SUMMERY: The story and romance of Tom Branson and Lady Sybil Crawley is retold through a series of letters, diary entries, and personal POV thoughts, spanning from Branson's arrival at Downton in 1913, and ultimately leading to their marriage in 1919. VOLUME ONE deals specifically with the events of season 1 of "Downton Abbey"; VOLUME TWO will quickly follow it, and deal with the events during WWI.

In preparing and writing this story, I went back and re-watched season 1, trying to follow it as meticiously as possible and stay in cannon for as much as possible-my goal is to make it seem that yes, these letters and personal musings could very well have happened in the background, while everything else was going on. Some of the scenes in the POV chapters are creations of my own and did not take place in the show (at least not in front of the camera!) I like to think of them as my own personal "deleted scenes" to the show. Finally, as we all know, the reason we love Downton Abbey so much are the rich cast of characters; but even we have to now and then create our own to help tell whatever story we're trying to share. Little is known about Branson's family, so a majority of those characters are of my own creation. I did however consult the "Downton Wiki" as much as possible to get as much "extra info" as I could for this story.

I hope you enjoy this little S/B romance; it certainly has been a pleasure to write and I look forward to hearing any thoughts from readers. Thank you! -The Yankee Countess

"Love's Journey"

by The Yankee Countess

Volume One, Part I

Spring/Summer 1913

Chapter One

Dear Mother,

I pray that this letter finds you and our family in good health and spirits. At the very least, I hope my news can provide you with a little of that. Well, I did promise I would write when I had good news, and I am pleased to share that within my one week in London, I have found a new position! I know you were quite distressed after I told you about handing in my notice to Lady Henley, and while I still stand by my decision and believe it was the right one to make, I am sorry for the worry that I caused you and can only hope that this good news restores your faith in me, and eases any anxiety about your oldest son traveling to England.

You will also be pleased to know that my new position will take me away from the crowded streets of London—deny it all you want, I know you hated the idea of me living in the city, much less driving in it. No, the place I am to go is in the country, in Yorkshire: Downton Abbey. The Earl of Grantham and his family reside there, and the Earl's solicitor has informed me multiple times since my acceptance that "the Earl is a good man and will be a very kind master". What solicitor would say otherwise? If I recall, the job agency in Dublin said the same about Lady Henley, but I will not bother to reopen old wounds. I leave for Yorkshire in two days, so by the time you read this I will hopefully be settling in to my new position.

I still can't help but laugh when I remember my attempts at trying to convince all of you that there was money to be made in driving aristocrats about. I certainly remember Father scoffing at the idea, declaring that no one in their right mind would want to own a car, much less want to be driven about in one. It just shows that time can bring many changes, both in invention, and in ideas. But not to worry Mother, I can already hear you clucking your tongue at me as I write these words. I promise, though you may find it hard to believe, to keep my thoughts and beliefs in check and not to give sway to passionate outbursts.

…Unless otherwise provoked. I'm sorry, that's the best I can do! Oh Lord, Mother, if you could see me now; I can't stop grinning, imagining the sour look you're giving me and possibly looking for something to throw at my head. But in all seriousness, I do promise to be careful and to not sully our good name. I swear, I would rather die than bring shame to you or our family, so be assured in that at least.

I informed the agency in Dublin to forward my remaining wages from Lady Henley to you; I pray they have arrived by now. Don't worry about me, I'm perfectly fine and have enough to get me by until I start at Downton. I will write to you again once I'm there and will hopefully have some more money to send very soon. I'm also sending some postcards to the girls; they begged me for some souvenir from London. Take care of yourself and please, don't take on more than absolutely necessary; remember you have both me and Frank working full time now, and I know our uncle is doing what he can to help as well, so don't overdo it! As you may guess, I have my own set of spies keeping watch for me.

Oh I miss you dearly, Mother, I miss our home and family, but I do believe that I am doing the right thing, working over here and providing as best I can. I promise to write again very soon, God willing, and with more good news to share. Please give my love to everyone and know that I think of them often and pray for their health and happiness.

Your loving son,