A/N: I have no excuse except it's 23 August (read A Lady Needn't Fear…) and I've been listening to a certain musical about a certain playwright a little too much as of late.
Bert had been sitting alone drawing when an unexpected knock sounded on his door. Even more unexpected was the woman standing in front of him when he opened it.
"Good afternoon, Bert." she smiles to her friend, inviting herself in.
A gasp sounds behind Bert. "Do my eyes deceive me or could it be Mary Poppins."
Mary beams at the mention on her name and moves to embrace the older woman. "Hello, Mum. How have things been around here?"
"Oh, this and that, but how about you, my dear! My it's been nearly a year, has it not! Have you anything to eat? Oh, nevermind, I'll make you up something straight away."
Before Mary can protest the woman removes herself to the kitchen - not that Mary Poppins would object to the hospitality.
"So?" Bert saunters over to Mary with a mischievous grin.
"So what?" She plays into his game. Of course, she knows what he's implying.
"Today's not your usual day off. Pray tell: 'ow did ya' ever manage t' convince your master t' give ya the extra day?"
A similar smile creeps into Mary's lips. "Are you implying I put the idea into his head? Honestly, Bert, what kind of person do you think me to be?"
Bert snakes his arm around her waist and places a kiss on her temple. "A quite lovely one."
Mary looks up to him, only to roll her eyes a take a step away. "Must I explain everything to you?"
Bert laughs in response. "I thought you never explained anything? Is that not what you tell your charges?"
Mary can't help smiling a bit at his comment as well. "Are you one of my charges?"
Fair enough. "Well, could it have anything to do with our friendaversary?"
"And where did you hear that word?" the girl laughs.
"Made it up!" the boy boasts back, straightening his nonexistent bowtie. "But that doesn't make it any less true."
"That it does not." Mary agrees. "And I thought it shouldn't be the first one we spend apart."
"Oh, how thoughtful of you, Mary. Now, are you sure you didn't manipulate your master in any way?"
"Bert!" Mary playfully smacks her friend. "The parents were taking their children on an outing today."
Bert has an idea of what she means by that, but doesn't want to ruin this moment. "So, 'ave you anythin' in mind?"
The nanny's eyes light up. "We should go to a play!"
"A play? You can't be serious!" Bert replies, genuinely shocked by the suggestion.
"I am!" Mary chides. "I was in Kensington Gardens with my charges the other day and met a couple of boys there. Their nurse told me they are friends of J.M. Barrie."
"The playwright?" Bert interrupts, shocked.
"Yes, do keep up. Anyway, she told me the boys were what inspired him to write his play Peter Pan. It opened last winter and I figured now was as a good a time as ever to see it."
"Oh, yea. I've 'eard 'bout it." Bert comments, pondering on her suggestion. "That's about the boy who doesn't grow up, right?"
"Precisely. You'll like it - you two have much in common." Mary remarks, earning her a hurt expression from Bert before he cracks into his signature lopsided grin.
"Very funny, Miss Poppins."
"Really though, Bert. We should go! Get dressed - you have to look nice." Mary address her friend as though he is one of the children she looks after.
"And you're going like that." Bert mockingly criticizes.
Mary rolls her eyes, a common reaction to her friend's constant nonsensical comments. "Of course not. I have a dress in my bag. Now, hurry along."
"Don't we 'ave to get tickets?" Bert asks, reluctantly walking to his room to change.
If he hadn't been, he would have noticed Mary look down to her sensible shoes before sheepishly calling back "I may or may not have already bought them."
However, she reassumes her practically perfect posture as Bert's comforting voice answers back. "That's my girl."
"Ya know, Mar. I'm so happy we did this." Bert smiles down to his friend as he escorts her from the theatre.
"As am I!" She gleefully responds. "Oh, I do hope you enjoyed it as much as I did."
"It was extraordinary!" Bert replies. "They had actors flying across the stage. And I have to admit, I almost cried when Peter said Tinkerbell was going to die."
"No surprise on that score. You can be so sensitive sometimes." Mary laughs. "It truly was spectacular."
"'Ey, Mar, 'ow does it feel t' know ya could be replaced by a dog." Bert teases.
"Please, Bert. The darlings need me as much as any other family I've been with." Mary answers, as though it was obvious all along what she was thinking.
"Now, may I escort you home, Miss Poppins."
"If by home, you mean your flat, of course, Mr. Alfred." Mary replies with a smirk.
Bert's heart leaps at her comment, but tries to best to hide it. "Are you not due back to your charges."
"Would I stay out this late with a man if I was." Mary stares straight into Bert's gaze, giving him chills.
The pair walks home without another word, enjoying the silence and company of each other. At the top of the stairs, Bert reaches for his keys, but is stopped by Mary's hand gently grabbing his wrist.
"Wait." She apprehensively says, letting her hand slip into his.
Bert removes his hand from hers not a moment later. Mary looks to the floor to hide the color growing in her cheeks from embarrassment. Seeing this, Bert places one hand firmly on her waist and the other under her chin to tilt her head up to. He looks into her eyes and Mary all but melts into his touch. The two stay frozen like that for a few seconds before Mary timidly leans up, Bert meeting her lips halfway.
"I'm sorry." Bert reluctantly says, pulling away.
"Don't be." Mary soothes him, keeping her arms twined around his neck. "Let's go inside, shall we?"
"Er, yeah." Bert opens the door for Mary and they walk inside, awkwardly avoiding eye contact.
Mary speaks to Bert, still avoiding his gaze. "So, I guess I'll sleep on the sofa tonight, then."
Bert refuses to meet her eyes as well. "I think ya know exactly what I'm gonna say to that."
"No, you're right - I'll take your bed." Mary sighs. "I mean, unless you want to…"
Bert takes her hand, finally locking eyes. "Only if you want to."
She offers half a smile and that's enough to make Bert beam down to her. "I do."
Once the two are set for bed, lights out, cuddled up under the sheets, Bert turns to Mary with a question he's been itching to ask all night. "So, 'ow long 'til ya leave London?"
Mary lets out a light breath. "I must be on my way no later than tomorrow morning."
Bert pulls her into a tight embrace. "An' I already can't wait for ya return."
Mary nuzzles further into his grasp. "You're always with me when I'm away, you know that."
"Yes I do." Bert places a few gentle kisses in her hair. "Just go to sleep love."
Mary holds tighter to him. "But the sooner I sleep, the sooner it will be morning."
"Well." Bert practically breathes. "Maybe not right now, but when we're apart that's all ya need do t' find me."
A silence passes without a word. Both thinks the other has fallen asleep. But Bert realises neither has.
He places one last kiss on her head. "You know that place between sleep and awake, that place where you still remember dreaming? That's where I'll always love you. That's where I'll be waiting."
Love it? Hate it? Review it! Thanks for the read, lovelies! - Jillian xx