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all the little pieces

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  1. Blake telling Lawson how much he loves Jean. (seven-dragons)

They are incredibly drunk, he’s giddy, and he knows for a fact that Matthew disappeared at least three times to “get some air outside” with a certain pathology registrar. Lucien Blake is in just the right mood to bail up his buddy at the bar and tell him to get his act together.
“I love Jean. So much”
“Well that’s good, on account of you just married her”
He giggles, a drunk little sound, grinning.
“Love is wonderful, Matthew. The best”
“If you say so”
“You should let yourself have some, my friend”
The ensuing eyeroll does not deter him.

  1. The wedding night. (seven-dragons)

It’s not as easy as she thought, getting used to sleeping next to someone again. It’s the early hours of morning just before dawn, and she can’t fall back to sleep, no matter that she’s thoroughly exhausted. There is a foot slightly encroaching on her side of the bed and irrationally, childishly, she doesn’t like it being there.
But she does like him being there. Very much.
All at once that feeling hits again; he is her husband, they are married, this is forever. The tightening in her chest leads to tears in her eyes.
The foot isn’t so bad.

  1. Lucien and Jean and the weirdness of cleaning the study. (mykidsmakemecrazy)

“Are you sure I should be the one to go through this?”
The box is full of his parent’s memories and secret lives; remnants of two people so close to him, yet near strangers.
“Who else?” he asks, and she concedes she has every right. It feels like an invasion of privacy to be going through Thomas’ things, even if he is long dead and it is technically their house now. Their future bedroom.
She finds a photograph of a baby Lucien. His dimples are the same, his hair long and curly. She smiles and tucks it in her pocket.

  1. Jean and Lucien’s first night back home. (gabolange)

The ceiling is alarmingly tall compared to the slant of her attic bedroom. The gold leaf glitters like stars and she finds it strange to sleep in such an open, oppressive space. Sleepily, her eyes are drawn to him as she watches her husband slip into bed.
He shuffles against her and she smiles. They’re too weary after travelling for any of that, but he still wants to hold her. It’s been four months, and she will never tire of drifting off with him wrapped around her back, lips against her neck, the ceiling tall but his arms solid, grounding.

 

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“If you are moved for this... I'd really love a little Drabble of Jean and Lucien slipping away for a private moment after the ceremony, before they join the reception. – yourjodeanfaceblog”

She can’t stop giggling, and every time she catches the smile on his face, her heart swells and brings forth another round of giggles. They’re expected back upstairs in just a moment, the band cuing up to play here comes the bride. But he has her crowded against the wall at the bottom of the staircase and can’t stop touching her. His hand takes hers and he twists her ring. She does the same to him, then lifts his hand and kisses the backs of his fingers right over the gold band. He very nearly cries. She just smiles wider.

 

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“what about a little moment in which Jean ends up telling Lucien about that time she "forgot get knitting downstairs"? –frankiebretrospective”

It takes her seven months to tell him. They’re in bed late one night, the October air chill enough that they’re cocooned under the blankets, wrapped around each other, embers dying in the fireplace.
“It was harder than you know… to stay away” he says into her hair, his hand on her ribs.
“I very nearly didn’t” she says. The blush creeps in as he pulls back just enough to look at her in the dark. She buries her face into his shoulder to hide.
“Oh?” He sounds genuinely surprised. She likes that she can surprise him.
“Rose caught me sneaking out of my room”
She still doesn’t look at him, but she can hear his smirk all the same. She snuggles closer against him, head pillowed against the crook of his shoulder.
“And what were you wearing?” he asks, hand moving suggestively up, then down, fingers bunching against the thin fabric of her nighty.
“The little lace number” she says, finally looking at him with a smirk of her own. She knows exactly how much he loves that thing. He’s taken it off her enough times.
He growls, rolls on top of her, and kisses the smirk right off.

 

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Jean/Lucien celebrity/fan AU - professortennant

He was absolutely besotted. Staring at the figure on the stage in front of him, his seat in the front row near the middle, he was completely captivated by her.
Everyone knew Jean Beazley, of course, her name was synonymous with talent, wholesomeness, virtue, theatre (said with an exaggerated ea); a country girl who made it big in Melbourne, toured the country, and was even invited to perform on the West End by talent scouts who had seen her in Sydney. A local girl who stayed true to her roots in the town she grew up in; even Lucien, long absent for decades, knew of Jean Beazley. 
But he didn’t expect her to be so… lovely. 
He had to meet her, and was first out of his seat when the house lights came on so he could get back to her dressing room and introduce himself. Cec ushered him through a side door near the boxes to make the journey quicker, and he thanked the man in earnest, promising him a drink later. 
His hands were sweaty and his heart racing, and he had no idea why, but he knew he just had to meet her. 
~

She was much smaller than he expected.
“Lucien Blake” he said, extending his hand to her at the door of her dressing room.
“Jean” she said, taking his hand and shaking it, firmly but briefly. Close up and in the normal light of day she was even lovelier than before, and so very real, standing before him like they were just two ordinary people meeting for the first time. 
“Marvellous performance” he said. “Outstanding, really”
He was fumbling. He wanted to say so much but was trying not to spook her away from talking to him. And he was far too in his own mind to get a read on her.
“Thank you” she said, gracious. “I’m glad you enjoyed it so much”
“I’m sorry to say, I have never seen you on stage before, but that was certainly my loss. Tonight was just… wonderful”
“You’re very kind” she said, almost blushing. “Have you been in town long, Lucien?”
“Only a few days” he replied. The air felt easier to breathe the longer they spoke. She started to move back into her room, and indicated he should follow so she could close the door behind him. There was nobody else in the corridor, but they would come soon enough to hand flowers and cards, and ask for her autograph.
“Are you by any chance related to the late Doctor Blake?” she asked, taking a seat at her dressing table. 
“My father” he replied, placing his hands in his pockets, standing nearer the door. 
“I am sorry to hear of his passing. He was a kind man” she said. She looked genuinely sorry for him, and Lucien was reminded of why she was so cherished by her audience; a small town farm girl, a regular at church no matter how famous she got, and a war widow raising two boys alone at a time when that was tough enough without reporters at every door. Everyone said she handled life with grace and good faith; everyone applauded her for that as much as for her acting prowess. Ballarat was simply beside itself to claim home to her whenever she wasn’t touring. In her gaze he could see the sincerity, and he was taken by her all over again.
“Thank you” he said, and meant it. “I’ll be seeing his patients until other arrangements can be made”
“You’re a doctor too?”
He nodded at her. Her eyes seemed suddenly alight with interest. It was disarming to be the object of her attention, when only minutes ago she had been holding him in the palm of her hand under the lights of the stage. The role reversal felt rather intimate. 
“Will you stay in town for very long?” she asked, her voice soft.
He looked at her, and noticed she was small in her seat, her finger running over the seam of her dressing gown. She looked rather girlish, and not at all like the commanding presence he expected from world-class actresses. 
“I’m not sure” he said. He watched her straighten her spine, the gravitas back in her gaze in an instant, though softer this time. “I suppose I’ll have to see what’s here to stay for” 
She got a look on her face, almost a smile, and said, “Well, perhaps if you’re here long enough you can come back and see me again on stage some time”
He smiled back, aware of the thumping of his heart in his chest. 
“I’d like that” he said. “I’d like that very much”
~

He was absolutely besotted, watching her walk out to take her curtain call. She was radiant, blushing under the adoration of a crowd on its feet before her, the roar of applause taking over anything else. She bowed with her costars, and then they all took a step back to let the leading lady have her due. She bowed again, beaming as she looked from the front seats to the back row high in the rafters.
Her young sons sitting in the seat next to him were raucous with praise; seeing their mother work was a rare treat for the boys, who would ordinarily be home in bed at this time of night. She smiled at them, laughing at the way they bounced around and shouted echoes of the crowd’s praises. She blew them a kiss, which made them both smile with delight and cackle between themselves. 
And then she turned to Lucien, her eyes bright with joy, placed one hand over her heart with a smile and tears in her eyes, and blew him a kiss too. He returned her smile, and clapped harder and louder in her direction with a look on his face of pure devotion. 
Everyone had eyes for her, but she only had eyes for him, and he knew that made him the luckiest man on earth.

 

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The fear in Doctor Harvey’s grey eyes is clear cut and slides deep into his soul. Matthew knows that it is deeply silent around them, yet the rushing of blood and the Doctor’s laboured uneven breathing drowns out any other sound. He has to watch helplessly as the man presses the barrel more closely against her temple, his other hand sliding up her stomach. Her whimper will replay in his mind and haunt his dreams till the day he dies. It is his fault she might die. He will never forgive himself. - cookie-moi

The man is manic, nearly wild. For a brief moment he waves the gun around, gesturing, and during the split second it isn’t resting at Alice’s temple Charlie steps from the shadows behind him and hits him over the head with a crowbar.
The man releases her with a grunt, falling to the side unconscious. Later, they will write it off as reasonable force; argue that they would have shot him if they’d had a clean angle, and the man will die from his head wound as an unclaimed pauper, and nobody will much care.
Matthew isn’t thinking about any of that now. The moment she is released Alice lurches forward towards him, and Matthew is there, cane be damned, to catch her. A sob breaks through her and she clings to him - this was closer than the time she was almost strangled, and more terrifying than anything in her childhood, not least because… she has so much to say to him. To the man who’s arms are around her, mindful of her torn and bloody dress, as he shushes her and holds her head close to his chest and keeps his balance despite the fact she’s trying to claw into his skin just to be closer, to have more, more heat, more comfort, just more.
They’ve never been this close before; never felt each other’s curves and angles the way they can in such a tight embrace, and despite the circumstances and all the things still left to say, it feels… like home.

 

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Lucien/Jean miserable at a wedding au... - olafurneal

“Can you explain to me again why we are here?”

“Oh Lucien, behave” 

He slumped down in his bar stool, a miserable look on his face as he planted his chin in his hand and his elbow on the bar, and swirled the scotch around his glass like he might find solace inside it. 

Jean sipped prettily on her champagne, looking out to the room, leaning back against the bar right next to him so that her hip touched his side. Honestly, she was feeling quite forlorn herself, watching the revelry and the dancing, hearing the squeals of laughter. Everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time, and she knew they should be as well, but at the same time they were bereft.

Looking at the bride she couldn’t help but feel a little uplifted - it was a bittersweet feeling though, and she turned around to lean on the bar next to Lucien, matching him like a mirror so she could stare into his eyes in commiseration. 

“It won’t do for the two of us to be so mopey” she said, but made no effort to move. Lucien pouted (he was just drunk enough to make such expressions) and threw back the entire remnants of scotch in his tumbler, resuming his pouting once he’d done so. 

“We should be happy for her” continued Jean, nudging him with her shoulder. He harrumphed, and nodded, and then looked at Jean with eyes that looked like they could sprout tears at the drop of a hat. 

“It was bad enough when she said she was leaving to come work here” he said, his voice choking up. “But now she’s gone and married some bloody Pommy doctor, she’ll never come home” 

Jean hid her laughter by biting her lip, but nodded in agreement all the same. They planned their European holiday around being in London on this exact date - Lucien’s way of ensuring Jean saw as much of the world in one fell swoop as humanly possible, which she allowed because she adored him and she knew it was his way of adoring her. It had been world-altering, really, to flit around the globe like they had done, yet he had spent two days in Paris and another in Rome feeling out of sorts that their dear sweet Mattie would be seemingly rooted forever in England. It was like losing a limb, and she couldn’t begrudge him that. 

She tipped back the last finger of champagne in solidarity, and then threw her arms around his shoulders, allowing him to pull her into a hug where she stood against his side. He held her tightly and she rubbed his back, comforting him. 
Then seemingly out of nowhere, like a vision in gorgeous white lace, Mattie bounded over to them and hugged them both in her arms. 

“My favourite Australians” she drawled, tipsy, her accent already slipping to let in a hint of the British. “Did I tell you my most wonderful news?” 

“What’s that?” asked Lucien from his hiding place in Jean’s shoulder. 

“Timothy has agreed that once his residency is done we should look into postings at Australian hospitals” 

Lucien’s head flew up, nearly knocking Jean clean out. “What?” 

“That’s right” she said, grinning widely and nodding at him in excitement. “He wants to come and live in Australia for a time. See what kind of people raised the woman I love, were his exact words” 

Without warning, his eyes wide, Lucien pulled Mattie into a crushing hug. She squeaked and then hugged him back, and laughed at Jean over his shoulder. Not that Jean was much of an ally, she was almost crying herself. 

“Please come and visit us in Ballarat” said Lucien, not yet letting her go. Mattie’s smile softened, and her body eased into him, allowing his hug to overcome her completely, like coming home. 

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world” she said. And with that Jean threw herself over them both, the tears finally falling. 

 

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There is no doubt that Matthew would give any man a stern talking to during the day whose eyes were lingering just that second too long, whose passion would set everything aflame around him, who’d look at a lady like he was undressing her. There was a right time and place for that, and only if the object of desire was aware of it. And late in the day, in the middle of the station and with an oblivious Alice Harvey finding herself unknowingly being coveted was definitely not it. - cookie-moi

 

The Sergeant visiting from Bendigo had no idea what hit him when Lawson bailed him up in the hallway of the watch-house and said, in no uncertain terms, that any conduct of that nature was not welcome in Ballarat, do I make myself clear. It spread like wildfire around the station, of course, and while two young Constables were pondering what had prompted such an outburst, Alice walked past and quickly put two and two together. 
She was mortified, but not surprised. She had come to expect that sort of thing. Her own dirty laundry was aired in that very station about the kind of conduct she had been subjected to in her career, and though it still cut deep, she knew how to heal those wounds quickly and move on. 
But it was sweet to hear that Matthew had gone to bat for her so vehemently. He was a good man; a little rough around the edges, his spirit battered after the accident, but nevertheless he was a kind and thoroughly decent man. She told Matthew as much, having no idea the exact words the Sergeant had said, when they walked out of the station late one afternoon, both headed to the Blake home for dinner. 
A man should only say that sort of thing to your face, he said, watching the ground in front of him as he teetered on his cane. And only if you’re okay with it
She watched his face, with its frown of concentration and consternation; watched him gesture her to walk ahead of him even as he struggled with a step; she watched the easy way he insisted she be treated with respect even when she wasn’t in the room. Under the friendly guise of taking his arm, she helped him the rest of the way, offering support whether he needed it or not, just as he had done for her.  

 

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oh god i'm trash but jean x lucien 18. waking up with amnesia au - waltersskinner

 

He was terrified at first. Names and dates, the last piece of jewellery they exchanged, the reason he was sitting at her bedside in the hospital in the wee hours of morning; she couldn’t remember any of it. She woke slowly, confused and frowning, called him “Doctor Blake” the way she did in the first few days of their acquaintance, before he insisted on first names. She was scared and disorientated, and the way she looked at him made his heart clench with pain. Under the soft lights of the dark hospital, he saw their whole future flash before him, gone in a blink along with her memories. And all because of a bloody case.

When she woke the second time in the morning, she was a little less confused; she accepted with relative ease that she was missing things, and that somewhere along the way they’d gone from employer and employee to… people who held hands. With matching rings. She listened as the doctor explained the waiting game they had to play to see just how bad it was and whether her memories would return, and she accepted his arms as a safe place to cry at the diagnosis. She looked him in the eye and told him she believed the version of history he told her, much as she couldn’t remember any of it, and there seemed to be a resignation in her, to abide by their marriage even if her mind couldn’t remember she loved him.

He was terrified at first, that after everything they’d been through he had lost her once more. 

And then suddenly it all became rather funny. 

He drove her home to be under his supervision, and watched as she marched inside and immediately into his bedroom to place her things, her feet carrying her like muscle memory.

She stopped short. He watched with bemusement as she took stock of her location, and the book by the bed she was midway through reading, and her hair brush on the dresser. 

She turned to him, one eyebrow raised. “I had intended to go to my room to change” she said, giving him a look like it was his fault she was standing at the foot of his bed. “But I suppose my subconscious knows more than I do” 

He smirked, trying not to laugh at her, and just shrugged. 

Later, when she was re-familiarising herself with the kitchen, she took stock of the two roasts in the fridge and levelled that same look at him. 

“Should I ask why I need two roasts in the fridge when one would suffice, or is it only going to annoy me to know?”

He laughed at her - at the way she scolded him without even knowing why she was - and the familiar cadence of Jean being irritated at him made him forget for a moment that things were far from fine. He had to prepare himself for distance again; brace for impact when she told him she didn’t want to be with him anymore. Part of her remembered him, true, but her mind was stuck in the past where she mourned Christopher and couldn’t see beyond her church and her structured morals. Her most recent memory of him was his father’s funeral, when they’d stood beside one another as near strangers and mourned a man they knew so differently. He had to be mindful not to overstep as she decided just what their shared future would look like. 

That evening they sat together on the couch, close but not entwined, the television on as a nice distraction, and Jean leaned over the side of the couch and retrieved her knitting from the basket she had had there. It was a child’s cardigan, small and pretty, just right for little Amelia who was coming on three. 

“I usually have my knitting over by that armchair there” she said, eyeing the configuration of the room. 

“Yes. You moved it”

She looked at him, and their proximity made the gaze rather intimate, barely any space between them. “Why would I do that?” she asked. 

His look softened, and he fought hard not to reach out and stroke her cheek, lest he spook her away. “Because we like to sit on this couch of an evening” he said. “Together”

Her eyes widened in understanding. She settled back into the couch, and their arms touched the rest of the night and he didn’t move a muscle, savouring it like a fine scotch.

That night they went to their room, and when he offered to go sleep in the spare room instead she refused him, insisting that everything should continue as normal even if she didn’t remember what normal felt like. She would be fine, physically, and perhaps she would regain everything about their life together and it wouldn’t be an issue. But even if she never did, she knew they had to continue to build a life together regardless, and she said as much. 

He didn’t like that one bit. All the earlier humour at her mild confusion melted away again. He was wound tight like a spring. 

“Jean, I don’t want you to feel obligated to stay with me” he said. The thought of sharing a bed with a woman who didn’t want to be there made him feel ill. Even if it was his wife. Even if it was Jean. He couldn’t look at her. 

“Lucien” she said, and she stepped towards him. She could see the way he ached for her, and she knew herself well enough to put some pieces together. “I married you for a reason” she said, taking his hand in hers. “I wouldn’t have done it lightly” 

His fingers squeezed hers, desperate to explain to her the mountains they climbed to get this far. 

“I feel safe with you” she said. Her voice was whisper soft and secretive, just the two of them alone. “I don’t remember why… not yet. But I know I can’t be imagining that” 

His eyes were suddenly full of tears, his free hand upon her cheek in a tender caress, and for a moment she understood how she could love him. She could see the depth of his devotion in the way he looked at her, and she wondered just how much it was hurting him to see her like this and know it might be forever.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you” he said, and without another thought she leaned into him and felt his arms go around her in a firm embrace, the space between them gone, faces buried in each other, seeking.

“You’re here now” she said.

“Always” he replied. She felt tears come to her own eyes then, and clung to him tighter. 

They got ready for bed in near silence, and got into bed at the same time. He turned out the lamp and they took a few moments for their eyes to adjust, to see the shape of each other in the dark. He stayed still, laying on his back listening to her breathe, and was startled when she rolled into his side, her forehead resting against the curve of his shoulder. He heard her take a deep breath in. 

“Are you… sniffing me?” 

Her giggle rang out in the quiet room. It made him smile. He looked down at her in the dark, making out the shape of her cheek, scrunched in a smile. 

“You smell…. familiar” she said. He knew she would be blushing. “Comforting”

His heart thumped hard and then settled for the first time in hours. “Smell is linked very closely to memory” he said. And then he was surprised when, instead of answering, she tugged at his hand to get him to raise his arm over and around her so she could snuggle into his side. Her head rested in the crook of his shoulder, and his hand landed respectably at her waist in order to hold her close against him. She placed her hand on his stomach, just under his sternum, and he held it there, his thumb absently stroking up and down against her skin.

He turned his head and placed a gentle kiss at her hairline, her eyes closed unconsciously, and suddenly they were sitting on a bus, she was wearing her blue dress, and her heart was thumping a rhythm that sounded like home home home

“I went to Adelaide” she said. She felt him go still beneath her, but he didn’t move. 

“You did” he said. 

“You followed me”

“I did” 

She paused, waiting for more to come. It didn’t, not really, but she distinctly remembered the gravity of that moment and all the details seemed superfluous in light of how monumental it was to have him sit next to her and hold her for the first time like he’d never let her go. 

“I remember us” she said, tears coming to her eyes. “I remember our beginning” 

He pulled her impossibly closer and placed a firm kiss against her forehead, and she could hear in his breathing that he had started crying again. She raised her head to look at him in the dark and then moved swiftly into his kiss, the two of them holding tightly to the possibilities of their future being a little brighter. He kissed her like she was an idol to be worshipped, and she kissed him like he might save her life. Somewhere inside she knew he had, and that only made it sweeter still to run her hand up into his hair and hold him close to her. 

They parted reluctantly, slowly, mindful not to take things too far too quickly. There was time enough for that, for the rest of forever. Tonight they would hold each other close and celebrate small victories.

“I promise to spend the rest of my life showing you why you made the right choice” he whispered, his lips brushing hers. 

She ran her hand down his face, wiping the tracks of his tears, mapping it to memory in the shadows of their bedroom. “I think I might already know that I did” she said, and the feel of his smile under her fingertips was just the first of many wonderful new memories she was so glad she could make with him.

 

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Matthew Lawson never has been a man of many words, actions had always come easier than elaborate speeches. Well, except if he had to give Lucien a dressing down or his anger overtook him when questioning a suspect. So when he walks into the Blake’s parlor he is left mute when Alice sits on the sofa, her shaking fingers crumbling a letter, silent tears running unforgivingly down her pale cheeks. So he just sits down quietly beside her, reaches out and carefully takes a hold of her cold hand. - cookie-moi

 

She didn’t move or even really acknowledge him, but she took the offered hand and held on, so he took that as his cue to continue to stay there by her side. Her sobs were silent, her lips pursed as though to hold herself together, but still her tears fell, and he knew she wasn’t in any position yet to tell him what was wrong. Gently, so as not to startle her, his other hand reached across to take the letter, and she let him, so he smoothed it over his lap and started to read.

Dear Miss Harvey,
It is with deepest sympathy that I write to you regarding your recent request. I can confirm a woman matching your description, living by the name Molly Harvey, aged forty-one years, was attended by staff here at Aradale Mental Hospital for a period of five years and seven months. Our records indicate Miss Harvey passed away due to natural causes in nineteen-fifty-eight. Her remains were interned at Ararat Cemetery thereafter.
Further details cannot be released without Doctor’s authority.
King Regards,
Registrar
Aradale Mental Hospital, Ararat

Matthew breathed deeply in, and tried not to make any noise of protest or distress when he breathed out again, knowing it would only add to Alice’s feelings of despair. The impersonal kind regards at the end made him irrationally angry, as did the cowardly lack of name in the sign-off, as though the person who typed this letter in their sterile office was hiding behind their position. He pushed down his own anger and focused on Alice, who didn’t move or ask for any reaction from him as he read the letter. He just squeezed her hand a little tighter to let her know he was there, and waited patiently for her make a move.

“Two years” she said, her voice choked and watery. “She’s been gone for two years and I had no idea”

Voicing that thought aloud only spurred on her tears, and she released a single sob, placing her free hand over her mouth. He let go of her hand then, in order to put his arm around her and pull her into a sideways hug. No amount of pitiful words could change what she was experiencing, so he didn’t try. From experience, sometimes the best cure was simply a shoulder to cry on, so he provided that and let her speak.

Her voice was soft, and entirely broken. “She was only an hour away from me”

He didn’t bother to correct her, that she had arrived in Ballarat the year after her sister had passed. It was still a cruel twist of fate that she would be just down the road, a quick drive on the highway or jaunt on the train, after years of no contact. There could be any number of reasons Molly was in the asylum in the first place; mental illness, or perhaps voluntary admission. None of them were good but maybe, with God’s grace, her time there wasn’t totally miserable.

“What must her life have been? To be committed to a place like that for so long?” She turned her head to look at him, her face red and blotchy and wet with tears. “How could I have let that happen?”

“No” he said, and pulled her back against him, his other arm wrapping around her fiercely. “You are not responsible for this. For any of it”

“I was her big sister, I was supposed to protect her” she said, and she sobbed again. Her hands balled into the front of his sweater, her face contorted in pain. He knew that feeling so well, and his thoughts immediately went to Vera. One day Alice would tell him the story of her childhood, and he would share his too, but right now they seemed to understand one another as kindred spirits, linked by their responsibilities to protect younger sisters from harm regardless of the details.

“You won’t know the full story until you go there and demand it” he said, knowing full well that she had several people at her back who would go with her. Lucien would insist, offering his unfair advantage as a male surgeon, and Matthew was resolved to go as well. No doubt Jean would come as moral support to them all, making at least a party of four. They would all go with her to demand the answers she so desperately needed. “But no matter what, it’s not your fault, and you are not to blame”

“A pauper’s grave” she said, pulling away just enough to take hold of the letter again. He left his arm around her shoulders. “In Ararat of all places. And natural causes - what does that mean, natural causes, that could be anything!” 

She was hysterical now, anger replacing her first reaction of grief. He was angry too, for her and the pain this caused, for her sister and the sorry lot she experienced. The letter said very little, but revealed so much. There was no way to paint it as a happy story; every angle he looked at it, Molly Harvey lived a sad life filled with loneliness and pain, and she eventually died alone in a strange city, buried in a pauper’s grave with no family to say goodbye. Matthew made a mental note to organise a headstone for her, maybe even a memorial stone in Ballarat that Alice could visit, just like Christopher Beazley. Somehow he would find a way to make Alice’s pain a little easier to bear.

“We will find out” he said, slowly and purposefully, taking her face gently between his two hands before dropping them to her shoulders, and then pulling her back into a hug. She sagged against him and allowed herself to accept his comfort.

She knew he would make it better, somehow, and he was resolved to prove her right. But for now he was content to hold her and let her grieve, knowing she would never be as alone as her poor sister; knowing she had so many people on her side, who would support her through her grief, love her in life, and miss her in death.

 

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26 - jean & Lucien: sitting on the same park bench au- savedher

“Shhhh” she hissed, not looking at him. “You’ll only make it obvious”

The bench squeaked and wobbled just a bit as he shuffled a tiny bit closer to her, trying not to look suspicious. She swallowed a giggle, biting her lip and looking down, and then she looked away from him altogether when it became obvious that watching him would set her off. He wiggled his bum just a little closer to her and she glared at him from the corner of her eye.

“Lucien. Stop it” 

He cleared his throat and rustled his paper, holding it up a little higher as though it wasn’t blatantly obvious he was trying to remain incognito. 

“They’ll never know. I could be anyone” he said. 

She rolled her eyes, still fighting giggles. “Yes, you’re very unrecognisable”

“It’s the hat” he fake whispered to her. “I’m in disguise”

Another peel of giggles burst forth and she hid behind her hand, hoping from a distance it merely looked like a cough. The bench had no back, and they were sitting facing opposite directions, not quite close enough to seem like they were together, though of course anyone who really gave them more than a cursory glance would recognise the two of them. 

“Which direction do you think they’ll come from?” she asked, not looking at him as she spoke just like he said to in the quick debrief in the car. It all seemed quite fun until she remembered that he once did this for a living; spying and sneaking. At least this was only a fact-finding mission and not an assassination, or she might not be laughing so hard. 

“The car park, I’d say” he answered.

“Hmmm yes. He can’t walk far on that leg” 

“Then again…” He turned the page of his paper, trying to make it seem like he was reading it, which of course he was not at all. “Perhaps she organised them a picnic” 

“Oh, Alice doesn’t seem the type” 

Jean remembered to look down at her knitting for a moment - the only prop she could remember to bring when Lucien was rushing her out the door - as if anyone would believe a woman came to the park by the lake to knit her winter mittens. 

“Maybe they didn’t even make it this far at all” said Lucien, and sounded genuinely unhappy about that. “Maybe she said no, and Matthew is in a pub somewhere licking his wounds” 

Jean risked a look at him with sad eyes. The idea made her equally forlorn. “No, surely she did. They’ve been dancing around each other for months” 

Lucien shrugged, not necessarily arguing the point so much as putting the idea out there as a possibility. After all, the most they knew about the situation was Matthew mentioning where he was going this afternoon. The last time he said he was picking up Alice for an outing it lead to Jean and Lucien sitting in the window of a tea and coffee place, staking out the cinema across the street for a hint of a hand hold or a cheek kiss, to no avail. 

“We danced around each other for years” he said, pointedly. 

“Don’t even go there” she replied, rolling her eyes. 

“Well, regardless, I’m having a lovely afternoon spending it with my wife” he said, and broke his own spy rule to look right at her and smile. 

She returned the look. “As am I. But I hope they show up soon; those look like nasty storm clouds over there” 

“Don’t worry my love. I won’t let you get caught in the rain” 

He grinned as he looked back at his paper and heard her snort at him, a wholly undignified sound that only conveyed just how silly she found him and this whole charade they were playing in the park on an otherwise lovely afternoon. They settled back into comfortable silence, him reading his paper and her doing her knitting, a vision of married bliss, and before long it wasn’t an act and they were enjoying their afternoon on a shared park bench.

Across town, in a single room flat on a leafy street, Alice laughed deep in her belly, and held the thin sheet over her body as she moved to sit up in her bed, reclined leisurely against her headboard.

“You told them what?”

Matthew emerged from under the same sheet, laying down beside her hip and grinning up at her from his place on her stolen pillow.

“That we were meeting in the park by the lake”

“In a park? And they believed you?”

She ran her hand over his hair, trying to push it back into some semblance of order, grinning at him and his silliness. 

“They believed the story about going to the pictures didn’t they?”

She laughed at him, her mouth almost closed like she was trying to hold it in. He was glad that she didn’t. He practically purred like a cat when she stroked his hair again, and she smiled tenderly at him. 

“This is better than a walk in the park” she said, unabashed and unashamed of their secret little arrangement. Her home was all her own but her bed was big enough for two, and if they occasionally had to sneak under the noses of their friends, it was all in good fun.

Matthew leaned over and kissed her hip. “You’re telling me” he said, cheeky and pleased. She rolled her eyes at him, but smiled all the same, and then shuffled back down into his arms to snuggle, just like always. 

 

Chapter Text

Alice stops in her tracks when she walks into the station. Clutching the file between her fingers she stares at the man standing in front of Lawson’s desk. She had thought that she might never see him again and yet here he is. Walking towards him with purpose she will not be detered, she will not be cowarded into silence by him. When she comes to stand beside him she holds her head high, only aknowledges Munro’s “Doctor Harvey” with his name. He used her, she won’t be fooled again.

“Alice.” Her name drifts over the parking lot, the dusky light giving them more privacy than she’d want. “I didn’t know we were on personal terms,” slowly she turns around and fixes him with a cold glare that betrays the anger burning in her mind, “Chief Superindendent.” He takes two steps towards her but stops when she lifts an eyebrow in warning. “I no longer have a title. It’s just Mister now.” She crosses her arms and shifts her weight. “Well, I do. And it is Doctor.” - cookie-moi          

 

She won’t let him in again; not after everything that happened then, and everything that has happened since. She is happy now; far happier than she ever was during their little arrangement. She feels wanted and special, instead of efficiently used and discarded. Whatever his feelings towards her, she has changed, and feels better for it, and won’t allow herself to slip back there again.

He may be back in town, but he will never be back in her bed.

He looks at her like he doesn’t recognise her, and maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he never considered this Alice, with her cold, brave stare of defiance. Maybe he never thought she was particularly strong, especially when it came to telling him ‘no’, and she wasn’t back then so why would he. She had caved again and again, and then endured his sneers over the exact conduct he had engaged her for, her walls going back up the minute she left the interrogation room.

But that’s the difference between Munro and Matthew. One never thought of her as capable, even when he knew better from firsthand experience, and the other always believed in her regardless of circumstances.

“Goodnight” she clips, final. She doesn’t linger to see his reaction; she doesn’t care. She turns on her heel and leaves him in that parking lot, knowing she is brave enough to stand up to him if he dares to follow her. Knowing that he won’t.

 

Chapter Text

The knock at his door comes unexpected at this time of night but Matthew isn't asleep. Neither is Lucien as he suspect and finds confirmed as his friend leans into the open space between door and frame. Judging by Lucien's face something bothers him and there will be work to do. Lucien swallows and then sighs. "I need your help, Matthew. I need to find someone. A woman." That gets Matthew's attention. "Dr Harvey's sister." And just like that Matthew knows there will be no rest for him anymore. - cookie-moi

Alice tells him the story in stilted half-sentences. Her father died in a way she never specifies, but Lucien has his suspicions anyway and doesn’t ask. She spent the rest of her teenhood buried in books, while her younger sister spent it anywhere but home. By the time Alice left for university in the city, they’d grown so far apart they hardly knew one another, and Lucien wonders if the secret of their father’s death was the sword of Damocles hanging between them, threatening to tear into the truth and expose all their family’s darkest corners. And so the sisters let each other drift away, and loved each other from afar. Too far.  
Suddenly monthly letters became no letters at all; every scant visit home Alice found her sister away somewhere else. Before long she had moved to Sydney, then to Perth, then apparently back to Swan Hill, but the reports never felt solid. 
She tells Lucien all this with glassy eyes and refuses to let the tears fall, but he can read her pain. She would like to know where her sister is now that mother is long gone and they are grown. She would like to think that in adulthood they could reclaim… something… of what was lost. But she shrugs away the suggestion and pulls them back to work before he can protest.

 

Chapter Text

  1. Alice has been used before. She is nothing but a woman in a man’s world. She has been used by neighbour’s son as a diversion for the shopkeeper to steal some candy, her friend in school being interested more in her homework than herself. A fellow student trying to leech of her skill, and to get into her dress, a creep with wandering hands just like Orton had been. All these men bleed into her self-defence, her childhood a dark pit of pain and abuse. The hands and comments never stopped.
  2. Munro had tried to get to Lucien, her fate of no importance to him. Each and everyone had used her when they could, with Lucien being the sole exception. He was a broken soul like her, a survivor of his past. She can’t get past the memories but she wishes she could. If she wants to be happy for once, to use this chance for respect and tender caring she needs to be able to let go and trust Matthew. She knows him, knows that he is an honest man, a good man.   
  3. She has seen him work, had listened to Lucien talk about him, has observed him caring for injured women and children. The rough policeman’s appreciation for Jean is true and honest. Still the fear of being made a joke, of being used for his amusement is ingrained too deep into her and she wonders if she could ever let him in. – cookie-moi

 

 She is sure of herself, in her own little world, constructed safely from books and medicine and rebuffing any advances that may compromise her reputation or limit her career. She is confident only as far as the exact walls and dimensions of her small corner of the universe afford her surety in her skills as a doctor. She feels safe, precisely because she does not test.

 Trusting Matthew - exploring the potential of the something that sizzles between them in the absence of their newly married friends… trusting Matthew is a very big test. They share quiet dinners that are not named, sequestered at the Blake house, seeking out companionship while the Blakes are exploring the world. She keeps coming over because they are two solitary souls who have somehow made a home in the shelter of their (much braver, in her opinion) friends, and the house is too big for one man to be alone for months. She knows they share that loneliness too. She cannot name the feeling; has never been in love to compare it too, never had such a close male friend to confide in before. She can’t name it, but she likes it, so she keeps coming back and hopes it will one day name itself.

 There is no pressure with Matthew; no expectation. He doesn’t sidle up to her on the couch, or lean in too close while they share the washing up, or use their social interactions as leverage when they inevitably work together. But he also doesn’t keep his distance either, comfortable enough to stand close to her while reading autopsy reports, or touch her hand to get her attention. It’s the same easy warmth he shows Lucien, their life-long friendship running deep, and she appreciates that he’s equally comfortable with her to do the same. And perhaps part of her is waiting for him to show different colours and prove her reticence justified. Perhaps, says a small voice, he is waiting for her guard to be down. Just like all the others. But no. Matthew takes her company in his stride. He makes quips in the office only she will understand, and smiles when she does, and then they laugh about it later when they make dinner side-by-side. He treats her with affection but not expectation, and that alone keeps her coming back to him week after week.

 He’s not much of a cook - just enough to get by and not starve to death - but he encourages her to try, and to not be deterred by the occasional burnt pastry. It’s just chemistry, really, he says one day while stirring a Bechamel sauce, and like that the penny drops. It’s just chemistry. Heat to a certain degree to allow for the molecular change, drop the temperature, turn the meat, stir the ingredients to prevent an adverse reaction. In a matter of a couple of weeks she is cooking him dinner on her own, beaming with pride as she serves it up at the kitchen table. Rose is there too, and Matthew claps (exaggerated but not unkind) and they both congratulate her on a job very well done.

 Later, when Rose has gone home and the two of them are watching television on the couch in companionable silence, he takes her hand in his, pats it affectionately, then raises it and kisses the backs of her fingers.

 “Well done on dinner” he says, his voice sounding so proud of her, but she’s far too taken aback to respond right away. He looks at the wide-eyed expression on her face and just smiles in amusement, understanding that if she didn’t want to be there she would have left already. He turns back to the television but keeps her hand in his resting on his leg, not at all suggestive. Her first reaction is that he’s making fun of her; teasing her. But this is Matthew, and his hand is so warm wrapped around hers, and his face still holds that same smile even as his attention is diverted.

 “Like you said” she rasps. “It’s just chemistry”

 He looks at her again, his smile softening around the edges, eyes flicking very briefly to her lips and back to her eyes, but he doesn’t move.

 “Yeah. Exactly” he says, and when they both look back to the screen she shuffles against his side and rests her head on his shoulder, and they don’t move until it’s absolutely imperative that she get home. And she realises, as she’s driving familiar streets, that she doesn’t need to wonder if she can let him in. She already has. And it feels wonderful. 

 

Chapter Text


Housekeeping:

Aside from habit, there are practicalities to consider. No, she’s not technically employed as his housekeeper anymore, but the floors still need mopping and the cabinets still need dusting, and the cooking still needs to be done every night.
She doesn’t like the idea of paying someone else to keep her own house, but equally she cannot live in a pigsty.
The sound of the vacuum going when she gets home from the shops is new.
It turns out her dear husband has a better solution. And he never once grumbles that he’s too over-educated for a spot of cleaning.

Gardening:

Watching her tend the plants is as soothing as sipping a cup of tea on a cool night. She’s methodical, meticulous, and efficient. Every bulb is given its due, every root cluster tenderly broken into its new pot. Gardening is her own science, and he finds it fascinating and somewhat erotic to watch.
But mostly he just loves the sound of her voice as she tries and fails to explain the intricate needs of each plant as it pertains to the Ballarat climate.
She eyes her begonias, her gaze shining with pride; she’s the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen.

Accounts:

When he gave her reign of the household expenses years back, it showed a level of trust in her she took personally. Never mind that he didn’t have a head for accounts; that it would have led to his eventual ruin if she didn’t take over his books.
Now that they’re married, she makes him sit down with her, just the once, to arrange the incoming and outgoing expenses.
“I trust you” he says, trying to wave it away.
“It’s not about trust, Lucien. It’s about transparency”
Which is how they end up fighting, and then snogging, over her wages.

Experiments:

She likes that he likes to include her. Yes, the work is usually fascinating, reminding her of high school chemistry and biology. But often she’s caught watching him, and the way his face gets brighter when a solvent reacts strangely to a crime scene sample, or a blood type doesn’t match.
He’s like a child, sometimes, with his openly curious face and obvious delight.
She loves him so much.
“Sorry, I don’t think I quite got that, can you explain it to me again?” she asks, with a serious face.
And so he does. And she watches him light up.

Bedtime:

They lived side by side for so long that she knew certain discoveries were long passed; bed hair, favourite dinner dishes, even the way they cuddle on the couch watching television. Other kinds of affections are expected and wonderful, and in a league of their own.
But then came the unexpected encounters; things she never considered.
That he always prefers the left side of the bed, closer to the window.
That he does snore, but only on his back.
That sometimes his nightmares aren’t nightmares at all, a soft Jeannie passing through his lips as he smiles in his sleep.

Intimacy:

She is not superstitious per se, but he learns quickly that certain things do not go by her unnoticed or unsaid.
They never go to bed silent anymore; even if she is so cross with him her ears steam, she always says goodnight before sleeping.
She always kisses him good morning, the first to rise for the day.
She reminds him to brush his teeth, and then smooches him with minty breath.
And she runs her left hand through his hair when his head is pillowed on her naked stomach, and smiles at him, and tells him she loves him.

 

Chapter Text

 

1. Jean/Lucien + wedding night  (professortennant)

[one matching his &hers smut drabble set coming right up. 100 words each]

She’s on fire. The warmth of the March evening air, the heat of his body pressed against hers, the flex and release of muscles as they move; she is burning up, and her only relief comes when his breath ghosts over the sweat on her skin.
She knew it could be like this. She remembers being eighteen, nineteen, in love. But it’s been so long that it might as well be the first time all over again.
He pulls back and looks her in the eye, and she realises this is different. Because it is him. She kisses him hungrily.

~

He made sure to savour her fully before divesting himself of his pants, for this exact reason. His resolve is slipping and any minute he’s going to lose the strength to keep holding on. He rolls them so she’s on top, and the change of angle slows things down just a bit; just enough.
Now he can look at her, really look, as she sits up and meets his gaze. She takes his hands and places them where she wants them; everywhere. His own hunger is reflected back at him. His love too. He pulls her down, his kiss searing.

  1. April in Paris (redthread98) / a romantic night out in Paris (waltersskinner)

[~PG. Double drabble for the double request]

“I’ve never been to Paris with somebody” he says as they’re walking back to their hotel arm-in-arm. She’s read about it, of course; the ancient cream-coloured streets; the flatness of the city; the decadence of wine at every meal. But Paris is exactly as she expects it to be, and she is struck with wonder and awe.
“So this is new for both of us, in a way” 
He stops her mid-stride, turns her towards him, cups her cheeks with his hands. He kisses her so slowly she forgets to breathe, and so softly she melts into him. 
“Very new” he says with a smile.
They walk along the river towards Notre Dame, the cathedral imposing in its landscape, and for a moment it makes her sad. Except that Lucien is pulling her towards a street painter, picking up a watercolour unlike anything she’s ever seen, and paying the man more than it’s probably worth. 
They walk a little further and then stop to watch the pink sunset. She tucks herself inside his jacket.
“What’re you-?”
“I’m chilly” she says, and looks up at him with an adoring smile. He kisses her again, his reverence for her beyond any cathedral.

  1. L&J, Sunday afternoon baking (they get flour everywhere) (lucienblakes)

He’s sifting flour into the bowl for her when she sees it has gone, quite literally, all over the bench.
“Are you going to clean that up?” she asks, one eyebrow raised.
He moves the bowl, cups his hand next to the bench, and swipes all the flour into it. He has a glint in his eye that she doesn’t trust.
“Don’t you dare-
It’s too late. He dumps the lot right through her hair, giggling like a schoolboy.
“Lucien Blake” she screeches. She knows she won’t win, but she takes a handful and retaliates anyway. She doesn’t regret it.

  1. What about Jean/Lucien waking up in their bedroom at home together for the first time (waltersskinner)

[I made the assumption they didn’t leave for their honeymoon for a day or two.]

He gets the distinct impression, while he’s drifting into consciousness, that he’s being watched. The room still smells of old books and them, he’s naked under the covers, and just as he’s about to open his eyes he feels a hand on his cheek, soft and familiar.
She always was an early riser.
He opens his eyes to her then. She’s a vision. Head perched on her hand, elbow digging into her pillow, hair in total disarray; she is an absolute apparition of every one of his fantasies come true. He smiles, closes his eyes again, and pushes his face further into her palm.
He hears the rustle of the sheets as she moves, just before he feels her lips on his, gentle yet demanding. Wake up, it says, wake up and face our first morning as husband and wife.
It has him surging into her with his hand on the back of her neck, his body angling to push her back into the pillows. He looks as overcome with joy as she feels.
“Good morning Missus Blake” he drawls lowly, forearms cradling her head, noses touching.
“Good morning husband” she whispers back.
She’s smiling when he kisses her again.

Chapter Text

 

  1. l/j prompt: breakfast in bed (disturbingclarity)

It’s not until they get home that she realises just how spoilt she was on their honeymoon. Aside from her husband’s attentions, the little things became habit – room service, doormen, bell boys, taxis and drivers. Never one for the deadly sin of gluttony, Jean Blake became thoroughly used to being doted on.
When he gently nudges their bedroom door open with a tray in hand (simple eggs on toast with a rose from her garden sat on the side) she is overwhelmed. Just as she was getting used to normal, he goes and proves she has a new normal now.

 

  1. Matthew reflects on the love he once felt for Jean as she dances with her husband. (anon)

Nearly everyone was mildly in love with her, but Matthew remembers being distinctly jealous of Christopher back in the day. Jean was the best catch in town, and he wanted that love for himself. Now his jealousy takes a different form. Wistful, rather than longing. Lucien is his oldest friend and Jean is his oldest crush, and the fact they found each other – can look at each other like that while folded in each other’s arms… he knows he and Jean were never destined.
Lucien kisses her cheek softly, reverently, and she smiles.
Matthew wants just a fraction of that.

 

  1. Lucien and Jean cutting their wedding cake (anon)

They’re holding each other tight from knee to shoulder, his arm around her back, when they both place one hand each on the handle of the disposable scalpel. Alice is grinning wildly at the sight, proud of herself, and Matthew is clapping slowly with a smirk, getting the joke.

“It’s going to take forever, cutting the cake with this” says Jean through a giggle. Lucien guides her hand as they cut through the side of the cake in a perfect vertical line. It hits the bottom and he pulls her into a kiss, both smiling, applause echoing up around them.

 

  1. Jean & Lucien + Stargazing (whatsasophie)

He wakes just after midnight. The other side of the bed is cool, empty. There’s a soft breeze in the room.
She’s standing on the tiny balcony overlooking the Eiffel Tower, head tilted back to look at the sky, wearing nothing but a soft white robe. She doesn’t start when he steps up behind her, his arms snaking around her waist.
Old habit… looking for the Southern Cross.
He merely hums into her neck.
Different stars. Same sky.
He squeezes her tighter, not sure where she’s gone.
But regardless, I’m looking at it with you.
She leans further into him.

Chapter Text

"something goes wrong on their honeymoon trip (mixup at hotel or somesuch)" - savedher

It’s not what Jean imagined when Lucien described their accommodation as “overlooking the Tiber River”. A miscommunication with their hotel (namely, that the hotel didn’t have one single room left for them) sent him into a brief desperate panic. There were other hotels in the area, of course, but he promised her river views and romance. Lucien Blake did not want to risk getting a dump at the edge of town, especially with his new wife in tow. Rome was their fourth destination, having already covered Edinburgh, London and Paris, and no matter how much she assured him that she wouldn’t be divorcing him over a silly hotel mix-up, Lucien was determined to set it right. To make up for it, even though it wasn’t really his fault.

And then, like an angel appearing from heaven, a gentleman approached them at the hotel counter. He was a bit casually dressed compared to those in Ballarat, but he was clean and well-mannered, and spoke beautiful English with a charming Italian lilt. He offered them a solution, like something from a fairy-tale. They, of course, accepted at once.

And so now she stood on a small wrought iron balcony, accessible only by climbing out the kitchen window of a studio loft. The flat was nestled in a back alley, set a block away from the river, and if she strained her eyes around the building next door she could make out the round top of Castel Sant’Angelo just to the north. It was a small flat – probably about the size of a decent hotel suite – but comfortable and clean, and perfectly situated for exploring the Roman streets. Though not a typical accommodation arrangement, there was wine for them to drink and a deli selling cured meats and fresh veggies just downstairs. It was a tiny slice of old Italy in the heart of the city, and it was theirs for the next seven nights.

Their saviour had given them each a firm handshake, halved the price of a standard hotel room as his nominal fee for the arrangement, and told them they could eat and drink whatever was in his cupboard so long as they savoured every bite. You must spoil your new wife, my friend. And me? I will find another bed with a beautiful woman in it.

He offered no further explanation for his kindness. It seemed odd, and slightly suspicious, to accept such an offer from a stranger, but they did anyway. Because after all, angels come in all different forms. And they had never been ones to shy away from a little danger.

From behind her she heard Lucien grunt as he stepped up onto a chair, and she reached her hand back through the window to steady him while he scrambled out with her. She laughed when he huffed, finding his feet on their tiny rooftop balcony. Then he leaned back through the window and produced two glasses of rich Chianti, offering one up to her with a flourish.

At her sceptical look he smirked and said, “When in Rome”

And so she laughed at him and accepted the glass, taking a tentative sip. A cool breeze whipped up. It caught her hair, which had lost its curl since their train ride from Paris. The strands flicked naturally about her face, and she shook her head to rid them away. In his short-sleeve shirt, linen slacks, and with one hand casually in his pocket, she thought Lucien could very easily fit in here, a dashing rogue with a soft heart relaxing in an ancient European city.

“You look very handsome” she said, because she could now. Because she liked complimenting him, and seeing him happy and tranquil.

“You are a vision” he countered. There was not a hint of teasing in his voice. Leaning back against the railing behind her, her dress loose and comfortable, the wind carrying a hint of cold, she felt like the most decadent person on earth. They were like something from a romantic film, or a classic painting.

She took another sip of the Chianti, not sure yet if she liked it. Lucien just watched her, captivated, and she turned bashful under his look, disarmed every time she saw the depth of his love for her written on his face. He was so expressive, and so obviously besotted. One day she might get used to it, but on a tiny Roman balcony at dusk, she was just overwhelmed by the whole adventure that led them here.

Gesturing with her glass at the world set before them, with a sheepish grin she said, “It’s a little unorthodox”

He broke out in a boyish smile. “I love it”

She laughed. “Of course you do”

He stepped up next to her, the two of them resting their forearms on the iron rail and looking out at the city in the setting sun. He took her free hand in his, kissed the back of it, and entwined their fingers, resting their arms back on the rail while he held her hand. They both took another sip of their drinks and the silence between them was kindred and comfortable. Somewhere in the skinny street below them a woman shouted in Italian. A man answered just as vehemently. They smiled.

Jean felt like she was living in a dream. She leaned her head against Lucien’s shoulder with a happy sigh, and he turned his head and planted a kiss in her hair. When in Rome¸ she thought, love your husband passionately and drink wine slowly.

It’s not what she expected when he said their accommodation overlooked the River Tiber. But she had come to love all the ways her life with Lucien Blake surprised her.

Chapter Text

Little challenge for you! Put your music player on random and write 5 little ficlets for 5 songs. You are allowed to skip two times. :) – cookie-moi

I didn’t even have to skip once to get this mix, you can’t make this shit up, just look at the story progression my iTunes bestowed on me! Lucien/Jean, Matthew/Alice, 250 words each :) Enjoy!

 

~ Beyond The Sea – Robbie Williams ~

He stands still as a tree on the wooden docks, a full two hours before boarding time, waiting for the gangway to open and allow him to board the ship back to Australia. He took a plane to get to China – it seemed more than worth it, splashing out on the airfare in order to get to his daughter for the first time in years. It was worth all the money in the world, really. Time heals a lot of wounds, but the frantic energy coursing through him once he knew she was alive would have made a two week boat ride untenable.
But he’s seen Li now; held her, and met her child, and realised once and for all that she is all grown up and doesn’t need him. It hurts, but he’s trying to accept it, and taking the boat home is a good chance to find his equilibrium again.
He looks out at the water and thinks about home; not just the feeling, but the actual place, where he will put down his roots and build a life in the shadow of his father. He thinks about all the running he has done; miles and miles across the world, only to end up right back where he started. He thinks about Jean, and the letter he left her before leaving, guilty at not seeing her before driving away. He thinks about the look on her face when they meet again, and he hopes it is a smile.

 

~ Man In The Mirror – Michael Jackson ~

He spends the entirety of their honeymoon proving that he can be better. Not just in the romantic gestures; the room service or the foot rubs, or the way he makes love to her so slowly they take hours. And not just in the holding of doors or buying her Hermes scarves near the Eiffel Tower.
She can see the change in him, since before Christmas, like he is trying every day to be the best version of himself; like he is self-aware and testing waters. After their encounter in the church graveyard he drinks less, is quiet more, smiles as he watches the people around him like he’s truly seeing them for the first time.
She takes his face between her hands in their hotel bed in London, their naked bodies pressed together, and looks him deep in the eye.
“You don’t have to prove anything to me” she says.
He kisses her, gentle but sure.
“I have to prove myself worthy of you every day”
His voice is hoarse; certain.
“Don’t make me your keeper” she replies. She doesn’t mean it harshly, but despite the meaning behind their vows she doesn’t want the responsibility of being the only thing keeping him steady, or his reason for betterment. Even if she is; even if he is hers.
“You’re not my keeper, Jeannie” he says, his fingers tracing her brow. “You’re my litmus test. If I can make you proud…”
“You do,” she says, smiling. “Always”
She kisses him again.

 

~ Brother – Kodaline ~

There are days he forgets Matthew Lawson has not always been in his life. Childhood friends who drift apart so rarely come back together again, and though their relationship now is somewhat defined by their work, they are kindred spirits too.
From the moment he threatened to kick his arse over a glass of scotch, the obligatory warning from a Best Man, Lucien knew Matthew would never again be lost to him. He’s his touchstone, in a way Jean can’t be (because they are in love. Because love is blind). Matthew isn’t clouded; despite how much they care for one another, he can be the one to make Lucien see reason above all else.
So it feels only right that Lucien return the favour, when he notices the lingering looks and fleeting touches between his two colleagues. Whatever happened in the four months of his honeymoon it wasn’t enough, and Lucien is determined to set it right, the way Matthew would do for him in the same situation.
“Alice and I… we like each other’s company” says Matthew. “It’s just dinner. That’s all”
He sounds wistful, maybe even a little sad. Lucien’s heart goes out to his friend, and he claps him on the shoulder gently.
Alice said the same thing, in the same resigned way.
“You told me once that Jean chose me” says Lucien, voice soft.
“It isn’t like that-”
“My dear friend…”
Lucien catches Matthew’s eye, smiling.
“Why don’t you give Alice a chance to choose you?”

 

~ Dog Days Are Over – Florence And The Machine ~

She is struck by how damn happy she is. Not that Jean was particularly melancholic before, but in the aftermath of their marriage, when the new glow has dimmed to a faint glitter, when their lives and routines have settled back into a new normal, she still wakes up more mornings than not with a distinct feeling of contentment settled in her chest.
Lucien notices. He catches her humming sometimes; pulls her into kisses and makes her dance with him in the living room just because they can. And he looks happy too. Gone is the frenetic energy, and in its place is a man who learned to find meaning in stillness. They are both uncontrollably joyful, and some days she just doesn’t know what to do with it after so long getting by.
She says as much to him one night as he slips into bed next to her. She’s propped against the headboard, book forgotten on her lap.
“Well” he says. He grunts as he flops on his back under the covers, shuffling. “We’ve got a lot to be happy about”
“But it’s not just that, is it?”
He looks up at her with questioning eyes.
“Oh we do, yes” she reassures. “We have… so much. Our life is… wonderful”
“And yet?”
“Well” she says, and takes his hand in hers, tracing his fingers. “There’s not much to be unhappy about, is there?”
He starts chuckling. “It makes for a nice change, doesn’t it?”
She just nods, grinning.

 

~ I Choose You – Sara Bareilles ~

Alice had just made up her mind to confront her feelings one way or the other when Matthew pulled the rug out from under her.
“Would you like to do dinner with me?”
“Of course”
“I mean… out?”

It made her pause, stop for a moment in the corridor of the police station, and look at him with wide eyes. They do dinner several times a week, but never out; never where other people can see and cast judgement on what exactly is going on.
She’s not exactly sure herself what is going on. 
But she accepts his invitation with a polite thank you and a smile.
She’s never been good at signals but she thinks she understands this one.
At once her mind panics; flashes expectations and judgement before her eyes in a tone that sounds spiteful. But just as quickly it settles again, and she considers the man rather than the situation. She imagines what romance between them would be like and their potential future looks… remarkably, wonderfully unchanged. She realises she wants it.
He looks nervous as he peruses the menu, and she takes a tentative sip of her wine.
“Matthew?”
He hums and looks up at her with a soft gaze and an almost-smile.
“Is this a date?”
It feels ridiculous to ask; by any conventional standards they’ve been dating for months.
“I had hoped…” he says, expression turning bashful, and her heart thumps in anticipation.
Their forever stretches before them.
She smiles shyly.
“Me too”

Chapter Text

a gift from someone who couldn't be at the wedding? - Anonymous

 

The box is waiting for them on the front stoop that night, when they’re both almost too tired and too drunk to notice it. Simple brown paper with the address written on the top, the postage paid direct onto the wrapping, it’s conspicuous in its simplicity. And it’s small, barely larger than a postcard.

It’s Jean who picks it up, just slightly more sober than Lucien, though he isn’t blind drunk (he doesn’t want any alcohol related performance issues, tonight of all nights, so he kept himself tidy throughout the celebrations and contented himself with remaining wrapped around his new wife instead. A different, better kind of drunk). 

“Mum” she reads, the only name on top of the box above the address. It’s any wonder the postman left it at all. That one word sobers her up, and they walk inside quietly while she picks apart the string holding the wrapping together. Lucien hangs next to her, curious about the gift and mindful that contact from either of her sons is fraught with emotion. They make their way inside, down the hall and into the living room to sit together on the couch, legs touching.

Inside the box is a letter and a cigarette case, which she immediately recognises. Lucien takes the letter out as Jean picks up the case, running her fingers over it softly. It’s gold, but tarnished, the simple engraved pattern on top worn down over the years. She turns it over and finds the dint she was expecting. 

Lucien hands her the letter and they swap items silently. He’s watching her all the while, waiting for her reaction, as she unfolds the paper and starts to read. 

“Mum” she says, and tears spring to her eyes at the sight of her younger boy’s handwriting. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there today. I hope your day is a joyful one all the same. That’s all I want for you” 

Lucien isn’t sure about that; if he truly wanted his mother to be joyful, Jack Beazley would have found a way to be in Ballarat for the wedding. But then he remembers the letters his father kept, returned to sender, and all the painful history they represent, and he knows the relationship between parent and child can be messy and contradictory, and so he tries to stamp down his derision. It’s not his place to cast judgement on the Beazley family, no matter that he’s almost one of them now; that’s their past to sort out, and their wounds to heal. All he can do is be there for Jean in the process and ease the pain when it arrives. He looks at the box again, and he thinks he knows who it belonged to.

Jean continues, oblivious to his mood, her voice thick with emotion but clear in delivery. 

“Dad gave me this case. It was his secret cigarette case, but I’m sure you knew he used to sneak them when he was out working. When he left for the war he told me, ‘The man who looks after your mother should always have this case with him’. I’m sorry I haven’t done a very good job of looking after you since then. You always looked after me so well, even when I didn’t deserve it.”

Lucien puts his arm around her and she leans into him, wiping the tears from her cheeks as she turns over the letter and reads the final part. 

“I wanted to pass this on to Lucien. You’ve got him to take care of you now, and I hope he does. I want you to be happy Mum, and I think he can do that for you. It’s been a long time and you deserve this. Tell Lucien from me, welcome to the family. Enjoy your trip away, and we’ll talk when you’re back. All my love, Jack”

They sit in silence for a moment, his arm around her, and she takes the box back out of his hand and turns it over, then opens it and laughs. Inside it’s stocked with new cigarettes ready to go. Jack knows how much she hates the habit, and Lucien hasn’t carried them in over a year. It’s a slight dig at them, but a funny one; she tries to take it in the best spirit. 

“Are you okay?” asks Lucien softly, rubbing her arm up and down. 

She looks at him with a smile - slightly broken and wistful, but a smile nonetheless. She cups his cheek with her palm, thumbs at his chin, and then coaxes him into a light reassuring kiss. 

“It’s his way of being okay with this” she says. That box was Jack’s pride and joy; the only token he received from his father. He wouldn’t have parted with it if he wasn’t being genuine in his attempt to reach out. 

“It’s more than I wanted or expected. And besides-” 

Her gaze turns playful; his turns teasing. 

“- nothing can possibly ruin my mood today. It’s my wedding day. I’m happier than I remember being in such a long time, being here with you, as your wife”

He smiles at her, taking her lead with this; if she is choosing to see this gift as an olive branch, he will too. And she’s right; not a soul in the world could put a lid on the ecstasy he feels when she refers to herself as his wife, (something they’ve been doing all afternoon). She looks positively giddy, their previous tipsy state creeping back in. 

He takes the box and sniffs the cigarettes dramatically. “They’re not a bad brand, either” 

She laughs at him. They place the gift to the side and return their attentions to one another. Their honeymoon started an hour ago, their ship leaves tomorrow, and all the time between is theirs for the taking. 

 

Chapter Text

She knows he loves her.

He’s never told her so, but she knows he does.

They’ve been steady for almost a year before she notices his silence, though it took them a good year before that of dancing around each other before she finally asked him to take her to the movies for the first time. (It was a long and arduous process, finding their feet as romantic partners, neither of them particularly apt at being mushy and demonstrative. But a movie seemed like a good place to start). Almost two years into their courtship and subsequent relationship, she finally notices that for all the sweet cards, and breakfast in bed, and lingering smirks over dead bodies, he’s never said out loud that he loves her. (Not that anyone around them needs to hear it to know. It’s patently obvious, and Lucien has hinted more than once that he expects a favour to be returned where it comes to being Best Man at their wedding).

They’re not inseparable, per se, but they have a tendency to spend almost all day together, waking at her flat, heading to work together, going home at night either back to hers or to the Blake’s for dinner first. It’s not that they can’t be apart from one another, but it works out that aside from hours spent in the morgue and the interview room, they are usually found together.

Nobody would willingly spend that much time with someone they didn’t like, she figures, and the way his fingers map her body betray that it’s far more than just like.

But he’s never said the words. Never let it slip into casual conversation or a farewell greeting. Never whispered three little words into the skin of her naked back as he kisses his way across it in the morning, no matter that he’s whispered a great many other things. (No matter that she hears it anyway).

She doesn’t miss it, but she does wonder. Is he afraid, she thinks, to break down that last barrier and be vulnerable? To admit to them both that this is more than a casual affair? Has he been hurt by love before? (Does he really want this forever, or just for right now?) He doesn’t seem the type to get distracted by the past, and she’d like to think she knows him well enough to judge such things, but this one question niggles at her because it’s confusing. Because it doesn’t fit with everything else she knows about this stern, kind, pragmatic man.

He isn’t reticent in his displays of affection for her, and speaks on her behalf the way a husband might, showing in tiny ways that he knows her best in return. (“Alice hates the beach”, “She’ll only kill a plant, just get her a good book instead”, “Go easy on the pepper, Alice isn’t a fan”). Words have always been meaningless to her unless they’re followed by actions, and he acts so much like a man in love that she knows it to be true.

But he still hasn’t said it. And it takes her one month after their one year anniversary to realise why.

He isn’t afraid.

He’s waiting for her.

Because she is afraid; because he pieced together enough of her story from Munro’s files at the office, Lucien’s careful references, and her own vague confessions in the dark of their room. Because despite knowing it to be true, she hasn’t said she loves him either. (He is a child of a broken home too. He’s a good Detective. He understands that sometimes people can fear their own feelings. He is a good man). She can be brave enough to ask him on a cinema date, and she can be bold when making choices about their weekend outings or dinner restaurants. She can look him in the eye and tell him to stay the night. She can tease him a little – just enough – over corpses, as they consult on cases, oblivious to Lucien’s wide smile at them both.

But for all she feels safe and in control in her relationship, she has never told him she loves him.

She’s never been in love before, but the few romance novels she read failed to mention it was so terrifying. To hold another person so closely; to know they are responsible for your happiness. She learned very young to guard herself, and then at twelve that latent bravery saw her protect herself and her sister so thoroughly she thought herself invincible. Let them see my wrath, she thought. Let the world know what a young woman looks like when her heart is locked away and her eyes are cold. Let me stay safe behind these walls.

When the realisation hits – when they’re sitting in front of her tiny electric heater, him watching the television with the sound down low and her reading a book with her feet in his lap as he strokes mindless circles against her ankle and toes – when she looks up at him in profile and her heart beats mine… it shocks her. And it settles her. It makes everything make sense even as the panic rises like bile in her throat.

She’s in love with him. And she has no idea how to tell him.

If he notices her mood that night he doesn’t say anything. He just treats her with reverence the way he always does, kisses her soundly before sleep, and then rolls to his side of the bed because he knows she gets too hot with him wrapped around her.

She spends half the night thinking on her revelation. Sometime near two-am it occurs to her that staying silent might cause him to simply leave, and then a whole different kind of panic rises. When they finally rouse in the morning she is curled around his arm and clutching to him in her sleep.

(He knows she loves him too. He’s happy to wait. He’ll wait forever if she needs).

A suspect gets violent in the station one day, pushing him down and striking her as he runs out the door, and for a brief moment it seems it might be enough for either of them to break the stalemate. Neither do. She checks the mobility of his leg and he runs a soft finger over the bruise on her cheek. They both look wide-eyed and worried. But they don’t speak.

And then it’s Christmas, and they all exchange gifts at the Blake house, and though she smiles into his kisses and he laughs at her dramatic reading of It ‘Twas A Night Before Christmas, they don’t say it then either. Not even when they drunkenly retire to his room (barely used these days; he’s always at her place).

When they watch the fireworks set off over the lake, he holds her hand tightly, the rest of their bodies hardly touching at all, and they turn to each other with soft smiles and exchange quiet happy new year, and nothing else is said. (The first of January is just another day. Neither of them gets a day off for it. Death doesn’t wait for public holidays).

It’s a mundane Saturday morning in the middle of summer, the remnants of the English breakfast he cooked them sitting on their plates, when she looks up over her book at him and the words just tumble out.

“I love you, Matthew” she says. Like she’s asking how the Ashes are going. Like she says it every time he has a free morning to cook for her. Like it’s not the most terrifying thing she’s ever done.

Her heart only starts thumping after she says it. He looks up at her over his paper. His grin looks nonchalant, but she knows him better than that. She knows she has changed his world.

He holds out his hand over the table and she takes it. He leans in, never breaking eye contact, and kisses the backs of her fingers. She smiles shyly at him. (Do it, her heart cries. Say it back. I said it, now you can too. I was brave. Please be brave for me).

“I love you too” he says softly.

It sounds like a prayer.

And just like that it’s another little habit they work into this life they are building together. Where before it went known and unsaid, now it’s part of the fabric of their daily routines and rituals, and she never knew how much she was missing it until she heard it when he left for work, when she came home, when they signed off personal phone calls just so the other person knew. Just to makes sure. (You can’t miss something you don’t have, she thought, except she did. She missed this. She’s beyond grateful to have it now. She wants this to be forever).

“I love that look” he says, shaking his head through a laugh as she tries and fails to bake shortbread for him, flour through her hair and on her cheek.

“I love that you know that” she whispers in his ear when he guesses correctly her favourite novel.

“I love that about you” he says in relation to her complete lack of sentimentality about her birthday. (And she knows that, coming from him, he doesn’t mean it in a condescending way, even if he still buys her a lovely new hat with Jean’s help).

“Let’s get married” he says as they share a park bench on a Sunday afternoon, throwing bits of bread at swans. He’s looking over the lake as he speaks, squinting in the sunlight, and his face looks like a scowl but she knows he’s just nervous. She ducks her head and smiles into herself, despite never really holding up the institution as much of anything. She can hear what he’s really saying. (I love you).

“Alright” she replies with a single nod. (I love you too). He takes her hand silently and that’s that. (They speak each other’s language, and that’s another little thing she never knew she missed. That’s another armament breaking down her carefully erected walls. It’s one more thing she loves about him).

 

Chapter Text

 

Michelin Star chefs were not supposed to like tex-mex street food. People who took their food seriously and worked their whole life to perfect complex sugar-spinning techniques shouldn’t want to feed the masses at take away food carnivals. And he was certainly stepping out of line when he chose to franchise his business, setting up his best friend and his wife with a van, cashing in on the popular spot outside the hospital. 

She tells him all of this over a $750 bottle of red wine that he had sitting under the grease trap of the food van sink. 

She can’t tell if he’s mocking her when he pours her a glass; the last review she’d written for him (back when he was still working on Collins St) was scathing. Cruel in many ways, devoid of tact as she obliterated his reputation and accused him of “settling”, becoming “mundane in his wine pairings” and calling his food “no better than what I feed my cat from a tin with a black label”.

She doesn’t even own a cat.

No matter her honest opinion, she still could have framed it better. 

She says as much to him as she takes a sip.

“It was true though” he says, shrugging. He looks as casual as if he were discussing the weather, and she starts, her eyes wide. 

He smirks at her a little bit. 

She gets the feeling he’s definitely mocking her. 

“It’s your job to be honest” he says, standing square. “And you were honest” 

“I was unfairly glib about a fellow professional” she counters. For all her bluster and standing as one of the best food critics in the country, the truth is she can’t boil an egg for herself. She epitomises the ‘those who can’t do, teach’ philosophy, and she’s a big enough person to admit when she overstepped. 

And maybe part of her feels guilty that perhaps her unkind words drove him - pun intended - to quit the top restaurant in the city and buy this grease-filled travelling street car. 

“Miss Harvey-“

“Alice” she insists. She’s been calling him Matthew for years. 

He nods a little. “Alice”

She tries to hide her smile behind the wine glass; tries to cover up the spark of affection she suddenly feels by taking a sip. 

“I don’t know if you know this, but being a chef is bloody tough work. It’s long hours over hot stoves, yelling at other equally strung out chefs who are probably high or buzzing or both. And while people enjoying the food is a highlight, there’s nothing to show for it at the end of the day” 

“Not to mention one bad review can make or break your business” she adds, looking down and away to survey the pristine metal surfaces of the truck’s hot plates. 

The space isn’t large - it’s a food truck, for Christ’s sake - but he still finds a way to lean closer. It feels intimate; secretive. 

“Your write-up didn’t make me do this” he says. “I found it all on my own” 

She wonders how he could possibly know what she’s thinking. 

She eyes him critically, the way she might size-up the plating of a lean cut of venison. She notices the cane resting against the door, and remembers reading about his accident with a drunk driver in the paper some months back. At least in the truck he can reach all around without needing to hobble, and an industrial kitchen would certainly make that untenable. 

He looks good, in his green sweater and his shirt collar unbuttoned underneath. He looks rested, and relaxed, and strangely… in his element. 

“You actually love it” she accuses. She watches the smile bloom on his face and wonders if he ever found so much peace when he was studying in Paris, or travelling to Sydney, or cooking romantic dinners for the many fleeting flings the papers liked to write about. He looks gleeful, and while she would have described Matthew Lawson as a great many things over the years of their professional acquaintance, happy wouldn’t be one of them. 

“Have you ever tried one of my quesadillas?” 

She blinks, remembering the fancy French cuisine he used to dish up, and then laughs. “No, I don’t believe I have” 

And so somehow she ends up wearing a Kiss The Cook apron over her entirely black wardrobe and standing next to him (not touching the food) as he whips up a quick batch of the most delightful artisan quesadillas she’s ever tried. They’re simple enough to count as take away and to ward off the two-am-drunks, but gourmet enough to be considered interesting. 

She rests against the counter and munches on Mexican street food with a man she was sure couldn’t stand her, drinking $750 red wine and listening to the soft jazz he put on while heating the grill. 

If she were a lesser woman, this would definitely be enough to make her another notch in his infamous bedpost. And if he was a little braver, he would kiss her without any further motive.
But if he posses the question at just the right time, just before the bottle runs out, she might come back and write a review of his truck for the Sunday Herald. And if he’s really lucky, and cooks her a batch of the loaded nachos everyone raves about, it might even be a good one.

Chapter Text

He wonders, while he’s watching her dance around the garden, why she doesn’t just put the big radio on and open the kitchen window; let the music filter out from inside like she does when vacuuming. Then he remembers he broke the radio when he was playing with AC/DC power sources last week and feels a twinge of guilt at that, because he kind of spoiled her fun. She loves her radio. 

Not that she seems to notice or mind. Jean is dancing around the back garden, the water hose missing the mark more often than not as she flicks her hands around, and he pats himself on the back for buying her an MP3 player for Christmas. Her white headphones are the only thing saving her from a charge of mild insanity as she bops along to the music in her ears, oblivious to the quiet around her. 

It isn’t the dancing that caught his attention to begin with; it was the singing. She’s singing loud enough that he could hear her when he came inside, and it makes him laugh to watch her. She’s got a beautiful voice - she’s perfectly in tune despite probably not able to hear herself, and he immediately catches the song she’s singing. 

He laughs harder. 

With badly pronounced German and an air like she couldn’t care less, she’s singing her heart out to 99 Luftballoons as she waters her treasured rose bushes. He’s never seen a better sight. 

Not one to stay idle, he walks out to the backyard and joins in, singing along with her loud enough to alert her that he’s there. He doesn’t want to frighten her. His German is decidedly better (though he thinks it helps when you speak it almost-fluently) and it takes her a moment to realise there’s another voice joining in to her one-woman party. 

She turns around to face him. It’s to her credit that she doesn’t blush. She smiles at the sight of him, takes one earbud out and hands it to him, never once stopping her karaoke. He grins at her, takes the headphone, and shoves it into his own ear, finally getting the backing music to her perfect rendition of a cheesy classic. 

Without missing a beat he moves close to her and puts his arms around her, pointing her garden hose away so it doesn’t catch him in the process. The music slows towards the end of the song just as his arms land around her, and he leads her around the garden lawn in an exaggerated waltz, making her laugh at him, the two of them still singing along in faulty German.

He realises she’s got an 80s dance playlist going when he keeps hold of her through I Just Can’t Get Enough, All Night Long, and a very jovial rendition of Walking on Sunshine, which ends in a long kiss, turning off the hose, and finally retiring inside.

Chapter Text

lucien x jean + we're the only sober ones at this party AU - lorelaigilmoure

“Tell me again why I let you convince me into giving up the drink altogether?” 

She takes his hand and pulls him towards the dance floor with her telltale smirk firmly in place, her hand warm in his, and her wedding rings glinting in the lights of Danny’s engagement party. 

They watch as the young ones trip and stumble, trying desperately to dance to the oldie tune when they’re five drinks too far gone to find their balance, and as she sways in his arms and he holds her close, he finds that keeping his step in time creates a wholely different - and much more rewarding - kind of drunkenness. 

 

lucien x jean + road trip AU - lorelaigilmoure

She looks over at him and smiles at the sight of his feet hanging out the window and his sunglasses perched on his nose while he reads his paper; it’s the kind of thing young people do to be funny, but on this long stretch of highway in the middle of a summer day, the breeze is welcome and he looks carefree. 

“You better keep those eyes on the road, or we might crash” he says to her, feeling her gaze on him as he folds his paper away, pulls his feet back into the cabin, and turns to face her. 

She does turn back to the empty and dusty road, but takes one hand off the wheel to thread her fingers through his and hold his hand firmly on her thigh, and she smiles when he holds her hand up and kisses the back of it over and again.

 

fic prompt: jean/lucien - lucien as a (crime?) writer and jean as his long-suffering editor - the-neurotic-zen-master

“You know I love you, don’t you?” he asks for the hundredth time that week, wrapping his arms around her waist while she tries to read the through the mess of the latest draft. 

“Yes I do, but love alone won’t put food on the table, Lucien; you told me writing what you know would be easier, but this is already two weeks late” she replies, and tries desperately not to let any affection show through in her tone or in the raised eyebrow she levels at him in scolding, holding up the loose sheets of typed mystery crime fiction. 

He looks like a sweet lost child when he pouts in her direction, and she fights a well of emotion when he looks at her earnestly as replies, “Well if you really want me to write what I know, I’m happy to, but I do believe the demographic of our readers might change a little if I start writing sappy domestic stories about a man desperately in love with his wife”

 

Malice + The Breakfast Club AU - actuallylorelaigilmore

She kisses the back of his hand - the same one holding his fake ID and the cigarette he stole from Lucien - and looks at him from under her dark brown fringe, the ribbon Jean added to her hair pulling the rest of it behind her ears. 

“You’re rather strange” she says to him, her voice lilting with the hint of an accent and her eyes regarding him like it never occurred to her that the quiet boy who hated bullies and loved crime novels would fit quite so perfectly against her side where they sit on the floor of the library, just across from where Lucien and Jean are canoodling.

“I think strangeness is subjective, and sometimes people’s strangeness can match up” he replies, and she reads between the words and sees the depth in his eyes, and she knows it’s his way of asking her out on a proper date regardless of how she does her hair, and she knows she’s going to accept because she likes that he uses his fake ID to vote.

 

lucien x jean, kids go to the same school AU - lorelaigilmoure

[this kinda feeds directly into a 150k word thing i’m drafting atm, but you can have the five minute snippet] 

It wasn’t always easy being a single parent, especially a single father, given his own experience of parents was either manic indulgence or emotional starvation; neither of his own provided much of a stable example to follow, and they hadn’t had to deal with a biracial child on top of all that.

But the whole experience of child-rearing was made infinitely easier by the fact that Li’s best friend was a slightly older boy named Jack, who had taken her under his wing, and who made it his mission to ensure the other children accepted her unequivocally, so help them God. 

And if he took pleasure from the company of Jack’s mother when they arranged play dates and visits to the lake, well… that was nobody’s business but theirs, and they could always blame their children’s friendship for the way they sat shoulder-to-shoulder on the park bench late into the evening, sharing fish and chips from butchers paper like they were any other family on a Friday night outing.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

(1)

The first time he kissed her at a party, the first dance had started at the Blake wedding, they escaped the room, and the entire reality of the moment took her breath away. Crowded against the outside wall of the Colonist’s Club, the two of them ignored by those around them on the street, she mentioned again how wonderful it was to see their friends finally be happy.

“Do you think you’d ever do it?” he asked, standing well within her personal space. Her gaze was mirthful and knowing despite the hard thumping of her heart in her chest.

“If the right person were to ask me I might” she said. “It’s never been something I wanted though”

He nodded and quirked his mouth like he was pressing his tongue against the back of his teeth. He looked away down the street, but they were still standing close enough that she could see the way his brow tweaked and furrowed in thought.

“And you, Superintendent?” she asked, swaying a little as she shifted her stance.

“If I found the right person to ask” he replied. His eyes flicked back to hers, and the two of them couldn’t blame the lighting for the way their pupils dilated. “And it’s Matthew”

“Matthew” she repeated, smiling just a little.

They stood still and stared at one another for a very long moment, and her eyes flicked down to his lips and back, wondering how long he was going to keep her waiting. Wondering if he would ask first. Wondering what it would lead to if they did.

“I’ve had just enough champagne…” he started.

“Yes?”

“To be a little bit foolish”

She grinned at him, and though there was no space between them, she shifted closer so that her arm was pressed to the side of his chest, and their faces were inches apart. He didn’t move away.

“I’ve had just enough champagne to let you” she said in return, knowing they were both far too sober to be using it as an excuse, and not caring. He looked at her for another long moment, and she could tell that this meant more to him than simply being foolish. If anything, in that moment, he was being incredibly brave.

“Even something as stupid as kissing you?” he asked, eyes meeting hers squarely. It brought a flush to her cheeks that he even bothered to ask, let alone that he was genuinely waiting for her answer.

“Even that” she replied, and she was still smiling when his lips touched hers and his free hand came up to cup her jaw. It was a long and gentle kiss, and promised more to come, and though she felt wholly out of practice Matthew made her believe that they could get really good at it if they kept it up. And so they did.

(2)

It was the annual Police Easter Picnic when the town found out about them. The Blakes were on their honeymoon, and in their absence Alice and Matthew were learning how to date one another while juggling their working relationship. It was made more complicated by the fact she was seconded to the position of Police Surgeon in Lucien’s absence, and so their paths crossed more than before.

In some ways it was wonderful to see him more often, but she was always keenly aware not to let their working relationship define how they saw each other outside of it.

The picnic was the perfect way to test her theories. And to finally let him know that they could tell people about them. Neither of them was particularly demonstrative, and preferred to explore their feelings in private and quiet moments, but they’d been together for almost a month and spent most of their evenings in each other’s company. They knew they had more between them than a casual fling.  

She laughed as a group of children toppled over each other, their legs all bound together.

“Serves them right for trying to do a six legged race” said Matthew, but he was smiling too.

She watched the young children – all five of them, legs bound loosely with ropes, sitting all over one another as they tried desperately to undo the knots – and found it quite a funny sight. None of the respective parents intervened (“you got yourselves into that mess, you can get yourselves out”) and despite the bickering and the squeals and the arguments about elbows landing in ribs, it was a picture of childhood innocence.

She could feel Matthew’s eyes on her, and she turned to him with her smile and shook her head in mirth.

“Make you wish you had?” he asked with a grin. He knew the answer well enough and he just chuckled when she rolled her eyes at him.

That conversation was already had over a late night sherry in front of the television, the two of them running through all the what-ifs and maybes of life. She never aspired to motherhood, and though she sometimes wondered if actually being a mother might have changed her mind, the ache many women talked about never hit her with any real force. Curiosity perhaps, wistfulness sometimes (like when she watched a pile of children learn negotiation skills with their ankles all bound up), but never yearning.

If anything, Matthew was the melancholy one. He’d have made a good father, she thought, if his relationship with Rose was anything to go by, and he sometimes spoke of raising Rose as if she were his own.

She didn’t return the question to him, knowing he may not roll his eyes quite as casually as she did. Instead she shuffled closer to him on the picnic blanket, resting into his side, and because they were so close together she pressed a quick kiss to his lips. They couldn’t change the what-ifs and maybes, but this right here was pretty nice too.

Over his shoulder she caught a glimpse of Bill Hobart watching them with his mouth agape and his eyes boggling, and she hid her smile as she turned to watch the cricket game on the field, knowing word would get around town quick-smart and not caring one bit.

(3)

Jean insisted on throwing Alice a birthday party and she knew for a fact that Matthew was in on it. Although they tended to spend far more time at her place than at the Blakes, she was still a permanent enough fixture to have developed a wonderful relationship with them away from crime-solving, and she felt honoured to be considered one of the family.

She just didn’t know how to tell Jean that she didn’t like her birthday. That she didn’t want to celebrate it, and that she never had; that dark memories liked to surface on that day and she wanted nothing more than to ignore it and see it pass with a nice book and a cup of tea.

Matthew didn’t know everything about her and that hurt too, because if he did she knew he would take it upon himself to let Jean down easy on her behalf. As it stood, he was playfully encouraging Jean’s efforts to throw Alice a birthday dinner. It was a sweet gesture; she knew he was just trying to be a good boyfriend and spoil her a little. But caught between gratitude and dread, she felt tongue-tied and silenced, and it made her taciturn in the week leading up to it.

Matthew stopped her in the corridor of the hospital three days before, and waited for a nurse to pass before he spoke.

“What’s going on?” he said. His manner was gruff but his eyes were kind.

She didn’t have the heart to lie to him, but she couldn’t find the words to be truthful either.

“Is it about your birthday?”

She sighed harshly, and looked down at the floor. “I appreciate the gesture, I just…”

He watched her for a minute, and it occurred to him that this was more than just reticence or embarrassment about the day. This was complete avoidance of the topic altogether, and he suddenly felt very sorry that he didn’t listen and instead demanded that she go along with their plans.

“You really don’t like it, do you?” he asked softly.

When she looked up her eyes were glassy. She wouldn’t cry over it, but there was a lump in her throat made up of all the words she couldn’t tell him; all the reasons she loved his efforts and all the history behind her distaste for the day anyway.

She just shook her head, but said to him, “Please don’t say anything, I’m sure Jean has already gone to trouble for me and I would hate to throw it back in her face”. She left it at that and walked away, resigned to sitting through the night even if it killed her.

But when she arrived with Matthew at the Blake house on her birthday, it was far quieter than she anticipated; just the Blakes, Rose and Bill in attendance, the table done nicely but without flourish. After a wonderfully understated dinner, she was handed a single gift addressed from all of them; a first edition book from a collector in the city. She thanked them profusely, and was pleasantly surprised when even Lucien managed to restrain himself from singing happy birthday as Jean brought out a cake for dessert with just a single candle in the top.

The smile Alice gave them when she blew it out was genuine and heartfelt.

They toasted her happy birthday and left it at that, and for the rest of the night she could forget the memories that usually followed the day and instead got lost in another enjoyable meal shared with her nearest friends.

She cornered Matthew by the drinks cart later in the evening when they were all settling on the couches and conversation was flowing.

“Thank you” she said lowly, her meaning clear as she held his gaze and tried desperately to convey how much it meant to her that he had gone to the effort to make the day as low-key as possible.

“Happy birthday” he replied.

Determined to show him that she was okay, that this was okay, she leaned in to kiss him lightly on the lips. She cupped his cheek for just a moment, running her thumb over his skin once, twice, and then letting go.

“I’ve got your other gift for later” he whispered with a wink as he took his glass and walked away. She tried and failed to hide her grin and ignore the embarrassed flush that crept up her neck.

Later, when he was lying in her bed and they were cuddled close together, he reached over under her bed to where he hid a small box and presented it to her without any fuss. She looked shocked.

“You didn’t think that was your other gift did you?” he asked while raising his eyebrow at her, and she laughed because, yes, she sort of did.

She sat up and opened the box, him following and resting back against his hands just behind her shoulder; inside she found a small emerald drop pendant on a silver chain. It was simple but beautiful, and she took it out and handed it to him to put on her. Sitting side by side on the bed, sheets bunched at their waists as she showed off her new necklace, he leaned in and kissed her sternum right next to the jewel.

“Beautiful” he said.

She could get used to birthdays like this, she thought. She didn’t know how to tell him that, so she leaned in and kissed him deeply, and hoped that was thanks enough.

(4)

The house was buzzing with happy energy, and she struggled to accept it was for her. Well not just for her, for them, but even so everyone here was a friend and every single one had shown up to their small reception to wish them well.

Jean Blake knew how to throw a party, and while it wasn’t big, it was full of cheer and flowing with champagne. The garden was set up beautifully with her flowers and wicker chairs, and Lucien was making sure the drinks cart stayed stocked for the intimate gathering of their nearest and dearest friends.

Matthew barely left her side, and she got the distinct impression he was showing her off.

She hated the sin of pride, but on this one day she could understand. She felt the same.

Alice never imagined she would be in this position. An hour ago she was standing in front of a judge and promising to honour and cherish (but not obey) as Matthew did the same for her. She had dressed in powder blue because he said it brought out her eyes, and his handkerchief matched the colour of her simple dress. She was not traditional enough to want to wear white, and didn’t care so much about the ceremony; for them, just the act of signing the marriage certificate was gesture enough, so forgoing the usual imagery was easy.

And now they stood side by side talking with Bill Hobart in the garden of the Blake house, and she was Mrs Matthew Lawson. (She didn’t change her name, either professionally or legally, but just knowing she was his and he was hers was a feeling she let settle around her like a soft blanket on a cool night, and she felt like Mrs Matthew Lawson in spirit). Lucien liked to claim credit for their romance, and Jean insisted on hosting a gathering at the house for the reception. But the marriage was all their own. Let anyone question her name, or the fact he was moving into her flat. Let them wonder how they worked at all; their love was for their eyes only.

Matthew caught her in the sunroom later, the first moment they’d had alone all day. He took her hand and just smiled at her, his face happier than she’d seen him since she agreed to marry him in the first place.

He reached out and fingered the emerald drop pendant she wore around her neck, then the matching brooch he bought her the following Christmas on her lapel.

“How are you feeling?” he asked. He noticed her slip out a while ago and wanted to check that she was coping with being the centre of attention. He wasn’t judging or fussing, merely seeing how she was and if there was anything he could do. Her heart ached with how much she loved the way he loved her.

“I’m so happy to be married to you” she said to him, pressing his hand between her two.

“Me too” he said with a grin. “I get to be Mr Alice Harvey”

She rolled her eyes at him. He had been joking that he was the candy on her arm for months. (I’ve moved up in the world, he whispered into her skin the night she told him yes. I’m marrying a doctor). She could never quite find the words to express that she felt she was getting the better deal. But they had talked and talked about everything, sometimes letting silence say it for them instead, and there was a ripple of understanding that sat between them; they were each other’s touchstone, and each other’s strength, and somehow they were also equal parts redemption and reward.

Perhaps nobody understood that, from the outside, but they didn’t have to. Alice knew, and Matthew knew, and when she leaned in to steal a kiss from her new husband (husband, the word whispered in her mind, unfamiliar but… nice) she felt every reason they loved each other simmer in the gaps between them.