Thomas Barrow, Jimmy Kent, and some of the Downton characters.
AU. Not really canon
I guess I should have indicated this is modern and has moved everyone across the pond.
Length: 4 chapters
And the livin' is easy. Thomas is a lifeguard when he meets Jimmy.
Thomas did his best to keep an eye of Jimmy for the rest of the day. He wasn't expecting any problems, but he had found it was better to be careful with anyone new. That's the only reason, really it is. Although he only got a chance to talk to him again when the shift changed. He was pulling on his shorts when Jimmy came out of one of the toilet stalls, hiking up his own shorts as he walked to the sink.
"So, how was your first day?"
"Good. A bit boring though."
"I saw Daisy talking to you. Didn't that cheer you up?"
"I don't like to be disturbed when I'm trying to watch the pool. She seems nice, though a bit too giggly for me."
As Thomas pulled on his golf shirt he missed the quick appraisal Jimmy gave his body.
"Yeah, that's our Daisy." He stuffed his uniform into the backpack he had dug out from under the admin building. "Listen, want to come for a beer? There'll be a bunch of us - Alfred, Ivy, Daisy, me. Maybe Miss O later, but she's not all that inclined to hang out with the 'overgrown rug rats'."
"I'll stand you to your first one. Call it a welcome to our little tribe."
"Okay, but I need to make a call first." He pulled a cell phone from his backpack."
"Yeah. So what," Jimmy snapped. "Sorry. My mum's sick and my aunt's staying with us for a while. Just don't want either of them to worry."
Right, Thomas. If your foot was any further in your mouth it would be sticking out your asshole.
"It's me who should be sorry. You can kick me if my mouth gets away from me again."
Jimmy laughed as he poked at the phone screen.
"I'll remember that."
Thomas went outside to wait, not wanting to eavesdrop. Jimmy followed in about a minute.
"Yep." They started walking to the exit. "See, there's just me and my mum. Dad buggered off when I was three." He stopped. Shut up, Kent. He doesn't want to know this. "So where are we going?"
"A little pub called the Dowager's Folly. Supposed to be English, I guess. Fake wood beams, dartboard, you know the type. Some of the beers are authentic though. But it's cheap and near the apartment so Alfred can park and we'll walk. And speaking of Alfred ..."
He stood on the driver's side of a rusty Toyota, while Ivy and Daisy leant against the hood.
"Thomas, move your ass, it's hot and I'm thirsty. Wait. Who's this?"
"Oh, right. This is Jimmy. New guy."
Alfred rolled his eyes as if to say here we go again.
Ivy pulled open the back door and Daisy scooted in, moving to the far side. Jimmy slid in beside her and Thomas beside him. She then climbed into the passenger seat.
"Alfred, it's fucking hot in here," she complained. "I thought you were going to park under a tree."
Alfred turned the key and the engine started, then stopped. He turned it again and this time it caught and roared to life, hiccupping slightly.
"I did, but ... well, the shade disappeared."
Thomas rolled down his window.
"Never mind. Just go so we can get some air. Next time get a car with A/C."
"Shut up, Thomas. At least I have a car."
The car hesitated as they pulled out of the parking lot, but Alfred gave it a bit more gas and it smoothed out. In the back seat Daisy pushed a little closer to Jimmy who eased away, pressing against Thomas.
"Daisy, move over, dammit. Jimmy's almost stuck to me."
In the front seat, Ivy snorted with laughter. "Right, as if that ..."
"Ivy!" Thomas cautioned as he smacked her on the shoulder.
She turned in her seat.
"We're not always like this, Jimmy. We love each other, really we do. It's the heat."
Jimmy didn't look the least bit convinced.
"Thomas, don't you dare smoke in here," Alfred warned, having spotted him in the rear view mirror.
"Oh for Christ's sake, Alfred."
"I don't care. You know I hate it. That's why you're on the fire escape at home."
"Fine, fine." Thomas sulked as he put the cigarette back in the pack and tucked it away in his shirt pocket as he raised his arm to the back of the seat behind Jimmy's head.
Daisy leant over to Jimmy again. "So, how do you like us so far?"
"Well ... uh, you're an interesting bunch."
"Aren't we now. And we're sober. No one's high. Just imagine ...."
"Daisy," Thomas reached behind Jimmy and pushed her away, "leave him alone. You'll scare the poor guy."
"Oh I wouldn't worry, Thomas. I donít scare that easily."
"Good. Wouldn't want to put you off on your first day."
"Good Lord, you two," Ivy groaned. Just at that moment Alfred swerved the car sending Jimmy hard into Thomas's chest. He put his hands out to stop himself, but instead they landed in Thomas's crotch.
"Damn squirrel!" Alfred yelled.
Jimmy tried to push away when he heard Thomas grunt and he realised what it seemed like he was doing.
"It's okay. But I don't usually let strangers do that." Fuck me! If you weren't scared before you will be now.
Everyone laughed, except Jimmy who just looked puzzled..
"That's not what I've heard," Alfred sniggered.
"Just drive, Alfred," Thomas ordered. Just drive so I can get out of this car and go drown myself in beer.
In another fifteen minutes they arrived in an older part of the city. Alfred drove around the block a few times until a parking spot opened up. Everyone clambered out of the car. Jimmy stood for a minute, arms outstretched hoping the non-existent breeze would dry him off.
"Is this near the university?"
"Yes, about a ten minute walk," Ivy answered. She pointed to building down the street. "We live there, fourth floor walk-up. A pain, but it's big for the area - three bedrooms - and we can also get to the roof easily which is great on nights like this. Thomas managed to 'persuade' the door last year."
"Everything out of the car, guys?" Alfred asked. "Just in case." No one said anything so he checked to make sure the doors were locked, then he and Ivy started down the street in the opposite direction of the apartment. Daisy trailed along behind them while Jimmy fell in step with Thomas.
"This pub far?"
"Nope, just ..." Thomas coughed on his cigarette. "Just a block or so. University hangout mainly." He took a deep drag, coughing a bit again. "How about you? Where are you going to live?"
"Don't know yet. I applied for residence but haven't heard."
"When you get a chance you should check the online listings. People are always looking to share. You know, in case you don't get into residence. Just don't leave it too late or you'll end up who knows where. What's your cell number? I'll text you the link later if you want. I probably need it for work anyway. I mean I set the roster so I might have to reach you."
Jimmy pulled out his phone and touched a few icons on the screen then held it up so he could add the number into his contacts. Thomas smiled to himself. Smooth, Thomas, smooth.
Alfred had stopped in front of a nondescript building and pulled open the door to let Ivy and Daisy in. Thomas paused to stamp out his cigarette - "Fucking non-smoking bylaw." - before following Jimmy inside. Jimmy looked around. The room was big and more or less full. The noise almost drowned out the canned music playing in the background. Near the front there was a small stage. Must be some live stuff too. Unless it's just for show. Alfred had found a table and motioned them over. Jimmy made sure he got a seat beside Thomas. They had just settled in when a waitress approached them.
"Well, if it isn't my favourite collection of troublemakers. What'll it be?"
"Just drafts, Anna." Ivy replied. "Thomas's turn to pay for the first round."
"What? Wait a minute."
"Yes it is," Daisy piped up. "You managed to leave last time just as it was your turn."
"Okay. I'm outnumbered."
Anna looked at Jimmy. "I'll need I.D."
"He's eighteen, Anna. Trust me."
"Trust you, Thomas? Not on your life."
Jimmy blushed as he fumbled with his wallet and held out his driver's licence. Anna checked the photo and the date.
"Really? You look about twelve."
Jimmy's blush deepened when everyone laughed. Everyone but Thomas who instead just squeezed his knee before realising what he was doing and jerking his hand away before anyone else saw.
"That's Anna Bates, wife of the owner. He's a bit of a prick, but she's OK."
"Thomas," Ivy interrupted, "he's only a bit of a prick because he doesn't put up with your nonsense like the rest of us."
"Some friend you are Ivy ... Shit, that's Mary Crawley. What's she doing here?"
Jimmy looked toward the door and saw a rather pretty woman, overdressed for the place, with a pasty-faced man at her side. Thomas leant over to Jimmy.
"She's the daughter of Robert Crawley, the owner of Grantham's, and that's her current lap dog. Marty, Matty, something. Crap, she's seen us."
Mary made a beeline for the table dragging her date by the hand in her wake.
"So, Mary, out slumming?" Thomas could hardly contain his contempt. They had been at each other for years.
"Yes. I thought I would see how the other half lives. It was Matt's idea." Oi, Thomas thought, you're going to regret that my friend. She paused and pointed across the room. "Matt, be a dear and get that table before someone else does." She turned back after he left. "This is where you spend your time? A bit shabby, isn't it?"
"What can I say, Mary, we like it." Thomas smiled up at her. "Unlike some, we're not much for putting on airs."
Anna returned, setting the drafts down as Thomas pulled some bills out of his pocket and handed them to her. Meanwhile Mary had looked around the table and spotted Jimmy.
"I don't know you. How did they rake you in? Are you Thomas's new conquest?"
Jesus, Thomas thought, how does she know about me?
All eyes snapped to Jimmy who reached for his beer and took a sip.
"I don't really think that's any of your business. I didn't ask how you managed to snag that twit over there waving at you, did I?"
Mary's mouth dropped open. She glared at him and turned on her heel before storming away.