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02 October 2006 @ 07:11 pm
Jeeves and the Tale of Abington Chase, Part I  
Well, my loves, at long last, here's the dark!fic. It explores the reference to Jeeves's "less than pleasant experiences" from my previous fic Mr Wooster Takes a Job. I hope that you enjoy it! It's too long for one post, so I had to split it up.

Title: Jeeves and the Tale of Abington Chase, Part I (Part II is here)
Author: Sky Blue Reverie skyblue_reverie
Fandom: Jeeves and Wooster
Pairing: J/W
Rating: NC-17 for explicit non-con
Word Count: Approximately 14,000
Summary: Jeeves tells Bertie about his past. Dark, but also hurt-comfort-y. A sequel to my previous J/W fics, which can be found here. This will probably make more sense if you've read those, but it's not necessary.
Warnings: EXPLICIT, GRAPHIC NON-CON.
Author's Notes: Massive thanks to my beloved betas, rivers_bend, fenriss, weaselwoman13, and the utterly amazing Essie. I wouldn't have posted this without all of your reassurance and support.
Disclaimer: Not mine, and I apologize for the blasphemy against Plum's happy little world. Total fluff next time, I promise!
Feedback: Always greatly appreciated.

ETA: I am deeply ashamed that I neglected to thank all of the wonderful, incredibly generous folks who jumped in to help with Jeeves canon-knowledge on indeedsir. This fandom is truly a fantastic, supportive one, and I couldn't have done it without all of your help. Extra special mega thanks to my darling canon-queen Essie. *blows kisses*



"Jeeves," I said one evening while cosily snuggled into my valet's strong arms, both of us as naked as the day we were born. Not that we were born on the same day, of course. "I don't understand why you won't tell me. I must confess I'm rather mystified and a bit hurt."

"I shouldn't like to bore you with a long, pointless tale, sir," he said, and then proceeded to forestall any further response on my part by applying his mouth to mine and keeping my tongue rather too occupied to form any words other than "mmmmfff" and "unnnhhh," which aren't really much use in pursuing intelligent conversation.

Stop the clock, hold the presses. I see I've gone off the rails again. I suppose I should begin at the beginning, as the King of Hearts told that White Rabbit chap. Sound advice, that.

Still, it's always a bother to decide how much background to bung into one of these memoirs of mine. I mean to say, put too much in, and the long-time reader is bored to tears, and put in too little, and the newcomer is at a loss, throws up his hands in disgust, and walks away. This calculation of mine is further complicated by the fact that if you're reading this, you've come across Jeeves's secret stash of notes and we two are either in chokey or else doing the rumba in some far-off land that doesn't look askance at two chaps who happen to be each other's One True Love.

However, putting aside the wherefores and whys for the moment, as even the new reader may have gathered by now, Jeeves and I have tied the metaphorical knot, because, as Jeeves informs me, the law in its majesty and the good old C. of E. have decreed that we can't tie the literal one. Deuced odd, I know, but there it is. Not that there's any actual knot-tying that goes on at any of the marriage ceremonies I've ever been to, though I wouldn't be at all surprised if a few of the grooms felt as if a noose were being slipped tight around the neck area. I know I should have done if I were standing next to any of those beazels. Luckily, I have Jeeves to protect me from such a fate.

Which brings me round to where I started. Having plighted our troth, and taken our honeymoon, we had passed a few months in connubial bliss. There had been a few bumps in the road, as is inevitable when two men of iron will live in close proximity, but we had managed to work out the kinks, so to speak, and everything was boomps-a-daisy.

So there we were, lying in a state of post-whatsit satisfaction, and I brought up once more a topic which had been on my mind over the past several days.

"Jeeves, how did you get that charmingly crooked nose?"

"Sir, as I have told you, I broke it as a youth and it set badly."

"Yes, yes, I know. But surely there's more to the story than that." I don't know why, but it had become rather an obsession of mine to find out the answer to this question. I suppose I was rather like a child who's been told it can't have a particular toy, so of course it wants that bauble with a passionate intensity over all others.

"It is nothing worth telling, sir," he said, stroking his fingers through my hair in a soothing fashion.

"Jeeves, I don't understand why you won't tell me. I must confess I'm rather mystified and a bit hurt."

"I shouldn't like to bore you with a long, pointless tale, sir," he said, kissing me. Clearly he was trying to distract me, and although it was tempting to drop the subject in favour of further explorations of that talented mouth of his, after the kiss had ended and I had caught my breath a bit, I returned to the subj. at hand.

"There's more to it than that, Jeeves. It's obvious that you don't want to tell me. I imagine that it's some embarrassing story that doesn't cast you in your usual brilliant and competent light. But we are – well, we are – " I broke off here in some confusion. How to articulate what we were to each other?

"Lovers, sir?" Jeeves said in that thrilling voice of his, and it's a good job I was already lying down or I may well have swooned.

"Well, yes, Jeeves," I said when I had regained my wits, "but more than that – we are in love with each other, and we should be able to confide in each other. You have seen me at my worst, after all, and you've written it up in that club book of yours to boot!"

He opened his mouth to interject, but I stopped him. "No, no, Jeeves, it's all right, I don't mind you writing about my foibles in that blasted book. But you know everything about me, and I know dashed little about you. I should like to know this one thing."

He looked at me in some amusement. "Perhaps, sir, you would know more about me if you did not interrupt me each time I attempt to share something of my past. I am minded of the time just yesterday when I began an anecdote about my Uncle Charlie, and you suggested that I save Uncle Charlie 'for the long winter nights,' sir."

I blushed a bit. The fellow was right, after all, and yet – "But Jeeves," I persevered. "I don't give two figs – not even one blasted fig – for your Uncle Charlie. I want to know about you. Particularly, I want to know about your nose. I give you my word as a Wooster that I will carry your secret with me to the grave."

He became serious. "Sir, I take your point, and I trust in your discretion. I will tell you anything else about myself that you wish to know. But I ask that you not press me on this matter. It is not for my own sake that I hesitate, but for yours. I would not wish to cause you pain. There are abhorrent things in the world, and you should not have to dwell upon them. I should not be able forgive myself were I to cause you to be aware of such distressing matters."

I drew myself up as well as I could from my position in his arms. "Jeeves, you wound me. I am not a child who needs your protection. I lost my own parents when I was quite young, as you know, so I am not unaware of the darker side of life. If you do not wish to tell me, I shall not press the point any further, but if your only reason is some misguided effort to spare my finer feelings, then I must say I am disappointed."

He was quiet for some time.

"Sir, I confess, that is not the only reason. If I tell you, you may look upon me… differently. I could not bear to look into your eyes and see revulsion, or pity."

I scoffed at this. "Jeeves, I could never feel disgust or pity for you. Whatever your secret may be, I give you my word that I will not think less of you for it."

There was another longish pause while Jeeves regarded me, seeming to peer into the depths of my psyche, if that's the word I want – starts with a "ps" anyway. Dashed strange combination of letters, if you ask me. In any case, I gazed steadily back. "Very well, sir," he said finally. "I hope I do not give you cause to regret those words. These are events of which I have never spoken, so I trust that you will forgive me if it takes me longer than usual to collect my thoughts."

"Jeeves, stop hedging and get on with it!" I exclaimed, exasperated. He threw me a quelling glance, and I subsided.

"When I was ten years of age, sir," he began, and I interrupted him.

"Jeeves," I said, "this story will bally well take an eternity to tell if you insist upon 'sir'ing me at every moment. You know how much I respect your feudal spirit. But can't you drop the formalities this once?"

He paused for a moment. "Very well, s-… Very well. On this one occasion, I will dispense with the honorific. But do not expect me to make a habit of it," he said sternly.

I shivered pleasurably at his commanding tone of voice, more nakedly powerful without the polite "sir" appended. I saw that he was looking at me expectantly, awaiting some sort of response, so I nodded meekly, and he continued.

"When I was ten years of age, I was sent by my family to live at a manor house some distance away to train to be a manservant. It is an honourable profession, and one that many of the gentlemen of my family have followed. I had previously been a page-boy at a school for young ladies, but there was little opportunity for advancement in that position. Therefore, I went to Abington Chase and took up my post as a hall-boy, sleeping under the stairs and performing the meanest of the household duties – polishing the other servants' boots, emptying chamberpots, and the like."

I stirred a bit restlessly and Jeeves stopped his narrative to look at me as I spoke up again. "Jeeves, I begin to suspect that this is going to be an epic-length tale. I wanted to know about your nose, you know, old chap; I didn't ask for your entire life story."

"You did express the wish to know more about me, sir," he said mildly, but I could see the fellow was a bit hurt. "A certain amount of background information is necessary to tell this tale. However, if you do not wish to hear it, I shall stop now." He looked almost hopeful that I would let him off the hook.

"No, Jeeves, I do want to hear. Carry on, old thing," I said, chastened. He paused for a moment to collect his thoughts once more, then began again.

"I was a quiet child, reserved and solemn by nature. As such, I was not popular among the other servants. They thought me haughty, and believed that I acted above my station. The other boys my age were mischievous and boisterous, engaging in sporting contests in their off-duty hours, while I preferred to spend my time alone, reading an improving book."

"Just as you do now, eh? I can just see it," I interjected. "I'll wager you were quite a handsome young chap, even then, eh, Jeeves?"

He cleared his throat. "I was somewhat… delicate. I'm afraid that, as I was the newest boy, and as I did not fit in with the other boys, I was often the target of unpleasant practical jests and even physical violence."

I shivered in sympathy. "Boys can be deuced unpleasant creatures. I went to public school, you know, Jeeves, so I know whereof I speak. Why, one time, Kipper Herring spread butter all over my…" I broke off, embarrassed. "But here I am, babbling about myself, in the middle of your story. I apologize. Carry on, Jeeves."

He looked slightly disappointed when I ceased my prattling, bringing to mind the old wheeze about there being a first time for everything, but he picked up his narrative again. "I passed approximately two years in relative isolation. I learned to avoid the worst of the bullying, though I still had no close friends among the other boys. The house cook, a Mrs Martha Sneddon, took a motherly interest in me, and always made certain that I had enough to eat and a quiet place in a corner of the kitchen in which to read. She also saw to it that I was given permission to take lessons with the local schoolchildren, when my duties allowed. Each evening, after I had completed my chores, and after the other servants had gone to sleep, I worked late into the night on my studies at the hearth in the kitchen. I have never forgotten her kindness." He fell silent for a moment. "She warned me to stay away from him as much as I could, but at the time, I could not fathom what she meant."

"Warned you to stay away from whom, Jeeves?" I asked, confused.

"The butler, Walter Highstead. As all male servants in a household ultimately report to the butler, he was my superior. He was a distinguished, silver-haired gentleman with a genial manner. We had little interaction, as I was only a lowly hall-boy, and he had responsibility over the entire household, but he always seemed pleasant."

"Then why would she warn you to stay clear of him, Jeeves?" I queried with some befuddlement.

"I shall come to that in due time. Have patience, sir," he said when he saw my perplexed and impatient expression.

"Ah, is this going to be like one of those dashed exciting mystery novels, Jeeves? 'The butler did it!' or some such?"

A shadow passed across his finely chiselled features, though I could not understand why. My comment seemed to me rather innocuous. He began speaking again, though, before I could puzzle it out.

"No, sir, this is not a mystery story. In any event, my life continued in this vein for some time. At twelve, I was promoted to houseman, a great honour for one so young. When I was fourteen, I was promoted to junior footman, a rise in station which some found shocking. There were ugly mutterings from certain quarters about my precipitous rise in rank. However, it was around this time that I found to my relief that the other boys my own age no longer spent their time finding ways to torment me – they had found other diversions. They had, in fact, discovered the attractions of the fairer sex. It was around this same time that I realized that my own yearnings were somewhat… less conventional."

"Er, you mean that rather than wanting to find some young female to take on a romantic moonlit stroll, you'd prefer to take that r. m. s. with another chap?" I asked.

"Yes, sir," he said. "It was clear to me that I had no desire to pursue any particular intimacy with the females of my acquaintance, and that any amorous or sentimental urges I felt would be directed towards members of my own sex instead."

I looked at him in astonishment. "Jeeves, you amaze me. You say that you discovered this all on your own? I had no idea such things were possible until you… that is, until we… Well, you know." The old Wooster map was a bit red at this point.

He cleared his throat delicately. "Indeed, sir. Such things were whispered of in tones of contempt among the servants, and I knew even then that it would be necessary to conceal my nature. In any event, just after my fifteenth birthday, I was given my first assignment as a valet – that of serving as attendant to the young master of the house, Mr Leighton's only son, Philip. It was an extraordinary honour for one my age, practically unheard of, and I was anxious to acquit myself well. Looking back on it now, I am forced to wonder if the entire situation had been contrived. At the time, however, I was merely proud and pleased that I was considered worthy of such responsibility at such a young age.

"Young Philip was different than the rough servant boys I knew. He was only a year older than I, yet he seemed worldly and sophisticated. He was graceful and fine of feature, with soft hands, quite unlike my own, which were roughened by work. He rode and hunted, and had travelled to the continent with his father, while I had never been farther from my home than Abington Chase. He spoke French and Latin in addition to English, while I had never studied another language. He was well-read and well-educated, having studied under private tutors and at England's finest schools.

"When he discovered my thirst for knowledge, he shared his books with me, and helped me to understand them. We spent many hours discussing philosophy, poetry, and history. He taught me a bit of French, and a few words of Latin as well. We became friends, and then one evening, much to my surprise, lovers as well. In this, as in all else, he was clearly more experienced than I, although our explorations were relatively innocent."

"Were you…" I faltered. "Were you in love with him, Jeeves?" I asked. I felt rather a pang around my middle region at the thought. This chap sounded like he suited Jeeves to a T – brainy and sophisticated and thingummy. I felt rather dim and uncultured by comparison.

He looked at me fondly. "No, sir, I was not. I found him fascinating, and I suppose I was infatuated with him. But we were both too young and callow to feel real love."

"But, I mean to say, a handsome and brilliant fellow such as yourself – you must have made a few conquests before me, eh, Jeeves? Were any of them of the true love variety?" I wasn't sure why I was pressing this topic – it wasn't quite the gentlemanly thing to do, and I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer. But somehow the question came tumbling out anyway.

"It is true that I have shared intimate relations with others before I entered your service, sir," he said soothingly, "but those encounters were simply a mutually agreeable way of fulfilling physical needs. I have never loved anyone before you, and I shall never love anyone else."

I blinked rapidly to clear away some suspicious moisture that had gathered in the ocular region – a bit of dust must have fallen into my eyes. "I'm very glad to hear that, Jeeves," I said. "And, er, you do know that I feel the same about you, old chap, what?"

"I had gathered that impression, sir," he said, with a small quirk of the left side of his mouth, which I find bally well irresistible, as he well knows. I slid the old digits into the downy hair at the nape of his neck and pulled him in for a kiss.

After a few moments of diversion, I released him. "Er, sorry, old thing," I said. "Please do carry on."

"Not at all, sir," he said, with slight amusement. Then his voice grew more grave as he spoke again. "I am afraid, sir, that this story has no happy ending. I should have predicted it then, but I was young and foolish."

"Well, Jeeves, we can all be forgiven a certain amount of youthful indiscretion," I said. "I jolly well know I got into my fair share of scrapes in my younger days."

"Yes, sir, gentlemen of your class and social standing are allowed a certain leeway for youthful high spirits, as you say. The servant classes, however, are not permitted such license."

I frowned slightly at this. I had never really thought of it like that. Before I could properly chew it over, though, he continued.

"In any event, to render a long story somewhat shorter, my illicit relationship with Philip Leighton continued for some months. Then, one evening, we were discovered in flagrante delicto, as the Latin phrase has it. By Mr Highstead, the butler."

"Golly, Jeeves," I said, my heart going out to him.

"Indeed, sir." Then he looked away from me and began speaking again, in almost a flat tone of voice, as if he were reciting the local train-table. This is what he said.

***

Highstead took in our state of deshabille in a mere instant, and in that instant, I felt that I was ruined. Here was shame and disaster for me, as well as my entire family. Equally distressing to me, I believed that this revelation would bring disaster and ruination upon Philip and the Leighton family as well. I did not fully understand, at that time, the way in which the upper classes are shielded from scandal and disgrace.

Highstead ordered us to get dressed. Then he told me to go wait for him in his study, while he had words with Philip. There was no question of disobeying him. He was my direct superior, and he was the Leightons' most trusted family retainer. We hastily dressed, and then I left the room.

I waited in his small study with a feeling of dread unlike any I had ever known. It seemed to me that an eternity passed while I waited alone in that room. As soon as he entered the room, however, I fervently wished that I were once again alone.

On the surface, he appeared as pleasant as ever, but there was something in his eyes that caused me no small amount of fear. He locked the door behind him as he entered.

"So, young Reginald, you're an invert – a perverted little sodomite," he began in a calm, unruffled tone.

I became flustered – I had never heard these terms before, but I could well suppose what they meant. 'Sir?' I asked unsteadily.

"Oh, don't play games with me, Reginald. We both know what you are; now the only question is what we're going to do about it. I don't suppose you'd like to lose your position? Or for your family to find out about your recent activities?"

"No, sir," I said.

"Or what about their acquaintances and neighbours? How would you like it if all of your mother's church-friends and your father's chums down at the pub were to discover your… proclivities?"

"Please, no, sir," I whispered.

"I shouldn't be surprised – you've always been a foppish young thing, too pretty for your own good. I personally ensured your rapid advancement because I erroneously believed that you were worthy of the honour. Others warned me that you acted above yourself, but I paid them no mind. Now I see how my kindness to you has been repaid. Clearly you believe that you are too good to be a servant."

"No, sir," I tried to protest, but he cut me off, suddenly becoming infuriated.

"Don't you talk back to me, boy," he hissed, somehow with more menace than if he had been shouting. "If you want to get out of this with your position in this household secure and your family's good name intact, you will do exactly as I tell you. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir," I said. I knew that if there were any way to salvage my family's honour, I would take it.

"Good," he said, in a somewhat calmer tone. "Take down your trousers and bend over my desk."

"Sir?" I asked, unsure.

In an instant the rage was back and he leaned into my face, speaking furiously. "Do not make me repeat myself again, Reginald. Take down your trousers and bend over my desk." This time he enunciated every word as if I were a small child.

My face flamed, but I did as he said. I knew that the smaller boys sometimes received a paddling for their pranks; however, generally the older boys suffered loss of pay or privileges for any misconduct. Still, if a paddling was all I would receive, I was grateful.

As I lay bent over his desk, I heard his voice. "I don't want to hear a single sound out of you, Reginald, do you understand?"

"Yes, sir," I said, and then I clenched my jaw as tight as I could.

I waited for a blow, but it never came. Instead, I felt his finger run over the curve of my buttocks, and he chuckled. Then I heard him opening the fastenings of his own trousers. In that instant, I realized that my assumption had been quite mistaken. He had never been planning to paddle me – his intentions were entirely different. I had no further time to contemplate, as he stepped close behind me and entered me, forcing himself inside of me. This was something that Philip and I had never done, and I was quite unprepared for the pain. I felt myself tear and I stifled my cry. This seemed to please him, and he chuckled again, before he began to move. I focused my attention on the scratches on the surface of his desk, and the sound of the silver carriage-clock ticking a few inches from my face. Still, I could not escape what was happening to me.

I will not further belabour his actions. Suffice it to say that by the time he had finished, I had never felt more utterly debased.

After he pulled out of me and refastened his trousers, he gave my buttocks a slap and told me that I could get dressed again. He watched as I attempted to regain some semblance of dignity, and chuckled at my efforts. I forced my reactions below the surface, telling myself that I could contend with my emotions later. When I was once again presentable, he spoke.

"You did well, Reginald," he said. "That wasn't so very bad, was it?" he asked, almost affably.

I said nothing, and merely looked at him blankly. His face darkened. "Back to your superior ways, eh? Well, you don't look so superior bent over my desk. You will come back to this study any time I tell you to, if you wish to keep this position that you so despise, and to preserve your family's reputation. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir," I said.

"Further," he said, the menacing tone back, "you will never breathe a word of this to anyone, and you will never again be alone with Philip Leighton. You will also never speak of the perversions that you inflicted upon him." Upon seeing the expression of shock on my face, he said, "Oh, yes, he told me how you planned your sick little seduction and led him astray. Your duties as a valet are at an end. You are clearly not up to the standard of a gentleman's personal gentleman, nor even that of a footman, and you will return to your post as a houseman. Is all of that also understood?"

I looked at him helplessly as he crushed my hopes and aspirations with a few words. "Yes, sir."

"Good. You may go."

I went.

***

As Jeeves brought this narrative to a close, I was utterly stunned. Gobsmacked, even. This tale had frozen the cockles of my heart and turned the marrow of my bones to jelly. It was the worst – yes, the absolute worst – thing I had ever heard in all my years upon the earth. How could such things be? And how could anyone ever want to hurt Jeeves in such a way? My valet was an absolute marvel. Patient, capable, brilliant beyond measure… a perfect gem. It was completely beyond me how anyone could ever do such a thing to another person, but to do such a thing to Jeeves? I didn't know if I could bear to hear any more. I wasn't bally well sure I could bear to hear what I had already heard.

As he stopped speaking, I realized that I was lying as stiff as a board in his arms, my mouth open in dumb horror. I further realized that Jeeves was not looking at me, and was instead gazing out over me, as if looking at something in the far distance that only he could see. Which couldn't be, really, since there was just the bedroom wall a few feet away, and there was nothing much of interest on it anyway.

I dragged a bit of air into my lungs and forced my limbs to relax out of their rigor mortis-like state, then I looked up at Jeeves, attempting to catch his gaze. He would not meet my eye, instead focusing on the bit of pillow next to my head as if attempting to determine the thread-count of the pillowcase personally. I noticed that he was trembling very slightly – someone standing even a few feet away wouldn't have been able to observe it, but held as I was within his arms I could feel the tremors.

I am a rather silly young blighter, and I have never understood why Jeeves hangs about taking care of me instead of biffing off to run the League of Nations or whatnot. I suppose I never shall. However, in this instant, I knew that there was at least some small way I could begin to repay him for all that he had done for me. He needed me to be strong for him. He - viz. Jeeves, needed me, Bertram Wilberforce Wooster, to be the strong one. The thought was bally well incredible, yet there it was. How could I fail him in this, when he had never once failed me? I rallied and pulled myself together, feeling a surge of something-or-other shoot through me.

I put my palm on his cheek and guided his face around until he was looking at me. "Jeeves," I began, and I'm dashed if my voice didn't come out without a single quaver, despite the sensation of having two rather large and angry coves wrestling in my innards. "I can't begin to tell you, old thing, how sorry I am that such a thing happened to you. That Highstead fiend deserves to be taken out and shot. I have half a mind to do it myself, in fact. I hope you know, Jeeves, that what happened was not your fault, and it doesn't change anything – between us, I mean to say. I still love you just the same. More, even, if such a thing were possible, which it isn't really, since I already loved you as much as ever a chap could love another. Not that I know that much about chaps loving other chaps, but…" I broke off at this point, since it appeared I was beginning to babble. It has been known to happen from time to time – just ask any of my aunts. They'll give you the goods.

In any case, I appeared to have got my meaning across, and Jeeves relaxed a bit. He looked into my eyes with relief, and, if I'm not quite mistaken, not a little love on his normally impassive features. "Thank you, sir," he said quietly. "I confess that I am relieved at your reaction. I would understand, however, if you no longer wished to share intimacy with me."

"Not share intimacy with you? Have you gone off your onion? Jeeves, I love you! We have an agreement, you know, old fellow – till death do us part and all that. I intend to honour that agreement, and I hope that you do as well."

"Certainly, sir," he said with feeling. Then he paused for a few moments "I will admit to experiencing a certain sensation of… liberation in finally speaking of these events." He dropped a gentle kiss on my forehead, and I smiled up at him. Then a thought occurred to me.

"Hang on, Jeeves," I said. "You still haven't told me how your nose got broken!"

"I am coming to that, sir," he said solemnly. "I am afraid, sir, that my tale is not yet complete."

"Oh, well, carry on then," I said, trying not to be too terrified by the fact that there was more to come. He knew exactly how I felt, though – the man reads me like a bally book.

"If you wish me to stop now, I will," he said. "I must warn you that this tale has several more disturbing turns. My circumstances became… worse, before they improved."

I had a sudden image of those large Australian birds – the ones that shove their heads into holes in the ground. I'd always thought it a dashed odd thing to do, but suddenly I understood the impulse. Jeeves would stop if I asked him to, and would never speak of this again. But then he would have to carry this burden all alone for the rest of his life… the thought was deuced well intolerable.

Suddenly I felt rather ashamed. Here I was cogitating on whether I had the bravery to even listen to Jeeves's tale, when he had had to live the thing. This was the man I loved, and I wanted to know what made him tick, especially if speaking of his past would bring him some small measure of comfort.

I swallowed hard and looked straight into Jeeves's eyes. "I want to hear the rest, Jeeves."

He nodded soberly and continued.

***

Continue to Part II

 
 
Where am I?: home
How do I feel?: calmcalm
What do I hear?: Tears in the Rain - Joe Satriani
 
 
 
Zekkasszekkass on October 3rd, 2006 03:12 am (UTC)
*sniff*

oh god.

*reads on*
Sky: [j&w] concerned facesskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:15 am (UTC)
*hands you kleenex*

*pats you on back*

There, there, m'dear!
ennui_blue_lite: housenumbennui_blue_lite on October 3rd, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
I knew, I just knew that if there were anyone within the Jeeves and Wooster fandom who could tackle this subject and do so in perfect J&W voice, it was you. Never for a moment did I doubt it.
Honey, that was so fantastic, and so heartbreaking! Oh, poor Jeeves! (cuddles Jeeves) And there’s more in store for him yet? Would it be possible for me to somehow pull this Highstead from your story and beat him?
As always, I am in awe of your grasp on Jeeves’s and Bertie’s voices. I loved Bertie’s curiosity and how he defended his need to know. Even more, I loved Jeeves’s subtle attempts to dissuade him. Jeeves’s argument that Bertie never wants to hear tales of his distant relatives is just so Jeeves.
Maybe my favorite element to the story was the way Bertie kept interrupting Jeeves (before we switched to flashback) with inane and ultimately inappropriate comments. I actually kind of winced a little when Bertie asks if this is going to be a mystery story, a “The butler did it” story, and again at Jeeves’s reaction, because I knew where it was going. It was a good wince, mind you, because it was exactly the kind of thing that Bertie would say. Not that that makes it any less painful.
As for how you handled the pinnacle scene between young Jeeves and Highsted – well, it was hard to read, of course it was! Poor, poor Jeeves! You handled it well, I must say. I swear, I was so acutely aware of Jeeves’s humiliation that I shook just a bit. I’m a little frightened by the fact that I’m going to see more of it in part two (erm… don’t take the previous sentence the wrong way. I love the story, it’s just that that scene was really hard to read).
Bertie’s reaction to the story was perfect. It was the complete loss of a major part of his innocence, and the way that he just went frozen all over was so indicative of that. I have memories from my childhood of feeling like that when hearing of a horror yet unknown to me.
There was something absolutely agonizing about the paragraph where Bertie realizes that he has to be strong for Jeeves. For one thing, we’ve never seen Jeeves in need of comfort before, and certainly not like this (and you conveyed it beautifully, btw). Even more so, however, is that we’ve never seen Bertie having to take the role of comforter and supporter, and, when reading that paragraph, I was momentarily afraid that he wouldn’t be up to the task.
There were other things in this part one that I enjoyed – your handling of homosexual relationships during the time period, for one, and Bertie’s jealousy for another – but this review is already a novel, so I’ll just finish up with this: I think that this is, very possibly, your strongest work to date. I do not say this because it is the most dramatic or the most shocking. I say it because it is the best writing I have seen from you yet, not just in character voice, but in overall craft. You are very much earning your (ennui appointed) title of “best fandom writer”.
Sky: [j&w] tie heartsskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:51 am (UTC)
Thank you so, so much for your kind words. Really, it means so much to me. I am so very glad that you think they are in-character, even though this is a situation that I can't even imagine seeing in canon.

Heh, I think you'll have to take a number on beating Highstead! I think Bertie's first in line. *g*

Yeah, Bertie just kept interrupting Jeeves when I was writing the story! I really didn't intend for that to happen - he just wouldn't shut up, darling chatterbox that he is. :)

I totally understand that you're finding it difficult to read - I take it as a compliment, since I was aiming to make it disturbing. Sorry for the shaking, though! *cuddles you*

I'm so glad that Bertie's reaction felt authentic to you. The reaction scenes (one in this part and one in the next) were the toughest for me to write - I wanted to get them just right. I agonized over them. I hope I succeeded.

Hey, I never mind novel-length comments! I live for feedback! (And jealous!Bertie is adorable, isn't he? Especially when pouting and then denying said pouts. *g*) But thank you so much for your amazing, flattering compliments. I'm really glad you think that I'm improving as a writer! You are far, far too kind to me. Seriously, my darling. *hugs*

Furius: eyesfurius on October 3rd, 2006 05:13 am (UTC)
*gulps*

Sky: [j&w] dark!fic and cupcakesskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 05:30 am (UTC)
*comforts you*

Hee, your icon!
Gaffsiegaffsie on October 3rd, 2006 06:45 am (UTC)
Darkfic has never been my thing and if some random person would post a J/W darkfic, chances are I wouldn't dare read it. You, however, I trust. I knew that if anyone would be able to handle such a delicate subject it would be you, and I was proved right in my assumption. Really, really powerful stuff, this fic.

I love how Bertie reacts to Jeeves' story: first shell-chocked horror and then the creeping realization that this time he would have to be the strong one. It was like a coming-of-age story, except it all happened in a few moments.

You handled Jeeves' degradation at the hands of Highstead very well. The pain, shame and guilt came across loud and clear without crossing the line into melodrama.

And then there was Bertie's Jeeves, grown up now, but still carrying the weight of those horrible happenings, stoical but still in pain. It's never been more clear why he's so drawn to Bertie, the kind, innocent Bertie who would never even hurt a fly.

Sorry, I'm rambling again (your fics have a tendency to do that to me).
Sky: [j&w] jeeves distraughtskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 07:27 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, especially since darkfic is not your thing. I totally understand that it isn't everyone's cup of tea, and I'm incredibly honored and flattered by your trust in me that you decided to read it anyway. I am so very glad that you feel that your trust was not misplaced. I really wanted to do the subject matter and the characters justice.

Bertie's reactions were the hardest part for me to write. I agonized over them. I rewrote those portions endlessly. Finally I thought I had it - once, he is the strong one, and then, later, he has to be the "weak" one for both of them. Both reactions made sense to me, in their totally opposing ways. I hope that worked for other people as well. Hmm, looking at your comment, I cannot tell whether you had read the second half of the story when you posted it. Just in case, I won't talk any more about the second half.

It is like a coming-of-age, in a way, only I really hope that I got across that I don't think that Bertie's essential innocence and joy will be lost by hearing this. I think he'll be more sensitive to Jeeves, and perhaps more aware of certain issues, but I don't think this would change his essential nature. And, as you say, that nature is exactly what drew Jeeves to him and allowed Jeeves to let down his guard - it's obvious to anyone who spends five minutes around Bertie that he could never intentionally hurt another living soul.

Once the rape (and specifically, the sexual blackmail) idea exploded into my head from out of the blue, I kind of felt like there was a lot about Jeeves that it explains. Almost everything, in fact. I kind of think there would almost have to be some kind of trauma in Jeeves' past, whether this or something else, to make him into the person that he is when he goes to work for Bertie - so controlled, so devious, so subtle, so repressed, so willing to do whatever it takes to get his way. And this trauma just seemed so plausible to me - I'm sure similar things happened historically - someone in Jeeves' position would be so vulnerable.

I'm very glad that you feel I handled the degradation well. I certainly didn't want it to be melodramatic or overwrought, so it's a great relief to hear that you think I avoided that.

Thank you once more for extremely kind words and thoughtful feedback. Please, ramble away - I'm always happy to ramble back. :)
Gaffsiegaffsie on October 3rd, 2006 10:09 am (UTC)
. Finally I thought I had it - once, he is the strong one, and then, later, he has to be the "weak" one for both of them. Both reactions made sense to me, in their totally opposing ways. I hope that worked for other people as well.

I quite agree. When I reached the second part where Bertie muses on how he's in a way crying for Jeeves because Jeeves cannot cry for himself, it was very moving and convincing.

It is like a coming-of-age, in a way, only I really hope that I got across that I don't think that Bertie's essential innocence and joy will be lost by hearing this.

Don't worry, I understood. :) It would take *a lot* more for Bertie too really lose his innocence. He's got too much faith in the world for that to happen.

I kind of think there would almost have to be some kind of trauma in Jeeves' past, whether this or something else, to make him into the person that he is when he goes to work for Bertie - so controlled, so devious, so subtle, so repressed, so willing to do whatever it takes to get his way.

I've never dwelled much on Jeeves past (for shame!). Like Bertie I tend to focus on what's going on now. But, I like hearing other people's thoughts on the matter, and your take on it make a lot of sense. It just fits.

Sky: [j&w] can you resistskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm very glad you found both of the emotional reactions to be convincing. *wipes sweat off brow* As I said, that was the hardest part for me. So thank you!

I'm also really glad that I got across that Bertie's innocence is not lost. You're right, it would take a lot. He does understand that bad things happen (though perhaps he was never before aware of things this bad) but I think he generally doesn't dwell on them.

You know, dwelling on the past is often not helpful, so I think maybe you and Bertie have the right attitude. :) Still, I'm glad you found this version of Jeeves' past to be believable.
chocolate_frappchocolate_frapp on February 14th, 2008 03:53 am (UTC)
I think you hit the nail on the head regarding Bertie. It was obvious to me (having read the books for years) that Bertie's sweet nature is the primary reason Jeeves likes him. HL does the best job of any actor I've ever seen play Bertie because he gets this spot on. Other actors I've seen play Bertie usually play him as a rather one-dimensional fool or as Python would say, upper class twit, and it gets tired fast. Hugh makes him charming and likeable as hell.
Gaffsie: comfortgaffsie on February 14th, 2008 11:33 am (UTC)
I've heard that the other Bertie's are less sweet than Hugh's. That kindness is such an obvious (and charming) part of the character that it's difficult to imagine why they would ignore it. Bertie without his sweet nature isn't really Bertie.
chocolate_frappchocolate_frapp on February 22nd, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
exactly. keep writing, old thing. :)
envisogon: pic#52833533envisogon on October 3rd, 2006 06:49 am (UTC)
Oh, Dearest me.

That was greatest fanfic I have ever read. One day I wished to write as well as you. Excellant Story
Sky: [j&w] jw ampersandskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 07:30 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much, my dear! You are incredibly kind, and I am so flattered! I'm very glad you enjoyed the story. :)
mad_march_hare on October 3rd, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC)
I am horribly, abjectly terrified. My gut is twisting in fear and sympathy. I feel like crying. If I had my teddy bear at hand, I'd be clinging to it. I want to smite something, preferably that nadir of the species, Highstead. I just...

Bravissima.

*runs to next part*
Sky: [j&w] concerned facesskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC)
Aww, hon! *pats you soothingly* There, there. *hands you a teddy bear*

Thanks. *blush*

Hee, appropriate!icon!love.
Fenrissfenriss on October 3rd, 2006 03:08 pm (UTC)
This story is just spectacular, my dear. I can't stress enough how impressed I am at your courage in taking on such a difficult subject. A lesser writer would have taken refuse in clichés and caricatures, but instead of some moustache-twirling villain, you give us one that's frighteningly believable.

Jeeves' reluctance to tell the whole tale, Bertie's progression from curiosity about the story, to horror, to determination, the way Jeeves carefully lays the groundwork for the tale… the whole structure works beautifully!

On to part 2!
Sky: [j&w] tie heartsskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, my dear. You helped so incredibly with the draft, especially with the character of Philip, as you know. I'm very glad that the villain ended up believable. I wanted to do Jeeves justice, and having him victimized by some cartoon villain would not have done that. So I'm glad that it worked.

Aww, thank you for such kind words! See you in part 2! :)
Anneskonichek on November 29th, 2006 10:07 am (UTC)
Awesome! I love the in-depth way you show the characters! I love so much about this! The setting is wonderful:
"Jeeves," I said one evening while cosily snuggled into my valet's strong arms, both of us as naked as the day we were born.
I love Bertie's reaction to Jeeves' revelation.
This is a perfect metaphor:
I had a sudden image of those large Australian birds – the ones that shove their heads into holes in the ground. I'd always thought it a dashed odd thing to do, but suddenly I understood the impulse.
My favorite part is Bertie's reasoning:Jeeves would stop if I asked him to, and would never speak of this again. But then he would have to carry this burden all alone for the rest of his life… the thought was deuced well intolerable.

Suddenly I felt rather ashamed. Here I was cogitating on whether I had the bravery to even listen to Jeeves's tale, when he had had to live the thing. This was the man I loved, and I wanted to know what made him tick, especially if speaking of his past would bring him some small measure of comfort.

I swallowed hard and looked straight into Jeeves's eyes. "I want to hear the rest, Jeeves."
I love that he is brave enough to hear the rest.
And I really feel for Jeeves!
Sky: [j&w] indeed sirskyblue_reverie on November 29th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, my dear! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I really was rather nervous about writing and posting it because it's so different than anything I've seen in this fandom. So it's very nice that people were willing to give it a chance.

Hee, glad you liked the ostrich metaphor. :D I think Bertie does have a particular kind of courage under certain circumstances, and I think Jeeves would bring that out in him. He'd do nearly anything for Jeeves, I think. And of course, vice versa as well.

Thanks so much for your lovely comment. :)
pandajen14 on January 4th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC)
(I found this fic through the fryandorlaurie community... if it's not okay that I'm commenting and not a friend of yours, than I'll leave, but I had to say something!!!)

I'm new to the J&W fandom, and reading your fanfiction has made me even more of a fangirl because it gives me proof that there are some very bright, talented people in it as well!

This particular fic is bloody fantastic! It was so in character for Bertie, and it seemed clear that he was processing the information he was receiving in the best way he knew how. SO well written. And poor Jeeves! "The Scene", as we shall call it, was definitely hard to read, but it was still well-written. You handled difficult topics quite well. And I know Bertie, as well as all of the previous reviewers, would like to kick some Highstead arse, but I'm going to have to join them in this sentiment.

You're a splendid writer, and I know you must have written this ages ago, but I do hope you continue writing.

~PJ14
Sky: [j&w] jeeves is loveskyblue_reverie on January 4th, 2007 02:31 am (UTC)
Well hello there, and welcome to the fandom! You certainly don't have to be on my f-list to comment here - I adore feedback, and I love meeting new J/W fans.

I'm so glad you liked this story! It was quite an experience writing it - very rewarding, but difficult as well. Er, I assume you've seen part 2 of this story as well? There's a link to it at the bottom of this part, if not. And I've written several other fics as well, it's sort of a series that goes in order, starting here. Each story has a link to its sequel at the bottom. I started the series in July 2006, I think, and this one was written in October, and I just recently posted a Christmas fic as well. And I've absolutely got more planned, including a sequel to this one, which will involve Philip.

I'm very glad that you found this story in-character for Bertie, as I was sort of struggling with how such a lighthearted, innocent character would react when confronted with such horror.

Thank you so much for your kind words! Really, it means a lot to me. I hope you enjoy your stay here in the Jeeves & Wooster fandom!

Also, your icon is adorable. :)
neral_idazmineral_idazmi on January 8th, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
I am utterly speechless. And in awe. So much awe.
Sky: [j&w] jeeves nameskyblue_reverie on January 9th, 2007 02:25 am (UTC)
*blush* Thanks so much, old thing.
scribe_of_clioscribe_of_clio on January 24th, 2007 09:05 pm (UTC)
*cries* that's awful... *reaches for rag doll and cuddles it*

But, my God, it was flawlessly written. I believed every word. I have no idea how you did it, but you've created an utterly believable story out of something that shouldn't be. Burtie's reaction, in particular, was very IC.

*clutches doll and goes on*
Sky: [j&w] jeeves distraughtskyblue_reverie on January 25th, 2007 02:12 am (UTC)
Oh, so sorry about upsetting you, old thing! *hugs* Thanks for sticking through it, even the difficult parts.

And, oh, thank you so much for your kind words. I was really nervous about this one - when the idea hit me, it seemed so plausible as a backstory for Jeeves, but so dark for this fandom, and I wasn't sure if I was completely crazy or if I'd actually hit on something. As I was writing it, I was really afraid that it would come across as OOC, so I am thrilled to hear that it wasn't, especially Bertie's reaction scenes, which gave me absolute fits.

Thanks again for reading & commenting.
(Anonymous) on November 1st, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
WOW
haha dude i adore you i must say, many of my friends have experienced such an event and chronicled it to me and i must say i felt similar conviction to the part of murder as old Wooster did here but thats just my particular circumstance, i think u did wonderfully and i cried like any terrible soppy Madeline would have, by gods slap me in the face, i sentimentalised like any young twerp but all the same, twas of a brilliant concoction u wrote, perfectly stylised and all that, much love, Moony xx PS: KEEP WRITING BY GODS I WANT TO SEE FURTHER BRILLIANCE
Sky: [j&w] jeeves distraughtskyblue_reverie on November 3rd, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
Re: WOW
Hey again! Thank you so much for the lovely comment. Yeah, I've been nearly incited to murder a few times myself. :( But I decided to write instead, which is probably a much healthier choice for all concerned. I'm sorry for the tears, but also... kinda proud? I mean, I'm proud that it had such an effect. *hands you tissues*

Heh, I haven't written any fanfic in quite a while. Life's been too crazy. But I really hope to get back to it someday!