[identity profile] empressearwig.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] earwigficmirror
Title: like sugar on my tongue
Author: [livejournal.com profile] empressearwig
Pairing/Fandom: Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lizzie/Darcy
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~4100
Disclaimer: I own nothing, this is all for fun. This hasn't happened. Yet. Etc.
Summary: Wherein Lizzie is kidnapped and forced to sing karaoke
Author's Notes: My friends are all terrible enablers. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] abvj, [livejournal.com profile] fireworkfiasco, and [livejournal.com profile] magisterequitum for their help.

"Let's go out," is what Gigi says, as she drags Lizzie away from her desk. Without giving Lizzie a chance to answer, Gigi's on one side of her and Fitz is on the other, each holding onto Lizzie's elbows with a death grip that clearly indicates that they fear flight.

Lizzie laughs, but manages to say, "My purse, my coat?" and Fitz snags them from the visitor chair on the way out the door.

"You're welcome," he says cheerfully, passing them to her when they've stopped at the elevators and her elbows have been relinquished.

"Thanks," Lizzie says dryly, shrugging into the coat and flipping her hair out from underneath the collar. "I would have come willingly, you know."

The elevator doors open and reveal Darcy as the elevator's sole occupant. There's a jolt at the sight of him, the way that there always is now, even though she sees him at least half a dozen times a day. He nods to her, not as stiffly as he might have once, but it's not the easy smile that he gives Gigi or the ridiculous handshake that is foisted on him by Fitz.

"Where are you all off to?" Darcy asks, once the elevator doors have closed behind them. "Somewhere enjoyable, I presume."

Gigi and Fitz trade conspiratorial glances, and a knot of anxiety forms in Lizzie's stomach. She's seen that look before, like the time when Gigi suggested going up to the rooftop pool, not mentioning that her brother was back from L.A. and had a longstanding habit of taking a morning swim. Lizzie still has to fight back the urge to blush when she thinks about what's hidden beneath the ties and button down shirts.

Lizzie looks up at Darcy without meaning to, the natural inclination to seek reassurance from the only other person not plotting against you, and she finds him staring back at her, an expression that she doesn't recognize on his face. He looks away first.

"It's a surprise," Gigi says finally, having lost whatever staring contest she was having with Fitz. She tucks her arm through Darcy's. "You should come too, William."

Darcy starts to shake his head, but Fitz chimes in with agreement. "Absolutely you should," he says. "Great idea, Gigi."

They almost manage make it sound like an impromptu invitation, but Lizzie would bet every limited dollar in her purse that this was a planned ambush.

Darcy's eyes meet hers over Gigi's head, and he smiles at her ruefully. The knot in Lizzie's stomach twists. "Why not," he says.

Gigi beams at him and pats his arm. "Excellent choice," she says.

"I wasn't aware I had one," Darcy says wryly, and it sends Gigi and Fitz into a spurt of not-embarrassed-in-the-slightest laughter.

They finally reach the first floor and Darcy holds the elevator as they all pile out. Lizzie hesitates for just a second, uncomfortable with even the rote politeness that she knows she still doesn't deserve. But his hand brushes across the small of her back and he murmurs, "After you," and she goes, hyper aware of his presence just behind her.

"Where to?" Darcy asks, and Lizzie lets herself be lead from the lobby without any sense of where they're going.

This, as it turns out, is a mistake.


They take a cab to the bar that Gigi and Fitz refuse to let her hear the name of. Fitz climbs in front next to the driver and Gigi dashes around the curb to get in on the driver's side. It leaves Lizzie and Darcy standing awkwardly on the curb together, which Lizzie imagines was the point.

Gigi is many things, but subtle is not one of them.

So Lizzie goes to climb into the cab, but Darcy stops her, setting his hand on her wrist.

"Let me," he says.

Lizzie tries not to be conscious of the weight of his hand on her arm, the way that his fingers look curled around her skin. His fingers are so long. She shakes her head, trying to clear it. She means his legs. His legs alone mean he should not be forced to suffer in the middle seat. "Really, it's fine," she says. "I don't mind."

"But I do," he says. He gives her another rueful smile and finally releases her. "My mother would never forgive me."

"Ah," she says, because what can she say to that. She steps away from the door and lets him climb awkwardly into the backseat. She slides in next to him, doing her best to fold herself into the smallest corner possible next to the door so that he'll have more room.

It's not at all so that she doesn't have to think about how warm he is pressed up against her. Because she would never in a million years think that, not her.

The cab pulls away from the curb and Darcy leans in towards her. "I don't bite," he says, and she thinks that might be the first honest-to-goodness smile he's ever given her. "I promise."

She blinks at him in shock. Who is this person, and what has he done with her Darcy? "Did you just make a joke?" she asks, unable to keep the incredulity out of her voice.

It only takes a second for her to regret it, because his face goes dark and shuttered again. This time she is the one that touches him, laying her hand across his forearm.

"I liked it," she says, and hopes that he'll understand that it's an apology.

Darcy looks down at her hand on his arm for what feels like forever. When he looks back up at her, he's smiling, just a little. Just enough for her to know that she's forgiven. "Do you have any idea where they're taking us?" he asks.

Lizzie shakes her head and tries not to notice Gigi gloating on her side of the cab. "How afraid should I be?"

From the front seat, Fitz turns around and gives them both a knowing look. "That, Lizzie Bennet, is entirely up to you."

Darcy grimaces and Lizzie laughs nervously. Her hand doesn't leave its spot on Darcy's arm.


They pull up to a bar in Chinatown and Fitz brushes aside her offer to help pay for the cab. Gigi takes her arm and steers her toward the door without waiting for either Fitz or Darcy to catch up.

"Shouldn't we--" Lizzie feels obligated to ask, but she doesn't even get to finish the question before Gigi shakes her head.

"Nah," Gigi answers. "Fitz won't let William take the cab and leave, and if we're already inside he'll at the least feel obligated to join us for one drink." Gigi's eyes sparkle with mischief and if it weren't directed at her, Lizzie would find it incredibly endearing. "Or more! Who can really guess about these things."

"Gigi," Lizzie laughs, unable to stop herself. "You know that what you're trying to do is hopeless, don't you? Me, your brother, it's just a bad idea."

"I've yet to hear a compelling reason why," Gigi says. They have had this conversation before and somehow Lizzie has never managed to win it. It's disconcerting. "Look, the bar. What are we drinking?"

Lizzie shrugs. "I'm not picky," she says.

"Shots it is," Gigi says. She signals to the bartender. "Four shots of vodka, please." She winks at Lizzie. "For courage."

"Courage," Lizzie repeats, a feeling of dread washing over her. "Gigi, why do I need courage?"

"She hasn't told you yet?"

It's Darcy's voice and Lizzie can feel him looming just behind her. She does not turn her head to look at him.

"No," Lizzie says. She narrows her eyes at Gigi. "Told me what?"

Gigi does her best imitation of an innocent smile. "I think what William means is that this is a karaoke bar. Surprise?"

Lizzie's too stunned to do anything but accept the shot that's pressed into her hand. She tosses it back, shuddering as the vodka burns down her throat. She shakes her head and sets the glass back down on the bar. "Give me another."

Gigi claps in glee and turns back to signal the bartender again. Lizzie watches her and does not at all lean back into Darcy, even if she sort of maybe wants to.

Someone hands Lizzie another shot and she drinks that one down too. "Okay," she says. "Now I can do this."

If only she were sure what this meant.


It's an hour before Gigi presses the issue of getting up on stage and singing, and really, Lizzie is amazed at her restraint. But since Gigi and Fitz used the hour to tag team endearing and/or humiliating stories about Darcy, perhaps Lizzie shouldn't have been surprised at all. The grace with which Darcy takes it, though, is a surprise, as is the way that he teases them back. Lizzie hears all about Gigi's braces and the first time Darcy and Fitz met and how Darcy is afraid of tropical fish because of a snorkeling incident when he was ten. Lizzie laughs and she listens, and when pressed, she shares stories of her own about Jane, Lydia, and Charlotte.

It's comfortable and it's fun, and it makes the segue back to Gigi's machinations all the more abrupt.

"What are we going to sing?" Gigi asks, like it's a done deal that this is a thing that's going to happen.

Lizzie shakes her head and sips her vodka cranberry. "Not happening," she says, though she knows that it's a battle she's already lost.

"Please?" Gigi's voice takes on the wheedling tone that Lizzie's sure won her all sorts of concessions from her parents and her big brother over the years. "It won't be any fun if you don't sing with me."

Lizzie looks sideways at Darcy, who is watching them--her, her brain wants to insist--with a smile teasing around the corners of his mouth. He clearly knows how this is going to end too, and it's enough to make her attempt to throw him under the bus even though he's been nothing but good to her all night. She points at him. "Why aren't you making him sing?" she demands.

Gigi and Fitz both laugh, and Darcy's almost smile becomes a real one. It's almost blinding to look at and Lizzie is suddenly very grateful that it's not something he directs at her very often. She fears what it might make her do.

She doesn't say any of this, of course, but asks anyway. "What's so funny?"

Darcy is the one to answer. "My singing voice is atrocious. After the last incident where we were booed off the stage, Gigi agreed that in exchange for accompanying her to such venues, I would no longer be forced to undergo the public humiliation."

"Last incident?" Lizzie repeats back incredulously. Last incident implies that there was more than one. Just what kind of superpowers did Gigi Darcy possess?

Gigi nodded. "Really, I was thinking of the audience." She grinned at her brother. "A little public humiliation now and then is good for William. It keeps him humble."

Lizzie really doesn't understand anything that's been said in the last three minutes. She tries to regroup. "So singing with Darcy is out," she says. "What about Fitz?"

"Oh, that's definitely happening," says Fitz. "I'll have you know that Gigi and I have won awards."

They exchange high fives and Lizzie's head spins. It's not from the vodka.

"And that leaves you, Lizzie Bennet," Gigi says. "So are you in or are you out? Keep in mind, there's only one answer to this question that I'm going to accept."

Lizzie looks down at her half empty drink. "I think I'm going to need another one of these."

Fitz immediately heads for the bar.


Gigi picks the song for them and then Lizzie is on stage attempting to sing the song that launched Mandy Moore's career. She does her best to take it seriously, she does, but when Gigi breaks into the dance that Lizzie vaguely remembers from watching TRL with Jane and Lydia, she devolves into a laughing fit that she doesn't recover from until they're off the stage.

"That was terrible," Gigi scolds her when they're back sitting in their booth. "Honestly, you're as bad as Will."

"On the contrary," Darcy says, raising an eyebrow at his sister. "I believe it was your dancing that threw Lizzie off. She was doing quite well until then."

Lizzie stares at Darcy where he's sitting across the table. Did he just defend her honor? Her karaoke honor, but still. Nothing about tonight makes any sense to her.

"It's okay," she says. She offers him a small smile of thanks. "I was terrible. I admit it freely."

"Maybe terrible was a little harsh," Gigi says. She reaches across the table to pat Lizzie's hand. "I should have waited until we do this again before adding dance moves."

"Again?" Lizzie says, though the word comes out more like a croak. "You think this is going to happen again?"

Gigi just smiles evilly at her from her spot next to Darcy. Lizzie wants to run away and hide or maybe throw up. She settles for dropping her head to the table instead.


It's not until after one that Gigi relents and says that they can leave. They pile out onto the sidewalk and Darcy hails a cab. He opens the door, and this is when Gigi plays her last, and most evil, card.

"Will, you'll make sure Lizzie gets home, won't you?" Gigi nudges Lizzie forward until she's standing next to Darcy. "Fitz and I are heading in the same direction anyway, so we'll just split a cab ourselves."

"I don't need a baby-sitter," Lizzie tries to protest, but it's to no avail. She's tucked inside the cab and the door is closed behind her. On the other side of the window, Gigi and Fitz wave goodnight, and then the passenger side door opens and Darcy gets in beside her.

"Where to?" the cabbie asks, and Lizzie tells him her address.

She lets her head tip back against the seat, but turns it so that she can see Darcy. "You didn't have to do this, you know."

He looks at her, amused, and says, "Weren't you listening before when I said that my mother would never forgive me? I believe that sending a female friend home, unaccompanied, in an unfamiliar city, when she's been drinking, would earn me a fate even worse."

"That's very old fashioned," she says, choosing diplomacy over righteous indignation.

Even in the dimly lit cab, she can see him raise his eyebrows at that. "Was that the first thing you thought?"

"No," she admits. "But did you mean it?"

"That my mother wouldn't forgive me?"

"That we were friends."

"Ah," Darcy says, and a heavy silence falls between them.

It's not uncomfortable the way that Lizzie thinks it should be, not with their history. She can practically hear him thinking next to her, weighing his options and words in the deliberate way that she's learned is how he does everything. She doesn't think about the time that he didn't.

When he finally speaks again, it's with the most serious expression she's ever seen on his face. "I suppose, Lizzie Bennet, that depends entirely on you."

She blinks at him, surprised by his answer. After the way she reacted to him, surely that would put the proverbial friendship ball in his court. "On me?"

"Yes," he says. "So are we then? Friends, at last?"

The cab pulls up outside the door of her temporary home and Darcy tells the driver to wait as he walks her to it. Lizzie fumbles for her keys and Darcy waits patiently next to her until she finds them.

She unlocks her door and then finally looks up at him. His face is the same as it always was, but really, he's nothing like what she thought he was before. He's incredibly generous and he does have a sense of humor. He's unfailingly loyal to the people that he cares about and he loves his sister. Yes, he's too quick to judge sometimes, but then, so isn't she? Maybe, most of all, she likes the way she feels when he looks at her. She thinks that might be important. That he might be important.

"Yes," she says, and she scurries into the house before he can answer.


Lizzie's late getting in the next day, and the Kellynch project that she's sitting in on takes up most of her morning. At lunch, she steadfastly ignores everyone and closets herself in her office. She has to film this afternoon and she has no idea what to say.

Her viewers are so wrapped up in her relationship with Darcy that to not include last night feels like a lie, or if not a lie, a glaring omission. But it feels private too, something that's theirs and new and that she doesn't want to ruin by dragging the internet into it.

When she finally turns the camera on, she's still not entirely sure what she's going to say. But having something to edit is better than having nothing, so she smooths her skirt down over her thighs and tries to smile.

"So," she starts awkwardly, "there was some--some excitement last night, I suppose you could call it. Gigi and Fitz decided that they'd take me out to a karaoke bar of all places." She shakes her head, frustrated with how stilted this all sounds. "And well, here's the point of all of this, I suppose--My name is Lizzie Bennet and--"

The door flies open behind her and Gigi falls into the shot next to her. "--and she and my brother were totally having eye sex last night."

Lizzie's mouth falls open and she stares at Gigi in horror. "What--I mean--no. Gigi, what are you doing?"

Gigi smiles at the camera and then turns to look at Lizzie. "Telling the viewers the truth."

"You are not," Lizzie says. "Take that back."

"Nope!" Gigi says cheerfully. "It's okay if you're in denial about what happened, Lizzie. I'd be happy to fill them in."

There are few things in the world that frighten Lizzie more than the prospect of Gigi Darcy filling the viewers in on anything. "No," she says, shaking her head. "No, no, no."

"That's a lot of no's," Gigi says. She leans in, so she's staring at Lizzie from far closer than Lizzie is strictly comfortable with. "What's the matter, Lizzie? Can't handle the truth?"

"But it's not the truth!" Lizzie says, the words coming out on a strangled laugh. She shakes her head. She's arguing with Gigi. She knows this is pointless. "Look, I'll tell the viewers what I think happened and if you disagree that strongly with my presentation, we'll talk about you getting to share what you think happened. Talk," she says warningly, because she sees the way that Gigi's face has lit up.

"Do I get to tell my side through costume theater?" she asks, folding her arms across her chest.

"Do you want to tell your side through costume theater?"

"Duh," Gigi says. She turns back to the camera. "I will be the best Darcy, Jane. I promise you that."

"Okay," Lizzie says hurriedly. "Moving on. Do we have a deal?"

"Deal," Gigi says, holding out her hand to shake. "Now spill."

Lizzie shakes her hand and rolls her eyes, but turns back to the camera anyway. "As I was saying before Gigi barged in--" she looks at Gigi out of the corner of her eye and Gigi is nodding in agreement --"was that my name is Lizzie Bennet and Darcy and I actually got along last night."

"Boring," Gigi singsongs.

Lizzie gives her a look.

"But true," Gigi amends.

"Thank you," Lizzie says wryly. "Like I said, Gigi and Fitz decided to drag me to a karaoke bar without telling me where we were going and then for good measure, decided to trap Darcy into doing the same thing."

"It was for your own good," Gigi interjects. "You're welcome."

Lizzie frowns at her, but moves on. "Anyway, we all went to this bar--I never did find out the name--and Gigi made me sing and I found out that Darcy is a terrible singer and we had nice, normal conversation, and I liked it--and okay, him--and that was it." She turns to Gigi. "Satisfied?"

Gigi snorts. "No."

"But that's what happened," Lizzie says. "Nothing else happened, Gigi."

Gigi holds out her hand. "A deal's a deal, Lizzie. Give me the hat."

"Fine," Lizzie says, and she shifts out of frame to get the hat and bowtie from their spot in her desk drawer. She sits back down next to Gigi and drops them in her lap. "Here. Now how are you going to do this? Is this going to be a one woman show?"

"You're going to be you, obviously," Gigi says. She pulls the hat down over her hair and fastens the bowtie around her neck. "Why don't we do the part after we sang? First, I said you were terrible. And by I, I mean me. Not my brother."

Gig's body stiffens then, and she says as Darcy, "On the contrary, I believe it was your wild dancing that interfered with Lizzie's otherwise stellar performance. She was doing very well until then."

"I admit that I was terrible," Lizzie says as the her of last night. "It's fine."

"No, no," Gigi says, herself again. "You're supposed to stare at me in shock, like you can't believe what I just said. And then I'm supposed to smile at you and make you believe that I meant it."

Lizzie raises her eyebrows at Gigi. "Were you planning this last night?" she asks. "Because that's a lot of detail for someone to remember about facial expressions."

"I have an excellent memory," Gigi says, her eyes darting between the camera and Lizzie's face. "And besides, I'm not even talking about all the times William was just staring at you. Do you want me to talk about those, Lizzie?"

Lizzie looks at the camera. "He wasn't."

"He was," Gigi insists. She adopts a puppy dog look and stares at Lizzie plaintively. "Like that."

"Okay, I'm turning this off," Lizzie says, and reaches for the camera.

"I'm telling the truth!" Gigi yells, and it is the last thing recorded.

Camera off, Lizzie turns to Gigi who has unfastened the bowtie, but is still wearing the hat. "You're evil," she says.

Gigi beams at her. "I know."


Lizzie immediately kicks Gigi out and locks the door behind her.


It's almost seven when there's a knock on her door and without thinking, Lizzie calls out, "Come in!"

The doorknob shakes and the door remains closed. "It appears to be locked," a muffled approximation of Darcy's voice says from the other side of the door.

Lizzie curses under her breath and darts around her desk to unlock. "Sorry," she says. She steps back so that he can come in, and says by way of explanation, "Gigi."

"Say no more," Darcy says, the barest hint of a smile at the corners of his mouth. "I've often wished I could do the same. But it's very hard to be a CEO with an open door policy if your doors are in fact locked."

"That was another joke," Lizzie says, smiling widely. "You'd better be careful, or I'll get used to them."

He stares at her for a long moment, and it makes her wonder if maybe Gigi was right about the staring after all. "I'd like that," he says finally.

Lizzie's stomach flips. "Was there something you wanted?" she asks quickly.

"You," Darcy says. Her eyes go wide and he must see this, because he holds up a hand. "No, I meant, I came to see if you'd like to go to dinner with me tonight. As friends."

"Oh," Lizzie says, surprised. He looks anxious and hopeful at the same time, and somehow it's endearing rather than scary. "That would be nice."

A wide smile breaks out across his face, and Lizzie thinks again how dazzling it is.

"Shall we?" he asks, stepping back so that he can follow her out the door.

"Just let me lock my computer," she says. She steps back behind her desk and shuts everything down as quickly as she can. She takes her purse out of the drawer and her coat from the back of her chair before she joins him at the door.

"Ready?" he asks.

"Ready," she says.


In the morning when Lizzie posts her mostly unedited video, Gigi is the first one to like it.
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