Inspired by a prompt on tumbr. I own nothing.

In celebration of marriage. :)

She sat at her vanity, rubbing lotion into her neck as she had every night since they had married. For some reason, this part of her bedtime routine was performed only after Anna left the room, an act reserved for the appreciative eyes of her husband.

Her hair was shorter now, resting just above her shoulders as was the current fashion. He could not help but grin as she frowned at strands of gray courageous enough to show themselves. Her sigh of frustration drew him from the corner of their bed as his hands took up a familiar perch on her shoulders.

"You are beautiful, you know," he spoke, chuckling as she rolled her eyes in his direction.

"And you're not wearing your glasses," she returned drily, earning herself an endearing kiss on top of her head as she enjoyed the massage he offered.

"I mean it, Mary," he insisted, staring at her in the mirror as she returned his gaze. "You're every bit as stunning as they day I first met you."

Her face softened slightly, a small tugging at the corner of her lips finally morphing into a smile that always warmed him.

"And you're every bit as stubborn."

There was a subtle flash in her eyes, a suggestive lift of her shoulder, a slight moistening of her lips…

Signals that had beckoned him to her for nearly twelve years of marriage.

Experienced hands kneaded her muscles, and he watched in satisfaction as her head lolled back, resting on his stomach, her eyes closing in utter contentment as a small purr resounded from her chest. His fingers then moved forward, sliding over her shoulders and downward until her breath hitched slightly.

Yes—he had gotten her attention.

His mouth then dropped to her ear, nuzzling her, making her wiggle in her seat as knowing hands eased her robe down her shoulder. He felt her skin prickle, smiling in spite of himself as his lips made a slow descent down her neck. Her moan encouraged him, her tightening grasp on his arm spurring his ministrations as his other hand pushed away dark hair covering freckled skin. Then his mouth made contact with her shoulder, drawing maddening lines across her collarbone that made her gasp.

She stood, eyeing him suggestively as she stepped in his direction. He grinned as her robe was cast off, nuzzling down her nightgown with an efficiency borne of years and trust. Nimble fingers made quick work of his pajamas, a smoky smirk meeting his gaze as they stood skin to skin.

"Take me to bed, Matthew Crawley," she commanded, the husky depth of her voice fueling the spark in his loins.

He tenderly stroked pale arms that had cradled their children, whispered touches across breasts that had nursed them, and traced appreciation across the plains of her abdomen, covering marks left by three pregnancies. She stood gloriously before him.

His wife.

His friend.

His Mary.

"Gladly," he hummed, denied the right to speak again in a most delightful manner.