[identity profile] empressearwig.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] earwigficmirror
Title: How I Wish You Would
Author: [livejournal.com profile] empressearwig
Pairing/Fandom: Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Lizzie/Darcy
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~3900
Disclaimer: I own nothing, this is all for fun. This hasn't happened. Yet. Etc.
Summary: Darcy draws inspiration from cinematic masterpieces.
Author's Notes: Many thanks to everyone who listened to me whine about this and to the kind soul that had the entire movie I needed on YouTube.


His head snaps up from thumbing through the stack of mail the housekeeper left for him immediately. The way Gigi said his name, that sort of singsong, taunting tone that she uses when she's going to play up her little sister role, it's the sort of thing that sets off alarm bells in his head. And when he sees where she is, what she's standing in front of, he knows that the alarm bells were right. He can't conceal his groan.

Gigi grins at him, obviously enjoying his discomfort. "What's in the box?" she asks. She pats it, so he'll know what she's talking about, even though it would be impossible to miss the enormous box from Amazon that is sitting on the kitchen counter. "Anything interesting?"

"No," he says, but it's a weak denial and he knows it. Gigi raises the Darcy eyebrow at him and he sighs. Sometimes concession is easiest. "If I tell you, will you promise not to make something out of it?"

"No," Gigi answers. "And you're going to tell me anyway."

"I am, am I?" William asks, amused despite himself.

Gigi nods. "You are."

"And why would I do that?" His head is starting to hurt. Arguing with Gigi is like reading Platonic dialogues in his introduction to political philosophy class all over again.

"Because I can help."

William blinks at her, surprised. "What makes you think you can help?"

Gigi rolls her eyes at him and crosses her arms over her chest. "Please. That you won't tell me, means that it has something to do with Lizzie Bennet. And that, dear brother, is something we can all agree that you need help with, isn't it?"

William frowns at her. "I thought we had a talk about you helping, Georgiana."

She rolls her eyes again, waving his quite reasonable objection away with a flick of her wrist. "I promised not to lock the two of you in anymore rooms together. There were no stipulations about not trying to help you behind the scenes."

"Fine," he says, because he is simply tired of arguing. He nods at the box. "Go on, open it."

"Really?" Gigi asks. She shakes her head in disgust. "Wait, why am I questioning that?" She reaches behind her to the knife block and pulls out the kitchen sheers, using them to slice through the packaging. She pulls the flaps of the box back and stops, blinking down at the contents. She looks up at him and then back down at the box and then back up at him.

He waits.

"William, did you buy out the romantic comedy section of Amazon?" Gigi asks. There is something like awe in her voice and it makes him want to laugh. He does not. "You know, I could have lent you copies of some of these."

He shrugs, uncomfortable under her scrutiny. "I thought this would be simplest." And lead to the fewest questions.

Gigi laughs. "Only you," she says fondly. She starts rummaging through the box, examining the contents. "You cannot watch all of these."


"No," she says. "First of all, some of them are terrible. Second of all, you don't have the time. Lizzie isn't going to be shadowing Pemberley forever, you know."

"Yes," he says. "I know."

Gigi looks at him with concern. "I didn't mean to--"

He holds up a hand to stop her. "It's alright."

"Hm," she says, studying his face. "If you say so." She brightens, as if a brilliant idea has struck her. "I'll help."

"How?" he asks warily.

"I thought brothers were supposed to trust their sisters," she says.

William finally laughs and it makes Gigi grin. "Never," he says. "Now, how are you going to help?"

"I'll pick out your movies," she says. She rummages through the box once more and starts pulling out brightly colored cases. "Okay, you have to watch You've Got Mail--Meg Ryan is a romantic comedy must. And While You Were Sleeping!" She looks up at him, a dead serious expression on her face. "Pay attention to the part about leaning."

"Should I be taking notes?" he asks, amused.

"Yes," Gigi says, without the slightest hint of kidding. She pulls out two more discs, makes a face and drops them to the floor. "No Jennifer Lopez movies, William. I forbid it."

"If you say so?"

"I do. Sweet Home Alabama, that'll work too. And When Harry Met Sally!" She looks at him sternly. "Watch this one last. You need to work your way up to it." Gigi presses the four DVDs into his arms. "Start with these. If you have questions, just ask. I'd be happy to explain the important parts to you."

"I have an MBA. I think I can handle watching a movie," he says.

Gigi reaches up to pat his cheek pityingly. "I think you actually believe that, too." She sails out of the kitchen, calling back over her shoulder, "Watch Sweet Home Alabama first! It's criminally underrated."

William stands alone in the kitchen, then, clutching four brightly colored plastic cases to his chest. he understands very little of what just happened or what Gigi said. But he does understand how to do what he's told.

He heads in search of the nearest television. He's apparently going to be watching Sweet Home Alabama first.


The closing credits roll and from nowhere, Gigi drops down next to him on the couch.

"What did you think?" she asks expectantly, her face turned towards his. She looks so hopeful, like this one movie will have had a profound impact on his life, and he doesn't want to dash her hopes but he can't lie to her either.

"It was...interesting," he says, as carefully as he can. "I suppose that I didn't wholly grasp its appeal."

"Oh, William," Gigi says, his name a disappointed sigh. "It's about second chances and making yourself better for someone. How could you have not understood?"

"Was that what I was supposed to take away from it?" Will asks. He is slightly perplexed by this; he hadn't found that to be the point of the movie at all. "I thought it was about not being able to outrun your past."

"Well, maybe it's about that too," Gigi admits. "But mostly what I said."

"I see," he says, though he really doesn't. "I will remember that."

Gigi sighs again, but this time it's one of exasperated fondness. "You're hopeless."

"Perhaps," he says. He nods toward the stack of DVDs next to the television. "Which one should I watch next?"

"Hm," Gigi says, frowning in concentration. "While You Were Sleeping, I think. And this time I'll watch it with you, so that I know that you pay attention to the good parts."

"Alright," Will says, and he gets up to change the disc. "What was it you mentioned before? Hugging?"

"No, no," Gigi says, shaking her head. "Leaning, William. Remember the word leaning. It's very important."

"If you say so," he says, and presses play.


Halfway through the movie, Gigi grabs the remote and presses pause. "There!" she says excitedly. "Did you see?"

"Yes?" he says, because he knows that it's the right answer not because he actually understands what Gigi is talking about. Then he remembers what she said about the leaning. "Wait, that? That was it?"

Gigi sighs in disappointment and rewinds.


And rewinds.


And rewinds.


"Gigi!" he finally snaps, after what might be the fourth time or what might be the tenth. He's lost track. "Leaning. I understand now."

"We'll see," she says, but she lets the movie continue this time.


Two days later, after the Hyper-Mediation in New Media video goes live, Gigi bursts into his office with a wide, beaming smile on her face.

"You leaned," she says. "I'm so proud."

William pulls at the knot on his tie. "Yes, well. It was, perhaps, good advice."

Gigi's smile gets brighter. "Want to see what else you can learn from romantic comedies?"

"No," he says. "I think I can handle it on my own, Georgiana."

Gigi snorts. "You, me, a bowl of popcorn, and You've Got Mail. It's a date." She heads for the door.

"I have plans!" he calls after her retreating back.

"You're a liar!" she calls back and the door falls closed behind her.

William slumps back in his desk chair. He wishes Gigi weren't right. But she is.


When the movie ends, Gigi is sniffling along with Meg Ryan. She looks at him hopefully, despite her watery eyes. "See?" she says. "They hated each other and managed to find love. You and Lizzie can have that too, William. I know you can."

"Gigi," he sighs. He has no desire to hurt his sister, and the fact of the matter is that he wishes she were right. And yet... "This isn't a movie."

"I know," she says. She dashes her tears back and adopts the Darcy-family stubborn face. "But if Joe and Kathleen can find happiness together even after he put her out of business, surely you and Lizzie can get over what happened with Bing and Jane."

"Gigi," he says again, a little more helplessly this time.

"I know," she says. She sighs. "Life's not a movie, blah blah blah."

A smile tugs at the corners of his mouth and he wraps his arms around her shoulders. "I admit, however, that the idea of such an ending is an appealing one. Shall we watch it again?"

"Yes," Gigi says, already reaching for the remote. She pauses before pressing play again, though, and turns back to look at him over her shoulder. "Ice cream first?"

William smiles at his sister. "Of course."


Still, he stops and buys Lizzie flowers before going into the office the next day. He remembers what Meg Ryan said about daisies being the friendliest flowers and has them wrapped in plain brown paper.

When he hands them to Lizzie, her eyes go wide with surprise. She looks back and forth between the flowers and his face and stammers, "What--I don't--You shouldn't--" She stops, shakes her head. He tries not to smile. "Thank you. But I don't--"

He holds up his hand to cut her off. "You're welcome," he says. "Consider it a belated 'welcome to Pemberley.'" He stares down at her, willing her to believe him. "I'm very glad that you're here, Lizzie."

Her cheeks go pink under his gaze, and her eyes drop back down to where the flowers rest on her desk. He savors the moment, stores it away for later. Lizzie brings her eyes back to meet his. "Thank you," she says again, more softly this time. "It was very...kind of you."

"It was my pleasure," he says.

His words hang between them as they stare at one another. It's awkward, certainly, but he likes that she can no more look away from him than he can look away from her. The flush on her cheeks deepens and though he wants to, William does not smile.

"Was there something else?" Lizzie asks finally, a little desperately. "I mean, it's your company, obviously you can stay if you want to, but--"

"Yes," he says, cutting off her rambling, more for her sake than his. He found it rather adorable. "There was actually."

The relief on her face is palpable. "Great," she says. "What is it?"

He hesitates, uncertain as to his course of action now that the moment has presented itself. But as his father had liked to say, nothing ventured nothing gained. "I was hoping--that is--"

"Yes?" she prompts.

"I would very much like to be your friend, Lizzie Bennet."

Her mouth falls open in what he hopes is shock and not disgust. "Oh," she says, the syllable sounding more like an exhalation than an actual thought. She stares up at him and his stomach turns over.

It was a mistake then. He turns to leave, but her voice stops him mid-step.

"Wait!" she says urgently. It is a most welcome surprise. He pivots back to face her and Lizzie stands, tilting her face up to his with an almost shy smile. "I'd like that."

"You would?" he asks dumbly. He had never actually expected her to say yes.

Lizzie nods. "I would."

He is aware that he is grinning foolishly at her, but he doesn't know how to make himself stop. "I should go."

"You don't have to," Lizzie says, and it doesn't even sound like a begrudgingly made offer.

"No, I should," he says. He smiles at her, hopefully less ridiculously than he had been for the past few minutes. "I will see you later?"

It's a statement and a question and a hope, and he holds his breath while he waits for Lizzie to answer.

"I look forward to it," Lizzie says, and for the first time, William truly lets himself believe that all might not be lost.

"Goodbye, then," he says, and turns on his heel so that Lizzie can't see that he's grinning once more.

Perhaps Gigi was right about these movies after all.


When Gigi finds him that evening, he is sitting in front of the television, holding the last movie on her list in his hands. She slides onto the couch next to him, a carton of leftover Chinese food in her hands.

"Great job with the flowers," she says cheerfully, poking at the carton with chopsticks. "Lizzie couldn't stop staring at them the whole time I was in her office for lunch."

He smiles at that, but his focus remains on the DVD.

"Hey," Gigi says. She pokes him in the ribs. "What's wrong? I thought you'd be dancing on the metaphorical rooftops."

"Gigi," he says slowly, turning the case over in his hands so that he can read the summary on the back for the hundredth time.


"Why did you say that I needed to work my way up to this film?"

"Oh," Gigi says, her mouth round with surprise. She looks down at the movie and then back up at his serious face. "I wasn't expecting that."

"Neither was I," he says ruefully. "But here we are."

She takes the DVD from his hands and puts it on the coffee table before them. "Mostly, I wanted you to wait because when the movie starts, the characters hate each other. I didn't want it to make you sad."

"But it has a happy ending?"

Gigi looks offended. "Of course."

"Then I think I'd like to watch it now." He forces himself to smile and nudges her back, echoing her prior behavior. "That is, if you think I'm ready."

Her hand hovers over the DVD, but she hesitates, turning back to look at him. "You won't do anything stupid, will you? Because William, this movie has one of the greatest romantic declarations of our times. Well, your times. I wasn't born yet when it was released."


She waves her hand dismissively. "Right. The point I was trying to make was that just because Billy Crystal will tell you--I'm not going to tell you what he's going to tell you, that would ruin the movie--but you have to promise that you won't run off and declare your love to Lizzie again even though you'll want to. You have to give her time, William."

"I promise," he says. "Now can we watch the movie?"

Gigi looks at him expectantly, and he sighs. He draws an x over his heart, the way she'd always made him do when she was a little girl and he was helpless to resist her every whim.

Not much has changed, he thinks.

Gigi grins and pats his leg. "Now we can watch the movie."


In the end, his promise to Gigi is for naught. He goes to Lizzie's office to invite her to lunch, only to find her frantically gathering her belongings at her desk.

"Lizzie?" he says, and her head snaps up. There are tears on her cheeks and he steps forward instinctively. "What's wrong?"

"Lydia," she says, her voice breaking a little. "George--she--" Lizzie shakes her head. "I have to go home."

"Of course," he says. He feels helpless, which is how he's certain she feels as well. He knows what it is to have a sister in George Wickham's clutches. "Can I help?"

Lizzie shakes her head. "No. Thank you."

"Are you taking the train? Flying? I can drive you to the airport or train station?"

She starts to shake her head again and so he interrupts her.

"Lizzie, please." He risks stepping closer, reaching across the desk to put his hand on her arm. "Let me do this for you."

She looks down at his hand on her arm and then up at his face. Slowly, she nods. "Yes, thank you."

"Good," he says. He withdraws his hand and tries not to notice the way that her hand clenches once it's gone. This is the absolute wrong time for that. "I'll meet you in the lobby in five minutes. Will that give you enough time?"

"Yes," she says.

"Five minutes, then." He turns to go, but Lizzie's voice calls him back.


He turns. There is a sadness on her face that cannot just be for her sister. He wants to wipe it away. "Yes?"

"Thank you," she says. "Just, thank you."

He shakes his head. "It's nothing."

He leaves before he's tempted to say more. To do more. No matter how much he wants to, he knows that he can't.

At least for now.


He drives Lizzie to the airport and then comes back to the office to watch Lydia's videos. When he's finished, he picks up the phone.

"Fitz?" he says. "I need your help."


A week goes by and then two. He doesn't hear from Lizzie, but then, he hadn't expected to. He stalks her youtube channel, waiting for her to post something--anything--so that he'll know how she is. He'd done what he could for Lydia and then left the rest for the family to handle. If there is anything William understands, it is that some things are best left to families.

It is a Thursday when Lizzie finally posts a new video. There is a tremulous smile on her face, but it's there and it takes all his self-control not to reach out to touch the screen.

"I don't really know how to say this," Lizzie starts. "First, I'm sorry going radio silent like that. But there was a family--how do I put this? situation, let's go with situation--that needed to be addressed." She takes a deep breath and plunges on. "But anyway, what I wanted to say was this: Darcy, if you're watching, my name is Lizzie Bennet and I will never be able to repay you."

The title card flashes and the theme music plays. He watches the rest of the video, but doesn't really retain any of it. He rewinds and watches the beginning again.

When the video has played through for a second full time, William picks up his phone.

"Reynolds? Please cancel my appointments for the rest of the week. I'll be heading out of town for a few days."


William knocks on the Bennet's door, not wholly sure of his welcome. On the drive down, it had occurred to him that perhaps Lizzie would be more comfortable with her completely unnecessary gratitude from a distance, that she wouldn't want to face him. He hopes that's not the case, that they're beyond that, but he doesn't know. But then he has never known when it comes to Lizzie Bennet. He should be used to it.

Jane opens the door, surprise written on her face. "Darcy!" she says, and then corrects herself. "I mean, William. This is a--"

"Surprise?" he finishes for her. "It's nice to see you again, Jane."

Her face goes soft immediately, and Darcy is struck by her innate kindness. She has no reason to feel the same and yet if she were to say the words, he would have no trouble believing them.

But she spares him that, and says instead, "Are you here to see Lizzie?"

William nods, grateful. "I am. Is she--"

"Jane, who is it?" Lizzie's voice interrupts, as she steps into sight. She stops when she sees him, the surprise that had been on Jane's face magnified. "Darcy."

He nods his head in acknowledgement. "Lizzie."

"I'll just leave you two alone," Jane says, and slips away from the door. She nudges Lizzie closer as she goes, and Darcy is again struck by how wrong he was about her.

"Darcy," Lizzie says again, and then shakes her head. "No, this is wrong."

His heart drops. "I can go."

"No," she says, reaching out to grab his arm, as if she possesses the strength to keep him in one place. "I just meant that we can't do this here. Do you want to go for a walk?"

Lizzie doesn't give him a chance to answer, but steps out onto the steps next to him and closes the door behind her. Her hand slides down his arm until she grasps his hand and she leads him down the steps.

He falls into step with her, unable to quite grasp what has happened. Her hand is warm and small in his, and he tightens his grip on her fingers just the smallest amount to see what will happen. Lizzie simply twines their fingers together and his heart starts beating faster.

"I wanted to thank you," she says, shattering the stillness between them. "I don't know if you saw the video--"

"I did," he interrupts. "And I wish you wouldn't."

Lizzie stops and looks up at him. "I have to. You have to let me."

He recognizes pride when he sees it and nods. "Fine. You've thanked me. Can that be the end of it?"

She opens her mouth to argue, he is sure, but then closes it. Perhaps she recognizes her own stubbornness in the set of his jaw, he doesn't know. She echoes his nod with one of her own. "Yes."

"Good," he says, and he tugs on her hand to start them walking down the sidewalk once more.

They walk like that, silent and hand in hand, for what feels like ages. Eventually they come to a small park and by unspoken agreement, they turn into it. Lizzie stares at him and he stares at her, and finally, this is enough. That movie, the one with the line about when you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with you want the rest of your life to start right away, it was right.

"Lizzie," he says. "Lizzie, I need to ask you something."

Her mouth turns up a little, into a hesitant, almost hopeful smile. "Yes?"

"Do you--what I'm trying to say is--" He takes a deep breath, trying to remember any of the words in his vocabulary. "The feelings I spoke of last fall remain the same. But I need to know if yours have changed. If they have not, I will leave and bother you no more."

He looks down at her, waiting anxiously. She lets go of his hand but lifts it to his cheek, stepping closer.

"William," she says.

Her mouth is on his then, and his arms are around her, and he thinks that maybe happy endings don't just happen in the movies.


The first time Lizzie sees the wall of romantic comedies, she laughs with delight and insists on watching one of them immediately.

"You pick," he tells her.

Lizzie studies the shelves carefully, and he enjoys watching her every thought flicker over her face. Finally, she plucks one from the shelf and hands it to him.

"Bridget Jones's Diary," he reads. "What's this one about?"

Lizzie grins.
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