Margaret wraps her scarf around herself.

"Ready?" She asks Alexander.

"Of course, darling." Alexander replies, giving her a kiss.

"Lucy, where are you? Come on, we are about to leave to visit your Uncle Thomas!" Margaret calls through the house.

Lucy comes bounding into the front room, her favourite doll in her hand.

"For Unca Thomas!" She says.

"Oh, that is so kind. Are you sure?" Margaret asks.

Lucy nods enthusiastically. "Do you have the other thing, Mum? The one I gave you just after Unca Thomas left?"

Margaret gently fingers the square box in her purse. "Yes, I do, darling. Thank you for reminding me. Now, let's get to the station before we miss our train." She adds, smiling.

X

Thomas hears a knock on the door and stands up to answer it. Richard comes into the doorway of the kitchen, where he is cooking.

Thomas had been helping Richard, since he has learned a little bit about cooking after moving in with Richard, though certainly not on the same level. There's nothing that man can't do. However, Thomas had been getting more nervous as the day progressed, so Richard had told him to go get dressed and be ready for the arrival of their guests soon.

With shaking hands, he opens the door to find Margaret, Alexander, and Lucy all dressed in festive holiday attire.

Thomas hugs Margaret while Lucy wraps herself around his legs again. He bends down so that he is at her eye level in the same way that he does with Master George and Miss Sybbie.

"Happy Christmas to you, Miss Lucy." He says cordially. She giggles at being addressed so formally.

Alexander addresses Thomas. "Joyeux Noel, monsieur." And he kisses Thomas's cheeks in the way that Thomas has read is common in France.

Alexander is French? Thomas wonders why he did not notice before. Then again, Thomas and Alexander spent very little time together overall. Well, I'm sure he has something special for Margaret; good for her.

Richard wipes his hands on a tea towel, brushes down his colorful green suit, which he has chosen to go with Thomas's red suit, so that they will look like a dance together, and enters the living room of their flat.

Lucy greets him in the same way that she has done previously while Margaret gives him a hug as well, to his slight surprise. As she leans in, he whispers, "You look beautiful."

Margaret blushes. Alexander wishes him a happy Christmas in French as well before greeting him in the same way that he has done to Thomas. Richard is less surprised, since he is much more observant of people than Thomas is, having lived in London for much of his life.

They sit and talk amiably for a few minutes before the oven makes a noise indicating that the baking is complete.

"Something smells wonderful!" Margaret announces as Richard stands up to pull the lasagna out of the oven.

"Thank you!" Thomas and Richard say together, although Thomas is a little embarrassed since Richard did most of the cooking.

After a delicious meal, Lucy tugs on the hands of Thomas and Richard as they sit on the sofa.

"Yes Lucy?" Both reply automatically.

"I have something for you, Unca Thomas and Mr Ellis." She presents the doll.

"Oh my! Your favourite doll? Are you certain, Lucy? Thank you so much!" Richard takes hold of the doll as Thomas and Richard each embrace Lucy.

"Thomas, a word in private, please." Margaret requests, pulling a small box from her purse.

"Certainly." Thomas obliges, joining her in the hall.

Richard can hear Margaret faintly talking to Thomas. He begins a conversation with Alexander and Lucy.

X

A few minutes later, Richard excuses himself to the toilet. As he passes the hall, he hears Thomas gasp.

"Are you sure, Margaret? Such a beautiful thing?" Thomas sounds extremely surprised.

"Yes. Mother would want you to have it; I know she would." Margaret says firmly. "You can do whatever you want with it, but I suspect I know where it will end up. Lucy wanted me to give it to you, and I quite agree."

Richard is confused, but knows that he should not be eavesdropping, so he proceeds down the corridor to the bathroom, trying to block out the conversation.

X

After a few more hours of friendly conversation, Margaret, Alexander, and Lucy decide to retire to their rooms, which are nearby.

As Thomas and Richard get ready for bed, Richard asks Thomas, "It was nice of Lucy to give us her doll…."

"Yes, it really was. You, the former royal valet, must write her a cordial letter of appreciation." Thomas jokes.

Richard shoves Thomas playfully.

"Did Margaret like our gift, you think?" He inquires.

They had purchased a set of soft pillows for the Johnsons's flat, seeing as there were many decorative pillows there when they visited, way too many to be needed for a practical person, which indicated that she was a collector.

"I think she did. But she gave us another gift…." Thomas trails off.

"Oh?" Richard asks, coming over to kiss Thomas and switch the light off.

"But I won't tell you about that yet." Thomas says mysteriously.

"Please?" Richard pretends to beg.

"Nope!" Thomas smiles, tapping Richard's nose gently. "You'll find out soon."

"I certainly hope I will, Mr Barrow." Richard smiles as he walks back over to his side of the bed and switches the light off before pulling the covers over himself.

X

The next morning, all five people rise early, as it is Christmas Day and they have made plans to visit Richard's parents in York.

When they knock on the door, Marion exclaims gleefully. "Ah! You're here! I am so happy to meet you."

Thomas politely introduces Margaret, Alexander, and Lucy, and Marion smiles at all of them and welcomes them in as family of her son's boyfriend.

Marion makes it a point to check with Thomas about what the inspiration for this reconnection is, sincerely hoping that it was not forced upon him by her words. Thomas cheerfully responds that her words got the idea stirring, and he is pleased to have reconnected with his family.

After a delicious lunch, the group heads back to Downton, all of them thanking Marion and Richard's father, John, for their hospitality.

X

That night, everyone gathers outside to see the fireworks display that has been arranged.

Margaret and Alexander stand close together to watch the display, sharing their warmth due to the cold night.

Richard jumps when the first fireworks are set off and Thomas takes his hand.

"I'm alright, Thomas." Richard reassures him.

But apparently, Thomas has some other intention, as he tugs Richard by the hand into a small clearing where there are no other people.

Before Richard can comprehend what is going on, Thomas is on one knee, pulling a small square box out of his pocket.

"I know we cannot officially be married, but I want you to have this. Will you wear it?" Thomas opens the box and Richard sees a beautiful green stone with a silver band.

"Oh, Thomas!" Richard gasps, honoured at the gift. "Of course I will, but where did you get this ring?"

Thomas stands up and slides the beautiful band onto the ring finger of Richard's left hand. Richard takes a moment to admire it.

"Margaret gave it to me yesterday. It is the ring that my mother wore for her entire married life, and was given to her by my father. She said Mother would have wanted it to be in my possession, and I want you to have it."

"I love you, Thomas. Don't ever feel otherwise." Richard punctuates this statement with a kiss that Thomas eagerly returns.

"Oh, and Margaret said Lucy suggested giving it to me in the first place." Thomas adds.

"Darling Lucy." Richard says affectionately, his arms still wrapped around Thomas's neck.

As if summoned by her name, Lucy bounds into the clearing, and neither Thomas nor Richard moves apart at her arrival.

She runs up to Thomas and Richard and hugs them. "I love you, Uncas Thomas and Richard."

Thomas and Richard are both surprised that Lucy is so understanding in a way that so few people are. But that is something to puzzle out another time.

They connect their lips, and it Thomas realizes that Richard's lips feel exactly the same as they did all those years ago, surprising now that they've reconnected.

As the fireworks continue to light up the sky and with Lucy wrapped around their legs, Thomas and Richard kiss again, feeling extremely peaceful, and the light glints off the ring on Richard's left hand, a commitment to love between them forever.


A/N: The end! Sorry if there are any mistakes or inconsistencies. It was so much fun to write a multi-chapter story; I might stick with this. Hope you enjoyed reading! All credit for ideas I haven't mentioned goes to the show, the film, or 51stcenturygirl (particularly the part about the fireworks and kiss, and Richard's parents, of course). Reviews are appreciated!

-HamiltonAsparagus