Male/Male
Thomas Barrow, Andy Parker, Daisy Mason/Parker, Original Characters, Downton Abbey AU
Title: Christmas at Yew Tree Farm
Length: 5 Chapters


Chapter Four

Dinner had been leftovers that Daisy had managed, as always, to make far from dull, with an apple tart that she had baked that afternoon for dessert. Thomas realised it was good thing that he didn't visit more often given how much food Daisy assumed he would eat.

As they sat at the table finishing their tea Andy nodded to Ronnie. "Go check the pens and the barn, will you. That one sow is still worrying me so have a close look at her too."

"Right." Ronnie swallowed the last of his tea.

"I think I'll come along for the fresh air." Thomas caught Andy's eye and quickly indicated Daisy as he stood. "Don't mind do you?"

"Of course not."

Thomas closed the door behind them and they headed across the yard, skirting the icy puddles where they could.

"Listen, Ronnie, when we get back can you make an excuse to go up to your room for a while. I want to talk to Daisy alone."

Ronnie stopped dead in his tracks causing Thomas to run into him.

"Why?" He turned, almost knocking Thomas off his feet. "It's about me, isn't it? Please don't do that, Uncle Thomas."

"It's not about you."

"Why can't I be there then?"

"Your father's not going to be there either."

"I don't like the sound of this, not at all." Ronnie grabbed Thomas's arm. "What's wrong?"

"There's nothing wrong. In fact when we've finished, things will be even better."

"You're an odd one, Uncle Thomas," Ronnie chuckled as he began walking again. "Damn mysterious too."

"I've been told that."

When they eventually returned Daisy was still sitting at the table, hands crossed in front of her, but Andy was nowhere to be seen.

"I, uh … I think I'll go up and read some of that new book," Ronnie announced nervously.

"That's nice, dear."

"I'll be down again later."

"I'll make some more tea."

Thomas sat down beside her and waited until the floors upstairs were quiet.

"Andy told you what we talked about."

"Yes."

"And you're thinking of saying no."

"Yes, because …"

"No." Thomas reached over and put his hand on top of hers. "You need to listen to me first. Will you do that?"

She nodded.

"You know I don't have much of a family. My sister, that's it. And it's been years since I've seen her. But you know what? If I found out she could use money for something like this she wouldn't even have to ask, it would be hers without a second thought. You and Andy are as much my family as anyone, maybe more. Your boys might as well be my nephews; I'm pretty sure Ronnie thinks he is."

That elicited a quiet laugh and another nod.

"So let me do this as family. Let me help give Ronnie the chance that I know both of you want him to have, because that’s who all this is for, isn't it."

"It's a lot of money, Thomas."

"First Andy thinks I would put a price on friendship, now you think I would put one on love."

Daisy's inhaled sharply in surprise. Well, I never. She suddenly realised why this had become important to him.

"Don't you make me cry, Thomas Barrow."

He squeezed her hand. "I'd never do that, especially not at Christmas."

He waited a few seconds, but she didn't say anything.

"So, do I have a yes?"

Daisy pulled her hands free and lifted her apron to wipe her eyes, then leant over and kissed him on the cheek.

"You do."

"Good, now let's have that tea."

"We just finished the last about an hour ago."

"Do you have anything stronger?"

"There's a bottle of whisky in the pantry, but before we get ahead of ourselves Andy and I need to explain to Ronnie. He thought the money would come from the bank."

"Oh, that's right. Damn. Better you tell him alone when you get a chance then he can ask me if he wants. So tea it is then."

While Daisy prepared the tea Thomas climbed the stairs and knocked on Andy's bedroom door.

"Yes."

Thomas opened the door and stuck his head in.

"Tea. A celebration, but don't say anything to Ronnie yet."

Andy broke into a broad grin.

"You're a bit of a smooth talker, aren't you."

"A man of many talents, Andy, that's me."

Thomas continued down the hallway to get Ronnie.

"Tea, boyo."

"Uh … all right. Is everything good?" Ronnie asked as he followed Thomas out the door.

"Couldn't be better." He stopped at the top of the stairs. "Do you think you can you get away for a few hours in the afternoon day after tomorrow? I want to go into Ripon for something and I'd like you to drive me."

"I'm sure Da can do without me for a while if he knows I'm not going to be here."

"Good, good."