Fitzwilliam Darcy chuckled to himself as he strode down the hallway leading to the master bedrooms at Pemberley. Listening to groaning and sniffles coming from within the Mistress's room, Darcy knocked tentatively on the door.
"Come in," a weak voice called out. Darcy obeyed and opened the door, balancing a tray in his hands.
He smiled cheerily at his wife, as Elizabeth sleepily opened her eyes to see who it was.
"Good afternoon, my love! I hope you are feeling better," he greeted her as he set the tray down on her bedside table.
Elizabeth rolled over and mumbled something in reply, a faint smile coming to her lips.
Mr. Darcy began to help his wife to sit up in bed as he spoke, "I have brought you some tea, with honey, for your throat. And Mrs. Reynolds sent up some chicken broth. She says it will do wonders for your cold, if you will eat something."
Piling pillows behind her back, Darcy noticed Elizabeth begin to suck in breath, as if preparing for a monstrous sneeze. He quickly pulled out his handkerchief and held it out to her just in time to catch the brunt of her sneeze on his arm.
Grimacing comically as he used the handkerchief he had intended for Elizabeth to wipe off his own hand, his wife commented, "Come now, Fitz, you don't seem too keen on the sharing of bodily fluids!"
"For you, Elizabeth, I will do anything...even be used as a personal handkerchief!" he replied amiably. Mr. Darcy finished making Mrs. Darcy comfortable in a sitting position, and then placed the tray in her lap. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he gently held the teacup up to her lips.
After taking a sip of steaming hot cup of tea, Elizabeth groaned melodramatically and sighed, "You don't know what I suffer!"
Darcy smiled and replied, "Just don't mention your nerves, my dear. I never knew you had such a flair for the dramatic!"
Elizabeth smiled at her husband's teasing. She did tend to exaggerate when she was sick, but the truth was that she felt horrible. "I have such achings in my back and poundings in my head..." Elizabeth continued, much to the amusement of Mr. Darcy.
Mr. Darcy continued to give his wife her tea and broth as their conversation kept on in this teasing tone. Then, he helped her to settle down in the bed again, as she yawned.
"There now, dearest Elizabeth...go back to sleep. You will be your old self in no time, if you will only get the rest you need," he whispered as he stroked her hair. She smiled wearily up at him and then closed her eyes. He stayed, continuing to stroke her hair, until the measured rhythm of her breathing told him that she had finally fallen asleep. Leaning forward to kiss her on the forehead, he whispered, "Get well soon, dearest."
He silently lifted himself from her side, opened the door and let himself out, carrying the tray and empty dishes.
An hour later, while walking down the corridors of Pemberley House, Mr. Darcy again found occasion to chuckle to himself as he heard a violent "Ah-choo!" emanate from the Mistress's chambers.
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