This came about a couple of weeks ago, in a conversation on Tumblr about a picture from 2.01, where someone noticed that Matthew had razor burn on his throat, and basically it became a conversation about what would happen if Matthew was trying to shave and couldn't manage it, so Mary does it instead, and this is what I came up with.
In Sickness and In Health
"Damn!" His voice travelled from the bathroom, followed by something clattering in the sink. She frowned and pulled her dressing gown on as she got out of the bed, heading to the bathroom.
"Matthew? Are you alright?" He was stood over the sink, just in his pyjama bottoms, holding a cloth to his face. "What happened?" She rushed to his side, hands reaching for him.
"It's nothing. I just…I caught myself with the razor," he frowned, turning away from her slightly, frustrated that he seemed unable to complete something that he had done hundreds of times before, and wishing that his hands would stop trembling.
"Let me see, please," she spoke softly, knowing that he was already on edge, having barely slept the night before. This day…it was like it had happened only yesterday; everything was still so fresh and raw. Though she would never fully understand just how much it affected him, she would always be there to help him through it, always. She had promised…for better, for worse, to love and to cherish. She reached up and took the cloth from him. It was spotted with blood, but not a lot. She leaned in and carefully examined his jaw. It was only a small cut, nothing too serious.
"Why don't you sit, and I'll clean this up," she met his gaze and smiled kindly at him, steering him backwards towards the edge of the bathtub. He nodded. She dipped the cloth into the warm water and crossed back to him, gently wiping it across his face, cleaning off the lather as well. He closed his eyes and sighed. It felt nice, soothing. He sensed her move away, heard the faint rustle of her dressing gown as she moved, and then he felt something…he opened his eyes and she was leaning in, holding the brush in one hand and the shaving cream in the other, covering his face.
"Mary, you don't have to," he reached out and held her wrist, stopping her, looking deeply into her eyes.
"No. But I want to. Let me, please," she kissed his forehead and he nodded. She swallowed as she continued with the soft brush, willing her mind not to wander back to then…
His eyes drifted shut again…he was exhausted, all night he'd been plagued with nightmares. No not nightmares. Because it had all happened. Memories. Memories that only ever plagued him in November. She moved away, and then…he felt her leg nudge his knees apart so she was almost straddling his thigh, his hands automatically moved to her waist to steady her, clutching at the silk that covered her. Then he felt the razor on his face. She took her time, taking care not to catch his existing cut. Every so often she would stop, and he could imagine her wiping the razor on a cloth, and he started to wonder where…how… she had learnt to shave a man, and as he thought about it, he realised…
"You did this when I came back didn't you?" He opened his eyes and met hers.
"Yes. Sybil showed me how," she paused, losing herself in his impossibly blue gaze. "Well darling, I didn't think you'd suit a beard!" She smiled, trying to lighten the mood, but she was dwelling on that first time, another life ago now, it seemed…Sybil had shown her once, and then watched her older sister as she carefully repeated the actions, taking her time, taking care not to cut his already battered face. She stopped once he had fully regained consciousness; how would…could she have explained it to him, to…everyone other than Sybil? It was always so painful to be reminded of that time. So painful. His heart swelled with love and he didn't think he could possibly love her any more than he did at that moment.
"Thank you. Not just for this. For then too," she nodded and leaned to kiss his forehead again, lingering as she willed her tears away.
"Now, this will never do, I've not finished yet," he smiled fondly as she straightened, recognising her deflection, and he tilted his head back as she dragged the razor along his neck, taking even more care. She was so gentle, always so gentle and tender and loving… He sighed and his hands slid to her hips, not even thinking about it as he pulled her slightly closer, watching her as she continued, her face set in a frown of concentration.
After a while, she took his face in her free hand and gently turned it from side to side.
"There, I think I've got it all," she wiped off the excess lather from his face with the damp cloth and pulled away from him, replacing the razor at the sink and running the taps. He watched her as she set about her new task with practiced efficiency, and another thought struck him - how often had she tended to him? How much had she done for him without him even knowing? They never spoke of…that time. It was the past, and it hurt to relive it, but seeing her do something as mundane as washing a razor, as if she had done it all her life, he realised that his thanks from only minutes ago was not enough. Would never be enough. She had been there, and she had nursed him, and done it without needing to, and without thanks. It was too much, and he felt a crushing sensation in his chest. How had he underestimated her feelings for him? He stood and crossed to her in three steps, wrapping his arms around her waist and burying his face in her neck.
"I'm sorry. I didn't know just how much you did for me," he whispered, pulling her close to him, her hands coming to rest on his chest. She nodded against him, understanding his apology, the recognition that he finally knew everything.
"No. I didn't want you to, I suppose, and at the time… It was nothing."
"Mary, it was not nothing, and don't ever say otherwise again," he pulled back to look at her, eyes roaming over her face, lingering on her mouth for a moment. Oh how he wanted to kiss her... He tilted his head and leaned…
"Darling, I hadn't finished. Go and sit back down," she spoke quickly and smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes. She was trying so hard to keep it together. She had to be strong for him, for today. Especially today. He did as she asked and he went back to watching her soak a fresh flannel in some clean hot water before crossing back to him, gently patting his face and neck with the cloth. He reached for her free hand and laced their fingers together, squeezing gently. She met his gaze with a small smile, a real one this time, and let the flannel fall to the floor and she reached to caress his now smooth cheeks.
"All done," she whispered. Though she didn't mind the rough stubble that covered his face in a morning, she much preferred him clean-shaven. Their eyes were locked and she stepped closer to him, bending her head to kiss him properly, reminding them both that their usual morning routine had been disrupted by his restless mood. She moved and settled herself on his lap, his arousal already evident through his thin pyjama bottoms. Both balancing precariously on the edge of the bath as their arms wrapped around each other. She kissed her way down the softness of his cheek, down to his neck, across the endearing razor burn he always seemed to get there. He held her close and moaned softly, claiming her lips once more, before easing up to stand, careful not to drop her as her legs wrapped around his waist, and carried her towards their bedroom, not breaking the slow, searching kiss. Maybe he wouldn't ever be able to make it up to her completely, but he could certainly try…
Thank you for reading! Any feedback/reviews are always appreciated!