think of. Given that Benedick suspected Don John then there were things that the Prince could have done; yet she could not truly fault him since it was very difficult to believe that family could be so cruel.

He had to at least attempt to reassure her. “Surely you know that Benedick will be fair to you? I hath never known him to grant a lady so much of his time. Surely he shall make a better husband for you than any other man.”

She managed a small smile. “He is bearing the shame well on my behalf. I hope that he shall find me nice enough to be married to. My family line is honourable and strong: even if it is forced upon him he may come to appreciate it in good time.”

The words seemed to be concealing some great emotions toward Benedick. It made him frown as he tried to place them.

Beatrice needed to be alone. “By your grace's pardon,” she whispered, pleading to be released to her own devices.

Don Pedro nodded and watched her leave – although not before she called out, “Cousins, god give you joy!” – before his eyes dropped, and yet a smile crossed his lips as he stood. “By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady; and all in spite of the wrongful accusations.”

Leonato let the Prince have the bottle, for it allowed him to reflect freely. “There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord: she is never sad but when she sleeps, and not ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappiness and waked herself with laughing.”

They all laughed at that picture. “She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband, even though she is to be wed in days.”

“O, by no means: she mocked all her wooers out of suit. Indeed, my lord, I fear at times that if she and Benedick were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad.”

There, Don Pedro realized as he stepped forward. That was it! His thoughts on a sudden path that glowed brightly to him as his hands nearly spoke without his consent. He recalled one conversation with Benedick that had bewildered him during this last action:

Thou hast not been joining the men in seeking entertainment, Benedick,” noted the Prince as he poured a drink for the Senor and himself. They were alone and could speak freer. “I should have expected that losing thy bachelor's life would make thee seek distraction.”

Benedick took the drink but did not move to down the contents. “Troth, my lord, I hath watched mine mother endure my father's numerous floating of his vows: the same shall not happen to mine wife. Faithful to her I shall be, and I hath chosen to begin now. Beatrice hath endured enough shame at the villains' hands; I cannot add to it.”

Don Pedro's eyes widened. “By my troth, that is remarkable! A man who truly believes the vow to forsake all others upon marriage. Well, if all lived by that there would be far fewer living in misery for there would be no bastards.”

The sudden tension in the Prince's voice made clear that he was thinking of Don John. Benedick was a quick man, he would spot it.

And he did. “You are sure that it is right to let your brother back into your grace?”

Don Pedro downed the glass' contents. “I hath no proof of new mischief, and he handled himself well enough on the last action. Unless he doth cause pain to another I must honour my father's wishes and keep him with me. Near me I am better able to keep watch on him, and that is the best hope of his reforming.”

Benedick exhaled loudly.

You do not agree.”

Let me put my thoughts this way, my lord: I would not trust Don John with any command that was mine to give.”

Fair enough. Be glad then that he is not thine responsibility.”

The look on Benedick's face, brief as it was, suggested that it might be better for the world if that had been the case.

Don Pedro decided to pretend he did not see it. It was difficult enough to lead with this shame hanging over his head and the obligations his father had bestowed upon him. A change of topic was called for. “Thou wilt be wedded within days of our return to Messina. How art thou prepared to take on the mantle of being lord of the Tomasi estate there?”

He thought it necessary to ask despite knowing Benedick's great sense of right, for he knew Beatrice's mother's mother was daughter of a Duke of Venice. There was no love lost between Padua and Venice, after all. Some would scold Benedick for connecting himself to the Di Salvo line in any form no matter the wealth of the lady.

Of course Benedick would also become a cousin to Sicily's royal family as Beatrice's father was of an indirect line to the throne. Which apparently was the only thing that permitted Benedick's family to approve of the match, for they at present had no useful ties to that family. Sadly the law forced Beatrice, as an orphan and the only heir, to go by her uncle's family name, Grimaldi.

Benedick gave the Prince a pointed look. “Tis not mine to rule, Prince. They are Beatrice's lands by blood and right, no matter what says the law. I shall merely ensure she is able to reign over what she should already be in control of by forfeiting all claim to my father's name and arguing for the use of her father's name, lands, and titles and leave the running of said to her. After the wedding her name can at last revert to her birth name. I hope she finds me a husband she can live with even if I am forced on her, and that I may be appreciated as a man in time as Benedick Tomasi of Messina.”

Only the sounds of someone coming prevented the Prince from asking what he meant. And he was unable to renew the topic before he became preoccupied with other matters.

Don Pedro called Claudio back, not entirely surprised that he and Hero had been enjoying themselves in the shadows. When Leonato confirmed that their wedding would not be any sooner than the same day that his niece would wed the plan firmed in the Prince's mind.

“Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall go dully by us. Leonato, your words ring true, for what other reason could the liars have had but to endevour to make Senor Benedick miserable by forcing him to be bound to a lady they thought he abhorred and who felt the same about him? Whilst failure hath met every effort of mine to unmask the villains and release the honourable pair from their bounds, I shall not see the former remain free nor the latter unhappy. I will in the interim undertake one of Hercules' labours; which is to ensure that Senor Benedick and the Lady Beatrice do not wed without first being brought into an acknowledged mountain of affection the one with the other and uncovering the liars in one fell swoop!” At the exclamations he poured more champagne as he continued, “I would fain have it a love match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.”

“My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watchings,” declared Leonato, seeing his wife happily nodding her own agreement.

“And I, my lord,” confirmed Claudio, seeing the Prince's bent.

“And you too, gentle Hero?” Don Pedro checked, needing to ensure the help of the one person who could persuade Beatrice.

“I would have done any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a good husband. But how doth this not make the accusation worse in my cousin's mind or in Benedick's?”

Don Pedro had to take a breath to compose his thoughts. “A legitimate question, wise Hero, to which I have an answer. Thus far can I praise Benedick; he is of a noble strain, of approved valour and confirmed honesty. It is how I have always known that he was innocent of the accusation.”

He refrained from admitting that he had other reasons for knowing of Benedick's innocence, but that matter was still a grave secret.

“And Lady Beatrice is of careful action, of an equally noble strain, and confirmed virtue that would make any who know her convinced of her innocence. It was a perfect storm of circumstances that made it impossible to challenge the accusation without materially damaging at least Beatrice's reputation, and I am determined that we shall have revenge upon those who lied about them; and what better way than to make them think they hath instead of making them miserable done them a favour? I am unconvinced that they are not affected by the other given the words each has spoken to me; I believe they only need to be persuaded to bid farewell to their anger for better feelings to consume them. I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she shall fall openly in love with Benedick; and I, with your two helps, will so practice on Benedick that, in spite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he shall see no other honourable action but to fall in a displayed love with Beatrice!”

At the cheers he added, “And when they appear before the assembly in the church in love and ready to be bound in honourable marriage shall the villains be enraged that the match is not a punishment but a reward; so much so that they shall roust themselves from hiding, unable to conceal their dismay, and we can expose them for what they are; leaving Benedick and Beatrice with their heads held high and reputations fully restored!”


Don John and Borachio approached, hearing the cheering from the assembled group. The former's humour was completely lost upon seeing Hero in the arms of Claudio. He barely overheard his brother the Prince claiming, over the sounds of overeager agreement, “...for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell you my drift.”

His humour was further soured by Innogen kissing his cheek, leaving a little lipstick behind. O that he could stain that woman's reputation!

Borachio knew to merely drag his cigarette and let his lord vent a moment. But only a moment before stating his plan for crossing the intended marriage between Claudio and Hero that they had sought to prevent from even being planned. He was not surprised with the answer.

“Be as cunning in the working of this as thou and Conrade were in entrapping Benedick to that harpy cousin of Hero's, and thy fee is... a thousand ducats.”

“Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning shall not shame me. Then it shall work as well as the previous one did, and leave Benedick in a worse state as his honour will oblige him to defend a cousin publicly declared contaminated. Margaret's favouring me shall once again be the undoing of another.”

“I will presently go and learn their day of marriage.” Don John left, but not without a stiff 'friendly' punch to his man's arm.

Borachio paused to drag another smoke. As he turned away to locate Margaret for one last little ploy with her before he had to return to duty, he assumed that he and his master had been alone.

But out of the shadows popped Bruno, the youngest working gentleman of Leonato's House. He stared after Borachio and where Don John had walked away, and his eyes were wide open.

He stepped into the light, eyes fixed on where they had been. “How can anyone do that to another? What sort of person takes joy in causing mischief to others? O god, shall anyone believe me?! I must try and make someone listen even though I am just a lad, and a servant at that! I hope I can make the Lady Beatrice and Senor Benedick listen, for they might believe me! They would be able to do something!”

Chapter Three: Stalking the Fowl That Sits


Oct. 14th, 2014 10:24 am (UTC)
Yay, so there's still some match making for the others left to do? (I hope I got this right, Shakespearean English is hard to decipher!)

Anyway, I like how you write Benedick all caring and that he respects Beatrice (which used to be unusual at that time I guess), but it shows his character really well x3

Can't wait for more!
Oct. 14th, 2014 01:20 pm (UTC)
In a manner of speaking. :)

Yeah, but he can't quite express it to the person who matters, can he? Hence Don Pedro's actions.

Okay. Just waiting for some more comments first. :D

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