A/N: I know I said this would be up on Christmas day, and I apologize that it wasn't. However, I can safely blame the site for being down. I didn't forget! Just a note, on this. Because I am disappointing everyone who hoped for a longer epilogue with this rather short one, I am also including the alternate ending. Hopefully it will make sense the way I formatted it... I just repeated a bit of the first ending, so up until that point, the story went the same way. See you at the bottom with another note!


Darcy was nervous as he made his way to Elizabeth's flat in order to pick her up for a night of dinner and the theater. It was, he mused, more than a little odd that he should feel this way, but he could not quell the emotions that ran riot in his mind.

It had been several months since their honest exchange and unexpected declarations of mutual love and the intervening time had been nothing short of wonderful. Darcy had been able to properly woo Elizabeth and had thrown himself into his self-appointed task with a vigor that had previously been reserved for particularly exciting business ventures.

If he were being honest with himself, Darcy had to admit that his interest in making Elizabeth blissfully happy surpassed the dedication he had ever shown to anything else. The results had been both extraordinary and personally enriching.

When she opened the door to his knock, Darcy immediately felt his nerves settle somewhat just at the sight of her welcoming smile. He pulled her in for a quick kiss before asking, "Are you ready?"

"I am," she acknowledged and allowed him to hold the door for her as she exited her home.

Dinner was an interesting mix of lively and serious, as most of their conversations had the wont to be. Elizabeth could change from arch playfulness to grave severity in the blink of an eye, but Darcy found he delighted in the challenge of keeping up with her. Their spats were mostly playful these days and those that were serious were resolved as quickly as possible using the tools of communication, honesty and a spirit of compromise.

After dinner was the theater, and as this was the first time that they had engaged in both activities since their disastrous first double-date with Jane and Bingley, they reminisced about old times as they traveled from the restaurant to the playhouse, laughing the whole while.

Darcy's nerves were very near quelled by the time they took their seats and the play began. Unfortunately, the play was one he had seen before, though it was some years ago and had been put on by a different company. Still, all the differences in costuming and stage dressing could not detract from the simple fact that he already knew the story and exactly how it would turn out.

The irony that he could ignore the play on those grounds was not at all lost on him.

At length, the play ended and he led an enthusiastic Elizabeth back to the automobile, listening in delight to her observations and making what few comments he could about the general plot since he couldn't really say anything about the skill of the actors.

But she must have noticed he wasn't really attending as fully as he usually did, for she eventually grew silent. He was grateful for it and for the fact that she did nothing to project any hurt or confusion at his mild distraction. She seemed content to leave him to his thoughts and to be lost in her own.

They arrived back at her flat and he escorted her up to her door.

Pausing on the outside of the closed portal, she looked up at him, her brown eyes so soft and inviting that he could not help dropping a kiss or two or three on her conveniently upturned lips.

"Does that mean you're not coming in?" she asked, once he had drawn himself away. He had a habit of kissing her at the door if he didn't have the time to join her for a cup of tea and a bit more conversation.

"Am I invited in?"

She grinned. "Always."

"Then I'll stay for a while."

She turned to unlock the door and they walked in to find Charlotte Lucas sitting curled up in a chair, a book in hand. She was reading Jane's latest book, Darcy noted, thinking that if he were not so distracted he would engage the other woman in a discussion of how she was liking it so far.

Jane Bingley's books were compelling and he was proud of the woman he hoped to someday call his sister-in-law. That she had been behind the latest of the J.M. Richardson books had been something of a surprise, but that she had done that and was presently enjoying a good deal of success as a novelist in her own right was much less so.

"Tea or coffee?" Elizabeth inquired, pulling him from his random thoughts.

"Let me get it," he countered. "Which do you prefer tonight?"

"Some tea, I think. I'm already excited enough without adding coffee to the mix!"

"Charlotte?" Darcy asked. "Would you care for anything while I'm about it?"

"No thanks, Boss," she smiled, using the name she always did. "I was about to turn in for the night."

Thinking privately that she was not really likely to be doing any such thing but was giving him a bit of privacy with Elizabeth, Darcy returned the smile before he made his way into the kitchen and put some water on to boil. There was nothing much to do for making tea beyond that, but he lingered in the kitchen anyhow, giving Charlotte and Elizabeth a chance to talk for a few minutes without him.

When he at last reemerged, Charlotte was gone and Elizabeth was draped across a chair, sitting casually as she always did at home.

"Your tea, milady," he joked, proffering the mug that he knew she preferred.

"Why, thank you, milord."

Placing his mug on the coffee table, Darcy sat down on the floor before Elizabeth's chair and looked up at her. He meant to ask her a pointless question about whether or not she'd had a good time that evening - she clearly had - but what came out instead was a soft, "I love you."

Her answering smile was tender. "I love you, too."

He never tired of saying or hearing those words.

The moment was so intimate in this casualness that Darcy could hold back no longer. Shifting to his knees so that he was more on eye-level with her, he stroked her face softly with the back of his hand.

"Elizabeth."

Her eyes had fluttered closed in pleasure at his touch, but they opened again at his call.

"Yes?"

"I have a very important question for you."

She looked as though she wanted very much to make some impertinent reply but must have seen something in his expression that made her grow serious and still.

"What is it?"

The nerves were back in full force and no mistake.

"Will you marry me?"

Elizabeth's smile started out slowly before blooming all at once into the dazzling display that he knew meant she was truly happy. "Oh," she breathed. "Yes! Of course I'll marry you, William!"

He frowned at her. "You didn't let me finish," he chastised.

Catching his own playfulness, Elizabeth assumed a patently false expression of contrition. "I am so very sorry. Please." With a gesture, she invited him to continue.

"If you say yes," Darcy replied, all mock severity himself, "you really must be aware that I will be forced to fire you immediately."

"Oh dear," she murmured in a low voice. "A choice between the best of men and a job that is merely tolerable. How ever will I be able to choose?"

His heart soaring at her words of praise, Darcy leaned in close. "Perhaps I can help to tip the balance in my favor."

She met his kiss with a passion that threatened to consume them both. When they at last came up for air, Darcy couldn't help but get a few final words in.

"Elizabeth?"

"Hmm?"

"You really are fired."

She laughed against his mouth. "I know. I just don't think I care."

-Fin


Alternate Ending:

"Elizabeth."

Her eyes had fluttered closed in pleasure at his touch, but they opened again at his call.

"Yes?"

"I have a very important question for you."

She looked as though she wanted very much to make some impertinent reply but must have seen something in his expression that made her grow serious and still.

"What is it?"

The nerves were back in full force and no mistake.

"Will you marry me?"

Elizabeth's smile started out slowly before blooming all at once into the dazzling display that he knew meant she was truly happy. "Oh," she breathed. "Yes! Of course I'll marry you, William!"

Darcy blinked, coming out of the vision that had held him in sway. It seemed as though he had actually just been standing about in a stupid manner for more than a year, but although Mrs. Reynolds and his new secretary, Elizabeth Bennet, were both looking at him with slightly concerned expressions, neither one of them seemed to be truly alarmed.

Darcy shook his head. "Forgive me," he said automatically. "My mind seems to have wandered for a moment there. I'm very sorry to have been late on your first day, Miss Bennet."

Stepping forward, he shook her hand, feeling the thrill of it jolt through him like a physical shock.

She smiled at him. "It is very nice to meet you, Mr. Darcy."

Knowing that he must move slowly and remain professional, Darcy nevertheless lingered for a moment longer, saying, "I hope you will find that you enjoy working here, Miss Bennet. We are pleased to have you on board."

For that, he received her true smile. Nodding at her in what felt like a somewhat foolish manner, Darcy then excused himself to his office where he sat behind his desk, musing over what had just happened.

He had never had such a long or detailed vision before and he wondered at the sheer scope of it. It was not long before it occurred to him to also wonder at how he should go about wooing and winning Elizabeth's heart. His vision had showed him how inept he might have been, left purely to his own devices, but it also made his soul soar with joy in delight at the certain knowledge he had that no matter how badly he might fail, in the end, all would come right.

Still, he must be more cautious than his vision had shown him to be. He would not, for anything, hurt his future wife.

The day was a productive one after that. Darcy looked at timelines, made strategic plans and contemplated a new acquisition. That the timelines dealt with how soon it might seem appropriate to launch his campaign for wooing Elizabeth, and that the strategic plans were for how we would go about the business of wooing and that the new acquisition he was contemplating was that of an engagement ring only made all that productivity so much more pleasurable.


A/N: Well. That's it! Hope you enjoyed at least one of those endings (My beta does not care for the alternate. There was a whole lot of her yelling "NO! NOT IT WAS A DREAM FAIL" and "dieeeeeeee" at me, heh.).

Anyhow. My final and sincere thanks to everyone who read and reviewed. I do mean to reply to the latest batch of reviews, but have just been so busy with work and family and the holidays. Hopefully I'll find time for that within a day or two. It was lovely to hear from some new people, so thanks for that as well!

Big thanks also to my beta, despite how much you hate the alternate ending and everything it stands for. I couldn't have done this without your encouragement, wheedling and keeping me from making too many epic logic failures.

For the future, I do still have a one-shot lurking around the corners of my mind so eventually I will get that written and published here. But for the most part, I intend to be working on Teleporter. That plotline has changed so dramatically since I first mentioned it, that I believe no part of what I've already written will survive intact. It certainly won't do for me to post it as a JAFF in its current incarnation. All of which is to say that unless some other idea grabs me, I don't expect to be posting anything here in the near future with the possible exception of the aforementioned one-shot.

I will, of course, remain lurking about and reading anything good that other people are writing and will be available via PM if anyone finds a need to contact me.

Much, much love.

-Imp