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02 October 2006 @ 07:24 pm
Jeeves and the Tale of Abington Chase, Part II  
Title: Jeeves and the Tale of Abington Chase, Part II (Part I 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 would never have posted this without all of your support and reassurance.
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*




Part I

***

My life became… unpleasant, as you may suppose. Philip had been hastily sent from the house to complete his education at a foreign boarding-school. I had been demoted from my position as valet, the one position that it had been my life's ambition to hold. I had no alternative but to inform my parents of the fact, although of course I did not give the true reasons. They were immensely disappointed in me, supposing that I had been found inadequate. I also had no choice but to visit Mr Highstead's study on a regular basis. Approximately two or three times a month, I should estimate, although sometimes more often, especially at first. He seemed to feel that he had to have some excuse to summon me to his study for punishment, so he would find some way in which I had not satisfactorily performed my duties, singling me out over even minor imperfections for which other servants were never criticized. I became more careful in attending to my chores so as not to give him any excuse to punish me. This, of course, only infuriated him more, and when he did find some trifling flaw in my work, his rage and satisfaction knew no bounds.

Gossip travels quickly in a manor-house, especially among servants. While none of the servants would dare to say anything aloud, especially where it could be heard by Highstead, I began to hear whispers as I walked down the corridors. The bullying, which had previously stopped, started up again, albeit in a different form. I was never directly confronted, but instead nearly every day would be "accidentally" tripped, shoved, or elbowed by one of the other boys, such that I was nearly always nursing a bruise or scrape of some sort. The "accidental" push was often accompanied by a sotto voce word or two, always too quiet for me to be entirely sure what had been said. It was done in such a way that there was nothing to report, no one to blame. If I had attempted to do so, I would merely have been labelled a tale-teller, and the abuse would have become worse, so I held my tongue.

At first, my circumstances seemed entirely bleak. I was able to function during the day, but I must confess to experiencing bouts of painful emotion during the night. As months passed, however, I realized that emotion would avail me naught, and that no one else would step in to improve my lot. None of the other servants were willing to risk their own positions in order to assist me, and most had never liked me. There seemed to be a general consensus that I was receiving my just desserts. On the occasion of my sixteenth birthday, I determined that I would stifle my emotions, and take what measures I could to protect myself.

As I have already mentioned, I had learned to take extra care in my work to ensure that I did not give Mr Highstead any excuse to call me into his study. Now I became even more zealous about performing every aspect of my duties with absolute precision, so as to be above reproach in this area. I also began observing the other boys when they fought. The other servant boys fought often – sometimes in scuffles that broke out over some insult or disagreement, but often in organised boxing matches which were well-attended by the other servants and were always the source of much speculation and wagering. I studied the most successful fighters' techniques, and in my free time, in addition to continuing my scholarly studies, I crept away to an empty stable and practised these techniques on a feed bag that I had suspended from the rafters with a sturdy piece of rope. My somewhat exceptional height had begun to become obvious at this point, but I was still gangly and awkward. With long hours of practise, however, I began to fill out and gain some strength.

When Alfred Conway, the old stable-master, discovered me at my practise, he began to assist me, offering instruction to improve my technique, and occasionally even sparring with me himself, when his painful joints permitted. He was an interesting character – as I learned when I came to know him, he had been quite a celebrated fighter in his younger days. He also taught me some less-than-strictly honourable tactics, which have come in quite useful over the years. He became an acquaintance, and then a friend. Although he was an "outdoor" servant, one of the grounds staff, and thus considered beneath the notice of the house servants, he was a good man, and a source of much useful information. I learned that allies of any variety, high or low, were never something at which to turn up one's nose.

None of this would avail me against Highstead directly, of course – mere physical force was not at issue. He could ruin me with a word. And if I had dared to speak out against him, his word would be believed over mine. However, after a few carefully considered yet seemingly spontaneous physical confrontations with other serving boys, the bullying did at least lessen. I had to take care that no word of my fighting should read Highstead's ears, as it would have provided him another excuse to punish me, but the boys with whom I fought, while bullies and cowards at heart, did have a code of honour of sorts, which did not include reporting fights to our superiors.

I did have one other ally – the first person who had shown me kindness in this house – Mrs Sneddon, the cook. She had continued to watch over me as well as she could. She had no direct power over Highstead, but she had absolute control over her kitchen, and she ensured that it was a haven for me. I continued my studies at the hearth – although I was no longer permitted to go into town for lessons, she borrowed books from the village schoolmaster for me. I wrote out assignments and essays, and she passed them to the schoolmaster, passing back his corrections and suggestions. I never met the schoolmaster directly, but I am grateful to him to this day for taking on an extra pupil, one he had never even seen. Eventually, she passed me word that he had taught me all he could, and that he encouraged me to continue my studies independently. With her assistance, I did so – she kept a lookout for me while I crept into the master's library late at night to borrow books. The risk was serious, and I knew the consequences should I be discovered would be severe, but the lure of knowledge was too great to resist. On a few occasions, I was nearly caught, but I always managed to escape undetected.

I did, finally, discover one weapon that I could use against Highstead. It came to me at a time when it seemed to me that my circumstances could become no worse.

Christmas had just passed, and the winter was bitterly cold. Illness claimed many in England that season, although we at Abington Chase were fortunate in that we had no contagion within our walls. Others, however, were not so fortunate. On January the third, I received a telegram that both of my parents had succumbed to pneumonia. I did not dare ask Highstead for leave to attend the funeral, for fear of what payment he would extract in return for the favour. My sister had been sent to live with an aunt, and the little that my parents left behind would go to support her, although it would not be sufficient. My aunt lived on a pension and could not support my sister on her own. I had saved nearly every penny of my small salary to that point; it did not amount to much, but I sent it to my sister, in care of my aunt. Although you may suppose that my parents' death freed me from Highstead's tyranny, in fact it did not. I was more in need than ever of my meagre wages to help support my sister, and could even less afford to have my name besmirched, as this would make it impossible for me to find any other position.

The death of my parents was a blow. Not only because of the practical difficulties of supporting my sister, but because I genuinely grieved their loss. I had hardly seen them over the preceding several years, and they had gone to their deaths disappointed in me and my prospects. I shall always regret that.

On top of this came another shock. Philip Leighton was coming to Abington Chase for a short stay. He had taken the Christmas holidays in Switzerland with his parents, but the Leightons were returning to Abington for the rest of Philip's holidays from school. I had, of course, thought of him frequently over the preceding months, and had wondered how he was faring. Often, I had wondered whether what Highstead had said was true – that he had blamed me for seducing him. I did not want to credit it, and yet I was not certain. I knew that I would have to find an opportunity to speak to him alone; I knew equally well that it would be almost impossible to find such an opportunity, as both Highstead and Mr Leighton would be watching us closely.

I had my chance quite unexpectedly one day, when I was on my way out to the stable to visit Conway. I saw Philip slip out of the house by the side door and head for the garden. It was bitterly cold and the grounds were covered in a thin layer of snow and ice, so no one else had stirred from the house. I quickly moved to follow him. I intercepted him in the garden, in a small, hidden nook surrounded by shrubbery, where we could not be seen from the main house. He looked just as beautiful as when I had seen him last – a bit older, perhaps, but with the same graceful features and the same golden hair through which I used to run my fingers as his head bent over a book.

I reached out and touched his shoulder, and he started. He turned sharply, and when I first looked into his eyes there was no spark of recognition. He quickly realized who I was and I saw memory come flooding back to him, but it was a shock to me to realize that I had changed so much in a single year that I had become unrecognizable to Philip, who had known me as no other had.

"Reginald, you shouldn't be here," he said.

"I had to see you again. How – how have you been?" I asked, cursing my own inanity.

"Ah, Reginald, I have been languishing in abject misery," he said with a dramatic sigh. "My life has been hell. Exiled from the bosom of my family, thrown to the wolves, forced to attend a horrid school filled with horrid boys and run by horrid taskmasters. Why, Reginald, we are made to wear uniforms every single day! You can't imagine how I have suffered. You are fortunate, Reginald."

I could not begin to form a response to this, so I simply regarded him in stunned silence for a moment.

He seemed to take my silence as assent. "Ah, well, you couldn't have known, I suppose. I am sorry if you suffered any slight inconvenience when I told Highstead that you had… well… seduced me, but you simply don't understand the position I was in. As it was, my father absolutely hit the roof. If he had imagined that I was anything other than an unwitting victim, well, I would have been cut off entirely – not a penny to my name!"

I found my voice. "Slight inconvenience?" I asked incredulously. "Did you give any thought at all about what would happen to me?"

"What could possibly happen to you, Reginald?" he asked in a reasonable tone of voice, as if speaking to a fractious child. "You don't have a future to destroy, as I do. My father wanted to fire you on the spot, but Highstead and I persuaded him not to. Highstead said that he would see that you were dealt with appropriately. I am sorry that you were punished – some matter of a demotion, I understand. Nevertheless, I can see that you have done well – you look hale and hearty, and handsomer than ever. You should be grateful to him."

Once again, I was rendered speechless. He filled the silence. "I know, dear Reginald, how much you must have missed me. And now you come and find me like this. It is understandable, of course, but truly, it isn't safe for me. I am sorry, but I must ask you to leave and not make any more foolish attempts to contact me. It will be difficult, I know, but it is for the best."

In that moment, the scales fell from my eyes, and I saw Philip as he really was – not the romantic figure that I had been imagining and whose absence I had been lamenting, but a spoiled, self-absorbed boy who could no more think of others' troubles than he could grow wings and fly. Any remaining tenderness I had been harbouring for him died. I felt terribly disillusioned.

He clearly expected me to make some protest, to attempt to persuade him to allow me to stay. I turned and walked away without a word, leaving him open-mouthed behind me.

I was at my usual spot in the kitchen by the hearth, contemplating this encounter, along with my sadness regarding my parents' death and the financial strain of supporting my sister, when another blow came. Mrs Sneddon found me and told me, as gently as she could, that she had decided to retire from service at Abington. She was quite elderly at this point, and could no longer continue to run the kitchen. She had a son in Devon who would take her in, and with her savings she would be able to live comfortably. I understood, of course, but this news in combination with the other ill tidings I had already received left me quite in despair.

She must have seen it on my face. She moved to comfort me, but I flinched away. I had never been physically demonstrative, but since the events of the preceding months I had come to avoid all but the most necessary physical contact with other persons.

She drew back and nodded, seeming to have come to some kind of decision, though I could not imagine what. I returned to my post and thought no more about it. That evening, as I was reading at the kitchen hearth, she sat beside me. She gave me a small phial and explained to me that it contained sleeping-drops, obtained from the chemist in the village, a particular friend of hers. One or two drops in a glass of liquid would cause a grown man to become drowsy; four or five drops would cause him to lose consciousness immediately. She told me that the druggist would be expecting me if the bottle needed replenishing. Then she wished me a good night and retired for the evening.

My head was spinning with the implications of this gift. I firmly believe that Mrs Sneddon merely intended me to use the drops to make Highstead too sleepy to summon me to his study; she was in the habit of preparing a pot of tea for him in the afternoon, which he drank while he was reviewing the household books in his study. It would be simplicity itself for me to introduce the drops into his tea. Often, I could predict upon which days I would be summoned simply by gauging his mood as he moved through the house during the day; on those days in which he was in a particularly ill temper, I could use the drops.

However, another thought occurred to me – if several drops induced unconsciousness, what might the entire contents of the bottle do? With this thought in mind, I stole into the library that night, where I knew Mr Leighton had a book which listed various chemicals and their effects. I learned, as I had suspected, that an overdose of this particular drug would cause certain death – a death which resembled heart failure suffered while the victim was sleeping. It was not an unpleasant way to die.

Such was my unhappiness at that point that I was not certain whether I would rather use the drug on Highstead or simply take the entire bottle myself. I slept little that night, contemplating my options. Eventually I decided not to take any hasty action, but to keep this information in mind for possible future use. I did determine to use a small amount of the substance in Highstead's tea the following day, as a trial.

It worked precisely as anticipated. I made certain to be in the kitchen when Mrs Sneddon was boiling the water for his tea, and introduced three drops into the small teapot, which held enough hot water for two cups of tea. A housemaid carried the tea tray in to his study, and I returned to my duties. As was her routine, approximately an hour later the maid returned to the study to pick up the tray. I went back to the kitchen to await her return – she usually shared a few moments of gossip with Mrs Sneddon before returning to her duties. She was accustomed to seeing me in the kitchen and gave it no thought.

She told Mrs Sneddon with a giggle that upon retrieving the tea things, she had discovered Highstead fast asleep, with his head upon the desk, snoring loudly. She had crept out with the tray, leaving him undisturbed. They both tutted over this lapse on his part, Mrs Sneddon throwing me a conspiratorial glance.

From that day forward, I monitored Highstead's moods closely. When he appeared to be in a temper, or had found some trifling reason to be displeased with me, I introduced three sleeping drops into his afternoon tea. The servants' gossip network spread the word of his afternoon naps, and it was generally agreed that his advancing age was the cause of these lapses. Of course, no one dared confront him directly about it, or report him to the Leightons, but at least no one seemed to suspect any foul play. Highstead himself said nothing on the subject, perhaps himself believing that age was taking its toll, and not wishing to risk his position as head of the household servants by discussing the matter.

Thus, the incidents of being called to his study decreased sharply. The episodes did not cease altogether – on certain days, I simply could not predict whether I would be summoned, and I did not always dare to use the drops – if he was in an ill humour for several days in a row, for instance, I did not dare to use them every day. Nevertheless, any lessening of these occurrences was welcome.

Approximately one month after giving me the drops, Mrs Sneddon completed her moving arrangements, and retired from service. Her departure was more difficult than I had anticipated; she was the closest thing to a friend that I had within the household. The kitchen had been a sanctuary for me, and with the arrival of the new cook, a phlegmatic and intolerant woman of German extraction, that was lost to me as well, as she had no patience for a houseman taking up space in her demesne. It also became more difficult, though by no means impossible, to introduce the drops into Highstead's tea.

Still, on balance, my circumstances were tolerable, if not enjoyable. I spent many evenings out in the stables reading by the light of a lantern, or talking with Alfred Conway. I performed my duties easily by this time; they were no challenge. I used the sleeping drops as frequently as I dared, and I continued my clandestine night-time visits to the library to borrow books, although now without the protection of Mrs Sneddon to provide a watch for me.

My seventeenth birthday came and went, and life went on in this manner. It was at this point that I made a grievous error in judgment. I knew that Conway enjoyed a glass of Scotch now and again, particularly on cold evenings. I had managed to put by enough of my wages, apart from what I sent to my sister, to purchase a bottle of his favourite brand, Glenlivet. I had procured the bottle a few days earlier, when I went into the village on my day off. In previous times, I would have stored it in the kitchen and Mrs Sneddon would have ensured that it remained undisturbed. However, since Mrs Sneddon was gone, I was forced to leave the bottle in its brown wrapper underneath my bed in the room that I shared with several other serving-boys.

Lower-ranking servants at a manor house have very little privacy. It is not uncommon for one's personal effects to be searched by curious fellow employees. In any event, several of the younger boys discovered the spirits under my bed, stole the bottle, and proceeded to become inebriated and cause a disturbance in front of the Leightons. Mr Leighton had sharp words with Highstead for failing to adequately supervise his staff. When Highstead interrogated the boys, they admitted that they had acquired the alcohol from among my possessions.

I learned these details later; the first I heard of the matter was when Highstead found me in a little-used, out-of-the-way corridor, where I had snuck away from my duties momentarily to read a few pages of Cicero's De republica. I'm afraid that I had become rather absorbed in my reading and I failed to detect his arrival. Before I even knew he was present, he had hauled me upright by my collar and slammed me face-first into the stone wall of the corridor. My face immediately exploded with searing pain, and I heard my nose break with a loud crack. Blood started pouring down and tears sprang to my eyes. My book fell to the ground, unheeded.

Highstead pressed against my back and hissed into my ear, more furious than I had ever heard him. "You've always thought you were too good for service in this house, too good for the rest of us. You even think you're better than I. Always sneaking about with a book – don't think I haven't noticed. I know everything that happens in this house. I was willing to grant you a certain – leeway. But when you cause me to be humiliated in front of the Leightons, cause me to be chastised as if I were a child…" he broke off, breathing heavily. "I think it's time you were taught a lesson. Clearly I have been too lenient with you."

He turned me around and pushed me down, forcing me to my knees. He unfastened his trousers, revealing his state of arousal. Then he grasped my jaw and forced himself down my throat, gagging me. Because my nose was filled with blood, I could not breathe. I began choking. He pulled out after a few moments and I gasped a breath, and then he forced himself back into my mouth, grasping the back of my head to keep me still while he thrust. He repeated this process several times, each time waiting until I felt faint from lack of oxygen before pulling back momentarily. The blood pouring down my face entered my mouth and I could taste the coppery tang of my own blood on his phallus.

Finally he tired of this sport and pulled me back up. He undid my trousers while I stood swaying, disoriented and light-headed. He pushed me face-first against the wall once more. When my nose again made contact with the stone, my vision dimmed and I nearly lost consciousness. Then he violated me, his shaft lubricated with my own blood and saliva. He was not gentle. When he had finished, he stepped back, and I slid to the floor, unable to move. He cleaned himself off with his handkerchief and straightened his clothing.

The intensity of his anger seemed to have vanished. "I'm sorry that this lesson had to go so hard on you, Reginald," he said in a mild tone. "I hope you understand that you brought this upon yourself. I had no desire to punish you in this manner, but you left me with no alternative." He looked at me with faint disgust. "Pull yourself together, Reginald. Clean up and return to your duties. I shall expect to see you at your post within a quarter of an hour." Then he walked away, leaving me on the stone floor of the corridor.

***

"Jeeves!" I choked out. By this time, I'm not ashamed to admit, the tears were flowing pretty freely.

Jeeves seemed to suddenly remember himself, as if he had been miles away during the retelling. He immediately looked at me with concern, and tenderly wiped the tears from my face with his fingertips. Then he gathered me close to him and I buried my face in his neck, breathing in his unique scent and feeling his solid form against me. It was dashed reassuring, somehow.

"I am sorry, sir," he said softly.

This only caused more tears to well up – I seemed to be turning into quite a watering-pot. "You – you're sorry?" I sniffled incredulously, my words a bit muffled against his neck. I pulled back a bit so I could look into his eyes as I spoke. "You've done nothing to be sorry for. Jeeves, I am sorry, on behalf of all of mankind. I may not understand your 'psychology of the individual' wheeze very well, Jeeves, but even I can tell that this fellow is pure evil. I don't quite know why such things are permitted to happen. I suppose that's more Stinker Pinker's line than mine. I just wish I could do something to make it better."

I snuffled some more, and Jeeves produced a handkerchief from somewhere. I have no idea where he keeps the blasted things – he hadn't a stitch on, but he still managed to conjure one and mop up the fluids dripping down the Wooster dial.

"Believe me, sir, you do." He sounded rather impassioned, in his restrained, Jeevesian way.

"I don't quite see how," I said doubtfully.

"Nevertheless, sir, it is true," he assured me.

"How is it, Jeeves, that you are not more distressed by this? I'm practically causing a flood in our bedroom and you are a veritable rock, yet these are your experiences. I don't understand, Jeeves." My lower lip was still distressingly quivery and my voice was a bit wobbly as well.

"Sir, as you know, I am not given to free displays of emotion. In addition, you are naturally shocked and upset at hearing this tale for the first time. However, sir, I confess that I am not entirely unaffected." He gave me the most stunningly unguarded look I've ever seen from him – it was as if I could see his very soul, laid bare before me in the blue of his eyes.

In that moment, I had a sudden flash of inspiration – it was quite a strange sensation, as I am not accustomed to moments of brilliance. Ask anybody of my acquaintance and they'll confirm that Bertram is not the brainiest cove around. My Aunt Agatha will be glad to give you full particulars with dozens of illustrative anecdotes.

But just now, I suddenly understood that in some odd way, I was expressing both Jeeves's and my own grief, since he couldn't express it himself. Dashed rummy, I know, but there it was. The thought of my brave, strong valet having too much self-control to mourn for his own past made me even sadder, somehow, and I welled up again. I was certainly giving Madeline Bassett healthy competition in the sentimentality department today. I pulled Jeeves to me and kissed him tenderly, putting all my sorrow and love into my actions, since my oratorical skills were bally well not up to this challenge.

Finally, and a bit reluctantly on my part at least, we separated. For some moments we merely held each other. Finally Jeeves spoke.

"Shall I continue, sir?" he asked.

I settled myself into a comfortable position in his arms. "Carry on, Jeeves."


***

I passed the rest of the day in… almost a trance, I suppose. I must have cleaned myself up and gone about my duties in the usual way, because no one remarked on my behaviour or appearance. Nevertheless, to this day I cannot remember a moment of the events between Highstead's last words to me and the point in time that evening when I found myself in front of Conway's quarters out in the stableyard. When the door swung open, he took one look at me and sighed. He waved me in with a gesture and closed the door behind me.

"What's old Highstead done this time?" he asked.

I started. I had never discussed my difficulties with him, or indeed with anyone.

"Yes, my lad, I hear and see more'n you might think. Highstead's always had a bit of an eye for a handsome young thing. Soon as I saw you, I knew you was his type. I figured that's why you needed the fightin' lessons."

I couldn't find any words to respond to this, so I merely stood silently.

"'S all right, you don't have to say nothin'," he said gruffly. "Lemme have a look at that nose of yours."

I had forgotten about my broken nose; I felt no pain at all. I felt nothing, in fact, except a blessed numbness. That changed as soon as Conway touched my nose with his gnarled fingers. I hissed in pain and reared back.

"Easy, easy," he soothed, as if calming a spooked horse. "I know it hurts. But I've got to get a look at it. If I don' set it, it'll heal crooked. Be a shame to mar that pretty face."

"Leave it," I said with sudden determination. That "pretty face," as Conway put it, had never won me anything except unhappiness. "I don't want you to set it."

He looked at me with understanding. "A'right then, I won' set it. But at least lemme make up a poultice for you and fetch a cold cloth. It's goin' to swell up right fierce."

I let him do that much, and we sat together for a time. He kept up the flow of conversation, relating amusing anecdotes from his past. I'm afraid my thoughts were elsewhere, and I responded very little, but he graciously ignored my inattentiveness.

I had determined that I could no longer suffer Highstead's abuse. I had reached such a point of desperation that I cared little if I lost my position or if my name were ruined. I could not go on as I had been. As Conway continued to speak, my eyes fell on the rack of implements behind him. He had many pieces of equipment for tending to the horses under his care, including several lancets – blades which were used for bloodletting. I knew that Conway took special care to keep them honed to razor sharpness.

I feigned a wince after a few more moments and put my hand to my nose; Conway quickly rose to his feet.

"Let me wet that cloth for you again, lad," he said with concern. He bustled off to do so. While he was gone, I selected one of the lancets – a smaller specimen, with a blade which folded into a carved horn handle. I hid it in my pocket and sat back down, awaiting Conway's return. We talked for a while longer; I did not wish to return to the main house right away, and I believe that Conway understood that. Finally, however, the old man could not stifle a yawn, and I took my leave, thanking him for his kindness.

I returned to my room and bided my time until the rest of the house had gone to bed. Then I lit a candle and crept into Highstead's room – he had his own bedchamber, albeit a small one. I set the candle on his nightstand, took the lancet out of my pocket and unfolded it. Then I held the blade next to his throat. I stood above him for a time, considering my alternatives. I could easily end his life with a flick of my wrist. I will admit that I was sorely tempted to do so. In the end, however, I could not bring myself to cold-blooded murder. I shook him awake with a hand on his shoulder, still holding the blade near his throat with my other hand.

He awoke with a start. "Reginald? What are you doing?" he asked, confused. I lowered the blade until the cold metal touched the skin of his throat. He jerked slightly but quickly stilled.

I looked into his eyes and spoke with two years' worth of pent-up hatred. "You will never touch me again. You will never call me into your study again. You will never so much as look at me improperly again. If you do any of these things, you will not receive another warning. I will creep into your room at night and slit your throat. Do you understand?"

He looked frightened and shaky. He nodded once, and swallowed hard. This caused his Adam's apple to move slightly, and the edge of the blade cleanly parted the skin there. It was only a shallow cut, but immediately a drop of blood welled up. I felt slightly sick. He no longer appeared as the devil of my imaginings, but merely a terrified old man. Still, remembering all that he had inflicted upon me, my resolve returned. I could not relent now.

I looked at him one moment more, letting him see in my eyes that I meant every word of my threat. Then I removed the blade from his throat, picked up my candle, and left. That night, I slept soundly for the first time in many months.

For the next two weeks, I had little contact with Highstead. I was assigned the meanest of the chores, and was given more responsibilities than any two other servants, but I did not complain. It was better than the alternative. I worked myself into exhaustion every day, and slept heavily every night.

Eventually, though, I began to adjust to the workload. My nose slowly healed, although as Conway had predicted, it had set crookedly. I did not mind – in a way, I considered it a badge of honour. None of the servants knew exactly what had transpired, but they knew that I was no longer beholden to Highstead, and they looked at me with grudging respect and a touch of fear. I still had no friends among the house staff, but at least I was no longer an object of contempt. Oderint dum metuant, I told myself – let them hate, as long as they fear.

I had greatly missed my forays into Mr Leighton's library, and, feeling emboldened by my success in intimidating Highstead, and my newfound standing among the other servants, I decided to creep into the library to borrow a book one evening. I was perusing the shelves by the light of a single candle when I heard the door open behind me. I spun around, panicked.

Standing in the room with a candle of his own was a man I had seen arrive at the house. He was valet to a guest staying with the Leightons, a Lord Yardley. I did not know this gentleman's name, however, nor did I know how he would react to my presence in this room. Clearly I had no business being there at that time of night. However – after I had considered the matter for a moment, I realized that neither did he.

"What are you doing in here?" I asked, without pausing to consider how impolitic the question was.

Fortunately, it seemed to amuse rather than offend him. "My employer is having difficulty sleeping, and asked me to find him something dull to read. Are you suffering from insomnia as well, young master…?" his voice trailed off – clearly he was waiting for me to introduce myself.

I blushed at my display of poor manners. "Jeeves," I said. "Reginald Jeeves." I awkwardly offered my hand to him.

He shook it with a gentle chuckle. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, young master Jeeves," he said. "I am Richard Armstrong. I am Lord Yardley's personal gentleman."

"Yes, I know," I said. "I saw you arrive this afternoon."

"Ah, did you now? Well, then you have the advantage of me. You know who I am and my position. What do you do, young master Jeeves?"

"I… I am a houseman, sir."

"I see. And how do you enjoy working here at Abington Chase?"

I frowned a bit. I was unsure of how to answer – I did not wish to dissemble, but at the same time I was reluctant to speak ill of my employers or the other servants. He seemed to sense my hesitation.

"I am sorry, young master Jeeves. I did not intend to pry. May I ask, then, what you are planning to read? And if you have any recommendations for something that will put Lord Yardley to sleep?"

We spoke then for some considerable time about literature. As it turned out, he was quite well-read, and had enjoyed many of the same works that I had. Eventually, though, he brought the discussion to a close.

"Well, young master Jeeves, I must be getting back, or Lord Yardley will wonder what has become of me. I am surprised, I must say, to find out that you are a member of the between staff, when you are obviously an intelligent, educated young man. Have you any higher aspirations?"

I decided to be forthcoming. "Yes, sir. It has always been my ambition to be a gentleman's personal gentleman."

"I am gratified to hear it," he said, looking pleased. "I would imagine that you have all of the qualities required, young master Jeeves, so why is it that you have not yet been assigned a gentleman to serve?"

"I was found… inadequate for that position," I said stiffly.

"Ah," he said softly. "And did you agree with that assessment?" he asked gently.

"No, sir," I said, surprising myself with my own boldness.

"Let me make a confession, young master Jeeves," he said. "I will ask you to keep it in confidence."

"Of course, sir," I said seriously.

"I have never seen eye-to-eye with Walter Highstead," he said. "I consider him to be a pompous ass who wouldn't know potential if it hit him over the head. If he has been the one holding you back, then in my mind that is a point in your favour."

"Thank you, sir," I said quietly. "Confidentially, then, Mr Highstead is indeed the person who has determined that I will not become a valet, but instead stay in my current position."

"I suspected as much," he said. "However, I think you have great promise, young master Jeeves. I believe that you would make an excellent gentleman's personal gentleman. If you are still interested in pursuing that ambition, I believe I can secure a position for you. Lord Yardley's young nephew will be coming to live with us in London and will require a valet. I believe that you would be suited for this position, and if you accepted, you would be my apprentice, as it were. Would such an arrangement interest you?"

I could hardly believe my own ears. If this were true… "Yes, sir," I said eagerly.

"Very well then," he said firmly. "I shall arrange the matter and have a letter outlining the proposition sent to you shortly. And now, I must return to Lord Yardley. It was very nice speaking to you, young master Jeeves."

We shook hands once again and he left, taking with him a book of philosophy for his employer.

I did not have another opportunity to speak with him, but I saw him occasionally in the corridors, and each time he smiled and nodded at me. After a week's stay, Lord Yardley departed from Abington Chase, and Richard Armstrong with him.

I passed each day after that in a fever of impatience, hoping that the post would bring an offer of employment. Several weeks passed, however, with no letter, and I began to despair. I imagined that Mr Armstrong had forgotten about his promise, or had reconsidered. I cursed myself for allowing myself the luxury of hope. It was difficult to continue in my old routine, since I had believed that I would be departing soon, only to find that the days stretched before me, endless and monotonous.

Then one day, my fortunes changed. I received a letter from Lord Yardley formally offering me a position as valet to his nephew. I went to the stables immediately, to show the letter to Conway. I daresay he was nearly as pleased as I was. We shared a drink together to celebrate, and then I went back to the house. I went directly to Highstead's study – the place still held terrible memories for me, but I wanted to put this unpleasant interview behind me. I told him coldly that I had been offered employment elsewhere and I was giving my two weeks' notice. His face twisted with rage as he received this news, but he quickly controlled himself, merely nodding and telling me that my resignation was accepted. I took my leave of him with a sense of profound relief.

The next several days seemed interminable. Highstead piled duties upon me, seeming determined to make my last days under him as unpleasant as possible. I did the work without complaint – he could no longer hurt me.

However, it was at this time that I made an observation. There was a new hall-boy at Abington, Thomas Fleming. He was fourteen years of age, but small for his age, and quiet. I had hardly noticed him previously – I rarely paid any heed to the comings and goings of the other servants. But something about young Thomas arrested my attention, although I could not say what.

Then, the day before I was to leave Abington Chase for my new position, I heard the housemaid tell Thomas that he had been summoned to see Highstead in his study. I saw his flinch, and I knew instantly what was occurring. There was nothing I could do at that moment, but I watched him walk down the corridor leading to that room where I had spent so many hours, and I found myself trembling – with rage, sadness, and remembered fear.

That evening, I pulled Thomas aside. I gave him the sleeping drops that Mrs Sneddon had first given me, and which I had had refilled many times since. I carefully explained to him the uses of the drug, the best method to introduce the drug, and the effects of overdose. I told him that if he used my name with the chemist in the village, he could obtain more of the drops. I did not tell him that I understood what he was experiencing, but he could see it in my eyes, I have no doubt. He nodded solemnly and took the phial.

The next morning, quite early, I said brief farewells to the other house servants. Then I went out to take my leave of Conway. I would miss him – other than Mrs Sneddon, he had been my only friend at Abington. He walked with me to the village, waiting with me for the train which would take me to London to begin my new position. When the train arrived, we said good-bye, shook hands, and I put Abington Chase behind me.

***

At this point, Jeeves seemed to run out of oomph, like a wind-up toy that has run down. I had almost forgotten that this was his life story, rather than some romantic novel full of evil villains and dashing heroes. I came back to reality with quite a thud.

"But – but that can't be the end of it, Jeeves!" I said.

"Of course it was not the end of my story, sir," he said. "But that is the pertinent portion. You asked how my nose came to be so 'charmingly crooked,' to use your words, and I have told you."

"But what happened to Highstead? And Conway? And Thomas what's-his-name?" I was agog with curiosity. I rather hoped that Highstead had met with an unpleasant end. Otherwise, I might be tempted to arrange one myself.

"Some months after I had begun service in Lord Yardley's household, I received word that only a few days after I had left Abington Chase, Highstead had died peacefully in his sleep of a heart attack, sir."

"Well, I must say I consider that end a dashed sight too easy for him. I rather wish he had suffered more." Then a thought occurred to me. "Wait a minute, Jeeves – you said that a large dose of the sleeping drops that you gave Thomas had that effect!"

"Indeed, sir. No foul play was suspected, and apparently the local doctor gave a certificate of Death by Natural Causes. However, I believe it is quite likely that Thomas administered a massive dose of the sleeping drops. I will never know for certain, sir. I never heard anything more of Thomas."

"What of Conway?" I asked.

"Alfred Conway died several years later, sir," he said. "I never saw him again, but I sent him my regards through Richard Armstrong on several occasions when that gentleman was going with Lord Yardley to Abington Chase."

"And what about the Armstrong fellow? And Mrs Sneddon?"

"I never heard from Mrs Sneddon again, but Richard Armstrong and I are still on quite intimate terms."

"You don't mean that you and he – "

"Oh, no, sir," he said, sounding somewhat scandalised.

"And… what about Philip Leighton?" I asked with some trepidation, if that's the word I want. I mean to say, I wasn't quite sure that I wanted Jeeves thinking about the golden-haired Philip and what he might be up to now.

"I have neither seen nor spoken with Philip Leighton since our conversation in the garden at Abington. The last I heard of him, he was living on the continent, shocking even Parisian high society with his debauchery and profligate ways. He had a serious falling out with his father over his unprincipled behaviour, and Mr Leighton refused to acknowledge his son until the day he died. However, he did not disinherit Philip, and Philip Leighton is now quite wealthy."

"Have you ever been back to Abington Chase?" I was relieved that Jeeves seemed to feel no particular nostalgia for the Leighton chap.

"No, sir. After Mr Leighton's death, Philip Leighton sold the property. I do not know the new owners, or whether they retained any of the staff. In any event, I have no desire to return."

"Yes, I can bally well see why," I said. "What happened to you after you left? I want to hear about your service with Lord Yardley's nephew."

He chuckled softly. "Another time, perhaps, sir. I must confess that I am feeling a bit fatigued. I am gratified, though, that you are not bored by my life story."

"Bored? How could I be bored? No, Jeeves, I am dashed well not bored. I certainly understand that you need a bit of a rest, but another night, perhaps you can continue your tale?" I looked at him hopefully.

"Certainly, sir."

"Er – there's nothing quite so grim in the next bit, is there?"

"No, sir, you have heard the most calamitous of my experiences. Compared with my years at Abington, the rest of my life has been quite agreeable."

"I'm glad to hear it, Jeeves."

Then a thought popped into the old bean, and suddenly I felt dreadfully guilty. I'd only, er, taken Jeeves on one occasion, if you see what I'm getting at, and now I thought I understood why. "I say, Jeeves – you don't ever have to… well… you know… do that again if you don't want to. I mean to say, I enjoyed it, of course, but I'm perfectly happy just to do it… ah… the other way round, if you know what I mean." I was awfully red at this point, and I wasn't being terribly coherent, but Jeeves appeared to understand me.

He looked at me fondly. "It is a generous offer, sir. I will confess that it was somewhat… difficult for me to initiate such relations. Nevertheless, I do trust you, sir, and it was not unpleasant, as I feared it would be. I believe that, in time, I may even come to enjoy that particular form of intimacy."

"Well… perhaps just on my birthdays and major holidays?" I suggested tentatively.

"I believe that could be arranged, sir," he said with faint amusement.

"Jolly good," I said happily.

I settled down into his arms and was silent for a time, idly stroking his chest. I was reflecting on all I had just heard, and I suppose Jeeves was doing the same. Not that he had just heard it, you understand.

"Deuced odd how things turn out, isn't it, Jeeves?"

"Indeed, sir."

"We've both gone through some pretty rotten things, I mean to say. Not that anything I've experienced compares to what you have, but we've both seen hard times, what?"

"Very true, sir."

"But – well, now we've got each other, and somehow that makes it all seem worth it. Well, for me it is, anyway. I mean – well, what I'm trying to say, Jeeves, is that having you is worth any amount of rotten luck in the past. Of course, I quite understand that you may not feel the same – I'm quite certain that Wooster, B. is not a prize worth suffering what you have."

"On the contrary, sir," he said. "It is true that I have endured certain trials. However, each experience has led me to where I am now, and I would not change that, no matter what the inducement."

I looked at him; he looked at me. I smiled soppily and he gave me a quirk of his expressive mouth in return.

"Kiss me, Jeeves," I ordered.

"With pleasure, sir."

He did so – and the pleasure was entirely mutual.


END


Cheer yourself up with a bad!fic or a fluffy little PWP?

 
 
Where am I?: home
How do I feel?: calmcalm
What do I hear?: Tears in the Rain - Joe Satriani
 
 
 
purplesyringes on October 3rd, 2006 03:05 am (UTC)
*punched in gut* Oh I say. I SAY, love. Poor Jeeves! Oh, but a happy ending! Truly, the most brilliant I've read. Bravo! (Are you a professional writer?)
Sky: [j&w] jeeves nameskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:20 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, my dear! Er, sorry about the punch in the gut, old thing. Poor Jeeves, indeed! You never need to worry, though, I'll always give our boys a happy ending. I love them too much not to. Heh, no, I'm not a professional writer, although I do do a lot of (boring, non-fiction) writing in my job. I'm very glad you enjoyed. :)
(Deleted comment)
Sky: [j&w] tie heartsskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:27 am (UTC)
*hands you kleenex*

Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment even though you have studying to do. I will certainly await your further feedback with bated breath (you give such good comment) but I will understand if it takes you a while. RL does have a nasty way of intruding onto our fannish time, doesn't it? :)

Thank you so much for your kind words, my dear! It's true, I seem to be twisting and perverting Plum's happy, fluffy, innocent world quite a lot, don't I? I wonder if I should be worried about the depraved contents of my own mind. Hmm... Nah. *g*

I'm so glad you enjoyed.
Zekkasszekkass on October 3rd, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
*cries*

Oh thank you for a happy ending - thank GOD Bertie was there. If you had told it entirely from Jeeves' perspective for the entire thing -

Wow. Beautiful, painful, brillaint job.

Now go write happy smut. Please.
Sky: [j&w] bertie smokingskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:38 am (UTC)
*hands you more kleenex*

Oh, I will always give these two a happy ending. I couldn't bear anything else. And although I briefly considered writing this from Jeeves' perspective the whole way through, I felt like Bertie being there and narrating would make the whole thing more bearable somehow - both for Jeeves, to have Bertie listening, and for us, so we know that Jeeves has someone there to comfort him (or, you know, for Jeeves to comfort!). I'm really glad that it worked for you.

Thank you so much!

Hee. Yes, indeed. Happy smut is next on my list, I promise. :)
(no subject) - zekkass on October 3rd, 2006 03:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 04:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
Omphale: braindryadwoman on October 3rd, 2006 03:50 am (UTC)
I am rendered dumb again by your sheer brilliance and creativity and...just and.
Sky: [j&w] jw ampersandskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 04:07 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much, my dear. *blush* You are very kind to say such things. I'm glad you enjoyed.
(no subject) - dryadwoman on October 3rd, 2006 08:22 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 08:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dryadwoman on October 3rd, 2006 08:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dryadwoman on October 4th, 2006 07:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - dryadwoman on October 4th, 2006 08:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 5th, 2006 01:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
ennui_blue_lite: housenumbennui_blue_lite on October 3rd, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
I hadn’t realized that part II was already up until after I wrote my big part I review, so here I go again.
That honestly made me all teary-eyed, and I found myself fighting back to keep from crying. I cannot believe that you took this subject, that by all accounts has no place within the universe of Jeeves and Wooster, and made it flow as if it did. You did a spectacular job. And, aside being one of the saddest fics I have ever read, the plot was just so damn engaging. I found myself hating Highstead and Philip, and cheering on Alfred and Mrs. Sneedon and young Thomas, and of course for Jeeves, for poor, sweet Jeeves. Watching him fight – it was as if, even though I knew it was going to turn out all right in the end, I couldn’t help but feel so afraid for him.
The scene where Philip came back was excellent and maddening all at once. I wanted to punch his pompous little lights out. Jeeves’s disillusionment was so awful to read, as if he were realizing in that moment that all he had suffered had been for nothing.
I had a really, really difficult time reading the nose breaking scene. I had to skim a little – don’t be angry. It was just… too much for me. [shakes]
Highstead deserved far worse than he got. I cheered when Jeeves stood up to him, and again when it was revealed that Thomas poisoned him, but he well deserved to be strung up by the bits he used to commit his crime.
I loved, loved, LOVED Bertie’s fumbling attempts to talk with Jeeves about their sex life. It was a nice bit of light humor that was very much needed after the dark trip.
Usually, I find myself reviewing fanfiction by quoting the most in character lines, but I realize that I’m not doing that here. The reason? This isn’t just an in character fanfiction – these are the characters. These are Jeeves and Wooster themselves, right there on the page (or screen). Quoting would be pointless.
Skyblue, you never fail to astound me. Know that I await your next story with great anticipation (and I hope that it’s a light one – as great as this was, I have a very strong suspicion that you could do with a nice, fluffy rest
Sky: [j&w] concerned facesskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 04:47 am (UTC)
Aw, hon, I'm so sorry about the crying! I mean, well, I was hoping it'd have an emotional impact, but now I'm feeling all guilty about it! *hands more kleenex*

I'm so glad the plot and characters worked for you. I was very worried with this fic, being so different than anything in canon, or even anything in the fandom that I've seen, and with so many OCs to boot. It's very high praise indeed that you got so caught up in the story that you were worried for Jeeves, even though you already knew he'd be all right. I'm glad you thought Philip was a pompous little snot - he was definitely supposed to be. I didn't want him to be evil, exactly (like Highstead was), just terminally self-absorbed and incapable of thinking of anyone else's feelings, even if he was cultured and well-read. Kind of the polar opposite of Bertie, in fact. I think Jeeves learned an important (but far too costly!) lesson about what traits are truly worthwhile in a lover or friend.

I am not angry that you couldn't read the nose-breaking scene. I'm sorry it was so difficult, and I'm especially sorry about the shakes! *cuddles you some more*

Heh, I totally agree that Highstead deserved worse. Bertie agrees too, as he said! But at least Highstead won't be hurting anyone else - I didn't want to leave that loose end dangling.

Hee, so glad you liked Bertie's fumbling attempts. He's so sweet and generous - I think once he figured out what was going on, he'd be horrified at the thought of making Jeeves even slightly uncomfortable. Glad the humor wasn't too jarring, though.

Awww, thank you so, so much for your extremely kind words. I don't know what to say! Except thank you again, and you are so sweet and dear. I really appreciate your thoughtful response, my darling!

I promise my next fic will be fluffy. Well, as I've told you, the next one I write will be the Christmas smut all for you, m'dear, but probably I'll end up posting something else between now and when I post that one, closer to Christmas.

Hope you are not too depressed now, hon! *worried look*

(no subject) - ennui_blue_lite on October 3rd, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 02:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ennui_blue_lite on October 3rd, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 04:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ennui_blue_lite on October 4th, 2006 04:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 05:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ennui_blue_lite on October 4th, 2006 06:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 06:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Mellifluous Leaper 182: Joosterleaper182 on October 3rd, 2006 04:50 am (UTC)
Oh, JEEVES!

I wanted to cuddle him so much during this story, and the way Bertie reacted was very IC and snuggle-worthy. Oh, boys...

God, I wanted Highstead to die so badly, and part of me wanted Bertie to plan something evil to do it, but I like that Jeeves was able to leave things in Highstead's next victim's hands. If what Jeeves endured at the hands of that monster was horrible, it would've been even more so if Jeeves hadn't been able to prevent the abuse rendered on poor Thomas.

Granted, rape stories aren't my favorite thing to read, but this was written so well, and gave the rape proper weight (imho). I can see any future relationships Jeeves would've had being ones where Jeeves was extremely reluctant to trust someone that far again.

And part of me wants Bertie to encounter Philip Leighton, either in England or on the continent, and really lay waste to him. Maybe even have Leighton try to hit on Jeeves, or try to entice Jeeves away, and then Bertie socking him in the teeth. Bertie feeling all proud that he could do this one thing for Jeeves.

SNUGGLES. OMG.
Sky: [j&w] jeeves sir animatedskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 05:13 am (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much! I'm so glad you liked it, and found it IC.

Yeah, Highstead had to die. No way I was going to leave him alive. I nearly had Jeeves be the one to poison him, but in the end I just felt that that would be too dark. So I think having him basically give Thomas the choice of whether to do so was the right thing for Jeeves.

I'm glad you felt that I handled the rape in an appropriate way. I definitely wanted it to have an impact, but I didn't want to write it just to be shocking or titillating. I think this would actually explain a lot about Jeeves - his repression, his need for perfection, his need to be in control... I think that it would take someone like Bertie - totally innocent, totally incapable of evil, to inspire Jeeves to be able to trust and be in a romantic relationship. And even then, I think Jeeves would still want to be the one with the upper hand most of the time.

Oh, that's interesting - it's true, they very well could run into Philip Leighton somewhere. I hadn't even thought of that. Well, I'll certainly keep it in mind for future fics, to see if that fits in anywhere. I could definitely see Philip inspiring Bertie to violence - if anything could, a threat to his beloved Jeeves would be it. And, yes, he would be totally proud afterward! He'd be grinning ear to ear while Jeeves tutted over his bruised knuckles. Not that Jeeves couldn't take care of himself, of course, but Bertie would be all chivalrous and outraged on his behalf. *g*

Hee, are those snuggles for me or the fic?

Thank you so much for your lovely, in-depth comment, my dear.
(no subject) - leaper182 on October 3rd, 2006 01:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - leaper182 on October 3rd, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 04:29 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - leaper182 on October 4th, 2006 04:55 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 05:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - leaper182 on October 4th, 2006 02:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - leaper182 on October 4th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 05:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - leaper182 on October 4th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 06:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - leaper182 on October 4th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 07:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
*chuckle* - leaper182 on April 1st, 2007 07:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *chuckle* - skyblue_reverie on April 1st, 2007 05:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: *chuckle* - leaper182 on April 2nd, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Jestana: J&W: Bertie surprisedjestana on October 3rd, 2006 05:01 am (UTC)
Oh, poor Jeeves! *wants to hug him, but leaves that to Bertie* I guessed something of this nature, but it's still awful. *sniffles* I'm so glad that's the worst he's experienced and he has Bertie now. I agree with zekkass: happy smut is in order now. *wink* Such a good fic and thank you very much for writing it.
Sky: [j&w] jeeves quite certainskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 05:29 am (UTC)
Ooh, you guessed it, did you? You're a clever one! :) But yeah, this scenario made logical sense for me - a young gay man, especially a servant, would be at serious risk for blackmail and sexual victimization, I think.

*hands you kleenex* Gosh, I'm going to have to put in a large supply of those, aren't I? :)

Happy smut, coming up shortly! :D

Aw, thank you so much, m'dear. I'm very glad that you liked it.
(no subject) - jestana on October 3rd, 2006 05:38 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 05:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jestana on October 3rd, 2006 06:16 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 06:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ennui_blue_lite on October 3rd, 2006 01:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 02:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jestana on October 3rd, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 02:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jestana on October 3rd, 2006 03:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jestana on October 3rd, 2006 04:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Furiusfurius on October 3rd, 2006 05:53 am (UTC)
What an tale of awful happenings. It's definitely not one of my favorite themes to read about, but knowing, and seeing the sweetness of J/W makes it bearable, and I'm sure, for Jeeves, too. It may be blasphemy against Plum's happy world, but it's great fanfic, as it allows for deepened appreciation of that happiness. It's funny though, I never imagined the book!Jeeves to have a crooked nose, but somehow this all still makes sense...

On the bright side, there's still yet the tale of how Jeeves came to be the authority on dressage and equippage and decorations :p
Sky: [j&w] jeeves nameskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 06:11 am (UTC)
Hello, old thing! Thank you for reading and commenting - especially since this is not your favorite subject matter, which is certainly understandable. Yeah, I think the sweetness of the relationship, and of Bertie, certainly does make it more bearable both for Jeeves and for the reader (and the writer!).

You know, you're totally right - going through suffering makes happiness that much more appreciated. Not that that's an excuse for those who inflict suffering on others, but it makes it a bit easier to be philosophical about the suckiness that we all endure.

Heh, my Jeeves is forever and always Stephen Fry. So yep, he's got the crooked nose. :) Glad it worked for your mental image of Jeeves as well, though.

Dressage, equippage and decorations. Hee!

Thanks very much for your comments. :D
Gaffsiegaffsie on October 3rd, 2006 07:28 am (UTC)
The ending is just what it ought to be - the perfect mixture of sweetness and humor needed to remove the lingering unhappiness from Jeeves narrative. Bertie's bumbling attempt to talk about sex almost made me teary-eyed because, though it was funny, at its core it's just Bertie gaining a deeper understanding of the psychology of the individual (the individual being Jeeves). It's quite a change for Jeeves to have such a caring and selfless lover.

The story of Jeeves escape from Highstead's clutches fits with everything we already know about Jeeves. He wouldn't have killed him, even if part of him wanted it. He would, however, have given the drops to Thomas and let him take it from there.

To sum up my feelings: I loved this story.

I read the other comments and I'd like to join in the chorus of "Please write about Bertie and Jeeves meeting Philip Leighton". I want to see Bertie sock him too!

Oh, and I'm seconding Bertie's request for more tales about Jeeves past. :)
Sky: [j&w] bertie racquetskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 08:09 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much. I'm very glad you enjoyed the conclusion. I definitely wanted to end it with sweetness, and on a lighter, more positive note, because I think that, despite how Jeeves has suffered in the past, he truly is happy now, with Bertie. And Bertie feels things strongly, I think, but he doesn't dwell on them. Once something happens, he lets it go. So I think both of them would really be able to move on and still be joyful and happy together, even with this now out in the open (and for Jeeves, especially now that this is out in the open).

You're right - this would definitely make Bertie more sensitive to Jeeves and his needs, although I think that he's always been a caring and selfless lover, just instinctively. But now he'll be thoughtful as well, which is even better. I think that Bertie is exactly what Jeeves needs, as well as vice versa, of course.

Glad you thought the handling of Highstead's death was IC. I did consider having Jeeves do it himself, but in the end that felt too cold-blooded. It was really important to me, though, that Jeeves be the one to end his own victimization, through his own wits and strength of character, rather than simply having someone else swoop in and save him. As horrible as it was, I think in the end his experiences made Jeeves stronger. (That which does not kill us, etc.)

To sum up: I'm so glad you loved it. Especially since you said darkfic is not your thing.

Hee. Lots of people want to see Leighton go down, it seems! I think I can probably manage it. No promises, but I'll at least see what I can do. :)

More about Jeeves' past, eh? I'll certainly leave myself open to inspiration from the Jeeves-muse on that front. :D

Thanks once again for your very kind words!
(no subject) - gaffsie on October 3rd, 2006 10:12 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gaffsie on October 3rd, 2006 03:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 04:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
Junior Miss Tough Chick of the Universe: jeeves goes !?superherogrlcat on October 3rd, 2006 08:06 am (UTC)
Aww! :D That wos wonderful! Great job.
Sky: [j&w] shoelacesskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 08:10 am (UTC)
Thank you so much, m'dear! I'm glad you enjoyed. :)
Amy: Fry/Laurie--Kiss me you foolevila_elf on October 3rd, 2006 09:37 am (UTC)
I'll admit that I have only read a few J/W fics before. But something about this drew me in. So, the first Jeeves fic I have read in months was 14k words lol.

And I loved it. Loved how you switched from Wooster's voice to Jeeves as he narrated his tale.
Lovely job, and I am sad that it is over with.
Sky: [j&w] boyfriendskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:01 pm (UTC)
Hee - don't read much in the fandom, but when you do, you pick the long ones, eh? ;) I'm very flattered that I drew you away from the House fandom for long enough to read my epic. :D

Thank you so much for such very kind words. I'm very glad that you enjoyed it. Sad that it is over is very high praise indeed! *floats on cloud 9*

Thanks again, old thing! :)
Cat: hawkeyesmartinicarpecarpem on October 3rd, 2006 09:52 am (UTC)
Soooooo well done. I liked that it was detailed and complete without going too much into any one thing. And, of course, it was so sweet!

I have to add my vote to the Bertie-biffing-Philip scenario. (which, of course, would lead to Jeeves attacking Bertie in a sexual manner the moment they were alone)
Sky: [j&w] family portraitskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:05 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much! I'm very glad that you enjoyed it, and specifically the level of detail. I'm happy to hear that it worked for you. I'm all about the sweetness - I can't resist throwing it in, even in my darkfic. :p

Bertie-biffing-Philip vote, check. It seems to be fairly unanimous so far - well, there are abstainers, but no nay-sayers! Poor Philip isn't very popular, is he? *g*

which, of course, would lead to Jeeves attacking Bertie in a sexual manner the moment they were alone

Hee! Also - mmmmmmmm. I like this image! :D

Thanks once again, my dear!
Curried Goat in a paper cupderien on October 3rd, 2006 11:55 am (UTC)
Wow. Just the right balance of Jeevesian emotionally withdrawnness to make the story really work. And a damn good reason for him to have developed such a capacity for emotional reserve. And his athleticism. Do you ever have one of those moments when you're reading fic and you go, "Yeah, she hit it right on the head. It's got to be true."?
Sky: [j&w] garden walkskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:10 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much! Yeah, when I thought of this scenario, I kind of thought that it would explain an awful lot about Jeeves - as you say, the emotional reserve, the athleticism, also the need for control and perfection, the repression, the sometimes questionable ethics, the knock-out drops, the less-than-honorable fighting techniques, the devotion to good-hearted Bertie, and, of course, the crooked nose! *g* So I'm very glad that you found it plausible as well.

Do you ever have one of those moments when you're reading fic and you go, "Yeah, she hit it right on the head. It's got to be true."?

Oh, I do indeed. If I inspired that reaction (I think you're saying I did!) then I am incredibly honored and flattered. :D

Thanks so much, old bean!
(no subject) - derien on October 4th, 2006 01:00 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 04:34 am (UTC) (Expand)
mad_march_hare on October 3rd, 2006 03:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, Jeeves! Oh, Bertie! *cries*

That was unbelievable. I was biting my nails throughout the entire tale. I especially liked the idea of Bertie grieving for them both, incredibly true to character, that. And most importantly, I'm very glad it ended happily, or at least with the promise of happiness to come. Brava, brava, bravissima!

Now I confess that my curiosity is piqued as to Bertie's troubles. He admitted that he'd gone through hard times, I assume meaning the loss of his parents. Will we get the tale of Bertie's childhood woes sometime? Oh, I hope so! [/angstbunny]

In closing, abso-bally-lutely fantastico! This goes straight into my memories. *showers you with buckets of gold stars*
Sky: [j&w] jeeves nameskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 03:34 pm (UTC)
*hands kleenex* Sorry, old thing!

Aww, thank you so much. I am especially glad you liked Bertie's reaction, because as I've said elsewhere, that was really the hardest part for me. That second reaction scene, with him grieving for both, was the very last bit I wrote and boy, did it give me fits.

Definitely happy ending - or, as you say, happiness to come. I could do no less for our boys!

Yes - I was intending Bertie's reference to mean the loss of his parents. You know, I've had a couple of requests for Bertie's past, but no bunnies have really bitten. I honestly think that I am more inspired by Jeeves than Bertie. I'll never say never, but I'm not sure. We shall see what the muse does. :)

Aww, thank you so much for the kind words. And memories, yay! Whee, buckets of gold stars! *twirls under the shower of gold stars*
Fenrissfenriss on October 3rd, 2006 03:27 pm (UTC)
I really like how Philip came out. Not an abusive character, but shallow, and incredibly self-centered:

"I know, dear Reginald, how much you must have missed me. And now you come and find me like this. It is understandable, of course, but truly, it isn't safe for me. I am sorry, but I must ask you to leave and not make any more foolish attempts to contact me. It will be difficult, I know, but it is for the best."

Ugh! Probably fairly typical of wealthy boys of the time. No reason to spare a thought for those beneath you.

I'm glad that the various means for defending himself came from fellow servants; Mrs. Sneddon's drops and Mr. Conway's lessons. This almost made me cry:

"'S all right, you don't have to say nothin'," he said gruffly. "Lemme have a look at that nose of yours."

Such lovely, basic humanity there. Touches like this really balance out the cruelty of the rape scenes, reminding us that character like Highstead really are an anomaly, thank the gods.

And, of course, I've mentioned how much I like passing the drops on to Thomas. I'm very glad that Highstead meets his end at the hand of one of his victims, and I am equally glad that it wasn't Jeeves.

The happy ending is superb:

"On the contrary, sir," he said. "It is true that I have endured certain trials. However, each experience has led me to where I am now, and I would not change that, no matter what the inducement."

*sob!* Oh! Darling, I truly love this! Reading a powerful narrative of a strong person's journey out of a dark, terrible place and into a nearly ideal one was strong medicine for me right now. Thank you so much for this, love!
Sky: [j&w] tie heartsskyblue_reverie on October 3rd, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much, my dear!

Well, as you know, the Philip rewrite from abusive, mustache-twirling villain (hee) was all because of you. So I thank you deeply for all the help with that. I think my favorite (well, you know, the most punch-worthy) line of Philip's is when he tells Jeeves that he (Jeeves) had no future to destroy. The stuff with Highstead - I can see that he would not even guess at that being a possibility. But that basic level of snottiness, to think that a mere servant has no future... well. It made me furious on Jeeves' behalf. :p

I'm so glad you liked the means coming from other servants - I wanted him to have allies who would provide him with the tools, but have Jeeves be the one who actually took control of his own life and ended the victimization.

On Conway - I'm really glad you liked him. I did too. Part of what I was trying to get across, though, is that basically all of the servants knew exactly what was going on with Jeeves, knew that it had happened with other boys too, and no one did a thing to stop Highstead - not even Conway or Mrs Sneddon. To me, that makes them a little bit complicit, in a way. I don't know what they could have done, and I'm sure there would have been serious consequences for trying to do something, but still, I think that they were not entirely innocent. Even Jeeves, who in the end didn't end Highstead's life himself, but left that terrible choice to someone else. Obviously it's a complicated situation, and everyone does the best they can, but I at least a little bit wanted to get in some of those shades of gray. I hope I succeeded at that.

On the happy ending - I am so happy and relieved that you liked the ending, and that the story overall helped you feel better rather than distressing you further. I was a bit worried about that! You are a very, very strong person, and you will absolutely have your own happy ending. :)

Thank you again for lovely feedback and truly amazing beta work. (Oh, and as you saw, I could not resist the latin quote for Jeeves! I don't know if you intended that to be a story suggestion, but it was just too perfect.)

♥ ♥ ♥
(no subject) - fenriss on October 3rd, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - skyblue_reverie on October 4th, 2006 04:45 am (UTC) (Expand)