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Studying Mike

Title: Studying Mike
Author: Derien
Date: 2005-02-19.
Fandom: "Mike," Psmith stories, P.G. Wodehouse.
Summary: Psmith takes an opportunity to watch Mike unobserved. Recreation from Psmith's POV of a scene from "Mike."
Word Count: 803
Notes: A short study with no dialogue. I tried to fill in enough background so someone unfamiliar with the story had some idea what was going on.
Personal notes: Dammit, I can't seem to resist. It's too damn slashy. Right after I posted last time and shut off the computer I read where Psmith first springs the "you and I shall wander, hand in hand" scenario on Mike, and it just sounded as though Psmith was checking for reaction. I couldn't sleep last night for thinking about this one, so I had to jot it out as soon as I got up this morning. I'll probably regret posting it without giving it some thought, but here you go...
Standard Disclaimer: They belong to Wodehouse, I just play with them in sick ways.

* * *

They'd managed to slip away from the other Young Archaeologists, off digging here and there up and down the slopes at the ruins of a Roman camp with Psmith and Mike's ineffectual, motherly old house master, Outwood. They'd found some pleasant shade trees where a brook divided a field from a wood, and, as it was a warmish day, Psmith announced to Mike his intention to have a bit of a nap. However, stretching himself out upon the moss, he closed his eyes only apparently. Through his eyelashes he contrived to watch the other young man - a sight always worth watching - curious as to his actions on thinking Psmith dozed off.

Psmith had taken an instant liking to Mike Jackson - good-looking, athletic, and of an amiable temperament - on their first meeting, and had been well pleased with his own ability to contrive immediately subsequent events to purvey their slight commonalities into a strong bond between the two of them. Aside from the accident of having been raised in congruent villages the only thing they shared was a dislike of their new school, Mike still being faithful to the school he'd been jerked untimely from, Wrykyn, and Psmith having just come from the much more cosmopolitan Eton. His quicksilver brain had observed an opportunity where a little push here and there would probably serve to keep Mike by his side for most of the term: by skillfully enlisting Mike's help to usurp a study from it's rightful owner he had purveyed his and Mikes status as newcomers to the school into a situation which placed them back to back, as it were, fighting together against the world - in this case represented by a contingent of six of the returning students - and had managed to make the two of them dormitory mates in the bargain. It had all worked out nearly as well as could be expected, and Psmith now had Mike's attentions for most of every day, closing them together in the dorm at night and the study during the evenings, and dragging him off around the countryside for these Young Archaeologist trips. The only hitch in his plan so far was that, despite being quite willing to listen to Psmith discourse wittily upon any subject which took his mind, Young Jackson seemed unaware that Psmith might have any other interests in him whatsoever besides their continued association. Perhaps at Wrykyn the boys didn't learn so soon as they did at Eton all the fun that could be had by two young men who'd gotten a bit of time alone in a study with a door which locked, or in a bucolic setting like this.

Now, he watched Mike carefully through his eyelashes. It had occurred to him that, should Jackson return any of his interest, thinking that Psmith was soundly asleep Mike might take the opportunity to look upon the apparently sleeping form.

Mike, however, was an athlete who had for weeks now been deprived of his athletic pursuit, having decided to not play cricket for this new school which he so disliked. He sat about for only a few minutes, tossing the occasional pebble into the brook, and then, with a sigh, heaved himself to his feet and jumped the small brook to wander up the opposite slope through the woods.

Psmith heaved a deep breath and let it out. He had been hopeful, but his hopes had by no means been dashed. He was a patient person. Having spent this much trouble he was disinclined to push his hand too quickly, for fear of sending Jackson running away. After all, he consoled himself, it made more sense to take his time with such a prize. Develop the growing bond between them as deeply as possible before making a move. So he told himself. He also wondered if he was really only scared. Scared to mess it up when he honestly liked Mike as well as he did, and seemed to like him more every day. When Mike returned a few minutes later he was quite changed and animated, and announced his intention to play cricket for the local village. Psmith immediately responded that he would go along to watch Mike play, justifying that, although he didn't like to play cricket, watching cricket being played was a gentlemanly pursuit. Privately, of course, he was looking forward to the chance to watch his pet warrior-prince run around the field and show the peasants how the game was played - a man was never more attractive then when he was in motion.

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