"I hate how calm you are," Mary said to her husband.

"Would it reassure you to know I'm not calm at all? Merely a facade of calm?"

"No," Mary said in amusement despite her pique.

"It's like chess," Matthew continued, "I've imagined a strategy with winning moves, but now I can't tell the difference between a knight and a bishop!"

"I'm glad you're so excited," Mary said as she gasped in pain at the contractions.

It was just past sunrise and was a rather gloomy winter day.

"But, this is not how I planned to spend Valentine's Day."

"Really?" Matthew asked skeptically. "It's within the realm of possibility that they would come early, statistically fifty percent of twins are born prior to thirty-six weeks."

"You are not helping," Mary said with exasperation. And then she clung to Matthew frantically.

It had started to snow outside and no doubt their staircase would be slippery and hard to manage.

"Wait," she implored him.

"Trust me," Matthew said with reassurance as they stepped outside their condo.

"You didn't do this did you?" Mary practically growled. Although the snow was falling rapidly, their staircase had recently been shoved. She gritted her teeth and rolled her eyes as felt like she was always lecturing him to not antagonize his bad back.

"No," he said proudly at his solution.

"Our new neighbors," Matthew pointed to the house across the street, "Have a son Caleb who is ten years old. I paid him twenty pounds to shovel each and every time it snows."

"What? We only have seven steps," Mary huffed.

"Well, as I just said," Matthew implored his wife, "Trust me, that was once a lot of steps."

And he guided his wife to the waiting cab with ease and agility. Once they inside the cab, Matthew was surprised to see Mary was still grinding her teeth. He assumed it was the contractions, so he squeezed their joined hands.

"I'm worried about the twins," Mary finally said breaking the silence.

Matthew's panic face was comical to her in her present state of mind.

"Darling," she said to calm him, "Let me reword that. I'm concerned about how Caleb sucked you out twenty pounds per shoveling. If he can do that, what highway robbery will our children be able to commit?"

"I can't wait to find out," Matthew chuckled with amusement. He brushed some snow out of Mary's hair and smiled.

"Tell me something about snowflakes," Mary said through gritted teeth.

"Snow is like maths magic," Matthew said nostalgically. He didn't need to say anything to remind Mary about how they had reunited in New York when the city was blanketed in snow, for he could see she remembered when he looked into her eyes.

"And in Maths pillow talk that means?" Mary continued.

"Kenneth Libbrecht, a physics professor at Caltech, has calculated that it is extremely unlikely that two complex snowflakes would ever look exactly alike. His theory is that there are 10^{158} different configurations for snow crystals. That's a 1 followed by 158 zeros, which is about 10^{70} times larger than the total number of atoms in the universe."

"So, it's not very likely, but it's still possible," Mary said with a faint smile.

"Everything is possible with you," Matthew returned affectionately as they continued to stare at each other.


Mary was always in control. Even after the c-section delivering the twins, she was just as coherent and commanding as ever. When she closed her eyes, it had nothing to do with the drugs in her system or the exhaustion; it was because it was her choice. As she had held her children and called them by their names for the first time, it had been a perfect moment.

"We are inside the moment between moments," Matthew had said fondly as he quoted Dr. Strange.

While the literal name meaning for Lucas and Phoebe were similar, involving illumination; their connotations were a duality of opposites. Matthew had selected Lucas for the reference to maths, for Lucas numbers related to the Fibonacci sequence and the golden mean; and how Mary had inspirited him to speak maths pillow talk. And she had selected Phoebe for its reference to a Titan goddess in Greek mythology that was associated with the Moon. To Mary, the name paid tribute to how Matthew had shown her a new world, from the telescopes at the Royal Observatory to the Solar Eclipse they had watched before their second honeymoon. As she held her babies, it was time to rest. The sensation was just that simple. Mary had expert control over her senses and so it would be alright to let go, even if she didn't have a choice; she was convinced that she did.

Sometime later as she started to wake up, Mary had a distinct feeling of déjà vu. It was smell and memory taking a hold over her. She could smell peppermint, Matthew's favorite scent, something that was irrevocably linked with his time in the hospital. How many times had she woken him by using that herbal scent? To pull him from whatever trance had him trapped? It made her shiver to remember. But, it was a good memory now, a powerful sense of overcoming adversity. It was linked to remembering to value the small victories, to trust each other and to believe their future together was limitless. Falling in love had been like taking off nail polish and seeing what truly lies beneath. And what Mary had discovered was the strength of her conviction, the fact that she loved Matthew and could acknowledge this truth.

Mary thought of a hammock in Vienna, of making love on their oak kitchen table and the first time she had heard Matthew speak maths pillow talk. She sighed and could feel the wind in her hair as Matthew rowed their boat down the Thames at sunrise. Mary felt Matthew's eyes on her as she dressed in a new outfit and twirled around him, drinking in his reaction.

Each milestone, each memory was a stepping stone as she started to awaken. Mary gingerly stretched, careful of her movements, but she didn't open her eyes.

I am a mother.

The thought dulled virtually all of her discomfort. Especially as she concentrated on the soft breath that whistled by her side that smelled of peppermint. She shivered as she felt her hand being squeezed. The touch provoked her. Mary smiled, and her bleary gaze connected with her husband. His exuberance was almost frantic, the perfect mirror to the calm she felt inside. He was reading her favorite poetry aloud.

And when you appear

All the rivers sound

In my body, bells

Shake the sky,

And a hymn fills the world.

Only you and I,

Only you and I, my love,

Listen to me.

Matthew set the book aside as he perched on her hospital bed, his legs bouncing with energy. His smile spread, widening across his already impressive grin. He leaned forward.

"Mr. Craw-lee," Mary teased affectionately, "What are you doing here?"

They laughed together, both giddy with overwhelming emotions.

It was Matthew that spoke first.

"As I was reading to you," Matthew said, "Your lips mumbled, curving around each syllable I uttered. But, I'm not sure though if you were listening to me or the poet Paulo Neruda."

She stared at him and licked her lips slowly and sensually.

"Well," Mary said, "To answer your question, haven't I earned a proper kiss from my husband?"

"Two as a matter of fact," Matthew said heartily. "Two is the Mystical Number of Taoism, it represents the Twin, the First Division, the Duality of Opposites the Yin & Yang."

Mary laughed at him and it made Matthew all the more reverent, for the sound was just as infectious as it had always been. As their lips touched, however, Mary felt a jolt of confusion. She broke the contact in favor of a question she had to ask; despite the fact she knew it was frantic babbling. But, they were no longer only one and one equals two.

"Where are my babies?"

"They are in observation," Matthew explained gently, "Both as happy as a lark."

"Of course," Mary said quickly. The whirling emotions inside her fought for attention and yet she didn't speak, she just absorbed the moment. It was terrifying and yet blissful; it was all tied together. The moment when she knew, this was it, this man is mine; this man knows me for me. It is time to take a leap of faith. She was a confident wife, but now I am a mother.

"They must take after their father," Mary said definitively.

"And their mother," Matthew added with his authority.

Mary squeezed their joined hands, relaxing as she stared into his eyes.

"Today, tomorrow and forever," she said quietly.

"I love you too," Matthew replied.

"Due, Deux and Dos," Mary said using the word for two in Italian, French and Spanish.

"Now about those kisses darling," Mary yawned, her eyes already closed.

Matthew only smirked, his head falling in a rueful chuckle at her authority even now as she was on the brink of sleep once again. As he stared at his wife, the fiercely stubborn and possessive woman that he loved, he felt as though he had swallowed a box of firecrackers.


Matthew tried to stand back from the glass wall as he stared at his swaddled infants. But, his breath and his fingerprints were all over the glass. He enjoyed watching the imprint of his hand form and fade as he pressed it to the glass. Matthew couldn't help but think of his newborn children as though they were a clean slate, a tabula rasa; they had infinite potential.

The focus of maths to him had always been about insight, not simply the mundane practicality of counting. It was the old saying that Math is like love; a simple idea, but it can get complicated. The intricacy of his life had real and imaginary counterparts; making maths the perfect partner for him until he had had met Mary. She was his QED, quod erat demonstrandum, that which was to be demonstrated. Mary was abstract beauty taking a physical form; that was their shared past. He bit his lip and thought now of the present and into the future. Matthew put his hand up to the glass wall again.

I am a father.

Sometimes other people appeared at the window, and he would share a moment with the stranger or nurse. They would exchange the name of their child or simply smile at each other. Matthew had lost all track of time as he continued to stare. And so he was jolted by a hand on his shoulder, as his mother joined him. Matthew reached into the pocket of his trousers and removed a peppermint candy for her, a tribute to his father that made her smile. Isobel tucked it into her pocket, and she turned from her son to her new grandchildren.

"Lucas Isaac and Phoebe Blythe," she said quietly. "Well-chosen names."

"Thank you," Matthew said graciously, "It nearly took us nine months to agree on them."

"Sometime soon you will have to explain their middle names to me and their significance."

"Of course," Matthew said earnestly, although his gaze was not focused on his mother, his voice quiet as he stared at his children.

"This reminds me of my battle with your father," Isobel conceded. "I was determined to not allow him, Benedict, if you were a boy."

"I'm in your debt," Matthew laughed.

"Since you are in the mood to listen to me," Isobel said, "Then I'm going to suggest you get some sleep." She stared at her son in his threadbare old Dr. Strange T-shirt and wrinkled corduroy pants.

Matthew looked away from the observation window and at his mother, to object to her suggestion and yet he was betrayed by a yawn. He moved from his hunched position leaning on the window and groaned at the ache in his back.

"No scolding or lecture about carrying Mary from the taxi once we reached the hospital?"

"Of course I heard about that," Isobel said with a bemused smile, "And while I don't know why you refused a wheelchair for Mary, I'm sure you had your reasons."

Matthew put his hand on the window again, just between the two cribs that held his twins. I am a father. The thought assaulted him with happiness. Everything that had occurred between him and Mary, all the confusion, misunderstandings, heartache and obstacles had collimated in the birth of this two new fantastic people. They made maths formulas in his head along with music and poetry on a new scale. Just like their mother, they astounded him. The twins were a Möbius, the mathematical property of being non-orientable and yet continuous. There was no beginning or end; only one-hundred eighty degrees of possibilities. Matthew traced the infinity symbol ∞ on the glass with his fingers.

"Come along," Isobel said gently, her hand on his back, "Lesson number one, you sleep when the babies sleep."

"I'll go back to Mary's room," he conceded. "But, tell me," Matthew yawned again, "What's lesson number two?" Matthew asked.

"Grandmother's know everything," Isobel said with a broad smile.


The End!

Not to worry, there will be more drabbles from this AU, but this is the official linear timeline coming to a conclusion.

Mathematics is made of 50 percent formulas, 50 percent proofs, and 50 percent imagination.

Thanks for reading!