A/N : Hello, hello, I'm finally writing my very first Baxley fic as I've been meaning to for months, now. As with Between Cookbooks and Spells and Bubbling Cauldrons and Pink Cardigans, this is intended as a collection of OS. The first one takes place right after Mr Molesley tells Miss Baxter that he is leaving the house to become a full-time teacher.
Est enim amicitia…
Miss Baxter, having a few moments to spare before returning to her duties, has chosen, today of all days, to read a book that Jos- Mr Molesley has offered her. Smiling to herself, she caresses the leather cover with one delicate finger, remembering with fondness the sparkle in his eye as he had given it to her, the childish glee that had overcome him as she had beamed and thanked him for it. She loves it when he beams at her, his eyes always sparkling with something … gentle, uplifting, hopeful, as if a light were shining from within him, just for her. And he often smiles at her when they are talking. She has always regarded it with pride, that she makes him smile so much.
She looks up and sees him coming from the other side of the corridor. He is in full livery. No doubt he has come downstairs to fetch a tray or other in the kitchen, full of the delicacies crafted by Daisy and Mrs Patmore. They both stop and smile at each other, and her heart skips a beat. He hesitates for a second, or two: it is obvious that he has an announcement to make.
"While you were away, I-" he begins
"Decided to accept Mr Dawes' offer. I knew you would, and I'm glad" she replies, meaning it completely. He has earned this chance at the school through his hard work, and she is happy for him. Glad that his value is being recognised at last.
"Well, we won't lose touch, I'll walk up here often" It sounds like a promise, and she knows her eyes are positively shining.
"No, we won't lose touch. You can be sure of that" She says simply. For a moment, they look like they are going to embrace or kiss each other, then they both go their own way.
She schools her features, and gets to her seat, near the fireplace. As she opens her book, she tries very hard not to think of all the times she has sat there with him next to her. Knowing that, in two weeks maximum, at the beginning of the next term, he will be spending his evenings in his cottage, while she will remain here. Without him.
Suddenly, a thought strikes her, and she feels ice piercing her chest. What if she lost touch with him, despite their promise? What if he decided that he was better off forgetting her? She knows already that she will miss him terribly. And even if they see each other every week, it will not be the same. Could never be the same as seeing each other every day, working together side by side. And, with his new situation, will he be able to make time for her? But she shakes the thought off almost as soon as it is formed. Mr Molesley is not like that. They might not have said it was a promise, but they had promised all the same: they will not lose touch.
Still, she already knows just how much she will miss him. She has been used to his almost constant presence in her life. Used to seeing him almost every day.
Not in the mood to read anymore, she gets back to her room. As soon as she is there, she closes her eyes, and sighs. Then, she puts the book back on her mantelpiece. She must try to put those thoughts at the back of her mind, she tells herself. She cannot afford to let him leave on a sour note, just because she cannot handle the thought of not seeing her …. – best friend, is not quite it, but they are not lovers either, not that it has not crossed her mind – whatever he is to her, every day.
That evening, Lady Grantham notices that she is preoccupied, but does not ask. Baxter, she surmises, is very private, and if she needs to talk to her, she will only do it at her own pace.
As the day he leaves draws nearer, Miss Baxter finds herself trying to spend as much time as possible in his presence. Cataloguing the micro expressions on his face, basking in the feel of him, helping him organise his things so that he can go to his cottage.
His penultimate day at Downton, she goes with him. Helps him organise his new home. When they are ready to go back to the house, he takes her hand in his.
"Miss Baxter, would-, that is-, I-."
She tilts her head to the side, wondering what might make him so nervous. He takes a deep breath, closes his eyes, then opens them again, fixating his gaze on her face.
"Miss Baxter, would you like to come to tea on your next afternoon off?"
She beams. She was right. They won't have any trouble keeping their promise.
"Yes, Mr Molelsey" she says "I'd like that very much"
She looks up at him and, tiptoeing, kisses him softly on the cheek.
Title taken from a famous quote from Cicero (the only one I like, tbh), from the Laelius dialogue:
« Est enim amicitial nihil aliud nisi divinarum humanarumque rerum cum belevolentia et caritate consensio » : Friendship is nothing but an agreement on divine and human things, with benevolence and kindness.