Hello! I want to keep this brief, so I should say I haven't watched any of series three since it ended and I only rewatched episodes 1-4 as they were airing - So I'm not sure how well I remember some tensions after 3x05. But, as much as I try to move on from the tragedy of the Christmas Special, I thought that this was missing and it was something I wish we saw more of - Happy, settled, M/M. I wrote this more for my own good than anything, I'm not sure how interesting this beat of time is but it helped me feel better about it all. I hope after this I can move on, I just don't think I gave series three fair time in my writing and, despite how it ended, it deserves some 'added scenes'. Thank you for reading anything I've ever written and including this if you indeed do.

- Kaitlyn

April 1921

The bathroom was warm and dim, the light low and candlesticks lit on the counter near the door. Evening had fallen outside of the window as Mary bathed leisurely, the water crawling up to her neck as she sank into the steamy depths. She breathed deeply, feeling at ease.

Dinner had passed quietly, as was the norm through the long winter months. The house was fuller than it had been since they were convalescent but so too was it doused in misery. The Crawleys were slow-moving through the days, looking for some sign of relief from it all. Although, Mary did begin to feel the stirrings of life within her again, at the prospect of spring and sunshine, and green grass, gushing streams, birds and warmth...

Oh, life was tangible in April, outside of the walls of the Abbey, and it was starting to surge through some of the sadness that had lingered since Sybil died...September, 1920...

Mary would remember that date for all of her lifelong, for it already seemed like both yesterday and decades ago. The birth of her niece, and the death of her sister. The event was so tragic that she knew she was changed for it, they all were – they would never be entirely whole or happy again, because loss coloured the Crawley's very core. What a dark flag to bear.

Visions of Sybil's rigid, convulsing body haunted most of the family for many long months afterward, and Mary felt a kind of numbness at her death that she worried would push out any of the good that remained. She tried to reflect on how her sister had died, bringing new life into the world, and that it was always a risk when giving birth, and they were lucky to have had Sybil as their sister. It was a difficult perspective to keep up, and she was so very sad much of the time, but life must go on, for descending into lethargy as well as sadness would do no good for anyone.

It was a battle through the dark depths of winter, and Mary could hardly believe they emerged on the other side of it, so thankful for baby Sybbie was she, the only light and love that any could find on days when Sybil's presence was missed most. Of course, the baby would never know her mother and the pain that constant realization caused was another, but to love and care for Sybbie as a family was all they could do.

Mary felt tired. She felt tired and uncertain, scared in ways she had never been, weak in ways she loathed herself for. For yes, it was April and life was abound in the nature surrounding them, invigorating and rejuvenating but...life, yes...even within her...life growing and forming there...

She was pregnant - And startled and unprepared, brimming with happiness and anxiety, disbelieving but so thankful for another chapter of her life to begin, their life together. What else to help them through their mourning than continuing the next generation, the promise of new life...oh, how she hoped...

Her cheeks burned, for some reason uncomfortable and surprised at her thoughts. She had just found out that day, although there had been a quiet suspicion between her and Anna for several weeks. She went to the hospital alone, casually relayed some of her symptoms, and Clarkson smiled at her without testing for a thing.

"Lady Mary," he had said with a sort of niceness, a positivity that she forgot existed. "Congratulations to you and Mr. Crawley."

Mary trembled for a moment and blinked slowly, almost wishing she had asked Matthew to come along, but this was news she had to handle carefully and on her own. She smiled, tentative, too nervous and determined for tears. Clarkson gave her an examine to confirm his well wishes, decided she was likely eight weeks or so along, and scheduled her later for another check-up. She thanked him, beaming, and walked back to the house.

So, now, a baby...their child...they had longed for it so, had been impatient and persistent and now, now – a baby, her and Matthew's child.

For months, since Sybil had died...had lost her breath and never found it again...became still and grey in the bed she had grown up in...Mary had felt a buzzing, undercurrent of panic. A restless, desperate feeling that she couldn't describe, something the loss of her darling, youngest sister had brought on...perhaps it was grief but it stole her own breath some days. It was a painful clench in her chest and it came from missing Sybil but she also grew to associate it with Sybbie...and subsequently the topic of children in general...

Mary had been uncertain and frightened, she realized, all those long months, and unable to express it in any way. To lose Sybil so recently, from a complication of pregnancy...it flung their want for children into fear and doubt.

They never stopped trying for a baby, nor worrying about when they'd have one, although Mary didn't know how they'd feel when it did finally happen. It hadn't happened when they wanted it to – which was nearly immediately. It was nonsensical that they jumped to the conclusions that they had but...everything else stood in their way for the long years since Matthew came to Downton and their urgency with it, their concerns, were based in insecurities rather than actual medical proof that something could be wrong.

They tortured themselves until Mary saw the doctor and found it was, in fact, something medical. She had a small procedure, something caused by nothing really, a blockage that was easy to remove, and they were both happy, relieved, when it came to light. Then there was nothing standing in their way, really, except...except Sybil, except wondering if the very same fate would await Mary.

"Darling?" A soft knock on the bathroom door jarred her from her thoughts and then Matthew's deep murmur. "May I come in?"

"Certainly." Mary said, a bit emotional but composed enough to keep it from Matthew, just for now.

She crossed her legs modestly, and her breasts rested below the water line as she ran a washcloth over her arms, smiling to herself, feeling feminine and blessed that she had Matthew to share these things with. It felt the most natural thing, after a year of marriage, to bathe while they talked quietly about their day.

Matthew pushed the door open slowly, first peeking into the mirror beside the door that reflected Mary in the bathtub, and then he turned to her, leaning against the cabinet with folded arms.

"Are you being shy?" Mary asked, in a good-natured trill, tilting her head back, as he was behind her, far from her line of vision.

"Just polite." He said and his voice warmed her as much as the bath water did, a low, gentle rumble that was one of the nicest sounds in the world to her.

Mary was nearly embarrassed with how much she liked him sometimes, how he pleased her so, of all the affection she had for him. He was her husband, of course she loved him, loved more deeply than she knew possible. But there was a part of her still clinging to independence, a part that warned her of giving too much of herself to one person, because what would become of her if she ever lost him? She would lose herself, and as wholly as she belonged to him, that small part of her dug its heels in the whole way. Mary struggled after Sybil's death to let Matthew in, to not push him away...she was both protective of her heart but angry she hadn't spent more of her life with him...

All she knew it meant was that she needed and wanted him and as hard as it was, she shared herself as entirely as she could. They were melded at the very souls and she knew there would never be anything else like this, nor him. He was that lightning strike in her life.

Mary smiled, turning in the tub to fold her arms on the edge and rest her chin there, looking at him in his twilight, undone glory. He still wore his dark trousers but only socks on his feet, and only his shirt and vest, with the tie and jacket gone, sleeves pushed up. This end of the day Matthew was the one she was most familiar with – the done up, suit and tie, estate planning Matthew was admirable and he had grown a lot in the years since they had met...but this Matthew...quiet and casual, earnest and moral, this was the one she knew best.

"How's your bath?" He asked and his voice held a soft purr that was endearing and flirtatious, since he had a clear view of her back and bottom with how she was floating in the tub. But there was something darker about him, too.

"Wonderful. You look preoccupied."

"Hmm," Matthew sighed, looking at his feet, and frowning. "I just wonder – will you come down for a nightcap with Tom? I don't know what to say to him lately. He's a closed book but so badly wants...relief from it all, do you know what I mean, Mary?"

"Yes. He's struggling...we all are..." Mary said quietly, very familiar with her brother-in-laws behaviour the last few months.

"I could have given him all the advice and empathy in the world on being married to a Crawley sister," Matthew sighed again.

"And I certainly have experience losing one, too," he added, apologetically. "But just...not like this."

"Oh Matthew," Mary bemoaned sadly, for she knew what he meant. Tom was hostile at times and straight-forward about losing Sybil but he was also desperately seeking comfort. "Don't be intimidated by his grief, just be a pal. Tell him not to be angry. He can't be angry for Sybbie's sake..."

"You've been angry...with me, even." Matthew said, not hurt but curious.

And he was right, she had been. She had been angry, and distant and she was in control of herself with it, keeping him at arm's length until she felt at ease again. Since she found him planning about the estate with Murray while Sybil's body was still upstairs, Mary had been upset. She wasn't nasty or cruel, but gently reminded herself that Matthew wasn't so attuned to people's feelings or, apparently, appropriate mourning behaviour. Her Papa was a foolish man, as well, but he had lost so much and to see Matthew talking numbers and plans while their whole lives crashed down filled her with fury. A cold, easy fury that kept him in his dressing room for a few nights afterward.

He spent so much time trying to do what righted his moral compass, that he could be obtuse. He was clever and brilliant, just such a senseless boy sometimes. Mary loved him but also thought it simpler to keep him at bay than argue. It wasn't long, though, before she let him back in because an empty bed didn't help her through the loss of her sister, for as stupid as he could be Matthew did love her and he was so often a calming presence.

She was also irrationally angry with him, for reasons not due to his nature or behaviour. Just that he hadn't shown up to Downton until she was 20, and when he had, it was after many people had died to make him heir. It was frustrating, it was unfair. She wanted to devote her entire life to him but wondered if their relationship would be worthy of it, if they could take advantage of the chance they'd been given together. It was larger than them, their love was consuming, and it better be, for they missed out on so much.

Resenting him for not being there sooner was easier than admitting how desperate she was for him to be with her all their lives long.

He tilted his head, blonde hair swooping over his forehead as he watched her thinking, serious, and Mary loved him like this. If only because, he was always Matthew – arguing or laughing or making love, he was so the same. There wasn't a fraudulent thing about him, she didn't think, so genuine and on display, his heart on his sleeve – so unlike she. Mary would wonder, from time to time, what she would have been like if she knew Matthew growing up...if his inherent good would have helped her earlier or if she would have fought him all along. He was important for her, though, her feelings for him softened her and in turn Mary showed Matthew the realities of life and love.

"Only because I wish we had all the time we could have...that we hadn't lost those years and it's not your fault or anyone's but – my instinct is to...defend myself..."

Matthew shook his head, gesturing with one hand while the other gripped the counter. He was intense but calm, perceiving the emotions within Mary that were barely under control.

"I don't blame you for that, Mary...I love you for it...but you don't have to defend yourself from me. You don't have to hide from me, if I'm the only one for whom that's true, so be it, but..."

Mary sighed and shifted in the water, the sloshing echoed in the thick air of the bathroom. Matthew focused, frowning, but still watched her long, soapy legs slide against the tub with lidded eyes. Oh he was Matthew but he was still a man, still susceptible to her charms, aware of how very lovely she was, how very lucky he was...

"Yes, and then someday when you're gone...what do I have left? I'll have given all of myself away,-"

"Mary!" Matthew looked affronted, stricken that she was thinking such thoughts...That she worried for the day when he'd be gone, as if it was inevitable.

"Must you talk like that? You can't – Darling, you mustn't think that way because how can we live our lives thinking doom is over our shoulder?"

"Surely you've been here long enough to know that it is. Nothing quite as dramatic as doom but we haven't had luck, that's certain. Cursed, I think you said."

"It may seem that way but...I'll never be...gone,-"

"Matthew, don't say things like never or forever,-"

"We don't know what's coming, that I agree, but I want to live a full, happy life with you as if we do know, as if we...have all of the time in the world. Mary, don't count us out yet."

He raised one brow, awaiting something from her that told him they were alright. Mary could tell, in that moment, how very much a lawyer he was – persuasive and firm but never too harsh, nor too desperate. Of course all she wanted was to be assured and Matthew was unafraid to remind her how much he loved her.

Genuine, dear Matthew. His eyes shone at her from across the room and they were blue like the sky, blue like the ocean, like the sort of peaceful, ebbing waves she wished she was bathing in, like robin eggs in the spring and all things fresh and pure she could imagine. Matthew had seen and done many things but his true self was always there, within his gaze, crystal clear and honest. The men he had killed at war, the selfish morality he had cursed upon them when Lavinia died, the certainty he had over their connection as Matthew and Mary, husband and wife, it was all there - sometimes ridiculous, sometimes inelegant but always trying.

Mary extended a dripping hand toward him, inviting him to the tub. He took two strides to her, taking her hand and kissing the palm, kneeling on the mat, although she remained leaning on the edge of the tub, gazing at him lazily.

"I'm sorry its – been quite difficult. I just can't imagine what else could be in store for us...as long as it's with you, though..." She combed her hand through his hair, habitually, and her fingertips stroked his earlobe, down his jaw and rested on his chest.

Matthew laid gentle kisses up her hand and arm, onto her neck and Mary unfolded herself and rose to her knees, pressing against him and wrapping her arms around Matthew's back. Her bath water soaked his shirt front and he stroked his hand down her slick back, across her hip, tickling her tailbone. She sighed, so perfectly content, so frighteningly intimate was this.

He hummed a nameless tune as Mary twirled her fingers through his hair and his hand continued wandering, across her waist, danced over her ribs, skimmed the side of her breast. Mary naked and Matthew clothed was a heady, vulnerable thing, one that they reveled in, one that made Mary feel needy and Matthew feel needed. She was soft and slim against the rough rumple of his clothes, against the hard heat of his body and she glowed softly, an attractive flush across her face and down her neck.

Sometimes Mary thought the only reason she went on at all, after so much tragedy, was for this, was for Matthew, tender and loving and the man in whom she could see her entire future. They'd made it here for a reason, they had battled the odds, had seen life and death and now - now it was their chance, mustn't it be? With the chance, given a year to live normal lives, they could thrive and become the Earl and Countess they were meant to be.

There in his arms, Mary thought she had enough certainty and confidence to tell him, to let him know that through it all, after everything, they were going to be parents.

"Mary." Matthew, however, interrupted the leap she was about to take.


"What say you to that nightcap?"

Mary laughed and squeezed the water from her hair, allowing Matthew to help her out of the tub and wrap her in a towel, kissing her lips sweetly.

"Go fetch Tom, I'll see you down there."

A nightcap had turned into two and then three (while Mary swirled the same drink around her glass, untouched) but Tom was in better spirits when he wasn't left alone and the scotch eased his thoughts, calmed his worry, so Mary was glad.

They swapped stories, Matthew coaxing some of Tom's rebellious youth in Ireland with his older brother, and Tom asking about Matthew's time in University, and then about the war. Mary was the one to tell them quietly about Sybil's childhood, when prompted, and it was on that sad, reflective note that they ended the night.

Later, then, when they were back in their dark bedroom, Matthew striking a fire in the grate as spring's dampness found them at the late hour, Mary was standing in the mirror, fixing her braid, but focusing on her midsection. She was slim and tall, willowy and lithe, being early along showed no changes in her figure. Mary couldn't imagine, was even afraid to imagine, the bundle of cells that meant life which now grew inside of her.

It escaped her sometimes that she was a woman, that she was grown, adult, and married. Living at Downton with Matthew was a slow adjustment, in that, she never imagined him there with her...never dared to dream they would end up settled and married. So, it caught her off guard that, well, Matthew was here to stay, not just up for a dinner with his mother in tow, not just to talk books and debate with her and then leave. No, he was in her bed in the morning and she wasn't bound to any man beside her at the dinner table anymore, unless it was him. How strange it was to become a woman, a Countess-to-be, while living in her childhood home she thought was lost to her...how strange to be happy and building a life with Matthew here. Strange, yes, but good, so good, and fulfilling and something she was glad to get used to.

Matthew's reflection approaching her in the floor length mirror drew her eyes up and he smiled at her, rosy-cheeked from all of the drink and moving slowly, his large hands grasping her waist and wrapping around her. Mary sighed, leaning back against him, pulsing with nerves, her blood pumping fast through her that night, with memories and nostalgia, love and excitement and worry. She was jumpy but felt she was on the edge of...revelation, of adventure, of the rest of their lives...

She looked at his face in the mirror, tucked against her hair, with a serene expression, and a strong, rippling hope invaded her chest, a kind of bright determination. Perhaps happiness.

Here he was, Matthew, and he was still so much to her. He was older than when they first met, and it showed in his face. There was something perpetually boyish about him, perhaps his light blue eyes or stubborn sweep of golden locks across his forehead, cheeky grins or childish frowns, but there too was age – in the frown lines on his forehead, and the way his face crumpled when he was concerned. He was not so lean as he was during the war years, but he was masculine anyway – Broad shoulders and narrow hips, softer through the middle, but a firm chest and muscular arms, a frame that was larger than her own when she needed tucked away.

Mary could tell the distance they had traveled, etched in his features, the years they had seen carried in his gaze, and she so loved, no matter the hour or day or year, how matched they were. He behind her, blonde, tall and donning his navy pajamas, was the perfect complement to her dark hair and expressive brows, her pale skin and white, silk nightgown. They looked a painting, some work of art that might not quite make sense or be quite interesting but when put together, oh, it leaped off the page.

When they were avoiding accusations from Lavinia and Richard it was one thing to deny how suited they were but Mary knew all along – how very much a pair they felt. Matthew was light and affable, and she was dark-eyed, a strong woman who completed him just so...and when they were together, it was otherworldly, it was electric and stormy, and cosmic. It was beyond them and their control, this magnetic draw of Mary to Matthew and Matthew to Mary. They could feel it, so too could everyone else. They sparked and danced off with another and it was infectious, enlivening, and romantic. On some level, deeply, she understood him, his soul, but mostly she couldn't possibly understand him – she could never think like him or relate to his reasoning but it piqued her, captivated her. And oh, it had been problematic and tumultuous for years before. But Mary thought without him she would have just faded away in a world of bland aristocrats and propriety. With Matthew she had passion and she had connection, and she never thought she'd be so attached to the man she'd marry. Mary felt whole and alluring and loved standing there with him.

He wrapped around her with, scarred, rough hands stroking her bare arms, and his eyes slanted sleepily, blinking down at her affectionately, drinking her in as much as she was him. When she smiled and met his eyes, so did he.

"Sometimes I worry," Matthew whispered suddenly and goosepimples prickled her skin as his breath blew gently against her ear. He slid his hands up and down her sides, gripping her hips and waist.

"Of course you do," Mary replied, unsure of where he was going with it but enjoying the pattern of his hands while she waited.

"About you and – Sybil, that what happened..." He hesitated and Mary felt him swallow, felt his heart thudding against her back. "That it will happen to you."

Mary's eyes widened infinitesimally, her brows lifting, responding to him while her voice did not.

"It's frightening, Mary. It was cruel how she suffered and so – unexpected. I put myself in Tom's shoes and imagined he watching Sybil, how that must have felt, then I kept thinking – what if it were me and...that was you. I imagined you dying like that, darling."

"How romantic," Mary sighed, rolling her eyes but taking what he said seriously. She didn't want him thinking like that because then she would start and - it was too late, wasn't it? She was already pregnant, they were already on their way. It was what they wanted.

"Hmm," Matthew murmured. "As much as I chide you on talking how you do...I've had the same thoughts. How could we not after everything we've seen? And I'm not blind to it, the risks or the worries about having children. We wanted it so desperately, then after you saw the doctor I thought...well, pray, what next? I hope it's something we still want but you don't have to be fearless, Mary. And we can wait as long as you need. Your comfort and certainty, my dear, are the most important."

Mary turned in his embrace and touched his face, unshaven, and then combed her fingers through her favourite unruly patch of blonde hair. She did feel at ease in his hands, the way he cradled her head, his fingers splayed at the back of her neck, stroking her hair. He kissed her forehead, lips sticky and breath sweet with the bedtime liquor. This was Matthew, who could be so conflicted and moral to a fault, but was also considerate and bigger in gesture than any ego he could claim, and she found his words soothing her fears, as if he knew she needed to hear it, as if he knew what she hadn't yet told him.

"Thank you, Matthew," and he sighed pleasurably when she said his name. "You've quieted my nagging thoughts with that."

"I should have sooner, I'm afraid I was very one-tracked mind with it all. Once we knew we could, I considered all of the trauma you saw with Sybil and..."

"I wish she were here. I like to think she wouldn't want me to be scared and she'd try to make it alright...I can't know for certain, though..." And Mary was the same woman she always was, she was strong, and knew herself better than most. But she did find peace in Matthew's gentle assurance, wasn't so cold or heartless as her younger self believed that she didn't like to hear these things from him.

"I'm always so sorry about it, Mary," he spoke against her neck, lips moving there.

"Mmm." Mary's eyelids were heavy - desire, nerves and sleepiness all battling for her attention, as his hands sought naked flesh under her nightdress.

The conversation was lost as Matthew kissed her, warm and deep, his tongue with her own, his teeth nipping tenderly, her lips tingling. They moved to the side of the bed and Mary's thoughts jumbled and spiraled. She tried to find a focus amid visions of her dead sister, of her own changing body, and Matthew's bare chest, all at the front of her mind and before she could - before they could possibly fall to the sheets she should, oh he must know because – it was – but she couldn't think when he did that –

He was dragging the hem of her nightdress up her body, past her long legs, his other hand touching the skin bared as he did and this, this was always right –

"I want you," Matthew's aroused murmur into her mouth, his body flushing where she touched, the buttons of his pajamas open without realizing she had even done so. He became charming and serious when they were intimate, quiet and open and pleasing...

"You've already had me." Mary said and this gave them pause and breath, Matthew pulled back to look down into her eyes, dark and dancing with shadows and the gleam of the fireplace. He frowned slightly, lips parted. He was very nearly drunk and heat radiated off his skin, his hips cradling her own.

"Not today," And his voice was deep and rumbled from his chest against hers and her body throbbed at the promise and want in it. He held her gown bunched at her waist, and his hand touched her bare, quivering stomach and then it all hurtled back to her.

"Oh, oh Matthew. You have done, though, and it's – well – I'm expecting, darling."

Mary watched while, as if in slow motion, he sank down onto the edge of the bed, his hands still under her gown and Mary's face felt red, her pulse humming, and her features pinched as she waited for him to speak.

"Are you quite fine? This might not be the best time to tell you, you're clouded from the scotch, and tired and...want to be in the bed. What you said made me certain, though...that I simply needed you to know now." She was calm, her voice honeyed and reassuring but her limbs quaking.

"I'm with child, Matthew." Mary said again, as his silence grew long and his hands gripped the silk of her gown tightly.

"Mary," He said and tugged on the hem until she perched herself on his knee and he buried his face against her chest, breathing heavily, gathering himself. She stroked her hands over his shoulders, nuzzling his hair.

"What could be better than this? I'm happier than I can say." And he sounded so too, his deep voice rising in pitch and cracking with his joy.

"Oh, my love." Matthew said, stroking his thumb along her cheek until she beamed at him.

With light from the moon outside of their window, and the glow of the fire in the hearth, Mary saw Matthew's eyes gleam wet and bright and heard emotion catch in his throat.

"I'm not sentimental, but this is everything I wanted to share with you. I could only do this with you, you know." She said and found herself relaxing as he looked so happy, as it was finally their news. It was important, Mary thought, to know she felt so unburdened by sharing things with him.

"You're too much for me to bear, Mary, too wondrous. This is the happiest thing I've ever heard. Our Crawley baby," His chest still laboured with his breath and Mary couldn't stop touching his stunned, handsome face. "When did you find out?"

"Only today and I'm early along so it's our secret for now. Until I'm further and we've settled ourselves and enjoyed it together."

So much of their lives were public and spread freely within Downton and it brought them further into the new era, as a modern couple, to share smiles and glances through the weeks ahead over their private happiness. Matthew so gleeful and invested in his wife and child-to-be, Mary content with this little part of her family that she grasped the chance to be quiet about it for as long as they could. Because, amid their happiness there was the presence of Sybil's death, an entity in and of itself in the household, and while she knew the family would rejoice for her and Matthew, the news wouldn't be without pain and reflection on Sybbie and the mother whom she would never know.

"What are you thinking?" Matthew asked and the fire suddenly roared, the room cast in the orange glow, and Mary fiddled with her braid, her eyes downcast and long lashes hiding them.

"Soaking it in, that's all," Her brows knit together, with elegant consideration, and Matthew's Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed and watched her.

"This is a tremendously happy moment for us during an equally sad time. I want to remember it aside from the family's tragedy – Our own separate memory. The way you look, how you sound, how you feel – I just want to remember it." She concluded, her hands folded in her lap just as she folded in his, keeping to herself for a minute.

"Darling, so do I. Just think how we'll look back on this when our children have grown, and we're tired and grey, and exclaim 'oh how little we knew then'!" Matthew said, a broad grin back in place. "I knew you as family and now I know you as my wife, and I'll get to know you as a mother – I'm more glad for that than anything, Mary. To know you as completely as I can, even if you're still a mystery at times. How excited am I to spend my life with you...how I love you so."

She loved him, too. She did, even if it rarely left her lips.

"You're such a dreamer, Matthew," Mary said with a shiver but his thoughts soothed her aching heart and she kissed him.

"I'll make you one, too," He said, pulling back from her lips, and he was eager, so eager, dear and true. "A child that will be part you and part me, imagine that."

"I hardly dare!" She laughed and he did too, unable to concoct a combination of their looks or personality that a child may have, they were so opposite and unalike it was nearly funny to think.

"Shall we sleep? The drink is weighing heavy now, though I could pass out from happiness, too. We could talk and worry some more if you're anxious."

"Oh we have long months to torture ourselves with what kind of parents we'll be. Let's leave that for later." Mary inhaled deeply, remembering the moment like she said she would.

With she perched on his lap, the fire crackling and popping, his hands warm and covering her back, one on her bare knee. Matthew's blonde hair flopped, in need of a trim, his lips red both from her kisses and the drunken flush of his body. She felt weightless, loved, and so scared, too. And just as excited as he.

"Rest and be happy." Matthew whispered and she kissed him again when she'd absorbed every detail she could, and she sipped his lips, slow and sweet.

He made her laugh as they fell to the bed, reminding her these flimsy nightgowns were how she became pregnant in the first place.

The two of them fell asleep tucked and twined beneath the covers, Matthew's warm hand stroking her naked stomach, and he was full of good and light, and all things she would come to depend on from him.

They were naïve that night, though, and Mary thought she was prepared for the worst that could come, whatever that was. It was a testament to her character that she never imagined anything as bad as what did come – At the core of herself there was hope above the expectation for tragedy. For they had been hopeful that night, too.

Years on, when Mary was tired and grey, she did indeed look back on that moment – revealing to Matthew she was pregnant with their first and only child – and she did realize how precious little she knew then.