Thomas Barrow, George Crawley, Mary Crawley
Title: The Christmas Tree

Little Christmas fic inspired by a Christmas card I received which you can see here
"Mama, I can't reach."

Mary, cradling her youngest in one arm and holding a red bird in her other hand, turned toward George. He was standing on tiptoe, reaching a glass ornament toward a bare spot on the tree a few feet above his head.

"Don't drop it. George. Your Papa will help. Henry?"

"No!" He shook his head and muttered, "Not my Papa."

"Pardon. What was that, dear?"

"I want Mr. Barrow."

"Nonsense. Henry? Where are you?"

"No, Mama." George folded his arms across his chest and began to pout. "Mr. Barrow."

Mary sighed. He's entirely too attached to that man. Still, she realised it really did no harm. Henry was busy and away from Downton every day while Barrow was always there. There were times she thought he did a better job of looking after George and Sybbie than their nurses or governess ever had. Besides she couldn't imagine Humphries, the current governess, giving either of them a piggyback.

"Very well, dear." She glanced over her shoulder at Thomas who stood off to one side. "Barrow, would you?"

"Certainly, M'Lady," Thomas replied as he stepped toward George and hoisted him up so he could place the ornament on the tree. "Make sure you put the string over the branch."

"I know," George answered. "Don't want it to fall and break like the other one."

"That's right." Thomas stepped back so George could look. "Good?"

"Yes. Let's do more."

"M'Lady?" Thomas asked.

"Of course. It's a big tree and we appear to be the only ones here at the moment. Just where did everybody go?"

"I'm still here, Aunt Mary," Sybbie piped up from somewhere behind the tree.

"Of course you are, Sybbie. I can always count on you."

"I'm sure the others will return soon, M'Lady," Thomas replied as he picked up a box of small ornaments and held it for George.

"Don't care if they come back," George whispered as he hung another ornament. "Don't need anyone else, do we Mr. Barrow?"

Thomas made a quiet sound of agreement. Not at all, George. Not at all.