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FIC: Thou Wilt Quake For This (3/9)

sykira figured out the secret. She reviews, I'll post another chapter. ;D Just don't count on the next one also being posted tonight, okay, love? *hugs*

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.

BTW, sykira: tardis_mole says hi, shi's thinking of you, and wishes you well. And is delighted that you're enjoying this.

Thou Wilt Quake For This

Started February 26, 2014
Finished October 9, 2014

Chapter One / Chapter Two


Bruno was in complete dismay over his bad luck. From the moment he heard of the plot he had tried to slip away to catch the attention of someone in authority. He could not find Senor Benedick as that gentleman had retired. The Lady Beatrice had also respectively retired, and the Count and the Lady Hero were with her parents in a meeting – one to not be disturbed.

Young as he was, Bruno was not stupid. He could not risk the Prince's brother or that bearded man learning that he knew. Until he had convinced someone to listen to him he had to act with caution.

As the party wound down he had attempted it. Waving, flapping his arms did nothing but get him sent off to bed without being granted a hearing by his own parents. He could hardly sleep, and tried grabbing little slips of paper to leave notes to beg an audience with the governor or his wife.

Those were seemingly all nabbed by his unaware father, intent on drafting new music for the wedding or leaving a love note for his mother. A waste of effort!

And he had to act like he was simply a child playing with a toy. He was unable to catch the Lady Innogen's attention because there was too much of a chance of that bearded fellow overhearing, and Aunt Margaret could not be depended on given how much she admired the man. And the Prince... He doubted such a loft personage would pay him any mind at all.

But he saw a chance to speak with the senor who was surely looking for this information. He lay leaning against a pillar, grasping a can of soda like a life preserver and seemingly enduring the pain of too much drinking. Bruno had seen the effects in some of the men of the house often enough to know them.

Yet he had to act with some caution. The Senor was said to be a deadly soldier, and startling him was unwise.


Bruno sucked in a breath. An opening! He rushed over and saluted. “Senor!”

However Benedick flinched hard, as though the voice was too loud. So the young gentleman waited to see how the man fared before he mentioned his important business. The little consideration might go a long way toward ensuring an audience.

But the request suggested that the Senor was not in a state to hear anything. “In my chamber-window lies a book.” Benedick motioned for a long moment, struggling to put together words. “Bring it hither to me.”

“I am here already, sir, to speak with thee.”

But Benedick merely pushed up his sunglasses and glared at the boy. “I know that; but I would have thee hence, and here again.”

Bruno felt left with no choice but to fetch it. Perhaps when he returned it would be a better time to make his case. “A book?” he checked.

“A book,” Benedick repeated, copying the boy's tones before he waved him off.

Unaware of the boy's dismay, Benedick groaned as he took a sip. It was rather bright, but he knew that was his own fault for drinking extra after he left the revels. Drinking in anger had never done him good, and yet he had still carried it out. And now he needed to vent his spleen.

It would distract him from the thought of venting anything else. His heart, his mind, bladder...

“I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love: and such a man is Claudio. I have known when there was no music with him but the drum and the fife; and now had he rather hear the tabour and pipe: I have known when he would have walked ten mile a-foot to see a good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain and to the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier; and now is he turned... orthography; his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes.”

He thought silently for a moment, then needed to voice them aloud. “May I be so converted and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he hath made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. And as I wed on the morrow, none shall.”

Taking another long sip, his thoughts drifted to what might have been, and he slowly lost himself in his words. “Had my choice been my own... rich she would have been, that's certain; wise, or I'd none; virtuous or I'd never cheapen her; fair, or I'd never look on her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her shall be red-”

He caught himself, and pointed the finger that had been making an idle point off to the side. “...of what colour it please God.”

He tried to act nonchalant about it despite the lack of an audience, but it was impossible to deny a few things. The biggest was that with the exception of 'mild' every last 'requirement' of his could be met by the very lady he was about to marry. And the second biggest was that he was already in love, but her heart did not return it. And probably never would, which depressed him more than his sudden realization.

The implications were not what he wanted to think about. Especially not on a hangover. Alcohol never improved a fowl mood or thoughts. Never mind his frustration from only having his hand for company. He was hardly innocent but he had limited himself not only to barren but more expensive entertainments. At least he could be certain he would not make Beatrice ill from any negligence.

And the distraction that came was also nothing he wanted to experience. “Ha!” he groaned. “the Prince and Monsieur Love!” He lowered his glasses and pushed to his feet. “I will hide me.” And just barely slipped behind a pillar before four men came along.

“Come, shall we hear this music?” boomed Don Pedro as he led Claudio and Leonato nearby. Balthasar followed and sat at ready with his guitar.

“Yea, my lord,” said Claudio, moving to make it easier to pretend that he didn't see Benedick reaching for his can and going back into hiding. “How still the morning is, as hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!”

Don Pedro hid a smile. Not the least that it was barely still 'morning'. “See you where Benedick hath hid himself?” he quietly asked.

“O, very well, my lord,” Claudio promised, then stood to the side to ensure he was in a place to annoy the plainly hung-over Benedick before they got him.

Then Don Pedro called for music, which Balthasar agreed to with some reluctance. The song, addressing women who were deceived by men, was sure to grate Benedick's nerves for various reasons, but also because Balthasar's voice – which while not the most pleasing sang more than well enough – was sure to increase Benedick's irritation. Increasing the irritation so his mind was not at its sharpest would leave him more vulnerable when they began the proper deception.

The Prince felt a little bad about doing it, but he could see no other way to convince either to let go of their anger toward the other for whatever argument had triggered the merry war that Leonato spoke of.

Sure enough, Benedick's hangover was severe enough to not only get paint on his hand whilst silently mocking the singing but condemn the singing itself with a biting remark: “And he had been a dog that should have howled thus, they would have hanged him!”

Don Pedro waited for Balthasar to leave and then waved Claudio to check on Benedick. They needed to make sure he was in the right frame of mind.

Benedick did not see Claudio checking on him as he was putting down his can and then leaning against the paint car with the elbow of his clean arm so he could rub his forehead. He kept the other open yet resting on his hip, and yawned.

“Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told of me to-day, that your niece Beatrice was in love?!”

Benedick stiffened. What?!

“And with of all men Senor Benedick?!”

Benedick's hand slammed on one paint item, sending it to the floor loudly. He hurried away to avoid discovery, and to get closer to listen in.

Claudio's voice was the next thing he heard clearly. “I did never think that lady would have loved any man.”

Leonato's voice was next. “No, nor I neither; but most wonderful that she should so dote on Senor Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviours seemed ever to abhor even though he hath defended her honour.”

Benedick had to pull his glasses off. “Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?” He had to move back to hide his glasses, but kept close enough to hear more.

“By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it but that she loves him with an enraged affection; it is past the infinite of thought,” declared Leonato, knowing his part was to paint a convincing picture.

Don Pedro had to ensure Benedick was listening. “Maybe she doth but counterfeit.”

“Faith, like enough,” added Claudio.

By this time Benedick had pressed his back to another pillar, close to Leonato to hear a plain insistence.

“O God, counterfeit! There was never counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion as she discovers it!”

“Why, what effects of passion shows she?” asked Don Pedro.

Benedick could swear Claudio said something, but he was too focused on trying to hear what Leonato had to say.

“What effects, my lord?” Leonato stammered. “She will... sit you... you heard my daughter tell you how.”

“How, how, pray you?” cried Don Pedro, trying desperately to cover for Leonato's near slip. “You amaze me!” He had to struggle to find words to carry on the slight deception. “I should have thought her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.”

Benedick nearly shook his head. “I should think this a gull, but that Leonato speaks it; knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such reverence.”

But he had to move when Don Pedro asked whether Beatrice had made her affection known, and continued to when Leonato answered in a negative. He had to not be discovered; he had to know more to be sure.

“Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says: 'Shall I,' says she, 'that have so often encountered him with scorn, write to him that I love him?'” said Claudio from the other side.

Leonato made noises of agreement. “She tears the letter into a thousand halfpence.”

Benedick rushed to hear better and knelt low to witness Claudio fall to his knees to emphasize his next words about Beatrice's torment at the hands of her own feelings. “Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses; 'O sweet Benedick! God give me patience!'”

The surprise was enough for Benedick to rub his face slowly and let the hand slide a little down his chest out of habit. Only he promptly remembered that was the paint-covered hand. He jumped back into hiding, trying to rub off some of it.

Only Leonato came to the other side of the pillar as he struggled to remove the paint. “She doth indeed; my daughter says so: she rails at herself, that she should be so immodest to write to one that she knew would flout her even once bound to be wed; and the ecstasy hath so much overbourne her that my daughter is sometimes afeared she will do a desperate outrage to herself!”

The sight of Leonato miming slitting wrists nearly stopped Benedick's heart. Could Beatrice truly be in such despair?! How much of it was his own doing?!

It was just as well he could not see Don Pedro and Claudio silently warning Leonato that his words were perhaps going too far.

“It were good that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it,” suggested Don Pedro.

The sound of the trio moving closer forced Benedick to adjust to his position, whilst Claudio declared, “To what end? He would make but a sport of it torment the poor lady worse in despite of the respect he paid her by offering his protection in marriage.”

Benedick numbly reached for his can, which in his shock he failed to realize was not where he had left it. And Don Pedro's next words left him even more numb.

“And he should, it were an alms to hang him. She's an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all rational suspicion, she is virtuous.”

“And she is exceeding wise,” added Claudio, unaware that Benedick was about to take a sip.

Don Pedro agreed. “In every thing but in loving Benedick.”

Benedick spewed his soda. Not as much from the words but from the taste of cigarettes in his can. O God, who had done it! Had his friends thought it was done merely because it was not attended to?!

He was trying to rinse out his mouth and therefore missed Leonato's words. But he did not miss Don Pedro's response:

“O that this lie had not been committed against her! If not for that I would she had bestowed this dotage on me: I would have doffed all other respects and made her half myself.”

Benedick nearly choked on his breath. The Prince had considered her a possible future Queen?! O God, how could he have competed with that?!

He was so lost in his thoughts as he was trying to use a towel to remove the paint that he was startled by the boy appearing with his book. He nearly cried out in shock.

“Sir, I have your book, and I beg an audience with thee!” pleaded Bruno.

Such words were repeated as Benedick tried to run away without attracting the attention of those he was trying to overhear. He finally had to throw the book, as much as he liked the volume, and quietly snap, “Leave! I cannot have them find me!”

Bruno walked slowly away, dejected. What now? He looked at the men, hoping that maybe they would consider hearing him. But one look of Leonato's told him that he would be beaten if he interrupted them.

As distracted as he was with trying to clean himself off, Benedick's could not help but began to hear once again what the others were saying. Starting with the Prince: “Well, I am sorry for your niece: tis enough to be falsely accus'd and endure scorn; worse to be bound to a man who doth not respect her beyond as a sparring partner. Shall we go seek Benedick, and tell him of her love?”

Claudio protested immediately, “Never tell him, my lord: let her wear it out with good counsel as her gentlewomen may provide once married.”

“Nay, that's impossible: she may wear her heart out first,” proclaimed Leonato.

“Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter: let it cool the while as best as may be given the wedding on the morrow,” advised Don Pedro, having hopped to check that Benedick was still listening. “I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy to have so good a lady: we may only pray that he prove even the slightest bit of the husband Beatrice doth deserve.”

That stalled what little effort Benedick was making in trying to remove paint, which had only seemed to be making it spread more. The towel slowly dropped from his hand as it dawned on him that he had much to answer for.

It was just as well that Leonato invited the others to walk to the early dinner. He had to wait until he was certain he could no longer hear their voices before he dared step forward.

Benedick took several loud, shallow breaths as he tried to calm his heart with no success. All he could do was put on hand on his hip and raise his right to motion toward the men who walked away. He could also do nothing about the huge smile that crossed his face and stuck fast like a snagged thing in the thorns.

“This can be no trick!” he exclaimed once he could locate his voice. “The conference was sadly borne. They have the truth of this from Hero!” His hand lowered after pointing with force. “They seem to pity the lady, and justly so if they spoke but true: it seems her affections have the full bent. Love... me?” He paused, and looked himself over very slowly. The paint hardly registered with his awareness anymore. He was more looking at his slender limbs and thinking over his choices that Beatrice would know about. Memories of how he treated her flashed before his eyes. “Why?” It seemed fantastical. How could such a lady gain such feelings in her heart for him after how he treated her?!

He suddenly shook it off as a new determination hit him, his head shaking against the weight of every accusation against him. It was a gift from Heaven and he had to grab it with both hands! “It must be completely requited! I hear how I am censured: they say I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say too that she will rather die than give any sign of affection for fear of being seen as weak. I did never think to marry: I must not seem proud: happy are they that hear their detractions and can put them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis so, I cannot permit any to claim to reprove it; and wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, not so great argument of her folly, for I will be... and already am... and shall remain... horribly in love with her!”

He practically jumped in the air as he pumped his hands. He stood grinning like a mad fool, the jester she had accused him of being out of frustration with his actions that day. Even when his wit returned the smile did not quite go away.

“I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have railed so long against marriage or love: but... doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age. Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour? No! The world must be... peopled.”

He trailed off because the thought of the pair of them engaged in making the beast with two backs was thrilling. More thrilling than his imagination had previously provided or his reason had allowed. He prayed that Beatrice's earlier claims would prove wrong, that her fields yet remained fertile. And that she would bestow even half the passion on him that he knew he would give to her in the marriage bed.

“When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married; and I had not dreamt that love could possibly enter into the realm.” His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by approaching footsteps and he nearly squawked from the surprise. “Here comes Beatrice!” He exclaimed wordlessly and folded his arms to keep his eagerness in check. “By this day! She's a fair lady!” He turned his head to smile at her, forgetting completely about his appearance.

Beatrice had been interrupted in eating her soup, and she had brought it with her to continue eating; she did not care what any thought of her within her uncle's house. But the sight of Benedick looking utterly ridiculous was not exactly something to inspire her to a better mood. Nay, more like to bring up what little she had eaten. She hardly noticed his grin, and she groaned in exasperation. Such was her comfort in her home at present that she felt free to reach through her loose trousers and tug her pants into a more comfortable position.

Benedick saw it all with the eyes of a man drunk with love. He wished he could have made her more comfortable himself. “I do spy some marks of love in her,” he told himself.

She exhaled sharply, determined to get her command over with. “Against my will I am sent to you come in to dinner,” she snapped.

“Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains,” he said, making a slight bow, one leg sliding slightly toward her in the process.

It was an odd sight, the bit of courtly behavior when he was wearing a Superman t-shirt and cut-off jeans stained with white paint, and odder still hearing such words coming from him. “I took no more pains for those thanks than you took pains to thank me: if it had been painful, I would not have come.” She made a choking noise and put her free hand on her hip as she looked away.

Somehow anger now made her even more beautiful. Nothing could take away the smile from Benedick's face.

Beatrice noticed the unusual look, and thinking it a different form of their merry war mocked it with a false smile and batting eyelashes.

Naturally a man in Benedick's mindset took anything and everything as encouragement. “You take pleasure then in the message?”

She made a open gesture. “Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's point and choke a daw withal!”

Her motions as though she had a knife were engaging and even quite entertaining to Benedick, who nearly bent over from the effort to not laugh out loud or reach out to her.

Beatrice shook her head. Had he drank himself into the worst stupor of his life? Would he be in a right state to be married in the morning? Instead she said, “You have no stomach, Senor: fare you well.”

As she left earshot, Benedick had to reflect with another huge smile. “'Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner'... double meaning in that! 'I took no more pains for those thanks than you took pains to thank me.' Well... that's as much to say, Any pains that I take for you is as easy as thanks. If I do not take pity on her, I am more a villain than those who accus'd us.... If I do not love her with all I have and be the husband she dreamt of, I am a fool.”

He found his sunglasses and looked back her way before he found his wit again. “I will go... get her picture!” He put his glasses back on and marched to his room, but not before he would summon the barber's man.

Chapter Four: She's Lim'd!


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 16th, 2014 12:35 pm (UTC)
I like Bruno. Smart kid. I'm so excited to see how he'll contribute to the whole plot. I'd love to see the look on Don John's face when he realise he's been bested by child.

I love Beatrice's bewilderment. It takes me back to when I watched the play for the very first time. I see it happen in my head as I read. It's really lovely :D
Oct. 17th, 2014 02:44 am (UTC)
I wanted to give that kid a bigger role. The lad who played The Boy was charming in his own way, and after the role Bruno had in my last MAAN story I had to not only keep the name but give him a part to play here. It fit perfectly. Oh, you'll love it! :DDDD

*giggles* That was a great scene! :DDDD
Oct. 18th, 2014 08:12 am (UTC)
I totally agree how this is bringing me right back (with joy!) to the whole play and re-immersing me in it, LOVE!

And YAY Bruno! Your take makes so much more SENSE of his character, he actually has a purpose, it's great!
Oct. 19th, 2014 12:01 am (UTC)

And this time he doesn't carry the shame he did before. :)
Oct. 16th, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
Poor Bruno, he just wants to help but he's constantly sent away!

The overhearing-parts of this play are hilarious, I'm looking forward to reading what you did with Beatrice's unwanted flight ;)
Oct. 17th, 2014 02:45 am (UTC)
Yeah, I kinda felt bad about doing that to him.

This was better than the other one, because you can hear all the lines and you know the characters do too. Anyway... saying no more until sykira comments... :)
Oct. 16th, 2014 07:47 pm (UTC)
This was such a beautiful rendition of the play! And thank you for adding in the bit about his sexual considerations; it pleased me immensely. :)

Edited at 2014-10-16 07:47 pm (UTC)
Oct. 17th, 2014 02:46 am (UTC)
You're welcome. I'm just glad I found a good place to put it. :)
Oct. 18th, 2014 08:15 am (UTC)
(Fragmented brain = fragmented comments at 4 in the morning!)

I'm deeply curious, cause I'm not following, what does sexual considerations refer to in particular???)

Your novelization of these scenes is both HILARIOUS and just SO engaging, I am LOVING it, it brings it so to life for me ♥

Oh and before I forget (again *sheepish*) hi right back to TardisMole and THANK YOU so much for the tireless beta-ing! Very very VERY much appreciated, this story is my lifeline these days, no matter that it's almost dawn, I had to comment before going to bed so I can hopefully wake to more!
Oct. 19th, 2014 12:00 am (UTC)
(I'm working on a sleep deficit, so I know the feeling.)

BMG asked in her comment on the first chapter how sexually experienced Benedick was and whether he'd taken care to not fall ill, if you get my drift. I've covered this before in that he took care to not sire any bastards. TM commented that he would likely seek the more expensive... "entertainments"... which would be far less likely to produce illness. That's what it means.

I had great source material to work with. And a lively imagination. ;D

I will let hir know. I'm grateful shi could make the time to do it. It led to some great moments and additional touches that I feel made the story.

(Sorry I'm only about to post more. Had a tournament to attend. Saw the first of my students win a trophy. Third place! In his first tournament! :D)
Oct. 18th, 2014 08:21 am (UTC)
the best part was how it really cuts Benedick to the quick to see how he has affected Bea by his behavior (albeit some based on falsehood) but the mimed wrist-slitting, the reason given for keeping him in the dark being that he would torment her, which is all the more resonant that they (are pretending they) think that he would be so cruel even in marriage--i just feel this scene, for all its comedy, is really NEEDED for Benedick to learn he has to be more tender with Beatrice even though she gives as good as she gets (more really) but he has to put aside that battle if he is to win her trust and have her let herself become vulnerable with him.
Oct. 19th, 2014 12:06 am (UTC)
What I found interesting about that choice was that Claudio and Don Pedro thought the wrist-slitting hint was too much, but it seemed to be the bit that hit Benedick the hardest. In another production Claudio's lines before that were considered too much (and his delivery was much less impassioned than this Claudio's was - and this one didn't go quite as far as Robert Sean Leonard's did in KB's production). I like your thought on it, which I think is part of why Don Pedro decided to go through with this. However... not everyone aware of it will agree. That'll be in a few chapters. Meanwhile... will now post Chapter 4!
Nov. 5th, 2014 12:55 am (UTC)
Poor Bruno! The fact that children and their observations are discounted in real life is so tragic. Adults frequently ignores what a child sees or says, thinking that they are unreliable, but that's terribly unfair. It's ageism, actually, if you think on it.

I loved poor Benedick's realization that "with the exception of 'mild' every last 'requirement' of his could be met by the very lady he was about to marry. And the second biggest was that he was already in love, but her heart did not return it. And probably never would, which depressed him." It was so lovely to have that scene precede the staged conversation where Benedick gives himself permission to love Beatrice since he now knows it will be returned.

Thank you for a refreshing take on one of my favorite things in this world.

Edited at 2014-11-05 12:55 am (UTC)
Nov. 5th, 2014 03:47 am (UTC)
Guh. The icon... ;)

I wish we had a culture geared toward thinking about teaching children to practice being grownups early on and not letting them get away with a prolonged childhood. Then I think more would consider taking them seriously since we'd be wanting to train them to act on what's right.

Ah, that scene. It's almost canon. In fact, we can pretend. :)

Welcome. *bows*
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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