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FIC: Thou Wilt Quake For This (6/9)

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.

Since NaNo is coming up soon, I decided it was time to get more posted whether the recipient is able to comment or not. Besides, I have some other fics I'm trying to finish ASAP. So... here we go!

Thou Wilt Quake For This

Started February 26, 2014
Finished October 9, 2014

Chapter One / Chapter Two / Chapter Three / Chapter Four / Chapter Five


Benedick sat down at the local pub, at last able to drink soda out of a bottle – earlier he had had one beer with a sandwich, and to ensure he was sober later on switched to what was called “rum and coke”, or rather cherry syrup and coke, so he could pretend to still be drinking; a deception for a deception – as he rested his preferred drinking hand on the table. Frowning at the noise around him, he took another sip. He saw Don Pedro walk off to collect a drink, so he was certain that he had maybe five minutes to escape before the “entertainment” arrived. He needed to let his men focus on watching the Bastard and his cohorts, not have to help him evade his lord's plans.

He did not consider this disobedient. If anything he was being crafty in order to serve the Prince well. His reputation as a jester, to quote Beatrice from yesternight, would serve him well.

Claudio was speaking with Borachio and the Prince's Messenger, and Conrade was not far off. He could tell that they were plotting something at least for Claudio here at the gathering. He did not want to imagine what they were planning for him, no matter how innocent Claudio or the Prince might think the actions.

Although he had some hope that Don Pedro would remember his words about why he had not sought any of the whores who came near their encampments. Perhaps he would escape this more readily than he feared.

A sudden womanly shout caught his attention and he saw the strangest sight. A lady whom he could not properly see from this distance was carrying something, and another was following and apparently scolding the first. Only when the first ran past did Benedick realize that the ladies' night be beginning. Hero ran after her gentlewoman Margaret, and soon Innogen was chasing Hero after pausing to call someone forward. That someone was Ursula, whose shoe was holding her up until she removed it.

Then he saw who trailed the others. His breath caught despite expecting her.


Beatrice was not the last one in the group, Maria was. But she was not worried since her aunt was right on Hero's heels. She was content to have a few quiet moments to prepare herself for watching over her cousin without seeming to do so, and more importantly to fortify herself for the events her aunt and the gentlewomen had planned for her and Hero.

Dancers and loud music. She could handle the latter when she got to be on the dance floor, but this? She anticipated feeling a great need for a drink. And yet she knew she had to be careful with those.

Her last act of resistance as an unmarried woman – fulfilling her role for the evening as the unknowing Hero's protector – was to wear whatever she felt like to the party, which meant an unflattering overalls and oversized pink shirt with her favorite sandals. She had no one to impress, and certainly wished to push away attention from herself. It had worked for years.

Shame it had failed to prevent villains from harming her reputation.

She slowly realized someone was watching her. Her eyes drifted to find Benedick staring transfixed. She stilled. Even dressed to not impress he looked at her with admiration. Here was proof of his love!

She exhaled slowly and began walking again to avoid attracting attention. Feeling Benedick's eyes follow her, she turned back while still moving forward. Touching her throat awkwardly allowed her a chance to give him a tiny nod and look of determination. She knew her part, and was trusting him to do his.


As she walked away he had to take several breaths to compose himself. Not the least because he would be teased extra mercilessly if he gave any signs of love but because he needed all his wits about him to create an escape.

“I do but stay till your marriages be consummate,” declared Don Pedro, stepping forward and carrying a drink with a sparkler on its straw. “And then go on I to Aragon.”

Claudio, beer in hand, protested. “Well, I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll voachsafe me.”

Leonato came up just as the Prince dismissed the offer. “Nay, that would be as great a soil in the new gloss of your marriage as show a child his new coat and... forbid him to wear it.” The stumbling in speech was due to the drink already imbibed. “No, I shall even without Benedick for the first time in years. Ah, from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot...” Don Pedro nearly giggled as he stumbled to place the ridiculous drink before Benedick, who leaned away from the concoction. “...he is all mirth: he hath a heart as sound as a bell and his tongue is the clapper, for what his heart thinks his tongue speaks.”

Although the Prince and his conspirators knew that Benedick was hardly ready to speak of any love. This was for appearances sake.

Benedick pushed the drink away, which smelled too sweet for his stomach no matter the time. What had possessed the Prince to think such a one would be a good idea? Maybe he had right to be worried. “Gallants, I am not as I have been,” he said slowly, measuredly.

Leonato, still standing, fixed a look on him before taking another drink of his spirit. “So say I methinks you are sadder.”

Claudio leaned toward Benedick, holding his own glass. “May we hope he be in love?”

Don Pedro grinned. “Ah, there's no true drop of blood in him, to be truly touched with love: if he be sad, he wants money.”

Benedick knew he had to speak. “I...”

The three men, one still standing, leaned in with immense curiosity.

Benedick leaned back, unwilling to speak of it now. “... have the toothache.” God that was the worst excuse he could have found! His wit could not have been working at a worse state! Had he somehow left it in Beatrice's safekeeping?!

Don Pedro's groan was the loudest, and while Leonato sat down the Prince rubbed his face and exclaimed, “Draw it!”

“Hang it!” snapped Benedick, grabbing his bottle again and taking a long sip.

“You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards,” Claudio contended, highly amused and hiding it poorly.

Don Pedro dropped his hands. “What! Sigh for the toothache?”

“Well, every one can master a grief but he that has it,” challenged Benedick.

Claudio decided to goad him slightly. “Yet say I, he acts in love.”

“Hath any man seen him at the barber's?” asked Don Pedro.

“No,” Claudio admitted, but his feet tap-danced so he faced Leonato – while still remaining seated – as he added, “but the barber's man hath been seen with him.”

“Indeed, he looks young than he had, by the loss of a beard,” noted Leonato, noting the younger man shaking his head.

“And when was he wont to wash his face?” asked Claudio, turning back to face their target.

“Yea, or to paint himself?” joked Don Pedro. Then he quickly adopted an effeminate tone. “For the which, I hear what they say of him.”

Claudio knew he could do better than that, and proved it as he crossed his leg in a manner wholly unlike him and adopted a more extreme speech: “Ooh, indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him!”

As the other two conspirators laughed aloud, Claudio slumped back into a more natural pose for himself, releasing the crossed leg so it could splay like the other.

Don Pedro made a variety of pointing gestures at Benedick with only one hand. “Conclude, conclude he is in love!”

Benedick shook his head tightly, his lips pursed.

“Nay, but I know who loves him!” exclaimed Claudio.

The Prince nodded. “Oh, I warrant, one that knows him not.”

Claudio addressed them all. “Yes, and his ill conditions; and in spite of all, dies for him.”

Drunkenness inspired Don Pedro's next tease. “She shall be buried with her face upwards!” He fell backwards in his chair as they burst into laughter.

“Yet, is this no charm for the toothache?!” Benedick cried as he jumped to his feet, incensed.

It was enough to silence the merriment.

Benedick knew it was time to make his escape. “Uncle, walk aside with me. I have studied eight or nine wise words to speak with you which these hobby horses must not hear.”

Leonato stood, but his stance prevented Benedick from just walking off with him. “Nephew, I believe that if we do you shall miss the events.”

“Sir, I am in no mood for such 'entertainment' in light of my situation. Far more pleasure would be found in speaking with you.”

Not even the Prince protested as Benedick led Leonato off. Instead he waved off anyone from stopping Benedick and – after letting out a low whistle to suggest that perhaps they had taken things too far, for it dawned on him that had he been sober he would never have uttered that last line – spoke in a low voice to Claudio. “For my life, to break upon him about Beatrice! He is firmly tak'n.”

“'Tis even so. Hero and Ursula have by this played their parts with Beatrice; and then the two bears will not bite one another when they meet at the alter.”

Claudio's laughter stopped briefly as a chair was set beside his and the Messenger made him turn his head. Then the laughing returned with some embarrassed excitement as the dancer tugged him forward. Here was fun!


Screaming women was an accurate description of the ladies' event, especially Ursula who was shaking from her own excitement as her elder daughter caught the shirt tossed by the dancer. Margaret was merely in the wrong place being too close, but Maria would have gladly let her sister have it.

Beatrice sat across from Hero, who was alternating between embarrassment and just as loud screaming. The younger Lady was enjoying herself despite her very maiden sensibilities. It helped that the dancer was of a similar height and build to Claudio; therefore she could use her imagination to heighten her feelings.

But Beatrice did not find the dancer to her taste, nor was the dancing very engaging to the instincts her aunt was trying to waken. No, she apparently now only needed to think of Benedick for that. And there was no way that Benedick would ever – not even under a drunken dare – act in such a ridiculous manner. Give her him whispering tempting words, challenging her wit, or holding her close as they finally danced together. Mostly things that only her imagination had thought of, but she looked forward to them.

If she could only not have to worry about her cousin!

The dancer paused in his act, making all of the other women tremble from waiting. Ursula was acting and speaking like she wanted him to remain stopped, but anyone who knew her knew she was merely protesting because she felt she must.

When he removed his pull-off trousers instead of tossing them to the hyper Ursula or the naughty Margaret or the half mortified Hero, he flicked them to Beatrice. Who promptly tossed them away, sending them into Innogen's hands. She even waved the dancer off forcibly when he came near as per his routine.

No man was to come near her. Only Benedick.

She ignored her aunt's soft scolding. She knew only the lies kept her aunt from being more pointed with her remarks about how this would benefit her in marriage.

Yea, only if a lady did not anticipate much from her own husband!

She prayed that Benedick was not enduring anything he did not wish to. Her heart clamped like a dried fig at the thought that he might enjoy a dancer's attentions. Knowing him she doubted it. Especially given the event they were seeking to defend Hero against.

So she was left to endure as best she could.

If only she felt safe to drink!


Benedick made it to his men's side, having finally ditched Leonato without the man realizing how he had been used as an excuse to escape being 'treated'. Never mind the more pressing need to hide himself – this time where he could be absolutely certain he would not be detected.

The more he thought about the afternoon's events, and how Leonato and Claudio and the Prince had behaved, he wondered if they had known he was near and had been making sport of him. His clue was the cigarettes put in his can, which they should have noticed was more than half full and still cold. Ruining a perfectly good soda for a man recovering from drinking!

It made him uneasy. Had they been deceiving him the whole time, aware that he could overhear?

He would be angrier if Beatrice had not assured him of her love, and so he had to assume that they had acted out of concern for her in marriage and possibly for them both. Perhaps the Prince had figured out the meaning of those words spoken when he explained his refusal to go near the camp followers.

He would learn the truth eventually, after he could hold this over Claudio – for the Count would be susceptible to such deception as Don John evidently had in mind. It made Benedick also wonder if the same sort of trick had been played on Beatrice, and reminded himself to ask her as soon as possible.

Well, perhaps after the wedding night. He had to make that first night as special as possible for her.

The Lieutenant, second in command after his Captain of his men, and Alonso, another of his men, greeted him with a nod. They were silent out of necessity, for Don John was very near. They were also rather close to where Don Pedro was throwing more drink down Claudio's throat as the dancer walked away with her music player, along with the rest of celebrating men, but they were certain they could not be overheard.

A rather girlish giggling “No!” came from the Count, which would have earned him a massive teasing under any circumstance. Only Don Pedro noted his brother's presence and did not tease Claudio. Instead he put down the bottle and undid Claudio's blindfold.

“My lord and brother, God save you!” said Don John, hands in his pockets.

“Good den, brother,” said the Prince, freeing Claudio so he could promptly stand.

Don John was pleased to see that Claudio stumbled ever so slightly. He was in a better state than the night before to be deceived. “If your leisure served, I would speak with you,” he addressed his brother.

“In private?”

“If it please you; yet Count Claudio may hear; for what I would speak of concerns him,” he added, keeping Claudio from leaving.

“What's the matter?” asked the Prince.

Don John turned to Claudio. “Means your lordship to be married tomorrow?”

“You know he does,” said Don Pedro.

“I know not that, when he knows what I know.”

Claudio stiffened. “If there be any impediment, I pray you discover it.”

Benedick's hand clenched the pillar he hid behind. Not for the first time he thought Claudio deserved a good slap upside the head. And he knew the night was going to become much worse.

Lying came naturally to Don John, although he had to focus to not seem too stiff as he addressed Claudio. “You may think I love you not: let that appear hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now will manifest. For my brother, I think he holds you well, and in dearness of heart hath help to effect your ensuing marriage: --surely suit ill spent and labour ill bestowed.”

“Why, what's the matter?” demanded the Prince.

Don John had been waiting for this moment, where he could properly ill-use his brother and vex Claudio completely. “I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances shortened, for she has been too long a talking of, the lady is disloyal.”

“Who, Hero?” cried Claudio.

“Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero.”


“The word is too good to paint out her wickedness; I could say she were worse: think you of a worse title, and I will fit her to it.”

Benedick's men were as disgusted as he was, and their faces showed it.

“Wonder not till further warrant: go but with me tonight, you shall see her chamber-window entered in the open air, even the night before her wedding-day: if you love her then, tomorrow wed her; but it would better fit your honour to change your mind.”

Claudio was stricken. “May this be so?”

“I will not think it,” declared Don Pedro.

Benedick and his men held their collective breath. There was a chance that the Prince might halt this part of the plot.

However, Don John however knew his brother's weakness. “If you dare not trust that you see, confess not that you know: if you will follow me, I will show you enough; and when you have seen more and heard more, proceed accordingly.”

Claudio collapsed into his chair. “If I see any thing tonight why I should not marry her tomorrow in the congregation, where I should wed, there will I shame her.”

Benedick's jaw clenched.

Don Pedro wished that this was not true, but could his brother conceive such a lie? It was nothing like his previous villainy, and so he saw no choice. “And, as I constrained for thee to woo her, I will join with thee to disgrace her.”

It took a great deal of restraint for Benedick and his men to not react.

“I will disparage her no farther till you are my witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and let the issue show itself.” As there was still the bottle his brother had been using, Don John poured them each a shot in the glasses that happened to be near.

Don Pedro rubbed his face. “O day untowardly turned!”

“O mischief strangely thwarting!” cried Claudio, sitting almost motionless in his chair.

“O plague right well prevented! So will you say when you have seen the sequel,” declared Don John.

The Prince and Count downed their shots, but Don John had another idea as neither of them was looking at him. Never mind that he despised drinking.

Benedick looked to his men after he noted Don John add his shot to Claudio's beer, which Claudio soon after grabbed and downed a good portion of the remainder. “He is ensuring that they are too drunk to question what he shows them.” He scowled. “O how it would have worked had young Bruno not chanced to listen!”

The Lieutenant shook his head. “The good Prince, so mightily abused and yet willing to listen. Where is his good sense, his reason, his restraint? Why doth he not seek others more sober to witness?”

“All part of the Bastard's plan, I am certain,” Benedick mused grimly. “The Prince doth wish to not believe his brother capable of so grave a deceit, and hath been beguil'd by a master of deception. He prays for their father's sake that the Bastard may yet redeem himself. Who is with the Captain in following Borachio?”

“Lucius. Balfor is following Conrade, who was still in company of the others when the event ended.”

It was for the best that the gentleman of Don John's men only had one man trailing him. After all they knew that Borachio needed careful watching. “Excellent. We shall follow these three as soon as they depart for where the ladies are gathered.”

They had to wait a while yet, for the appointed hour according to the Bastard's schedule was not yet come. And endure the horror of seeing him ply the others with more drink.

Chapter Seven: Right Well Prevented


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 25th, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)
hey I just noticed your mood is changing from tired to exhausted and I know you are sick and I feel like a heel keeping u awake demanding more and more chapters! u should sleep! I can wait til tomorrow for ch9, my entire day plan is reading this fic anyway!

The dynamics of the hen/stag night FASCINATE me, and your reworking of them fascinate me more. I LOVE that Benedick is obviously just as enamored of Bea in overalls as much as a fancy outfit, and I love that you picked uo on how clear it was that she was clearly out to avoid male attention and yet drinking to avoid thinking about all the confusing stuff to process, not cause she's a slut or any other vacuous annoying misogynistic explanation--but it was still a brave choice for the staging of the play given that a woman's honor still hinges on her exploits when unchaperoned at a party with wayward men :_(

You capture the weighty looks between Bea and Ben here gorgeously even though they carry different meaning than in the play. I always wanted him to be more protective and always love her fending off attention (and very much with that bubble, that's there around Catherine the whole play, so interesting).

I can't even dwell on the Hero stuff though cause argh I want to throttle the bad guys! Your version is much less painful as it drags out the misery so much less, whew!
Oct. 25th, 2014 11:44 pm (UTC)
I was feeling mostly fine (aside from my throat) until last night, and only after I showered. I've had to worry about using as little water as possible to keep my costs down, and so I started taking my showers while still waiting for the water to warm. It feels fine after a hot day or the gym, but... oh, I was shivering. By then my throat hit its worst state, which probably led to an oral temp of over 101. (I think when your throat is that raw it generates its own heat.) Trust me, I slept today, although it didn't feel restful between the sun and the sweating. But the fever broke and I can almost swallow without it being horribly painful.

It amazes me that they did a hen night. I mean, we are talking a slightly different era for the setting, but still. And Beatrice drinking was another brave choice: it had the potential to go very wrong for her, but she's too tough to let things happen easily. Still... I'm sure Benedick would've rather been at her side.

Which was why I'm sure you loved his presence in "Glance of Love" before she could have TOO much to drink. :)

It helps that it's writing aimed at people who've seen the performance. Sadly I didn't have the benefit of rewatching the play. I have to do some meddling to try to be able to do it again. Digital Theatre suggested uninstalling and reinstalling. Grr...

Anyway... Chapter Nine is up!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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