Title: Rose and Sarah
Author: Romana (firstname.lastname@example.org
Series: Upstairs Downstairs
Rating: I don't know.
Disclaimer: I do not own Upstairs Downstairs or any of the
characters associated with it. The series was created by Jean Marsh
and Eileen Atkins and it all probably belongs to Sagitta Productions.
"A Voice From the Past" was written by Jeremy Paul. No copyright
infringement is intended and I have not made and do not intend to
make any profit.
Notes: Most of this is straight from a scene in the episode "A Voice from
the Past". (My favourite piece of slashy TV). Every time I watched it I
wondered what would have happened if Alice hadn't barged in and started a
row. This is my favourite possibility...
Rose and Sarah
The house in Eton Place appeared to be calm. The
Bellamys were away shooting
in Scotland and the remaining staff were attending a diminished household
the persons of Master James and Miss Elizabeth. Despite this, things below
stairs were less than quiet. Elizabeth Bellamy had discovered Sarah, the
Bellamy's ex-under-house parlour maid in a soup kitchen in Whitechapel,
brought her home and employed her as scullery maid. Sarah, whose
wasn't exactly suited to service had immediately protested that she was
"trained for upstairs" and that the duties of a scullery maid would "ruin
her delicate 'ands". She had then set about making Alice, the current
under-house parlour maid, thoroughly miserable.
Rose had taken refuge from the bickering in the attic room she shared with
Alice. She sat quietly in the corner, mending and reminiscing. She was
friends with Alice now, but she had a soft spot for Sarah. Sarah had lied
and rebelled, but she was fun; life had never seemed dreary with her in
house. Then Sarah had left. Through the front door. Rose smiled as she
remembered the ludicrous behaviour that Sarah somehow always managed to
away with. She was disturbed by a tentative knock at the door. She had a
feeling that it would be Sarah, come to try and sweet-talk her. She
smothered her smile and set a firm expression on her face before she
answered the door.
Sarah had waited until she knew that Alice was busy and Rose was alone to
approach her. She was nervous, not a normal feeling for Sarah, but she
that Rose could see through her little deceptions and that this was going
be hard work.
"Who is it?" Came Rose's voice.
"It's me, Sarah." She called.
"What do you want?" Not a promising welcome, but Sarah was determined to
"I want to talk to you." She heard footsteps cross the attic room and Rose
opened the door. "Is Alice here?" She asked peering around Rose.
"You know she ain't or you wouldn't be here. Come in." Rose turned and
walked back to her chair in the corner, seeming to pay no attention to
whether or not Sarah followed her. In her glance at Sarah as she opened
door she had been amazed by how ill she looked. Her eyes were ringed with
dark circles and she was terribly pale. Her hands were red and raw looking
from scrubbing the kitchen steps and their almost constant immersion in
water over the last couple of days. It seemed Sarah's prediction was
her new job was going to spoil her hands. Rose forced herself to focus on
her mending. Sarah stepped hesitantly into the room and gazed at her old
friend. It was so familiar; the room, Rose in her dark uniform, her light
brown hair neatly caught up out of the way. Sarah was messier than usual
felt out of place in the rough, scruffy dress that went with the post of
"I don't understand you, Rose."
"Don't you?" There was none of the old warmth in her voice. She seemed
"No, I thought you'd be pleased to see me, I mean, we used to be such good
friends. Just think of the times we had, eh? The talks we had in this very
"But you went away, didn't you?" Rose still didn't look up but there was
feeling in that comment. Accusation and hurt.
"I had to, you know why!" Sarah coaxed, willing her friend to accept her
"Thought you was to good for this place." Rose stated, though 'thought you
were to good for me' was how she felt.
"That wasn't the reason and you know it." Sarah insisted.
"Can't expect to just come back and pick up just as if nothing's
She finally glanced up at Sarah and added "Times change." Her tone was
insinuating and she looked almost smug. She looked back to the sewing in
"What does that mean?" There was silence. "I'm asking no favours." She
paused again, but there was still no response from Rose. "I'm doing that
stinking job downstairs and taking all the insults from that Alice person.
All I want is just to be able to talk to you, that's all, be friends
Rose listened to Sarah's impassioned plea, and though her voice tugged at
her heart she forced herself to stay distant. "Friends?" She asked, and
voice betrayed the irony of Sarah's choice of words.
"Well we were, weren't we? Oh Rose, I've thought about you lots while we
were away. Once I was passing and I nearly came in and seen you."
"Why didn't you?"
"I was with someone."
Rose looked up. "A man?" She asked, then seeing Sarah's expression she
back down at her lap.
"Don't say it like that Rose." Sarah knelt and smiled as Rose finally
allowed herself to look into her eyes. When Rose looked at Sarah she saw
only her beauty, strength and spirit shining through the fragility of her
unkempt, almost consumptive appearance.
"Oh Rosie," Sarah's voice was warm and tender, "I've got so much to tell
you. I've kept up with the Master and Lady Marjorie, read about them in
With the change of subject, which she thought was probably one of Sarah's
'exaggerations', Rose was able to gather her defences. "Fancy!" She spat
out, looking away again.
"Rose!" The cry was anguished.
"Well you could have written." Accused Rose. Then she smirked at the woman
kneeling in front of her. "Oh, I forgot, you can't read or write!"
"I can, a bit." Defensively.
"Anyway, how has it been since you walked out of here that day?" Rose was
more confident and she sounded sarcastic. "Did you get all the excitement
you were looking for?" She stood and moved away from Sarah, standing by
mantlepiece and staring down at her. "Or was it more 'down on your luck in
Whitechapel'?" She sat on the bed, wondering how preposterous Sarah's
explanations would get.
"Did she tell you? Miss Elizabeth?"
"No, she stuck up for you, don't worry. Said you was looking for an
friend. Course I knew it was all lies 'cos I know you too well." Rose
"Wasn't all bad, " Sarah didn't bother trying to lie to Rose, that
wasn't going to work. She crossed to the bed and sat down. "Some of it was
quite good." She grinned lasciviously at the woman sitting primly by her
She knew she had to get Rose to relax. She proceeded to tell an edited,
grim, more preposterous version of what she had done since she left.
Sophie the clairvoyant seemed to go down well, she succeeded in making
giggle despite her obvious attempts not to give into Sarah's charm. Then,
Sarah explained about Benito, the married Italian escapologist, Rose
out loud and smiling fondly, declared "Oh Sarah, you're dreadful!"
Sarah lay back on the bed and smiled invitingly as she asked "What about
you, Rose? Anybody?"
"Nobody in particular." Stated Rose, as though she was hiding something.
"Oh, come on, must be." Sarah prompted slowly, her voice was low and
"Nobody." Snapped Rose, her response seemed to fast. "I told you."
Sarah tried a different tack. Rose had always liked to feel that Sarah
needed her. "You've got to get me out of the scullery, Rosie, I'm bleedin'
"I can't," insisted Rose, "there's nowhere else for you."
Sarah sat up and leaned her head on her friend's shoulder. "There's here,"
she suggested quietly, "with you."
Sarah lay back and grinned. "Oh, you don't like her, that snooty great
"You keep a civil tongue in your head!" Snapped Rose, but she still gazed
longingly at Sarah.
"You tell her to keep one in hers, giving herself airs and telling me what
to do. You can't like her as much as me Rose, you can't!" Sarah insisted.
"We've got used to each other." Rose was quiet, and she smiled
"I bet she's not as warm to snuggle up to as I used to be," Sarah was
grinning at Rose's struggle with conflicting loyalties, certain now that
would choose her. "Frigid fish!" She muttered.
"Stop it!" Rose sounded stern, but Sarah caught her eye and they giggled.
"I mean it Rose." Sarah stopped giggling and caught Rose's hand. "I have
missed you." She pulled Rose down so that she was lying next to her and
kissed her softly. Then she propped herself up on her elbow and gazed into
her eyes. Gently she brushed her fingertips down Rose's cheek. "It wasn't
because of you that I left, you know that, don't you?" She whispered.
Rose kissed her and pulled her into her arms, exploring the familiar
of her body with eager hands. "Don't go away Sarah," she implored, her
a low murmur against Sarah's neck, "I couldn't bear to lose you again."
"I won't Rosie, I promise".
The two women kissed, both enjoying the familiar sensations that thrilled
through their bodies as their tongues met, exploring and playing, as they
caressed each other through the rather restrictive layers of clothing that
made up their uniforms. Rose reluctantly pulled away from sarah and
a wisp of hair off of her lover's cheek.
"Mrs Bridges will be wondering where you've got to." She sounded
"I know," Sarah snuggled up close, "I'd better go downstairs. But later
Rosie, come to me later."
" I don't know, what about Alice?"
"Oh, forget about her, wait until she's asleep." Sarah grinned. "I bet she
Rose lay in bed quietly waiting until she was sure that Alice was asleep.
When she heard Alice's breathing settle, she got up and crept down the
to Sarah's room. She opened the door and slipped inside.
"Sarah?" She whispered.
Sarah fidgetted, making room for her friend in the bed. "Come on Rose,
Rose climbed into Sarah's bed and looked around the darkened room.
"I don't like it," she whispered. "It's spooky, no-one's slept in here
"Oh, don't worry Rosie, I'm here with you."
Sarah pulled Rose into her arms and gently brushed her lips in a chaste
kiss. Rose kissed her lightly in return and Sarah pressed against her,
deepening the kiss, feeling Rose's mouth open, yielding to her tongue. The
kiss lasted for what felt like forever. When they finally broke apart,
slid her hands under Rose's nightdress, pulling it up over her head as she
ran her hands over her body. She threw it onto the floor and impatiently
tugged at her own. Rose helped her pull it off and it too was thrown into
the corner. Sarah pushed Rose down onto the bed, straddling her and
down at her. She gently kissed her forehead, then her eyelids, the tip of
her nose, her lips, her chin and nuzzled at her throat. Her hands stroked
over Rose's shoulders, down her sides and over her stomach. She felt her
lover's hands stroking her back, running down over her backside and
caressing her thighs. It was as though they had never been apart, they
knew exactly what the other wanted and needed. They could read each
responses perfectly. Each kiss, each caress, every movement felt right.
Their bodies moving together, stifling moans and sighs with kisses, aware
the others sleeping so near them. Then Rose pulled away her head flung
her body arching against her lover's insistent fingers, catching them and
squeezing them repeatedly and she moaned "Sarah..." low in her throat.
wrapped her in her arms, holding her, calming her, stroking her hair.
Murmuring phrases of reassurance, that mean everything and say nothing.
stayed there together as long as they dared before Rose had to slip back
her own room, to wake up with Alice.
Breakfast in the servant's hall the next morning was awkward. Once
was there, Alice calmly announced that in the night she thought she had
heard voices in Sarah's room. Mrs Bridges glared at Edward, the footman.
Alice glared at Rose. Rose stared at Sarah. Sarah, much to everyone's
amazement announced that she had been talking to Emily. She claimed she
learnt how to be a medium from her clairvoyant employer. This provoked
disbelief, not least from Rose, but put off the argument with Alice that
been brewing. At least until after the seance.
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