andveryginger: (10k Volt Man)
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Title: Undercurrents (2/?)
Fandom: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (MFMM)
Pairing: Phryne Fisher/Jack Robinson
Rating: M
Disclaimer: I definitely do not own the characters herein. I'm only taking them out for a test drive.
Notes: My first dabble in the MFMM fandom. Many thanks to Sassasam (AO3) and Seldarius (FF.net) for their beta services and encouragement. Any mistakes you see now are my own!

Spoilers for most of series 1 and 2, but especially 2x12, "Unnatural Habits." Picks up sometime shortly after 2x13, "Murder Under the Mistletoe."


A little more than an hour later, Constable Clifton Bowen stood in the parlor, regarding the senior detective inspector with his pencil poised over his moleskine notebook. He would, of course, be turning the investigation over to Robinson and Constable Collins in the morning. For now, however, Bowen was the responding officer, and it was necessary to collect some basic information for the report he would submit before the end of his shift. He cleared his throat. “So you’d just arrived and Miss Fisher was pouring you a drink when the front bell rang, sir?”

Jack, leaning heavily on the mantle, put his right hand on his hip and nodded to the junior officer. “Miss Fisher set aside our drinks, then went to answer the door.”

“It rang twice -- no, three times in quick succession before I made it to answer. He was apparently very impatient.” Phryne mirrored his stance, clad now in her black trousers and matching blouse. As he had phoned the station house, she had taken the time to change into something more appropriate for the confusion that followed a dead body. “When I opened it, he asked for me -- by name. It quickly became clear he needed assistance. I called Ja-- Detective Inspector Robinson over for help.”

“No sooner than I’d gotten him steadied across my shoulders, he collapsed. Miss Fisher checked him for a pulse and found none; I called it in.”

Bowen scribbled for another moment, brow furrowed in concentration. “You used the phone in the hall?”

Again, Jack nodded. “I did. The body remained in custody until you arrived with the coroner.”

“We found a card on the body identifying him as Leslie Pemberton, a private investigator,” Phryne continued, “as well as a photograph that I believe Inspector Robinson will follow up on tomorrow.”

“I’ve already noted that neither of you recognized the man,” Bowen said. “And no further members of the household were involved?”

The inspector passed a glance to Miss Fisher. Though he knew the answer as well as she did, it wasn’t his place to respond. “No,” she replied at length. “My ward is currently visiting with a school friend, and the rest of my staff have the evening off.”

Bowen closed his notebook over his pencil, sliding them into a leather pouch at his waist, protected by his uniform tunic. “That should be everything I need for tonight.” He glanced to Miss Fisher, then back to his senior officer. “I’ll make sure the report is ready for you in the morning, sir.”

“Good job, Bowen. Thank you for your prompt response.”

“It’s all right, Inspector. Ten times more interesting than dealing with another drunk and disorderly.” The freckle-faced constable gave a smile. His eyes glanced down to the table beside him where two tumblers of whiskey sat unfinished. “I’ll just… leave you to your evening.”

Phryne rolled her eyes, exchanging a glance with Jack. “Come along, Constable; I’ll walk you out.”

“Miss? Oh, Miss! Are you all right?”

There was a slight note of panic in Dorothy Williams’ voice as she and her beau, Hugh Collins, charged in the front door, passing Constable Bowen on his way out. “We saw the coroner and the police vehicle and --”

Phryne held up a hand. “We’re fine, Dot,” she said, calmly. “We had a bit of an incident, and Constable Bowen was nice enough to come and bring the coroner.”

“We?” Collins frowned. Looking around, he spotted the coat and hat hanging on the stand by the door at exactly the same time as Dot: Inspector Robinson. “Ah.” Their supposition was confirmed when they entered the parlor and found the inspector still by the fireplace. He had, however, picked up his tumbler of whiskey and was watching it swirl around the bottom of the glass. “What happened, sir?”

A wry grin curved the inspector’s lips as he glanced back up to the new arrivals. His gaze settled on Phryne. “It seems Miss Fisher’s penchant for trouble has followed her home,” he replied. “A man collapsed at her front door.”

Miss Fisher smirked back up at him. “At least the case came to me this time.” The inspector gave a slight nod, acknowledging the difference.

“Was it anyone we know, miss?” Dot asked, eyes wide.

“Not yet… though his business card said he was Leslie Pemberton, a private investigator.” Phryne forced herself to break eye contact with the inspector. “Constable Bowen said he would have a full report ready by the end of shift in the morning.”

At this, the younger officer looked to his fiancee. “Sounds like I’ll be looking up information on Mister Pemberton in the morning,” he said, “which means I should probably go.”

Dottie nodded her understanding, even if her expression spelled disappointment. “Of course, Hugh. I’ll walk you out.” She looked to Phryne and Jack. “Good night, Miss; Inspector.”

“Good night, you two.” Phryne stood watching for a moment as the two disappeared into the darkness of the dining room. They would, no doubt, share a quiet moment or two in the privacy of the kitchen before the young constable slipped off into the night. She turned back to Jack. With a few steps, she closed the distance between them, standing just on the edge of what was decent. “And where does that leave us?”

He tilted his head, eyes dancing as he looked over every inch of her face. He took in the smooth, porcelain finish of her skin; the slight flush of pink across her cheeks; the way her eyes suddenly dilated as his gaze darted to her lips. “Well, I still haven’t had the dinner you promised me, and I’d hate for all Mister Butler’s efforts to go to waste.”

“I think we can fix that.”

***

The meal was a bit cool by the time they got to it, but for Jack’s first meal since breakfast, he found it more than acceptable. Though it might, he thought with a twitching smile, have something to do with the company. Now, having completed their portions, he and Phryne made to straighten up. Draping his jacket over the back of the chair he’d just vacated, Jack unbuttoned his cuffs and rolled up his shirtsleeves.  “If you hadn’t told me that photograph was Mrs. Stanley,” he drawled, “I doubt I’d have recognized her.” He shook his head, downing the last sip of a particularly good chianti.

“I have had a bit more opportunity than you to stare down her wedding pictures with Uncle Edward.” Phryne rose from her own seat, picking up their plates and moving to the basin. Having already prepared a bit of hot, soapy water, she dunked them, beginning to wipe at them with a rag. “It looks like it had to be taken shortly before the wedding… but I’ve never seen that man before.”

“So he’s not family?”

“Not that I’m aware of.” Phryne handed Jack a wet plate. He took it and began drying it as she turned her attention to the next one. “And it’s not as though it’s a casual picture. It was taken in a studio…”

“...which indicates at least a small amount of premeditation, making the appointment with the photographer and going to the sitting,” Jack said, finishing her thought. He placed the dry plate to the side, waiting for the next one. “And it looks like an old engagement photo.”

“Exactly.” There was a hint of sadness in her eyes as she regarded him. “He was clearly someone important in Aunt P’s life, and I haven’t the slightest idea who he is, or -- worse -- why she’s never mentioned him.” She sighed, passing off the second plate and leaning against the basin. Mister Butler could take care of the rest in the morning. “Tomorrow is going to be very difficult.”

Stacking the second plate with the first, Jack frowned, drying his hands. His right hand came to rest on her shoulder. She hesitated a moment, knuckles white around the edge of the basin, as though debating whether or not to take the comfort he offered. Slowly, a decision reached, she curled into his embrace, arms around his trunk, head tucked under his chin. He could feel the moisture from her wet hands seeping through the back of his vest, but he didn’t care; some things were more important.

“She may be an old battle axe,” Phryne said, her voice muffled against his chest, “and she may have the worst timing, but deep down she’s still a good egg who’s always been very kind to me.”

“We’ll handle it together, just like we always do.”

She drew back slightly, shifting to look at him. Jack noted that her eyes were suspiciously glassy, concern giving way to something very different as they once again became aware of their close proximity. And there, before she could blink it away, a flash of insecurity. He swallowed back the lump that rose in his own throat. They were down to it, then.

Jack brought his right hand up, raking his long fingers gently through her hair, then coming back to cradle her cheek in his palm. So much he wanted to say, but found he had no voice. He chose instead to show her.

Slowly, he lowered his lips to brush hers, tentative and unsure, as though he expected, at any moment, to be interrupted again. When there was no one -- no Aunt Prudence, no doorbell, no Dot or Hugh -- he kissed her again, their lips meeting fully for the first time since Cafe Replique. This time, however, there was no element of surprise, only anticipation.

So much transpired since then: His divorce. Murdoch Foyle. Janey. He’d even thought he’d lost her a time or two, the prospect of which had nearly crushed him. They’d bantered and flirted their way through cases; grown to care and respect each other as friends -- but with an undercurrent of suppressed sexual tension that had almost driven both of them mad.

Now it seemed acting on that tension might drive them equally as mad. Their pulses quickened, blood rushing through their veins as their arousal spiked. Touching her -- tasting her -- seemed surreal, reality of the moment surpassing anything he might have considered in the past. He backed her against the table, gripping her waist, and helped her slide her weight onto the horizontal surface. For her part, Phryne felt no small amount of relief, the moist warmth of his lips on hers dragging forth an ache she tried not to identify. She focussed instead on the hedonistic -- his hands fisting in her hair, the flood of desire between her thighs.

Her legs parted and he stepped in; she could feel his warmth and the very physical evidence of his own need pressing against her core. Blindly, her fingers fumbled over his vest buttons, coordination failing as their kisses became more erratic. Somehow she managed to work them free, slipping the fitted garment off his shoulders, and tossing it onto the sideboard. His hands trailed down her sides, thumbs pausing to graze hardened nipples through the dual layers of silk -- blouse and camisole. She gave a whimper with the contact; Jack felt a surge straight to his already straining groin. They couldn’t get close enough fast enough.

Phryne drew reluctantly back, her hair disheveled, swollen lips glistening in the dim light. She regarded him with a glazed expression. “Join me upstairs?”

“As much fun as it might be here,” the inspector said, feathering kisses down her neck to her collarbone, “upstairs would definitely be preferable.”

Phryne slipped forward to her feet, her body sliding against his. She hesitated only a moment before interlacing their fingers and leading him up the staircase.

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March 2015

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