hawk1701 (hawk1701) wrote in by_jeeves,
hawk1701
hawk1701
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What-ho! Sorry, sorry for the wait. With this and that and school and work and the price of milk these days I’ve been very caught up in non-writing activities. And I would normally post a longer chapter but managed to get this small bit done and am posting it now just to assure everyone (if I might be so bold as to claim I have faithful readers out there, if you are one of them, I bow to you most graciously) that I’m still working on this and there is more to come. But in the mean time . .  .

 

 Title: No One the Wooster (Part 3-?)
Authors: hawk1701
Pairing: Jeeves/Wooster
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I don't even own a decent pair of shoes. . .  how could I own Jeeves and Wooster? In fact, when was the last time I had a decent meal . . .?
Author's note: I’m unsure when this takes place exactly. It’s from Jeeves' POV. As well as the quick note that I could never write like Wodehouse did, and perhaps this being from Jeeves' POV I don't have to, but I would like to express my respect for the jeeves/bertie writers out there who write in the true Wodehouse style, you are extraordinary and have my permanent awe.
Summary: Jeeves had to deal with a drunk Bertie, things happened, he's been paid a visit by Aunt Agatha, confronted Bertie (or was it the other way around?) but still has to figure out what the illustrious aunt has up her sleeve and how it could fare for himself and Bertie . . .

Doorbells are surprising and intrusive things. Once a doorbell has been rung there really exists no distance at all between yourself and the prospective caller, none but a door and the time it will take to open it whilst offering a greeting and an invitation all in part with some acrimonious grand scheme involving fingers poised over buttons and watches set to arrive at the worst possible time imaginable. So imagine my shock, my terror, at realizing that just outside the door, not five feet from where Mr. Wooster and I were locked together like two tail winds off the Meaddatarian, hot and swirling and perfect, was someone with whom observation on the most elementary level would allow them the insight needed to ascertain that there was something or there had been something going on behind this door.

            My reaction was to freeze, eyes darting toward the sound that had until this point never seemed louder as well as to the eye-hole that even though I knew it to be only usable by an individual occupying the interior space, felt that it might be used to our disadvantage at this very moment if one were so keen as to look inside. I ceased all movement, all sound, hoping to meld into the woodwork, melt into the background, fade into a shadow, lapsing back into the lessons I learned as a child, cringing in expectation of the inevitable punishment.

            Mr. Wooster’s reaction was to let out a loud sound like a frightened young dog, jumping clear into the air, hand clamping over his own mouth, eyes wide enough for ships to pass through.

            “Bertie?” came the voice from behind the door, shrill and angry at being heard but not seen, declaring next with a rap of knuckles on the wooden door, “I know that yelp—open this door immediately or I’ll disown you!”

            “What the hell do we do?!” Mr. Wooster uttered in a panicked whisper.

            Must think quickly. My intelligence is a joke, an utter laugh if I can’t even think clearly now. Must think. Must think. Stop looking at him. God his lips are all swollen. I can still taste him on my tongue. The way his cheeks are flushed, breath still labored and heavy, chest visible through his open shirt, oh how I’d like to stroke it—

            “Jeeves! She’s breaking down the door!”

            I snapped out of it, hating my hesitation, finding a foothold, any foothold on this otherwise terribly hazardous and ridiculous slope that I’d put myself upon and took hold of Mr. Wooster’s arm, guiding him hastily into his room, “Sir, put your robe on, turn out your bed—now would be a good time to brush up on any skills you know involving the feigning of illness,”

            “Right-ho,” Mr. Wooster said shakily, quickly, nodding at me, eyes still hopelessly frightened as I closed the door on him, turning directly to the outside door, straightening my hair and my jacket and my collar and everything imaginable and wearable, hearing from behind Mr. Wooster’s bedroom door a cry of pain and the sound of a crash as I grasped in ungraceful hands the reins of my panic and pulled back with all my strength on the steeds of my misfortune, grasping the doorknob with my hand that as of not a minute ago had been between my employer’s legs and flung the door open.

            “Bertie, I’m—oh!” Aunt Agatha’s small gloved hand stopped mid-knock and her scowl persisted all the way through to a full out glare, “Making me wait like that—I know he’s in there now, Jeeves, I heard the blighter a moment ago.”

            “My apologies, madam, he is indeed here, however he’s not entirely—”

            “Aunt Agatha, old tree!” was suddenly exclaimed behind me and Mr. Wooster came bursting forth from his bedroom, wrapped in his rose colored robe, a handkerchief clutched in one hand, “What-ho and all that, lovely to see you.”

            “Bertram,” she said simply and shortly as if his very name were an inexcusable dissatisfaction, letting me take her coat and usher her inside the doorway with not so much as a glance at me, or my appearance, allowing me an overwhelming sense of gratitude, for once, at being so easily disregarded so long as I could dispense with whatever outerwear was necessary, “Didn’t your man tell you I was coming to visit—you could at least have dressed you lazy, foul creature.”

            “I was going to,” Mr. Wooster responded, blue eyes darting to me, covertly using her adverted eye-contact as an opportunity to assess my outward appearance, to which I did the same to him, both of us giving the slightest of confirmative nods at each other before he continued his hasty explanation, “Or rather did, then un-did—seeing as I’m under the weather, weather’s over me, and so forth—I thought it best to take it easy.”

            “Take it easy?” she retorted hotly, moving into the sitting room, not looking at him but perhaps at the ceiling her chin was up so high, “From what? You never do any work! You don’t so much as lift a radish for yourself and even then I fear the strain would be too much for you,” she sneered once at him, he looked wounded, “You’d be a useless heap on the ground and I’d have to live to the end of my days known as the aunt of the poor fool who was outdone by a radish—would you really do that to your poor aunt, Bertie? Heaven help me.”

            “What radish?” he asked in panic.

            “You dull wit,” she sighed, settling on the couch, “Sit down before you faint,” her grey eyes narrowed scrupulously and she took a moment to look him over, casting her merciless eye from hair-tip to toe-tip, then shook her head, “You do look a bit peekish—are you quite all right?” she turned to look at me and I just avoided jumping in alarm, “Maybe if he wasn’t out to all hours, maybe if he settled down he’d—Jeeves, you’re not looking to well either.”

            Mr. Wooster was watching every movement of his aunt, eyes fixed and glazed, mouth hanging open, brow furrowed and as silence suddenly made itself obvious, his mouth quipped into a silly hopeless grin, asking in a squeaking voice like he hadn’t heard a word or syllable or single second of his aunts aggressive speech since she walked in, “Tea?”

            “Jeeves’ what’s the matter with him?” his aunt demanded of me, “He looks addled, did he hit his head?”

            “Not to my knowledge madam—”

            “Never mind—his wellness at the moment is besides the point—it’s the wellness of his future I’m here to talk to him about,” she dismissed, pulling a handkerchief from her sleeve.

            “Oh I suspect I’ll be feeling loads better by the morrow,” he replied with a nod, face near drained of all color at this point.

            “For God’s sake Bertie, the world exists beyond the next day—have you no concept of a year from now? Ten years from now?” Aunt Agatha exclaimed, and as if remembering her dignity gave a dignified sigh and dabbed at a temple with the small bit of laced clothe, expression calmer, yes, but just as resolute.

            At this, though privy to his aunt’s scrutiny in the past, Mr. Wooster appeared dejected and discouraged, his aunt’s words acting as almost a slap to his face, leaving him dazed for a moment, resigned in thought. His hands were clasped together, eyes level with the coffee table as he’d fallen into a sudden profound silence at the jagged words of his Aunt that had hit a note and frequency I didn’t think she knew was there, “Of course I do,” he replied solemnly.

            “And where, exactly, do you see yourself? Aunt Agatha asked with an impatient chuckle, attempting though it seemed a half-hearted attempt at first, to adopt a more reasonable tone, perhaps to spare her nephews feelings if she were indeed capable of the empathy necessary to detect his discomfort, or perhaps it was to relieve the strain on her throat, a contingency I recognized and made efforts to remedy immediately, excusing myself to the kitchen hastily to get some tea for them both.

My legs were still so shaky I didn’t even know if I could make it the short distance, feeling like I’d been unraveled from head to toe, one of my hands finding the edge of the counter in the kitchen so I could finally catch my breath, finding it hard to readily admit my distress but then aware that none of this was orthodox or an in any way easy. I didn’t fancy leaving him to her. But these are my duties. What would she think, what would anyone think, if I were to sit at his side, clasp a caring hand in his shaking palm, kissing his knuckles reassuringly to let him know I was there, supportive in a way that crossed the line if not the gulf that this society was more than aware existed between master and servant. It’s preposterous.

My hands shook as they scooped out the tea, skin still tingling in places he’d kissed, the area behind my right ear haunted by the ghost of his lips and tongue, the sweet but intoxicatingly strong sucking of my skin that might have, given the brief amount of time, have left bruises. I found myself suddenly, irrationally wanting bruises, wanting to make it more real than it was at the moment, a moment which seemed as fantastical, as distant, as unimaginable as a time machine or Verne’s great journey to the center of the earth, like a novel I’d read not so long ago, a short story, a fable of which I wasn’t even the main character.

 However the sensations remained, no matter how far off a thing it all seemed now, the sensations rang so true and so loudly and so adamantly as if I was reliving them at this very moment, doing the most mundane thing, making tea, so completely contrary to what had just happened. Where does tea stand, how could it possibly compare to sharing his very breath with my own, his heaving chest against my own, his moans in my ear. Oh, this was terrible. Simply awful. The kettle was on though. Should I stay and watch it? Stay and hope that by the time I make it back out there she’d be gone and since I’d already gotten confirmation, permission if I were to be so bold as to make such a claim, that I’d be able to continue where we’d left off, visions of bare skin and sweat and years upon years of personal repression flying out the window into clean fresh air—no, no, I could hear them. I could blasted hear them.

            “I recognize that it’s hard, Bertie, believe me, my sympathy for today’s youth hasn’t wholly run dry, no, I realize the dilemma and that’s why I’ve done this,” Aunt Agatha was saying.

            “Done what?” Bertie asked.

            “I’ve found you the perfect girl.”

            “What?” Mr. Wooster gasped, then politely corrected himself, “Aunt Agatha, the gesture is indeed appreciated, but really—I’m quite capable of—”

            “Oh pish posh, you aren’t capable, that’s why I’ve been forced into action.”

            “Well, I know I may be a little behind on all the matrimonial sentiments but surely that doesn’t mean—”

            “It does mean exactly that—and don’t talk back to me while I’m trying to save you from yourself—you’ll be coming to Woollam Chersey immediately where you will meet the girl. She is the daughter of a very dear friend, of good breeding, and I expect you to be on your best behavior Bertie.”

            The water was just starting to boil, the sound ringing deafly in my ears as I listened to their conversation.

            “I say, don’t you think I could have a bit of a warning, some time to think this—”

            “There is no more time! Stop asking for time!” she nearly shouted, casting Mr. Wooster again into shocked silence. And though I was in the kitchen, reaching for a towel to lift the kettle from the stove, I could sense the change of atmosphere, like the air before a storm, like the first cold day of autumn where one can almost smell the coming snow on the wind though not wanting to believe it.

            “Please Bertie,” I could barely hear her say gently, “I’ve wound the clock for you but it will still strike twelve, every move of the second-hand brings it ever closer, you must be aware of it—your life on a clock-face . . .  your life, Bertie . . . living means loving. You’re my nephew, I want you to be happy . . . I’m old, I have no more time left—you’re . . . you’re not meant to be alone Bertie, I intend to fix this, fix you—I’ll be expecting you at Woollam Chersey.”

            When the tea was ready I brought it out on the usual silver tray and saw Mr. Wooster was alone, his aunt’s exit had been quick and silent. I set the tray down and stood next to him though he was staring at the floor.

            “Sir?” I asked.

            “You heard all that?”

            “Yes, sir.”

            “Well . . .” he said, looking up and I felt the briefest contact from his eyes then he lowered them again, a small sigh rising in his chest, “One of us is still free.”

            “I’ll begin packing, sir,” I said as he sat back in his chair. Perhaps the tea would make him feel better. Perhaps I could—but no, I have to pack for the journey. But was this journey marking an end of something or the beginning?
           

Look! Links!

http://community.livejournal.com/by_jeeves/11066.html#cutid1

http://community.livejournal.com/by_jeeves/11515.html#cutid

 


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