AN: This is my first fanfic to be published (but not actually the first one I wrote) so please be kind :)! It's about what I hope will happen in series 4. I hope you enjoy it! Please review! I apologize for any grammar or spelling mistakes.

(Thomas' point of view)

Thomas stood in the courtyard smoking a cigarette. He looked at the flawless and bright blue sky. Not one little cloud was to be seen. When a light breeze suddenly churned up the cool air, Thomas shivered. Despite the beautiful weather it was really cold outside. A thin snow layer covered the cobblestones of the courtyard. He had almost forgotten that it was close to Christmas. The preparations ran at full steam and they barely had one free minute. Thomas wanted to escape all this hectic rush for a moment and this was the best – and only – chance he could get. He turned round when he heard the sound of steps behind him. They had dragged him out of his daydream.

It was Jimmy.

"What are you doing here outside?" he asked.

"Just needed some rest" Thomas replied.

"No wonder at all this rush inside. I can't understand why Mr Carson makes such a big fuss about it."

"Well, it's close to Christmas."

"Yes, but we have another two weeks."

"Well, that's right. But, you know, a good servant prepares everything in advance so that nothing can go wrong." Thomas smiled jokingly at him.

Jimmy snorted scornfully. "His work is all he lives for, he?"

"That's how we know him. During the eleven years that I'm here now I never known him in any other way. Sometimes I admire his sense of duty."

"Eleven years" Jimmy said under his breath. "How did you stand this for so long?"

Thomas blinked at him in surprise.

"Do you want to leave?" He couldn't hide the disappointment in his voice. Whatever had happened between them, he still liked Jimmy.

"No, certainly not, I was just wondering if…it ever gets boring?"

"Why leave, when I'm in a good position here?" Thomas answered. "I'm lucky to be here and we all should be grateful that we are provided for so well. Not all are as fortunate as we are. Lord Grantham is very generous compared to others of his position, I can tell you. And I'm not saying that to put myself on good terms with him. I've seen under which conditions others of our…social status live and work. And, well, I must say that I'm pleased with what I have. Okay, you're right, you don't get to know much of the world." Thomas made a short pause before he continued. "But what I've seen doesn't let me feel the urge to see more of it."

Jimmy remained silent suddenly feeling embarrassed. He was talking about the war, of course. Thomas had never talked much about his time in the army. The only thing Jimmy knew was that he worked in the medical corps and got injured at the front.

When he didn't answer Thomas said, "Come on, let's go back inside before Mr Carson bites our heads off." The smile he gave Jimmy was careless but Jimmy felt like there was something else under the surface, something Thomas didn't want to talk about.

He tried to return the smile and followed him back in the house.

#

After a long and tiring day full of work Thomas threw himself on his bed. He took a deep breath and allowed the air to pour out of his chest slowly.

What a day. Man, I'm glad when Christmas is finally over.

But then there's New Year's Eve.

Okay then, I'll be happy when the year's over.

He sighed. He closed his eyes for a moment and let his thoughts float. And how else could it be, they led him to Jimmy.

They were friends. Thomas couldn't describe how happy he was about that. Nevertheless, it was very difficult not to show his strong affections for him. It was strange. Now that they were friends, many things were easier for him, others much more difficult. Their conversations had grown more light-hearted. They could talk about almost everything now. Almost. Neither of them ever brought up the things which happened before their friendship. They had a silent agreement about this. Talking about this time only would destroy everything they developed so carefully. Thomas knew it wasn't easy for Jimmy to cope with the fact that Thomas felt more for him than just friendship. On the other hand for Thomas himself it wasn't easy to hide his true feelings.

What's wrong with you? You could manage it earlier, why not now?

Perhaps because Jimmy knew about it. Thomas opened his eyes and starred at the ceiling. Things haven't been going as he would like them to, but when did anything ever proceed the way he would appreciate it?

You should be glad that you're still here, after all. You could rot in prison right now, don't forget that. By the way, it's very kind of Jimmy to agree to the friendship. He didn't need to this, after everything that happened.

Often he asked himself if things would have taken a different way if Alfred didn't walk in that fateful night.

How would he have reacted then?

Thomas gave himself an imaginary slap in the face.

Not a bloody bit different! Why should he? He's not like you, face it, you stupid idiot!

Although this was what Thomas wished the most.

He sighed once more. He only wanted to be as happy as normal couple were. Just once only experience the feeling to love and to be loved.

Were a bit of love and happiness really asking too much? Was he never allowed to have it?

Every time he saw Anna and Bates together he felt like going green with envy. He was aware of all the pain and suffering they had to go through, but eventually everything turned out all right for them.

I wonder if I'll ever have a partner. A real lover.

And even if, it won't be Jimmy.

He was painfully aware of this. Their friendship meant everything to him, but…Just only once being allowed to experience this feeling, just only once feeling truly and perfectly happy. No matter what it would cost. If it meant that he had to hide behind a mask he could only drop in the presence of his partner for the rest of his life, or that he always had to watch out not to say anything wrong that could give the others certain ideas. He was willing to accept that. No matter how difficult it would be. In principle he hadn't done anything else until now than hiding his true personality. Behind a facade of arrogance and cynicism. He was tired of pretending. At least in the presence of one person he wanted to be allowed to be who he really was.

Quite a lot thoughts. Maybe it's better you forget that for a moment and go to bed. Tomorrow there'll be quite a lot work to be done.

Thomas sighed and turned to sleep. Yes, a little bit of sleep would do him good.

#

(Jimmy's point of view)

Jimmy lay wake on his bed. He wasn't able to find rest. His thoughts just didn't want to leave him alone. Staring up at the ceiling he tried to think of something else but it didn't work. All his thoughts were circling around Thomas. He didn't even know why. It was quite strange. First, Thomas had just been the valet of His Lordship, then after this…incident Jimmy had wanted to get rid of him as soon as possible and now they were friends.

Sometimes it's really incomprehensible how life is.

But recently Jimmy suddenly was no longer sure how to think about Thomas.

He's your friend, what is there to question about?

Yes, Thomas was his friend, and a really good one, too. Okay, sometimes he was a bit overprotective but Jimmy knew about Thomas' feelings for him. And Thomas just couldn't deny his feelings. They were too strong for being negated. This was quite a strange idea but Jimmy tried his best to cope with it in an appropriate way. Besides, he found it really cute that Thomas wouldn't say one bad word about him.

After all I did to him.

Did he feel guilty about it, all at once?

In some ways, yes. Admit it.

Jimmy sighed and watched the moonlight tracing bright splodges at the ceiling of the room. He knew there was something else. Something, Thomas didn't want to talk about because it was too personal.

Or maybe you're imagining this and he's perfectly normal? Maybe you're the one who's different.

Jimmy thought about it trying to find something. But he couldn't find anything changed in his feelings, couldn't he? He liked to be around Thomas. He really had to admit that. Even if sometimes he still felt slightly awkward to be alone with him, his presence gave him the feeling of being important, needed. But it changed, recently. When they were together he got the impression that they were more distant.

No, you are more distant.

That was right. Thomas' presence had begun to make him nervous and he couldn't say why by no stretch of the imagination. What was different from normal that made him be so thoughtful? Thomas didn't change. Nevertheless, Jimmy had the feeling that…

He stared grimly into the darkness of the room which was only disrupted by the tender moonlight.

What's wrong with you? Why are you behaving so strangely?

He didn't understand it. He had noticed that he had begun to think about Thomas more often. That he had begun to perceive him differently. Or, to notice other things about him he never wasted a thought on before. How kind he actually was. How much more handsome he looked when the wind messed up his hair. How gentle his voice was when he spoke to him. How lonely he just had to feel. How beautiful his eyes were. And how sad the expression in these beautiful blue eyes was when he thought no one could see him. This sadness only Jimmy could chase away. All this were things he never thought about before, but now…

What did all that mean?

Angry, Jimmy clenched his fist so hard his nails dug deep into his flesh, leaving aching marks.

I'm not like him! I'm not…

With a resigned sigh he closed his eyes. There was no use in thinking about it any longer now. It would only confuse him more.

Jimmy pulled the blanket over his head as if he could hide from his feelings; lock them out so that they wouldn't find him.