Thomas Barrow, Jimmy Kent, Downton Abbey
Title: Apart

Jimmy lay on the bed staring at the ceiling. He was tired, but he knew how difficult it would be to get to sleep; it always was when Thomas wasn't there beside him. Reaching over he grabbed Thomas's pillow and pulled it to him.

He was surprised how well they had done since they left Downton. The first few years had been a struggle though. He had picked up quite a few odd jobs, but Thomas hadn't been so lucky. Essentially they survived on what he managed to earn and Thomas's savings. There were days when he wasn't sure they hadn't made a mistake. Eventually though Thomas found a permanent position, as did he, and as the years passed they grew into a comfortable life.

The only problem was that Thomas was away on business each month for a few days. Jimmy managed quite well most of the time. Between his own job and their friends he kept himself busy, but he still had to come home to the empty flat and, even worse, their empty bed.

He buried his face in the pillow, inhaling deeply.

A variation of the dream always returned while Thomas was away. Not very night, but he could guarantee he would have it at least once and that made him want to avoid sleep. It was ridiculous; a forty-eight-year-old man almost afraid to close his eyes. What bothered him most was that the dream had changed so that he remembered parts of it. Now it involved Thomas. He was always somewhere that Jimmy couldn't reach. In the middle of the ocean, on a mountain, in some unknown city half a world away; sometimes he had no idea where he was. The only thing Jimmy knew for sure was that they were apart.

He told Thomas about it, as he did with everything, but despite all his reassurances and all his understanding, Jimmy was still haunted by what it might mean. He had come to the conclusion that it had been far better to wake up paralysed by fear for those few seconds when he didn't know what he was afraid of than to wake up thinking he knew. He thought he was going to lose Thomas; that one day he wouldn't come back. Thomas would walk out the door in the morning and that would be it. Jimmy would be alone again and the dream would become real; something he would live day after day.

Jimmy hugged the pillow tighter. I couldn't stand that. Being alone would be bad enough, but being without Thomas...