you all need old man jimmy

The Robert Plant questions are difficult for me to answer because I’ve had enough of all of this stuff, to be honest. Robert says this, Robert says that. I just don’t want to be presenting soundbites so that it’s like some kind of ping pong match. I’ve had enough. I don’t need it. The only reality of it is that we did one concert. No matter how you dress it up, look at the situation. That’s it.” ~ Jimmy Page, January 2017


One of DD’s early relationships, aside from Karen Page, was with Natasha Romanov, the Black Widow. While it didn’t work out, at the time it made for for some fun adventures and great rooftop acrobatics (get your mind out of the gutter). I remember during my musician days my lead guitarist telling me that he always considered Nancy Wilson from Heart his perfect fantasy dream girl because even if they were to go through a rough patch, they could always pick up their guitars and jam and all would be perfect with the world. I always thought of him whenever drawing DD and Nat because when it comes to training, discipline, fighting skills and overall ability, they are remarkably similar and I think that’s why they always made for a great Team-Up. And, while they’re no longer in a relationship and haven’t been for a very long time, they remain great friends and confidantes.

The pages here, issue 2 page 16 and issue 4 page 2, both from Guardian Devil show a very troubled Daredevil and a Black Widow willing to go to great lengths to help a dear friend. This includes doing something she feels completely unequipped to handle. Caring for an infant. I love the way Kevin wrote this relationship. It’s clear that there’s history between the two, even great love, though it’s destined never to be. However, the friendship that will blossom from that love will be an even greater bond.

Lights, Camera, Devil!

I love using light sources to set moods and tell parts of the story through visual subtext. On the left I use the light source from the street below to cast a dramatic horror movie uplight on Daredevil who is obviously loosing it. But then it changes to a light source coming from the buildings and billboards across the way as he steps way from the ledge and towards Black Widow. to the right I used the skylight to dramatically uplight DD again and express his growing tension and madness while Widow remains unaffected.

Behind The Page

On the left there’s a sign for “Officer Jusko’s Donuts.” This is a tip o’ the hat to brilliant Marvel Masterpiece illustrator Joe Jusko. Before working full time as a professional artist Joe was a New York City Police Officer.

On The the right you’ll see a billboard for “Joey Squid’s Pizza.” The President at Marvel who initially brought Jimmy and I in to create Marvel Knights was named Joe Calamari, we all called him Joey “The Squid.”

The sign with the cartoon cat that reads “SOX” is for my now deceased and beloved White Sox. Man I loved that cat. During my earliest years in comics I drew him once into every issue I illustrated. Go ahead, check some of my early stuff out, I promise you’ll find him.

And just for you guys, look what I dragged out of storage. See, never throw out your old reference, you never know when you’re going to need it.

The dreaded “Baby Karen” baby doll stand-in from Guardian Devil. I was mistaken, based on the embroidered logo, I bought it at F.A.O. Schwarz not Toys “R” Us. Okay, this has to go back into storage, the eyes are still following me.

Downton Charity Drive Fill--for shadegarden ...

This is my last fill and I apologize that it’s so late. I had started writing this fic over the summer and shared it with shadegarden but then abandoned it. Then, I wanted to finish it for gigitrek’s birthday and my writer’s block was too much. So, shade requested that I finish it for the drive. Thank you, shade, you are the biggest sweetheart I know. <3 <3 <3

TITLE: All’s Fair

PAIRING: Thommy starring Drunken Jammies

RATING: T for language

WARNINGS: Drunken vomiting but nothing graphic

SUMMARY: Thomas stops Jimmy before he runs into the thugs at the Thirsk fair. Jimmy repays him by revealing a bit too much about his feelings.


Jimmy was tired.

It was exhausting. Simply exhausting to actively dislike someone.

Someone like Thomas.

After Thomas had crept into Jimmy’s room that night, and after the ugly business with the police, Jimmy had gone out of his way to be especially rude to the newly appointed underbutler to distance himself from being associated with that sort of deviance.

A nasty aside here, an eye roll there. At first, the others thought it was a bit funny to see Thomas—their hopelessly vain, conniving Thomas—silently seethe or blush in response to Jimmy’s comments. But soon after, Ivy and Daisy started looking at him increasingly with looks of disdain on their faces. Bates would sit and shake his head. Anna would purse her lips and glance down at her hands. Mrs. Patmore had smacked him with a towel after one particularly public exchange which resulted in a scolding from Carson. Even Alfred was getting tired of the tension between the two men, and had on more than one occasion pulled Jimmy aside and told him to give it a rest.

Jimmy soon he found himself increasingly outside of the circle of laughter whenever Thomas made a snide comment about the Crawleys or Carson (when he was out of the room), or read a humorous story from the papers. He would get up and leave, and then stand outside the doorway until the merriment had died down.

Jimmy had dug himself completely into a hole. A lonely place where he was isolated from the people with whom he had begun to feel a sense of family (even crusty old Carson had become to warm up to him a bit). It was something he had been sorely lacking in recent years. He was tired, but simply didn’t know how to make it right.

So at the Thirsk fair, seeing Thomas embraced by Tom and clapped on the back by ALFRED, of all people—acceptedeven—after winning the tug-of-war was enough to make Jimmy’s stomach churn as a lump of regret rose in his throat. He had managed to avoid an awkward interaction with Thomas, instead acknowledging the victory by exchanging a curt nod of the head.

Jimmy had walked away from the crowd, flashing his cash a bit too much and drinking way too much. He had gotten sick of the fair, of the laughter and screams of delight. Of the sight of the rest of the staff having a good time without him, and with Thomas instead. It wasn’t fair; he had been the one who was violated and yet he had painted himself into a corner. It made him want to go back to the Abbey alone and lie down in his room and sulk.

Jimmy was stumbling toward the river, barely missing the rocks along the banks when one finally caught up with him, sending him tumbling, sliding and sprawling down a small hill into a low-hanging tree branch … which he hit forehead first.

Jimmy lay there motionless, too drunk and too stunned to move. He felt the trickle of warm blood ooze down his face. He blinked several times and thought that his spot in the mud would make a fine place to either sleep or die when an unmistakable voice–smooth as ice and just as tingling–broke through his alcohol-infused haze.

“You alright, Jimmy?”

Jimmy turned his head (which felt as though it was packed with glass shards) to see Thomas standing over him, his black hair hanging loose from its pomade prison, his suit jacket rumpled and open, and a genuine expression of concern etched onto his face.

Jimmy raised his hand to block out the suddenly evil sun so he could adjust his eyes. He huffed and then sneered, “Have you come to my rescue, Sir Barrow? The gallant knight in stupid lavender armor?”

Thomas crouched down next to him and said, “Just keeping an eye out. That’s all.”

Jimmy blew a raspberry into the air and snapped, “Pull the other one. You were hoping to get me alone.”

Thomas sighed. Not again.

“You’re drunk,” he said flatly.

Jimmy slowly sat up, ready to stand and prove his sobriety.

“I am not DRUNK,” he declared.

Thomas shook his head and tried not to laugh, “The only people who ever say they’re not drunk are the ones who are drunk.”

Jimmy swung a weak fist at Thomas’ knees and spat, “Fuck. You. Mister. Barrel. Hah. Barrel. A wheel barrel FULL. OF. SHITE.”

Thomas raised his eyebrows and decided to let Jimmy’s ridiculousness go unacknowledged.

“Alright, let’s get you home,” he said with a slightly patronizing edge, and reached out to grab Jimmy under his arms but the footman was having none of it.

“Why should you care? What does an under butler do anyway except live to take the piss out of me?” Jimmy yelped as he tried to get up on his own.

“By the look of your face, I had good reason. Let me see that cut,” Thomas said as his fingertips lightly touched Jimmy’s hair, brushing it out of his eyes.

Jimmy pushed Thomas’ hand away and started slapping at him fruitlessly like a child against a bigger foe. Thomas stood and backed away from Jimmy’s sad line of fire.

“No. Get offffffa me!”  

“Jimmy, I was a medic …”

Jimmy threw his hands up into the air and rolled his eyes.

“I bloody know! I GET IT! Everyone gets it! ‘Alfred stubbed his toe! Oh go find Thomas he was a medic during the war, you know.’ YES. I. KNOW. YOU. WERE. A. MED. ICK. JESUS CHRIST enough already!”  He grabbed his hair in both hands and looked down to see blood dripping onto his best suit, shook his head at his luck and groaned.

Thomas leaned down and squinted into the footman’s face.

“I don’t think you’ll need stitches but you have to stop moving so I can get a proper look.”

“Well, doctor. Let me just lie down. Is that better?” Jimmy said with as much sarcasm as he could muster before reclaiming his resting place in the soft mud, spreading his legs and arms so he could be at his most vulnerable.

“Does this ring any bells? Maybe I should close me eyes.”

Thomas bit his lips shut in embarrassment and muttered, “Stop.”

“I’m sorry I’m not in me underclothes at the moment! Or would you prefer me to be naked?”

Thomas’ cheeks reddened.

“I said STOP IT.”

“Of course you do!” Jimmy shrieked like a damsel in distress in a panto and sat up again. “Alfred … Alfeeeeee!!!”

“Goddamnit Jimmy!” Thomas hissed, looking around to see if anyone was nearby.

“Where’s bloody Alfie when you need him to save you from being touched by a dirty old man?”

Thomas slapped him across the face. Not too hard, but hard enough to snap Jimmy out of his state.

The footman stared wide-eyed at Thomas, his mouth hanging open in shock.

“Whyda have to HIT me?” he wailed like a wounded animal as he reached up to his rapidly reddening cheek.

Thomas’ hand stung more than Jimmy’s face. He clenched his fist to fight the pain and the anger he felt at himself for touching Jimmy in that way—and in ANY way at all. Ever.

“You’re such … you’re such an … AN INFANT!” Thomas spluttered at himself just as much as to Jimmy. “I’d of done it harder but I don’t fight drunks. Unfair advantage being sober.”

Jimmy’s face fell and his chin began to tremble. He looked at Thomas and began to sob, his shoulders heaving, and buried his face in his hands.

Thomas was heartbroken. Drunk or not, he never wanted to see Jimmy sad much less be the cause of Jimmy’s sadness. The underbutler ached to reach out and reassure him, to touch his cheek and softly wipe away the tears and blood.

Thomas watched Jimmy for a moment and was frozen, then decided he needed to say something … anything … to hopefully stop the agonizing sight of his unrequited love crumbling before him.

“Look, I’m SORRY. Can we please, PLEASE just start over, Jimmy?” Thomas blurted out.

His words managed to silence Jimmy’s cries. The footman thought for a few seconds, hung his head low and began to mumble, “I wanted to turn around. I wanted to turn around so badly. And I didn’t. I should have.”

Thomas looked confused.

“What? When?”

Jimmy raised his eyes to him with an expression of disgust.

“Winding the damn clock. Don’t you remember, you arsehole? You were SO close. So close … your smell. Jesus. I should have turned around.”

Jimmy wiped his nose sloppily on his sleeve. Thomas was afraid to breathe or speak. He felt a lump rise in his throat and found it hard to swallow.

“And what would you have done?” Thomas almost croaked. “If … if you had turned around.”

(Years later, they would continue to argue as to whether or not this very moment should count as their first kiss. Because it was bad. Very bad.)

Jimmy leaned forward, grabbed Thomas’ face in both hands, and planted a loud, sloppy-with-tears-and-snot smooch on Thomas’ lips. As soon as their mouths made contact, Jimmy’s eyes flew open in horror. He pulled away violently and vomited the evidence of the past two hours all over Thomas’ chest.

Jimmy froze in shame and began to cry again, “I am so sorry. It’s not you. It’s not you at all.”

Thomas put his hand lightly on Jimmy’s back. His eyes flickered down to what he hoped wasn’t his ruined suit and tried to say soothingly, “It’s alright, Jimmy. It happens.” (He also mentally thanked God for what felt like the millionth time that he had such a strong stomach.)

“No … it’ … disgusting!” Jimmy stuttered in between huge gasping sobs. He pulled out his handkerchief and attempted to dab Thomas’ jacket.

Thomas tried not to laugh and gently pushed Jimmy’s hand away.

“Never you mind that. I’ve seen worse and … hell, I’ve done worse.” Thomas said.

They sat together, and then Jimmy’s cries escalated into a wail, “Why’d you have to be so bloody STUPID and OBVIOUS all the time?”

Thomas closed his eyes and steeled himself for what he feared would be a painful barrage of insults—and it wasn’t the first time in his life that it happened. He waited in silence.

Jimmy continued, “In my bed? While I was sleeping? In what ladies’ magazine did you read that fine advice?”

“I’m sorry. I don’t know why. I just … wasn’t thinking. It was so stupid of me. So bloody stupid.” Thomas cried.

Jimmy snorted in agreement.

“I would take it back if I could. I would take everything back. God, you have NO idea how much I’d love to turn back the clock.”

Thomas pulled out a handful of grass and threw it listlessly.  Jimmy tried to but his hands felt numb.

“I’ve never been good with people and their feelings. I push people away because I’m afraid of mucking it up. Like I always do.”

Jimmy’s face was eager, “So why me? Why didn’t you do that with me?”

“I don’t want to talk about this right now. Can we please just forget it?”

“No I want to know.”

“I can’t talk to you now. You’re DRUNK.”

“And you’re a … a … HORSE FACE so we’re even.”

“That doesn’t even make sense.” Why am I arguing with you when you’re like THIS? Thomas thought.

“Don’t you shut me out. Don’t you dare do it. Tell me now or I’ll start screaming again I will!” Jimmy’s voice began to rise with every word.

“Jesus, Jimmy. Calm down, please,” Thomas begged. “I just … I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone and I tried to tell you and show you.”

“You’re bloody awful at flirting.” Jimmy sniffed.

“I know I am. I KNOW. But the house is so huge but we’re never alone in it and I just care so much for you that it makes my heart hurt. I’m sorry. I am so sorry.”

“How do you think I feel? Everyone knows you love me and no one knows how I feel.  What I feel. I have to pretend like it didn’t happen and that you disgust me,” Jimmy said ruefully, then angrily poked Thomas. “You don’t have to do a damn thing except be your stupid moony self with your stupid cigarettes and your stupid hair.”

Thomas touched his hair as if it were wounded. He thought he had lovely hair, and ran his hand through it reassuringly.

“Do you know how hard it is for me to sit across from you every day? I can’t even … I can’t allow myself to look you in the eye. I’m afraid they’ll know. I’m afraid you’ll know.”

Thomas inhaled, paused for a second and then exhaled, both terrified and thrilled at the thought of Jimmy’s answer.

“Know what, Jimmy?” Thomas said softly.

“That I love you, you big stupid fucking arse.”  Jimmy shouted and weakly tried to punch Thomas in the chest. “There I said it! I hope you’re happy now. Got what you wanted.”

Thomas steadied himself and said, “You don’t know what you’re saying! You’re not going to remember this and if you do, you’re going to think it was a huge mistake.”

“I don’t make mistakes. That’s your specialty. ”

Thomas winced at that verbal jab but decided to take a bold step. (Chances were he wouldn’t even remember anything about the past few minutes anyway.) He took Jimmy’s hand in his, waiting for the footman to pull away. They both stared down at their entwined fingers.

“I’m going to ask you this once, Thomas said slowly and evenly. “Is this what you want?”

Jimmy sighed, “I don’t know. Yes, yes it is. No no no no no no. I mean YES. YES.”

Please just pick one, Thomas prayed silently.

“I’m so tired. I don’t know. I just need to have a lie down.”

Before Thomas could open his mouth in protest, Jimmy had removed his hand from Thomas’ and plopped his head down in Thomas’ lap. Thomas could feel Jimmy’s even breath through the fabric of his trousers. He was sleeping so deeply.

Thomas stroked his curls for a moment and thought, Even if don’t remember, even if you change your mind tomorrow, at least today you said you love me. You. Love. Me. You are so beautiful… god those lips … so lovely. All the things I could do to those lips. All the things you could do with those lips …

The sound of footsteps above him snapped Thomas out of his reverie and quickly pulled his hand away from Jimmy’s hair.

“What on earth is going on here? We heard shouting.” Mrs. Crawley said as she gingerly made her way down the hill, then stopped short and gasped at the condition of the two men before her.

Thomas cleared his throat and said, “It’s Jimmy. He’s had a bit too much to drink and is feeling rather poorly.”

Alfred shook his head and winced at the sight and the smell.

“I’ll fetch the wagon,” said Tom.

Thomas looked down at Jimmy who had one deep blue eye open and was dreamily gazing upwards at him.

“Talk later?” the footman whispered. He smiled weakly and lightly touched the underbutler’s cheek.

Yes, I’d love that.”  Thomas replied softly.