Fandom: Downton Abbey
Summary: The Earl is dead. Long live the Earl. Drabble on Molesley on his promotion to Lord Grantham's valet. Molesley/Anna and tangental Matthew/Mary because I don't seem able to write something without them.
The Earl is dead. Long live the Earl.
Molesley is truly sorry, for the late Lord Grantham was a good man and a good landlord. He never thought his father would outlive his patron, but influenza strikes indiscriminately. Two weeks later, he tentatively asks his master if he is keeping his job, or if he will be replaced by Bates.
Mr. Crawley-that-was does not seem to have thought of this. He stares blankly. “Well, of course I want you to stay.” His tone implies that anything else is unthinkable. Molesley is pleased: it is nice to have gained his loyalty after all this time. The new Earl gives Bates six months’ pay, thanks him for his service, wishes him well, and sends him on his way.
Molesley cannot help feeling smug. He watches Anna when Bates leaves but she is not pining as much as she might have done before the war, before that ghastly woman came and claimed to be his wife. It turned out that she was his wife, but who would have believed that initially?
For a while Molesley is happy, or as happy as it is possible to be in the tragic circumstances. His master is a good one, if inclined to snippiness and indecisiveness at the moment (though that’s to be expected really), and he cannot complain about the promotion. It’s nice to see Anna too, eat meals with her, see her every day in the servants’ hall, share a joke with her. The only sourness is wondering if this was what she was like with Bates before.
This period of calm passes, as it must do. Lady Grantham cannot stay in the house, not now, and she decamps to London, on the advice of her sister-in-law. Where she goes, her daughters must follow, and Anna leaves with the two girls. (Lady Sybil has been in London for two years already.)
Molesley starts to feel the disadvantages of being an Earl’s valet, and in love. The house feels overly large, empty and lonely. Fortunately, it seems young Lord Grantham agrees with him, and within two months Anna has returned. She’s Miss Smith now, a proper ladies’ maid, and Downton has a new Countess.
It takes a while for the new family to settle down and new hierarchies be established both upstairs and downstairs. Molesley and Smith happily watch their master and mistress be happy and they are watching each other too.
Molesley wonders if it is finally time to put the past behind them.