?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Lizzie Bennet Diaries Fic: There And Back Again (Or How William Darcy Falls In Love) - tranquility... best achieved in chaos
phrenitis
phrenitis
Lizzie Bennet Diaries Fic: There And Back Again (Or How William Darcy Falls In Love)
(I don't know what happened. I don't write fic for big fandoms, you guys; this is scary! Can I go back to Donna/Harvey now?)


Title: There And Back Again (Or How William Darcy Falls In Love)
Rating: G
Category: Lizzie Bennet/William Darcy
Spoilers: #83
Disclaimer: Owned by others.
Author's Note: I blame my Twitter feed entirely for this; you are all horrible enablers. A special shout-out however to @forthecoast, @flytheocean and @ceruleantides for their words of confidence and wisdom as well as their keen beta notes.
Summary: He knows he's in love with her because - contrary to everything he's been led to believe - he tries quite hard not to be.

==

Have you ever been in love? is a common enough question, but no one asks him, so he has no customary answer.

In his earlier youth, a date rarely made it further than dinner - Gigi's thumbs down invariably appearing somewhere around the second course. The ones that managed to eke approval (more often, her indifference) never progressed beyond the carnal. They were but simple physical companionships that William found less satisfying than he hoped, and seldom stimulating on any level.

Years later, other material factors - circumstance, propriety, obligation - added unnecessary complications, and the entire business was best turned toward more productive endeavors.

Falling in love is not a story he knows.

==

Twice, it turns out, is the appropriate reply.

The first time, he falls in love with a possibility, and it's not one he intentionally entertains. He knows from hard-learned experience that possibilities are fleeting fancies - typically born of desperation or novelty, and the conversion to reality is unsurprisingly infrequent.

Lizzie Bennet, however, is nothing less than extraordinarily surprising.

She is nothing like the company he keeps or the women he's come to expect - her wit is sharp, her manner blunt but honest, and her spirit indefatigable in a way that grows increasingly entrancing. He finds her remarkable, and though it is not an immediate observation, he is still disturbed by how quickly that judgement is formed.

He uncharacteristically wants to mention her in conversation with Fitz and Bing and Gigi and Caroline. It's not a relationship he has put thought toward pursuing, but he is irrationally pleased with any passing comment that reflects positively on her. Lizzie's ability to leave him out of sorts keeps their own interactions brief, yet he seeks her thoughts on a number of subjects anyway. He cannot predict her answers, and is rewarded each time by her astute observations and singularly intriguing personality.

"When are you bringing her here for a visit?" Gigi asks, and the question comes as a surprise.

"That's not..." He searches for the term. "That's not advisable."

"I'd like to meet her."

He thinks back, but cannot recall how frequently he might have dropped Lizzie's name. "Why?"

"I don't know." Gigi is suddenly nonchalant. "She just sounds different."

It's an apt remark, and an alarming one; his interest in Lizzie is more apparent than he means to express given the situation. Gigi doesn't raise the subject again, and he makes a concentrated effort to redirect his focus, or at the very least, keep his thoughts regarding Lizzie to himself.

He thinks he falls in love with her at the wedding after hearing her laugh.

He knows he's in love with her because - contrary to everything he's been led to believe - he tries quite hard not to be.

==

Of course, then he wants to fall out of love; preferably quickly.

It takes an agonizingly long and increasingly uncomfortable night followed by an unforgiving hangover to realize he is experiencing various emotions simultaneously. Anger and disbelief are dominant, but in the early hours of the morning they give way to shame. He has never been so woefully (and publicly) misunderstood, and yet there's very little that's inaccurate about anything she's said - her comments frank, as he's come to expect and admire, albeit somewhat one-sided and limited.

And who does he have to blame but himself in that regard? He had every opportunity to be forthcoming at any point in their acquaintance - it was time enough for him to develop and struggle against strong feelings that weren't even remotely returned. And more often than not, it's the last fact that pains him most. His thoughts spiral unhappily; the letter only a temporary relief.

Gigi is perceptive enough to notice the shift at the start, and in time when she has him alone in the ski lift, doesn't ask so much as pry. "You were in love with Lizzie."

He doesn't try to deny it. "Yes."

She seems stunned by his admittance as though she'd simply been guessing, or perhaps expected him to keep his confidence. "You were in love with her?"

"Gigi. This is not helping."

"Right! Yeah. Sorry! I just thought...," she trails off. "I'm sorry, William."

He doesn't know how to respond to that, but she continues in his silence. "You tell me what she did, and I'll get Fitz and together we'll totally kick her ass."

==

The subsequent texts and voicemails he receives from Gigi go something like this:

OMG you didn't.

William!

Nope.

Why didn't you tell me HE was there?

"It's me. Answer your phone. I'm still watching the videos and we need to talk. Call me back right now."

"It's me again. Okay, but the robot thing was kind of funny though."

Seriously? CALL ME.


==

The second time, he falls in love with an impossibility, and nothing about his world is the same.

It happens somewhere in San Francisco. He's uncertain if it's at Pemberley Digital with Lizzie's confrontation about Bing, or in the city at some point between the wharf and cable car ride when he lightly touches her back, but it's undeniable at lunch when he unconsciously keeps glancing at Gigi throughout.

When Lizzie steps away to the restroom, Gigi leans over looking baffled. "What is the matter with you?"

"What? What's wrong?"

"Really? Stop looking at me," she says incredulously.

"I'm..." He stops when he realizes the truth of it. "I didn't realize."

She rolls her eyes. "What are you looking for anyway? My approval?"

There's a beat before comprehension dawns on them both, and Gigi's eyes go wide. It'd been so many years; he'd forgotten about the dinner date test.

"Oh my god." She looks shocked, but he doesn't miss the hint of a smile although he doesn't understand what's funny about the situation. "You are!"

"It's completely unintentional."

"Good. Did you think we'd be doing all this if I didn't like her?"

It's not difficult to avoid consciously looking at Gigi for affirmation after that, but she throws the thumbs up sign his way so often even Lizzie begins to notice.

She glances at them both. "What's with the thumbs up?"

He lacks a proper response, but Gigi supplies answers readily enough, ridiculous as they may seem: My coffee! That view! The weather! This photo!

Lizzie nods in confusion, but the look she gives him when it happens again, and then again later, is all amusement.

"She has a lot of enthusiasm," he offers in an aside.

Lizzie winces at the word and he's immediately contrite. "I apologize. That was a poor choice..."

"No. It's fine." She shakes her head, but then she offers him a lovely sideways smile. "She does, in the best way, and you're right."

It's with effort that he takes her words as simple courtesy and not an indication of any deeper meaning - he's grateful for what he hopes is a sign of her forgiveness. Her hand comes up to touch his arm in reassurance, and over the top of her head he can see Gigi, once again, with a double thumbs up. He frowns and Lizzie swiftly removes her hand.

Their tour of the city ends, as it should, with polite goodbyes and thank yous. Gigi isn't content with his silence after, but try as he may, his thoughts will not gather themselves for constructive conversation.

The day has been more than he could have hoped for - Lizzie's spontaneity and easy laugh as fresh and captivating as he remembers, her natural beauty and intelligence still stirring. And there had been a new softness there - her voluntary acceptance of the invitation and the day's plans, her gentle remarks and assurances when topics veered too close to their sensitive past - it rekindles feelings for her he's unsuccessfully tried to overcome.

He is in love with her, and he's completely unprepared to handle its return. After his previous declaration and the painful comments that followed, he is not foolish enough to put any thought toward attempting the same again. His increased respect for Lizzie, and his deep appreciation for her friendship with Gigi only reinforce the point.

But being in love, and an unreciprocated love at that, is outside his frame of reference. There is no business model or five-step process available, and when he receives Lizzie's tweet of thanks later that evening, it takes several long minutes before he can formulate a reply.

He hopes rather than believes.

==

Filming the video is a very welcome diversion in an otherwise overloaded day, and Lizzie's delighted laughter at his Fitz portrayal stays warmly with him as he walks to his next meeting. It's not impossible to imagine gladly being in every video if she were to ask.

Predictably, Gigi finds him en route to the conference room.

"You're smiling," she notes, her expression eager. "Does that mean it went well?"

"I believe so."

There's a long pause, and then she looks exasperated. "That's it? What happened? Did she say anything? Wait. What did you say?"

"There will be a video eventually, Gigi."

She peers at him with a light frown, unable to tell if he's teasing her. "Sometimes, it's hard to believe we're related."

He runs into Lizzie at the elevator by chance as they're leaving for the day, and she agrees to his offer to walk her home - a reply that is pleasantly surprising to him, and appears equally surprising to her. It's a spontaneous proposal, but he finds her presence inspires the more unrestrained side of him that feels decades out of use.

The January evening weather is accommodating for once although the breeze off the bay adds a brisk chill to the air. But Lizzie refuses his last minute attempt to get the car for her despite the cold, so they tighten scarves and coats and head out into the city.

He has no motive, only desiring to be near her and hear her talk, and for a number of blocks they converse in uncomplicated pleasantries about Gigi and Pemberley, and about her final semester and family. It's comfortable in a way he achieves with few people, and only the occasional bump of her shoulder against his arm is a distraction. But rather than push him further away, the proximity draws him in. He is inordinately aware of her beside him - the faint puff of her breath visible in the air, the flush on her cheeks, the way she glances up at him when she asks a question. She is breathtaking.

It's not until she stops him, physically pulls him aside to a brick-lined building next to a chain-link fenced lot that he realizes they'd been carrying on in silence for some time.

"Are you okay?" she asks, and her hand is still in his.

He swallows. When words won't come, he nods.

"It's been a long day," she offers, and he thinks she looks disappointed. "You have all those CEO... things. Meetings. Mergers? I should probably know that... We didn't really finish talking about... And the video! You did that too. Thank you, that's a lot for one day. I know you're busy."

He wants to tell her he loves her voice, the way he can listen to her thought-process as it transforms into a story that captivates him. "It's not that."

"You really don't need to explain; it's okay, I understand. I can get home from here." She shoves her hands into the pockets of her coat, her gaze on the ground.

This is not going the way he'd intended, and his chest grows tight at the thought of her in pain because of him. An awkward silence falls as he struggles to put appropriate words in order. "Could we begin again?"

She glances up at him curiously and he tries to take it as a favorable sign.

"I'm sorry. I'm not very good at this," he says honestly, out of practice and lacking the expertise to explain his feelings with any eloquence. "I'd like to finish walking you home. If that's alright?"

He waits half-hopeful, and can't control the smile that forms when she nods.

It's not easy to immediately engage in conversation from there; he's not sure where to start or how to trust his feelings. He very much wants to please her and show her that he's taken her previous words to heart, so he follows Lizzie's lead as they continue down the street.

"How often are you in San Francisco?" she asks.

"My schedule is somewhat... flexible." He knows it's not a clear answer to the question, and strives to expand on his statement to cover the ambiguity. "I'm able to do most of my work from any of the offices."

"Gigi must like that."

He smiles. "I hope so."

"I didn't get to ask this morning, but what do you do when you're in Los Angeles?"

"Financial planning mostly, acquisitions, slate approvals," he says and realizes how dull it sounds. "It's quite dry, but the concept meeting greenlights are something I look forward to."

She looks interested. "For new projects?"

"Yes. We have one application in the final concept phase that should, theoretically, harness the collaborative power of a social media community."

"Sounds impressive," she says with a smile.

He's delighted by her curiosity and attention; the idea for the app had been partially inspired because of her. "It will be built here at Pemberley Digital if it's approved at the meeting."

"Then I hope it is! When do you have to go back for that?"

He's not prepared to answer that question and he hesitates. "Uh... well... today."

"Tonight?" She glances at him in surprise.

"No." He pauses, but the words don't sound any better in his head. "The meeting was supposed to be this morning."

"You postponed the meeting?"

"Yes."

He waits for the why that never comes. Instead, Lizzie looks flustered by the exchange, her gaze flitting around as though she's unsure where to look, and he falls into an embarrassed silence in spite of himself.

A block passes without word and he feels compelled to speak.

"It was worth the delay," he says, trying for an explanation.

It only seems to make things worse. Lizzie appears to forget they're walking, and stops, studies the ground again with her lower lip between her teeth, and her expression one of confusion. He's failing at this quite miserably. Earlier, an invitation to dinner had seemed too forward, but now he's sure even coffee would prove too presumptuous.

He's in the middle of working up an apology when she kisses him.

For a long beat it doesn't even register, his emotions and thoughts needing to do a rapid reversal to bring the moment into understanding. And when it finally does - hope and joy in sudden, overwhelming abundance - then it turns yet again, and he waits for her to pull away abruptly with explanations and regret.

But before one beat can turn into two, he feels how she's up on her toes to reach him, her balance unsteady, and his hands find and hold her of their own accord before she falls. He pulls her to him instinctively as he returns the kiss, and she comes willingly, her body leaning into his. She is kissing him. For the moment, he belongs to her to an extent he never dared hope. He stops questioning after that.

There's a restraint to the kiss that could be coming from either of them, and yet feels necessary in a way he's never experienced. It's tentative, almost achingly slow, but he feels the strong undercurrent beneath - sparking and flickering dangerously like a fire just starting to catch. He tries to hold to the line - kissing her like he should given the circumstances and not like he desperately wants, but when her tongue brushes lightly against his lip, her hand sliding from his neck into his hair, his senses careen wildly.

He deepens the kiss without meaning to, his tongue finding hers as the myriad emotions smoldering between them very nearly light. It's just enough of a realization to sober him, and he's not surprised when they both pull back simultaneously. He still doesn't quite understand what instigated the kiss, and though he is firmly aware of his feelings, he doesn't want to presume to know hers.

However, Lizzie looks as though she is at a loss for words, and any remark he can think up feels entirely inadequate. He's not even sure if he'll be allowed to express what he's feeling for her, or if he's going to need to apologize.

Before he can act, she turns, takes a couple of steps away, and then falters, turning back again as she shakes her head and avoids his eyes.

"Lizzie?" he says uncertainly.

"I'm not..." She doesn't finish the sentence. "Do you..."

She looks determined to say something although she doesn't seem to have the words, her brow furrowed in frustration. He waits nervously.

"Could we not talk about it?" she asks and glances up at him, her expression guarded. "Just... not yet?"

He nods, relieved she's still there with him. "Of course."

And to ignore the part of himself that wants to kiss her again, he gestures down the block. "I'll see you home."

The look she gives him in return is immensely grateful and it sends a funny feeling through his stomach. That she has grown to like him is evident enough, but he knows it's safer to be ignorant of more. The rest of the walk is in silence, Lizzie stuck in her own thoughts as much as he is in his, and it's with a pang of sharp regret that he notices when they reach her building.

"Thank you," she says quietly, and then a quirk of a smile forms. "The walk was nice."

"It was," he agrees, unable to stop the wave of hope that flits through him. He both dreads and wants to see her the next day, and the day after that, and every day following in case the impossibility that she could ever be in love with him might actually be possible. "Good night, Lizzie."

She doesn't linger, but she looks back and gives him a warm smile before the door closes behind her. "I'll see you tomorrow."

==

What he learns is, sometimes the best stories take a while to tell.


-Fin

Tags: ,

10 whispers :: tell me a secret
Comments
anr From: anr Date: February 8th, 2013 09:11 am (UTC) (Link)
This is all kinds of awesome, bb. So well done!! You know my favourite is the kiss (OMGOMGOMG) but the characterisations are what make it work. Simply beautiful. *hearts*
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: February 8th, 2013 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
ILU! I absolutely put hand-holding in there just for you on the off-chance you were into this fandom, and then kissing because really, these two need to be there please. And then I saw your LJ post and header (gorgeous!) and got very happy. Brain twins, yes? ;)

Thank you for the awesome comments!


Edited at 2013-02-08 11:31 pm (UTC)
anr From: anr Date: February 9th, 2013 05:06 am (UTC) (Link)
See, now this is why I love you so much. *clings*

Brain twins FTW!
enemeriad From: enemeriad Date: February 13th, 2013 12:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
EXCUSE?

YOU ENDED IT THERE.

um nO. NO. IT HAS TO KEEP GOING. is there a part two? or three? UGH NO GIVE ME MORE.

I loved this Jen, like A LOT. As you can probably tell ;)

A pleasure to read your stuff - as always xoxoxo
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: February 18th, 2013 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
HEE! *loves* I'm hoping the resolution of this show will give me some more ideas. Because I really would like them to have sex now. *nods*

Thanks for reading, hon!
enemeriad From: enemeriad Date: February 19th, 2013 01:49 am (UTC) (Link)
ugh does it have an end date (like a particular amount of episodes they'll do?) i hoped it would just go on forever and ever and ever and ever! ahahah.

OMFG can you imagine. darcy constantly just reassuring her and asking her if she's okay i cannot even think about it it makes me so upset.

ALWAYS. <3
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: February 19th, 2013 04:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't know that they've ever announced a total episode number, but I could see them wrapping up the series by about epi 125 or so given where we are in the Pride and Prejudice story. I'm definitely excited for what's coming though, so anxiously awaiting!

And hahaha - she'd finally just be like, Darcy shut up and get on your knees. :D
enemeriad From: enemeriad Date: February 19th, 2013 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I like the way they've reinterpreted it though. Like how much more do you love Lydia and hate George. God that skeeze. He is disgusting. Like, rewatching those videos of them together, I wanted to throw up. What kind of human being does that gl.

And he'd make some snarky comment like, finally in my place then? and she'd get really anxious with him staring at her all the time and be like stop it, it's weirding me out and he'd just smirk and be dashing and adorable. good god i cannot with those two.
spyglass_ From: spyglass_ Date: February 18th, 2013 10:04 am (UTC) (Link)
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

I remembered as I was climbing into bed that I had started reading this and got dragged away for something else and never finished, but I'm actually glad I didn't finish then and got to read this now because this is exactly what I needed to read tonight!

I especially love that you wrote this from Darcy's POV. He's so hard to write, but when he's done well it is incredible, and I absolutely love your Darcy voice. It fits perfectly for me. Wonderful fic ♥
phrenitis From: phrenitis Date: February 18th, 2013 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Eee! Thank you!! And thanks so much for looking the start of it over and giving me the thumbs up to keep going with it *HUGS*

Really happy the Darcy voice worked for you! He's such this wonderful blend of social awkwardness, and pride, and someone who was forced to be an adult too soon, and someone who is so in love with Lizzie for many reasons he can't even fully understand, and I just love him dearly. :D
10 whispers :: tell me a secret