fanaticddi asked: Sorry if I'm being annoying : | But there is a drabble that I would love. Where Lavinia never died and when MM have their first son she visits them. *-*
Oh, dammit, the browser ate my post… Second time lucky!
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY! :D :D
~ ~ ~
“It doesn’t seem quite the same, doing the season with a husband and baby in tow,” Mary said quietly. Her voice was softened by her smile, gentle as she soothed the baby cradled in her arms. It was different, being here in London not just with Matthew but their son, now, too… but she couldn’t mind a bit.
Beside her, Matthew chuckled, his hand covering hers to shelter their child.
“I don’t suppose it does,” he murmured. “But in a nice way, I hope?” He shifted closer to kiss her cheek, as if to entreat her.
She twisted her head to him, laughed, smiled, kissed him softly. “Oh, darling… As nice as nice can be,” she murmured against his lips, cherishing the sweetness of his kiss.
His arm slipped around her, easing her closer, as her eyes slipped closed, responding to the warm, teasing insistence of his lips parting against hers. For a moment she indulged the delight of it, still mindful of the sleepy baby in her arms who tugged and suckled at her finger. And then one tiny foot escaped the lace shawl that swathed him, and kicked restlessly out into Matthew’s chest. He laughed, easing back from Mary and gazing happily down at his son.
“Oh, my dear little chap, were we ignoring you?” he soothed, taking the baby tenderly into his arms from his wife’s. “There… Tomorrow when Mama’s rested a little more, we’ll go to the park, shall we? And perhaps take a boat out, too. You’ll like that. Yes, I think so.”
Bright blue eyes gazed uncomprehendingly up at him, blinking. Though he couldn’t understand his father’s words, not yet, the deep and comforting lilt of his voice and adoring smile communicated such a love that settled the child, his tiny fingers latching around Matthew’s thumb as he rocked him.
Mary watched them together, enchanted - as much by the sight of Matthew so lovingly with their son as by the overwhelming strength of love that she hadn’t known she could feel, even this past year as Matthew’s wife. She was blissfully content… and then their peace was interrupted, by Carson’s knock at the door.
The butler seemed unusually hesitant, his thick brows knotted into a frown as his fingers tapped together.
“What is it, Carson?” Mary sat up a little straighter, and smiled.
“There’s a visitor, my Lady,” he answered at last.
“Well that’s alright,” Matthew looked up. “I can take Reggie up to the nursery, it’s no matter.”
He stood up, quite ready, and Mary smiled at him. But then Carson continued.
“It’s - Miss Swire, you see.”
“Oh.” Matthew sat down again, a little too suddenly, and the baby in his arms roused with a cry. Mary took him, shushed him, settled him as she looked at her husband, who’s face had drained of colour.
“We can hardly turn her away,” she said drily. She’d always liked Lavinia, as painful as that time had been… but Matthew had felt terrible about the way things had ended between them, for months. Would their happiness together now be a barb to her?
Still, it was Lavinia who seemed to have sought them out. Whatever guilt Matthew felt, Lavinia was still a sweet girl and had broken their engagement with grace and goodwill. Holding Reggie carefully to her, Mary reached out to touch Matthew’s arm.
“I don’t mind a bit, darling, I always got on with Lavinia. If she’s come here, don’t you think it’d be nice to see her?”
“Are you sure?” he asked quietly, the months of guilt making his stomach churn.
“I am, but you’d better buck up!” She raised her eyebrows sternly at him, before turning back to the butler. “Please do send Miss Swire in, Carson,” she said calmly.
He nodded, and after only a moment the door opened again. Matthew had wandered to the window, where he stood uncomfortably, as Lavinia came in.
“Hello!” she said, as sweet and pleasant and kind as she always had been, clutching her purse tightly in her slender hands. “I hope you don’t mind me calling like this. I saw Lady Grantham in town earlier, you see, and she mentioned that you were both here. I thought it would be nice - I hope you don’t mind!”
“On the contrary!” Mary greeted her with a bright and genuine smile. ”It’s so lovely to see you again - please, excuse me for not getting up.” She inclined her head to little Reggie, squirming against her chest, and Lavinia nodded quickly. “But we’re delighted, aren’t we, Matthew?”
“Quite,” he said awkwardly. He looked up, and smiled at Lavinia, but his eyes soon dropped. “Lavinia, I know I-“
“Oh, Matthew!” To his surprise, she laughed, and touched his arm, startling him. “Don’t tell me you still feel awful about that. I’d have been a far worse person to keep you. And it was all such a long time ago!” She chuckled nervously, wondering if she hadn’t made a mistake coming here after all. But then Mary smiled encouragingly, and Lavinia remembered the friendship she’d always shown to her, even when her own heart must have been breaking.
She straightened her back, and smiled again. “I just thought it would be a shame to miss you while you were here.”
Her good nature was too strong to stand against, and Matthew smiled a little at last.
“It would’ve been, and - I’m so sorry, you’re right. I’m being a fool, aren’t I?”
“You are!” Both Mary and Lavinia exclaimed in chorus, and Matthew chuckled helplessly, shaking his head. What he’d ever done to deserve two women of such strength in his life, he would never know.
“I don’t think I can argue the both of you,” he laughed. “Please, Lavinia - do sit down. You’re well, I hope?”
“Oh, very,” she smiled graciously and sat down. “You know that Daddy passed away last year, but he’s left me very well provided for, so I’m very lucky really. I do miss him terribly still, but - well, I haven’t been grieving him alone. There’s young man who’d worked for him - he helped me a lot after the funeral, sorting things out - and anyway, we’re to be married next month.”
“I’m so pleased,” Matthew smiled warmly, nodding. He’d been to Mr. Swire’s funeral; it was the last time he’d seen Lavinia, and with her blessing then he’d returned to Downton with a clearer conscience to accept Mary’s love. And now she was to be married as well - he felt the last of the burden lift from his shoulders. “You deserve the loveliest of men and - I’m so glad you’re happy.”
“I am,” she beamed. “But so much for me - I’m pleased to see you both so well, in fact all three of you! How absolutely lovely.”
“Thank you,” Mary smiled, glancing at Matthew. His face was once more a picture of happy pride as he looked across the room at his son. It seemed impossible for his face to convey anything but the purest adoration when he did so, and she adored it. Whatever other troubles they’d faced since their marriage, and would face in the future, their son brought them perfect happiness.
She smiled back up at Lavinia. “He’s called Reggie, funnily enough. After Matthew’s father-“
“Of course - oh, how lovely. He’s beautiful.”
“Just like his Mama,” Matthew said softly, before the words had processed in his mind. Realising what he’d said, he blushed uncomfortably, but Lavinia only smiled as she leaned a little closer to Mary and the baby.
“He really is, I can see,” she cooed quietly. “Do you think - might I-“
Mary nodded. “Of course, there…” and she eased little Reggie into Lavinia’s waiting arms.
The younger woman was enraptured, and Mary turned to smile at her husband, as if to say, you see?
He did see, and shook his head gently with a rueful grin. Mary’s love, and Lavinia’s grace - somehow, he’d earned both, and the most precious delight of a son alongside it all. He was pleased Lavinia had come, and that Mary had dealt with it far more kindly than he.
He didn’t know what he’d done to deserve this… but he knew how damned lucky he was.