Pairing/Characters: Bertie Wooster; Reginald Jeeves
Fandom: Jeeves and Wooster
Word Count: 1,305
Summary: Jeeves falls ill and Bertie needs to find a way to take care of him and the flat.
Notes/Warnings: No warnings, just a little cold. *grin* Beta by krzcowzgomoo, mylodon, and zekkass.
Whenever this Wooster has been laid low by illness or injury, Jeeves has always known exactly what to do to have the aforementioned-- I think that's the right word --Wooster back on his feet and feeling like his old self in no time. When it is Jeeves who is laid low by illness or injury, however, this Wooster has no bally clue what he's about. I can't even make a pot of tea without risking death by conflagration; so caring for a sick gentleman's gentleman while also taking care of the flat was out of the question.
Normally, Jeeves is the picture of health, but even superior valets filled to the brim with fish are bound to fall ill once in a while. Such happened one chilly winter, late in November. When I woke, my first sight was not that of my man holding a breakfast tray ready for yours truly, but an empty bedroom. Now, one must understand that, since Jeeves entered my service, this has never happened. He has this whatsit thing about him that tells him when the young master is about to wake up, so he is there right when I manage to prise my eyes open.
Naturally, the fact that my man wasn't there woke me up in a hurry. I managed to get out of bed without mishap and beat a path to Jeeves' bedroom door. I was just about to knock when I heard a weak cough from inside; utterly unlike the usual clearing of the throat Jeeves resorted to when he had an idea he wished to convey that would rescue the young master from the soup.
Forewarned, forearmed, forgoing? Yes, that's the word. Forgoing a rap of the knuckles on the door, I barged in and found Jeeves seated on the edge of his bed, which was a far cry from its usual immaculate neatness, the covers tangled and rumpled, half-on, half-off. My man himself was dressed in his trousers, shirt, and waistcoat, though the latter was unbuttoned. His feet were bare, his hair was a decided mess, and his face was flushed. In short, he hardly looked like the calm, collected valet I was used to seeing. "Jeeves! What's wrong? You look a mess."
"My apologies, Sir," Jeeves answered in a voice that was quieter than usual and very much on the hoarse side. "I didn't sleep well last night and consequently have no energy to perform my duties."
"Never mind that, Jeeves," I retorted brusquely, sitting down beside him and reaching up to cup his cheek with one hand. I quickly pulled it back, startled. He was burning hot to the touch. "Good lord, Jeeves, you're burning up! I should get the doctor."
"Please don't bother, Sir," Jeeves requested, meeting my eyes with his, which I could see were glazed with the heat I could feel radiating from him. "It's just a cold. A few days in bed and I'll be fine."
"Tosh, Jeeves," I scoffed, more to hide my worry than anything else. "Why should you risk it? You know my doctor is one of the best to be had. You chose him, after all."
"It's just a cold, Sir," he reminded me, giving my hand a reassuring squeeze. "Bed rest and plenty of fluids is all I need."
I answered his squeeze with one of my own, gazing worriedly at him. "We both know I'm hopeless in all matters domestic, Jeeves. What are we going to do until you're better?"
"Call my sister," he suggested, starting to remove his vest. His illness must have affected his coordination, however, because he managed to get himself tangled in it. I helped him finish removing it as he continued speaking. "She'll know how to take care of both of us and the flat until I'm able to do so myself."
Of course! Jeeves' sister, Della, is a first-rate bird, the sort I wouldn't have minded marrying if she hadn't been married already, and if I hadn't fallen in love with her brother first. You heard me right: I love my valet. What's more, he loves me back. It came on so gradually for me that I couldn't say exactly when I fell in love with my man. As for Jeeves, he said he's known since the time I caught the flu and I almost died. Jeeves' sister knows about our love and is happy for the two of us. She was even present when we vowed to cleave unto each other and all that.
Since she knows, that makes her ideal for taking care of us, really. "I shall ring her up as soon as you go back to bed and take some medicine." I tried to be stern, but I wasn't sure how well it worked. "Do you hear me?"
"I do, Sir." He gave a weak sort of smile and reached for the buttons of his shirt. With help from me, Jeeves was soon dressed in a fresh set of pyjamas and settled in the young master's bed.
He tried to protest, but I wouldn't have any of it. "Shush, Jeeves. This bed is much more comfortable and no one's going to visit once I get word around that I'm contagious."
"You're not sick, Sir," Jeeves pointed out, though I could see a hint of amusement under the glaze in his eyes.
I smiled fondly, smoothing the hair from his feverish brow. Now I understood why women were so bally fond of doing it in books, "They won't know that."
"Have you been eating fish when I haven't been looking, Sir?" My man's voice was weak, but I detected a hint of pride all the same.
I didn't answer his question, simply leaning forward and pressing a kiss to his forehead. "I'll go ring Della and she'll be here soon."
"Thank you, Bertie." Jeeves reached up to stroke my cheek, his hand falling to the bed moments later as he succumbed to exhaustion and fell asleep.
I smiled softly and squeezed his hand gently before I left to ring his sister. Once I'd explained the posish to her, she immediately offered to come and help keep an eye on Jeeves and the flat. I hadn't even needed to ask, really.
She arrived that afternoon and immediately began fussing over the two of us like a mother duck with her full-grown ducklings. It was rather nice, to tell the truth. She didn't overwhelm us with attention, but she took good care of the both of us, tending to our needs without either of us having to ask.
As Jeeves slowly got better, he tried to go back to work as usual, but Della and I wouldn't hear of it. It was several weeks before he could go through a whole day without a nap. Even then, we would only let him do light work. Mostly the sort of work that he could do while seated. After that, it was another two or three weeks before we let Jeeves start doing more of his usual chores. As my man took on more of his usual chores, Della prepared to go back home.
On her last day, I thanked her profusely for coming and helping. She refused the thanks, saying she couldn't have done less for her Reggie. "He's always come to help me. Why shouldn't I go to help him?"
I thanked her and insisted that she call if there was anything Jeeves or I could do for her. She promised she would and left with Jeeves in the two-seater. He would be gone for a day or two to make sure she had everything she needed at her home before he would come back. That gave me plenty of time to prepare the surprise I had in mind for him.