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Trick or Treat?

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Jack was sat in his armchair, reading his new book, fiddling with his loosened tie occasionally as he did. His overcoat hung on its peg behind the door, his hat alongside, his suit jacket had been placed tidily on a hanger in its place in his wardrobe. A partially emptied tumbler of whisky was on the side table next to his chair. He paused as he reached the end of the chapter, considering whether he should put another log on the fire. It was spring, but there was still a chill in the air. Determining that he could indulge himself this evening, he bent forwards to tend to the grate.

As the flames licked around the fresh logs, he retrieved his book. It was a present from his sister who had seemingly decided that ‘The Crime at Black Dudley’ was just the sort of thing he needed to help him relax at the end of a long day of paperwork and crime solving. Certain aspects of it were reminding him of his trip to the mountains only four months earlier with Phryne. Phryne, Jack mused, pausing his reading once more. Where was she now, he wondered? Somewhere terribly exotic and much warmer than Melbourne no doubt. He hadn’t heard from her at all. Silly to have hoped she might have been in touch, he admonished himself. Jack had considered sending a telegram to London, or Somerset, to enquire if she had reached her destination unscathed, but he hadn’t been sure where to telegram to, or whom to address himself to, or quite how to explain that the recipient shouldn’t be too concerned about being contacted by a police officer. So he had left it, in the end.

‘Come after me, Jack Robinson’ - he could still hear the words as clear as day in his mind. In the end, he had not quite been brave enough. Not quite sure he could just throw his belongings in a suitcase and somehow follow her halfway across the world. He had decided that she had been giving him hope - ‘I’ll come back, Jack, and when I do, we can take off from where we are now’. At least, that was the interpretation he had allowed himself to believe. The total lack of contact was making him doubt himself more and more each day. Surely she could not have actually meant for him to actually, physically follow her? He was a career policeman, he had responsibilities. Phryne knew that; it seemed to be one of the things she liked about him. Jack furrowed his brow as he took another sip from his whisky. As he did, there was a knock on the door.

Wearily, Jack stood up from the chair. It was probably one of the local kids. He’d seen some turnips on porches this evening, as he’d made his way home from the tram stop. This ‘Hallowe’en’ thing was becoming more popular. It would be a shame to have to tell whichever enterprising tyke it was that he was all out of apples. Jack wasn’t even looking properly as he tugged the door open.

“Trick or treat?” a delightful voice cried out. Jack shook his head, allowing his gaze to cast slowly upwards. Having passed black Mary Jane’s, tied with ribbons, black stockings which showed two very shapely calves, a black skirt, in what he thought might be silk, a black corset, the likes of which Jack had not seen in many years, and a shawl, he found himself staring at Phryne, whose face was wearing a curiously amused smile. Her lipstick was bright red, and she seemed to have powdered her face just a tad paler than the tone of her already ivory skin. On top of her head was a black pointed hat. She looked, for all the world, like a classical depiction of a witch. Only significantly more sensual than any witch Jack had ever seen depicted in any painting or movie.

“Phryne?” Jack practically spat out the name in disbelief.

“Trick or treat, Jack?” she repeated.

“What?” Jack managed a second word, barely more coherent than the first.

The delightfully swishy witch, who he now noticed was holding a broomstick in one hand, a basket resting in the elbow of her other arm, sighed, and rolled her eyes.

Jack looked at the tumbler in his hand. Bringing it to his nose he sniffed. Nothing untoward, and he was only on his second glass; he couldn’t be this far gone already.

Tentatively, Jack reached out a hand and made hesitant contact with Phryne’s waist. His fingers met solid, muscled flesh.

“I do not believe I have had enough whisky to be experiencing a hallucination this compelling,” he finally managed to say.

“If you were hallucinating I feel that sentence would have been beyond you,” retorted Phryne.

Squeezing the waist beneath his hand, Jack became aware that Phryne appeared to be real. And stood on his porch. Determining that if his mind was finally betraying him, he was going to go with a smile on his face, Jack pulled Phryne towards him and kissed her. It was just as he remembered it; all soft warmth and French perfume, and delicate lips and an exploring tongue. Jack gripped Phryne’s waist more tightly as he felt her hand rest on his hip. Well, the hand that wasn’t occupied with a broomstick at any rate. A basket bashed into his thigh; this suggested that this was not a dream. Jack was fairly sure that if he was lucidly dreaming that being bashed in the thigh with wicker whilst he kissed the woman he loved would not feature.

Reluctantly, Jack broke the kiss. Allowing his breathing to return to normal, he did a further quick assessment. She was still there, still in the grip of his hand at her waist.

“You’re real?” he asked, still not quite sure.

“I am Jack, and perhaps you’d like to choose between a trick or a treat inside, where it is hopefully slightly warmer than on your porch. I had forgotten how cold Melbourne could be in the spring, but a fur doesn’t really go with the rest of this outfit.”

Nodding, Jack pulled Phryne into his house, not willing to let go of her for fear of breaking the spell. The door swung shut behind them as Phryne crossed his threshold. Jack kissed her again. He was slowly becoming more certain that she was probably real.

“I’m not convinced that you’re not a trick of my mind, or the light,” he confessed when they broke for air once more.

“I wanted to surprise you.”

“You have succeeded. When did you get back?”

“About eight hours ago.”

“Shouldn’t you be at home? Your home, I mean?” Jack asked, still not letting go of her waist.

“I’ve been. It’s still standing, not that I doubted Mr Butler’s abilities. He tells me that you haven’t been around for the best part of a month, Jack.”

“It felt like I was imposing. And I hadn’t heard from you…”

“Jack, don’t be silly. Anyway, as you wouldn’t come to Mr Butler, Mr Butler has come to you.”

“Amazing disguise, totally fooled me,” said Jack, still anchored to Phryne’s waist, his forehead now resting against hers.

“And for my first trick, I shall remove your whisky. The night is yet young Jack, even if you aren’t!” Phryne took a careful step back, extracting herself from Jack’s grip. Jack looked puzzled for a moment; she couldn’t know, could she? Grabbing his tumbler she downed the contents in one quick gulp.

Quickly Phryne glanced around the room as she removed her hat. A fire, an armchair, another on the other side of the rug which was obviously much less frequently called into service. No sofa, she noted. There was a wireless, well, that was something, and a rug in front of the hearth. She tossed her hat towards the under used chair where it landed with a comfortable thud. There were a couple of doors off the main room. One must lead to the bedroom, or bedrooms, she supposed, the other to the kitchen, and, she hoped, an indoor bathroom. Books were everywhere; the shelves lining two sides of the room threatening to disgorge their contents at any moment. It smelt like Jack, looked like she had always imagined Jack’s house would.

Propping her broomstick against the wall nearest the door, she turned towards Jack once more. Perhaps it had been unfair not to give him any advance warning? But then where would the fun be in that? The way he had kissed her had assured her that she had made the right decision.

“So Jack, I ask once again, ‘Trick or Treat’?”

“Well I’m already fairly sure you are a trick, so I’ll choose treat. Please.” Jack had no clue what was going on. She’d been back eight hours, and she had come to see him. Shouldn’t she be with Mac, or Mrs Collins, or Mrs Stanley? But she was here, with him.

“Excellent choice Jack,” said Phryne, handing him the basket.

Jack peeked underneath the cover. Mr Butler had indeed come up trumps. Chicken pie, he was fairly sure. And gratin. He really liked Mr Butler’s gratin. Oh, and some vegetables, in their own bowl.

Looking up, Jack smiled at Phryne. “There appears to be enough for two.”

“Oh good.”

“I eat in the kitchen.” Jack said, in what he hoped was not too apologetic a tone. Phryne was used to big, grand houses. This was just a little bungalow in North Richmond. How had she even known where he lived anyway? Had Collins betrayed him once more?

“Won’t Mrs Collins be upset that you haven’t been to see her?” Jack asked, as he led the way to the back of the house.

“Already been and visited, Jack. And Mac came around at lunchtime, and I have no intention of telling Aunt P I’m back for a few more days. My ship got in early. You’re the person I most wanted to spend this evening with, Jack. Is that all right?”

They had arrived in the kitchen. Compact, Phryne thought: a good sturdy table in the centre of the room; a range up against the now disused chimney; a dresser along one wall, curiously devoid of china. Jack set about removing the food from the basket, transferring it to the table.

“This is all still quite warm, but maybe five minutes in the range?” he asked, moving over to poke at the range’s control.

“Lovely.” Phryne leaned against the table, near to where Jack had placed the basket. “You know, we used to live in a house like this.”

“We?”

“Me and mum and dad and, Janey. In Collingwood. Ours wasn’t nearly so well maintained though.”

“Did you still have the second bedroom?” Jack asked. He had transformed his into a bathroom. It had felt indulgent at the time, but the number of evenings he came home and was grateful to be able to sink into a deep, warm bath and just scrub the day from his skin made it seem like more of a necessity than a luxury.

“We did. You don’t?” Phryne had observed tiles as she had glanced through the open doorway.

“Converted.”

“Very nice.” Phryne smiled, a genuine smile

The pie, the gratin and the veggies transferred to the range, Jack turned his attention towards his unexpected hosting duties. “Can I offer you a drink? I have tea… or whisky?”

“I’m sure we can do better than that Jack.” Phryne indicated the basket. An expression of curiosity settled on Jack’s face. He’d already emptied the basket, hadn’t he? Returning to the table and looking again he remained confused, the basket was indeed empty. Phryne took the tea towel which had been covering the food, placing it loosely over the basket. Rolling her sleeve up she grinned at Jack.

“Ah, another trick?” Jack asked.

Leaning forwards Phryne pressed her lips lightly to Jack’s as she moved her hand underneath the tea towel.

“Is this the distraction?” asked Jack, trying to see what Phryne was doing.

“Is it working?” Phryne replied, an expression of concentration forming on her face as she rooted around in the basket.

“Perhaps. Do I want to know what this trick is?”

“This one’s a treat as well,” she smiled again as she withdrew her hand, producing a bottle of champagne.

“Well, well, well, Miss Fisher. Is this contraband?” Jack asked, taking the bottle from her hand.

“Now Jack, as I’ve made this appear, as if from nowhere, how on earth could it be contraband? I can make it disappear if you really want.” She pouted as if to demonstrate her displeasure at her own suggestion.

“I suggest we drink the evidence,” said Jack. “I only have whisky tumblers…”

“Also solvable,” said Phryne, with a smile, reaching under the tea towel once more. There was a small clink as she pulled out two champagne glasses. Jack recognised them from Phryne’s birthday party last year. “Would you like to do the honours, Inspector? As it’s a special day.”

A puzzled frown made itself known on Jack’s face. She hadn’t actually said anything, but Phryne seemed to know it was his birthday, and he had no idea how. Even Collins didn’t know that.

“What special day would that be, Miss Fisher?” Jack asked, deciding to employ one of his favoured interrogation techniques of allowing the suspect to think they knew more than him.

“Hallowe’en of course, Jack. The thinning of the veil between worlds? A night for mischief, and mayhem?”

“For misbehaving, perhaps?”

Phryne smiled. Jack was being much more responsive than she had been expecting. He popped the cork and poured the expensive, bubbly, somewhat illegal, very foreign liquid into the glasses. Offering her a glass, Jack held his up to hers, and tipped his head slightly.

“To misbehaving, then, Phryne?” His other favourite technique – placing the ball in the suspect’s court. Confess or not. Admit their motive, or not.

“To misbehaving, Jack.” Phryne replied, clinking her glass against Jack’s.  

As they ate the food and drank the champagne Jack peered over his glass at Phryne. She was practically smouldering at him, her gaze deep and penetrating.

“Any chance you’re hiding a dessert in that basket?” Jack asked, changing the subject to one he was more comfortable with.

“None at all I’m afraid.”

“A shame,” said Jack, sitting back in his chair.

“Perhaps,” said Phryne, rising from her chair and moving around the table until she was standing in front of Jack, facing him as she leant against the table.

“More champagne?” Jack asked, attempting to retain his composure.

“Lovely.” Phryne hitched herself onto the table, holding her glass out as Jack refilled it for her.

There was a pause as Jack considered Phryne whilst they both drank. She was being quite flirtatious. Not much change there then, he thought. She had responded enthusiastically to the kissing earlier. Perhaps he could try that again?

Placing his glass on the surface, he took Phryne’s glass from her hand, placing it next to his. There was a look on her face of what Jack took to be curious intrigue, as if she was waiting for him to make the next move. Jack shifted his weight, angling his body towards Phryne’s slightly.

“I wonder, Miss Fisher, whether you might be concealing magical devices in your outfit?”

Phryne considered the question. She could just dismiss the enquiry, and Jack would no doubt accept that as a rebuttal and they’d go back to the lingering dance around each other that they had been doing in the months leading up to her departure. Or she could be suggestive and see where it might lead. Metaphorically at least she was still hiding one more Ace up her sleeve.

“As I’ve told you before Jack, a lady conceals a lot of things.”

“Oh really,” said Jack, levering himself from his chair and positioning himself against Phryne’s legs. Reaching a hand across her lap, Jack slipped his palm across Phryne’s waist once more. His other hand slid up to the back of her head as he kissed her deeply once more. Now she tasted of Chicken Pie, and champagne. The hint of the grape could be tasted underneath her indefinable Phryne-ness which he thought he would never be able to get enough of.

“I’m fairly sure, Inspector, that you’ve examined my waist quite thoroughly already.” Phryne leaned back a little, allowing Jack free reign, should he feel like taking it.

“But as I see now, Miss Fisher, there are so many bows and ribbons on this outfit, that there could be hidden pockets I’ve quite overlooked.” Jack swirled the pad of his thumb, sweeping over the corset, the silk of the skirt and suddenly, across Phryne’s smooth skin as she shifted her position and the corset shifted upwards revealing skin.

“Well I wouldn’t want you to be unsatisfied Jack,” Phryne replied.

Suddenly overwhelmed Jack paused. “Phryne,” he implored, shutting his eyes.

“Jack,” Phryne raised her hand to Jack’s cheek, rubbing the backs of her fingers lightly across the defined cheekbone. “Jack, what do you want?” she asked, tenderly.

Opening his eyes, Jack met Phryne’s gaze. Nothing about tonight quite felt real. And if nothing was quite real, he could act more boldly than he otherwise might. And if she did know it was his birthday, he could argue for ‘unwrapping’ a Very Special Present.

“You. I want you” Jack said, his pupils dilating to form pools of black lined with the merest hint of the blue colour of his eyes.

Phryne leaned forwards, kissing Jack lightly on the lips.

“Take me to bed, Jack Robinson.”

It was one word more than those she had spoken to him on the airfield, and a no less frightening proposition. Giving a nod that was almost imperceptible, Jack pulled Phryne to him. They half danced, half staggered to the bedroom.

***************************

In the end Jack surprised her with his dexterity. Those long, lean fingers made short work of the corset laces and the skirt, and the confidence he displayed when he released her stockings from their stays, before gently rolling the sheer material down her legs almost reduced her to a quivering mess. Almost; Phryne Fisher rarely allowed herself to be brought so undone by a man. And he somehow had the last few small items of her clothing scattered across his bedroom floor before Phryne even managed to remove his waistcoat.

It surprised him, although on reflection he supposed it should not have done, that she was entirely comfortable being utterly naked in front of him whilst he was still practically fully dressed. He’d had the foresight to toe off his shoes as they had tumbled onto his bed covers, and he’d distracted Phryne with some delicate kisses to her ankles and calves as he’d worked his socks off. He was pleased with his performance with the corset. They were tricky devils at times, but a logical approach had always stood him in good stead and he found that it really was like riding a bike. He hadn’t forgotten how to do that in the time he’d been away at war, and it turned out that even an extended break from the removal of a lover’s clothing did not extinguish the memory of how the laces, the buttons, the bows, the stays, the stockings, the garter belt and the knickers all needed to be undone and removed.

Still not sure that this was not in fact the most vivid dream he had ever had, and if it wasn’t, whether he might ever get more than one night, Jack hungrily kissed every inch of Phryne he could reach as she scrambled with his layers and layers of clothing. Eventually, after removing his waistcoat, tie, shirt, vest, trousers and underwear he too was naked. And he did not miss the moment when Phryne glanced downwards and her eyes widened as she looked at him. He thought that was a ghost of a smile on her face as well.

Oh the suit trousers were very well cut, it transpired. They’d provided a hint, but still retained mystery. And good grief he was going to be delicious. The shirts were hiding a lovely surprise too, although she had guessed at his upper body definition during their previous adventures together. The bathing suit at Queenscliff had helped to confirm her suspicions. And he was all over her, as if he was trying to memorise every inch of her. Perhaps he was. She intended for this to happen again, although they would have to have a talk at some point about how that would work. If it could work. But for now she was determined to have him. She had patiently waited quite long enough. And if it was a disaster she could just say it had been a ‘one-off’ - for his birthday.

It was not a disaster. She had no idea how out of practice he might have been. Was Concetta his last ‘old friend’? Was Rosie? It didn’t matter, in the end. He was him, and he poured himself into it, she could tell that, and he was so sweet about the precautions.

“Do you have your internal device?”

“I do.”

“Do you want me to use a French Letter as well…?”

“Do you have any concerns about your… health?”

“No.”

“Then no, but thank you for asking.”

“If you need me to stop…”

“Jack, you haven’t even started yet…”

And then he had, started. And she was already on the edge due to his extremely thorough ministrations beforehand.

The ‘babies’ issue was a concern. He’d always wondered how she never seemed to have had any unexpected surprises. At least until that case at her aunt’s with the tennis players. He was overlooking the illegality of it of course, as he so often did with her. But where was the harm, really? It occurred to him, as he prepared to have relations with a woman he had no intention of marrying, that governments and politicians really should keep themselves out of aspects of people’s lives that had nothing to do with them.

She was grasping for something, and his mind focused long enough to realise it was a pillow. Taking the hint he reached for it and shoved it under her bottom. He moved into her, displaying more confidence than he thought he would have expected to. He had thought he would be nervous and clumsy when, if, this were ever to happen. But he was surprising himself with his own assuredness. He wasn’t surprised by her involvement - rising towards him to grasp onto him; flexing her muscles around him as he moved within her. He was sure that she was digging her fingernails into his back. He was sure there would be scratches. He didn’t care. He was also sure he wasn’t going to last terribly long. Previous experience taught him that nothing could delay the inevitable, not even trying to recall Abbotsford’s results during the last season. He succumbed to his release.

He got the hint about the pillow admirably quickly, and the angle it provided almost drove her over the edge as soon as she felt him inside her. It had been a while since she had taken a lover, but that first moment when you were joined was always so, indicative, of how things would be. Jack was confident, yet considerate. He had taken time to make sure she was ready, and he hadn’t just shoved it in there like he was pushing a plane into a hanger. He was managing to brush against her with every thrust; she was delightfully close to her own climax. Jack was not going to last, she could tell that by the sweat, and the face contortions, and the way his rhythm was becoming erratic. How long had it been for him? Best get this first time done with, allow him time to recover and then start again, taking their time. She wondered if he’d mind if she helped herself along after he was spent.

He collapsed, trying to keep his weight off her. Undignified, he thought. Potentially embarrassing. She seemed like she was very near to a climax of her own, and he wanted to help get her there. He manoeuvred his weight off her and replaced his spent member with his fingers. Her hand found its way to the sensitive point protected by the thatch of small curls. He kept on moving his fingers, adding a third into the ever slickening space as she played with herself. He thought it was probably the most dangerously erotic thing he had ever seen. And utterly fascinating. He wondered idly why women bothered with men if they could do this to themselves. He presumed it was like it was for men – fine on your own but much more fun with someone else. A small voice in the back of his brain tried to remind him that Dr MacMillan didn’t seem to need a man at all. The same small part of his brain briefly wondered how much pleasure two women could manage to give each other. He returned his attention to the task in hand and was rewarded with Phryne falling apart around his fingers. Quite forcefully and quite vocally.

He didn’t mind at all. Oh good.

**********************************

“I thought you’d be gone for months,” Jack said, quietly in the warm glow cast by the lamp on his bedside table.

“So did I, but I found I didn’t want to stay away a moment longer than I had to.” Phryne kissed him, and he kissed her back. They were entangled in each other, limbs entwined.

“You would have been gone eight weeks tomorrow.”

“That long?”

“Yes. You’ve got to England and back in eight weeks. That must be some sort of record? But you said something about a ship?”

“Yes. I’m afraid I got thoroughly fed up of my father by the time we reached Muscat, so I took him to the port, flashed my Special Constable credentials and put him on the ship he should have been on, with instructions to the purser to use any means necessary to ensure that father wouldn’t disembark before Southampton. I may have suggested that they should consider shackling him below deck.”

“You flashed your Special Constable credentials? I thought I’d fired you?” He kissed her once more, to show he wasn’t angry.

“A small matter of paperwork Jack, and easily solvable,” Phryne shrugged her shoulders as Jack smiled.

“So you came back by boat? What about your plane?”

“She was looking decidedly ropey I’m afraid, so I sold her to a local flying school, who were grateful to be able to have something to tinker with. And so here I am, having steamed my way across the Indian Ocean.”

“Much adventure on the ship?”

“A little. Nothing of any great interest though.”

Jack tried not to think of the men who were quite possibly ‘not of much interest’. He hoped that he was of interest. But it would be her choice, in the end. He felt he had made his position quite clear previously. “So you hurried back?”

“I did. I’m very glad you weren’t already engaged for the evening.”

“The murderers of Melbourne have been mercifully quiet of late. Collins and I have been finishing mostly on time.” Jack leaned forwards to nibble Phryne’s earlobe, then down her neck before returning to place small, butterfly kisses along her jawline.

“For which Mrs Collins seemed most grateful when I saw her earlier.” Phryne was finding she quite liked this confident Jack. And the kisses were most distracting.

“Yes, Hugh has had a spring in his step at the Station.” Jack continued kissing his way down and around Phryne’s upper body.

“That may be partially my doing.”

“Really Miss Fisher, have you been corrupting my junior officers?” Jack suckled on a nipple as he spoke.

“I leant him a book. Let’s hope he read the entire thing.”

“A book?” Jack moved across to the other breast, stroking his fingers carefully across the peak of the now dampened nipple he was leaving behind.

“I’m afraid to tell you Jack, you might feel the need to clap me in irons. Oh. It was, and remains, terribly forbidden. But I feel it has some artistic merit… Oh god, do that again.”

“What was the book?” As requested Jack swirled his tongue around the peak of Phryne’s nipple once more.

“Erotica of the Far East. There’s an entire chapter on kissing. I believe he read that section quite thoroughly, if Dot’s dreamy wandering around my house was any indication.”

“Erotica of the Far East! That book is banned throughout the Empire.” Jack kissed his way down Phryne’s body, pausing to press his lips to her belly button.

“Is it really? I had no idea,” said Phryne in a tone of mock innocence as she shifted her legs slightly.

“Does he still have it?”

“I believe he does.”

“Well then, as his superior officer, I may have to appraise it myself. To see if there is, as you say, any, artistic merit.”  Jack moved himself down the bed, carefully lifting Phryne’s left leg and placing it over his shoulder. He settled himself between her thighs.

“Are you keen on Far Eastern art, Jack?”

“I’m keen on a lot of things, Phryne.” Jack said, his hand finding its way to what felt like its natural position on her hip. His tongue found its way to what Phryne was quite sure should be its natural position on her clitoris. She tried not to sob as he brought her to a shuddering climax.

As she came down they were both still naked and on top of the covers. Jack moved back up to lie besides her as his body began to indicate that it was keen on investigating Phryne some more.

Phryne smiled; his recovery time was within acceptable parameters. Especially if he was prepared to bury his head between her thighs like that in the interim. “Well yes, I can see that you’re keen on many pleasurable things,” she said, cheekily taking Jack’s cock into her hand, stroking her lithe fingers up, down and around.

***********************************

“Will you stay?” Jack asked.

“I will.”

Jack’s brow furrowed, “Because you don’t have a jacket and it would be terribly cold driving home at this time of night?”

“No. I want to stay. And I wouldn’t want you to be on your own. Because of the day.”

Jack tried not to prickle. She still hadn’t said anything specific. Neither had he. “Hallowe’en?”

“No Jack. I meant…” Phryne stopped and sighed and smiled and kissed him lightly on the nose. “Happy Birthday, Jack.”

She never did tell him how she had known.