A/N: I dislike the movie version of the book from the 90's. It completely changes every character and Fanny is preachy and annoying. However, I liked her with Henry in this film. As such, lets pretend she never totally trashes his heart and stays with him. I believe he only sleeps with Maria is because he was hurt by Fanny's rejection, not any badness of character. Any-whoo, allons-y.
Henry walked towards her, wonder in his eyes.
"Is that the yes I've heard a thousand times in my heart but not from you?"
A smile tore itself from him as a consequence of the happiness tearing through his chest. He moved closer to her, grabbing her arms to ensure that this was real. That she, the woman who had taught his so much about what it was to be a man and a gentleman, who taught him that he could change, that he wanted to change, finally, finally agreed to be his to love and hold.
"Oh, Fanny Price! You will learn to love me! Say it again, please, say it!"
They both laughed and smiled into each others eyes.
"Yes, Mr Crawford. I will be yours. I will marry you."
The words he had imagined hearing every moment of every day since he had followed her to Portsmouth were finally being spoken, but the happiness he imagined he would feel paled in significance to the sheer, unadulterated joy that filled him. He felt as light as air, and he kissed her, spun her around and laughed into her, beginning to come to terms with the idea that she was, and wanted to be his.
Fanny knew that she was marrying for the wrong reasons. For wealth and security, and in some part in reaction to the news of Edmund's imminent engagement. But that didn't stop her heart from swelling as she gazed into Henry's eyes, saw the happiness and love and strength shining through. A part of her told her that what she was doing was wrong, but she attributed that to pain resulting from disappointed hopes towards Edmund. She would soon forget her hesitations, she was sure.
A month later, the hesitations she felt instead in the other direction. She had broken her engagement with Henry, and now bitterly regretted it. She had returned to Mansfield to help to care for Tom, and had seen Edmund, happy and in love with Miss Crawford, and their wedding in the preliminary stages of planning. So when, carrying the tray through the entry hall, her eyes had caught Henry's, she looked directly at him, and, as she delivered to quip to her aunt, smiled briefly at him. Thus, as she expected, the next time she left Tom's room to refill the water jug, she had found Henry waiting for her outside.
Smiling at him, she briefly curtsied. "Hello, Mr Crawford."
He stared determinedly into her eyes. "Fanny."
They stood and stared at each other, eyes hungrily roaming one anothers face for signs of what the other was thinking, feeling. Finally, fearing that he may never have another chance, Henry spoke.
"I have missed you, Fanny. I fear that my education has been interrupted."
Fanny's eyes bore into his, as she raised her chin. "I am not sure that I am the right person to be educating you, sir. I am so unsure of my own heart that I can not in good conscience guide others to more properly follow their own."
As she finished, she motioned down the hall. "Will you accompany me to the kitchens? I need to refill the water for Tom."
He assented, and they walked in stiff silence, each trying their best to catch surreptitious glances of the other, their separation making them anxious for the sight of each other. The air was tight, both too wary of the recriminations of the other, scared of breaking the fragile peace established and causing further estrangement. Finally, after placing the tray with the water jug down, Fanny spoke.
"Maria is to come later today." She glanced to see how he reacted. Catching the glance, Henry realised what she was implying, and something inside him broke. He grabbed her by the tops of the arms, as he had once done at Portsmouth, and shaking her spoke in a low, dangerous tone.
"Fanny, I care not for that woman! What must I do to convince you of my constancy? I have followed you like a fool all over this country, enduring slights to my character, suspicions of my motivations and rejection. I am not some toy, Fanny Price! I am a man, and I cannot be toyed with further! I will not!"
With a final shake, he broke away form her, and made his way out of the door. He was almost there when he heard something.
"Wait…" Fanny whispered. He did not turn, did not stop.
"Wait! Mr Crawford," she hurried forward, "I realise that to you, I must seem the most cruel and fickle of women."
Henry stopped and turned, and as she reached him, she moved her hands to his coat lapels. Her eyes were bright with tears, alight with passion.
"Please let me apologise. I regret hurting you at Portsmouth. I was scared and confused, and… I have no justification for my behaviour. If you could just forgive me, sir, see past my mistakes and rene-" As Fanny realised that she was about to ask Henry to renew his addresses, where he could have no possible motivation nor desire to do so, she stopped, looking down.
But Henry had heard her, had understood what she meant and, with shock and trepidation written all over his face, he brought his hands up to her shoulders.
Still, Fanny looked down, staring resolutely at his cravat as shame and mortification at her own audacity filled her.
"Fanny?" Crawford moved his hand to her chin, tipping it up to make eye contact. Still she avoided looking at him, until finally she had no choice but to look into his eyes. And what she saw there made her crumble a little on the inside. His eyes were a little wet; full of hope, slightly tempered by doubt…
He hesitatingly moved forwards, his lips approaching hers. As he was close enough to feel her breath on his lips, he realised that he needed to hear it.
"Are you saying you want to be with me, Fanny?" he whispered, noting the catch in her breath. "Are you saying you could love me?"
Fanny let out a sob.
"No, Mr Crawford." Despair plunged through him like a sword, until he heard her next words. "I'm saying that I do love you."
In that moment, nothing could have prevented Henry from moving his lips so that they covered Fanny's, and as they kissed, all else fell to the wayside. This was better than her acceptance at Portsmouth. There, he had worn her down. Here, she had overcome her own objections, had privately realised that he was the man to make her happy, had realised that his was the right temperament to draw her out from her shyness and shower her with affection and love. As he realised all this, he held her tighter, and kissed her more thoroughly.
Now they would be together, nothing between them, only the future in front, a future they would live in happiness together.