A/N – What did John and Anna do after he was released from Prison that very first morning? Did he just go back to his old room and leave her there in the Servant's Hall? A story written for a dear friend's birthday… sorry it was so late!

Disclaimer – Downton Abbey and its characters are the property of Julian Fellowes, I'm just borrowing them for a short while.

Disclaimer – M – Mature Content

Patience and Passion

By

Mrs Anna Bates

~x~

Comfortably full, John Bates leaned back contented in his chair. Finally he was at Downton with his beautiful devoted wife beside him and he couldn't think of a moment when he had ever been happier and yet…

"Was that all right for you, Mr Bates?" trilled Daisy, as she leaned across to clear the plate from the table.

Awoken from his daydream, John replied, "It was Daisy, thank you, you must thank Mrs Patmore for me," The weariness was evident in his voice.

"I bet you've missed Mrs Patmore's cooking, haven't you?"

"That I have Daisy, that and many, many… other, things," John glanced across and saw Anna's beautiful face, glowing with a radiance that it had lacked for far too long.

Daisy gathered up the condiments from the table and shuffled away quietly, leaving John and Anna alone in the servant's hall. It was all a little overwhelming for John who had wondered, many times, how he would feel at this very moment.

Anna reached over and with feather light touches she stroked the back of his hand with her fingertips, "Penny for them?" she asked, as she stared into his dark, distant eyes.

John looked up and could see the concern etched on Anna's face. "Oh, I'm afraid my thoughts aren't worth that much. Ignore me; I'm just a little tired, my love, that's all."

"No-one is going to think any less of you if you admit that you have struggled a little with how you would feel being back here, least of all me," Anna replied with an intuition, which amazed John.

He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed the back softly, and then he held it close to his heart as his other hand cupped her cheek. He gently pulled her face to his and kissed her lips tenderly.

Anna felt a myriad of emotions rushing through her body and she pressed her lips to his with an intensity that was electrifying. She didn't want the kiss to ever end and she wrapped her arms around his neck, her fingers snaking through his dishevelled hair.

xXx

Mrs Hughes was so glad to see Mr Bates back at Downton. Things hadn't been the same when he had been away and she felt so sorry for Anna. So many times she had seen the poor girl close to tears while doing her duties. Never once though had she doubted the love that they shared and their dedication to each other, she had however doubted if they would ever be reunited.

As she turned into the Servant's Hall she saw John and Anna in a passionate embrace. She should have turned heel and left but she was just so glad to see them immersed in the safety of each other's arms that, enthralled, she stayed a few seconds.

Out of the corner of his eye, John spotted Mrs Hughes hesitating at the door. Quickly, he released Anna from his embrace and stood to acknowledge the housekeeper's presence.

"Oh, don't mind me… I was just checking to see if you have settled back in, Mr Bates," said Mrs Hughes with genuine warmth that filled Anna with nothing but admiration for the housekeeper.

"I'm very sorry, Mrs Hughes, Anna and I will make sure that it doesn't happen again," John apologised and in his embarrassment he stumbled slightly when his hand missed the table and he reached out to steady himself using Anna's shoulder.

The housekeeper stepped forward to try and help, she took John's arm and saw him safely back into his seat.

.

"Mr Bates… I may be an old spinster, but I have seen how much Anna has missed you and I'm sure you have missed her in equal measure, probably more. There is no need to apologise, but maybe it might be wise to keep your shows of affection for a more, erm… appropriate place."

"Thank you, Mrs Hughes. I don't know what came over us," Anna smiled at her husband and took his hand in hers, "we will be more careful in future."

Mrs Hughes felt the tears sting her eyes as she thought of the heartbreak that had all but torn this wonderful couple apart.

"Now look, Anna, poor Mr Bates hasn't even taken his bag up to his room. Why don't you go and help him… just this once. There will be nobody around at this time of day and if we promise not to let Mr Carson know, then there'll be no harm done."

John touched Mrs Hughes hand, which was still resting on his shoulder, "Thank you, I think maybe we'll do that."

"Very well, I'll leave you to it… it really is wonderful to have you back, Mr Bates." With that the housekeeper turned and made her way back along the corridor to her parlour.

XXx

Opening the door of his old room, John Bates tentatively walked in and dropped his bag at the foot of the single iron framed bed. Everything was as it had been that day that he had been handcuffed and taken away. His books were still there, his clothes and even the folded newspaper on his bedside table. It was like a time capsule, a shrine even and thank God he was back in it once more.

Anna watched as he looked around the room. She walked to where he stood and from behind she rubbed his arms from shoulder to elbow, and then embraced him, her arms encircling him and her head resting against his back. John felt the warmth of Anna against him, the curve of her body fitting him perfectly; he rested his hands over hers and closed his eyes.

Slowly she moved around until she stood in front of him. She saw his tear stained cheeks and reached up to wipe away a falling tear. "Please don't cry, John. You're here and I'll make sure no-one ever takes you away again."

"Oh Anna, these are tears of joy. I have never felt as safe and completely loved as I do when I am in your arms,"

He reached down and taking her chin gently between his fingers; he tilted her head upwards and lowered his lips until they met her warm moist mouth. At first he peppered her lips and throat with soft, tender pecks but soon they took on an intensity that caught them both by surprise. He had sworn to himself in prison that he would treat her with the respect that she deserved, even though he so desperately wanted to devour every last inch of her body.

As soon as Anna responded hungrily to his kisses, every ounce of his resolve vanished into thin air. She crushed her body against his; their hands ran wildly over each other. Impatient to be able to touch more than just the skin of his face, Anna pushed his coat over his shoulders. He shrugged it off until it fell to the floor, then she began to unbutton his waistcoat.

He had lost such a lot of weight since being in prison that his ill-fitting clothes were easily removed. Once his waistcoat was discarded she began on his shirt but John's hand quickly came to cover hers and stopped her.

"Anna, I didn't expect… I mean, I never presumed that this would be the first thing we would do when I was released. I don't want you to think badly of me."

"Well, John, this isn't the first thing because you have already eaten Mrs Patmore's delicious breakfast, so I really think that makes what we are about to do completely acceptable," Anna grinned as she saw the look of astonishment on John's face. He didn't believe that he could possibly love her more than he already did but she always managed to do something amazing which proved him wrong.

Just knowing that she wanted this as much as he did unleashed in him all the pent up desires that had raged in his body for the last two years. Every night as he lay in the cold and damp cell, he could only dream of his lovely wife's soft, warm body. He had desperately wanted to hold her, to be joined together again in passion, feeling her ecstasy around him.

John's hand reached behind Anna's head and he drew her to him. He kissed her deeply, his tongue pressing against her lips until they parted allowing him access and then their tongues swirled and jostled together tasting each other anew. His teeth gently nipped her bottom lip and his hand glided down her back, he could feel her tremble slightly through the flimsy material of her blouse.

Anna felt herself tingle from head to toe when she heard John's moans as he kissed along her jaw and down her neck, his hand pulling her blouse carefully from her skirt, slipping beneath and feeling her smooth silky skin with his fingertips.

"Oh, Anna," he whispered into her ear, his breath fast and ragged. "You wouldn't believe how many times I have dreamt of this moment."

Anna's head fell back as he continued to kiss and nip her neck; she could feel his warm moist breath against her skin. "I know exactly how many times because I have dreamt of it also." She could scarcely contain her desire to abandon all and pull him onto her, but she waited for him, enjoying every sensuous moment.

John's long fingers began to unbutton Anna's blouse. They did so with great skill and dexterity. Soon the blouse joined the rapidly growing pile of clothes that littered his bedroom floor.

"Shall we make ourselves comfortable?" Anna took John's hand and led him over to the bed where they sat side-by-side stroking each other's arms. She removed his shirt and ran her fingers through the coarse dark hair of his chest. "I've missed this," she purred, as her fingertips circled and teased his nipples. Her hand slowly travelled down over the contours of his stomach, which tightened and tensed under her fingers.

He gasped at her touch; it had been a long time. He was almost instantly aroused and as such it was obvious and Anna smiled to herself. She had only seen him naked once but the memory had stayed with her and she was eager to uncover and explore every part of his body once more.

"Why don't we get out of these things," Anna gestured towards the rest of their clothing. Even though she knew where this was going she didn't want to do anything to make John feel uncomfortable.

They stripped quickly out of their remaining clothes and John drew back the covers of the bed. They slipped underneath and John pulled her close. He felt her warm firm breasts against his chest and her foot slowly and sensuously worked its way up from his ankle to his knee.

"My God, Anna. The things you do to me." John grabbed her bottom and roughly pulled her body against his. Anna could feel his hard throbbing length against her groin. She could feel his hips moving slowly, pushing against her and she could feel his heart beating rapidly in his chest. Her own pulse began to rise and her breath came in short gasps, she wanted him so much.

"We don't have to do this," he gasped as his fingertips ghosted across her back.

"Why wouldn't we? It is the only thing that I want to do at this moment. Being this close to you is the most perfect thing in the world for me."

He reached down between their hot slick bodies to where he could feel her soft curls. He parted her with his fingers and felt how wet and ready she was. As he kissed her slowly and deeply he slid a finger inside her and felt her tense around him. His thumb slowly rubbed and circled her sensitive core and Anna whimpered as she felt the butterflies in her stomach and the warmth growing between her legs. She could not stop a little cry at his gentle touch.

As he continued to stroke and tease, Anna's head swirled as if she were drunk on his passion and her body tingled with every delicious stroke of his fingers. John put his lips to her ear and whispered in a deep sultry voice, "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever met. I love you with every last breath in my body, I will never leave you again, and I will never allow anything to come between us," his breathing was heavy and he gasped, "You are everything to me. Nothing and no-one else matters."

Anna's hand wandered down his stomach and in a bold move she let her fingers slide down his firm manhood. She had surprised herself by doing it the last time they were together, a little worried that he would think her too forward. Hearing John's appreciative moans, she was encouraged to carry on. She circled the head with her fingers and was surprised to feel that he was already wet and sticky. Feeling him so hard and throbbing under her touch made her very aroused and that combined with the feel of him stroking and touching her most private area made her erupt inside. Her body twitched and jerked as sparks of pure love exploded inside her.

Anna cried out as the intensity of the feelings assaulted every fibre of her being. John cradled her in his arms and rocked her gently until her body stilled. The experience was both exquisite and frighteningly intense and she loved and wanted John even more for it.

"Oh Anna, you are such an incredible woman," John sighed, as he caressed her back and kissed her shoulders. "I have no idea what you see in me."

"You make me the woman I am, without you I would be nothing," Anna whispered, her voice hoarse.

After a moment where they just held each other closely, Anna looked up and gazed at him, "Please John, you let me have my way with you last time, remember," she giggled… "Now it's your turn."

Unable to wait any longer, John gently pushed her onto her back and kneeled over her. He lowered his body to hers, careful that she did not take all of his weight. He took her face between his hands and looked into her dewy green eyes.

His voice breaking he said, "Anna, I love you," then, carefully he guided himself slowly into her.

Anna gasped as she adjusted once more to her husband. The feeling of him within her had been perfect the first time but now the pleasure was one hundred fold. John rested slightly as he filled her completely and he allowed her to get used to him once more.

Never once taking his eyes from hers he began to rock gently, thrusting rhythmically. Anna smiled and the tears began to fill her eyes. He wasn't worried; he knew these were not tears of sorrow, but rather of joy and relief, that finally they were together in the most complete way they could be.

He kissed her lips and her jaw line as he moved back and forth, his breathing rate increasing to gasps that almost became grunts. She could feel him sliding in and out, deeper and deeper with every thrust. Each stroke made her tingle again and she felt the throbbing between her legs. Instinctively she dropped her hand there and as his shaft slid back and forth, she gently massaged herself. Her thumb caressed him and she heard his groans. His breaths were now gasps, her own were almost screams as she felt herself pulsating in time to his movements. She could contain herself no longer.

"John! John! Oh my love!" She felt as if something burst inside. This was even more exquisite than the first wave she had experienced. Her words were his undoing, he couldn't stop, his thrusts came deeper and faster, more frantic and he began to cry out her name.

Anna's hips bucked as she matched each of his thrusts with her own. She felt his muscles contract as he reached his own sweet release. He gave one final jerk and gasped "Oh Anna, my love, my darling, you are so wonderful. I love you so much!"

She held him tight allowing their breathing to slow down and their bodies to relax. She whispered in his ear "You are the wonderful one. If that's how you show me you love me then I'm the luckiest woman in the world."

xXx

Relaxed in each others arms they drifted off into a sweet deep sleep, the first nightmare free slumber that either of them had in many, many months. As John awoke in the arms of the woman he loved with every last breath of his body, he knew that finally his world was complete.

The End