*-The only character that I have created is Reggie Crawley. The rest belong to Julian Fellows, Carnival, etc.
*-The story takes place right after World War II ends.
*-The story contains a huge and heartbreaking spoiler from the Christmas episode. If you have not seen the episode, read at your own risk.
*-WRAF- Womens Unit in the Royal Air Force. I didn’t do a lot of research about the WRAF, if the history isn’t 100% accurate, I apologize.
The war was coming to an end; the soldiers were finally coming home.
Lady Mary Crawley was not an emotional woman, at least not in her everyday life.
But today was not an ordinary day. Her son and only child, her darling boy, Reggie was coming home.
Matthew had died right after Reggie was born, that day was the hardest of her life. Her grandmother and Isobel died fifteen years ago, within six months of each other. Her mother died two years ago. She loved and missed them, but it was the death of Matthew so soon after their wedding and their son’s birth that nearly broke her.
In time, she began to heal and raised their son the way Matthew would have wanted him to be raised. Reggie had his father’s striking blue eyes and his humor, and his mother’s dark hair and intelligence.
When the war broke out, Mary knew that her son would enlist; it was just a matter of when.
“Will I do?” Reggie asked his mother, stepping into the library in full uniform.
“You will, my dear, very well” he looked so much like Matthew at that moment, it was hard to believe that the baby she once held in her arms was now a grown man.
“I will come back safe and sound, mother, I promise you”.
“I know you will”.
The war years were not easy for any of them, least of all, Mary. When it was announced that the war in Europe was over, Mary could finally smile again.
“Miss Branson, my lady” the maid announced. For a moment, Mary could see Anna; the girl only slightly resembled her.
Anna was more than an employee. Anna was more like a sister and a friend; Mary was as close to Anna as she was to Edith. After Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson retired, Anna and Bates took over the positions of housekeeper and butler. But the years wore on and Bates’s health began to decline. It was not easy to let Anna go to take care of her husband, but Mary knew it was the right thing to do.
“Sybee darling, I thought you were working until tomorrow” Sybee had followed in her mother’s footsteps, joining the nursing core of the WRAF. After her honorable discharge, Sybee took a position as a nurse in the local hospital, taking up her mother’s mantle.
“I asked one of the girls to switch with me; I wanted to be there to welcome Reggie home”.
“Mary, what time is train coming in?” Robert was heard at the top of the stairs.
“Papa, you shouldn’t be out of bed. Reggie has promised to come see you as soon as we arrive”. Robert Crawley was not a young man anymore, despite what he kept telling himself. The doctor’s recommendation was that Robert cut back and allow Tom, Mary and Edith to run the estate. But stepping down as master of Downton Abbey was not an easy concept for Robert to swallow.
“Pardon me, my lady, there is a young man to see you”.
“Did he give a name?” Mary asked.
“No my lady, he didn’t”.
Entering the library, the young man waiting for her in the library was not who she expected.
“I’m home, mother”.
“My darling boy, you don’t know how glad I am to see you” Mary hugged her son.
“And I am happy to be home”.
“Reggie, your home, we were all so worried about you” Sybee ran to her cousin, locking her arms around him.
“I’m home now; you don’t have to worry anymore”.
“What the commotion down there?” Robert called out.
“I decided to take an earlier train and surprise you all” Reggie stood at the bottom of the staircase.
“My dear boy, you don’t know how much we all missed you” Reggie ran up the stairs to hug his grandfather.
“Reggie, whatever you want for dinner tonight, we will have”.
After dinner, with the car waiting to take Tom and Sybee home, Sybee whispered into her cousin’s ear “I have to work tomorrow morning, but I have some time in the afternoon. I want you to come with me into the village. There is someone I would like you to meet”.
“Does Reggie know?” Robert turned to his daughter, watched his only grandchildren walk hand in hand. They were only a year apart, raised as if they were brother and sister and not cousins.
While serving in the WRAF, Sybee met a young man and after a year of courtship, he came to Yorkshire to meet her family. Tom reported to father and sister in laws that the young man was intelligent, had a solid career and adored his daughter. In short, he had no objections to this young man. Sybee was not yet engaged, but it looked that she would be engaged soon.
“He will know tomorrow”.
“Will there be anything else, tonight, my lady?” her lady’s maid asked as Mary was prepared for bed.
“Nothing else tonight, thank you”.
Every night during the war, Mary prayed. She prayed to god, her grandparents, to Isobel, her mother and sister and most of all, Matthew. She would pray that they would watch over her son and guide him back to Downton safely.
Today, her prayers were answered and for the first time in years, she could sleep soundly.