Thomas Barrow, Jimmy Kent, Downton Abbey
Title: Without Regret

Jimmy reached over and snatched the cigarette from Thomas's lips, taking a long drag before butting it out in the ashtray beside the bed. He dropped his head back, resting it against Thomas's arm which was flung across his pillow.

"Who said I was through with that?" Thomas asked, jiggling his arm to make Jimmy's head shake.


They lay in silence, listening through the open windows to the waves as they washed against the pebbles on the beach. This was their first vacation in three years and after a long discussion Thomas had won out and they ended up in a small seaside town. Jimmy was prepared to dislike it, but he had to admit that he was enjoying himself. Then again, I'm with Thomas so it could never be bad.

"Do you ever regret leaving Downton?" Jimmy asked.

"No." Thomas's answer was quick and he didn't elaborate because as far as he was concerned there was no need to.

"I mean," Jimmy persisted, "by now you'd be butler. Safe and secure. Top servant at a lord's estate instead of slogging away in that factory."

"You do some slogging yourself," Thomas reminded him. "Yes, perhaps I'd be butler, but safe and secure? I'm not sure. I know what you mean, though. Lord Grantham and the family knew about me so you would think there would be no need to hide." He rolled onto his side and pulled Jimmy closer. "But we both know that's not true. And do you think that any of them would have understood us? Two perverts under their own roof."

"We're not perverts." Jimmy's voice wasn't angry He spoke as if simply stating a fact that others should accept.

"No, we're not. But I doubt if they were faced with the reality either of us would have kept our positions." His tongue traced Jimmy's lips. "Besides, I never wanted us to have to sneak around, worrying about being caught. That's what staying would have meant."

Jimmy sighed. "It's just that sometimes I ... I think that I messed up your life."

"Oh, you did that all right."

"What?" Jimmy's voice showed his surprise at Thomas's answer.

"You made me smile. You sat with me and played cards. You did all kinds of things to mess up my life. You broke down that wall, the one that kept everyone at a safe distance." Thomas kissed him. "You let me love you. And you fell in love with me when I thought no one ever would."

Jimmy smiled and returned his kiss. "So all's good then?"

"Always will be, love. Downton was the past, together we're the future."

They fell silent again, heads touching, fingers entwined, as the sound of the sea eased them into sleep.

~~ End ~~