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Mr. Wooster's Wish

Title: Mr. Wooster's Wish
Pairing: J/W
Rating: PG
Word count: about 3,300
Summary: Bertie makes a holiday wish, Jeeves finds a note, and Father Christmas lends a hand.
Author's note: This story was inspired by dear ennui_blue_lite's lovely letter from Bertie to Father Christmas. As I was reading it, I kept thinking, "What if Jeeves found this?" and a plot bunny was born!
Special thanks, as always, to my own beta queen skyblue_reverie for keeping Jeeves from turning Bassett-ish and my vocabulary from turning, um, what's the word?
Disclaimer: No ownership claimed, just tons and tons of love for the characters and equal amounts of respect for their creator.

Mr. Wooster's Wish
by MsLiz

~~~~~Chapter 1~~~~~

Unlike my employer, I rarely find myself compelled to chronicle my life for public consumption. Mr. Wooster has an innocent and open approach to life, and he enjoys documenting an ongoing archive of his more enterprising activities as well as those of his friends and relations. The young gentleman and his acquaintances habitually find themselves entangled in les affaires du coeur, minor infractions of the law (stealing headwear of the local constabulary is a particular favourite), and other assorted complications. Accordingly, I venture to say that he will never be at a loss for inspiration with which to augment his personal narrative.

I am of a more reserved temperament, for the larger part preferring to keep my business private and my emotions within. My natural tendencies are compounded by my professional requirements as a gentleman's personal gentleman. My expected rôle is to respond instantly to, and moreover anticipate, my employer's wants and needs; to do so requires that, outwardly at least, I continually repress my own. However, the events of recent days have touched me indelibly, and my surpassing joy over the changes in my life of late causes me to undertake this exercise in prose.

Beginning approximately three weeks ago, I noticed a gradual change in Mr. Wooster's affect. Where he had previously displayed light-hearted affability and exuberance, I now detected a decided aloofness and reticence in his manner overall and more particularly toward myself. He confided his day-to-day experiences to me less and less; he tended to shy imperceptibly away when I reached to straighten his tie or brush a piece of lint from his shoulder. It was not my place to question his behaviour toward me; he was, after all, my employer and well within his bounds to interact with me as closely or distantly as he chose.

I experienced particular distress over my inability to decipher the reason for his behavioural metamorphosis. As I intimated earlier, Mr. Wooster lives his life guilelessly and sincerely. It is not my intention to imply that he is naïve as is a child; rather that, not long after reaching his majority, he made a conscious decision to keep himself focused on the positive aspects of living rather than succumb to the negative, of which he has more than a passing acquaintance. As a result of that and my insights into the psychology of this particular individual, I have had no trouble reading his moods 'like an open book,' as the saying goes.

In re the current situation, however, the tome of my employer had closed to my understanding. I reviewed the events of the recent past; the only conclusion I could reach was that he had experienced an imbroglio of one sort or another with a large number of his peers and was brooding over how to mend the relationships. I further deduced that the schism was rooted in a situation Mr. Wooster considered too humiliating or compromising to seek my counsel. He had taken the extreme step of precluding attendance at his club, which in the past had provided him many pleasant indolent hours. However, this avoidance seemed not to have the desired effect; I could but conclude that the longer he stayed away, the more despondent over the situation he became. I had made discreet inquiries among several of my acquaintances who were in service with my employer's fellow club members but had uncovered nothing to confirm that this was in truth the source of his distress. As such, I did not believe myself in a position to take any actions to ameliorate his plight. My only recourse was to give the situation a bit more time, remaining keenly watchful for enlightenment on how I could best serve my young gentleman in this matter.

~~~~~Chapter 2~~~~~

Another week or so slipped by, and tomorrow would be Christmas. There had been no improvement in Mr. Wooster's disposition, but fortunately no worsening either. I believe that the holiday spirit could be given credit for that; from the kitchen I could hear him softly singing traditional Christmas songs to himself. However, as soon as he perceived me anywhere within hearing distance, he immediately ceased his caroling, which saddened me greatly. My employer has a pleasing light baritone, and I derive immense gratification when he applies his voice to this type of music rather than the rowdy popular tunes of which he is so fond (and which unexpectedly I find myself missing terribly as they have been markedly absent these past weeks).

By early evening I had finalized most of my tasks for the day, including laying out the dress clothes for Mr. Wooster's scheduled Christmas Eve dinner with various aunts, uncles, and cousins at one of London's finer eating establishments. I know he was of a divided mind in regard to this engagement; both his favorite aunt, Mrs. Travers, and most feared aunt, Mrs. Gregson, would be in attendance. I sensed uneasiness in his voice when he'd spoken to each of them on the telephone recently; I attributed the attitude to his overall malaise.

I was ensconced in the kitchen seeing to the details of tomorrow's holiday meal since he had declined my assistance in dressing. I verified that all the desired comestibles had been purchased and were in place. Satisfied, I sat down at the table with polish and cloth to buff the silver serving pieces that would be required. I felt myself start when I heard the door push open; I put down the cloth and salver and began to rise from my chair.

"No, no, Jeeves; don't get up. I just wanted to pop in and say that I'm on my way out."

As he spoke, I turned to acknowledge him. He looked impeccable in his white tie and tails—which I have heard him refer to as 'the old soup-and-fish'—in part because of the excellent quality and condition of the clothes themselves but more because he carried himself with the easy grace and poise that is so much a part of his natural comportment. I resumed my seat and returned to the polishing, albeit somewhat inattentively.

"Very good, sir. Do you know what time you will be returning?"

"Not precisely, Jeeves, no. I believe not too late, but you needn't wait up for me. I won't require anything from you before retiring."

I will confess to a twinge of disappointment at hearing this. It was not often that I didn't attend him in some way, usually seeing to his clothing and providing him with a glass of brandy, at the end of his day. Suppressing this feeling, I responded in the only way possible.

"Thank you, sir. I shall waken you at your usual time tomorrow. Goodnight, sir."

His face flashed a look of seriousness, as though there was a matter of grave consequence he wanted to confide in me. I experienced a moment's hope that he would at last share what had been troubling him of late, but such was not to be. He seemed to think better of the situation and replied simply, "Right-ho, then, Jeeves, see you tomorrow. Toodle-pip." And, as Mr. Wooster would say, he biffed off.

~~~~~Chapter 3~~~~~

Having completed all preparations for the next day's menus, I prepared myself a light repast. I'd retrieved my well-read copy of Spinoza's Ethics from my chamber, thinking to peruse certain favourite passages while I took my meal. Instead I found, though it lay open on the table in front of me, I could not engage myself in the words. My mind was focused on Mr. Wooster and what next steps I would need to take. I felt that his low mood had continued long enough, and I feared that were I not to take action, he would find himself beset by melancholy from which my talents would not be enough to rescue him.

Thus mentally occupied, I gave little thought to my dinner as I ate and cleaned up afterwards. I had one last set of tasks to complete before I would retire to my room for the night, and I made my way to Mr. Wooster's bedroom to perform those duties. On the way, I stopped at the sideboard in the living room and poured a snifter of brandy to leave on his nightstand.

On entering his chamber, I was immediately struck by the faint aroma that hung in the air. The mix of leather, cologne, cedar, and soap defined Mr. Wooster, and I inhaled deeply to fully take in the scent. Instinctively, a faint shudder of pleasure coursed through me.

As I revisit that last paragraph, I realize that the behaviour described sounds more in keeping with the actions of an impassioned admirer, rather than a valet. I believe it is at this point that I must make a second confession in my narrative. I do so with great trepidation, as I have never before made this affirmation in words other than in my own mind. (And had recent events not unfolded as they had, I would not be doing so now.) I have for some time harboured feelings for my employer that extend beyond gentleman and valet, which in fact extend beyond mere friendship. My disposition toward Mr. Wooster is one of ardent affection.

At times, I have had difficulty suppressing this sentiment sufficiently, which has led me to consider resigning from the young gentleman's employ. Once, I took this thought so far as to engage in a spurious disagreement over his playing of the banjolele and handed him my portfolio. In short order I realized that I preferred to be near him, serving him to the best of my ability, even though my feelings could never be acknowledged or requited. In fact, I needed to remain at his side, for whatever pain my longing for him aroused while in his presence, my suffering only deepened when I was away from him.

I placed the tray holding the glass of amber liquor on his bedside table. I turned down his bed, lightly caressing his pillow. Closing my eyes, I uncharacteristically went so far as to allow myself an image in my mind's eye of lying beside him there, the fingers of my left hand resting on his cheek while my thumb lightly traced the contours of his flawless mouth. I felt his lips part and the tip of his tongue drag slowly across my flesh. I teased him open further, pushing my thumb inside. Immediately I felt his lips close around my digit, and he simultaneously licked and sucked, dragging a whimper of desire from my throat.

I startled to actually hear the sound in my ears and shook myself from my inappropriate reverie. I rarely allowed myself such thoughts even in the privacy of my own chamber; to do so in his room was unseemly, bordering (in my mind at least) on desecration. It was true that I greatly admired his form and longed to possess him physically, but that would be only the outward manifestation of the deep emotional attachment I felt to him.

I pushed those shameful thoughts away, shaking my head in an effort to clear my mind. I set out his pyjamas, laying them neatly on the side of the bed. I lightly smoothed over the silky fabric but stopped before my imagination could take any further inappropriate wanderings. I attended to a few last details—pulling the shades, drawing the curtains closed, and so forth—and made my way to the door. My last task was to empty the wastepaper basket from his salle de bain. Inside was a single piece of crumpled paper. Retrieving it, I didn't long debate whether or not I should read it; there was no question that I would in hopes that it would provide a clue to his recent melancholy.

I carefully unfolded the paper and smoothed it as best as I could. It was a small sheet of notepaper, decorated with a light blue border dotted with snowflakes. I was impressed by the skill of the artwork; this was one of Mr. Wooster's talents of which I had not heretofore been aware. Inside the border, written in strong, masculine penmanship, was the following missive.

Dear Father Christmas,

What ho! You may notice that my list is rather on the short side this year—as it would happen, I have only one Christmas wish. I'd like very much for Jeeves to fall in love with me. You see, about a month ago, I was biffed in the noodle with the realisation that I'm desperately in love with the chap, and more than anything, I'd like for him to return the sentiment. If you could do that for me, Father Christmas, I would never ask you for another gift.

For some reason, Jeeves has neglected to telegram to the N. Pole. I'm sure he simply forgot. Please bring him a new bowler hat and an improving book.

Thank you,
Bertie Wooster

I had great difficulty reading the last two or three lines as my hands had begun shaking uncontrollably at his avowal of affection for me. I reread the note two or three more times; the emotion I experienced on the last reading was no less than it had been on the first. I feel no shame in admitting that a tear or two came to my eye in the utter joy I experienced. Had my personality been of a different nature, I would have danced around the room; as it was, I wiped the moisture from my eyes, folded the letter gently, and tucked it into the inside breast pocket of my jacket. Later, I would remove the note and place it in a box with the other tangible treasures of my life, which included a photograph of my parents, my grandmother's wedding ring, and a string from Mr. Wooster's destroyed banjolele.

It did not take me long to decide how to proceed with this newfound knowledge. With a lightness of heart I'd not felt in many weeks, I retreated to my own room to put my plan into action.

~~~~~Chapter 4~~~~~

It was somewhat before midnight when I heard Mr. Wooster's key in the lock. I sat in the kitchen, eagerly anticipating the scene that was about to be played out. I admit I experienced not a small amount of nervousness, and I spilled my tea slightly when I heard the front door close behind him. He called my name. "Jeeves?"

I didn't answer.

He called again, "Jeeves?" Then he remembered his instruction. "Right-ho, I told him not to wait up."

I heard him make his way across the living room toward his bedchamber. "Well no matter, I'll just…What-ho, what's this?"

I knew he'd found it: a small envelope left on a gleaming silver salver on the table beside his favourite chair. Across the front, in a scrawled shaky hand, was written "To Bertie," and there was a coloured drawing of Father Christmas on the back.

"By Jove," he uttered with an obvious note of surprise in his voice. "That's a bally good likeness of Père Noël, I must say!"

For the next moment or two, no sound came from either room. He was, no doubt, reading the missive; I was awaiting the consequence.

Dear Bertie,

What-ho to you, old thing! I was most pleased to receive your letter, as it always gives me joy to hear from you. I was extraordinarily touched by your gift request this year. While I cannot always grant such requests, I feel that you more than merit having your wish fulfilled. Your unfailing kindness to others, your unstinting generosity, your continual desire to assist your friends with their problems—all of these while never expecting anything for yourself in return—are all traits that have endeared you to me over the years.

You deserve happiness, Bertie. And you deserve someone who loves you as desperately as you love him.

I have left my gift for you in the kitchen.

Your own,
Father Christmas

~~~~~Chapter 5~~~~~

It felt that hours passed soundlessly. Suddenly, I heard him gasp. Seconds later, he burst through the kitchen door, and I immediately rose from my chair. He had the letter in his hand, and it would take no great mind to read the state of joy, confusion, uncertainty, and elation all mixed together on his face. He looked utterly radiant.

"Good evening, sir. May I help you?"

"Jeeves, what…how…" He thrust the letter in my direction.

"I found this, sir."

I reached into my jacket pocket and extracted his letter. I unfolded it and laid it on the table. He glanced at it and collapsed into the nearest chair, his head in his hands.

"Jeeves, you weren't meant to find that. I wrote it, well, dash it all, I don't know why I wrote it! But I never intended for you to find out."

I could barely make out his words with his head buried in his palms. I sat next to him and gently grasped his wrists, pulling them from his face. He kept his head down; with a trembling hand I tilted his chin so I could look directly into his shining blue eyes.

I addressed him, my voice somewhat quavering. "Sir, your courage in expressing your feelings so boldly surpassed my own, as I have carried these same emotions for you for some time."

I could see some of the fear leave his visage. Now that I had begun giving voice to the emotions that I had carried silently for so long, I found myself compelled to share everything. "However, I could not allow myself to believe that you would ever reciprocate my feelings, and so rather than risk your censure and my dismissal from your employment, I held myself in check. When I found your note earlier this evening, I felt at liberty to respond in kind. My only fear was that you had written the note in jest, perhaps as part of some escapade with your friends."

"No, Jeeves, no! It's just that, since I realised exactly how I felt about you, I feared you would find out and desert old Bertram rather than put up with, well, that sort of thing. It's been dashed difficult these past weeks, I tell you."

I indulged in a slight smile. "I understand, sir." Unquestionably I understood; I had lived that life for almost a year now. "Because I wanted to be completely sure of your motives, I provided myself with one last subterfuge by writing the note you found. Had you not entered the kitchen, I would have assumed your missive was indeed a jape and I would have continued my silence with regards my feelings."

"The psychology of the individual, eh, Jeeves?"

"Indeed, sir."

For the moment, we needed no further words. I reached my hand to brush my fingertips against his cheek; he pressed his face into my palm. I stroked my thumb lightly over his lips, and I felt them part slightly as he sighed. He gave the digit the barest of kisses then opened his mouth and darted his tongue against my flesh. My eyelids fluttered closed, and I heard myself moan.

I felt his hand on mine, and I opened my eyes. I stood and pulled him to his feet. We reached for each other and shared our first, thrilling kiss. It started softly and sweetly, but before long it became more urgent. Lips parted, tongues intertwined, hands explored, and bodies pressed.

We broke the embrace when the clock struck midnight.

"Happy Christmas, Jeeves," he said simply.

"Happy Christmas, sir."

"And God bless Father Christmas," he added, smiling with radiant delight.

"He endeavours to give satisfaction, sir." My smile matched his own as we made our way to his bedchamber.

The End

Footnote: Jeeves's Father Christmas letter to Bertie is an homage to the wonderful Christmas letters J. R. R. Tolkien wrote to his children beginning in 1920. Over the years, he illustrated the letters with a variety of characters, including Father Christmas. He wrote with a distinctly scrawling hand to denote Father Christmas's age (over 1900 years old) and to camouflage his own handwriting. Tolkien also hand-lettered the envelopes, created North Pole postmarks, and designed his own stamps.


( 50 thoughts — Share a thought )
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Dec. 29th, 2006 12:12 am (UTC)
This is delightful! It made me squee several times, and I'm off to reread it. (And Jeeves! Almost dancing about the room! :D)
Dec. 29th, 2006 05:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you, my dear! I rather like the mental image of Jeeves dancing 'round the room, but maybe we could at least get him to do a "boing! boing! boing!" a la House? ;)

Yay! for squee-age and re-reading! :D
Dec. 29th, 2006 12:47 am (UTC)
Wonderful! I love the idea of Jeeves 'playing' Father Christmas.
Dec. 29th, 2006 05:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks, my dear! I think Jeeves makes a wonderful Father Christmas, don't you? :D
Dec. 29th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC)
A very delightful fic! I'm a big Tolkien fan and I love Jeeves's letter. I love Jeeves's treasures:Later, I would remove the note and place it in a box with the other tangible treasures of my life, which included a photograph of my parents, my grandmother's wedding ring, and a string from Mr. Wooster's destroyed banjolele.
Very romantic story!
Dec. 29th, 2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I thought those were perfect items for Jeeves to have. I don't think he'd have many items, but the ones he did would be of great value to him.
Dec. 29th, 2006 01:46 am (UTC)
Awww this is too adorable for words! Such a perfect Christmas Eve tale.
Dec. 29th, 2006 05:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Ennui's letter from Bertie was irresistible and demanded its own story. :)
Dec. 29th, 2006 01:54 am (UTC)

That was soooo sweet. It's a good thing I'm not diabetic or I'd be in a coma right now.

Bertie's letter and Jeeves' reaction are absolutely darling.
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it...and I'm glad we avoided coma-statehood! ;)

This is a darling pair. No two ways about it.
Dec. 29th, 2006 03:10 am (UTC)
Awww, so sweet. |) I love reading fic from Jeeves POV, too - you do it well.
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you, dear! I enjoy Jeeves POV stories, too! I'm pleased that you liked the story. :)
Dec. 29th, 2006 03:15 am (UTC)
awwwwww. See that puddle of goo over there? that's what's left of my brain after onslaught of sappiness.
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:21 pm (UTC)
*mops up burntcopper brain goo into bucket* Better now? :)
Dec. 29th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
*sniff* Much the same as the comments above and more. This was just too cute. Jeeves! Bertie! (Oh, Bertie.)
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
I get very sad when Bertie's sad. Yay! for Jeeves to save the day. :) Thanks for reading and commenting, dear!
Dec. 29th, 2006 04:48 am (UTC)
Oh, that was gorgeous! I don't often venture into J/W, but my word, that was splendid. With moments of surprising hotness ;)
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:23 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks for reading even though it's not a usual path for you. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! Funny how a thumb suck can be hot, isn't it? ;) I guess it just depends on whose thumb it is and who's doing the sucking. Hee!
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
You are so kind - thank you, dear! I agree; I hate when Bertie's treated like a dolt.

I love this take on Bertie that Stephen wrote in an article about Wodehouse:
It would be a pity, however, to overlook the character of Bertie Wooster, who is himself a great deal more than the silly ass or chinless wonder that people often imagine. That he is loyal, kind, chivalrous, resolute and magnificently sweet-natured is apparent. But is he stupid? Jeeves is overheard describing him once as "mentally negligible". Perhaps that isn't quite fair. While not intelligent within the meaning of the act, Bertie is desperate to learn, keen to assimilate the wisdom of his incomparable teacher. He may only half-know the quotations and allusions with which he peppers his speech, but proximity to the great brain has made him aware of the possibilities of exerting the cerebellum.
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:51 am (UTC)
This was the sweetest thing ever! And not only that, but I learned a new fact about Tolkien as well! :D
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Sweetest ever? Yay!

I love the Tolkien Christmas letters. I bought a book about them a few years ago, and the artwork is just breathtaking. What a talent!

And I love your icon. I may try to create a few myself emulating that type of design. :)
Dec. 29th, 2006 02:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, very well done! This was quite charming and your Jeeves voice is impressive. Not a single wrong note.
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
Why thank you so much! I really appreciate your reading the fic and your lovely comment. :)
Dec. 29th, 2006 04:04 pm (UTC)
That was... that was... that was the sweetest and most romantic Christmas story I have ever read! It is simply delightful from beginning to end. I love reading stories from Jeeves' point of view and your "Jeeves voice" was perfect.

Brilliant - thank-you very much!x
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you, my dear. These two are so easy to write sweet and romantic, I'll tell you. I am so happy you liked it; thanks for the wonderful comments.

And of course I've seen your icon before, but I've never told you how much I love it. What a wonderful photo of our dear lad. :)
Dec. 29th, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, dear how adorable. Certainly fabu, that!
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
Yay for fabu! Thanks for reading, and thanks for the wonderful comment. :)
Dec. 29th, 2006 04:34 pm (UTC)
Oh! That's so wonderfully sweet! And you stayed within the bounds of the characters while doing it. It made me smile. Once again I say; Wonderful.
Dec. 29th, 2006 10:47 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much! I'm so glad you feel that the story kept the lads in character. There were a few places where I know I strayed, but my lovely beta skyblue_reverie got me to pull them back where they belong. :)

Thanks for your lovely comment.
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