The dog really wasn't supposed to have stayed.

Really.

All that was supposed to have happened when Elizabeth returned from her walk with the small, skinny, and rather dirty and shaggy black animal snuggled close in her arms was perhaps to feed the thing, ensure it wasn't hurt, and release it back into Pemberley woods.

But no, Elizabeth had wanted to bathe it and brush it first. And Fitzwilliam had, of course, been made to help. And it was absolutely not because of looks on the faces of his wife and the dratted canine that would have caused a hardened criminal to coo.

And then she had wanted to feed it, allowing the thing to sit in her lap as she hand-fed it scraps of meat because 'he is hungry, Mr. Darcy, and you ought to know how men are when they have not eaten' and it was so thin. And of course Fitzwilliam was certainly not about to have his wife's attention grabbed away entirely by the usurper whose fur was surprisingly soft and warm- not that he would know- and and had thus been forced to sit beside her on the couch well into the evening.

And then Elizabeth had been reluctant to shoo the dog off into the world outside, because it was asleep, which led to her falling asleep thus Fitzwiliam had to carry them both upstairs.

The dog really wasn't supposed to have stayed.

Really.

And yet it somehow did.

Fitzwilliam still wasn't entirely sure how...

but it did make his Elizabeth happy.

...and perhaps it was somewhat endearing.