After seeing the spoilers for series 2 episode 3, I couldn't help myself!

Chapter 1:

"No, Granny, please-"

"Well, if you're not going to tell him my dear, I'm afraid I will."

Mary's eyes widened as Violet rose, her cane in one hand, her eyebrows raised daring her granddaughter to stop her. Mary stood up abruptly from her chair and held her shoulders back. "No, you won't." That Crawley stubbornness glinting in both of their eyes.

Violet clucked her tongue in irritation. "Mary, you surely cannot stand by and watch Matthew marry that...that trollop!"

Cora looked up sharply at her mother-in-law. "There's no need for such language, is there?"

"There is much need! Rosamund knows for a fact that this solicitor's daughter is nothing more than a-"

"Granny, I beg you, don't talk about Lavinia in such a way." Mary tapped her leg in embarrassment at her grandmother's harsh words.

"And we can hardly take everything Rosamund says as the Gospel truth." Cora muttered.

"My daughter has a firsthand account of the matter and she saw Miss Swire and Sir Richard arguing, what further proof do you need? That girl is not virtuous!" Violet asked Mary, beseechingly.

"And I am?" Mary said incredulously; both Lady Granthams bristled. "You're hoping that once Matthew knows the truth, he will break it off and come running to me, but that won't happen."

Violet huffed indignantly and sat back down. "I don't see why not? She's not good enough for him."

Mary laughed humourlessly. "And again, I must ask 'and I am?' Lavinia is kind and thoughtful. She wears her heart on her sleeve and she can give Matthew the affection that he deserves." She started to play with her necklace nervously.

Cora looked at her daughter worryingly. "So are you, my darling. You may not always share what you're feeling but you are a very affectionate person." Violet nodded, although perhaps more to persuade Mary to out Lavinia than in agreement.

Mary's shoulders sagged a little. "Perhaps. Perhaps not. But I can also be difficult...and be mean and spiteful, just ask Edith," Mary said wryly, "...I am certainly not virtuous...and I had my chance."

"But he thought that you were concerned as to whether he would be the heir, he didn't know about...Pamuk." Cora offered, turning in her chair as her daughter walked to the window.

"It was still a factor. I admit that I was scared that everyone would be right about me, that all I did give a fig about was money. So, I...hesitated-"

"Yes, but-" Violet tried.

"I hesitated and lost him." Mary said loudly, still looking out on to the grounds. "He found Lavinia and now he is happy." She turned away from the window then and walked back to them, resting her hand on the back of an armchair, feeling the chair covered her somehow. "I won't ruin that."

Violet rolled her eyes. "Don't you love him?" She demanded crossly.

Mary blinked, offended. "That is besides the-"

"Answer the question, girl!" Violet demanded again, banging her cane against the ground.

"Oh really! Let us not argue!" Cora looked hard at the Dowager Countess imploringly, wanting to spare her daughter's feelings.

Violet ignored her daughter-in-law. It was hardly the first time. "Well?"

Mary glared at her grandmother, but relented. "Yes, I love him. I haven't stopped loving him. I probably fell in love with him the first time I saw him on that bloody bicycle-"

"Mary!" Her mother chastised her for her language.

Mary shrugged her shoulders helplessly. "Well, you asked! I love him and it hurts because he loves her, that he is happy with her!" She allowed some resentment for Lavinia to seep through.

Violet's expression softened. "Then, tell him."

Mary smiled sadly. "If I loved him less, I would do. But that's the thing about loving someone, truly loving someone," Cora gazed at her daughter questioningly, "...their happiness means much more than one's own." She finished softly, suddenly interested by a spot on the rug.

"...Oh my darling," Cora said softly.

Violet looked between Cora and Mary, frowning, as mother and daughter seemed to share a moment. "This is ridiculous! If Mary insists on being in love, then she has to tell him! I will not have my granddaughter be a martyr in order for some middle-class chit to become Downton's mistress. Anyway, unrequited love is hardly fashionable." She declared, deciding her word to be fact.

"I'm not a martyr!" Mary said, indignantly, refusing to be pitied. "I'm just not going to betray Lavinia- a woman who will most likely make Matthew a better wife than I ever could - and accuse her of things that aren't any worse than what I myself have done. Matthew is content and that is the end of it." She held up her hand to stop her mother's interruption. The parlour door opened. "I'm not going to make a mess of it all and embarrass myself by telling Matthew – no matter how fashionable unrequited love may or may not be – that I am in love with him and have been for years." She stopped as she saw the eyes of the other women drawn to the door. A lump instinctively formed in her throat, her head snapped to the left. There stood Carson, trying hard not to look uncomfortable, with a familiar wide-eyed gentleman beside him.

Carson coughed a little, before smiling politely at Cora. "Captain Crawley, my lady."

Now, is it TBC?

Reviews are more than welcome!