Thomas Barrow, Downton Abbey
Title: Scars

Thomas settled into his usual seat at the table, but when he looked across he realised Jimmy wasnít opposite him. Of course heís not, you dolt, heís gone. It was the first morning after Jimmy moved on to his new position with Lady Anstruther. They had said their good-byes the day before, the way best friends do. Each of them trying to keep it light, even jovial. Thomas promised to write; Jimmy warned him that he better. They shook hands, perhaps holding on a bit too long. Thomas wanted nothing more than to wrap his arms around Jimmy, giving him a proper farewell, but he knew it was never going to happen.

"You miss him." Anna spoke quietly, just audible above the other conversations around the table.

Thomasís eyes shifted to her. It wasnít really a question.

"Yes. I suppose Ö" He stopped. "Yes, I do."

"Iím sorry."

"Iíll get over it." The slight quaver in his voice betrayed him. He cleared his throat and began again. "Iím a big boy, Anna. People leave, they move on or Ö" Fuck! Shut up, Thomas. "Or sometimes they die." Edward, Sybil, mum Ö "But Jimmy isnít dead, is he?" His glance dropped to the table, settling on his spoon. "At least I can be thankful for that."

Anna started to answer, but realised that there was nothing that she could say that would make much of a difference. She turned instead to speak to her husband.

Thomas picked up his spoon, absentmindedly turning it round and round. Every time he got close to someone he got hurt. Sometimes it was his own fault, because he pushed too hard or because he let his ambitions get in the way or for some other unexpected reason. But just as often he had no control over what happened. It was what other people did that brought things tumbling down. After all these years he wasnít sure why he expected anything different. When he threw him out his father had told him he was cursed. Sometimes, and particularly today, he thought he was right.

He set the spoon down and stood up, ignoring the looks and the glare from Carson as he mumbled his excuse. He wasnít hungry any way. All he wanted was to be alone for a few minutes; if that meant missing breakfast so be it. As he walked towards the servantsí stairs he knew that this would pass; that he would go on just as he always had. Soon, as far as everyone would be concerned, he would be the old Thomas. The signs of weakness would be gone, buried once again. It was just that he knew that with its passing it would leave scars. He wondered how many more of those he could bear.