Title: Jeeves and the Tale of Abington Chase, Part I (Part II is here)
Author: Sky Blue Reverie skyblue_reverie
Fandom: Jeeves and Wooster
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."
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