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Tik!

Mike sat up. There it was again—tik!—a little rock hitting against his window. Standing, he went to the window and opened it.

Who’s there?” he whispered out into the dark. A figure, partially illuminated by moonlight, was swaying gracefully on the grass beneath him. “What do you want?”

The figure raised a hand and dipped into a dramatic bow. “But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Comrade Jackson is the sun! I must say, this midnight stroll is terribly uncharacteristic of me, I agree; yet sometimes one must be spontaneous. It comes on one like a sudden sneeze. I was hit with the desire to see you and could not wait until the morning. I hope you will forgive the impertinence.”

Mike blinked down at Psmith. “What do you want?”

To see you, of course. Or did I not make that clear? I am here to see you. There. Crystal clear. Perfectly lucid. My one aim and goal in this is to view your noble visage, preferably sooner than later, so if you wouldn’t mind letting me in…”

Alright, hold on a minute.” Mike shoved the window up a little more. Offering his hand down to Psmith, he hauled the boy up and into the room. Psmith stumbled a little, but recovered.

Mike frowned. “Smith, are you tight?”

Am I? I don’t think I’ve ever been told. Well, I shall have to ask the next one. This is a lack of information that pierces to the depths of my soul.”

What are you on about? Here, sit down, you’re swooning.”

I do not swoon,” Psmith asserted, yet sat down heavily on Mike’s bed. “I merely rock as a ship on unsteady waters. There is a world of difference, I assure you.”

How did you even get here? Did you walk?”

I was here for a celebration with one of my old Etonian comrades. My good pater dropped me off earlier this afternoon—or I suppose it would be yesterday afternoon, at this point—at the local tavern. I have no idea why Comrade Partridge-Womble chose this tavern in this village for his revelries, but I do not contest the decision.” Psmith punctuated the last sentence with a stern poke of his index finger into Mike’s chest. “In fact, I laud it. What a perfect opportunity, I say, what a perfect opportunity.”

So you just decided to pop round here in the middle of the night? How did you know you could wake me?”

Psmith gazed sincerely through his monocle at Mike. “I have perfect faith and confidence in you, Comrade Jackson. I have never once doubted your loyalty and knew that if I were only to keep up the stone-tossing game long enough, I would, at some point, rouse you. If, through the process, I awoke your entire household, well—more’s the merrier, eh? Oh, your bed is terribly soft, Comrade, do you mind if I—?” Psmith collapsed backwards onto the bed.

Mike rubbed at his eyes. “Smith, not that I don’t enjoy your company, but did you have any reason for coming here besides lying in my bed? Because I’d rather like to sleep again at some point, and that’s a touch difficult with you taking up half the space.”

Psmith sighed dreamily. “Ah, Comrade Jackson; you arrive at the nub of the matter. I did have a reason for coming here besides collapsing into your admittedly wonderful bed.”

Mike waited for several moments. “And that would be?”

Psmith only smiled.

Well, look here,” Mike groused. “Could you at least push over a bit? And take your shoes off. I don’t want mud all over my sheets.”

Oh, of course, of course.”

Psmith fumbled slightly with his shoelaces, but had them off in the end. He then discarded his monocle, blazer, and tie, setting them unsteadily onto Mike’s bedside table. When undressed suitably for his standards, Psmith then curled himself into the fœtal position and snuggled up onto Mike’s pillow.

Mike pushed him over just a bit then settled himself beside Psmith, pulling the blanket over both of them.

Comrade,” Psmith whispered. He reached out and stroked Mike’s cheek. “Comrade.”

What?”

Psmith sighed, then leaned in and kissed Mike, hastily and over-eager. After a moment of fatigued delay, Mike kissed back, albeit a little slower. He found himself being tugged at rather insistently by Psmith, who seemed to have no understanding that some people are rather tired at three in the morning. Nevertheless, Mike did not mind this turn of events. In fact, he found it rather pleasant. It was with a rose-tinted and affectionate gaze that Mike watched Psmith work at the buttons on Mike’s pajama shirt.

Psmith gasped something incoherent into Mike’s mouth.

Mike closed his eyes and slipped into a pleasant daze.

 

~

 

Mike half-awoke to find his head not on his pillow, but rather shoved somewhat uncomfortably underneath the one edge of the pillow, resting on the mattress. He grumbled incoherently some vague emotional phrases, then tugged the pillow back under his head. There was some light resistance. The fog over Mike’s sleep-addled brain lifted a bit, and he recognized the presence of another head attempting to take monopoly over the pillow. Ruling out the possibility of any of his sister’s climbing into bed with him—it had been many years since they had thought of that as fun—or the possibility that he had somehow ended up in someone else’s bed, he remembered with a shock the events of the previous night. This shock caused him to awake fully, and his eyes now viewed the rumpled dark hair before himself with the clear gaze of recognition. Psmith was curled against the curve of Mike’s form, arms grasping at the pillow and attempting to tug it away from under Mike’s head. Mike sat up with haste and Psmith snatched the pillow entirely.

Mike rubbed the sleep from his eyes and shivered. He’d forgotten to close the window last night and a chilly draught had flowed in. He was caught between rising and shutting the window and remaining underneath the warm cocoon of his blankets. After some light consideration, Mike sighed and sunk back underneath the blankets, pressing a lazy kiss against Psmith’s soft shoulder . In several minutes he was asleep.

 

~

 

Psmith remained unconscious until nearly noon, by which time Mike had long since risen and dressed, shutting the door to his room and hoping that no one would bother to look in. He didn’t exactly know how his family would react to finding Psmith had broken in during the night, and he wasn’t very interested in finding out. When Mike peeked in again just before lunch, he found Psmith dressed and lying on his back, clutching his head with both hands and moaning softly.

Mike came in and shut the door.

So, you’ve finally woken up,” he said. “I can get you a painkiller, if you’d like.”

That would be wonderful of you, Comrade Jackson,” Psmith gasped. “I find myself wilting from the strain. I shall go blind in perhaps an hour, I suppose. A regrettable circumstance, as I would be forced to rely only on the memory of your noble countenance. Do be hasty, Comrade. I do not know how much longer I can withstand this agony.

Mike left and returned with a glass of water and a small pill, and he gave both to Psmith.

It’s nearly lunch-time,” Mike commented.

Oh? I hadn’t my watch with me. Are the Jacksons of the type to lunch early, late, or exactly at the strike of noon?”

Generally at noon,” Mike said.

Psmith nodded, then grimaced. “Very well. In that case, I should probably make my way out. My father will be worried sick about me, the poor lamb. He has a very weak constitution for these things. Thank you for the use of your bed.” Psmith stood. “I must now bid you a tender adieu .”

You don’t have to go just yet.”

Ah, but I do. My pater expected me back several hours ago. To remain any longer would be terribly inconsiderate of his feelings. However,” Psmith added. “That is not to say that I would not greatly prefer remaining here with you. Perhaps I shall have to return in some small amount of time.”

Mike smiled. “You could. You’re always welcome, you know.”

I do know, and I thank you,” Psmith said.

He kissed Mike, who clasped Psmith to himself in an embrace for several moments, lasting a small amount longer than they both intended.

Good-bye,” Mike said, as he helped Psmith down to the ground. “Don’t forget to write or ‘phone or something.

I shall keep it at the forefront of my mind.”

Psmith waved, then made a hasty yet controlled retreat back to the village. Mike leaned back and shut the window.