I had been working on a frivolous prose and I lost track of time. A simple story I had recalled in the early mornings when I felt Jeeves leave our bed and whisk himself away to important matters involving the security and future of England. He was downright bally brilliant like that, my Jeeves. Topnotch, in all earnesty. Starting from a valet to his current role of aiding war generals with tactics and concepts my feeble minded brain could only imagine and with war on England’s heels, they needed all the marvels they could gather up.
I get sidetracked so easily, what? I had been writing a story that occurred years ago of an old friend named Tuppy, who was married now happily to my cousin Angela, humming some silly ditty I couldn’t remember the words of, until the sky had, unbeknownst to me until that mo, gone dark when I finally raised my head up from my typewriter, and tilted it to look out the window. It was an odd thing, as Jeeves usually would have shimmied his way in before the sun had set, and let his presence be known, but as the moon had let me know, he had not, in fact, done anything of the sort.
I stretched and trudged my way out into living room, which was also vacant, and into the kitchen where I finally feasted my eyes on my slumped over, an uncommon occurrence for such an upstanding chap but still remaining incredibly handsome, man.
“What ho, old thing,” I remarked with a gentle exuberance, as he seemed lost in that massive brain of his and I could see whatever it was, he was attempting to pacify it with a glass of scotch, “You didn’t come let me know you had returned,”
“My apologies, sir,” He said with steady neutrality. He was very well practiced after all these years, but I knew better.
“What is it?” I asked, taking the glass from his hand, taking a small sip, and placing it back into his fingers, “What happened?”
“It has begun,”
“What has?” I feigned ignorance, as it felt much easier than uttering the words.
“It is a matter of days, maybe a singular day, the order will be uttered then we all become casualties, numbers, cold parts of a strategy,” His voice seemed so meek, “Nothing can be done, there is no stopping our involvement, there are no corners we can cut to slide our way out, there is nothing, I have tried to find some manner of which we can escape this as have many others, but it is no use, it is simply talks of what weapons will be used now, what are our moves as an army, how many men we can risk,”
He nearly hissed out the lastly mentioned part, his tone ice cold.
“We all must do what we must in honour of our country, Jeeves, it happened many years ago which I only remember due to some rot my aunt had spewed about keeping the Wooster name alive and never experienced first hand,” He was spinning the glass around on the kitchen table with obvious agitation as I spoke, “Albeit, I have never held a gun before in my life which in retrospect, although not particularly helpful to the British Army, most would consider this Wooster lucky that I-”
Jeeves had picked up his tumbler glass and threw it against wall with such force that the pieces that fell looked much like snowfall that glistened in the glow of a moonlit evening, minus the shattering sound that erupted from the impact. I fell silent, watching the thousands of scattered pieces shine in the room that was filled only with ambient light pouring in from the wide window.
“Sir, it won’t be the same as the first war. I cannot begin to describe the horrors of which they have created in the decades that have passed, they are beyond description, sir, it will destroy both you and I, and there is nothing that will stop its coming,” His voice was barely above a whisper, “I have tried, lord, I have tried in vain to help find an end to it, but this is larger than myself. It is larger than all of England and if I could trade my life, my mind, anything to cease what will inevitably occur; tomorrow or the next day, it is coming that quickly, that I cannot deny, I would do it faster than my heart could beat its next pulse,”
The kitchen was dark as no artificial light had been switched on by him nor myself, but I could see the pain etched upon his face in the shadows, “We will get through this, it may be divergent than the last but war is still war, the rummy happening shall cease to continue at some point in the future and we shall pick ourselves up, Jeeves, as we always do,”
“No, we will not, sir. Not this time, you have not seen what I’ve seen, you do not know,”
He was looking down at the pieces of glass, his hands were pale, and I could see a small tremor in them as they both found themselves weaving into his own hair. My heart was beating, not with fear, but with aching sympathy for my beautiful man who was suffering at the expense of my person. I did, indeed, have a fear of being separated from him, that was to be sure, but he held far too much importance to England to be place in the line of fire, which kept me from any concern that he was in danger.
“I do not, that is bally well true,” I said with as much soft kindness I could muster up, “But it is our duty to serve our country,”
“Then deem me a traitor, sir, as I cannot bear it,” He remarked with an anger I had not expected of him, “I wish for you to leave England, I beg of you to leave here, and put yourself as far away from this inevitable self destruction of our beloved country as you possibly can,”
“We both know I shan’t do that, Jeeves,”
“Why not?” He whispered with anguish, “It is not your war to fight, you have not done anything to deserve to witness and experience the acts that will be forced upon your person and it is tearing me apart, Bertram, limb by limb, it feels as though my flesh is being pried apart by some intangible notion of what you will have to endure. I cannot bear it, I cannot,”
“Jeeves,” I went to him then, my hands overlapping the ones tangled in his own hair, my mouth finding the tip of his regal nose. I could feel his breath against my chin and a small part of my neck. His fingers that had been captured in his ebony locks found their way to intertwine with mine, “Do you know why I have remained so calm? It is a simple answer, and I assure you that it will not escape your fish-fed brain of understanding; I have had and will always have you. In my thoughts and in every action that I take, you are there. You are the first notion in the mumbled haze of my thoughts as I wake in the late mornings and your name is the last word in my cranium as lose myself to slumber. No matter where I am, no matter the horrors we both will face, you will always be there in some capacity, guiding me as you have, and I you, much less guiding you, but I will be there inside your mind, I swear to it.”
He kissed me then, his mouth crushing against my own, I could feel a wetness against press against my cheek. Our hands remained tied together, moving from his hair to my waist, before I detangled mine from his at the rather awkward angle it put my elbows and place both upon each cheek, tracing the smooth edges of his features, while my tongue brushed against his bottom lip and he tugged gently on my upper one.
“Let us have tonight, if war shall break tomorrow, we will face it head on, but tonight, should we not live here in this very moment?” I breathed when we broke apart, he pulled me closer to him then.
“Sir, I wish I could erase what I know, but I cannot. It is there, inside my mind, every figment, every gruesome detail and the horrific outcomes that could befall you, do you not comprehend that you are not safe? The very notion I cannot protect you from this will be my end, if I lose you,”
His voice broke, bleeding through was fear and panicked hysteria that I could not soothe. It was all true, in contrast to his importance, I would simply be a man on the playing field of battle, a mere number amongst many, many numbers. I could not find the proper words to form a helpful lie, it hardly mattered as he would know in an instant my transparent attempts to calm him.
“What is that quote Shakespeare said, it eludes me currently, something of fair arms or whatnot,”
“Henry IV, act V; ‘The arms are fair, when the act of bearing them is just’ I believe is what you are recalling,” He murmured into my hair, “But, you see, it is not just, as you do not belong in war,”
“There is no one who belongs in war,”
“I cannot lose you. I cannot even stand the mere thought of parting from you, I am selfish but I do not care, you are my entire world, I do not even recall if I truly lived before I met you. My mind, as you call brilliant, circles around you unable to function at the thought of not being arms length of your light, sir, is that brilliance or insanity? I cannot do this,”
I had never heard him speak in such a frantic, pressured manner. His voice remained soft, but the tone was that of man who was watching his entire lodgings alight into flames and could do nothing but helplessly crumble as it burned. His grip on my waist was a near painful tightness.
“Please, Jeeves, let us go to bed,” I pleaded with him, my hands crawling up his untucked dress shirt, and creating small circles with my thumbs, “It is not our battle tonight, perhaps tomorrow we can discuss it and you can attempt to change my mind with all of that wondrous intelligence you have crammed up there in your skull, but please, tonight I need you here with me, looking at only me without imagining some metaphorical battle field that hasn’t occurred yet, making love to me knowing that we are here, and alive, and content, and that is simply enough for this one night, I beg of you,”
It was a lie, he would not change my mind, but I could not push him any further than he was. He pressed his lips to my forehead, the tremor in his hands dissipating very slightly at my words, and I felt the guilt in the back of my throat.
“Indeed, let us go to bed,” He replied with a soft sound. The kitchen felt cold, and the quiet of the city felt all the more apparent in the anticipation of the storm. He reached down to begin cleaning the shards of glass and I captured his hand in my own, tugging gently.
“Tomorrow, Jeeves, it will be there in the morning,”
He nodded with a weariness that we both could feel inside our bones, his face still damp, I could see the slight shine as he tilted his head. I lead him to the bedroom, the heat of his hand prickling at my skin, and the silence of the night ringing in my ears.