Now, this is something a little different! I'm a big fan of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves books and also of the show, Jeeves and Wooster, which starred Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie. It came to me at a ridiculous time in the morning that a crossover with Ianto as the vastly intelligent, subtly sarcastic and besuited Jeeves, and Jack as the good-hearted wastrel with too much time and money known as Bertie Wooster, would be a LOT of fun to write. I'm certain Jeeves and Wooster have been paired up in a slashy manner many times in the past, given their infinitely trusting closeness and Jeeves' uncanny ability to get rid of all of Bertie's potential wives. Obviously, Jack will be the most out-of-character of the two, but I'm hoping he seems more like the Jack we know as time goes by.
The language is a small issue because I can't possibly take Jack's American accent away from him and this is 1930's Wales we're talking about. A lot of what Bertie Wooster would say are not things Jack could get away with saying, so I've kept some much-used phrases like "good lord" but ditched other terms such as "I say" and other distinctly English idioms.
Watch out for other Torchwood/Whovian hints as we go along. Reviews encouraged!
Definite spoilers for Jeeves and Wooster stories involved, including pieces of dialogue taken from the show. Possible future Torchwood spoilers. I will be continuing my canon story, You Shouldn't Be Here, as well - don't worry!
The razor-sharp vibrations of what felt like an electric saw sliced through each of Jack Harkness' temples in unison, and even his attempts to groan failed to make it past his raw and overused voicebox. Reaching blindly towards the bedside table, he grasped for the offending alarm clock and shoved it into the drawer below, slamming it shut and causing the fresh swing of a sledgehammer to rattle what was left of his brain.
But the ghastly noise refused to cease. Scrabbling within the clouded and musty recesses of his mind, Jack discovered a vaguely coherent realisation – it wasn't the clock at all. It was the infernal door bell.
The journey across the endless unmade wasteland of his bed had never seemed longer or more treacherous, and the infinite miles to the front door were an even bigger challenge. If he had any kind of strength remaining, and if he was the type of man who picked fights with complete strangers, he may have been prepared to connect his fist with the jaw of whoever had the ungodly gall to drag him away from the sleep he so fervently craved. As it was, and after his motor skills had failed him twice attempting to open the door, standing on the other side of it was an extremely handsome and immaculately-dressed man wearing a bowler hat, a one-sided smile and an expectant look in his eyes.
Jack gawped at him and leaned his head against the open door, still feeling very much as if a stoat had entered his body through his mouth and died in his oesophagus.
Ianto assessed the situation, and on discerning that the man before him was hungover to the extent where he could no longer so much as close his mouth, he spoke first.
"I was sent by the agency, sir" he began, raising his hat politely. His deep voice and musical Welsh accent were like being surrounded by a fresh layer of cotton wool compared to the vicious ringing which indicated his arrival.
"I was given to understand that you required a valet."
Jack continued to stare almost unseeingly, wondering why the man in front of him appeared to have two heads. Situation: desperate Ianto decided, and smirked knowingly at the shambolic form of his new employer.
"Very good, sir" he said, entering the flat without another word.
Jack blinked a few times, his brain very slowly catching up with the events of the morning, before he realised that the doorway was empty. Slowly filling the frame once more, he turned and sloped back towards his bedroom, greeted as he went by the well-dressed stranger.
"Late night, sir?" Ianto enquired, with a smile that bordered on the sardonic. Jack made a choking sound low in his throat that was a vague attempt at saying "perhaps a little, yes". Somehow he got the message across as Ianto nodded and slid past him.
Only then did Jack notice the state of the room – bed made, wardrobe organised, chest of drawers closed and tidied – in the space of… what… ten seconds? He frowned at the immaculately tucked sheets for a moment before yet another brutal and unrepentant sound attacked his wilting lobes. It sounded to his fragile mind like the violent murder of a stray cat, but was in fact the bubble and hiss of the sadly disused coffee machine in his kitchen followed by the tinkle of a silver spoon as Ianto mixed black pepper, cinnamon, brown sugar and a splash of Worcestershire sauce into the brew.
Jack slumped onto his sofa, quite content to finally nod off when a silver serving tray topped with a short cup of bitter-smelling brown liquid appeared in his eye line.
"If you would drink this, sir. It's a little preparation of my own invention; gentlemen have told me they find it extremely invigorating after a late evening" came a heavenly voice from above.
Jack tried to find the stranger's face as he glanced warily upwards, settling for swiping the cup with a shaking hand and knocking back the hot, sour nectar within. The concoction got to work almost immediately, and Ianto watched with restrained delight as the other man spluttered and convulsed for a mere matter of seconds before his blue eyes cleared, and he flashed his shining teeth with vigor.
"Good lord!" he cried, his dimples emerging as he beamed. Getting up with a spring in his step, Jack walked to the large mirror over the fireplace and took a good look at his own suddenly healthy-looking and bright-eyed face. "Good lord!" he repeated, spinning to grin at the other man. "You're hired!"
"Thank you, sir" Ianto replied with a short bow. "My name is Jones."
"Good lord Jones, what an extraordinary talent! Could one enquire, err…" he pointed at the cup.
"I'm sorry sir, I'm not at liberty to divulge the ingredients."
"No, no, of course. Secrets of the guild and all that."
"You're, err… you're Welsh, aren't you Jones?" Jack said, as if working out that fact had been a vast accomplishment.
"It's very kind of you to notice, sir" Ianto dryly replied.
"Well yes, I thought so Jones. Of course, this place is full of the Welsh."
"This is Wales, sir."
"Ah, well, you say that, but I live here and I'm clearly not Welsh" Jack pointed out, wagging a finger.
"Clearly, sir" Ianto replied. Harkness was already every inch the brash American his reputation had ascribed him to be. He was untidy, he drank to excess, he blasphemed at every possible opportunity and he spoke before thinking more often than not. He was also, allegedly, a terror to the ladies with a terrible dress-sense, but Ianto could not yet comment on those elements of his personality. So when the agency suggested he might wish to 'work on' the notorious Jack Harkness, he decided to take the task as a personal challenge.
Jack got a good look at Jones as he took the cup and tray back through to the kitchen and swiftly returned everything to its rightful place. He ascertained that his new valet was firstly, very good-looking, secondly, very young, and thirdly, exceedingly talented. He was clearly born to serve and took pride in it, as he did with his appearance. Jack scanned the pinstripe trousers, jet black waistcoat and jacket, black tie and crisp white shirt his valet wore, looking every inch the perfect butler.
"Right, well…" he said with a clap of his hands, dragging his eyes from Jones' body and back to his face. "I'm off to the Torchwood Club. I'll be back by six."
"Very good sir, I'll have supper waiting" Ianto replied with that one-sided smirk of his.
"Excellent, Jones" Jack said, practically skipping back to his bedroom to get dressed.
Owen 'Knobby' Harper slapped his friend on the back as he entered the bar of the Torchwood Club, immediately ordering him a gin and tonic.
"How's life, you old arse?" Owen asked, tossing a few complimentary toasted almonds into his mouth.
"Excellent Knobby, as of this morning! I've got a new man" Jack grinned. Owen raised a disdainful eyebrow.
"Oh stop it Knobby, you know what I mean. A valet."
"Ahhh, I see. Well, it's about time somebody sorted out your shitty life. What's his name?"
"That shouldn't be too hard to remember in this wet, dark, pointless little country."
"If you hate it so much, why don't you move back to London?"
"You know why, Jack."
"Yes, of course… sorry."
Jack had been there for Owen when his fiancée Catherine had died quite suddenly whilst under the young Doctor Harper's care. Her family blamed him, of course, and moving away to avoid bumping into them seemed the most sensible option. Besides which the London branch of the Torchwood Club had burnt down two years ago, so there wasn't even anywhere decent to pass the time back home.
"So, are you going to try not to scare this Jones fellow away?"
"I don't know what you could possibly mean, Knobby."
"Oh come on… how many valets have labelled you 'beyond help' at this point? You're engaged three times a month to different girls every time and out of your head on scotch every other night. That's not to mention your aunts getting you into trouble at every turn!"
"Yes, well…" Jack thrust his chin out defiantly. "The drinking is my own doing, but everything else is usually through a series of misunderstandings over which I have no control. Besides which, Jones came to ME, so he must know of my…"
Jack scowled at him. "Reputation."
"Your reputation is its own person, along with your ego."
"Yes, thank you Knobby, for making me realise that having lunch with my dreaded Aunt Alice isn't all that bad in comparison to sitting here and letting you insult me all afternoon" Jack curtly said, finishing his drink and spinning on his heel as he left the club with Owen's laughter ringing in his ears.