Dear readers,

This is a Pride and Prejudice variation story. Most characters belong to Miss Austen. However, I have also introduced some new characters of my own and I will be taking these characters on a different journey from the original. This story is already complete and I am now in the process of editing it chapter by chapter.

Read, enjoy and comment.

Love,

P.

Chapter One:

It was done. He had done what he had to do. He had written to her. He had shared his side of the story, had enclosed his dealings with Mr. Wickham and what that scoundrel had done to his most beloved sister. Would she believe him? Would she change her opinion of him? Would she change her opinion of Wickham? Did she love Wickham?

As if in perfect accord, his legs and his heart stopped at the same time. He stood in one of the lanes leading to his aunt's grand estate, tired and broken, unable to move forward. He looked down at his shaking hands.

"I shall conquer this," he reminded himself for the hundredth time since she had refused his hand and his heart the previous evening. He willed his body to move again. He had stayed up all night, wiring to her all the things he was not able to say in their last meeting. He was not the master of his emotions last night. He was overcome by anger, jealousy and passion. Had he stayed in her presence any longer, he knew, he would have done something not befitting a gentleman of his breeding.

He wanted to kiss her. From the moment he had walked in to that small room at the parsonage, he had wanted to capture her lips. He had controlled his urges with the hope of soon being rewarded with her kisses upon her accepted his proposal. What a fool he had been!

She did not accept his proposal. She had laughed at him. Had Rejected his suit, his feelings, and all that he offered. She had called him arrogant, conceited and selfish. She had blamed him for keeping his friend from her sister. And then she blamed him for Wickham's situation. Wickham! She believed that blackguard's lies.

And yet, even amidst all her accusations, he still wanted to kiss her. If only to silence her, to show her the passion he felt for her, to ruin her reputation and force her into marrying him. He would take her away to Pemberley, shower her with love and kindness, until she stopped hating him, and dare he hope, return his love one day.

He had almost kissed her. But then, her words held him back. She had accused him of behaving in an ungentleman-like manner! Never in his entire life had his conduct been characterized as ungentlemanly. To be called so, by the woman he desired, loved and respected more than anyone in his life, the woman he had dreamed of every night, the woman he had imagined as the mother to his future children. It was a punishment beyond repair. And just when he had thought she could not hurt him more, she had dealt him the final blow.

"You are the last man in the world I can ever be prevailed upon to marry," she had said, her gaze never wandering from his. She had meant every word of it. The finality of her words broke his spirit.

Darcy stopped again. Unable to stand, he sat on the grass dropping his head into his still shaking hands.

"Elizabeth."

How long he sat there, he did not know. Nor did he care if he was observed by servants from the manor or by the stable hands walking by. He was a broken man. Last evening, in all his rage, he had not felt the depth of his misery. He had put all his emotion, all his unrequited passion toward writing the letter. He had written all that had to be written. He had explained as honestly as he could.

Early this morning, he had gone out in search of her. He had found her, had delivered the letter and had walked away as fast as his dignity allowed.

It was done. But he didn't feel better for it. Last night, he had thought that writing the letter would give him the opportunity to defend himself against the charges she laid against him. But now, after delivering the letter to her, he was just as uneasy. If possible, he felt even worse. The letter signified the last of their connection. He shall never see her again. Whether she believe him or not, he shall never know. He shall never see her beautiful face, shall never get lost in her magical eyes and shall never hear her melodic laugh. She was out of his life forever, and what made it unbearably painful was the knowledge that their separation brought as much joy to her as it did him agony. His only consolation was that the letter would open her eyes to Wickham's true character. He knew her to be an intelligent woman, and no matter how charming Wickham was, she was now in possession of the facts. Darcy would make sure that Colonel Fitzwilliam would be available for her this morning, should she have any questions. Knowing that she would be safe from Wickham made his pain a little more bearable.

"Darcy… Darcy..."

Mr. Darcy's head shot up at hearing his cousin's voice. Colonel Fitzwilliam was running towards him from the direction of the house. Mr. Darcy stood up quickly shaking the grass from his pants. As his cousin grew closer, Mr. Darcy could see signs of agitation and concern on the Colonel's usually jovial face. Being a man of the military, Colonel Fitzwilliam was trained to manage dire conditions. Mr. Darcy knew immediately that whatever was bothering his cousin must be serious nature. He walked the remaining distance to him.

"What is it Fitzwilliam?" Mr. Darcy asked. "What is the problem?"

"Where have you been Darcy?" Col. Fitzwilliam asked, panting as he finally reached Mr. Darcy. "I've been looking everywhere for you!"

"I was walking in the park," Mr. Darcy replied. "What has happened? Is it our aunt? Is it Anne?"

"No, calm yourself," The Colonel assured. "The ladies are fine. But something has happened that needs our immediate attention. Let us walk toward the house and I shall tell you everything."

The gentlemen began walking at a fast pace toward the house. Colonel Fitzwilliam began talking in hushed tones.

"About half an hour ago," He said, handing Mr. Darcy a letter. "our aunt received this urgent missive from Sandry Hall."

"Sandry Hall?" Mr. Darcy asked with no little surprise. "What would Admiral Sandry have to say to our aunt? I did not think they were on speaking terms."

Mr. Darcy opened the letter and began to read.

Sandry Hall, Kent

Dear Madame,

Unfortunate circumstances have arisen and I feel it my duty to warn you, and to urge you and all the people who live on your estate to be on your guard. Two fugitives, escaped from Bow Street Runners, have entered our county. Unfortunately, they are both armed and dangerous and have already killed a few farmers and hurt some females in ways I dare not divulge. The fugitives have been traced as far as Sandry Hall, but not beyond. Needless to say, my men are doing everything in their power to capture these fugitives and to bring them to justice. We ask that you stay in you manor and place as many guards as you can throughout the park. I shall send armed men to help patrol the surrounding area.

Yours etc.,

Admiral D. Sandry

Mr. Darcy folded the letter and turned to his cousin.

"Sandry has contacted our aunt," Mr. Darcy began. "He is sending armed men to Rosings. This means he thinks the fugitives are moving this way rather than in the opposite direction."

"Which means whoever this fugitives are may already be on Rosing's grounds or in the woods around," The coronel said with a grave face.

Darcy grew pale with apprehension.

"The parsonage is located between Rosings' Park and Sandry Hall. Has anyone warned the parson and his family?"

"Yes," Col. Fitzwilliam said. "Lady Catherine felt that she needed the parson's assurances at this time. She sent a carriage to fetch him. I asked the rider to insist that his family should accompany him. Well, it was unwise to leave three young ladies at the parsonage."

"You did the right thing," Mr. Darcy said, relieved that Elizabeth was safe.

"Unfortunately, " Col. Fitzwilliam continued. "only two of the ladies were at home. Mrs. Collins and her sister are now with our aunt and cousin. Miss Elizabeth was not at the parsonage. A message was left for her to stay indoors until the family gets back."

Mr. Darcy felt his blood freeze.

"What?" He yelled.

"There was nothing to do Darcy," Col. Fitzwilliam shrugged. "I'm sure she is back at the parsonage by now."

Mr. Darcy began running in the direction of the stables.

"Where are you going, Darcy?" Col. Fitzwilliam asked apprehensively. "Our aunt has been asking for you since the letter arrived."

"I have to find her," Mr. Darcy yelled over his shoulder. "I have to make sure she is alright."

"Darcy!" Col. Fitzwilliam asked with confusion. "She is at the house, sitting on her usual chair, ordering people around. Where are you going?"

Darcy stopped briefly, turned around and stared at his cousin.

"I am not speaking of our aunt," Mr. Darcy said. "I am going to find Eliz…. Miss Elizabeth. She was walking in the park this morning. I saw her. She is alone. I have to find her."

Somewhere between his earlier confusion and his cousin's agitated state, understanding dawned on the Colonel. Miss Elizabeth meant a lot to Darcy. His aloof cousin was in love.

"Very well," Col. Fitzwilliam said with an amused smile. "I will take care of our aunt and the house. Go and find your fair maiden. We will deal with Lady Catherine's wrath later."

Mr. Darcy nodded silently. He couldn't tell his cousin that Elizabeth was not his fair maiden. That she was never going to be his. At that moment all he cared about was her safety.

He turned to run toward the stables again.

"Darcy," his cousin called again.

Mr. Darcy turned towards him impatiently.

"Take my pistol with you. You may need it."

"Thank you," Mr. Darcy said, taking his cousin's pistol. He ran to the stable and ordered his stallion to be readied as fast as possible. He hid the pistol in his long coat and prayed that Elizabeth was safe within the confines of the parsonage and that the fugitives were as far away from her as possible. Within minutes, Mr. Darcy was atop his black stallion riding toward the parsonage.