A/N: Well. This began from a prompt on tumblr, requesting a scenario in which M/M revisit the nightclub scene taking advantage of Mary's 'Mrs Levinson' alias, pretending they don't know each other... and I got hit by the plot bunnies. EOlivet helpfully reminded me that this is my 69th DA fanfiction (it's actually my 70th, but I'm thinking of it like a baker's dozen), for which I had made certain promises...

And, this happened, and I can't quite explain it, but - here you go! Thanks to Pemonynen for listening to me witter on about it and encouragement and to EOlivet for her polish and enthusiasm!

Enjoy...! :P

Strangers In The Night

It was a ridiculous idea. Matthew was sure it was a ridiculous idea, and he couldn't now for the life of him work out whose idea it had been, or how either of them had agreed to it. He wasn't even sure how it would work, and yet… here he was, stepping into the gaudy lights and rhythmic music of a jazz club that he really couldn't tell apart from The Blue Dragon, though he was quite certain it was different… He had no desire to return to precisely the same club, not for this.

Taking a deep breath against his natural discomfort in such a place, Matthew squared his shoulders and scanned the room. He quickly saw what he sought, her sleek, dark hair highlighted by the glow of candles, her pale skin luminescent where her new dress revealed it. A cocktail glass was cradled in her hands, and she was breathtaking.

For herself, she had been contentedly casting her eye over the seeming mass of writhing bodies on the dance floor, feeling a strange excitement beat in her chest. There was an exhilaration in her sense of freedom here, that she hadn't expected – to be alone in such a place, to all eyes without protection – and she startled when a shadow appeared over her.

"Excuse me, do you mind if I take this seat?" he gestured to the small space on the bench beside her.

His voice was low and breathless, and the shock and his handsomeness robbed her senses for a moment. She recovered, thinking it rather rude of him to startle her, and shrugged elegantly.

"If you must, I suppose I've no objection."

"Thank you. There seems hardly a spare inch to sit, I'm sorry to intrude – if you were here with anybody–"

"No, I was quite alone. Though not anymore, it seems!"

"Quite," Matthew licked his lips and sat down beside her, rubbing his hands over his knees. His eye caught hers, a half-smile nervously shared, and he held out his hand. "Mr Crawley – how do you do?"

She cocked her head and smiled politely, taking his hand, shivering at the frisson of his fingertips for the slightest moment before withdrawing her hand to her lap.

"Very well, thank you. Mrs Levinson," she introduced herself, and leaned forwards conspiratorially. "But – would you be very shocked to know that isn't my real name?"

"In a place like this, not so very…" Matthew smirked, warming up to the conversation with the glittering woman before him. "But may I take it that you are married?"

"If my name wouldn't convince you of that, this might – yes, I am." She held out her left hand, proudly displaying the sparkle of her diamond ring and wedding band. She smiled again as he took her hand and made a show of studying the rings.

"They're exceptionally beautiful," he murmured.

"Well, my husband has exceptionally good taste."

His eyes slid up to hers, and she felt the ghost of a shiver as they raked over her body.

"That much is evident, Mrs Levinson."

Her blush betrayed her, and she straightened her shoulders in an attempt to divert his scrutiny.

"What about you," she asked casually, as if she really couldn't care less. "Are you married?"

"Yes," he answered simply, his gaze never dropping. "But as you see, I arrived quite alone."

"So you did!"

She felt terribly warm, suddenly, and stretched her neck to look out over the press of dancers. She could hardly look at him, not when he looked at her like that, it seemed… hardly proper in public, considering their circumstance! But he was taken with her, transfixed by her, and nothing else seemed to matter as he followed her eyeline and moved imperceptibly closer.

"Would you care to dance?" he asked in a low murmur, his breath warming her neck as he leaned toward her.

She looked at him askance. "Are you flirting with me, Mr Crawley? And what about your wife?"

He smirked, and yet managed to sound entirely heartfelt when he replied,

"I couldn't possibly tell you that, only… that you are quite the most breathtakingly beautiful woman I've seen in my life. And I would very much like to dance with you, if you'd do me the honour."

"Well. I'm sure that to refuse such a compliment would be dreadfully impolite, so… yes, I will."

They rose together, and squeezed past a stream of revellers into the nearest space they could find on the dancefloor. But the space was small, forcing them to dance as closely as must surely have been thought scandalous, were they in any other place.

The band struck up, the music lively and lilting and jaunty, and they found themselves swaying naturally in time. They started off properly enough, though their hips were pressed together such a way that caused them to catch their breath with each turn or sway, and before long Matthew's hands had slipped from their proper hold to rest on her waist, pulling her even closer against him as their bodies moved with the music. Her arms fell around his neck and it, and the heat of his body against her front, felt thrillingly improper. It would be so easy to kiss him… So easy, and yet that really would be improper…

"Do you think," he whispered, and his breath was deliciously hot against her neck, "that your husband would be very shocked to find you dancing in… such a way?"

She almost moaned, and turned it into a sigh at the last moment.

"I'm sure I couldn't say…" she breathed. "He's a gentle, unassuming sort of man, but he can be very… passionate, when he has cause to be… I don't think he'd take kindly at all to see me dance like this with anyone but him."

"I bet he wouldn't." They spun, and somehow it brought them closer together, and Matthew thrilled at her little gasp. The air was hot, and she was hot against him, and it all felt… slightly unreal, slightly shocking, and definitely enticing. "I'd say your husband was a fool if he ever gave you cause to believe that he loves you with anything less than every breath in his body, with every fibre of his being and soul, if he ever gave you cause to think that another could love you more than he… And if he loved you so fiercely as that, why would you want to dance with any but him?"

She was lost in his eyes and his arms, in his low, desperately sincere voice, in the warmth of his body moving against hers… and she blinked up at him, finding his face impossibly close. Taking a deep breath to steady the storm of feeling within her, she arched an eyebrow.

"And are you a fool, Mr Crawley? Or do you love your wife as much as you proclaim my own husband should love me?"

"What do you think?" he murmured, his eyes dark and captivating.

"Well, you… don't seem particularly foolish to me," she gasped as he dipped her into a sway, his lips scandalously close to her warming skin.

"I see… and would you think it foolish of me to ask you to spend tonight with me?"

"I'd think it… very forward!"

They rose together, and the lights caught the hopeful sparkle in his eyes, and she found him… impossible to resist. And she whispered the same into his ear, uncaring of what people might think, as she gave him consent to take her.

He grinned helplessly, and as it didn't seem to be uncommon that people kissed each other in places like these, he licked his lips before lowering his head to press them sweetly to hers. He could taste her cocktail on her lips, and he felt dizzy with possibility and desire.

"You haven't told me your name since I joined you…" he reminded her quietly, as they made for the exit, unashamedly arm in arm. Who, here, could care how they appeared? They were quite alone, and no-one here could know them, and the knowledge that they could do as they liked was thrilling.

"How rude of me… If you must know," she rolled her eyes, "it's Mary."

Matthew smirked, and leaned to whisper to her,

"Do you know that I think that the most beautiful name?" And she couldn't help but smile at his flattery.

Outside in the cold and the night air, he hailed a taxi, and Mary settled into it closely beside him. A part of her longed to break the pretence, to call him darling as she longed to, and yet… as a stranger, there seemed to be a more dashing, handsome quality to him that had somehow become lost in familiarity. And it was proving far too much fun to give up on.

"Where do you intend to take me?" she asked suggestively, and smiled in satisfaction as he shifted in discomfort before replying. She could read the signs of his arousal, his flushed skin and flexing hands, and she felt a surge of power at causing it in him.

"Oh, I think… it must be somewhere that neither of us are known," he said.

And true enough, he helped her out at a hotel she'd never stayed at in London – nor the kind she would be likely to stay at, were she here under normal circumstances with her husband. As they went in, and he went to the desk to give his name and take a key, he assured her that it was quite well enough appointed for a lady of her evident class, and she was impressed to see that it was. Truthfully, though, she cared for little in that moment beyond the promise of his arms and his body that would in minutes be hers to realise.

He led her up a flight of stairs, along a corridor and to a door, and before he opened it he turned her with a sharp gasp to trap her against it, his mouth a mere breath away from hers.

"I don't… think we should talk any more. Once we go in," he said deeply, and accented his words with a heated kiss, sucking tantalisingly at her lower lip. She moaned and could only nod, thinking it probably best, and her heart raced in her chest as he opened the door and they slipped inside.

It was dark inside, with only the moonlight glancing through the windowpanes, as they stumbled inside locked in a desperate kiss. Breath and moonlight and mouths were all that mattered, hands grasping through fabric to caress what they ached for, answered with sharp gasps and a quiet hum of pleasure.

The small sitting area barred their way to the bed, and when they hit the first obstacle of a chair they almost fell. Mary bit her lip as Matthew instinctively turned her to lean over it, her hands clutching the back of it for support as he knelt and worshipped her slender legs with his tongue, his hands and mouth slipping past silk as he dragged up the hem of her dress. He kissed the backs of her thighs, tasting her skin as his fingers worked up to that first, tentative stroke… and he grinned in pleasure as her body trembled in response with her moan.

He rose again, eager to reclaim her mouth, and they clung together as they kissed. His tongue was quick and hot against hers, and the promise of it… elsewhere, made her body flame with desire.

They reached the bed and fell to it, limbs tangling in the clash of their passion. Matthew writhed beneath her, pulling her over him, tugging down the strap over one of her shoulders to reach her breast with his mouth. His lips closed around it, and she fought to hold herself over him, gasping as his hand eased between her legs. His groan of delight was hot against her skin, and she shook, hips grinding instinctively against his fingers as he pleasured her. And… it was too much, she could wait no longer, shifting to kneel by his side as she twisted away from him to undo his trousers and free him. Her fingers shook, but at last it was done… his body hard and ready at the practised caress of her hands, and she couldn't formulate a single thought beyond need as she leaned down to take him in her mouth. She felt a stab of satisfaction at his vocal response, his hips jerking helplessly up as her tongue teased him, her lips warm and tight around him as she gently sucked, driving him wild with need.

"God – Mary!" he cried out, and she only wished that she could see his face, contorted in pleasure… but she could not bear to take her mouth from him to turn back to look, only letting him know of her appreciation by renewing her attentions to him.

His hands reached for her, grasping in the dark, but turned away as she was it was… different. He reached for her, and his hand found the crook of her knee where she knelt, and without conscious thought he tugged and shifted her leg to the other side of his chest so that she could settle more comfortably, and his eyes fluttered open and… oh, God.

His hands slid up her thighs, framing the delicate lace that covered what lay precious and hidden, and he tugged it aside to reveal her. And she was… so close, there above his face, and if he just eased up… and her mouth was still on him, and he could feel her hums of anticipation as his breath warmed her, and her fingers tightened around him as he pulled her hips down to his mouth and… everything blurred into unthinkable, hedonistic pleasure.

She shook as his tongue touched her, dress bunching around her waist as his hands anchored her there with a firm, commanding grasp on her bottom. His tongue, and then his mouth, opening as he tasted her, with languid indulgence at first that quickened and deepened as he felt her response at his core… her moans, over and over, hot and reverberating against his body. And as he quickened, so did she, driven senseless with pleasure and the desire to please, bodies shuddering helplessly in matched arousal. It could have been only moments or hours, they couldn't think, when her lips slipped from his length as she shrieked out her climax against the hot skin of his hip, her own bucking helplessly against the insistent pressure of his mouth and his tongue.

She was limp with satisfaction and yet her body ached for a greater fulfilment, and she couldn't resist as he rolled her gently from him. He moved to ease over her, grinning in a warm flush of pleasure as she grabbed the collar of his half-open shirt to tug his mouth down to hers.

Perhaps it had been the cocktails, or the pretence of their acquaintance, or the dancing, or all of it… that had fostered this newness, this lack of restraint, this daring to take and give pleasure in a way they'd never known. But now as they sought each other again in that searing kiss, a more familiar pleasure was every bit as welcome as he settled between her thighs and joined their bodies with one quick thrust. They clung together, every nerve already on fire with their love, as Matthew's hips pounded rhythmically into hers, arching up to meet him. This was their own dance, one intimately known to them now, and uniquely theirs, each move practised and yet new in its delight. Her fingers slipped on the beading sweat at the back of his neck as she clutched him to her, gasping as he filled her every sense with his body and his cries of pleasure. He quickened, and her body shook beneath him, as he lost himself within her. She cried out, tightening around him, and he soared and finally crashed with one last frantic jerk of his hips, shuddering against her as the pleasure ebbed through his veins.

She stroked at his hair, fingers curling beneath his dampened shirt collar as he calmed and eased to her side, his lips caressing his thanks and his love against her neck where her hair curled and clung.

It was an effort to speak, and the words barely murmured past her full lips where they rested at his forehead.

"Well, Mr Crawley… Do you think… that this evening was an experience worth repeating, one day?"

His arm flexed and tightened where it lay over her waist, her dress bunched and rumpled beneath it.

"I think… that I can't possibly think of anything at all just now," he smiled, limp and sated and desperately content. "Except that… my darling, I love you more than I ever thought possible."

She grinned languidly and kissed his hair.

"I can tell you with absolute authority, darling, that… your wife loves you just as much. I do, you know."

"Yes, darling, I… I know."


A/N: Thanks ever so much for reading! I admit to being slightly shocked with myself for writing all of that, but I do hope you enjoyed it - I'd love to know what you thought! Thank you! :)