andveryginger: (10k Volt Man)
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Title: Undercurrents (3/?)
Fandom: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (MFMM)
Pairing: Phryne Fisher/Jack Robinson
Rating: T+
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."



As was typical for a Thursday morning, Dot was the first awake, making her way into the kitchen to make the first cup of tea. She rounded the corner and stopped. A dark gray suit jacket was draped over the chair closest to the door. It was one she recognized from the previous night. She peered in. “Inspector?”

With no response forthcoming, she eased into the room. The previous night, when she had bid her farewells to Hugh, the table had been laid for a late supper, presumably for Miss Phryne and the inspector. This morning, it had been mostly cleared, save an empty wine bottle, two empty wine glasses, and Mr. Butler’s gratin dish -- also empty.

Her eyes then caught sight of a heap of fabric sprawled across the sideboard. Was that…? Picking it up, she felt the texture and saw the pattern of the wool. It was a perfect match for the jacket now draped over the chair.

She slapped a hand over her mouth, stifling a gasp, eyes growing wide even as she held the vest at arm’s length. Her cheeks burned as she hurriedly draped the vest over the jacket, moving as though the item were on fire. They had --? In the kitchen? She fanned herself as the heat of embarrassment flared up her neck and over her ears.

At that moment, Mister Butler entered, clad in his usual black, ready for the day. “Good morning, Dorothy,” he said. He breezed past her toward the sink. “Well, looks like they started to clean up.”

Dot cleared her throat. “I-I think they may have, well, gotten a bit...distracted.” She shifted her weight, pointing to the top of the dark gray suit that was now draped on the chair.

“Hm, yes,” the butler mused. He pursed his lips, surveying the rest of the kitchen. “Nothing broken, so I assume they didn’t get terribly distracted before changing locales.”

“Mister Butler! I - I -- I don’t -- how can you stay so calm?” Dot huffed.

The butler’s response was interrupted by a knock at the kitchen door. He turned, finding Constable Collins waving through the glass panes. “Oh, dear,” he said. With a slight shake of his head, he moved to open the door. “Good morning, Constable!”

Collins smiled, tucking his helmet under his arm. “Good morning, Mister Butler.” His smile widened on seeing his fiancee. “Dottie.”

“Hugh! What a surprise!” Dot jumped in front of the chair where the vest and jacket were draped, wringing her hands as she forced a smile. She offered up her cheek for a kiss.

The constable leaned forward and took advantage of the offered cheek, allowing his lips to linger for just a beat longer than his mother would have approved. He drew back, still smiling. “I got an early start, so I thought I might pop in for a cup of tea.”

“Well, Mister Butler and I were just starting a pot,” Dorothy shifted as he glanced at the table. “A-after we got the rest of these dishes cleared away, of course.” She licked her lips. “Wh-why don’t we go into the parlor? It’s a lovely day outside, and the sun is shining and --”

That was the exact moment when the inspector entered, clad in his shirt, slacks, and shoes, still working to button his right cuff. Spotting first Dot, then Hugh, and finally Mister Butler, he came to a full stop. He swallowed, clearing his throat. “Collins,” he said with a curt nod. He finished buttoning his cuff, then tugged down on the sleeve to adjust it. “Miss Williams; Mister Butler.”

“Sir,” Collins choked out.

“Jack!” Miss Fisher’s voice floated in from the dining room, announcing her arrival. “Don’t forget --” Rounding the corner in much the way Dot had only a few minutes prior, Phryne stopped abruptly. A length of blue silk dangled from her fingers, outstretched toward the inspector. “-- your tie,” she finished after a long beat. Her gaze flitted around the room. “Good morning... everyone.”

Mister Butler recovered first. “Good morning, sir; miss,” he said brightly. “May I offer you some breakfast?”

Jack tossed Collins a glance before looking back at Mister B. He turned up his collar and began to work the tie back into a four-in-hand. “Tea and toast? Miss Fisher and I need to leave soon.”

“Very good, sir.” Mr. Butler turned and began working at his newly designated task.
Dot reached up and used an index finger to close Hugh’s slightly gaping mouth. The action earned her an amused glance from both the inspector and Miss Fisher. “Anything for me, Miss?”
“I think perhaps a few of your biscuits for Arthur?” Phryne replied. “You know how much he likes them.”

Miss Williams returned the smile, glad things were circling back to an even keel. “Gladly, miss. I’ll pull them out of the tins now.”

For his part, Jack decided the best path was to charge forward as though everything were normal. “Collins, once you dig up something on Mister Pemberton, ring me out at Mrs. Stanley’s residence. Miss Fisher and I will be speaking with her this morning… and I don’t expect it will go quickly.”

“Y-yes, sir.”

The inspector reached for his vest and jacket, sweeping them off the back of the chair. He made to depart the room, but paused. “And Collins?”

Hugh looked up. “Sir?”

“Mister Pemberton can probably wait until after breakfast with Miss Williams. ” Giving a flicker of a smile, he then vanished into the dining room. Phryne winked, then followed.

It wasn’t until they were safely in the parlor that Jack allowed his embarrassment to flare. He tossed his jacket and vest onto the chaise and plopped down into one of the side chairs, ostensibly to wait for their tea and toast. His gaze tracked her as she crossed, crouching beside his chair. Her hands came to rest on his knee, a rueful smile curving her lips as she looked up at him. “I suppose I should be thankful that Mister Johnson and Mister Yates didn’t decide to drop in for breakfast as well,” he said.

“I wish I could say I was sorry,” she replied, her eyes taking on a mischievous gleam, “but I’m not. Well... at least not about the events that led us here.” She paused a beat, index finger of her right hand curling patterns across his knee and thigh. “I do wish things had been a bit quieter this morning.”

The teasing trail she drew on his leg spread warmth through him. They had eaten dinner late, making their way into the bedroom late, resulting in a very short night. Maybe they needed a little more time to reach an equilibrium? His attention flickered between her eyes and her lips, now smeared with a creamy red lipstick. Her pupils dilated slightly, her chest rising and falling a bit quicker at the attention. Their bodies were, it seemed, still humming synchronously with tension. Maybe, he mused, equilibrium was overrated.

They met half way, his lips pressing softly against hers, his palm coming to rest against her cheek. He drew back after a long moment. “I’m not sure I’m going to be able to look Collins in the eye for a few days,” he admitted.

Jack felt her lips curl under his. “Better him than Aunt Prudence.”

“Point taken... though we do still have to go talk to her.”

“I’ll be on my best behavior.” Phryne used her thumb to wipe her lipstick from his lips.

Amusement danced in his eyes, though he did not smile. “Exactly what I’m worried about, Miss Fisher.”

A soft “ahem” separated them, Phryne taking the empty chair beside him, smoothing down the front of her cream slacks as she did so. Mister Butler entered the room, placing a silver tray onto the center table. It was laden with a plate of toast, a pot of tea, cups, and exactly the jams and marmalades she and Jack preferred. “Brilliant as always, Mister B,” she said. “Thank you.”

“Not at all, miss; sir. Oh, and Miss Dorothy said she would place the tin of biscuits in your sedan, Inspector.”

Jack tilted his head to the side, regarding Mister Butler with a smile. “Thank you, Mister Butler.” He looked to Phryne, a bit smug. “Looks like we’ll make it there in one piece.”

She could only cut him a glare over the rim of her teacup.

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March 2015

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