There was no need to inform the coachman. All of Darcy's men knew to stop the carriage on the ridge so that the first, magnificent sight of Pemberley could be enjoyed.
The carriage gently rolled to a halt. Darcy lifted his son from where the boy was drowsing against Elizabeth's side and settled him onto his lap, pointing out the window.
"Look, son. Pemberley."
The great house glowed in the midday sun, brilliantly nestled in the splendour of Derbyshire in spring.
The boy's eyes widened at the sight, and his father watched him, a glorious ache kindling in his chest.
"Yes. Pemberley. That is our family's home, and has been for many, many generations. It is my greatest responsibility to take care of it until I can give it to you. It will be yours to care for until you can pass its care on to your own son."
The boy was entirely too young to understand, Darcy knew, but he listened eagerly, his dark eyes solemnly studying his father's face, and Darcy could not help himself. He tousled his son's wild curls before pressing a kiss to them, delighting in the boy's husky laugh.
Darcy wondered if his father -- and his father's father, and all the fathers that came before -- had felt this same incredible, overwhelming pride. The feeling of connection, of being a single link in an unbroken chain that spanned centuries, swept over him in a way it never had before, stealing his breath.
His bewildered glance caught his wife's as she sat beside him, a tender smile gracing her beautiful face as she watched him speak so seriously to his young heir. Her hand lay protectively on the gentle swell of her stomach, lovingly guarding their second child within.
That glorious ache surged until it threatened to tear him to shreds. He did not know what he had done to deserve this fierce, terrifying joy, but he would spend his life endeavouring to make himself worthy of it.
He wrapped his arms around his family, embracing them tightly as the driver took them all home.