I took over making the @batesessecretservice Secret Santa present for @thank-god-and-you. Rev frog was your original Santa but, understandably had to drop out. Hope you enjoy your vacation with the Bateses.
A/N: This is kind of a hot mess of lameness, but I’ve finished it now, so here we go. It’s over the word count (obviously…), and the prompt doesn’t come in until the end, but I hope it’s enjoyable anyway.
Every factor indicated to John Bates that today was going to
be a very bad day.
It had started in the early hours of the morning, with
Jack’s ear-splitting wails. Both he and Anna had dragged themselves wearily
from bed, trying with increasing desperation to get him to quieten, but nothing
seemed to work. Not sucking at his mother’s breast, not being rocked in his
father’s arms, not being changed or read to. His first teeth had started to cut
through his gums only a few days before, and they were being punished for it
now. All he and Anna had been able to do was sit up helplessly with him, trying
to see out the worst of it.
Peace had, at last, fallen near dawn, when Jack had clearly
screamed with such ferocity that he had run out of energy and had slipped under
into an exhausted, uneasy slumber. That was when Anna’s own symptoms had
started. He’d caught her shivering in the night, but she’d waved away his
concern, adamant that she would not leave their son’s side when he was in so
much discomfort. It had been to her detriment. Her cotton nightgown and
threadbare shawl had done nothing to combat the surprisingly cold June night,
and as Jack had succumbed to sleep, so Anna had succumbed to whatever ailment that
had crept up on her. Her temperature was up, and her eyes were puffy from lack
of sleep. She’d been to the bathroom twice to throw up in quick succession. Now
she was pushing weakly at the bed sheets.
“You’re not getting up,” he said sternly as she made to
follow him out of bed. She fixed a glare on him, its impact lessened by the
uncharacteristic dullness of her blue eyes.
“I am perfectly capable, thank you, Mr. Bates,” she said.
“You are not,” he shot back. “I know you don’t like to
concede defeat, but I’ve not seen you looking like this in a long time.” Not
since the trauma she had gone through, when she’d been gaunt and lifeless, a
silent ghost amongst them.
“There’s Jack to look after. He’s a baby, he can’t do it
“No, he can’t. I can
look after him, though.”
She looked at him with watery eyes. “You?”
John didn’t know whether he should be offended or amused
that she didn’t seem to have much faith in him. “I’m his daddy. He should know
that I’ll be there for him no matter what he might need.”
The cast and crew of Downton have already said their goodbyes, but for the audience, the end is just beginning. It’s almost time for us to say goodbye, so let’s remember the moments when we first said hello.
“Alright fine. I won’t deny it, I have feelings for her. I have feelings for Anna Smith. Are you happy now?”
John looked around the little cafe quickly, hoping that his small outburst hadn’t drawn any attention.
Robert spoke more softly in his reply, “I’m happy if your happy. And I believe you and Anna can make each other happy. To be honest, it would make me extremely happy not to have to spend another year watching the two of you pine for one another.”
“I’m sure she’s not pining for me.”
Rob let the merest bit of a smile twitch his lips when he noticed his friend and colleague didn’t deny his own pining. He schooled his features and continued, “That’s not what Mary says.” When he noticed the look of horror on John’s face, he added, “They tell each other everything you know.”
Finally posting the last bit of @silly-beggar ‘s secret santa gift. I am soooo thankful to @batesessecretservice for organizing it. I’ve enjoyed everyone’s gifts so much.
John barely slept that night and was in a terrible mood the next day. Rob had booked a special train car to take everyone to York in order to shop for their Secret Santa gifts. John hoped to make the best of things by spending the day with his best mate, but Rob insisted that he had to go off alone in order to check on the arrangements at the restaurant where the whole group was lunching. On top of that, he couldn’t seem to shake Moseley who was, without a doubt, the last person John wanted to spend any time with. Well, maybe Thomas and O’Brien would be further down the list, but not by much.
John was cold and the snow was making his knee act up. For whatever reason, Robert decided it was a great idea to have a company holiday retreat. So everyone, from Mrs. Hughes and Mr. Carson on down to William and Daisy, were spending a long weekend at the Crawleys’ Downton Estate. Although he got along well with most of his colleagues, he wasn’t the most social man in the world at the best of times.
At least he would get to spend some time with Anna. She was in her element surrounded by her friends and colleagues. John gazed in her direction, captivated by the way she smiled and laughed with the others in the wagon that would take them from the gates up to the big house. She was dressed casually in a thick jumper, leggings, and boots. Completely appropriate for the current temperatures and completely lovely. Her golden hair and rosy cheeks had John temporarily rooted to his spot.
He was just about to make his way forward when Joseph Moseley materialized beside him.
“That Anna certainly is lovely, isn’t she?” he asked.
“Yes, I suppose she is,” John replied cautiously.
“Do you know if she’s seeing anyone?”
John’s skin began to prickle, “I don’t think so,” he hesitated a moment and added, “I’ve heard that there’s someone she might be interested in though.”
“Really? That’s surprising, I never really see her with anyone but you,” Moseley chuckled in the awkward way John always found equal parts sympathy inducing and irritating.
“I think I might just give it a go if you don’t know for sure,” Moseley continued, “You never know what could happen out here in the country. All that mistletoe and all. Maybe a Christmas miracle.” He moved off to the wagon and climbed in next to Anna, pulling the blanket she had across her lap over his as well.
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Anna Bates, John Bates; Anna/Bates
Summary: Anna Smith thinks that she’s content with her life, her career as a teacher the focal point. Then she meets Sergeant John Bates, and soon her feelings of friendship blossom into more. However, the road to true love is never smooth and, sometimes, in the most hopeless of hours, there is a choice between fighting and fleeing which can prove the mettle of what was there all along.
Notes: My contribution to @batesessecretservice’s Secret Santa Exchange, and the second ‘part’ of my gift for the lovely @miss-ute! I hope you enjoy it! :D
On that note, I just want to say thank you for the response to the first part! I thought the length would put people off, so I was so happy to see it getting reviews and alerts! Thank you so much! I hope it can live up to expectations. That’s always the most nerve-wracking thing. :P This section is a tiny bit shorter, at just over 18,500.
@annambates thoughtfully made the cover size more suitable for FFN. Thank you! :)