A herd of teal deer

Looking over “Pride and Prejudice” again for reasons, uh, entirely unrelated to fandom, and I’d kind of forgotten how much I love the Gardiners’ evolving relationship with Darcy.

At Pemberley, they’re like “well, he’s kind of formal and awkward, but in an oddly sweet way” or “of course he’s not as incredibly handsome as Wickham … well, we’re not sure … he’s not as expressive as Wickham, maybe, but he’s still SUPER ATTRACTIVE” or “gosh, he doesn’t seem like the inheritance fraud type.” And then Mrs Gardiner really wants to talk about him and Elizabeth really wants to talk about them so neither of them talk about him ANGST and Mrs Gardiner ends up wondering if they’re secretly engaged. (Now I want secretly engaged!Darcy-and-Elizabeth fic, and no, I have no idea how this would work, and I’d have a 20k+ story planned if I let myself think about it.)

And then there are the third-hand London scenes, where Darcy basically steamrollers them, but is really nice (if perpetually formal and awkward) about it. And they’re like, oh, secret engagement, all for looooove, that’s adorable! Wait, why doesn’t she know about it? But seriously, he’s awesome and we love him and a lively wife would be really good for him, just saying, and sorry if we’re pushing this too hard. But please let us visit when you marry him, lol. I want ponies. (And then they all end up super-close and Darcy adores them and <3 <3 <3)

…I also want a fic where the Gardiners’ visit happens to take place way earlier, like before Wickham shows up, and it’s just fluffy fluff with the Gardiners being awesome and Darcy having to confront his prejudices way earlier and therefore Elizabeth having to confront hers and … yeah. I thought all the fluff had been written!