Disclaimer: I do not own Pride & Prejudice, the plot is of my own imaginings, and any characters that are unfamiliar.
25 December, 1811
Darcy crept along the hallway in the dark of morning, the sun would be rising soon, but Darcy had woken with one thing in mind. Thankful for the abundance of wine that most had imbibed of the night before, it made sneaking slightly easier. Opening Elizabeth's door was too easy, the latch did not latch firmly, so it only took a mere push.
Darcy felt a thrill rush through his body, he shouldn't do this, he really shouldn't. But he couldn't help it. He so wanted to be beside Elizabeth, to coax her to wakefulness, and kiss her lips and hold her tight and to warm himself against her. He wanted to share their first Christmas morn, together from the very start.
Crossing the room Darcy knelt beside Elizabeth's bed, both Plato and Arcturus were both cuddled up against her, Plato on her feet and Arcturus laying beside her. Brushing Elizabeth's hair out of her eyes, Darcy pressed a kiss to her forehead. Elizabeth shrunk down further beneath her covers, Darcy couldn't help but smile, she was so sweet. She looked so innocent, so angelic with her eyes closed and a tiny smile on her lips. Darcy could only imagine what she was dreaming of, and goodness did he hope he was featured.
"Elizabeth," he whispered, ignoring the one eye that popped open and stared at him from the foot of the bed. "Elizabeth, wake up love."
"Mm," Elizabeth murmured sleepily, before she blinked slightly, her lashes fluttering lightly. As soon as her mind came to understand exactly what she was seeing Elizabeth's eyes opened wide.
"What are you doing in my room," she whispered quickly.
Darcy swallowed, engaged they may be, but this certainly qualified as taking liberties with her person. Perhaps it was a mistake, "Good morning."
Elizabeth smiled shyly from beneath her covers, this was certainly a surprise, and she wasn't quite sure if it was a good surprise or a bad one. "Good morning," Elizabeth whispered just as softly as Darcy had.
Darcy brushed his fingers through her loose hair, "I know this is highly…inappropriate, but I wanted to see you, this is our first Christmas together."
Elizabeth pulled the covers down and under her chin, "I suppose it is, Merry Christmas."
"Merry Christmas," Darcy grinned, pressing his lips to Elizabeth's. "My Elizabeth, my beautiful wife," Darcy grinned.
Elizabeth bit her lip as she smiled, her eyes slipping closed in joy.
"It seems like I am a little late to the party," Darcy nodded to his dog whose paws were twitching in sleep.
Elizabeth nodded, "Yes, it seems so."
"Does that mean I am unwelcome," Darcy asked.
"No," Elizabeth blushed, finally taking in Mr. Darcy's apparel. He was without his waistcoat, and wore only his trousers and his shirt. Elizabeth swallowed dryly as she spotted the bare expanse of Mr. Darcy's chest and neck.
It was Darcy's turn to swallow as Elizabeth lifted herself up and leaned on her hand, the bedclothes slipping down her form, revealing a less than modest outfit. While Darcy had expected Elizabeth to be in her nightgown, seeing it was a whole other experience. The hand that had been stroking Elizabeth's cheek slid down to her neck, Darcy's fingers stroking her bare clavicle.
"It's still early," Elizabeth murmured eyes flitting to the darkness outside the window.
Darcy nodded, "It is."
Elizabeth scooted as far back as she could, Arcturus stopping her shortly. Darcy rose from his position beside the bed and settled against the headboard, toeing off his shoes and sliding his legs beneath the covers. Elizabeth settled against his chest easily, her eyes slipping closed as his arm came around her shoulders.
"You are very warm," Elizabeth murmured, inhaling deeply.
Darcy scooted down in the bed slightly, resting his chin on her head, "And this is a good thing?"
Elizabeth shifted slightly, pressing her body closer to his and the warmth he emanated. "Yes," was her only answer.
"Then I am overjoyed to oblige you, Darling," Darcy whispered.
Stretching slightly, Elizabeth was pleasantly surprised at how natural it was to lay with Fitzwilliam Darcy. It was the most relaxed Elizabeth had been in seemingly forever. She could perfectly see herself spending each morning just as she was.
Elizabeth sighed, smiling against Darcy's chest, "This is perfect."
"It is," Darcy agreed, Elizabeth's petite frame curled against him pulling him into the arms of sleep.
Darcy slipped out of Elizabeth's room before anyone else woke. He had honestly hated unwrapping Elizabeth's hands from his shirt and slipping her off himself. Elizabeth fit perfectly against him, her petite form entirely cradled by his body, their legs intertwining and heat melting through clothing.
Elizabeth had mourned the loss of Darcy's heat, and had not been able to fall back asleep, and so she had risen and curled up on the chair by the window. Elizabeth had never been so joyful, so happy in her life.
Once the sun rose and Elizabeth's solitude was interrupted by Kitty, she resigned herself to a day filled with screeching and laughter and Caroline Bingley.
"Come on, Lizzy," Kitty giggled, bouncing on Elizabeth's bed. "It is Christmas, everything is wonderful, and perhaps Mr. Darcy might kiss you under the mistletoe instead of Miss Bingley kissing him!"
Lizzy bit her lip, fighting the blush that was sure to rise if she thought about that very, very, surprising and pleasant rendezvous beneath the mistletoe. "I don't think that is very likely," Lizzy lied, not quite sure how Kitty would take the news that her attempts to couple Elizabeth with Mr. Darcy were rather unnecessary.
Kitty frowned, "But Lizzy Mr. Darcy is very handsome, and kind, and he would make such a good husband, don't you think?"
Elizabeth nodded as absently as she could, forcing herself to re-fix her hair just so she wouldn't react to Kitty's comments. "Hm, we should head downstairs, or else Lydia may lay claim to your presents."
Kitty rolled her eyes, "You are avoiding the subject, but for now I will let it go, but this is very far from being over!"
Kitty stomped from the room, Elizabeth following with a small smile on her face.
The morning meal was filled with good cheer, even Mrs. Bennet could not scowl at Mr. Darcy, and Miss Bingley could only half-heartedly glare at Elizabeth. Charles was a ball of excitement, he was laughing and smiling and joking happily with anyone who would listen, primarily Jane. Elizabeth had spent the meal beside her father, talking quietly with him, acutely aware that her time with him was limited. Soon, hopefully, very, Elizabeth would share her life not with her family, but with Fitzwilliam, and it was his family, theirs that would become Elizabeth's life and joy.
It became very real in that moment, Elizabeth was engaged. She was to be married to someone she loved, she would not die cold and alone. Elizabeth would grow old with the man across the table from her, they would have children and watch them grow and learn. They would share so many firsts, and love so strongly that nothing, not even death, would separate them. Love was almost an inadequate term to describe what that life was born of. It was perfect happiness, perfect love, and perfect companionship. Elizabeth had no doubts, no fears. She was only anxious to at last call Fitzwilliam her husband and be called wife in return.
When the meal was over, and everyone drifted into the sitting room to exchange the few gifts that there were, Elizabeth drifted behind, Mr. Darcy taking her hand and escorting her. As soon as they were alone in the hall, Darcy pulled Elizabeth to him, kissing her lips gently.
"Will you wear your ring," he asked softly.
Elizabeth pulled the ring from her pocket and presented it to Darcy, holding it between two fingers, a small smile gracing her lips. Darcy plucked it from her fingers and slid it on her ring finger.
They both leaned in for one last kiss when they were interrupted by happy laughter, and Mrs. Bennet's distinctive cry, "Oh Jane! How happy you shall be!"
Elizabeth giggled, resting her forehead against Darcy's chest, "I think we can safely say that Mr. Bingley has finally found his courage."
"I think we can," Darcy smiled, "I suppose that means Charles and I will be brothers."
"That you will be," Elizabeth inhaled, "although this means we may never get any rest once my mother realizes that she has two daughters on the brink of marriage."
Darcy smirked, "Well I shall endeavor to hurry our engagement along to save us both from that."
"Promise," Elizabeth looked up at the man.
"I do," Darcy intoned.
Elizabeth bit her lip, "I rather like the sound of that."
"Mm, as do I," Darcy grinned. "Once more unto the breach, Elizabeth."
"Shakespeare, Sir," Elizabeth quirked a brow as they entered the sitting room, going completely unnoticed in the commotion.
Sitting amidst a sea of paper and ribbon, Elizabeth collected as much of the ribbon as she could, braiding it together and setting it on Kitty's head only to have Lydia yank her hand forward.
"Lord, Lizzy," Lydia stared wide-eyed, "what is this?"
Lizzy's eyes went wide as she realized exactly what Lydia was screeching about.
Lydia was laughing heartily now, "Lizzy, is this an engagement ring, who could you possibly be marrying?"
Those words stopped the room. Elizabeth's sisters stared, Mrs. Bennet's heart was in her throat, and Caroline Bingley was in danger or having a fit.
"Marrying," Mrs. Bennet whispered in hope. "My Lizzy," she scurried across the room and snatched up her daughter's hand. "What is this, Lizzy, who gave you this?"
Mr. Bennet chuckled darkly, "Yes, Lizzy, who are you to marry?"
"You knew," Mrs. Bennet whirled on her husband, "you have given your blessing, but you, Mr. Bennet, who can Lizzy be engaged to?"
Kitty was staring at Darcy, silently willing him to betray himself. She knew he was the man, only she wasn't quite sure when he had found the courage to ask Lizzy.
"Yes, Mr. Darcy," Mr. Bennet spoke drolly, "who could possibly have asked for daughter's hand?"
"Mr. Darcy," Mrs. Bennet gasped, her hand flying to her mouth, no doubt imagining the pin money and the carriages and the clothes.
Lydia snorted, not bothering to cover her mouth, "Lizzy marry Mr. Darcy, what good a joke."
"Yes, a joke," Caroline rose from her seat, her voice rising in pitch with every second. "Haha," she forced a laugh, "what a good joke, Mr. Darcy could never possibly marry Miss Elizabeth Bennet!"
Gracefully, Darcy rose to his feet, "I am, actually, blissfully engaged to Elizabeth."
A content smile spread across Elizabeth's face.
Lydia stopped laughing, Caroline turned a rather spectacular shade of red and swayed on her feet before Mrs. Hurst helped her into a chair and gave her a very large glass of wine. Charles clapped his friend on the back, too happy to even question the man. Jane was happily congratulating her sister along with Mary while Kitty wrapped her arms around her sister in a tight hug.
"Oh Lizzy," Kitty giggled, "I am so happy for you!"
This was one surprise that could not be ill-received, except by a very select individual.
Mrs. Bennet laughed gaily, "Oh what a good surprise, Lizzy, dear, and you Mr. Darcy how charming!"
"I have a couple of gifts left to give," Darcy announced as soon as the uproar had calmed and Caroline had been escorted to her room before she could cause a new disturbance. He rose and left the room, quickly returning with a covered basket.
Settling the basket on Elizabeth's lap he glanced across the room to where Plato and Arcturus lay before the fire. Plato sat up, his ears twitching lightly, not exactly sure he would like what was to come.
Lifting the blanket up off the basket slightly, Elizabeth cooed softly at the sight within. Flicking the blanket off completely, Elizabeth reached into the basket and extracted a wriggling ball of black fur with a soft pink tongue that lapped at her fingers.
"He's gorgeous," Elizabeth kissed the Newfoundland puppy on the tip of his nose.
Darcy smiled and gently scratched the puppies head, "Merry Christmas, Elizabeth." He turned slightly to look at Kitty, "And you, Kitty, how would you like to come stay with Elizabeth and I after we are married?"
Kitty's face went blank for a split second before an ear-splitting grin took over her face, "Do you mean it?" Darcy nodded, and quickly found himself with an armful of Kitty, "Thank you so much! I am so happy!"
Elizabeth smiled at Fitzwilliam and at her sister. "Thank you," she told him, placing a quick, gentle kiss on his cheek. "What should we name him?"
"Snowflake," Darcy suggested.
Elizabeth smirked, "I like it, and I think Georgiana would too, Snowflake it is. How do you like that, precious? Snowflake."
Darcy could only smile and pet the puppy, his eyes locked on Elizabeth and how happy she was. Plato panted a little, bemused at the man who he supposed was to be his master. He had come through on his threat, at least partially. In truth, Plato didn't mind all that much, he was coming around to the man, if only for the sake of his mistress whose happiness was tantamount in his life. Dropping his head to his paw, Plato yawned and closed his eyes, things might turn out quite well, and, at the very least, he would soon be away from certain shrill voices, and he would have a new cohort, or perhaps two, if he could turn Arcturus, in tormenting a certain man.
Reclining on the settee, Fitzwilliam radiating heat at her side, Elizabeth cuddled her Snowflake, Plato and Arcturus at their feet. She was more than content, she was impossibly blissful. And Elizabeth couldn't help but think that the season's early snow had, perhaps, been a blessing in disguise, and a very good surprise.
"The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us."
A/N: 25/25. And so ends this tale. I appreciate all of the comments and love that you all have sent my way. I wish you all a wonderful end of the year, lots of love and warmth in the coming year.