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The Road to Happiness

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Thomas sat in the kitchen trying to read the newspaper, but he couldn't quite find the mood. He marvelled at the quiet. He had the whole house to himself. This was just what he had needed. No more duties for the rest of the day, just pure utter silence. Mrs Patmore had been kind enough to leave a couple of small meat pies for him and some fresh lemonade, though he had ignored that in favour of some hot tea.

The whole house had gone to the fair. After what had happened years ago with Jimmy, Thomas had never been too keen with the thought of going to another, even though Andy had tried to convince him. In the end, they all went and Daisy had even promised to bring him back some popcorn.

His thoughts were suddenly on Mr Carson. The butler had been hard on him lately. More than usual. Carson had been making small snide remarks here and there about how he wanted Thomas out of the house. How maybe it was time for Thomas to search for employment elsewhere since one never knew what would happen in the future.

What Thomas wouldn't do to get back at Carson for all those comments. He knew he hadn’t always been kind to everyone because he wanted to come out ahead. Still, for a long time now, he had been civil to everyone. He didn’t deserve those comments and the disdain on Carson face, which had just become worse and worse over the years.

If only there was some way of getting back at him, without anyone ever finding out, he thought while taking a sip of tea. Something Carson would never find out about, but Thomas could get pleasure in knowing.

And then the idea came to him. It was unheard of really. He couldn't. But then no one would ever find out, the silence of the house told him. Furthermore everytime Carson sneered or hinted towards Thomas for not being good enough, he would remember.

He quickly folded the newspaper. Now that the idea was in his head, he couldn't get it out, couldn't think of anything more perfect. And if he had to do it, he had to do it now, before the others came home.

Nodding to himself, he quickly stood up and went to Carson's office.

-

It had been two weeks since he had been caught by Carson with his hands down his trousers, sitting in Carson's office chair. Other than Carson turning red and shouting profanities at him as Thomas had run out of his office, nothing had happened. Everything was entirely as it had always had been and Thomas had officially started to think that maybe the whole thing had just been a bad dream.

But then one morning precisely three weeks later he was stopped by Mr Carson on his way to the kitchen for breakfast.

“Mr Barrow,” Mr Carson said hotly, “His Lordship would like to see you in the study right away.”

Thomas nodded as Mr Carson turned and lead the way, not trusting his words. This was it he thought, this was the moment he was getting sacked. He could only wonder why Carson had waited so long to tell His Lordship.

When he entered the study he was surprised to see that His Lordship was not alone, but accompanied by Dr Clarkson. They sat across from each other in armchairs, a pot of tea between them. They both stopped their conversation and looked up at him.

“Thomas, please come in and sit down,” Lord Grantham said, though it wasn’t a request, more of an order, and gestured to the sofa. Thomas also saw him giving a small look to Carson and instead of Carson leaving like Thomas was expecting, he heard the lock turn in the door.

Thomas sat stiffly down at the edge of the sofa, his back straight. He felt strange as to why he had been invited to sit down and why Dr. Clarkson hadn’t left. Maybe he was there to see Thomas get sacked, though he had never known Dr Clarkson as being so cruel to get fun out of others misfortune.

“Now Thomas,” Lord Grantham started gently, “ Mr Carson came to me some time ago with some very troubling news and I must say I was very taken aback. It seemed like things had been going good for you lately, even Lady Grantham had commented on it to me in private,” He took a small pause and looked Thomas directly in the eyes “It seemed like you had found a real friend in Andy, but maybe I was wrong,” He shook his head a little, “But this Thomas, can and will not be ignored. I have, as Lord of this house ignored a lot in the past when it came to you. Perhaps I should have been harder on you when you got in trouble, and this would never have taken place,” Lord Grantham ended.

”My Lord, if I may just get a chance to explain,” Thomas started, hoping that anything could convince his Lordship not to send him away from Downton.

”No Thomas you may not,” Lord Grantham said firmly and continued “Frankly, I don’t think anything you can say can resolve this situation. The only conclusion I could come to, for you doing such a horrid thing Thomas, is that you are very unhappy here at Downton. For that, I’m deeply sorry. Mr Carson and I have talked about it, and we both agree that he may have been too hard on you. Isn't that right Mr Carson.” Lord Grantham ended and looked pointedly at Carson who was standing right behind his armchair.

“Yes, perhaps my Lord, I may have been too hard on Mr Barrow,” Said Mr Carson, almost as if the words were being forced out of him. Looking at a surprised Thomas, he stiffly went on “I apologize,” and grimaced.

“Good, good,” Lord Grantham proclaimed clapping his hands together and continued, “ Dr Clarkson, Mr Carson and I had a meeting before this, about what to do with this situation. I invited Dr Clarkson to hear if he had any suggestions on how to make you more happy, living and working here at Downton. Luckily for us all, he had an excellent suggestion and I'm not sure what could have been done if he hadn't,”

“His Lordship,” Thomas interrupted anxious, shifting at the sofa edge, “Will I not be leaving Downton?”

“Of course not,” Lord Grantham said, looking bewildered that Thomas had even asked. “Let's hear what Dr Clarkson has to say shall we?” He finished and nodded for the doctor to start.

“Thank you, Lord Grantham,” Dr Clarkson begun and then looked at Thomas. “Now Mr Barrow. About men in your particular predicament-,”

“What do you mean?” Thomas said interrupting, his heart beating fast. He felt panic overtake him, though he tried not to let it show.

“I think we all know what he means Thomas. Now please let Dr Clarkson finish speaking,” Lord Grantham chided.

”Yes, as I was saying. According to new information that has just been published, - it’s a fascinating study must say, I will lend it to you, Lord Grantham,” Dr Clarkson said getting sidetracked, “But we can speak of that later. Now to the matter at hand, what men like you Mr Barrow, really cave is to be full all the time. There have been numerous studies at an institute in America and it turns out men like Mr Barrow here, have a place inside them, like a little button, that when under constant pressure, slowly, but surely, produces happiness. Of course, it takes time and hard work, but over time many patients have reported, that they now feel truly content and in good cheer,” Dr Clarkson finished and picked a small black box up from the table that Thomas hadn’t noticed before.

“These have normally been recommended for refreshing sleep and other things,” Dr Clarkson said as he opened the box, making sure that they could all see the content. Inside Thomas saw four small phallus shapes made out of rubber. “but have been shown in the study to work out wonderfully for cases that involve men like you, Mr Barrow.”

“Wait, Dr Clarkson, you can’t mean that those are meant to go inside.” Thomas couldn’t help but say alarmed.

As Dr Clarkson opened his mouth to explain, Mr Carson interrupted, “ Mr Barrow,” he said, starting to look angry. Colour filled his cheeks. “Over the years you have caused a lot of trouble, but this is the one thing you need help for. I will not have an under-butler doing those things while he is working. I know young men get up to things in their own time, but there, in my office, where anyone could have walked in. Imagine if Miss Daisy or God forbid Mrs Hughes had walked in on you. I have talked to his lordship about this, and if you won’t take this help that is kindly offered to you, I’m afraid you have to get a severe punishment and become a footman again,” He concluded.

Thomas noticed that His Lordship did not contradict him.

Swallowing he nodded, knowing how the others would mock him downstairs, he could already see the pleasure in Bates’ face if he were to become footman again.

“It’s decided then,” Dr Clarkson said opening his medical bag bringing out various things. “Mr Barrow, please take your trousers and underwear off,” He continued mildly, “Then I need you to sit as far back on the sofa as you can and spread your legs. Feel free to them back with your hands. In the studies, it's recommended that the person lay on his back, but we can’t do that right now. It’s very crucial that we can see Mr Barrow face while we are doing this, so we can look for signs of distress.” Dr Clarkson told the others.

Nervously Thomas stood up and undid his trousers and pulled down his underwear. Gently he folded them and placed the bundle at the end of the sofa. Getting into the position on the sofa made him blush as all three of them looked on in silence. He could felt their glazes on his skin as they shifted to look down between his buttocks.

Lord Grantham stood up and walked over to him, “We are here for you Thomas, you are a part of this household and I speak for all of us when I say we just want what is best for you,” Lord Grantham told sincerely him while patted him on the shoulder.

“It will do wonders for your overall health. You should begin feeling much happier soon,” Dr Clarkson added as Carson moved the armchair so Dr. Clarkson could sit between Thomas’ spread legs.

Sitting down he told them all, “These four are called Rectal Dilators,” gesturing inside the black box. “We are going to start with the smallest one and then over weeks work our way up to the biggest. When that is in use, I have four more waiting for you in my office at the hospital Mr Barrow. It's essential to use lubricant. I have my own blend of cream I made, using the recipe that was included in the study. Gloves are also needed.” he added as he put a pair on.

“Now look closely as it is important that you do this correctly. Start by lubricating a finger,” Dr Clarkson said “Then press it gently against the hole, making sure to get your finger all the way inside. If you meet any resistance, gently move your finger in and out a couple of times until it goes in smoothly,” and gently started to move his index finger in and out of Thomas’ hole.

Thomas couldn’t help the small noise that escaped him.

After a couple of moments, Dr Clarkson took his finger all the way out and said, “This time take a very big glob of the cream and make sure to press as much as possible inside the hole. We don’t want the insertion of the dilator to hurt. With that done, take the first smallest one and push inside,” with that Dr Clarkson picked it up.

The all watched with careful eyes as the dilator disappeared into Thomas’ hole.

Thomas closed his eyes and tried to hide by turning his face to the side. He couldn't help but say “ This isn't right.”

“Now Thomas,” Lord Grantham said huffing, “We can't have incidents like the one Mr Carson witnessed happen again. You need to take this seriously. This is your health we are talking about,” And continued gently, but firm, “ Dr Clarkson is this family's doctor and I trust him. He has used valuable time, finding and reading this study just to help you. I know we never talk about it, but you have been here many years Mr Barrow and we just want what's best for you.”

“Mr Carson will be the one to change these daily as it’s not possible for you, Mr Borrow to do this on your own-,” Dr Clarkson started but stopped when he noticed the panic overtaking Thomas’ face. Completely misprinting Thomas’ panic he said “No need to worry Mr Barrow, Mr Carson has already agreed. Should Mr Carson ever be indisposed, I will, of course, do my best to help you out, don't you worry Mr Barrow.”

Thomas squeezed his eyelids down as much as possible to stop the tears that had gathered from falling. The humiliation of the situation and the thought that Carson had to be the one to help him out was just too much.

“Now Mr Borrow, please listen carefully, this is very important. You need to pull the dilator out each evening before bed. It’s crucial that you do not sleep with it in. Gently wash it in your wash basin and leave it to air dry on your dresser. If for any reason you need to take it out doing the day, like going to the lavatory, please cleanse it with water, dry it with a towel and go immediately to Mr Carson's office so he can help you put it in again. Lord Grantham has been kind enough to pay for more gloves, and while they have been already been sent with express, they may not arrive in time for tomorrow. If that is indeed the case you may have to go without them, Mr Carson. Please wash your hands before and after as cleanliness is vital when doing this.” mildly he added, “You can now dress Mr Barrow.”

Turning to Mr Carson, Dr Clarkson said: “I won't be here next Friday when the next size should be put in, as I’m at a conference in London, but I have faith that you will be able to do it by yourself, Mr Carson?”

“Of course Dr Clarkson,” but after a moment he cleared his throat and said, “Maybe His Lordship should be there too, just in case help is needed.”

“Yes, what an excellent suggestion,” Mr Carson, Lord Grantham said.