[identity profile] mollivanders.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] prefer_my_life
Title: somewhere next to you
Fandom: Lizzie Bennet Diaries
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Lizzie/Darcy
Author's Note: I'm not sure what happened. I mostly blame this Tumblr post which means I wrote LBD fic to One Direction, but what can you do? Spoilers through Episode 62 but general speculation through the series end. Word Count - 2,232
Disclaimer: I don't own the show or the characters.

It starts out innocently enough. Hands brushing against each other in the halls of Collins & Collins, a helping hand out of the car or down the steps, chairs set closer together at dinner than absolutely necessary.

All things considered, Lizzie thinks it might be her imagination. Darcy couldn’t possibly – it’s not a remote likelihood – it’s probably just his faulty programming again.

(These days, though, she’s far more sympathetic to his faulty programming than she’s inclined to admit.)

Later, she’ll look back and wonder how she missed all the signs. Again.

+

They’ve been staying at Darcy’s for a week when Lizzie finally asks the question that’s been on her mind for months.

“So, what’s with you guys and naming your houses?”

Darcy looks up from his book, surprise briefly flitting over his features before he uncrosses his legs and leans forward. The book dangles in his hand, a tattered copy of Dumas that has clearly seen better days. In this house of pristine first editions, it catches Lizzie’s eye.

“What do you mean?” he asks, and maybe Lizzie can tell he’s trying not to sound like a robot. Maybe she’s laid off the selective listening after a week of hospitality.

“I mean, you and Bing both named your houses. Netherfield, Pemberley. It sounds like you’re both characters in a romance novel.”

She’s probably imagining it, but Darcy’s eyes seem to crinkle at the edge before he answers evenly, the centuries of breeding she now knows he’s inherited less grating than before.

(There is an actual family crest, of all things to get right.)

“Pemberley has been in my family for generations,” he says. “I believe it was Caroline’s idea to name Netherfield.”

“Oh,” Lizzie replies, nodding her head and feeling the need to push forward in the conversation. “Your favorite?” she asks, reaching her hand out without thinking and even more surprised when Darcy passes her the book. His fingers brush against her hand when she takes it and the contact sends a low thrill through her body that makes her shift backwards. It’s not a first edition and it’s not bound with leather and Lizzie takes to it instantly.

“It was my mother’s,” Darcy says quietly and Lizzie nods, not quite able to meet his eyes. “I like it,” she tells him, and when she finally gives it back there’s a ghost of a smile on his face.

(His face contorts well, she thinks.)

+

Catherine de Bourgh is lecturing them all about the proper way to set a Christmas table when the storm that’s been building all night finally knocks out the power in one fell swoop. Lizzie freezes in place, her mind blank as she tries to remember where all the fragile vases in this room are, when she feels someone grab at her arm.

“Lizzie?” Charlotte asks and Lizzie relaxes, patting her friend’s hand. “Yep, it’s me,” she says before Charlotte sighs with relief. “I thought you were Catherine,” she says and Lizzie snorts. She finishes the cider she was drinking – glad for once that nobody can see her – and looks around in the gloom. Her eyes are starting to adjust and everyone looks accounted for except for –

“Darcy, where’d you go?” Fitz asks at her ear and Lizzie jumps a mile. “Not here,” she tells him cheerfully and Fitz’s teeth grin at her in the darkness. “Let’s go find him,” she suggests and Fitz takes her arm with a Lizzie B!, leading the way to the hall.

(“This could all be prevented by installing a backup generator,” Lizzie hears Catherine say in the background.)

When they get to the foyer, Darcy still nowhere in sight, they split up with Fitz venturing outside and Lizzie taking the rest of the ground floor. Whisper-calling for Darcy in the darkness feels strangely intimate but she tries to get control of herself. It’s just a power outage, not a dark plan by the cosmos to mess with her.

(Though, that has happened before. She swears.)

“Darcy!” she whisper-calls again, feeling her way carefully towards what she thinks is the kitchen. “Lizzie?” Darcy replies, his voice very close, and she spots artificial light from around the corner. Stepping across the threshold, she spots him rummaging through kitchen drawers.

“What are you doing?” she asks, a note of inexplicable worry in her voice. Darcy can take care of himself. “Fitz went looking for you outside.”

“I keep the flashlights in the kitchen,” Darcy says, his face cast in shadows from the flashlight, and passes her one. She takes it without making skin contact and congratulates herself on not having a meltdown during a power outage. “Better than fumbling around with candles in the dark,” he adds and Lizzie nods. “Catherine thinks you should have a power generator by the way,” she says and god help her, Darcy laughs.

“Does she?” he asks, real amusement in his voice, and Lizzie finds herself mirroring his grin. “Come on,” he says. “Let’s find Fitz.”

She keeps up with him, hurried steps matching his even stride, as they cross his truly ginormous house. If Catherine’s house is a compound, Lizzie doesn’t have a word for what Darcy’s house is.

Well, not yet.

The minute they step outside, Lizzie feels the cold hit her like a sheet of ice. Damn the coats, she wants to find Fitz and get back to the party. Charlotte’s probably stuck alone in a corner with Ricky by now. When her teeth start chattering though, Darcy stops and shrugs off his dinner jacket, passing it to her silently.

“Thanks,” she chatters painfully and Darcy nods. “Fitz!” she calls, her lungs filling up with cold air. This is California, not New Hampshire, and yet – “Fitz!”

“Where would he go?” she asks Darcy and he pauses, looking around the front grounds. “Maybe the back? We have a shed back there; he could be inside that.”

They traipse their way around Pemberley, Lizzie wondering why she bought these flat shoes in the first place, before crossing behind a gate and toward a pond Lizzie hadn’t noticed before. A tall figure is hurrying towards them, his arms swinging as he runs.

“Finally!” Fitz and Lizzie say when they meet up and while Lizzie would normally have something to say, she’s too cold to be witty right now. “Let’s go in the back,” Darcy says. “And Fitz, just so you know, the only thing in that shed is fishing supplies and spiders.”

“So I found,” Fitz said, a chatter in his voice as well. He opens the door for Darcy and Lizzie, and she pauses once inside, shrugging Darcy’s jacket off. “Here you go,” she says, relieved to be back inside and not quite catching Fitz’s terrible, gleeful grin or Darcy’s slow realization. “What?” she asks, looking back and forth at them, before Fitz silently points his flashlight up and Lizzie feels her heart sink.

Oh. Mistletoe.

“I won’t tell,” Fitz says but Lizzie’s not listening. She just wants to get this over with and spare them both as much humiliation as possible, so she closes the distance between her and Darcy on one tiptoe to kiss him swiftly. It’s not at all relevant how she has to rest her hands on his shoulders to reach him, or how his body shifts closer to hers, or how one of his hands drifts briefly toward her waist before snapping away again.

The lights come back on with a painful pop! that makes Lizzie’s eyes sting and she falls away from Darcy, her cheeks burning.

“Well I’m hungry,” Fitz says, cutting between them and rubbing at his stomach. “Do you think the roast is still good, Darcy?”

For her part, Lizzie determinedly heads straight back to the dining room and focuses on Charlotte’s tale and definitely not how William Darcy is staring at her like she’s a train wreck and he just can’t look away. Again. Nope, not at all.

+

The weeks at home rush by in hurried succession. Lizzie suddenly finds herself neck-deep in job applications and finance juggling and the aftermath of Lydia’s adventure and she really doesn’t have a thought to spare for Darcy.

(No, not one thought.)

But a week after Bing and Jane get back together, Lizzie comes downstairs to find Darcy and Bing waiting (tensely and patiently, respectively) for Jane to come back from the kitchen. Even from the stairs Lizzie can hear her mother complaining to Jane about how that Darcy man is here again and how she doesn’t understand why he had to come along too.

When Jane comes back with Snickerdoodles, Lizzie manages to pull Darcy aside for a moment, heart racing. She barely notices the contact, or how his hand fits nicely with hers, or how he doesn’t protest when she drags him away.

“They don’t know,” she says, the words tumbling out. “Lydia let it slip by accident, and I didn’t know how to thank you. From all of us.”

“I didn’t – ” he says, and she can tell he’s about to say something she would have hated him for a year ago. He takes a deep breath. “I didn’t do it for them,” he says. “As much as I respect them and wish the best for them.”

The only other, fathomable reason he could have done it hangs between them, and Lizzie shuts her eyes. She wants to – brilliant and witty as she knows she is, she cannot think what to say, or why she chooses to say what she does.

“Would you like to see where I film?” she asks and once again, she’s managed to surprise William Darcy. He must know she films in her room and she’s basically just asked him up, but he nods, a smile playing at his lips. Almost, she thinks. “Okay,” he says, and doesn’t let go of her hand when she leads him upstairs.

It’s not much at all, the shelves of books crammed right up against the unmade bed and Lizzie is suddenly all words and hand gestures, talking about how she’s gotten some offers from firms in San Francisco and L.A. and she’s trying to decide based on practical things not between Charlotte and Jane and –

“Lizzie,” he says, and it’s not interrupting if there would never have been a break in the conversation. “I’d like to ask you – well, my feelings are unchanged.” He pauses and an errant part of Lizzie’s brain is narrating Darcybot’s computation. “But if yours are what they were last fall, I understand. I won’t press you.”

(Somewhere, Lizziebot is computing.)

“No,” she breathes, and while she is painfully aware of how girlish and young she sounds she shakes her head. “My feelings…are quite the opposite.”

And finally, after a year and over a hundred videos, Lizzie gets to see Darcy actually smile.

+

She’d never quite appreciated the way his body takes up space, the way he could hide against a wall and still be the dominant figure in a room. They lean against the wall together now, sometimes, but other times they dance together in a corner, away from prying eyes and gossiping tongues.

“Less of a stone statue?” he asks her once and Lizzie snorts, leaning back as though to appraise him. “Progress, Mr. Darcy,” she says and smiles when he rolls his eyes at her. At least in this, he is not alone.

“How much progress?” he asks her later, his breath cool puffs of air against her skin. Lizzie would tease him – he’s still an easy target – but for the way he’s nuzzling her throat or the way his hand is tracing her waist.

His game, at least, has definitely improved.

Still, he isn’t getting off that easy, and when Lizzie turns in his arms he loses his train of thought for a moment. “Still working on that vanity and pride family motto?” she asks and Darcy blushes at his ears. “I’m all about seizing the day,” he finishes and Lizzie laughs, buries herself beneath the covers and shakes her head.

“Right,” she says. “So you weren’t about to open your laptop?” she adds, eyes closed and feels him freeze, fall back closer to her. “No,” he replies, transparent, and she cracks one eye open. “Okay,” she says, playing along, and kisses him, feels him shift against her.

(There are many, many ways his body takes up space. She is learning this all over.)

“Did you really not know?” he asks her one night in the study. He’s actually reading again and she peers at him over the top of her Chopin. Sometimes this quiet space with him is all she wants after a long day even though, slowly, Lizzie is appreciating how hard it is for Darcy to put away the laptop.

Still, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.

“Would you believe me if I said no?” she asks back and Darcy thinks for a moment before smiling, looking back down at his book. Tolstoy, of course.

“Only because I did not know either,” he says and Lizzie’s heart squeezes at his words. The distance between them is suddenly too great and she pats at the seat next to her on the couch, eyes still fixed on the text. Darcy settles against her, his hand playing with hers in friendly distraction as the night draws on.

No faulty programming at all, she decides.

Finis

Date: 2012-11-13 02:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] petitebelette.livejournal.com
*____* this is beautiful.

Date: 2012-11-13 09:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] quick-ly.livejournal.com
I'm so happy you're writing LBD fic! This was wonderful!

Date: 2012-11-14 12:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hondagirll.livejournal.com
Ugh, so cute. I love this! Love them!

Date: 2012-11-21 08:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penny-lane-42.livejournal.com
Happiness!!!

Date: 2012-12-22 02:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] redbrunja.livejournal.com
All things considered, Lizzie thinks it might be her imagination. Darcy couldn’t possibly – it’s not a remote likelihood – it’s probably just his faulty programming again.

(These days, though, she’s far more sympathetic to his faulty programming than she’s inclined to admit.)

Later, she’ll look back and wonder how she missed all the signs. Again.


Hee!

This was a delightful read.

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