Strange Bedfellows.doc - Pride and Prejudice Fanfiction by pengxiang

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                                Strange Bedfellows
                                     Chapter 1
                               1803. Trinity College.
                              "Darcy! Darcy! Darce!"
Inside a darkened second-floor lounge, the din of voices rose above a distinguished
  crowd of Trinity College scholars and their best students conversing on the lofty
   subjects of politics, philosophy and religion. Nobody in the room heard, or paid
  attention to, a hissed appellation coming from the outside, barely audible through
 the half-cracked window. The lounge swam with clouds of cigar smoke and lively
conversation; the appelee, a tall young man with an unruly mop of dark hair, stood
too long a way from the window, and was too engaged in discussing the rebellious
natures of Milton's angels with his favorite English professor, to hear what went on
                                   behind the window.
 Unfortunately for him, for the person behind the window was literally behind the
 window, crouched on an oversized ledge just outside it. When his half-whispered
 pleas went unnoticed, the gentleman on the ledge took a considerable exception to
  being thus ignored. For he could see his friend all too well, looking entirely too
happy at the opportunity to discuss the span of Archangel Michael's wings with Old
                                       Bennet.
  What rankled the person on the ledge even more than Darcy's clear intention of
    ignoring him was that so did his partner in their animated conversation.
Good Lord, the person on the ledge thought. Look at him blabber away. At home, he
says not a word about anything but dinner and how much Hill spends. Perhaps there
    was something akin to jealousy in the watcher's gaze, but he downed it quickly
  enough. This was not about exacting retribution; but rather, about making sport of
  Darcy where he roundly deserved it. Such an opportunity-not to be missed. From
 the back pocket of his breeches, he extracted an artfully made birch slingshot and a
   fairly large piece of paper, which he, with a generous application of saliva, made
                                  into a tight little ball.
     In a matter of minutes, the clandestine watchman was armed to his teeth.
                       The only thing left was to take aim.
     But such was his ill luck that even as he loaded his weapon, his friend-his
treacherous friend, he thought grimly-turned to take another glass of red wine from
 a footman's tray. The watcher on the ledge considered which part of Darcy's body
should suffer punishment. After all, you did not up and ignored your best friend for
    a goodly two hours. He would have liked to wallow him upside the head; but
unfortunately, Darcy was wearing that ridiculous mortarboard of his. The hat made
  him look like a walking umbrella, but its wide edges would serve to deflect any
 volley aimed at his head. The watcher sighed and rubbed his forehead, ruffling his
                         own dark curls rather mercilessly.
                  Well, his friend's behind would have to do, then.
"Here we go," he whispered, loading his weapon. Squinting viciously, pulling back
                            the string, he aimed and-
--inside the room Darcy turned and grinned amiably at someone. Hell's bells. The
young sniper sat frozen and cramped, the string pulled tightly, waiting for the right
moment. Ah, here we go, he thought with satisfaction as his quarry turned his back
                         on him once again. Here we go.
 Tiiiiinnnnnnnng! The string sang and the projectile hurled through the air. It struck
 its aim without fail. Perhaps the shooter had underestimated its size or density, for
 he had never seen his best friend jump quite so high and make quite such a sound.
Indubitably, had he been warned an assault on his ... um, dignity was coming, Darcy
would have weathered it with far more fortitude; but it was the suddenness of it that
    got him. He jumped, in a manner most undignified, and he did make a sound,
which, upon reflection... which he'd rather not reflect upon at all. Unfortunately, his
mortification was not limited to making a joke out of himself in front of a gathering
   of Trinity professors and fellows; rather it was augmented by the fact that in the
      process of jumping, he splashed most of his wine down Professor Bennet's
                                       shirtfront.
   Oh, it was perfect. On the ledge, Jamie watched his best friend scramble for a
 napkin, beet-red in the face. It was even funnier because clearly, Professor Bennet
 had no wish to be dried off in public, not even by his star pupil, and he yanked the
 napkin out of Darcy's hands, rather roughly, which cast the poor young man into a
                          further abyss of misery and shame.
    Having feasted his eyes enough on his friend's mortification, Jamie deduced
cleverly that it was time to, to put it none too subtly, beat it. Because turning around
 on the ledge was clearly out of the question, he endeavored to retire backwards. A
    grave mistake, indeed. For, in the process of so descending, a piece of stone
crumbled under his foot, thereby making him lose his purchase on another chunk of
      moss-covered brick; with a stifled cry, he fell backwards into the bushes.
 Inside the room, Darcy stewed quietly. He knew perfectly what had happened, he
   did not even need to turn around to see who it was that had upstaged him so.
 Goddamn Jamie. His friend had declared that he would never step inside a faculty
  lounge, not even to sample the most excellent wine that such a reception would
feature. "I should rather choke on it," he had declared. Moreover, Jamie had argued
to stop him from going-fruitlessly so, for Darcy would never miss an opportunity to
argue with old Bennet. The old man had such quaint, bizarre ideas, and he defended
them so passionately. It was pure pleasure to speak with him outside the classroom.
  "You mean to say," Jamie had asked him earlier, "that you would rather discuss
                angels with my father than come box with me?"
"I can box with you any day," Darcy had replied, setting the mortarboard firmly on
 top of his head in front of the mirror, squishing his curls under it. "But your father
                will not always grant me the time to speak with him."
    Thereupon the young Bennet had called him an unprintable word and exited
 through the open window. It was a habit of his that unnerved Darcy immensely. It
   was as if the fellow had grown up in the house without doors. Doors, windows,
  windows, doors. Darcy smiled grimly to himself. Deciding that in due course his
     friend would pay for this travesty, he contrived to remove himself from the
  reception, claiming a headache. Old Bennet, his shirtfront ruined thoroughly by
                          wine, was only glad to let him go.
By the time Darcy made it down the stairs and out of the front doors, his best friend
   was nowhere to be seen. Still, he knew where to find Jamie, and walked quickly
  across the wide lawn, his long black robes, undone, flying in his wake. He ripped
the mortarboard off his head and ran one hand through his hair, muttering angrily to
           himself. Vengeance, when it came, would most certainly be his.
 He tore through the hallways, furiously rounding each corner, watching-or rather,
  not watching-the underclassmen scatter as he went. He was taller and larger than
most, and that helped, too. Still, by the end of his progress, the ridiculousness of the
  situation began to dawn on him; and, by the time he reached a hidden staircase in
the back of the building, he could not help smiling. He only had to imagine what his
undignified leap must have looked like to a casual observer, to break into the idiotic
  grin. Good Lord, he thought, this time his friend Bennet had really gotten to him.
 He kept smiling as he climbed the dark spiral staircase, and even as he pushed a
  heavy metal door. But he fought to replace the silly grin with an appropriately
severe frown as he stepped outside, onto a large, flat, sunlit roof. On all four sides,
graceful Elizabethan turrets rose, throwing long afternoon shadows. Blinded for a
second, Darcy turned around on the spot, looking for his friend, knowing that he'd
                                      be there.
                                  And sure enough-
"No need to look like an owl out of its tree, Darce." Jamie Bennet stepped from the
  shadows. In his shirtsleeves, he grinned blithely at Darcy, who glowered back at
 him. After a long pause, Darcy rudely flung the mortarboard aside. Thereupon, he
     quickly stripped to the waist, tossing the black robes flying the way of his
    mortarboard. His waistcoat, his cravat, and his pristine white shirt followed.
  "Very well, Bennet, you wanted a fight, come and get it." He stood in position,
    scowling, fists clenched. With an affected sigh, Bennet followed his friend's
 example, lazily taking off his waistcoat and shirt. Then, he stepped forth, prepared
                        to parry any attack that might follow.
 "Shall we, then." He assumed the position almost lazily, all the while taunting his
                         friend with brash laughing eyes.
 Darcy nodded, grimly, and purported to hit young Bennet in the chin, an intention
   that was not misunderstood. Nimble and quick, his adversary evaded his rather
substantial fist, immediately delivering a blinding upper-cut to Darcy's own jaw. For
  an instant, it seemed to Darcy that his head would snap back on his neck; but the
moment he recovered, ready to fight back, a young ringing voice pierced the silence
                                      on the roof.
                               "Belay that, you two!"
 Both of them turned around, squinting against the sun, Darcy's head still buzzing
from Bennet's sure blow. There, arms crossed on the chest, Bennet's younger sister
                Elizabeth stood and glared like an avenging angel.
"Bennet, for Christ's sakes!" Darcy was deadly embarrassed, his mortification quite
  multiplied by the fact that he knew himself to grow very red at times of stress. At
 the age of thirteen, Elizabeth Bennet was growing up to be a proper urchin, always
 following her brother, constantly occupied with unladylike things like climbing up
 trees and building rafts in his company; nevertheless, she was a female, and Darcy
   found himself standing in front of her without a shirt. Remembering himself, he
leaned and quickly grabbed his shirt off the floor, before dropping it hastily over his
                                         head.
     "What is she doing here?" he demanded of Elizabeth's brother. Somewhat
         shamefacedly, Bennet shrugged and slipped into his own shirt.
 "I can only surmise she did not come to serve as my knee-man," he offered with a
                                   weak chuckle.
 The little chit, however, saw no shame in ogling two (almost) grown, bare-chested
 males. Her intrigue did not lay in simply observing; clearly, she was there to read
                                    them a lecture.
 "I simply cannot fathom with how little dignity you conduct yourself, Jamie," she
   said angrily. "Can you not find anything of use and sense to occupy you?" She
shook her head ruefully at her brother. "And you, Mr. Darcy!" she added, turning to
   his friend. "My father seems to think very highly of you-for some reason. I am
certain he should be rather disappointed to see you getting your face rearranged by
                                     our Jamie!"
    Darcy flushed deeply, he did not know whether with shame or anger. He had
  intended that this fight serve a bit of a lesson for his rash young friend. Bennet's
    vicious uppercut was certainly not in his plans! Now this brash little chit had
    become a witness to his disgrace. Clearly, today was the day for humiliation.
 "Perhaps," she added somewhat poisonously, "he would be interested to know how
    his pet pupil spends his free time. Certainly not reading Milton!" She paused,
considering, then sighed. "I shall tell him," she said, with a little less conviction than
  before. "If you do not stop forthwith and promise me never to attempt anything of
                                        the sort."
                    Clearly, tattling was not in her book of virtues.
 "Do you hear me?" She inquired, sounding a little less sure of herself than before.
 Neither of them moved, nor said anything, and then, as if by a mutual agreement,
                            the two lunged after her.
 "Come here, you little-You blackmailer-Yesssss, sir, it is for our own good Darcy
   that this little baggage threatens us! Get her feet-What shall we do with her?"
 "Put her down a chimney," Darcy suggested, holding Elizabeth's feet firmly as she
 bucked and tried to kick him in the groin. Naturally, he did not mean those words;
                but even uttering them gave him a thrill of pleasure.
  "I think-not," Bennet replied. He was holding Elizabeth under her arms, having
secured them behind her back and keeping clear of her snapping teeth. "I think that
                might be too boring for our adventurous little Bess."
  Elizabeth stopped struggling and now hung limply in her brother's arms, looking
                        grimly from one friend to the other.
                   "I shall scream," she promised half-heartedly.
               "And be punished for climbing all the way to the roof?"
    "Right," Darcy agreed. "After all, who would believe we have invited her?"
   "So I think we ought to stick her in a dark closet. What do you think, Darce?"
          "I am in agreement," Darcy said. "For as long as it has rats in it-"
"No," Elizabeth said quickly. "You would not dare. No. All right, all right!" she said
hurriedly, watching Darcy's imperious mien. Looking up at her brother, she said in a
 meek voice. "All right, I promise I shall not tell Father. Just put me down. Please."
   "Promise?" Bennet asked severely, and the girl nodded. The two friends let her
  down on the roof, and she scrambled off, huffing and rearranging her long white
  skirts. Near the exit door, she stopped abruptly. Glaring at the two men, she said
                                       sullenly:
  "You've all but made me forget! Mr. Darcy, your father is here, and everyone is
                                looking for you!"
                                        ~*~
    His father's arrival was not unexpected-for indeed, it was a day away from his
commencement, and Mr. Darcy had written that he was coming up-but it did not fail
 to set Darcy to a high degree of nervous agitation. He had been worrying about this
  for weeks, and had told himself he was not. Indeed, he knew himself to be a good
      son to his father; he had been justly proud of his success at Harrow and at
   Cambridge and beloved by his professors-especially by Old Bennet, his father's
   particular childhood friend. He was respected by his peers, in the very least, and
  those who knew him better also did not fail to like him. His marks were excellent;
   he had garnered award in every manner of sport, as well as in theater and chess.
   There was nothing, nothing that could displease his father (well, except, perhaps,
                                   this idiotic fight).
   Still, he worried. All through his life, he felt he had fallen short of the shining
     example his father had set for him. His mother, by now, was but a delicate
  watercolor image in a portrait. She had died while giving birth to his only sister,
Georgiana; but even when she was, she was no more than a distant smile and a cool
hand he kissed, ever since the time he was tall enough to kiss a lady's hand. She had
called him, Fitzwilliam, never William or Will, and her voice, too, had been distant,
 a slightly tired whisper of a voice, a stranger's voice. Did he love her? Most likely
 he did, with a child's quiet adoration of a thing beautiful and superior. But he had
   called his nurse, Reynolds, mama, until he was old enough to know better. His
 mother had been lovely; but the children had been an inconvenience, a messy and
unpleasant intrusion upon her peace. They had racked her body, made her tired and
                 ever more distant. Finally, her daughter took her life.
 He had loved her, at twelve. Darcy did not know whether he would still love her,
                            had she lived long enough.
But his father, his father. His father knew him, knew him like no other person in the
 world, not even Georgiana, who adored him, nor Bennet, who was his best friend.
  His father had concerned himself with his problems, listened attentively to his
 tutors, and came to visit him at Harrow. His father taught him to shoot, ride, fence
  and play chess, had given him books to read, and, during Darcy's visit home two
years back, had taken him along to an exclusive London address, to see a woman as
beautiful as she was knowledgeable. That Darcy survived the embarrassment of that
               experience was a testament to his youthful enthusiasm.
 Still, he had never come to visit him at Trinity. It pained Darcy, if only a little. His
  father claimed that he was too preoccupied with estate matters. Darcy oscillated
between feeling hurt and worrying about his health (for surely something must have
                been wrong for his father to have abandoned him so?).
 His father was everything to him. He was precisely the sort of educated, worldly
man and a generous and fair landlord and master that Darcy himself aspired to be-
one day. Right now, he felt terribly inadequate and not a little guilty. He knew Mr.
Darcy to disapprove of the kind of bare-knuckled, bare-chested fighting that could
 leave a man scarred forever. He did not know why it struck him to fight Bennet
  today of all days; what wild madness possessed him, on the very day his father
                     finally condescended to visit him at school.
"I must go," Darcy murmured, frowning, furiously tucking in his shirttails. He tied,
 fumbling awkwardly, his cravat, and slipped into his waistcoat and robe. Bennet's
  deft blow had set a peculiarly unpleasant reverberation to his jaw, but he hardly
                   thought of that now. "Do I look presentable?"
   Sitting down on the ground, Bennet grinned and nodded. "Do not worry so, old
  chap," he said. "Your old man is bound to burst with fatherly pride. Faith, Darcy,
 think on it: if only I had done as well as you, I should have been the favorite child
                                  of the Old Bennet!"
  Darcy failed to see the humor in his friend's words: for it had been his belief that
   Bennet, innately clever, could have done far better than he had, that it was his
  happy-go-lucky laziness that had made him a poorer student than he could have
                                        been.
"I shall see you later." Darcy waved at his friend and took off in wide strides, deeply
                                displeased at himself.
                                       ~*~
  Below, Elizabeth Bennet peaked through a loosely hanging wall-covering. She
knew it was wrong to spy on people; her father had told her as much, and more than
 once. But her natural curiosity won over every time: after all, if people hid things,
they must have had their reasons-and that alone made those things more interesting.
 "But secrets can be dangerous," her father once said. "You might regret knowing
                                  some secrets."
 There were things that frightened her, but they were all out in the open (rats were
one such thing; but who could call them a secret? Everybody knew that Trinity had
               rats). She could not imagine being afraid of a secret.
   Right now, she rocked a little on her heels and peered, enchanted, at a young
  golden-tressed girl, hiding her face on the chest of a tall, gray-haired gentleman.
"Now, now, Miss Georgiana," the man said. "Let go. Georgie. Be a good girl and let
go." Elizabeth had heard her father address the man as Darcy, and had deduced him
 to be his father's old friend, Mr. Darcy from Derbyshire, and Fitzwilliam's father.
 She had never seen the girl before and now studied her person with keen interest;
     she had guessed her to be the gentleman's daughter. Right now, little Miss
  Georgiana did not seem to heed her father's cajoling. Her little hands clasped his
                              jacket sleeve all the tighter.
    Mr. Darcy-still very handsome in his sixth decade, a statelier, heavier, more
distinguished version of his son-looked lost. He was lost, indeed, at the sight of his
young daughter's discomfort. It had seemed like a grand idea to bring Georgiana to
Will's commencement; but the day in the carriage with her had turned oppressive,
for she cried after the old Reynolds, and the young nurse he had taken along knew
                                not how to calm her.
 He had known how to behave around his son, for there were rules for gentlemanly
  upbringing with which he was intimately familiar. Rules, which he had known to
 impress upon Fitzwilliam from the earliest days of the boy's life. In his son, he had
seen himself forty years ago, and he had molded him after himself, with the benefits
of mistakes made and lessons learned (for one, he had taught him to stay away from
   a gambling table). But girls-girls mystified him, and none more so than his own
    daughter. They were dainty delicate creatures, difficult to please; the greatest
 weapon they held against a man was their ability to break into beautiful tears at the
  slightest provocation. Such had been his late wife; he had loved her, and she had
  held his equanimity in her hand, always threatening with one treacherous pout of
 her beautiful lips. He knew Georgiana would be like so, too-without sense, without
            reason, and holding some man's heart in the palm of her hand.
      Yes, he had loved his wife. Since the death of Mrs. Darcy three days into
 Georgiana's life, Mr. Darcy had not so much as looked at another woman; but now,
looking down at his daughter's bowed head, feeling the tenacious hold of her fingers
   on her sleeve, he thought that perhaps, he had ignored female acquaintance at a
    price to his child. Perhaps, she might have favored having a woman around.
 Certainly, he would have favored the company of someone who knew how to deal
  with such sullen fits (indubitably, he would have known how to behave if his son
had been like so; but with Georgiana, he was utterly helpless). Worst came to worst,
           he could whip his son. A girl was a different matter altogether.
Naturally, all of this was lost on Elizabeth, who thought the girl a bit of a ninny for
 clinging to her father in such an infamous manner. Still, she paused to dwell on it
  but for a second: she was captivated far more by Georgiana's clothes. Elizabeth
 herself had nice sensible dresses, suitable for a gentleman's daughter, but made of
 only the sturdiest, most washable materials. She had not minded it, not as much as
 she minded that she could not wear a jacket and breeches (for it would have much
  eased her progress up a tree, and as to progressing down a tree...whew!). But the
  little Miss Darcy was dressed exquisitely: the cornflower velvet of her traveling
   habit had an almost magical shimmer to it, and she had a lovely blue bonnet to
   match and a tiny lace parasol, now opened awkwardly and lolling on the floor.
  Elizabeth felt the stirrings of feminine envy, a desire for the beautiful, an urge to
   stroke the silky iridescent velvet of the girl's dress. But she did not know these
feelings as such and she did not like the way they felt. Therefore, she downed them
                             quickly, rather than to wallow.
  "What are you doing here?" a voice whispered behind her. She whipped around.
Jamie was standing in the shadows, squinting at her accusatively. "Spying on them,
                              are you, little sister?"
Elizabeth felt a shameful blush stain her cheeks. She knew how wrong it was, what
she had done, but the visitors in her father's study were of a different ilk altogether.
They were not the dusty dons and clergymen Professor Bennet usually entertained
  in his chambers. They were worldly, and handsome, and therefore, fascinating.
    "I was not," she lied, but then, deciding against the compounding of sin by
       dishonesty, sighed and whispered. "I just wanted to look at her dress."
 "Well, you did, now go." Jamie took her by the shoulders and turned her around,
  pushing her lightly towards the stairs. "Go, go, Bess." She scowled at him, and
                              whispered mutinously:
                                    "And you?"
 "And me-e-e-e..." He winked at her. "That is for me to know, Miss Bess, and for
 you never to find out." She gave him another surly look and stalked towards the
   stairs. "I'll not tell if you do not tell," he whispered in her wake. Failing to
      acknowledge this generous offer, Elizabeth slipped out of the room.
                                         ~*~
Elizabeth gone, Jamie Bennet watched the goings-on behind the curtains for another
moment; then, pushing them aside, he entered, just in time for the flustered, winded
 Darcy to appear from the other side-Darcy, whose shock at seeing Jamie was well-
nigh comical. He had left their impromptu fighting rink a quarter of an hour earlier,
  and fully dressed, and had left Jamie lazing about in his shirtsleeves on the roof,
 evidencing no intention to go down. But, as Jamie had told him before, Darcy had
   not grown up at Trinity and had not learned all the secret rooms and doors and
  passageways. Jamie grinned broadly in response to his friend's scowl; such they
   always were, one always smiling, the other always grim, and yet inseparable.
    "Father," Darcy said, carefully. He knew that it befitted a gentleman to show
  restraint, even with those he loved most. Men of his position did not embrace in
public. He had learned to measure his emotion when around his father, and only his
eyes spoke the truth. His heart overflowed at seeing the two beings he loved most in
 this world. Still, he held himself back and bowed politely, as if his very heart did
           not ache to clasp his father in his arms. It was simply not done.
Georgiana, however, knew of no such politesse. Upon hearing her brother's voice,
 she finally released her father's sleeve and quickly scrambled off his lap, only to
throw herself at Darcy. He leaned and she verily leapt into his open arms, locking
hers around his neck. Straightening up, he laughed and swung her around, her legs
                                    dangling gaily.
  "Have I grown frightfully big?" she inquired of him. Darcy laughed shortly, but
                    then feigned distress, nodding somberly.
"Awfully big," he confessed, gently setting her down. "Soon you will be too heavy
for me to cart about." Quickly, she ducked behind him, firmly attaching her hand to
                                        his.
"Do stop pestering your brother, Georgie," Mr. Darcy said, but his daughter seemed
            to ignore him, and his son threw him an imploring glance.
Georgiana, obviously of a mind that Darcy's attention could be monopolized further
                            still, tugged on his sleeve:
 "Are you to come home now?" she asked, staring demandingly up at him. Darcy
hesitated, throwing a questioning glance at this father; he and Bennet had planned
on going to the Continent soon after graduation. Mr. Darcy coughed discreetly and
                                       said:
              "For a while, my girl. He is to come home for a while."
 Georgiana seemed to find that satisfactory. A child of eight, she was living in the
here and now, and the prospect of her brother's eventual leave did not serve to take
                 away from the joy of his immediate presence.
  On his father's sign, Darcy sat down. Daring, he patted his lap in invitation, and
  Georgiana clambered up, clinging to him. From his chair, he studied his father's
beloved countenance across the room. Mr. Darcy seemed to have grown older since
 Darcy's visit home at Christmastime. Darcy felt a cold pinch of worry deep inside:
his father was still splendid in height and shoulders, but his face looked more drawn
and haggard than before. The son shuddered inside, always acutely conscious of his
         loved ones' mortality. He forced his mind back to the conversation.
  "-to congratulate you on Fitzwilliam's excellent success-" Old Bennet droned. "-
                             sailed through his Tripos-"
     Behind him, leaning against the wall, Jamie Bennet grinned sardonically.
"I had nothing to do with his success," Mr. Darcy said with dignity. "The labor was
                        all his, so must be the honor for it."
 Darcy felt himself color. He knew that he had done well, and that he deserved all
manner of praise. But something about the way his father said that unnerved him. It
              was as if Mr. Darcy wanted no part of his son's success.
  Professor Bennet must have felt it too, for he watched his old friend keenly, and
 then he said, in too gay a manner, as if trying his hardest to dispel the unease that
                             now prevailed in the room:
"Well, and not an inconsequential labor it was, I must say! In our day, I dare say, it
 was all much easier!" He smiled indulgently, remembering. "No tripos, no bull-
                                      dogs."
     Mr. Darcy smiled at that, but said nothing, looking thoughtfully down at his
   exceedingly well-polished boots. Darcy watched his father with quiet dread, his
suspicion that something was very wrong ripening into a conviction now. He felt it,
 like a wedge of glass, stuck between them; and yet, he had not been given leave to
   ask questions-particularly not in the presence of other parties. He would have to
                   wait for his father to tell him what was wrong.
   Darcy was severely uncomfortable, and torn between a growing compulsion to
 grasp his father by the shoulders and shake him hard, and a desire to flee the room
   immediately. He had wanted to inquire after the goings-on at Pemberley, after
Reynolds, after his favorite horse Suleiman. Still, his father's dark silence had thrust
                           him into gloomy reserve as well.
Luckily for him, Georgiana provided him with an answer, having dozed in his arms,
 her head pillowed on his shoulder (as a result, his whole left side fell numb; he sat
 still as a rock, longing to escape, frightened and tortured inside). Old Bennet was
           the first to notice and suggest that the girl's nurse be summoned.
    "Tell her to meet me near the guest rooms, sir." Darcy rose awkwardly. The
 sleeping child slipped, heavily, and he caught her and heaved her up in his arms.
           She whispered and whimpered mutinously, but did not wake.
"I shall see you tomorrow, Fitzwilliam," Mr. Darcy said, sounding more tired than
before. Darcy nodded politely over his sister's sleeping form; this was a sign to him
 that tonight, his company was no longer wanted. This was a greater relief than he
                               could have imagined.
 "Have a good night, sir." He turned to Old Bennet. "And you, Professor. Bennet,
                                 will you come?"
"Of course." Having bowed to the older gentlemen, Jamie Bennet held the door for
               him, and the two friends quitted Professor's study.
   Mr. Darcy and Georgiana were to be situated in Professor's own comfortable
apartments. Neither of the two friends said a single word as they walked down the
hallway; an oppressive silence seemed to have followed them all the way from the
 study, floating above them like a dark mantle of discontent. Luckily, Darcy was
 occupied by carrying Georgiana, and his friend-by opening and holding various
                                      doors.
Georgiana's nurse Polly, a freckled young woman, vaguely familiar to Darcy from
    his last holiday at Pemberley, was waiting for them at the door to the guest
bedchamber. She looked out-of-place and frightened, as if expecting a host of dark
   spirits to assault her anytime in this place that was so old, as old as the River
 Thames, as old as the world. She looked vastly relieved to see them, and colored
            becomingly at the wink sent her way by the flirtatious Bennet.
    Inside the bedchamber, Darcy gently laid Georgiana on the bed. She woke,
        immediately, and wound her arms about his neck, refusing to let go.
"Will you be there when I wake?" she inquired. He promised that indeed, he would,
his heart squeezing painfully at the way her heart was open to him. He wondered if
one day, she, too, would prove impenetrable and foreign, like his mother once, like
                                  his father tonight.
 "Nose-nose," she said, sleepily. He touched his nose to hers, obediently, in an old
                           childhood gesture of affection.
"I shall see you tomorrow," he whispered. She did not hear him, already fast asleep.
                                          ...

                                  Plik z chomika:

                                      Serenite78

                              Inne pliki z tego folderu:

                             You Sang to Me(1).doc (2540 KB)
   Twilight of the Abyss.doc (271 KB)
   To Love Again(1).doc (1746 KB)
    Through The Fog.doc (35 KB)
 The Role of a Lifetime(1).doc (522 KB)

     Inne foldery tego chomika:

               photki i ikony

								
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