This is a very short one-shot (I seem incapable of writing long P&P fics) but it's very fluffy and sweet. You may have cavities at the end.
Disclaimer: I am not dead. So, no, I don't own Pride and Prejudice.
Love. A quite peculiar concept, mused Mr. Darcy as he looked upon Miss Elizabeth Bennet. The young woman was speaking to Lady Catherine, a hint of distaste and amusement behind her fine eyes. He doubted that anyone else could see her disdain for the noble and wealthy woman. It was only he, he who watched her so carefully, that could discern the thoughts that her eyes inadvertently revealed.
Before Miss Elizabeth, he'd never known romantic love. Familial love he was quite familiar with. His parents were both very caring and attentive—he'd loved them both. And, though he had difficulty showing it, he loved Georgiana. He was quite familiar with the love that was associated with parents and siblings.
But love for one of the other sex? Love for someone so wholly unconnected to him, love that was completely unconditional, that he could not even curtail despite his best efforts? Love that threatened to undo him and overpower him?
Not until now.
That face that he had once thought merely tolerable, nothing unusual or enticing, was now the epitome of beauty. Those dark eyes that had first caught his attention were impossible to tear his own eyes from. Her fair skin was a lovely contrast against her dark hair. She was small, to be sure, but he preferred short women to tall now that he had met her. She was changing everything about him, but there was one thing that she could not yet touch.
His pride. His feeling of obligation to marry well to bring connections and fortune to his family. His sense of her inferiority, of the degradation it would be to have to call Mrs. Bennet his mother-in-law, to have relatives in trade, whose situation in life was so decidedly beneath his own.
But, try as he might, he could not banish her from his thoughts, nor stop his mind from dwelling on her with tenderness and affection. However, none of this was enough to force him to make her an offer. It was not until he saw her interact with Colonel Fitzwilliam that he decided to offer Miss Elizabeth his hand.
Seeing the colonel be the recipient of her smiles, to see how her eyes danced with mirth as she spoke to him, to see her laugh with pure amusement, sent a stab of jealously to his core. Never before had he thought he would be jealous of the colonel, but he found that first day that he could not stand seeing the two together.
He fought against the urge to take her as his wife for days, but finally relented. The feeling of relief that came upon his heart as he stopped struggling against his own feelings was the most freeing he had ever felt.
He would marry her, free her from the insipid people she was forced to call family, and make her his own. She would be flattered by his offer, of course—he was an extremely eligible bachelor and could offer everything her family's situation in life had denied her. She would accept and he would be the recipient of her smiles, her laughter, and her love.
Then she refused him and his world came crashing down.
Several months later, Mr. Darcy awoke late at night and looked over at his wife, who was sleeping peacefully beside him. Letting out a sigh of relief, he did not try to return to the land of slumber, but instead gazed upon his sleeping wife. In April that same year, he had feared that he would forever be parted from Elizabeth Bennet, that her hatred of him would never abate. But now she was no longer Elizabeth Bennet—she was Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy, and she was his bride.
Love, he thought, remembering what he had thought at Rosings all those months ago, is a peculiar concept.
He had been on the brink of despair in April after she refused him. When he gave her the letter, he feared that it would be the last time he ever saw her. But after their accidental meeting at Pemberly, her behavior was cordial and polite, though she did seem less talkative than she had previously. That meeting lit a fire in his breast, urging him to renew his offers, to beg once again for her hand.
This time, she accepted.
Love is a peculiar concept, he thought. But it has changed my life.