Pairings: Jack/Ianto (eventually)
Summary: AU Torchwood/Jeeves and Wooster crossover.
I don’t own any of these lads. Shame, that.
This is for kittysorceress who gave me the plot line in one lovely lump and needs something nice to day as the internet is being bad to her. The last line is insane and is for calavarna, just because.
He doesn’t just enter a room, he shimmers in – like Jeeves or Bunter. That’s what Tosh says; she’s read the books, she’s even read the fanfic. There’s something about Ianto that reminds her of a gentleman’s gentleman; all the times that they don’t notice he’s there until there’s a problem to be solved and someone just steps in and does it. No fuss, no drama, just entirely dependable Ianto – the Prince of Competence. She’s called him it just once - There goes our Jeeves! - after he came up the steps into Jack’s office bearing a freshly laundered shirt and took on a job no-one else wanted to do. She didn’t notice the look on her boss’ face at the chance remark; she’ll never find out why it made him smile.
“I don’t believe your valet is real.” Jack Harkness – dead, alive, spun through time, currently living through the 1930’s and waiting for the period when he can get his plans in order – watched the door close behind Wooster’s butler. “He’s too perfect.”
“I sometimes suspect the same myself.” Bertie twiddled the cocktail glass in his hand. “My Aunt Dahlia is convinced that he’s some sort of heavenly being sent down to keep me well and truly under control and limit the damage I cause to all around me. Even Aunt Agatha can see his good points. While opinion seems to be divided as to the merits of Bertram, those of Jeeves are praised universally.”
“The perfect gentleman’s gentleman?”
As if on cue, the door opened and the man himself glided in, bearing a tray of canapés.
“I was just wondering whether I need someone to look after me, like you do Mr Wooster.” Jack reached out to take a delicious, anchovy laden concoction.
“Really, sir?” Jeeves’ eyebrow raised itself about half a millimetre, indicating a strong degree of interest.
“You don’t fancy a change of lifestyle – coming out to Africa and seeing the sights?”
Jeeves did not even need a minute to consider; he was well aware of Mr Harkness’ adventuring - and his reputation too. His name had been linked to Gertrude Lawrence – and Ivor Novello – and a string of other people. He might not be as feckless as the usual rag tag and bobtail that accompanied Mr Wooster home from the Drones’ club but he was not quite the thing. “I regret to say that I am perfectly happy with my present situation.”
“I say, Jack, that’s a bit much, trying to steal one’s man. Don’t know where I’d be without Jeeves; not keen for anyone else to have him,” Wooster snorted.
Harkness – who had slightly more than the tiniest inkling about these sort of things - watched the valet carefully for any giveaway signs, but Jeeves remained as inexpressive as ever. Well, Jack reflected, these were times when such things remained illegal and people had to become good at hiding their inclinations. Ivor was a matinee idol, for goodness sake.
“If I might be so bold, Mr Harkness, I could perhaps suggest one or two of my more discreet colleagues at the Junior Ganymede. There are some very promising men there who would leap at the chance of a placement that was slightly out of the ordinary.”
“I may just take you up on that, Jeeves; although I’m not sure that they could cope with my wandering habits.” Harkness wasn’t sure how they would cope with his liberal tastes, either – he truly would need someone of Jeeves’ calibre for that. “And I’m a free spirit – couldn’t be doing with anyone telling me who to see and what to wear and how to think…”
Bertie shook his head. “Quite agree with you, old man; my motto is to plough one’s own furrow. I’d never let anyone try to dictate to me how I should dress or what musical instruments I should play.”
The door to the kitchen glided shut, leaving Jack with the distinct impression that he had heard something like the whisper of a snigger from behind it.
Funny how time had an elastic quality – Jack had relived an awful lot of it since he’d been flung back into the Victorian era, just waiting for his opportunity to come. Sometimes it passed slowly, a year seeming like a millennium and at others it flew and he could slip back – and forwards – to situations with an ease that was frightening. Like now, when he looked at his team and could hear an expression from the 1940’s as clearly as if it were yesterday - absolute shower – because that’s exactly what they were.
Not that they were bad at their jobs – Jack’s plans were all coming along nicely, Torchwood Three up and running well and him just having to sit tight and await the inevitable arrival of The Doctor. The big picture was just as it should be; it was the small picture that was getting him down. Three grown individuals who could eliminate an alien or stitch up a body or make a computer do impossible things but seemed incapable of clearing up coffee cups or maintaining a paper filing system or keeping a proper diary.
Jack’s mind slipped back a further decade and he remembered the miraculous Jeeves; looking at the fouled up contraption on his wrist, he wished it would burst into life and let him go back and get – well, if not Bertie’s butler, then at least a man he could recommend. Then that paragon could come back here and get the bloody place organised. If wishes were horses then beggars would ride; he’d heard that more than once over the years and this beggar wasn’t riding anywhere on his yearning for a nice convenient time travelling device. For now, he’d have to rely on giving them a dressing down. Again.
“Are you guys ever going to…what’s up?” Harkness could feel the excitement among the three people crouched over a screen, even if he hadn’t seen and heard it.
“There’s a rent in the rift or something.” Gwen grimaced; this had to mean trouble.
“It’s a small inter-temporal anomaly; short lived and very localised.” Tosh had reams of printouts and was poring over them.
“Anything nasty likely to come through it?”
“Only Noel Coward.” Owen grinned, resembling a monkey even more than usual. “It looks like this only communicates between here and 1930’s London, so unless you’re worried about a mad influx of Mitford sisters we should be fine. Need to keep an eye on it, though – make sure it closes.”
“Yeah – you do that. And keep me informed.” Jack turned, hiding the grin that had broken out on his face. This could be just what the doctor ordered and if he got stuck then he’d just have to damn well live the bloody seventy years again. It would be worth the risk if he could get there and back and with someone with a bit of organisational nous at his side. He went off to see if he could obtain a suitable tie and hat and do a bit of net-surfing before nightfall.
He’d be alright as long as he didn’t run into himself coming around a corner – that was the conclusion Harkness had reached. Fortune seemed to favour the brave and Jack had usually benefited from the fact, so it didn’t surprise him to bump into Bertie Wooster just as the man emerged from the Drone’s club.
“What ho, Jack! I thought you were up the great, grey-green, greasy Limpopo River.”
“I am – I mean I was supposed to be, but my plans changed. I urgently need to get hold of someone to help me – this whole operation has got more complex than I imagined and I need – well, I guess I need a Jeeves. Or the nearest thing to him that he could find for me.”
“Ah,” light dawned in the Wooster noddle. “You mentioned that a fortnight ago, didn’t you? Jeeves did say that if you changed your mind he knew of someone – a fellow member of the Junior Ganymede, I think. Come on, let’s go home for a snifter and pick the man’s substantial brains. I’m sure he can help out an old pal.”
Harkness wondered how three months acquaintance – which it must roughly have been at this point – made him an old pal, but he wasn’t complaining. So far the plan was working; now the phenomenal Jeeves had to work his magic.
“Yes, sir,” they had arrived to a warm, welcoming and spotless flat and cocktails had miraculously appeared in their hands. Now the provider of such comfort had his best thinking face on (about half a degree sterner than the normal one) and was attempting to help his employer’s guest. “There is a young man who is seeking a new position; his former employer was inconsiderate enough to have himself killed in an automobile accident leaving Mr Jones without a placement.”
“Was that old Stuffy Hawthorne?” Bertie pricked up his ears. “Jack, that man of his worked marvels – old Stuffy was the most disorganised chap in the world and yet he ended up with a flat like a new pin and for the first time in years was consistently where he should be when he should be.”
“Sounds like just the valet I need.”
“I hope that Mr Harkness would appreciate a sense of humour.” Jeeves raised his left eyebrow nearly a millimetre – this sense of humour must be a striking one. “I must warn you, sir, that prior to his employment with Mr Hawthorne – which was said by all to be highly successful – Mr Jones had not found regular service with a master worthy of his talents. He can border on the flippant and sardonic at times which does not always endear him at interview, even though the initial impression is usually very good.”
“I can cope with wittiness – it’s no sense of humour I’d find hard. And do you think this man capable of – well, tackling difficult situations? It’s not going to be all Park Lane and White’s; wild creatures, difficult natives, he has to be ready for anything.”
Jeeves gave Jack a look both knowing and exceedingly penetrating. “I believe that Mr Jones would be more than capable of anything you ask him. He is a very open minded and flexible young man; a man for all seasons and all times if you get my meaning.”
Harkness had the feeling that somehow this almost superhuman valet knew exactly what was going on and the fact that his master was not entertaining any ordinary visitor. He wouldn’t put it past him, anyway. “Then can you arrange for me to meet him?”
“I will arrange an appointment tomorrow at the Grosvenor House hotel if that would be suitable?” Jeeves looked from Wooster to Harkness.
“Fine by me. OK with you, Bertie?”
“Splendid. Anything to help out an old chum. Now, Jeeves, how about a little more tincture for the palette?”
Harkness accepted the drink with pleasure, carefully watched the door to the kitchen close. “What’s all this with ‘Stuffy’? Didn’t the man have a proper name?”
“Oh yes; he was christened Jonadab – another example of the raw work pulled at the font on occasions. Couldn’t go around having that inflicted on the world, could he? So Stuffy it is. Was.”
“You seem to have a string of friends like that; Oofy, Catsmeat – I can’t keep up. I don’t suppose Jeeves ever had a nickname?”
Bertie was obviously thinking – a look that resembled the manifestation of constipation had appeared on his face. “Now you come to mention it, he did once say something about it – what was it? Ah, yes – the Wooster noddle may grind slow but it grinds exceeding small. In my youth they called me Olorin. Blessed if I know what he meant by it…”