A/N: Okay, I seriously need to go to some kind of Mary Poppins fanfiction rehab because I just can't seem to stop writing them! I mean, I start university in a week and instead of packing I'm doing this! Haha!

Anyway, I really hope you enjoy this little one-shot...and, knowing me, I'll probably post some new stories soon! XD

Things Half In Shadow

"I'm so sorry, Bert…" Mary breathes as she sinks down onto the sofa – tears spilling from her eyes.

Bert could feel his heart shatter as he sits down next to her and pulls her delicate frame into his embrace.

"'ey now, don't be silly, Mary…none of this is your fault" he soothes.

"I just feel like it is, though" she whimpers into his shirt.

"It's not, it's nobody's fault, okay? Nobody can be blamed for any of this…we're just 'aving a bit of bad luck, that's all"

She eventually looks up at him – her eyes reddening slightly and glazed over with tears.

"You're not angry, are you?"

"Oh, Mary…" he sighs desperately as he kisses her temple, "…of course I'm not…I could never be angry with you…besides, I've got no reason to be – like I said, this isn't anybody's fault…" he brushes away her tears with his thumb, "…please don't be upset, love"

"How can I not be upset? How can I try and be happy when I can see how much this is hurting you?" she was being so uncharacteristically weak – but she just couldn't fight it anymore.

He pulls her back against him and a strangled breath leaves his lips.

"I'm not 'urt, love…"

"Please don't lie for my sake, Bert…" she whimpers, "…I know how much you want this and…and I can't give it to you…"

"You can't blame yourself, Mary – not when you 'ave no control over the matter…"

"I wish it was all different" she chokes.

Bert kisses the top of her head.

"I know you do, love…an' I do too…but nothin' is set in stone, so there's no use admittin' defeat"

Mary clings to Bert for a while and lets a few moments pass.

"Bert?" she whispers – almost inaudibly.

"Yeah?"

She hesitates for just a moment and swallows the lump in her throat.

"What if I can't have children?"

"Then that's the way it'll be…"

"But -"

"Listen, Mary-" he turns to face her, takes her hands in his own and smooths his thumb over her wedding ring, "—I love you – more than anythin' else in the world an' although I would love to start a family with you, the most important thing to me is that you're happy, healthy and by my side so that I can keep on lovin' you…"

"Do you mean it?"

"Of course I do, Mary – you're my wife an' any life with you is an amazing one…children or no children"

He presses his lips lightly against her forehead.

"Aren't you worried, Bert?" she asks softly, "We've been trying for months and still haven't had any luck"

Of course Bert was worried – more than he could ever truly express. Even when Bert was a teenager he had always liked the idea of being a father, but after falling in love with Mary, after marrying her, he knew that he wanted nothing more than to start a family with her - the love of his life. They had both been so ecstatic by the prospect of having a child, but they had been trying for some five months and still hadn't had any luck. They had been fine with their failures in the beginning – agreeing that such matters weren't always so straight forward, but as the months rolled on without any signs of success, well, it began to wear away at them – especially at Mary. She just felt so guilty. She knew how much Bert wanted children and she wanted them too…the thought of having Bert's children filled her with such euphoria; so each time it didn't work out truly broke her.

"There's no use worryin', love, we'll just 'ave to keep tryin'…an' I just know that things will work out eventually" he soothes – but he's reassuring himself just as much as he's reassuring his wife.

She looks up at him – her eyes resembling those of a fearful child.

"Do you really think so?"

He squeezes her hands.

"I do"

But they end up having the same discussion a month later. They had tried again but nothing has changed for them – instead they're living through the same torturous void of disappointment. Now she is laying in his arms – protected by both the warm blankets of their bed and the security of his embrace. Her face is buried against his chest as she attempts to hide the occasional tear that falls onto her cheeks. She sniffs and Bert smooths his hands through her loose brown locks – doing all the he can to comfort her. A tear falls from Bert's eye too, but he doesn't let her see it, she is already broken enough and the last thing he wants to do is show her his own dismay. He can't bear to see her so heartbroken, and what's worse is that he knows that she blames herself for all of this.

"Bert…" she croaks against his chest.

"If you're going to apologise then please don't…" he says softly, "…this isn't your fault, my love"

She gently wriggles out of his embrace and sits up in the bed – the faint glow of the moonlight twisting around her like a dying spotlight.

"What am I supposed to say, Bert?"

He sits up too, drapes an arm over her shoulder and caresses it through the material of her nightgown.

"You don't need t' say anythin'…"

"Half a year and still no luck…do you think it's just not meant to be?" she whimpers.

"Please don't say that…"

"It's hard not to…you can only be unlucky for so long until it becomes apparent that things simply aren't go to work out…I really don't want to accept it -"

"—then don't"

"But does it look like it's going to play out any other way?..." she sighs, "…every time it doesn't work out is more painful than the last…"

"It 'urts me too, Mary…but it 'urts me more t' see you so upset"

"I'm sorry, dear…" she whispers.

"Mary…do you wanna…stop tryin'?" he asks reluctantly – trying not to let his voice crack a he does so.

Her shoulders slump – defeated.

"I don't want to…but…"

"But what?"

"Oh, Bert…I want to start a family with you so badly…I want to be the mother of your children…but…but I think our luck has run out…and I don't want to stop trying, but I think this is hurting us both too much…"

She was right, it was hurting them both. They had so much love to give and they wanted so badly to have a child together, but each time it didn't work out destroyed them and it was getting harder and harder to look defeat in the eyes and soldier on.

"So we're agreed…" Bert swallows hard…much like Mary, he doesn't really want to stop trying, but he also can't stand it much longer, "…we'll stop tryin'…"

Tears slip down their cheeks.

"Not for good, though?"

"No, not for good…just for a while, at least…until we're ready to try again…"

They lay back down and snuggle into to each other – getting as close as possible.

"I'm sorry, Bert" Mary whispers.

"I'm sorry too" he whispers back.

So that's what they did, they stopped trying. For a while accepting their defeat for an unspecified amount of time was just as painful; Mary would often find herself looking at the house that may be destined to only be a home for two. It was a heavy curtain around them and they constantly felt as if there was something missing from their lives. Of course, they still loved each other more than anything else in the world – there was no doubt about that – but they would always find themselves sharing a look they proved that they were still desperate for a child.

Mary's job didn't help either. She was surrounded by children every day and as much as she cared for them and loved her duties as a nanny, seeing other families so happy really stung – especially when her duties were done. Saying goodbye to a family had always been the most harrowing part of Mary's occupation, but as she began to temporarily accept that she may never have children of her own, well, it made seeing the fixed families so torturous…it reminded her of what she and Bert might never have.

Still, as the months went on, things slowly started to become easier; their lives rolled on as normal and despite any dismay, they made a silent promise to take each day at a time and to make the most of it. After all, they still had each other and their love was unconditional. By the December rolled around their wounds had started to heal and the pain had been relived. They still hadn't made any decisions to start trying again, but they both silently suspected that such a discussion would not be far away.

Bert comes home one evening – a few days before Christmas – and is almost knocked off his feet when Mary practically throws herself into his arms and holds him tightly.

"Oh, Bert!" he hears her sigh – with a hint of desperation.

Soon he feels her lips capture his own, but when she pulls back he can see that her eyes are red – she's been crying.

"Mary, is everythin' alright?" he asks – his voice overflowing with concern.

"I need to talk to you" she sniffs as she leads him into the drawing room and sits him down on the sofa.

She stands in front of him and spends a few seconds simply trying to figure out what to say – he can see her struggling.

"You're not sick are you?"

"No, I'm perfectly healthy" there's a twist of fear in her voice.

"So, what's this all about? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine…it's just that…well, it's just that there's something that I need to tell you – that we need to talk about…" she swallows hard and continues her uncharacteristically muddled speech, "…and since I got home I've done nothing but try and figure out what to say to you and -"

"—Mary, please…" he interrupts – his eyes conveying his panic.

"I'm pregnant, Bert" she finally says – blushing slightly as the words fall from her lips.

Bert's eyes become wide and for a while all he can do is stare at her in disbelief.

"What did you just say?" he asks – his lips beginning to curl into a powerful beam.

"I'm pregnant…" she repeats, "…we're going to have a baby"

Without letting another second pass, Bert leaps from the sofa, lifts Mary off the ground and twirls her through the air; when he eventually sets her down, their lips join in a kiss filled with so much love that they struggle to catch their breath once they part.

"We're really gonna have a baby?" Bert questions giddily.

"Yes" she giggles in response – still trying to comprehend the miracle that's occurred.

"But we haven't even been tryin'"

"Well, we haven't exactly been chaste, though, have we?" she points out as her cheeks flush with colour. So do Bert's.

"I suppose not" he giggles before bringing his hand to her stomach.

As their eyes meet everything becomes so tranquil and so perfect…all those months of pain begin to melt away as they can finally take the next long-awaited step in their life together.

"You, Mary Alfred, are goin' t' be the greatest mother that ever lived" he smiles.

"Well, I'm sure your skills as a father will be most satisfactory" she teases.

Bert looks down at where his hand is for just a moment.

"I can't believe it" he breathes – his eyes beginning to glaze over with tears.

"Neither can I" Mary replies as she places her hand on top of his.

Bert kisses her soundly before resting his forehead against hers.

"I love you, Mary Alfred" he seems to savour every single syllable in her name.

"I love you too"

As their lips come together again they hold each other close and they are overwhelmed by the love and joy of this moment…they're finally able to start a family together – and they couldn't be happier.

**!**

A/N: So, there you go! This was just a little idea I had, but I think it turned out quite nicely - and I only intended it to be a short little one-shot.

BUT! If you do want to read a more detailed story about Mary and Bert having a child, then you might like to check out one of my other Mary Poppins stories: "Come What May" - there's plenty there to read! ... Okay, that's enough shameless self promotion for now! XD

I really hope you enjoyed that and I'd love to hear your thoughts!

See you soon! xx