Jeeves was discreet. No one, alive or dead, could argue that fact. Jeeves was also cool and collected. Only statues were more so and, sometimes, less. It wasn't something he did, an attitude he put on, or even a facade; he WAS discretion, itself. In the dictionary, under the word 'composed', there was surely an image of Jeeves.
Even soaked to the skin in icy water and panting big clouds of steamy breaths into the winter night, Jeeves' brow was only mildly furrowed. His movements were sure and efficient as he half-carried, half-escorted Bertie up the snow-dusted slope to a tree stump broad enough to serve as an impromptu seat. Bertie flopped down upon it with a disconcerting squelch of soaked clothing.
As Bertie Wooster looked up, a shaft of pure blue-white moonlight pierced the gently waving treetops to fall across the valet's face, revealing only a faint tightening of the Jeevesian lips, as well as the slightly lowered dark brows.
Bertie had seen the man appear far more perturbed over a poorly chosen necktie or garish spats.
One would think he'd be a tot bit more put out over the no-doubt onerous task of hauling his employer out of a river. Well, really it ought to more properly be called a riverlet, possibly a stream or creek, and one that someone had carelessly left smack in the middle of the small wood behind the home of--oh, dash it, he couldn't even remember the blighter's name--but Claude and Eustace owed their blessed cousin a big one, Bertie thought disgustedly. See if he ever agreed to help them with one of their madcap schemes again! They'd have to steal their own wretched mislabeled Christmas gifts back for themselves--teach them a lesson, anyhow. Cloth-headed nincompoops! His teeth were chattering too much for him to really work up a good scathing round of syllables, but he would think some up for when he came across those two cousins of his again—too right he would!
"Are you injured, sir?" Jeeves asked quietly, his breath almost hot upon the side of Bertie's face. Strong hands quickly and efficiently ran along his arms and legs, and then drew Bertie's gloved hands together before him. Jeeves briskly rubbed some of the warmth from his own hands into Bertie's. Although Jeeves’ gloves were wet, too, somehow his hands were still warm—well, Bertie had long ago noted that Jeeves always felt warm to the touch. The rare times when he had an excuse to touch the man, that is—oops, mustn’t toddle along THAT particular line of thought. The valet's eyes were on Bertie's face and his dark brows lifted minimally, as if he were asking Bertie what he'd like for luncheon. "Sir? Can you speak?"
"Y-yes-s-s...S-s-sorry, J-jeeves-s-s-s...I-I’m-m f-fine…" How embarrassing; he sounded like a dyspeptic snake. "Blastitall! Ha!" Bertie gave a little almost-chuckle of triumph at getting out the last bit in a burst without any chattering. Only it started right back up again and he felt as if all his muscles were now trying to jitter their way off of his bones, as well. How could the water be so cold without being frozen over? Or had he heard a faint crackle-crunch when he’d hit the water after tumbling down the embankment?
"I shall take that as a negative on the matter of possible injuries, sir." Ah, a teensy quirk to one side of Jeeves' mouth. Another man would have been laughing out loud, no doubt, Bertie thought distractedly; Jeeves had mouth-twitches.
Shaking his head in answer to the still-raised brows, Bertie had trouble controlling his stiffening lips and chattering teeth enough to speak, "S-s-save f-for m-my p-p-pride!"
"I'm very pleased to hear that, sir." A gust of wonderfully warm breath bathed Bertie's face as Jeeves came up from his crouch to a bent-forward standing position, still holding Bertie's hands. Was that a faint whiff of brandy? "I’m sure your pride will recover. Can you stand, sir?"
Bertie grimaced. What was he? A baby? It was just a dip in the water, for heaven's sake! He pushed up with his feet and stood...and stood...and suddenly the ground was tilted up at an alarming angle and the Wooster tilted at a completely different angle.
"Sir?" Jeeves gasped questioningly as he caught Bertie and lowered him to the stump again. Bertie unintentionally clung to his valet, dizzy and confused. What was wrong with the ground around here? Nature was so unpredictable. Wouldn’t have a good, solid floor moving like this, oh no.
Those warm hands were bare of gloves now, cradling his cold-numbed face to tilt it upward, and Bertie blinked, suddenly finding Jeeves' map directly before him, a stern expression upon the familiar features. Had he discovered that Bertie was wearing those paisley socks given to him by Gussie Fink-Nottle?
"Sir, are you quite certain you’re unharmed?" There was a sharper note to the man's voice now and Bertie was astonished to see both dark brows drawn down over the valet's narrowed eyes as he gave Bertie the most searching look he'd ever received from Jeeves. "Sir?"
Bertie nodded, keeping his gaze on Jeeves, since that made the ground remain obediently flat and normal beneath him. Jeeves reached up and carefully ran his fingers over Bertie's head, the air icy on Bertie's cheeks where Jeeves' hands had been. Opening his mouth to ask Jeeves to put them back again, Bertie lost his words in a gasp of startled pain.
Wincing as the assessing fingers probed the tender spot they’d found, Bertie saw and felt Jeeves go utterly still for a moment, even to the searching fingertips. A slow breath washed across Bertie’s face, warming his skin again, and Jeeves' fingers then brushed over the spot again as lightly as a thought.
"I believe you must have struck your head in the fall, sir."
Bertie snorted at the blatantly obvious statement and heard a slight huff of breath from Jeeves that might have been answering humor.
"Yes, well, I instructed the driver to park upon the road and wait for our emergence from the wood, sir," Jeeves said in a firm, measured voice. "If I am not mistaken, we’re less than a quarter-mile away from the spot."
Bertie smiled wryly and shook his head. The man was capable of saving even the worst disaster of a scheme and turning it around to some kind of success, or at least providing a clever escape if all else failed. Patting Jeeves awkwardly with his numb hands, Bertie could only chuckle around clenched teeth. That'll stop them chattering, at least, he thought randomly, though his body still vibrated in regular waves of shivers.
What would really work better would be a hot toddy. Oh, but Jeeves was a wizard at making hot toddies. He would draw a steaming bath for the Wooster corpus, too, knowing him, and Bertie would bless him for it. He'd thank him elaborately as he soaked and soaked in the blissful warmth until even the thought of cold was a foreign notion. Jeeves would take care of him, just as he always did. Better than anyone ever had or ever would, Bertie would swear upon anything. When would he bring the drinks? The water must have gone cold, it was dashed freezing in--
"...if you would just open your eyes, sir. Sir?" Bertie blinked and he wasn't where he’d thought he was, rather he was back in the bitter cold by that little menace of a stream. Whose idea had that been, anyhow? “Sir?” If he had a wood, he'd be dashed if he'd put a stream in the middle of it! Why had he wanted a wood, anyhow? What would be the point of--?
"BERTRAM, please, can you hear me?" A warm hand patted his cheek and Bertie opened his eyes with no memory of having closed them, drawn to awareness by the sound of his own given name spoken in a tone one step away from pleading and a jog to the left of demanding.
"Jeeves?" Bertie breathed in astonishment at the unprecedented sound of his valet's voice and the incredible expression upon his face.
"Oh, thank god," Jeeves whispered, closing his eyes and lowering his head for a moment as if suddenly weak. When Jeeves looked up again, his features were just as composed as they always were, perhaps with only a slight tinge of worry still lingering.
Bertie could only suppose that he'd imagined that look of fear—impossible! Jeeves’ features were incapable of such an expression. The man, himself, was beyond such things. When everyone else was flailing their arms and squeaking about disaster, it was Jeeves who brought order and calm. He was the dispenser of perfect gin and tonics, miracle hangover remedies, and those discreet, sometimes elaborate, solutions of his that were like ephemeral works of art which could only be created the once. There ought to be a museum of genius schemes with a whole wing devoted to the amazing works of the Wooster’s faithful companion—valet! Valet. Not—
"You must stay awake, sir. Come, we will get you to the automobile and straight away to someplace warm." These were not questions, they were instructions. "Stand up, sir. Come, I'll help support you. Up you get, sir!"
Bertie felt the world tilt again, left was up and right was sideways and down was...oog, wherever that was, his belly didn't like it. "I'll just wait here a bit, Jeeves," Bertie groaned, a wave of nausea chasing away the shivering for just long enough to allow him to speak almost clearly.
"No, sir," Jeeves said in a low, steely voice. "You mustn't remain in the cold any longer than we can avoid. You’ve got a rather alarming bump forming in the upper parietal region of your skull." As the words skimmed past Bertie without actually leaving any true meaning, Jeeves put an arm around Bertie's waist, dragging the Wooster arm over those broad Jeevesian shoulders that always looked so perfect in his valet's uniform. Well, in anything, actually, Bertie thought with a crooked smile. There wasn't an article of clothing made that could not be improved by a stint wrapped around some portion of Jeeves' form. And lucky garment it would be, too--Ah, now see here, Bertie told himself sternly, you promised yourself not to think those thoughts. Tsk tsk tsk.
"Not much farther, sir. You're doing well," Jeeves murmured from just beyond Bertie's head and he nodded—Ow! When had the old melon started throbbing so? Oh, that hadn’t been a good idea, at all. Oog! Where had his kneecaps gone?
“I’ve got you, sir,” Jeeves said reassuringly when Bertie’s legs kept wibble-wobbling everywhere but where he told them to go. Well, blast, he thought, how much farther could he go without his kneecaps doing their jobs?
“Oough…O-oh, n-no.” Bertie intended to say something else, entirely, but he could feel his stomach making a rather bold dash for his esophagus.
Mercifully, Jeeves must have understood the subtext of those few words, for he led Bertie quickly to a solid, helpful tree just perfect for leaning against while his excellent supper, drinks, and late night snack escaped in a thoroughly rude fashion. Coughing, spitting, and choking a bit, Bertie felt as if his head would split asunder and his brains join the exodus. A handkerchief magically appeared before him and he fumbled with huge, wooden hands to hold it and use it to wipe his face and blow his nose.
“Do you feel as though you could continue onward, sir?” Jeeves asked from directly behind him and Bertie nodded vaguely. Anywhere else but here would be, by default, a spiffing location.
“Must we bring my head along, Jeeves?” He asked—tried to ask—for between his chattering teeth and wayward attitude control, it came out as a clattering mumble of nonsense, even to his own ears, and his cursed knees kept taking off at unexpected angles when he least expected it. The ground kept tilting peculiarly, too, which didn’t help matters.
“I’ve got you, sir. Not much farther, now.” Oh, good, Bertie thought with utter relief. There was no doubt of it when Jeeves said it was so, and Bertie was glad to rely on his man’s guidance. Jeeves’ strong hands and arms bore him up, in spite of the wandering kneecaps and tilting ground and escaping Wooster innards. If something was IN one’s innards, what would one call it? There ought to be a term for it…Bertie’s mind wandered off after the elusive notion and into a strange jumbly place of blurry impressions.
Movement and throbbing pain and nausea whirled around and through Bertie, muddling him up till he knew nothing of what he was doing or where he was going. Each breath was icy sharp in his lungs and he wanted nothing more than to collapse in a heap and sleep. Yes, sleep would take him away from this blasted headache and the churning of his stomach. Jeeves would wake him when it was time to go. Where were they going?
Bertie became aware of Jeeves speaking to someone nearby and wondered what that person had done to offend. Jeeves had never spoken in such a way to Bertie, no matter what the provocation. And there had been provocation aplenty, no doubt there.
‘I’ve got him; just drive. Now, if you please, Mr. Murphy.’
There was a snap of the whip in the valet’s tone that would have made generals stand to attention. However, it was unlikely that Jeeves would be ordering a general around, really. Bertie would’ve paid to see it, though.
‘No, you will not stop for those two gentlemen. You will continue into town and to the nearest physician, thank you, and once my master is being seen to, you may return for them. Thank you, Mr. Murphy, and be assured I shall tip you quite generously for your efforts.’
Other voices wandered in and out, but Bertie didn’t take the trouble to identify them. More cranky-sounding coves muttering nonsense. Jeeves would deal with them. Bertie was resting against something warm and solid and his shivers had lessened a bit, which allowed him to slip further down into sleep. Deep, comforting, pain-free, nausea-free sleep.
It was the feeling of a gentle hand smoothing his hair back that Bertie was aware of first, but on the heels of that was a whisper somewhere beyond his right ear. “Dearest Bertram…please wake up. Please…I really must insist that you be all right.”
Wasn’t he awake already? Oh, no, wait…well, how hard could it be to lift one’s eyelids? What nonsense! Bertie frowned, feeling six kinds of horrid and utterly limp as a noodle in every limb. Such an effort for such a little thing, he though with a frown, dashed silly eyelids!
“There you are,” whispered—Oh! It was Jeeves! Bertie struggled against the lethargy as he realized his right hand was resting in the firm grip of another hand. “At last, there you are.” A squeeze of warm fingers upon his hand pulled him closer to…to…oh, well, all right; it seemed the eyelids might once again be in the Wooster control.
“Jeeves?” Gad! Was that rasping, geriatric raven’s croaking Bertie’s voice? Who’d stuffed sandpaper down his throat while he slept?
“Right here, sir.” Jeeves’ familiar map hove into view and Bertie smiled as best he was able. “Would you care for some water, sir?”
Speaking being ridiculous and a little painful, Bertie only nodded. His head felt stuffed with pudding, it even felt as though the bally stuff was shifting slightly when he nodded. Oog.
“Let me help you, sir; the doctor has said you must have complete bed-rest for a few days.” Jeeves slid an arm beneath his shoulders, managing to support his neck while lifting him up just a bit. Feeling a little silly, Bertie started to sit up the rest of the way, but a single throb of his head was warning enough to make him wince and cease the attempt. “Leave the lifting to me, sir. Here, just a few sips at first.”
It was perfectly lovely water. The best Bertie had ever had, he was quite sure, and he wanted more than the mere three sips Jeeves allowed him before taking the glass away and settling Bertie once again upon his pillow. Jeeves had that look on his face, however, that told Bertie there would be no unbending without a fuss on this issue. Best to pick one’s battles, then. However, those small sips had helped his throat immensely.
“Jeeves, what’s happened?” Bertie asked after discarding about half a dozen questions as too much work just now. Hopefully the valet would fill in all the necessary blanks on his own.
“When you fell down the embankment, sir, you struck your head. The doctor confirmed a quite nasty contusion and was concerned that you might—“ Jeeves looked away and cleared his throat quietly. “That you might have a slight skull fracture.”
“No wonder,” Bertie muttered. At least he had an excuse for feeling as though his braincase was stuffed with painful pudding.
“Also, you contracted a nasty chill from your brief…swim…in the stream, sir.” The little quirk at the corner of Jeeves’ mouth as he accented the word ‘swim’ made a chuckle well up in the Wooster throat. Said chuckle wasn’t entirely kind to the Wooster head, however, and Bertie winced, even though the smile lingered on his dry lips.
“Never waste an opportunity, eh, Jeeves?” He quipped, though his voice was still a bit too raspy for the light-hearted intonation he’d intended.
“Indeed, sir.” There was a little extra depth to the man’s voice that reminded Bertie of what he’d heard as he was drifting awake. As well as sometime during all the confusion before…last night? Whenever all the tumbling and soaking parts had occurred.
“You called me Bertram before.” Oops, he bit his lip belatedly, not having intended to speak the thought aloud.
“Indeed, sir,” Jeeves said again, his face smoothing into utter bland absence of anything, which wilted the little swell of hope that Bertie hadn’t even been aware was swelling until that moment. He gave it up; he knew that look. Monuments could take lessons from the impenetrable stone surface of that particular Jeevesian expression. “It is your name, after all, sir,” added the valet smoothly.
Sighing, Bertie nodded, closing his eyes. Jeeves had shifted into valet mode thoroughly now.
“Perhaps some more sleep would be wise, sir?” At this, Bertie frowned and nodded again, turning his face away as a wave of weak, soppy emotion threatened him with embarrassment. “Sir?”
Clenching his jaw, Bertie managed yet another nod, giving himself a stern talking to and willing Jeeves away. A faint sound of movement, the slightest scuff of shoe upon carpet, and the sense of presence at his side faded. Long moments passed in silence and Bertie—more than familiar with Jeeves’ ability to enter and exit as silently as sunbeams—relaxed.
How foolish he’d been to allow himself, even in this weakened state, to imagine his wholly inappropriate feelings might be returned. Best to cram the whole mess back in the tiny box in which he usually kept them and stow it once more in the shadowy corners of his mind. Dash it all, but he hadn’t felt quite this way since he’d first realized those emotions for what they were. No more blows to the cranium, thank you, as they obviously made Woosters quite silly. Another sigh escaped him, and he closed his eyes and clenched his jaw again as he heard the quaver in it.
“Are you in pain, sir?” The whisper surprised Bertie so much that his whole body gave a large jerk and he gasped, turning to find Jeeves perched on a chair scarcely an arm’s reach away. Well, a long, Jeeves-length arm. “Oh, sir…” Jeeves’ stone face melted away and his brow furrowed above eyes full of…what? Alarm? Concern?
“Not that much…I thought you’d gone,” Bertie said dully.
“I apologize that my lack of decorum has distressed you, sir.” Jeeves said with his usual alarmingly-perceptive awareness of the item that was bothering the Wooster brain—though he seemed to have no idea of the real reason the item was being a bother.
“Not at all, I…” Bertie shook his head and turned away again. What a dunderhead! Shut up, Wooster! “Nothing, nothing.”
A light touch upon his cheek—butterflies only wished they had such light steps—and Bertie turned to see Jeeves studying his extended fingertip. The cool streak upon Bertie’s cheek explained what it was Jeeves had just discovered. Well, bally wonderful, he thought in acute disgust.
“Sir?” The dark brows were drawn together high above an expression Bertie would have called stricken if it decorated the map of any other.
“I liked it,” Bertie said in something very near a whisper, lifting an astonishingly heavy arm to wipe his embarrassingly damp cheeks. He was making a bally fool of himself, but couldn’t seem to help it.
“Indeed, sir?” Jeeves voice had dropped to match the intimate level of Bertie’s and he produced a handkerchief in his usual sleight-of-hand manner. Instead of handing it to Bertie, he delicately blotted the Wooster map and only then tucked it into Bertie’s motionless fingers.
“Indeed,” Bertie echoed, blinking up at the utterly astonishing tenderness that had leaked out around the edges of the usual valet mask. “Quite a bit, actually--” Oh, no, no, no! Don’t say that! Bertie gulped; now he’d done it. “Err…what I recall of it…”
“I was quite concerned,” Jeeves explained as his hand came to rest atop Bertie’s, wonderfully warm fingers folding the Wooster grip more tightly about the handkerchief. No ‘sir’, Bertie noted, his brows lifting.
“Sorry, old thing.” Bertie smiled apologetically. “Never intended for it to be such a bother.”
“It was no bother,” Jeeves assured him warmly. Bertie felt as if his whole body was frozen in suspense and he couldn’t have spoken to save his life. Jeeves took a deep breath, gaze roving Bertie’s face briefly, and his fingers tightened upon the Wooster digits slightly. “I would do it all again—and more—for you…Bertram.”
Bertie’s heart lurched a few times and a he felt a wondering smile pulling at his still-dry lips as he said, “You always have. More than…more than I can ever hope to deserve!”
A wonderful, gentle smile blossomed upon the Jeevesian map, the dark gray-blue eyes holding more warmth than Bertie could ever have hoped to see. He swallowed, heart pounding with some nameless excitement that made him feel as though he would float away like a bit of fluff if Jeeves were to release his hand. Had Jeeves turned this look upon him when he was shivering with cold, he would have never felt a bit of chill.
“I am quite gratified to hear you say so,” Jeeves said, lips still pulled in that crooked little smile that Bertie had seen but a handful of times in the few years the man had served him as valet.
“Should…would you like me to call you—“ Bertie started to ask, but Jeeves was already shaking his head. “But…but, I mean to say, everyone calls you Jeeves,” Bertie protested. “Wouldn’t you like me to call you something…special…just for you?” There was so much more behind this that Bertie felt he must be dreaming. This wasn’t just about names and he bally well knew it! He might not claim the mighty brain-power that Jeeves owned, but he knew this meant much, much more.
“Everyone may call me Jeeves, Bertram,” oh how he changed Bertie’s name into something warm and special! “But no other can say it in quite the same manner.”
“Oh? Oh! Oh, Jeeves! I mean to say…” Bertie tried very hard not to burble, as someone had once accused him of doing when he was thrown. Were they talking about the same thing? Did he dare speak more plainly? Was he even capable of verbalizing what was sloshing about in his somewhat-dented brain? Or had Jeeves once again put the bits of Bertie babble together and understood what was actually meant? “You’re quite sure about this, Jeeves?”
“I have been for some time, Bertram,” Jeeves replied, his voice gone husky in a way that did wonderfully alarming things to many of Bertie’s nerves and a few body parts. “I do confess; I never dared hope that you might not feel otherwise.
“Rather!” Bertie burst out, seemingly unable to breathe normally. “Very otherwise, Jeeves. Oh, indeed, very.” He moved his left hand to enclose Jeeves’ fingers in a cage of Wooster digits, gripping tightly. “Decidedly otherwise.”
A soft chuckle from Jeeves did delightfully worse things to the Wooster corpus and he swallowed his heart back down in a loud gulp before it escaped. His head gave a tentative pound—all the wild and exciting nerve-twitching must’ve annoyed his silly bump on the braincase—and he winced unintentionally.
“I think we must discuss this another time,” Jeeves said with a worried expression. “You’re supposed to be resting, sir.”
Bertie tried very hard not to pout like a thwarted child. Not ‘sir’ again! No! “I’m fine, Jeeves. More than fine, I promise you.”
“As you say; nevertheless, this is too much for you just yet. I shall give you some of the tonic the doctor left in case you had pain, sir.” Jeeves slipped his hand out of the Wooster grasp easily, for there was no true strength in those digits just yet. He rose and glided over to the nightstand to fuss with a dark brown bottle and a shot glass.
“Jeeves?” Bertie would NOT whine. No. “I say, listen, I’m fine, really I am.”
“You will be, sir.” Jeeves gave him a solemn look as he returned with the shot glass half full of some dark amber-green liquid. He leant down and lifted Bertie just as he’d done before, putting the rim of the glass to the Wooster lips with obvious expectation that the contents would be drunk right up.
Bertie drank, unable to argue with the iron will of his man Jeeves. His own iron will was quite lacking just now, but he hoped it would return soon. This was just too rum. He grimaced at the bitterness underneath the overly-sweet taste.
“I know, it doesn’t taste very appealing, but it does work wonders, sir, I assure you,” Jeeves promised as he delivered the Wooster head gently back to its pillowy rest. “I’ll wake you in the morning with some tea and a bit of toast, sir.”
“Jeeves?” Bertie clutched the handkerchief in both hands, heart still pounding, though the warmth radiating from his belly was quite like that of a solid dash of strong alcohol. Dash it all! The stuff was going to conk him out bally well, wasn’t it?
“I shall be just in the next room, sir,” Jeeves murmured as he doused the light by the bedside. A wave of lethargy, greater than that already afflicting him, warned Bertie that he was going to sleep whether he liked it or not. He watched Jeeves make his way smoothly toward the door, nothing in the set of his broad shoulders or his dark-haired head to indicate he was anything other than a dutiful servant. Oh, no.
“Wait!” Bertie was afraid when he woke that everything would be just as it had been, that maybe it already had become so, and had they really almost said what they’d seemed to almost say? “Jeeves, please!”
Jeeves halted in the doorway, not immediately turning around, and Bertie was almost certain he saw the man’s shoulders rise and fall as he took a very deep breath. Then he turned and tilted his head inquiringly. “Sir?”
“Jeeves…did I…is there something—“ Bertie tried to ask a clear question, but he was rubbish at such things when perfectly healthy and sober, let alone when battered, ill, and drugged up with some doctor’s potion.
“All is well, sir,” Jeeves said gently, though the light behind him threw his face into shadow and Bertie could see nothing of his expression.
“But…dash it all, Jeeves!” Bertie struggled to sit up, pushing weakly at the bed and accomplishing essentially nothing. The stuff Jeeves had given him was taking him away rapidly.
Jeeves made a small noise, something not a sigh and not a huff, but something barely discernable as a sound at all as he crossed to Bertie’s bedside. He bent down to put a hand upon Bertie’s chest, his touch alone enough to hold Bertie in place, weakness or drugs notwithstanding.
“You must rest, sir.” Bertie made a pained face, despair stabbing him through the heart with the utterance of ‘sir’ where he wanted to hear that mellow voice saying ‘Bertram’ as wonderfully as it had before. “There’s no need to distress yourself,” Jeeves said firmly. He moved his hand in a near caress upon Bertie’s pajama-clad chest. “I promise we will speak further when you are better, Bertram.” Ahh…there, he’d said it again. The warmth seeped back into Bertie and he let out the breath he’d unconsciously been holding.
“You’ve never broken a promise to me, Jeeves,” Bertie said, barely better than a mumble.
“I never shall, Bertram,” Jeeves replied in a whisper. Bertie wished he had the strength to put his hand upon Jeeves’, but all he could manage was a happy sigh.
“Thank you, Jeeves,” Bertie said fervently, meaning it for more than just this kindness. Meaning it for everything up to this moment and more moments that he hoped for in future.
In reply, Jeeves bent down and Bertie closed his eyes reflexively as a kiss was pressed to his forehead. He might have wished for other places to have received the first touch of Jeevesian lips, but he was nevertheless unbelievably happy at the seemingly-simple gesture.
“Mmm…Jeeves…” Bertie wanted to say very much more, but the Wooster team had suddenly lost the battle and had surrendered to the effects of the tonic. Even so, he felt the gentle warmth of Jeeves’ touch upon his cheek, though whether fingers or lips, he could not have said.
“Sweet dreams, my dearest Bertram.”