A/N: This little plot bunny popped up a couple days ago, so I jotted this little romp down just for fun. I've always wanted Elizabeth and Caroline to have an all out cat fight over a certain handsome gentleman from Derbyshire. Get ready, cause the claws are coming out!

Pugilism & Compromise

Elizabeth Bennet had never liked Caroline Bingley overmuch. She liked her even less now that she was deeply in love with the man Miss Bingley had her orange, feathered cap set at. Despite her conviction that Mr. Darcy cared not a wit for Miss Bingley's attentions, she could not shake the jealous little bee from her very possessive bonnet.

Elizabeth inwardly sighed as she thought of her devilishly handsome Mr. Darcy. He had come to call the day before, along with Mr. Bingley and his intolerable sister, who had kept her talons stubbornly fixed around Darcy's arm throughout the visit. He had scarcely uttered two words to Elizabeth, which had disappointed her exceedingly. After the glorious harmony they had enjoyed during her ill-fated stay in Derbyshire, Elizabeth had hoped he would renew his attentions to her.

Teasing, teasing man!

If Mr. Bingley had returned to Hertfordshire to court Jane, why in heaven's name had he brought his snobby sister? This question puzzled Elizabeth exceedingly. She could only conclude that Miss Bingley had insisted on coming, most likely to continue her harassment of her Mr. Darcy, for that was precisely what Elizabeth had come to think of him as. If only she could be sure he still cared for her after what had happened with her stupid, thoughtless wretch of a sister!

"We're almost there. Oh, Lizzy, my heart flutters so!"

Jane's melodious voice broke through Elizabeth's dismal thoughts.

"Don't worry, dear sister. I'm sure Mr. Bingley's heart is even more afflicted than your own. After all, he is the one who will have to do the proposing!"

Elizabeth laughed softly as she peeked out the carriage window to espy the imposing silhouette of Netherfield Hall approaching from the end of the drive. As insufferable as Miss Bingley was, they would honor propriety and return the Netherfield party's call, despite Elizabeth's desire that the gentlemen would call again-without the intolerable wench.

The butler ushered the Misses Bennet into the entryway, gently admonishing them to make themselves at home while he announced their presence to the master and mistress, who were not in the downstairs sitting room at present.

As the butler's retreating form vanished around the corner, Elizabeth turned to Jane and quickly excused herself under the pretext of locating a water closet, but her true object was the library-the room in which the subject of her preoccupation was most likely to be found. She would formulate an appropriate excuse for her presence once she had gained her objective. Perhaps she would find a book she wished to borrow and use it as her excuse. It was a rather poor one, but it would have to do. Elizabeth was a woman on a mission. She had thrown away the love of a wonderful man once, and she would be damned if she let him slip away from her again!

As the library door came into her view, Elizabeth began to detect muted voices from within its confines.

"Miss Bingley, I really must admonish you...this is hardly proper! I will leave you now."

Elizabeth gasped. She would know that sultry baritone anywhere.

"Oh, Mr. Darcy! How very naughty of you, sir! And I thought you were a gentleman!"

After freezing for only an instant as the sound of Caroline Bingley's grating voice and clearly effected protestations, Elizabeth ran the remaining steps to the door. What she witnessed made her blood boil with blinding rage.

Poor, unfortunate Mr. Darcy was desperately attempting to free himself from Miss Bingley's embrace, but her arms were firmly locked around his head which was most unfortunately trapped in her flat bosom. His exclamations of surprise and disgust were muffled by her orange silk and excessive lace.

"Why you vile little bitch!" Elizabeth exclaimed, just before her fingers firmly insinuated themselves into Miss Bingley's perfectly arranged coiffure. The sound of the hoyden's pained wail as Elizabeth yanked her from Mr. Darcy's lap by the hair was highly gratifying. As soon as she had her quarry on her feet, Elizabeth mustered all her jealous rage and planted, on Miss Bingley's freckled little nose, a punch befitting of the life-long tomboy she was. The orange of Miss Bingley's gown matched the crimson that flowed from her nose very ill indeed.

With a wordless vocalization of rage, the injured upstart flew at Elizabeth, claws and teeth bared. Soon, the library was overtaken by the squeals and exclamations of the two "ladies" as they pulled, clawed, and otherwise strove to inflict damage upon the other's despised person.

Darcy sat in stunned silence, unable to believe what his eyes were clearly showing him.

Elizabeth? Elizabeth!

Flying from his seat, Darcy reached into the tangle of limbs, fabric, and displaced curls and grabbed Elizabeth around the waist, pulling her out of range of Miss Bingley's wildly flying talons. It took nearly all his strength just to hold her tiny body against his, as Elizabeth was clearly much stronger than she appeared and was none too pleased to have been interfered with. Despite himself, he could not stop his body's violent reaction to its proximity to Elizabeth's.

Unwilling to surrender, Miss Bingley opened her blood-stained little mouth and emitted an ear-piercing battle cry worthy of the most wild of savages before flying at her opponent once again. It was all Darcy could do to shield Elizabeth with his own body as the orange devil pummeled them repeatedly with her bony fists.

At last, a greatly alarmed and dismayed Mr. Bingley appeared in the doorway, his face as red as a summer strawberry. Jane was not far behind him, her own face quite flushed around the mouth, though for reasons other than embarrassment.

It took Mr. Bingley and three burly footmen a full five minutes to remove the murderous Miss Bingley from the room. Her mortified brother could hardly decide if he should ship her off to Bedlam or the Americas.

Jane stood wide-eyed in the doorway until a sudden cry of pain from her lover occasioned her immediate flight to his side, where she proceeded to sooth his wounded...er...dignity in the sweetest, most angelic manner imaginable.

Thus, Darcy was left quite alone in the library with a clearly livid Elizabeth, whom he turned around to face him.

Damn, she's lovely when she's angry!

"Elizabeth," he began shakily, "dare I hope that that little display of your pugilistic skill was inspired by...jealousy?"

In her passionate rage, Elizabeth could only pound her angry fists against Darcy's broad chest until her fury began to abate. It was only then that she was able to detect the hope and longing in his dark eyes.

"How dare she put her grimy little hands on you! Who does she think she is? That witch tried to compromise you, my Mr. Darcy! I could ring her scrawny, wrinkled little neck!"

Darcy couldn't believe what he was hearing. It was jealousy! He had been right to hope, for once! By George, if he didn't feel like the luckiest creature alive!

Wrenching Elizabeth's heated little body into his arms, he lowered his lips to her ear and hoarsely whispered,

"It seems that you can offer me a solution, Elizabeth, and a much more agreeable one at that."

Elizabeth, overwhelmed by his delicious scent and the heat of his masculine form pressed against hers, could not help but allow her suddenly ravenous hands to devour his deliciously firm backside. Oh, how long I have desired to to this! Those tight breeches do flatter his delicious bottom so well!

"What solution do you propose, Mr. Darcy?" Her voice sounded rough and husky to her own ears, but she cared not.

"Why, you must compromise me even further, of course. I believe you will find me a most willing thrall."

In one swift movement, Darcy flung himself back into his previously vacated chair, pulling Elizabeth down with him so that she was seated quite advantageously on his lap. With a throaty groan, he buried his face in her fragrant d├ęcolletage. Oh, how long I have wanted to do this! Those low-cut gowns do show off her delightful bosom so temptingly!

Elizabeth moaned as his lips, tongue, and teeth began a torturous journey over every inch of exposed skin available to him, and she snaked her fingers into his soft curls. His proximity was intoxicating. He was so handsome, so hard and virile, and he smelled like heaven and sandalwood. Why did I refuse him, again? What took us so long to do this? Uh...what's my name?

When Darcy's lips finally found their way to Elizabeth's, the effect was something akin to the kiss of the proverbial fire and powder.* It was glorious.

When that pesky craving for oxogen intruded on their exploration of each other's mouths, Elizabeth managed to pant,

"Are you sufficiently compromised, my love?"

Darcy pretended to deliberate for a moment before replying,

"Not quite, my little temptress. I think the library is far too tame a location to outweigh Miss Bingley's efforts. Perhaps some place more private like, say, my bedchamber?"

"Whatever you suggest, sir. I shouldn't like to do anything by halves."

"And I would hate to suspend any pleasure of yours, my dearest Elizabeth."

And he was true to his word.


*Refers to a line from Romeo & Juliet: "...fire and powder which, as they kiss, consume..."

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