Title: Undeserving Of Your Love
Disclaimer: I do not own Downton Abbey.
Spoilers: For the first three/four episodes of season 2.
Summary: When war hits home for the Crawleys, it touches two members of the household in a profound way.
A/N: Basically? I wrote that other DA crossover so I could justify posting this. I don’t know where it came from, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I feel really bad for Edith this season. Enjoy the insanity. 5 drabbles of a doomed life. Undeserving of Your Love
1. The Lady and the Footman
Lady Edith Crawley’s hands shook as she returned to Downton Abbey. Her conversation with Mr. Mason about William had frightened her even more so than the revelation the night before of Cousin Matthew’s injuries. It seemed impossible that the boy who’d seemed so full of life could be so gravely ill. It isn’t fair
. That seemed to be the only thought she could think.
She relayed the news to Mrs. Hughes and to the Dowager with some semblance of calm, though she hardly felt
“He’s been sent to Leeds.”
?” The Dowager huffed. “Not for long. We will bring him here, to Downton.”
“Can it be done?”
“Of course it can,” She narrowed her eyes. 2. The Care of the Wounded
“He’s dying. The only ones who are totally unaware of it as of yet are William and Mr. Mason,” Edith said quietly to her younger sister.
“Poor William,” Sybil shook her head. “Will you need me to care for him?”
“No,” Edith glanced across the room filled with recuperating officers. “He hasn’t need of a nurse now.”
“Perhaps one of the maids-”
“I’ll stay with him,” Edith shook her head. “It would be too hard for them.”
“And it won’t be hard for you?” Sybil frowned. “Edith…”
“The officers can spare me for however long he needs someone beside him,” Edith cut her sister off.
“But can you sit there and watch him die, Edith?” Sybil asked quietly. 3. Coercion
“Can I get you some water, William?” Edith asked gently, her hand resting lightly on the mattress beneath him.
“Oh, no milady,” William blushed. It wasn’t right for a lady to be waiting on the footman.
“Your father’s arrived,” Edith glanced up at the older man. “I’ll leave you to two to talk.”
Edith stepped back and went to the pitcher Anna had brought up only moments before. She waited until Mr. Mason had him distracted and hastily poured a glass for him. Getting the dying footman a glass of water was hardly beneath her. 4. Time and Worth
“I’m sure you needn’t rush into things, William,” Edith said quietly.
“Begging your pardon, milady, but there isn’t much time to do anything but rush,” William gave a rough coughing laugh.
“I know I haven’t got much left. And I want to see that Daisy’s provided for after I’m-”
“She’s a very lucky girl,” Edith murmured, averting her gaze. It seemed as if everyone but she was destined to have their love returned. “To have you to love her as greatly as you do. That doesn’t come around so easily for everyone.”
“Lady Edith -”
“I should see what’s keeping the broth. Mrs. Patmore said it would be ready by now.”
William reached out, placing a weakened hand on her wrist. It was something he’d never have done before, but dying and love made him bold. Edith glanced back at the boy.
“I know you’ll find a great lord worthy of your love, Lady Edith.”
“I - I hope you’re right,” she murmured before dashing out the door. 5. Just a Boy
“It was a beautiful ceremony,” Edith whispered to the still form in the bed.
Six hours ago, Daisy had made him the happiest man close to dying in the world. Six hours ago, she’d wished that William could have been saved miraculously at the last moment like a character in a novel. Now she stood beside his cooling body because it wasn’t right that he should be left alone. Tomorrow, she’d go back to aiding the convalescing officers. Tomorrow, she’d not see his smiling face. Tomorrow. But today, she’d sit beside a boy. She’d sit beside a boy she’d met years ago, but only truly knew
in his last few days. A boy she’d driven to Leeds to bring home to Downton Abbey.
“Godspeed, William Mason,” Edith closed her eyes to the tears and his silent form.