So… This is my first shot at writing a story for Upstairs Downstairs. I'm pretty sure it'll only be a few chapters long, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless! It's Caspar/Agnes because urgh, I just ship them so hard and they give me all the feels, okay? :P Also, because Hallam is being a complete and utter douche this series, and is an absolute arsehole in comparison to the lovely, hot and charming Caspar. This is set after 'All The Things You Are' and ignores anything that might happen in the following episodes. :D
Disclaimer – I don't own Upstairs Downstairs. :(
All The Things He Isn't – Part 1
Veronica's little hand was curled tightly around Agnes' index finger, her eyes closed, rose-bud lips slightly parted as she breathed softly in her sleep. Smiling faintly down at her baby daughter, Agnes gently pulled her finger away and slipped silently out of the nursery into the hallway. She stood there for a moment in the semi-darkness, only one lamp lighting the open space, and listened.
The house was quiet. It was silent as the grave and had been for weeks. With Hallam working late most nights now, Blanche banished from the house (although Agnes hoped not for long), the servants all downstairs no doubt listening to the wireless, and Persie only God knew where most of the time, Agnes had found herself feeling rather lonely of late. And it was strange, because even when Hallam was home, or when the servants were bustling around, or Persie talking to her, she still felt alone. Horribly, and almost chokingly alone.
There had been a weird feeling of tight pressure in her chest for weeks now – a sort of imagined aching that nevertheless refused to go away. It was as if her lungs were constricting ever so slightly every time she breathed in, a sad sort of feeling weighing down on her heart, and no matter how she tried to entertain herself, there was no dispelling it. A large grey cloud was lurking over 165 Eton Place, at least in Agnes' eyes anyway, and it was growing darker and heavier by the minute. The sunshine of the coast through her shades and on her skin as she walked down the wooden pier seemed an entire world away now.
But then, Agnes thought, perhaps it was. It had only been a few short days, weeks ago now, but those days had been so filled with bright colour and warmth and new things that she had barely known what to think or feel. Hallam had called it an infatuation, and she could still see vividly the look of cold accusation in his eyes when he had said it. But he was wrong. It hadn't been infatuation, or anything remotely scandalous. It had been two people getting along; the term 'kindred spirits' came to Agnes' mind and a smile faintly touched her lips. She had felt secure with Caspar – secure in herself, more than anything else. She had felt special, admired, valued and respected – he had awakened in her all of the emotions that Hallam had long forgotten how to make her feel.
Oh, if only –
The clean sound of a bell chiming twice caught Agnes mid-sigh and she looked down toward the front door. A moment later, she had just reached the bottom of the stairs when Mr Amanjit appeared, also heading for the door.
"Oh it's quite alright, Mr Amanjit," she said gently, smiling at him although she felt the expression didn't quite meet her eyes. "I'm happy to get it. You return downstairs; I expect you're quite worn out with Mr Pritchard away for the weekend."
Mr Amanjit stopped, momentarily surprised, before he returned Agnes' smile and inclined his head in her direction slightly. "I am quite alright, thank you, Lady Holland. But if you insist." He smiled again as he moved back away from the door. "I will return downstairs, but be sure to ring any of us up if we are needed."
"Thank you, Mr Amanjit." She smiled and he walked away as she moved toward the door, wondering who could be calling unannounced at this time. She stepped through the interior doors into the small marble-floored porch, reached out and opened the main front door a little way.
When she saw who was standing on the other side, however, Agnes couldn't help the look of pleased surprise that lit her face, and she found herself smiling her first truly happy smile in weeks.
He returned her smile just as willingly and dutifully removed his hat, his eyes bright as ever with the same vivacious charm. He spoke with a happy softness, gently hidden beneath the familiar crisp American accent. "Lady Holland."
"What… What are you doing here? I said…"
"You said we were never to see or speak to each other again. And I know as well as you do that those were your husband's words, not your own." He paused, the smile faltering a little. "Please, can I come in?"
Agnes hesitated and went to bite her lip but stopped herself. "I… Hallam might be back at any moment, I don't want – "
"Please?" Caspar said again, still holding his hat in one hand to his chest. "I only want a few minutes of your time. We can even stay in this porch if you like, and I promise to leave when you ask me to. I won't forbid you that."
No, Agnes thought, a sad look coming into her eyes as she remembered the words she had spoken to Hallam over two weeks ago. He's the sort of man who wouldn't forbid me anything.
But then, her expression lightened and she smiled a little, stepping back to allow him into the porch with her. There was a short, quiet pause as he placed his hat down on the small table where a lamp sat and then looked back at Agnes. He caught her gaze with his.
"I didn't come to stir up any more trouble, Agnes, I promise. The last thing I want is for you and Sir Hallam to argue over me. I only came to tell you two things."
Agnes could feel her pulse skipping slightly against her wrist and she once again found herself supressing the urge to bite her lower lip. "Yes?"
"Firstly," Caspar said, the smallest hint of what might have been either apology or sadness tingeing his gentle smile, "That I am flying back to New York tomorrow. I came really to say a proper goodbye. I couldn't bear to leave with just the memory of our cold parting in my head."
Swallowing, because for some reason she found her voice gone, Agnes looked back at him with slightly widened eyes. "And secondly?" she asked quietly, because she could think of no response to this news that, herself being a married woman, would be considered 'proper'. A million things ran through her mind, protests, questions, but she refused to allow them past her lips. It was neither her place nor her right to beg for him to stay, to not leave her.
"And secondly, I came to tell you that…" Here, he faltered, taking a short breath before meeting her gaze again, and in his eyes Agnes saw what she had always seen in him – kindness, admiration, confidence and crisp honesty. He looked at her with an emotion in his eyes that she hadn't seen for a long time, not directed at her, anyway… He started over again, his voice clearer this time. The words crashed over her when he said them, and her heart wrenched with the most exquisite kind of pain imaginable.
"And secondly, I came to tell you that I love you."
Because who doesn't love a cliffhanger, eh? :P I hope you enjoyed this, and please review to let me know if you want more! :D