Title: The Hand That Feeds
Fandom: Jeeves and Wooster
Word Count: 1,868
Warnings: Could be read as pre-slash or just a very intimate relationship between master and servant. Whatever floats your boat. :)
"Sir that is… quite unsanitary."
I looked up with a start to find that Jeeves had shimmered most unexpectedly into the room. I was about to let out a hearty 'what ho!' to the chappie but then realized that the Wooster index finger was still resting happily within the Wooster mouth. The icing however, that had originally been a part of the wonderfully mixed company, had beat a hasty toodle pip and thus I removed the digit without further delay.
"What ho, Jeeves!" Let the aunts of the world never say that I don't follow through with my intentions. I set out to greet my man and did just that! However, a word of warning to the determined: the perseverance required to complete one's actions can often result in a lapse of other observational traits. What I mean to say is, I was so focused on welcoming Jeeves that it took me a moment longer than is the u. to notice his rather rummy expression. I pride myself on reading Jeeves like he reads those massive books of his, and one moment longer was one moment too long.
"I say Jeeves! I maintain my 'what ho' and all that but why the rummy expression?"
"Greetings to you too sir. I was merely commenting that there are more sanitary ways to consume your chocolate cake than with your finger."
I looked at the accused digit but it seemed perfectly clean to me.
"Indeed sir. Shall I procure a plate and fork for you?"
That was certainly a sensible suggestion. Some might even say inspired. But for some reason I wanted a fork and plate about as much as one wants cold tea in the morning. Or cold tea at anytime really. You see… well, you'd see better if I'd started my tale in a more appropriate spot, what? Here I've gone, starting things in medius res as the saying goes, so perhaps I should back up a step. Or two. Or maybe even three.
You see, a few hours back I'd been strolling about and had wandered most unintentionally into a massacre. You must be wondering right about now what I mean by 'wandering into a massacre.' Well, it just so happens that this massacre took place in no other spot then the Drones Club. And it was a massacre in a whatsit sense. There's a word for this, starts with 'fig' though I'm sure the word isn't as tasty as a real fig. Words generally aren't. Well! Regardless, it was not in a literal sense. Whatever word means that. There wasn't really a massacre going on it just might seem that way to those with a whale of a vocabulary. Like Jeeves, poet chappies and, other people like Jeeves. Maybe his father. The man had to have gotten his grey matter from somewhere.
Anyway! I knew something was up the moment my toes crossed that threshold and rolls didn't fly. It turned out that the Drones had started an impromptu darts tournament and poor Tuppy was being massacred by someone who's name I don't remember. Although, I suppose that's a good a name as any. Mr. Name I Don't Remember recently joined our little nest and it turns out the chap is a real whiz at the board and flying shafts. If your high top machinery is as well oiled as mine perhaps you too wondered why Tuppy would suffer such indignities. We're not a set of blighters or some such but even the most gentlemanly of gentlemen can start lifting the chin and puffing the chest when he's winning so spectacularly. One has to question – and indeed I did – why Tuppy would continue when he was losing about as badly as one can lose.
If you're all Sherlock Holmes like you may have realized by now that there must have been a prize involved. If you deduced such a thing then I salute you! There was indeed a prize, though I doubt even the detective himself could have guessed just how wonderful and bright a thing it was:
A slice of Anatole's crème de menthe chocolate cake.
How such a decadent thing made its way out of Brinkley Court without immediate consumption is a question only the gods can answer. Why such a thing was allowed to occur is perhaps something that will never be explained. All I knew was that the how and the why weren't important. A slice of heaven had fallen at my feet and this Wooster was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth or in any other orifice.
Well, any of you readers familiar with my other scribbles will know that I'm no slouch when it comes to darts. I'm not a mean chap and whatnot so I'll just skim the surface of that humiliating moment. Let it simply be known that Mr. Name I Don't Remember never stood a chance or even half a chance. That afternoon I stood tall like that Caesar bloke and I followed his advice too –
I came, I saw, I conquered real top hole like.
And let me tell you that I beat it back to the flat as fast as these two feet could fly. When one has a slice of Anatole's crème de menthe chocolate cake one simply doesn't linger. Who knows what might become of you.
So like a true sleuth I snuck into the room, slinked into my favorite chair, and did other s-like things before I'd settled. Popping the white lid that contained my prize I realized that this wasn't the time for forks and plates. These sorts of things had to be dealt with quickly, lest the opportunity slip away like so many whatsits. So without further ado I let my finger do the work and dug in.
That's how Jeeves found me.
"I say, Jeeves. Normally a fork and plate would be a topping idea but I'm finding this way of eating to be quite enjoyable. A unique cake deserves a unique method of consumption, what? Besides, it reminds your young master of his childhood. I ate many the slice of cake with palm and fingers in my day you know."
"I can't say I'm surprised to hear that sir."
I went to dip my fingers back into the box but stopped at Jeeves's pained expression. The poor man looked as if I'd not only given him the knife but twisted it to and fro.
"Sir… it really is unsuitable for a gentleman of your station to eat in such a manner."
"Oh posh Jeeves! It's only you and me here."
"You also risk dirtying your clothes sir, specifically your new silk tie."
I went to finger said tie but then recalled that the fingers weren't clean. "Well I'll be extra careful and all that. And I have every faith that if anything does get stained you'll know how to remove it!"
"Thank you sir. However I would like to point out once more that this is still an unsanitary way of consuming your dessert."
Once again I stopped with my hand halfway towards paradise, suddenly thinking that this must have been what that Eve girl felt like. One bite of apple and then nada. I sighed, most put out.
"Jeeves, are you suggesting that your young master is dirty? The insult to my person aside, I believe that is even more of an insult to your abilities as a valet!"
"Certainly not sir." He drew himself up to his full, very impressive height. I imagined that giraffes everywhere hung their heads in shame. "I merely wish to point out that you were assaulted most violently by Miss Allen earlier this morning."
I shuddered, recalling the horrendous event. Aunt Agatha had brought another of her she-devils to the flat at an absurd hour and the Jane had spent the entirety of breakfast hanging on my arm, grasping my hands, and generally wrapping herself around my corpus like some anaconda in heels. A dashed unpleasant way to wake up, a man simply can't enjoy his eggs and b. under such conditions. It's why I headed towards the club in the first place. To escape aunts and she-devils that is.
"Oh I recall Jeeves, I recall! But what does such trauma have to do with me enjoying my cake?"
"Only that I didn't think you'd want to handle your food with hands that had been… sullied, so recently sir."
I recalled Miss Allen palming me and suddenly the idea of cake-by-hand didn't seem quite so smashing. I felt a bit upset in the tummy if I'm all honest with you. I wiped my hand against the arm of the chair and by jove I wasn't subtle about it.
"My word Jeeves, you're absolutely right! As always of course."
"Why thank you sir."
"We don't know where that woman has been!"
"Well, what utter rot. I suppose you'd better fetch that fork and plate after all. I must say though, what a dashed boring way to eat cake."
I must admit that at this point I was very disappointed. I enjoy routine as much as the next chap but when I do decide to change things up a tad I want things to follow through. The Wooster heart had set itself on eating dessert in a whimsical manner and a dame had torn that chance away.
Looking up I expected to see Jeeves biffing off or possibly having returned already. Instead he was just standing there, his lips slightly puckered. Now for those of you who can't read Jeeves as I do you – which, I am admittedly proud to say, is all of you - should know that this was an indication of Very Deep Thought.
His gaze rested on my cake, still nestled in its little box. His lips puckered a bit more.
"I say Jeeves, if you want some just say the word! You can have the half untouched by the tainted finger."
To my great relief the pucker pulled inwards and smoothed with just the barest hint of lifting upwards: a Jeevesian smile.
"You are very generous sir. However, I had something else in mind." Stepping forward he knelt beside the chair and reached for my cake. "If I may sir?"
I handed it over immediately. One simply doesn't question a direct request from Jeeves, not even when it involves handing over a baked good of Anatole's. My faith was not misplaced, for to my everlasting shock he dipped his own hands into the box and carefully broke off a piece. Keeping one hand underneath so as not to make a mess and all that, he lifted the piece of cake to me.
"Why Jeeves," I breathed "what a perfectly wonderful solution!"
"I thought so sir."
"And you don't mind?"
"Not at all sir."
"Well then!" Without a moment wasted I took the morsel from my man's hand, feeling every bit both the daring rogue and the pampered prince.
"Absolutely topping! Jeeves, you are a wonder to behold."
Breaking off a second piece, another Jeevesian smile surfaced from his stuffed froggy expression.
"Thank you sir. I endeavor to give satisfaction."