(Mere, you didn’t give me a prompt so here is a mini-sequel to Whatever this is (I’m glad it’s with you), which is by far the most divisive thing I’ve ever written).
I’m glad it’s with you (whatever this is)
William Darcy has only lied to Lizzie Bennet once.
It was the day she discovered he knew about the book. That night she knocked on his door and they sat by the pool under silver moonlight. It’d tinged her skin blue and he’d imagined her as a creature from another world.
She’d been determined not to let the book define her. She was adamant about it.
“Me either,” he’d said, “I’m in charge of my own heart.”
That had been the lie.
He thinks his book-self is an insufferable bore.
After he discovers the book he locks it in a drawer and tries to forget about it. He tells himself it’s a hoax or a cruel joke played by a god William doesn’t believe in. In the book his mother dies before the story even starts. In real life he discovers the book only because of his mother’s death. Is his story supposed to start now? After she is gone?What is he supposed to do with that?
The tiny slip of parallel structure terrifies him. Without even realizing it he has equated Fitzwilliam’s mother dying with his own mother. His eyes reads her death in black and white ink and his brain accepts the conclusion that book!Anne and his Anne must be the same person somehow. It happens so effortlessly that he’s terrified to go near the book.
Anne left the book for him, but she didn’t leave a note. All he gets is a line in her will about the contents of a safety deposit box. There is no other explanation, but it is enough for him to know that she believed in the book. And more importantly it had been important to her that he know.
So William studies the text. He reads all the literature on it. He travels to England and interviews scholars. He uses a fake name and feels like James Bond. He has the fleeting thought that it’d make a cool story - literary detective hunts down explanation about why characters start becoming real people - but stops himself before he can get too far. Sometimes when he thinks about this his head hurts and he has to go lie down in a dark room.
But after all the research he comes to only one conclusion - Fitzwilliam Darcy is boring. He is honorable, but really emo. He’s obsessed with buying his sister a piano. He likes sassy. William can get behind some of these things (he asks Gigi if she wants a piano and she throws a magazine at him). But William knows - hopes, prays, begs - that Fitzwilliam Darcy is not him.
The man Elizabeth Bennet falls in love with is watch-paint-dry boring. He’s missing from half the novel and when he does appear on the page he’s either making a pompous speech or writing impassioned letters at inappropriate times.
(William does envy Fitzwilliam’s option to write a letter. He struggles with the informality of electronic communication. It gives him pause at least twice a day.)
Fitzwilliam Darcy is the Darcy who is supposed to fall in love with Elizabeth Bennet. But William isn’t the romantic hero in someone else’s love story. He’s not interested. There is nothing about Elizabeth Bennet that he finds charming enough to sacrifice his own agency for.
But then he meets Lizzie at a wedding.
You beautiful pretzel. I just wanted to share my favorite fic with you, you didn’t need to write me anything—BUT I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT ANYWAY.