About a year later:

"Fitzwilliam, will you not sit down?" Georgiana asked her pacing brother.

For hours he had done nothing else, ever since Elizabeth had felt the first pains in her swollen abdomen early this morning.

"I cannot," he replied, turning around to walk down the room once again, exclaiming upon returning to the sofa on which his sister sat: "Gods, why does it have to take so long? Are you sure she is alright?"

"It has been but eight hours since she went into labour, brother. Believe me, that is nothing. And besides, Peter is with her. All will be well. It took me thirteen hours until little James was born, and I was assured by Peter that that is quite normal. Rather quick even."

"Thirteen?!" Fitzwilliam Darcy cried out in exasperation, running his hands through his already dishevelled hair. "I will go crazy for sure."

"No, you will not!"

"Georgie, I know your husband is a wonderful doctor, otherwise I would not have given you into his care and certainly not allowed him to marry you, but I cannot stand idly by when I know Elizabeth is in pain. Have you seen her face when it all started?"

"It is normal, Fitzwilliam, I tell you. She will be fine. As soon as the baby is born, all is forgotten."

But nothing anybody could say made him feel any more comfortable and eventually, he could bear it no longer. Eight hours of restless pacing were enough, no matter what his sister said. He had to be by his wife's side, cost what it may. She was suffering because he needed an heir. It was not to be borne! The least he could do was to be by her side. Ripping open the door of the salon he rushed upstairs, taking two steps at a time, almost colliding with a young maid.

"Sorry!" he panted before carrying on at running speed.

Flinging open the door to his wife's bedroom, a room which she hardly ever used, he was surprised to see Elizabeth standing by the window, leaning heavily on the window sill.

"Should she not lie down, Hamilton? Lizzy, my dear, you should rest."

From Doctor Hamilton's expression, it was very clear that he had expected his brother in law to appear sonner or later, and that he was only surprised that it had taken him so long to rush to his wife's side.

"I am fine Fitzwilliam, but right now standing is more comfortable than lying down. It feels the right thing to do..." she stopped as once again her face contorted in pain and her breath quickened with yet another contraction and then suddenly she relaxed again before she looked up in confusion, and Darcy could feel his feet getting slightly wet in his thin house slippers.

Looking over at his patient from where he sat, reading, Doctor Hamilton smiled: "Ah, good, your waters broke, now it is getting serious."

"What? Serious!"

"Darcy, please calm down, your wife is doing very well, and soon you will hold your first child."

"How much longer, Hamilton?"

"I cannot say, but not more than a couple of hours."

Darcy felt ready to faint at hearing that. How on earth could his brother in law be so very calm? Had he been just as calm when Georgiana had given birth? They had not been married then, of course, but only for the sole reason that had they been, the child, George Wickham's son, would have been born within wedlock and Richard and Anne Fitzwilliam would not have been able to claim little James as theirs. And even though eventually Georgiana had come to terms with her situation, the baby she had still not wanted, while Anne had wanted it very much. There could hardly be a more doting mother than her, while fortunately, her husband was a sensible enough man to take care that the boy would not follow in his natural father's footsteps. All was well in that quarter.

Georgiana's and Peter Hamilton's wedding had been a little more than a month later, as soon as she had recovered from childbed. Sure, it was far from the match Darcy had once imagined his sister would make, and yet, he was glad to know that she had found a loving husband who cherished her and thought nothing of her having given birth to another man's child.

Three hours later, Darcy was speechless with awe. There in his arms lay his little baby daughter. His princess. The most beautiful, darling girl in the world – aside from her mother, of course. Handing her back to his wife he watched lovingly how Elizabeth held their daughter to her bosom so she could have her very first meal.

"What do we call her?" he asked softly, gently caressing the baby's cheek as it suckled.

Elizabeth smiled up at him: "I think we should call her Anne, after your mother."

The End