A/N: Considering I'm very M/M focused and can't get over the fact that Dan Stevens chose America over England (SILLY MAN!) but I wrote this after looking through some the fics about how...well things could have been.
17th September 1940
The gramophone was playing.
He realised what time of year it was, then; it had been 19 years ago since she lost him.
His father. Her husband.
He was stood watching his mother from the landing, just turning aimlessly to the music; he had heard this song so many times; she'd metioned it once about how they'd danced to this song at their wedding and how she played it every day for a year after his death and now she needed to play it, once every year. He guessed in a way it was her way of dealing with loosing him. His 19th birthday should have been a happy one, but then even, he wasn't happy.
"Mama?" He said, quietly; as he reached the bottom of the staircase.
His mother turned, smiling at him and beckonned him to dance with her; he looked at her reluctantly, that peice of blond hair that flopped over his forehead. His grip on his walking stick became relaxed and he placed to beside the gramophone, he stepped into his mother's arms and began to gently lead her across the carpet (damn his leg!)
He'd only been home from war, a few months after loosing a chunk of his right leg in Amines; at first he joked about it in his letters to her, but it wasn't until he came home with half his leg missing, that she realised how serious it was. She'd given him Matthew's walking stick, for the sake of good use, she didn't want to let it go yet.
I didn't want to worry you, He'd said.
"I'm sorry Mama" He said quietly, his cheek resting against her ear;
"Whatever for?" She asked, looking up at him slightly.
He was tall, a little shorter than Matthew had been but not that tall.
George sighed. "For making you loose Papa"
Talking about him wasn't an easy subject for either of them; Mary had somehow managed to stay strong for her son's sake and made the decison to move to the seaside with him, where she bought a two bedroom cottage just by the sea, she never remarried, she never found the courage. It was always, them. He was the true man in her life; whereas, as when George got older he seemed to blame himself more for his father's death.
Mary paused, her eyes wide; she placed a loving hand to his cheek. "No. You didn't make me loose him; I lost him. I shouldn't have made him leave"
George shook his head defiantly. "You shouldn't blame yourself Mama. Anyway, lets stop talking about this; he wouldn't want us blaming ourselves"
Mary nodded slowly and carried on swaying to the music, then she remembered something.
"Where's my wedding photo?"
"Ah" George tensed. "About that"
Mary looked at her son. "What about that?"
George swallowed. "I'm sorry it went to Amiens with me, and all that and. W-well I was hoping y-you'd let me keep it"
Then- he'd reminded her so much of Matthew; nervous around her, unsure of what to say and weather it was the right thing to say.
She nodded silently.
George swallowed nervously and watched as his mother slipped her wedding ring from her forth finger on her left hand and placed into his palm.
Mary looked down at her wedding ring in her son's palm and closed his fingers around it. "I want you to have it"
George was about to protest. "I'll still have my engagement ring. That means more to me, because he gave it to me personally"
George nodded silently and kissed his mother's cheek. "I'm sure Marianne will be delighted"
Marianne Carlisle; The Granthams weren't least impressed when George annouced his courting and engagment to the daughter of the man who nearly runined the would-have been Countess; but George swayed his argument and was admant that he truly loved Marianne and that she truly loved him and in his father's name that if Richard ever came near them that he would face a very legnthy jail sentence.
Mary noticed the strain on her son when he began to walk; she handed him his walking stick and turned off the gramophone before declaring it was time for bed; the bid eachother goodnight at the top of the landing and went to their seperate quarters.
George placed his walking stick by his dressing table, before dressed by Barrow; he handed Barrow a copy of Karl Marx that he had been asking for, for weeks before bidding him a goodnight. George sat down on the side of his bed and looked to his parent's wedding photo on his bedside table beside the lamp; he placed his mother's wedding ring in-front of it.
3 months later.
"Do you, George Matthew Crawley take Marianne Rosaline Carlisle to be your lawfully wedded wife?"
George smiled proudly to his wife; she looked beautiful in his eyes. "I do"
Her long blond hair had been tied into a long braid with red and white flowers pinned into it, she wore simple white dress with lace edging and sleeves and boquet of red and white roses; Richard Carlisle had been there, walking his daughter down the asile that was on the lawn of Downton; he firmly shook George's hand when he handed his precious child over to her beloved.
"...And do you, Marianne Rosaline Carlisle take George Matthew Crawley to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
Marianne felt tears well up in the corner of her eyes and with a small voice. "I do"
Countess Marianne of Grantham, wife of George, Earl of Grantham, mother of a son. Matthew Reginald Crawley on 19th May 1941.
Lady Mary Crawley, wife of the late Matthew Crawley died on 17th September 1941