Harlequin's Slash Fic


Title: Skirmishes
Author: Harlequin
Universe: Pride & Prejudice
Characters featured: Darcy/Bingley
Category, Word count: Short story; 1275 words
Rating: R
Summary: Darcy has followed Bingley to London, and dissuaded him from ever returning to Netherfield or courting Jane Bennet. The two men have begun an affair, as Darcy also tries to forget Jane’s sister Elizabeth.
Notes: Specifically inspired by the 2005 movie, but broadly applicable to the original and other manifestations of the universe! While I wrote the two pieces years apart, this works as a sequel to Remembering / Forgetting.
First published: 1 January 2007 on Harlequin’s Slash Site


When Darcy took the lead, he would have worked on Bingley for hours if he’d had to – not that it ever took so long – until the man had ignited with passion from within. Until the man completely forgot himself – forgot himself, Darcy, the Bennets, the world, everything – forgot everything except the heat and sensation. Flushed, pliant, gold and white and pink in the candlelight, gasping or rasping inarticulately, he would lie thoroughly abandoned in Darcy’s arms, back arched and head thrown back. And Darcy would finally move over him, position himself just so, so that they matched each other perfectly, manhood mirroring manhood – and with long slow deliberate thrusts he would bring them both finally to a devastating end.

It was becoming, more and more, an important thing in its own right. Darcy almost never imagined Elizabeth Bennet in his arms in Bingley’s place, not any more. Hardly ever, now. Bingley himself had quit hiding himself away in odd corners to weep, and was becoming, more and more, focussed on his friend. They were both slowly forgetting, Darcy was sure of it.

When Bingley took the lead, as he did the next morning, it was all simplicity and laughter. Hands and kisses, and Bingley’s sparkling light eyes, Bingley’s laughter. Darcy never minded Bingley laughing at him. There was something so undeniably delightful about the man. So delightfully undeniable.

Afterwards, they lay there together in bed for a while, too content to go down to breakfast. Darcy had come to enjoy this sort of thing. This lazing around for no good reason. It wasn’t like him at all.

Bingley had sobered a little since they’d finished, and seemed, for once, quite thoughtful. After a while, he commented, ‘You’ve certainly taught me a thing or two, Fitzwilliam.’

‘How so?’ he asked idly.

‘About lovemaking.’

Ah. He wasn’t sure whether they should discuss this.

Bingley was looking up at him with his candid pale blue eyes. ‘I never knew it could be so… so… as it is, late at night, when you seduce me.’

Darcy resettled himself, turning his face a little further away. Profoundly uncomfortable.

‘The state you get me into… you could do anything you like with me, you know. That’s why I tried to resist a little, at first.’

Abruptly closing his eyes, Darcy tried not to betray himself with a smile. Dear Charles. He hadn’t put up much of a fight.

‘I wanted to thank you. I wanted to say that, if I ever do find someone… someone to really love… then I hope I can be as much of a gentleman, and as much of a lover, as you are with me.’

‘Charles, please, it’s really not necessary –’

Bingley had shifted towards him, rested an undemanding hand on his waist. ‘Oh, it is certainly necessary to thank you,’ he retorted with a laugh. ‘I had so little idea! Some lover I would have made without your guidance.’

‘Well,’ Darcy managed, ‘it’s not as if you haven’t taught me a thing or two. I, uh – I never would have –’ And it was true, that he’d never known it could be so easy and fun and simple. ‘There is a sweet lightness, in the morning, when you…’ But he couldn’t say it. Surely Bingley would take his meaning. He tried not to imagine Elizabeth Bennet laughing in the early light, and lazing around in his arms, delaying breakfast. ‘You have shown me things that are far more valuable.’

‘I’m glad.’

Darcy was, too. If only he didn’t feel too sad to say so.

‘And,’ Bingley added more solemnly, ‘I also wanted to let you know that when you do finally decide not to be such a gentleman… I won’t mind.’

‘What?’ he whispered. Misgivings curled in his gut.

‘I thought I’d better say it plainly, in daylight, when I’m not so… When you can trust that it isn’t just because you’ve succeeded so well in seducing me.’

‘No, Charles…’ He turned to his friend, saw the usual blessedly open candour there. Of course Bingley was perfectly genuine and unafraid. But Darcy himself was – ‘No, I couldn’t possibly presume – It’s not a question of –’

‘Is it not?’ Bingley seemed, for once, a little sceptical.

‘No, I promise you.’

There was a hint of disappointment on Bingley’s face. Relief, too, there was no doubting that, but disappointment, and even a little yearning. The misgivings coiling within Darcy abruptly became something fiercer. A voice within him cried, Go to it, man!

But he forced himself to smile benignly, and he pressed a kiss to his friend’s temple. ‘Thank you, Charles, for your generosity. But it’s really not necessary.’

There was another letter from Lady Catherine waiting on the breakfast table. Darcy eyed it warily, having dared to ignore her last. That way lay weeks of boredom and irritation and chagrin. But also another way of forgetting. Of forgetting more than Elizabeth.

‘A letter from Kent,’ he announced heavily. ‘I think I won’t be able to avoid her invitation any longer. We had better part ways.’

Bingley was looking at him with genuine pain. ‘I am sorry to hear it,’ he said evenly.

‘No more than I,’ Darcy responded. But he had better quit now before he did more harm than good.

The increasing frustration of being near her without being able to speak with her of more than the commonplace, without being entitled to reach for her. His proposals bursting from him at last. Her blunt refusals. Her accusations. A night of writing his proud justifications in a letter to her.

And then running again, back to London. Back to Bingley.

Charles’ wariness that night, and then the glimpse of fear in his eyes once they were alone in the firelight; and yet Darcy persisted in his seduction, and Charles surrendered as they’d both known he would.

It was only afterwards that the changes began.

‘I am so very sorry,’ Darcy said. And for the first time in his life, he felt truly humbled by the contemplation of the arrogance of his own actions. For the first time, he honestly felt regret.

‘There is no need for apologies,’ Charles bravely replied. ‘I said that you might do as you would.’

‘My dearest friend. My only friend. I have behaved abominably. I have no right to even ask your forgiveness.’

‘Well, you shall have it regardless.’ But Charles was looking at him askance, as if more worried and confused by the aftermath than by the act itself. ‘What is it, Fitzwilliam? What is wrong? What has changed since last you were here?’

‘I cannot say… I cannot say.’ Darcy’s thoughts were a whirl. He suspected… ‘I suspect I have made a mistake. Maybe I’ve been wrong, misguided. Or perhaps just…’ But when he looked at Bingley, he discovered that his friend was frowning sceptically. Well, Darcy knew he had been wrong in this at least. He reached a careful hand to cup that handsome face. ‘Are you hurt, my friend? Let me take care of you.’

Bingley submitted to his ministrations without a word. Darcy held him afterwards, more tenderly than he’d ever held anyone before. But his mind was racing furiously. Elizabeth’s accusations weren’t all fair, he was sure of that. But he was beginning to wonder if his justifications weren’t, either. Perhaps the truth lay somewhere in between. The thought was painful. Cracks had appeared in the façade of his edifice.

‘But what is wrong?’ Bingley asked again in a whisper.

‘I am not sure,’ Darcy replied. ‘Perhaps I am. Perhaps I have been wrong all along.’

And he couldn’t possibly credit Bingley’s protests.

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