A/N: This is for catchingbananas1, who has been sick and thought that just the remedy would be a little bit of erotica-inspired smut, in the aftermath of Matthew's recovery.

I haven't had much time so this has been written in about an hour and hasn't been checked or beta-ed - there's really not much rhyme or reason to it, other than a girl has needs and I was bored!

Anyway... this happened. Enjoy! :)

The Memory and Discovery of Touch

He couldn't sleep.

Of course he couldn't sleep. He could walk. Well, not quite, not yet... but he could stand, and that meant he could walk, or would be able to in time! It was... incredible.

Excitement bubbled in his chest, afresh. He'd be able to stand, walk, run, and... everything else that he'd thought he'd never be able to again. His eyes drifted shut as he imagined... a body, a touch, slim fingers, a hot tongue, warm flesh, indiscriminate and undefined in his mind. And shivered at the little thrill of desire.

It was there. For so long he thought he'd imagined it, resigned it to a dream or a memory of a feeling. But now he indulged it, imagining, fantasising, a woman's slender body and long legs and - dark hair -


Feeling too agitated now to think about trying to get back to sleep, he sat up and, very carefully, shifted his legs out of bed. He could do this. There was a chair, in the corner - not his wheelchair, he didn't want to go to that - a normal, straight-backed chair, by the window. And he wanted to go to it.

Grasping the bedhead, he pulled himself up, bracing his hands on the wall. His legs were desperately unsteady, it was difficult, it ached, it took a long time but he made it and sank down gratefully onto the chair.

He stared down at his legs. Pressed his hands to his thighs, pinched them, landed his fist on each with a soft thump and grinned as he felt it. He laughed. Then startled as he heard a noise outside his door.

"Is somebody there?" he called quickly, frowning a little and leaning forwards.

There was silence. Then slowly, the door opened - just a crack at first, then a little more - as Mary peeped her head round, looking a little flushed.

"I couldn't sleep," she whispered, with a little shrug in way of explanation. "And, I - just wanted -" to be here. With him.

"I couldn't either," Matthew smiled. Mary beamed back at him, and came to kneel down beside him.

"I'm so pleased," she grasped his hand without thinking. All that closeness, that easy, natural friendship and companionship they'd shared through the early months of his recovery came flooding so easily back when it was just the two of them. "I'm so pleased for - for you, and Lavinia -"

"Don't," Matthew quieted her, then frowned. "Be - happy for me, that's enough - Mary..."

It was so hard to think of Lavinia when Mary was here, something about it made him feel guilty. He only needed Mary's happiness for him, he only wanted it... Trying to diffuse the sudden tension, he bounced her hand gently on his knee and grinned. "I can feel it," he said breathlessly, his eyes shining at her.

Mary's breathlessness matched his own. She didn't want to think of Lavinia either, or her own fiance. This was enough. The two of them. Responding to his leading, she knelt up higher, straighter, bringing herself more level with him. Her hand slid from his grasp to cover his knee, sliding a little up his thigh in a soft, gentle caress.

"Can you... feel that?" she breathed.

Matthew paled. "Yes."

"And... that?" as her palm grazed higher, higher, slipping over his pyjama trousers, feeling the hard muscles of his thigh beneath.

"Yes." He licked his lips, unable to take his eyes from her. Was this happening?

She breathed. "And... that?"

"Oh God... Yes."

He could feel her palm on him, where he had felt no touch, well... ever, bar his own, and it was more potent than anything he'd felt before and he could feel it. His head fell forwards in a sharp gasp, eyes squeezing shut as his hands found her face, her cheeks, her neck, enclosed by a delicate string of pearls, then her shoulders... "Yes," he whispered again as she stroked, and stroked, with more confidence, licking her lips as she watched his reaction. They were out of time and out of reality and out of... anything, besides this, as she shivered at his hands which had somehow moved from her shoulders to her breasts.

"Matthew..." she murmured, perhaps in reproach though really she could never reproach him for this... and then she was in his lap, straddling him, humming softly as their lips met and opened to each other in a passionate clash, hips grinding together as his fingers fought to release the clasps of her dress. The thin cotton of his pyjama shirt was flung off under her quick fingers, and she stepped back to allow her dress (and corset, and everything else, everything but the pearl necklace because as her fingers went to it he called out "No -") to slip down to the floor before she knelt again, easing his pyjama trousers over his hips and down.

He gasped at the flicker of remembrance that crossed her face, of course... Of course she knew, of course she'd seen him, it suddenly seemed sickeningly obvious and his heart twisted in an ache for her.

"Oh, Mary..." Her name slipped softly past his lips in gratitude, in appreciation as now he saw her... Reaching out to her, his hands took hers as she stood once more, then her hips and pulled her back to him... kisses trailing from her navel, tasting her, licking at her, stretching up to her breasts that were more perfect in their imperfection than in his dreams... Flicking his tongue over and over as he eased her down again into his lap, and -

"Matthew -" This time it was more a groan than a whisper, mingling with his own as she felt him beneath her then... in her, sinking down completely onto him with a sigh of purest satisfaction.

A dry, desperate sob wracked from her throat at the sheer wonder of it, as she took his face in her hands and kissed him again, rocking her hips gently against him. He met her lips, her tongue, with his own, groaning into her mouth, his strong arm curling around her smooth, slender back as his other hand rested lightly on her thigh, fingers tensing, flexing, squeezing. Tighter, as she rocked again, then again, then again, wrenching sharp gasps of pleasure that she felt all through her body.

Everything was hot, tight, perfect, throbbing pulsing, only... "Mary, darling," he gasped, "I - can't..." He burnt, ached, longed to thrust up against her, the instinct flaring up in his core but his muscles would not bear it.

"No, but - I - can," she whispered, her hands twisting into the thickness of his hair as her hips rocked desperately against his, over and over.

Both arms curled up her back, clinging to her, one hand sliding up to the back of her neck and clutching at her necklace as his lips sank to her throat. Her skin was hot, delicious, delicately beading with sweat as the fire within them stoked, and flamed, and tightened, his tongue sweeping into the hollow of her throat. Her head fell back, her ankles anchored around his legs, she fell forwards and clung wildly to him.

Their bodies fit perfectly, beautifully... shadowy in the darkness, quicker, hotter, gasps building to hushed moans, lips and hips and hands meeting in a frenzied storm of discovery. They were together, their glorious, desperate union celebrating Matthew's recovery and every possibility that it promised with every stroke, every perfect, taunting, devastating stroke until suddenly the speed and the heat were too much and Mary cried out, tightening sharply in his arms.

She shook, gasped, curled against him... thrust again, drawing it out, and again, feeling him jerk beneath her, again, as he moaned, again, again, again... Building again, quickening again, slipping over the heat and the slickness of moisture between them, his hands clutching at her back and his lips teasing at her neck until his head flung back, expression twisting into pure, wordless ecstacy as he released and throbbed and pulsed into her.

Reality settled, slowly, comfortably, as she relaxed in his embrace, falling against his chest. Her legs ached, so did his, she was heavy, but it was perfect. A light sheen of sweat glittered over their bodies, the soft light on it bathing them in an aura of completeness.

Her lips nestled tenderly against Matthew's neck, and he rested his cheek softly on her hair.

"Mary," he whispered, sure that she must be a phantom that would disappear as soon as his eyes opened. She had to be, but she was heavy on his lap and he could feel her heat around him still...

"Mm?" She smiled as she felt his arm curl low around her hips, his other around her back, his fingers playing gently with the slick pearls of her necklace.

He turned his head a little, lips curving gently as they pressed against her hair.

"I felt - that..."

She trembled at the warmth of his voice, it seemed to reverberate all through her body down to her very toes, still hooked against his calves.

And then, he added... "You."


A/N: Thank you ever so much for reading! I hope you enjoyed it - as always, I'd love to know what you thought! I may take a cold shower now. Thank you!