A/N: I've been watching Jeeves & Wooster and Bertie seems to have all kinds of relatives; aunts, uncles, cousins, but his parents, as long as I've seen, haven't been mentioned. You need to understand that I have never read the books (wanted to, but since getting them in chronological order around here has been proven difficult, haven't been able to) so I don't know what really happened to them, which is why I am writing this little thing.
On the morning of July 16th Bertram "Bertie" Wooster opened his eyes and had there been anyone witnessing it they would had right away understood that there was something wrong; something missing in the young gentleman's eyes. The usual shine of pure gayness was gone and as he stood up one could also pay heed to the way he carried himself without the feeling of easygoingness in his steps. But there was no soul there to witness this sad sight, for this was the first time after a gentleman's valet named Jeeves had put his perfectly shined shoe in from the front door of the flat, that young master Wooster woke up on his own. Bertie went to his bathroom and closed the door. Bertie looked at himself from the mirror and noticed his eyes starting to redden and as the first teardrop appeared he thought it best to drop his head.
On the other side of the flat an alarm bell rang for the shortest of time before it was quickly turned off by the ever so sufficient Jeeves. The tall and dark haired man stepped out of his bed and started immediately making it. As he was folding the corners of the counterpane to his liking, he noticed something odd in the silence of the early morning: it was not as silent as it should have been. Somewhere in the flat he could clearly hear the water being ran. With a frown he hurried his morning chores and dressed himself as quickly as he could before hieing his steps towards the room of his young master. Jeeves gently knocked to the door before opening it cautiously and stepping in to see the bathroom door closed.
"Sir?" he called from behind the door to the bathroom where Bertie winced at the sound of his valet's voice.
"Yes, Jeeves" he answered, though he was not in the slightest of moods to be talking to anyone, not even Jeeves.
"I was wondering if you were quite alright, sir" Jeeves said, starting to worry now that he had leafed through their whole calendar in his head and come to the conclusion that there was not an early engagement that he had forgotten. He looked over the time once again, 6:15.
"Quite, Jeeves. You may go" was all Bertie managed as he massaged his right temple and opened those sad eyes that he had kept closed until now, to stare at the ceiling.
"Ahem. Sir? Should I put the kettle on for your morning tea?"
"No thank you, Jeeves" Bertie closed his eyes again and hoped that that would be all. But after a half minute there was that worried low voice again.
"Yes, Jeeves?" Bertie sighed.
"I am not entirely comfortable with leaving you like this, sir" Jeeves said and waited for an answer while twisting his hands agitatedly, something he did not have the memory of doing since he had been a child.
Bertie waited for a moment before opening his eyes again and starting to stand up from the bath.
"Very well, Jeeves. I shall be there in a moment."
"Thank you, sir. And, sir?"
"Yes, Jeeves?" Bertie was now pulling on his dressing gown.
"The breakfast, sir?"
"If you were so good, Jeeves" Bertie said defeated and leaned against the door.
"Very good, sir" Jeeves said, only slightly less worried now, and left for the kitchen.
Inside the loneliness of the bathroom Bertie could feel his eyes starting to tingle once again. He ran cold water and washed his face. He dried himself, glanced at the mirror to be certain that he looked himself and opened the door. He made his way to the sitting room where he sat on a sofa and stared into emptiness. It was not long before Jeeves emerged with the tea, a boiled egg and some toast on a platter. He set the breakfast on the table before the unusually silent gentleman and poured a cup of tea.
"Your tea, sir."
Bertie took the tea without a word and took a sip before going back to the emptiness.
"Are you feeling poorly, sir? Should I send for a doctor?" Jeeves asked and finally got the younger man's attention.
"I gave you a free day, did I not?"
"Well, yes, sir" Jeeves admitted. "But…"
"No buts, Jeeves. You should take the day" Bertie said adamant. "I shall see you tomorrow."
"Dammit, Jeeves!" Bertie raised his voice. "You can leave for today or you can leave for good. Well? Which is it?" Bertie knew he was being unfair but it could not be helped. He needed to be alone for the day so that he would not be obligated to stay together for anyone else. It was already getting harder to breath normally and talking made it all the more difficult to shackle his emotions.
"Very well, sir" Jeeves replied and leaved the room. He was visibly hurt and that made Bertie feel even worse. It did not take Jeeves long to come back from his room with his coat on and his hat in his hand. "I shall see you tomorrow, sir" the sad valet said, nodded and left. It took only until the cup of tea until Bertie was sobbing painfully.
Jeeves was walking down the street, wondering what it was that had gotten to master Wooster when he came face to face with his aunt Dahlia.
"Oh Jeeves!" the small woman exclaimed happily, though it could be seen that she too was in a fouler mood than usual.
"Good day, Mrs. Travers" Jeeves greeted her and lifted his hat.
"How is Bertie, Jeeves? Has he gotten out of bed today?" Mrs. Travers inquired and held his arm, obviously concerned of her nephew.
"He has, ma'am. As to say how he is, well…" Jeeves did not know how to describe the mood that the young gentleman was in. "I have not seen him behave this way ever before, ma'am."
"Really? But you have been with him for two years now Jeeves. Surely you must have witnessed his demeanor this same date last year?" Mrs. Travers asked, clearly surprised. Jeeves thought for mere seconds before answering.
"I believe I had this date free last year, ma'am. I remember travelling to see my cousin. Does this happen every year then, ma'am?"
"Oh Jeeves, he has not told you!" Mrs. Travers bemoaned and shook her head. "Well then, we shall have a cup of coffee, Jeeves. I shall tell you all about the horrid thing" Mrs. Travers said and took Jeeves' arm to lead him to a coffee parlor.
Later in the evening Jeeves let himself back into the flat. He now understood fully why his master had behaved the way he had. Mrs. Travers' story had proven to be quite emotional, even Jeeves had had difficulties at keeping himself from crying. It appeared that master Wooster's parents had died while on their way to New York, the ship had encountered a storm and had never made it to its destination. It had happened on July 16th. Master Wooster had been only 18 at the time, old enough to inherit a fortune, too young to really comprehend it. He had been devastated for weeks until one day when he had emerged from his room a character of pure happiness. After that it had been friends and parties and he had never mentioned his parents again. Once a year, on the day of his parents' death, he would exclude himself from rest of the world and only come out the next day.
Jeeves was not sure how to handle this, but he felt that he could not leave the young master all alone over the night. The flat was dark so he went and turned on a light in the sitting room. When the room was slightly lit he noticed his master on the floor next to the sofa. The breakfast platter was still where Jeeves himself had laid it that morning, nothing but the tea touched, but the young gentleman had managed to change his attire from a dressing gown into his pajamas. Jeeves put away his hat and his coat and made his way to the sniffling form on the floor.
"Sir?" he whispered but didn't get an answer. "Please, sir. Shall we try making it to the bed?" he tried again, his voice still soft.
"No" came the agonizing and throaty answer as the form on the floor pulled more into himself.
"The sofa then, sir?" This time there was not a verbal answer, but the shaking form of one Bertram Wooster moved and lifted its' head. Jeeves helped the man from the floor to the sofa and only barely held himself from wincing at the sight of the normally so happy and full of life character.
Bertie heard footsteps first going somewhere and then coming back to him. When the footsteps stopped next to him it got suddenly a bit warmer. Bertie didn't see what had been put on him, but he pulled it tighter around himself before sighing.
"I am most sorry, sir" he heard that low voice that he had gotten used to giving him advice that he did not necessarily want, but that he had learned to take. He was sure that his parents would have adored Jeeves. The valet would have liked his parents as well. The thought brought more silent tears to his eyes.
"You would have liked them" he managed to whisper.
"I am sure you are right, sir" Jeeves said and watched the pile of duvet and tears curl more into a ball.
Jeeves decided to do something he had never done before, something he would not have even considered before that day. He went to sit to the sofa and took the crying man's head into his lap. He would sit there, as long as it took, for this was not just some young gentleman and he was not just some valet. Jeeves would never voice it, though the younger man in his lap had been known to do so, but they were more than a gentleman and his valet, they were friends. At times like these they might even be closer than that, some might go as far as portray them as more like family.
"It hurts" Bertie whispered barely audible, but he knew he had been heard from the way a hand moved into his hair to caress him.
"I know" came the answer.
Had anyone walked in on that moment, they would have thought the sight puzzling. It would be a very long time until either of them mentioned this night again, but at that moment Bertie felt more cared for than he had for as long as his parents had been gone. He would wake up the next day from his own bed and feel more at ease than usual. The life would go on.
A Year Later
It was the morning of July 16th. Bertie opened his eyes before the sun was even shining and made his way to the bathroom to take a bath. He was not called for or other way disturbed in his solitude, but when he walked into the sitting room he noticed a breakfast platter and a letter on the table next to the sofa.
I took the liberty of preparing you breakfast should you be able to eat any. My thoughts will be with you.
Should you need me personally I am at the Junior Ganymede Club.
Send a word and I shall return.
Bertie smiled. That day his sobs weren't as painful as the year before. When Jeeves returned late that night he found his master fast asleep in his own bed.
A/N: I thought about the ending a lot (the year after part), but I felt that it needed it to be… at peace. Poor Bertie.