Dickon Sowerby sat alone in the secret garden. The sun was just beginning to rise, streaking the moorland sky with color. He had been up for hours now, taking comfort in the smell of Miss Mary's roses on the crisp, still morning air. Dickon had been sleeping less and less as of late. He would just lie awake in his bed, his mind reeling and his heart aching. Colin had been home for several weeks, and hadn't spared a moment before making his intentions known to Dickon. He wanted to ask Mary for her hand. Colin, of course, had been looking for someone to celebrate with him, and Dickon had smiled as best he could and congratulated his friend. Mary deserved to settle down with a wealthy gentleman, and he knew that Colin truly cared for her. Dickon also knew that no man could ever care for Mary as he himself did. In fact, he was certain that no man could possibly love a woman as he loved her.

He had loved her from the first moment he saw her. She reminded him of his mother's fairy stories, with her wild temper and restless spirit. As the years went by, his feelings for her had only intensified. But, as sure as he was that she was the one for him, he knew his chances with her were almost nonexistent. Mary would be the distiguished wife of some impossibly clean, refined nobleman, and he, a gardener, would grow as old and as bitter as Ben had.

His thoughts were disturbed by the sound of the garden gate opening. He watched the slender figure of the woman he loved appear before him. She smiled upon seeing him, causing a pang of heartbreak to pierce him. He managed a ghost of a smile. Mary seemed to pick up on his mood. Her expression changed to one of concern as she crossed to him. Dickon held back the urge to pull her to him. She sat very close to him, so that their elbows were touching. She smelled of honeysuckle.

"Dickon, what is it?" she asked softly. He could feel her breath, light upon his cheek.

"'Tis nothin', Miss Mary" he replied in barely more than a whisper. "I've just been thinkin', 'tis all."

"What about, then? What could be troubling you so?" Mary moved from her seat on the bench to the ground in front of him, so as to look into his downcast eyes. He looked into her lovely, worried face. He couldn't bring himself to respond. Mary's eyes softened.

"Colin asked me to marry him last night." Dickon turned his eyes away from her, unable to meet her gaze any longer.

"Congratulations, Miss Mary" he whispered, unable to speak for fear of weeping.

"I told him no, Dickon." Dickon's heart warmed a bit. Maybe he wouldn't lose her quite yet. "Do you know why?" she asked gently. He looked at her. There was a strange glint in her eye. "I told him that I couldn't marry him because..." she took a deep breath. "because my heart belongs to someone else." Dickon couldn't bear this torment any longer. He stood to leave. Mary stood too, walking up to stand behind him. "It's you, Dickon. It always has been, since we were children. It's you that keeps my heart. Dickon couldn't believe what he was hearing. She couldn't mean it. She put a hand on his shoulder. "Dickon, please look at me." He turned to face her.

"Why me?" he asked softly, not quite meeting her eyes. She looked at him quizzically. Dickon held back a sob that threatened to escape. "Mary, tha' could have any man in the world. I have nothin' to offer you. I'm a servant, Colin... Colin could give tha' everythin'...I..."

"Colin can't give me the only thing I truly want. I want you. I would rather starve to death with you than live in a palace with anyone else. I love this place because you're here. You are the magic in the garden, Dickon. You saved me from myself years ago, and I've been your's ever since. I know you feel the same...please, tell me that you do." Dickon felt the last of his resistance crumble away. He hesitantly raised a trembling hand to Mary's face, wiping away a tear that had escaped down her cheek.

"I love thee with everythin' that I am, Miss Mary. I canna give my heart to tha', because it isn' mine to give. I... I've never wanted anythin' as much as to be with tha', lass. Surely tha' already knew how I felt 'bout thee." Mary was crying in earnest now. Dickon slowly lowered his face to hers, fear and passion and ecstasy running through him like nothing he had ever felt before. His lips gently brushed her's, Mary pulling him down to deepen the kiss. He drew her in, wrapping his arms tightly around her. He couldn't bring himself to pull away. Mary ran her hands over his chest and neck, sending shivers through him. He forced himself to break the kiss. They stood there, breathless. "We've got t' stop now, luv." he panted. " 'fore we... 'fore thin's go too far." A blush crept up his cheeks. Mary caressed his face, smiling through her tears, her own face reddening slightly.

"I honestly don't think I'd mind too much if they did." she said rather shyly. Dickon laughed.

"Nor woud I lass, but I don't fancy givin' old Ben Weatherstaff a heart attack were he to peek o'er the hedges." Mary burst out in a fit of shaky laughter. That would make things around the manor rather awkward for a while. Dickon pushed a stray wisp of hair out of her eyes. "I should get abou' me work, Miss."

"Right..." Mary looked a little disappointed.

"Will I see tha' for lunch, then?" Dickon asked, needlessly, as they always had lunch together.

"Of course." She answered, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. He offered his arm to her. She took it, revelling in the still unfamilar intimacy. He stopped at the garden gate, and more courageously than before, pressed a kiss to her lips.

"I love thee, Miss Mary" he said, still inches from her face.

"I love you too, Dickon..." another tear fell from Mary's eye. Dickon wiped it away with a stroke of his thumb. He turned and opened the door for her, both smiling like fools. "Until later then?"

"Aye" he said, his voice soft.


Okay, so, I suck at writing a Yorkshire accent. But, hey, it's my first try at a SG fic. I know it was a bit short, but I'm kind of notorious for that. This may be a oneshot, or it may be a multi-chapter. It all depends on the feedback. ;) You know the drill. lol.