My first DA fic : ) I still haven't gotten over Sybil's death so the Christmas special with that hussy of a maid was a big cup of salt on the wound for me. As much as I miss her though, Tom does need a happy ending and that's where this fic comes from. I can do this so much better than Fellows lol.


Chapter One

March 1923

"I like this part right here, "Like a Phoenix rising from the black ashes, the world has found its way to begin anew. We are no longer an innocent society, but we carry the memories of the war with us daily. They are lessons, lessons we must utilize for the future of our world." "Michael Gregson sat back and smiled. "This is the material of an award winning journalist."

I immediately felt the weight that had been lingering on my chest pull away as he said that. "I was so afraid you would hate it."

"Kate, your extrasensory perception skills need to be polished if you thought that. This is amazing. Viewing the war as a brutal lesson in politics and communication." He slapped a hand on the stacked pages in front of him, "Fine stuff!"

Beaming, I thanked him. I had agonized for days on this piece. Michael Gregson, the editor of The Chronicle had hired me not even a month before and I had been more than eager to impress him. Few papers had been willing to give me the time of day when I had first come to London, even with a degree in journalism in my pocket. He was the one who had snatched me up, declaring the sex of a writer didn't matter to him just as long as their message was clear. His thinking was rare and wonderful.

We discussed a few bits of editing before he released me from his office, calling for his secretary to send my papers to the printers. I gathered my jacket from the hook by the door and slipped it on as I walked out the door. I swept a lock of dark hair that had strayed from my chignon back into its place as I walked through the busy Chronicle office. As I reached the waiting room I found a surprise sitting in one of the polished wooden chairs.

"Edith, darling, what are you doing here?"

Lady Edith Crawley looked up and gave me a kind smile. "Kate, I didn't think I'd see you today." She rose and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

Lady Edith was just that in fact, a Lady. Her father was an Earl, but she had made a name for herself by becoming a well-respected writer for the Chronicle. We were two of very few women who worked for the paper and had bonded because of it. It was rather amusing to me at times, her of English nobility and me, the daughter of an Irish banker having such a close friendship.

"I am glad I've found you though. Do you have any plans for the Easter holiday?"

I shook my head, "Sitting in my flat reading I suppose, maybe going to church."

"Well I would like to invite you to Downton then. I thought about it on the ride down and you would be more than welcome."

"Oh Edith…"

"I forbid you to say No. It will be very quiet, the family and some close friends. You were by yourself for Christmas and I won't let you spend another holiday alone. If you're worried about it, there's a Catholic church about an hour away. My brother-in-law would surely take you if you wanted."

"That would be lovely, I just…"

"I have forbid it, Kathleen Byrne. You cannot say No."

I sighed. I wasn't hesitant because of church, nor was it because I would be around people that were basically strangers. It was…well being surrounded by a family, even one that wasn't my own, brought back painful memories that I would have much rather left buried. Edith was so kind to think of me and the expression on her face presently was one I had no chance to argue with. Perhaps it was time to let go of the past and move on…

"I shall say yes then." I smiled.

"Wonderful. I'll make all of the arrangements this afternoon."

She chatted on about the preparations, even suggesting a shopping trip beforehand, but as I smiled in acknowledgement, feigning excitement, my mind went elsewhere. I prayed I made it through Easter without losing my composure. Three years since and the holidays, a time for love and family, hadn't gotten any easier. God, please let this one be different.