Wow, thanks for all the fast responses! Sorry this is only a two-parter. I actually wrote them as separate stories, but when I realized they both involved Fitz in his wingman duties, I figured they would work together. This one came about when I wondered what actually happened at the lunch with Lizzie and Fitz at Pemberley.

(And if you're interested, I've started a much longer Dizzie story involving their children. It won't be all fuzzy bunnies and rainbows, but I'm looking forward to writing something meaty. :)

Lizzie and Fitz had exchanged phone numbers way back when they first met at Collins and Collins, but she had only called him twice – to confirm their meeting time when they were getting together for lunch, and to ask if he'd be interested in helping with a care package (and maybe appearing in another video.)

After certain other events, his number went untouched.

It wasn't that she was mad at him. Really, the whole business with Darcy had her riding such an emotional roller coaster, she had nothing to spare for Fitz. And when he left Collins and Collins without so much as a See ya, Lizzie B!, she kind of thought he might be mad at her. She still couldn't figure out how someone like Fitz had ever become friends with Darcy, but if he was siding with Darcy over the whole…incident, she couldn't fault him for being loyal. He'd only known her a few weeks, after all. Maybe Darcy had doomed their potential friendship, or maybe she had sabotaged it all on her own. She was beginning to think she might have a gift for unintentional sabotage.

And then maybe she was kind of a terrible person, because she didn't give Fitz much thought over the next month or two. Or maybe she was just really, really overwhelmed with Darcy's letter and Ricky Collins trying to keeping Charlotte at work on Thanksgiving, and with coming home to learn her sort-of ex was in town and having to fend off Charlotte's prying questions about him, and with Jane asking even harder questions about Lizzie's own life choices and Lydia, oh, about a billion problems with Lydia. Sorry, Fitz. Kind of at the bottom of the list.

But after Charlotte told her why Pemberley Digital sounded familiar, and after several frantic, fruitless calls to Dr. Gardiner, Lizzie saw Fitz's name on her contact list and suddenly had a reason to think of him again.

Mostly because she was terrified, and Fitz, she remembered, had a way of making people feel at ease.

His voicemail picked up. "Uh, hi, Fitz," she said, in a sad attempt to keep her voice calm and casual. "It's been a while, huh? So….I don't know if you, uh, watch my videos, but maybe you know that I'm going to be shadowing Pemberley and I thought it might be nice to get back in touch. So. Talk to you soon?"

Ugh. She always left awkward voicemails.

He called back a few hours later, friendly and definitely not angry, so that was good. "Lizzie B!"

"Hey," she said. "Um."

"You are in for a treat," he said, and she could imagine the word accompanied by some wild gesture. "Pemberley is pretty much the pinnacle of perfection."

Lizzie found herself laughing even though she was still tensed for something; she wasn't even sure what. "Aren't you a little biased?"

"Yeah. Still true, though. You're coming here on Friday, right?"

She frowned. "Yes. How'd you know?"

"Uh, remember? Corner office, overlooking two bridges? I have connections."

"Whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. Connections?" Lizzie's tension heightened. "Did you arrange my shadowing?"

He seemed to hesitate. "If I told you I was involved, would you do something scary and violent?"

She gritted her teeth and answered, "Maybe."

"Trust me, Lizzie, you will thank me once you get here. This place is like, custom-designed for you."

Her stomach was twisting up again – the nauseating combination of uncertainty and guilt that always came when she thought about Darcy lately. But she forced herself to ask the question. "And that wouldn't have anything to do with – um, the guy who runs the company?"

"Nope. I'm not touching that. Already got burned once."

Okay. That was kind of a relief. Though he could be lying. "Look, Fitz," she began, kind of apologetically, and he broke in at once.

"Yeah, that whole thing was a mess. I learned my lesson. I keep my mouth shut now."

It would probably be better for both of them if she just changed the topic. "So…you want to get together sometime while I'm there?"

"Definitely, Lizzie B. I'll have my people call yours."

She laughed again, and this one was much easier. "You know I don't have any people, right?"

With that first hurdle of awkwardness overcome, they called and texted each other fairly regularly over the next few weeks. They talked about San Francisco and Pemberley and her reports on the company and pretty much everything except Darcy.

Meanwhile, she was spending more and more of her free time thinking of little else.

She discovered it was much harder to conceal her inner thoughts while talking to Fitz in person. They met for lunch on Thursday, after Gigi's emotional video had gone up that morning, and Lizzie still couldn't shake the fear that Darcy would be unhappy she had exposed his sister's vulnerabilities to the entire Internet. She tried to greet Fitz with an enthusiastic smile, but it fell flat.

"Hey, you know you're awesome, don't you?" he said softly as they took their seats at the restaurant. "You helped Gigi. You gave her just what she needed."

"Did I?" Lizzie shrugged uncomfortably. "What if I just made it worse?"

"Nah. I know Gigi D. It helped; I could tell. She's amazing, huh?" he went on with fresh energy. "I told you."

"Oh, yeah. She's great." Lizzie kept her eyes down, fingering her napkin. "She and her brother are so different. Not that he's not great – um, I mean, you know." Better to shut up before anything worse escaped her mouth. She could feel her cheeks burning.

"They're not so different where it really matters. Both really loyal, caring, all that good stuff." She could hear a guarded note to his voice, careful not to push too hard. She appreciated it, but a part of her wanted him to go further, to tell her everything he knew about Darcy and maybe praise him a little more.

Instead she took a different, somewhat safer direction. Still without looking up she asked, "Do you think he'll be mad about the video?"

"He won't be mad at you, if that's what you mean."

Lizzie looked up in alarm. "Will he be mad at Gigi?"

Fitz rolled his eyes. "No. He'll be worried about her, 'cause that's what big brothers do. If he's mad, it'll be at the only person who deserves it."


"You know, the jerk who broke his sister's heart?"


"Which was already true, so the video won't change anything there."

"Oh. Okay. All right." She was out of breath and disoriented, as if she'd been running and running from something only to turn around and find out nothing was there.

After the server came by and took their drink orders, Lizzie decided it was time to bite the bullet. "What about my other videos?" she said forthrightly.

"What about them?"

"Is Darcy mad at me because of the rest of my videos?"

Fitz actually snorted. "Seriously?"

"Yes, I'm serious," Lizzie said quietly, tracing an idle pattern along the grain of the table. "It's a valid question. I was really kind of vicious."

"Does he act like someone who's mad at you?"

"Well, no, but….maybe he's just being civil. Professional." Her eyes flicked nervously up to Fitz's face. "Has he said anything to you about –?"

"Oh, no." He put up his hands defensively. "I swore I wasn't going to touch this, and I'm standing by that. My lips are sealed."

She took a deep breath. Why did she keep feeling light-headed? "Fine. Sorry."

"You know," Fitz said, with a smile that might be termed mischievous, "I seem to remember some wise person saying that if there's something you want to know about someone, you should just ask them directly. 'At least it'll be your not-good idea.' Right?"

Lizzie flushed. "That's not the same thing."

"Why not?"

She didn't have an answer.

"Okay, not going to push you on this one," Fitz said breezily. "Just please tell me you're not chickening out about this Saturday."

"Chickening out?" Lizzie said, affronted. "If I did decide not to go, it would not be chickening out. But I'm going," she added. She wasn't about to miss the chance at a full day to examine the enigma that was William Darcy. To Fitz she only said, "San Francisco is a beautiful city. I'm sure I'll enjoy it."

"Mmm-hmm," he replied, far too smugly. It was like her thoughts were written in four-inch letters across her face.

Their drinks came, and Lizzie realized she had no idea what to order. Her menu lay untouched in front of her. Fitz came to the rescue with an enthusiastic recommendation for one of their trademark sandwiches, and after the server left he showed her mercy and changed the subject.

"So what are your plans for next week, oh shadower extraordinaire?"

Lizzie's laugh almost made her choke on her drink. "Thanks. Well, I've collected a lot of data already. I'm thinking I should start interviewing."

"Cool. I'm up for a chat if you need it."

"Thanks." She grinned. "It's nice to have connections."

"Better get used to it, Lizzie B. Mark my words," he wagged his finger at her, "you are going places. It won't be long before you're fighting off job offers with a stick."

She cocked her head. "Are you sure you're not talking about debt collectors?"


"Oookay." She had another sip of her drink as if to gather courage, then said, "I should probably – I mean, if I'm doing interviews, it would make sense to –"

"Have a word with the CEO of the company you're shadowing?" Fitz finished knowingly.

She sighed. "It would be super-awkward, wouldn't it?"

"No," he answered, his face perfectly straight. "I'm sure you can both be civil. Professional."

Lizzie wished she had something to throw at him. She had to settle for sticking out her tongue.

"Seriously," Fitz said, "you should go for it. Your report will be a lot snazzier if it's got a couple of corporate interviews."

"I know. But what sort of questions could I ask? I don't want to get…." She squirmed. "Personal."

"It's not that complicated. You interviewed the guy at Collins and Collins, right?"

Lizzie rolled her eyes. "Yeah. I asked him one general sort of question and he went on for an hour about analytics and Internet-connected brethren and Catherine de Bourgh."

"See, that already makes it easier, because you know it won't be as bad as that. Ask Darcy how he runs the company. He'll give a normal answer. In less than an hour."

"But if we're talking about how he runs the company, then at some point it'll have to come up how he became CEO. And that's – that's really personal isn't it?" She looked at Fitz nervously. Studying Pemberley Digital's website, it was impossible not to intuit the unspoken tragedy lingering beneath the written words. Family legacies and memorial buildings – between that and what George Wickham had done, it was no wonder Darcy had trouble even cracking a smile.

"You don't have to worry about mentioning Darcy's parents," Fitz said, surprising her with his frankness. "He's gotten pretty thick-skinned." At Lizzie's questioning look he explained further. "He's dealt with interviewers who didn't care about being sensitive. Some pretty harsh critics."

Lizzie privately doubted any critic could be harsher on Darcy than she had been, but she just nodded. "It's none of my business," she said in a muted tone, "but I can't help thinking about it. What, um. What was he like before – before they died?"

Fitz gave it a moment, considering his answer carefully. "The same, mostly. Quiet, private. Super loyal and protective. I guess he got even more serious afterward. He had a lot of new responsibilities then. He practically raised Gigi after that, you know."

"Mmm." Lizzie tried to imagine if it were just her and Jane – or, even harder, just her and Lydia. Trying to take care of a little sister when she was barely an adult herself. It was a pretty sobering scenario.

"Hey." Fitz was leaning across the table, more solemn than she'd ever seen him. "You need to know something else about Darcy."

Her heart did a ridiculous flip-flop. "What is it?"

"He has a wicked sense of humor."

Lizzie wasn't sure what she had expected, but it certainly wasn't this. She swallowed something strangely like disappointment and replied, "Uh…this is Darcy we're talking about, right?"

"Oh yeah. Trust me. It's sneaky, comes out when you least expect it. That's what makes it so great."

She wasn't convinced. Darcy clearly had far more virtues than she once gave him credit for, but a sense of humor? A wicked sense of humor? "I'll…keep an eye out for it," she said with a dubious shake of the head.

Once their entrees arrived, the conversation was restricted to safe topics. Having mouths full of food wasn't too conducive to an intensely serious discussion. Lizzie couldn't say she was all that sorry. She wanted to talk about Darcy; she might even say she longed to talk about Darcy if she used melodramatic words like that. But whenever she did talk about him, she was kind of torturing herself. It made her confused, curious, anxious, uncertain, ashamed, dreamy, bemused, sick to her stomach and giddy and tongue-tied and about a hundred other conflicting emotions all at the same dizzying moment.

So she relaxed into Fitz's hilarious imitation of one of his co-workers while she polished off her sandwich – as delicious as he promised – and pretended she didn't want to hear anything else about Darcy.

She had a very busy weekend.

She didn't hear from Fitz until Monday morning, when he sent her a single brief text after the video went up. Told you so. She was in such a good mood, she didn't even mind Fitz's triumph. She replied with a smiley face.

After she left Pemberley, Fitz kind of fell to the bottom of the list again. In the weeks after that site went down, Lizzie would pull up her contacts and get stuck staring at Darcy's number. If she thought of getting in touch with Fitz at all, it was only as a means to figure out what was going on with Darcy. And that wasn't fair. Fitz already made it clear he didn't want to be an awkward go-between.

She got really desperate and started making excuses. She could ask Fitz if he had anything to do with pulling down the website, and thank him profusely if that were the case. Darcy's name wouldn't even have to come up. But if it happened to come up, and if he happened to slip and drop some kind of hint about why Darcy had done it –

Nope. Not me, Lizzie B. That was all she got. She was forced, instead, to be direct – to call Darcy herself and make it her not-good idea.

She really ought to thank Fitz for that.