Could you see yourself unhappy with him
(REUPLOAD For The-Passionate-Sun as a very, very belated birthday gift because I'm useless and she's grand and she has quite possibly read every Mary/Matthew fic on here and deserves some more. Now I better write this fic before I get even more disgustingly sentimental on you, M.)
He doesn't quite know when it happens- when he falls for the Lady Mary Crawley, that is. At first he's disgusted with himself. She's everything he had come here hating. The rich, entitled daughter of an earl, never having known a real day of work in her life.
But then- and he still doesn't know if, in fact, it's actually him, but - she softens. She talks of literature, and makes these snappy comments that he can't help but laugh about late at night when he's in bed, and sometimes she'll direct a smile his way and...
And he starts to fall for her. Especially when she tells him things, things that make him see the vulnerable, frustrated girl that she still is. "My life makes me angry, not you." "You should learn to forget what I say. I know I do."
He supposes he likes to hear these things not because they make him feel sorry for her, but because they make her human. And because he has the distinct impression that no one else has been told but him. And the idea that Mary is telling him things that she hasn't told others; that they have secrets together... It gives him a sort of thrill.
...Yes. He's in love with her very much, he's decided.
"I don't know why you don't just marry Matthew already." Her mother sighs; making it sound like marriage is a decision comprisable to choosing a new dress.
Mary bristles. It's exactly statements like that that make her reject the idea of being Mrs. Matthew Crawley (no title on the front of his name, she can't help but note).
"Mama, you might as well give up on Matthew and me. We're hardly compatible."
"You're very compatible," Her grandmother buts in as they sit in one of the sunnier parlours drinking tea. "You have Downton in common."
Edith hides a smirk behind her teacup, thoroughly enjoying the attack on her sister, Mary's sure.
"...Matthew is very nice, Mary," Sybil interrupts cautiously.
"You too? Sybil the revolutionary is pushing me towards-"
"I'm not pushing you towards anything, Mary! I'm just saying that out of all of your suitors..." Sybil seems to work up the nerve to continue. "Matthew is actually a genuine one. You can't tell me that you could see yourself unhappy with him, Mary."
There's a sarcastic remark on her lips, but Mary resists. Because Sybil's said something that makes her think. You can't tell me that you could see yourself unhappy with him.
And no, no she can't. Because she's not naive to how Matthew feels about her. He clearly harbours some sort of affection for her with those looks he directs her way. And they're not unwelcome with those blue eyes of his and that smile that lights up his face, either. And more than that, Matthew's kind. She can just see him, bringing her tea, and kissing her when he comes home from work. She can see them raising children together, and him being gentle with them. Being gentle with her. She can even see him forgiving her for something... Something unforgivable.
But more than any of that, she can see herself loving him.
"No," She manages to choke out, sensing her family staring. "No I can't see myself unhappy with Matthew."
The next time they see each other is just...
Well it's awkward. Matthew's realized that he's in love with her, and Mary's realized that if she isn't yet, she's well on her way to being it.
(In short, he knocks over his full dinner plate when she mentions his name- "Yes, Matthew said about the cottages, Papa,"-and she spills her wine onto the floor between them when she brushes his arm whilst picking up her glass).
And then somehow, miraculously after dinner, they're left alone in the library.
(Mary swears she sees Sybil and her grandmother shepherding her father away).
"... I assure that you're in good health?"
"Yes," Mary tells him, thankful that at least one of them has made conversation.
"I only ask due to bouts of the flu going around. I- I wouldn't want you... Ill." He finishes awkwardly.
Mary just smiles at him kindly. "I wouldn't want you ill either, Matthew."
They stand there, statuesque for a moment, before the tension seems to break, Matthew coming over to the couch she's standing next to and sitting down, gesturing for her to do the same.
"Reading anything good at the moment?"
"I am actually, it's called Sons and Lovers-"
"The new Lawrence novel!" Matthew interrupts excitedly. "I'm rather a fan of his other two works."
"You must borrow it, then, after I've read it. We can talk of it together."
"I'd like that." He says softly, those blue eyes of his locked firmly on hers in a heavy gaze.
"Yes," She mutters softly, unable to draw her eyes away.
"Mary..." Matthew says, scooting closer to her on the couch, "I..."
The library door bursts open.
"Oh!" Edith says, "We were just wondering where you two got to."
Mary's jaw clenches.
"Right, of course," Matthew says, standing up suddenly. "Sorry, we were just discussing-"
"Who was wondering where Matthew and I got to, Edith?"
"Father." Edith replies tersely.
"...It's getting late; I should see if my mother wants to go home. I know she's planning on going to the hospital tomorrow." Matthew says in the tense silence that's settled between the two sisters.
"Of course, Cousin Matthew." Edith says, taking the lead out of the room.
Mary wearily wipes a hand over her face when she thinks Matthew isn't looking. (He is).
He seems to hesitate over his decision, but before he skirts out of the room, Matthew kisses Mary's cheek daringly.
"Goodnight, Mary." He murmurs as he takes his leave.
The next few days finds Mary in a disorientated state, wandering around the grounds aimlessly, unable to focus on her book or any of her usual hobbies.
It's that kiss. Really, it was nothing. But she can't stop thinking about it. It was totally innocent- and Mary's far from innocent- but...
It makes her heart flutter and her head think of ridiculous things.
But still, for all of her romantic ideals surrounding these thoughts, there's a sense of foreboding in the back of everything that she does, because Matthew... Matthew's unsullied and pure. He's the white knight whilst she's the black queen. And once she tells him what she's done... None of the things she's starting to wish would come to fruition ever will.
It's enough to make anyone nervous for the future.
It happens on the next Sunday. Matthew and his mother have been invited for dinner at Downton and while his mother is busy in the afternoon (no doubt arguing over something with Cousin Violet), Matthew goes down earlier to take a walk around the grounds, wanting to enjoy the sunny weekend that he's been offered.
"Matthew?" She asks halfway through his walk as he ambles around the vast grounds.
"Oh!" He says, turning around to find Mary in a very pretty black and white dress. "Hello." He smiles.
They're totally alone. And before something else happens, before she and Matthew become more intertwined, Mary needs to tell him. Mary needs to tell someone, she realizes.
"I have to talk to you."
"Alright," He says bemusedly, leading them over to a bench a few metres away. "Although it's just me, Mary. There's no need to sound so nervous."
Yes there is.
Tears start to leak down Mary's cheeks. "I'm sorry." She says, "I'm so-"
"Don't apologize," He snaps. "You didn't do anything to me."
"But I did!" She protests vehemently. "I ruined our chances of ever having anything together, Matthew, don't you see that!"
"Of course I see!" He says, starting to pace angrily.
Mary feels like she's going to collapse.
"You could have never told me," He says, "You could have had me propose and marry you and hold you in the highest respect."
"Exactly!" She yells, "And it would have all been a lie! You think I wanted to tell you this? You think that I'm proud of what I've done? I'm damaged goods, Matthew! And I couldn't have you hold me on an undeserved pedestal any longer."
"You are not damaged goods." He mutters angrily in her direction.
"Oh but I am." She laughs self-deprecatingly. "I am the exact meaning of the words."
Matthew sits back down next to her, and to her surprise, grasps her arm carefully.
"I... I don't understand why you... Maybe it was love-"
"It was lust, Matthew. I'm nothing more than a common-"
"Don't," He hisses, more furious than she's ever seen him. "Don't belittle this, Mary. Not when I'm trying to understand."
Mary quiets at that. "I'm sorry. But not for telling you."
"No," He agrees. "I'm glad that you did."
"...I don't... I don't suppose..."
"You don't suppose what?" He asks her quietly.
"...I don't suppose you could ever forgive me?" She asks him boldly, facing the ground.
"Mary..." He says softly, and his hand is now rubbing circles into her arm. "Mary, I don't need to forgive you. There's nothing to forgive. You didn't do anything to me."
"I did everything to you, Matthew-"
"No you didn't. And if this was reversed, if you were the heir: the son, then there would be nothing particularly scandalous in your actions. And it would hardly be fair of me to hold you to something just because of your sex, Mary."
She shakes her head at him.
"Matthew... You haven't had time to think about this. About what you're saying."
"I don't need time. I love you, Mary. And if this is all that is between us-"
"You say this now, but in a day; a week; in ten years time, Matthew-"
"In ten years time?" He asks, and to Mary's surprise, to her utter disbelief, he's smiling. "You've thought about us arguing in ten years time?"
"...Matthew," She says lowly, "You're completely avoiding the problem here-"
"Do you love me, Mary?"
"Please," He begs. "Don't... Don't string me along any longer."
"Yes." She whispers, unable to look him in the eye. "I love you, Matthew. Very much so."
"Well then." He says. "That settles it."
She dares to look up at him. "Settles what?"
"I'll have to marry you, won't I?" He says with a sigh. But there's a grin on his face that she can clearly make out through her tears.
"You're ridiculous," She tells him. "Absolutely mad."
"Mary," He says, his voice low and husky in her ear as he leans close. "Forgive me, but Pamuk is dead. I don't think he can hinder you and me any longer."
Mary can't breathe when he's this close and saying these things in her ear.
"...You can't know that," She feebly protests.
Matthew just smirks. "I feel quite confident that he won't."
And then he kisses her. He kisses her. He kisses her. It's heavy, and passionate and it's just so, so good.
Mary breaks off with a gasp. "We're... We're right out in public, Matthew. We could... We could be seen..."
"Do you really care?" He asks her between kisses, sounding just as breathless as she does.
"No," She answers. "No, I don't mind at all." She laughs, throwing her arms around Matthew's neck and pulling him close.
"Did you mean it earlier, Mary? When you said that you could be happy with Matthew?"
"I don't think I could be happy with anyone else, Sybil."
"...You... Do you...?"
"I love him. I love Matthew, Sybil."
"Then you'll surely be happy with him!"
"You love him, and I'm sure that he loves you, Mary! You'll be perfect together!"
"You see the world so simply sometimes, Sybil."
"Sometimes that's all the world is though, don't you see? You and Matthew just make it hard on yourselves."
"...Perhaps we do, Sybil. Perhaps we will. Maybe for the rest of our lives we'll make it hard on each other."
"I do hope so. That would be terribly romantic."
A review a day sends good karma your way/sorry for deleting this in the first place ha ha ha.