Pairing: Lady Mary Crawley & Matthew Crawley
Spoilers through the Christmas Special so beware American viewers who are waiting for PBS. Also, gifs.
Blurb: Michelle Dockery's face is why I ship them. No seriously. There was a lot of bullshit that went down in series 2 and I'm pretty sure the only reason I kept the faith is because Michelle Dockery with every single twitch of her face in those scenes convinced me quite completely that her heart was breaking.
And I ship it because it started it out like this:
They started out kind of banter and Mary and her bucketload of resentment and hating feeling trapped. And then it just all kind of spiralled. At the end of series 1 they broke my heart, and then in series 2 they just stamped on the pieces for a good long while. Until this:
I seriously think it is mainly their faces that make me ship them.
I believe that even through everything they do love each other. And they do suit each other, but man did they go through shit storms to get their happy endings. (And if JFells pulls a Skins move and screws us over next series I am considering getting stabbity.)
Bonus see how adorable Mary is gif:
Fic Rec #1: For Sharp-Eyed Lovers
Link: “I cannot have anymore dead lovers,” she says, looking at him directly. “I will try not to die,” he replies, amused.
Rating/Warning(s): PG - 13
Why This Must Be Read: Okay so this story is written post series-1, so AU. But yes why it must be read: This story kind of ripped out a part of my soul. The language of this story is absolutely gorgeous, I always get stuck on the end (which I won't spoil) but it is gorgeous. On par with that though is this passage:
With some wistfulness, she wonders if she would let him kiss her then, in front of all these people, in this public place. Here.
Her reputation is spotted enough without putting yet another stain upon it. But what a thing to do! Oh, if there is to be a stain, let it be a brilliant scarlet gash, a thing that startles and arrests. A thing that takes one's breathe away, quite.
Basically reading this will just remind you of all the reasons you would sympathise with Mary, and it is beautiful and amazing.
Fic Rec #2 A Girl Worth Fighting For
Link: Three sides of a love triangle, two men with guns, and a dead pheasant in the undergrowth. In other words, Downton does Christmas. AU M/M version of the Christmas Special- spoilers for the trailers not the episode itself. Genre: Romance/Drama/Tongue-in-cheek
Rating/Warning(s): PG - 13
Why This Must Be Read: This is like the most perfect AU of the Christmas Special (and I really loved the Christmas Special). It, like indeed parts of the episode, make you feel some sympathy for Richard. And, Mary and Matthew are brilliant in this because you see their friendship reforming and basically how they're like gravitationally pulled to each other. There are also side notes from the other characters that are just pitch perfect and it is a really well characterised piece.
Fic Rec #3: Morning Glow
Link:Lavinia's in London, Isobel's in France, and Matthew, blinded in battle, is recuperating in Crawley House when he receives a midnight visitor. No spoilers; just speculative series two wish-fulfillment.
Why This Must Be Read: This was written really early on series 2 so I don't feel bad about Lavinia's characterisation, and that could be the only possible flaw with this story because it's beautiful and sad. Despite this being a story about if Matthew was blind this piece fills my mind with beautiful imagery through vividness of the prose.
Fic Rec #4: By Your Light
Link: Sequel to Morning Glow. Matthew sees Mary out the morning after, because his peace of mind is worth the price of a scandal.
Rating/Warning(s): PG - 13
Why This Must Be Read: As the summary says it is a sequel to the above fic, and this is also gorgeous, and we see some of Mary and Matthew's banter which I love.
Fic Rec #5: Till Human Voices Wake Us
Link: "If I didn't know you better, I would think you were praying." episodes 2.5 to 2.7
Why This Must Be Read: I just, augh, this is one of those moments where this ship breaks your heart. 2x5-2x7 were probably some of the hardest for my little shipper heart to handle and goddamn stellabelle manages to just rewrite them a hundred times more lyrically and heartbreakingly.
Fic Rec #6: Bubbling Over
Author:Of Sandwiches And Sea Monsters
Link: AU sequel to Storm in a Tea-Cup. What if Matthew had followed Mary out of Crawley House as you all wish he had? In other words, a subtle exploration of the Slap Slap Kiss trope. For those of you who miss S01. Now with added heated rain kissing!
Why This Must Be Read: This is a sequel to Storm In A Teacup which is also amazing, but due to personal shallow reasons I prefer this, because it is angry season one kissing. It's awesome. I have no other reason for reccing this than that it is hot and has angry rain kissing.
Fic Rec #7: Need Me Less, And I'll Want
Link: Mary forgets the pretext she used to bring Matthew up to her bedroom the second he sets foot in it.
Why This Must Be Read: A possible scene from 1x06, while it is smutty and well done smut, it is also a beautiful character analysis of Mary with a tragedy that kind of hangs over it in this beautifully bittersweet way. It's just a beautifully put together piece that just, once again, makes me want to give Mary big hugs, and augh, I just love Mary and her angst but really want her to be happy!
Fic Rec #8: To Live Is To Be Marked
Link: (@ AO3) What if Matthew and Mary were married before season two began?
Why This Must Be Read: Just, augh, love. It's a kind of quiet fic, and subtle but really, really good.
Fic Rec #9: First Love Never Dies
Link: Didn't he understand? If they couldn't be together then what did it matter who she ended up with? They would all be loveless marriages. At least this one would protect her family.
Why This Must Be Read: I love Mary in this. I love her indignation and her annoyance and you sense how well how trapped she is and how she's just trying to do what she thinks is best.
Fic Rec #10: I Tell My Love To Wreck It All
Link: Season Two Finale AU. It always seems to come down to surviving the night, and Lavinia does, against all odds.
Why This Must Be Read: Right so this is technically Lavinia/Mary/Matthew but it's amazing. And as usual dollsome just uses her prose in the most painful way possible and it's too bittersweet to be anything but heartbreaking. It's beautiful.