A/N: This is a small drabble I popped out while recovering from jet-lag recently. Think of it as an experimental antidote to the non-stop craziness of Seven Brandies. It's short, so see if you like it. Wade

The morning sun shining through the window gradually woke Fitzwilliam Darcy on the day after the Netherfield ball. An early riser, he was usually up well before the sun, but on this day, he judged he might have an adequate excuse for indolence. Looking down at the woman snuggled up against him, he thought about the irony of it all. He was well and truly caught now; there was no way out. He would be married, and married sooner rather than later. For more than six years, he had been the chosen prey of the most skilled husband hunters of the ton. He'd seen it all, done at all and arrived at the other side of the battlefield unscathed, unscarred, untouched and unmarried. After all of that, to be caught flat-footed by a country miss with no dowry, no fortune, no connections, a blatantly mercenary mother, a set of ridiculousness and embarrassing sisters, an entailed estate, and a father who would be lucky to survive the month, was just too rich for contemplation.

He thought about how it all comes about. First, there was the dance. During the dance, there were arguments, and he stalked off in the foulest of tempers. Couldn't he have just one dance before he left this woman to her mother? A little bit later, he met her at the punch table, and attempted to rein in his temper enough to explain himself and warn her about her favorite, before he left this accursed village forever. This resulted in more words, more arguments, more arch looks, more derision.

When the argument began to get too loud for a ball, he sought refuge in a hidden corner that Bingley kept stocked with the finest of Scotch whiskey; only to be assaulted by the same lady again. Seeing the fire in her eyes, he did the only thing he could think of. He took a glass of whiskey for himself and offered her one. More words followed. More arguments. More disagreements.

By the time they made it to the library, they had converted to brandy. More words, more heated arguments, more discussions. Things became a bit of a blur, until unaccountably they changed. He found himself locked in a passionate embrace with the same woman, alternating between more arguments and more compromising behavior. By the time they both knew they were unaccountably and irreversibly compromised, they threw all caution to the wind and retired to his room.

Now here it was, the dawn of a new day, and the beginning of his new life, and he for the life of him could not explain how they nearly came to blows one minute, and found themselves here seemingly the very next.

"It's time to wake up Love."

The aforementioned lady stretched and growled like a cat, then said, "Good morning Mr. Darcy."

"You know what happens next. Could you not use my given name?"

"Perhaps I could, if I knew what it was."

Feeling chagrined, he gave her his given name and found that he liked the sound of it on her lips.

"At this point, most would consider this a formality but I must do it. Miss Elizabeth Bennet, would you do me the great honor of becoming my wife?"

"I know we have left ourselves only one possible answer after last evening, but I must say I have no need to repine. I will quite happily become your wife, Fitzwilliam."

"Just how ill is your father, Elizabeth?"

"Dr. Jones says he will not survive the month."

"Then there's no time to lose. We must go see him now. Would one week from today suit?"

"Suit for what?"

"Our wedding of course. I'll need a few days to go to town, arrange the settlement and procure a special license. Your father should see one daughter married and the rest of his family settled. It will give him some peace."

"Do you do anything by halves, sir?"

"I'm marrying you, so I think not."

Elizabeth laughed and said, "Point taken, sir. Shall we go see my father?"

"After you, my dear."

It was amazing how such a simple endearment could give so much pleasure. Actually, it was quite astounding that she was here with him, considering how much she had disliked him just twelve hours previously.

"Elizabeth. My father once told me you must begin as you wish to continue, and I wish to begin our life with honesty. I have a confession to make."

"I have one as well. After you sir."

Fitzwilliam blew out a breath, prepared himself, and said, "I never drink more than one drink or two. Last night, as we were sharing the whiskey, and the brandy, and some of the initial punch, I was surreptitiously pouring mine in a potted plant. I was sober through the entire discussion, so I'm afraid in the end I may have taken advantage of your inebriation, and if so, I must apologize, although I am quite satisfied with the end result."

Elizabeth blew out a breath and said, "Those poor plants. I was doing the same."