So, here we go folks, my first chaptered fic. I have had this idea in my head for many months now but because I am the world's slowest writer and no matter how hard I try I cannot get my mind to function in a linear fashion, I wanted to get a few chapters written and outlined before the first posting. Then I realised how close we might be to actually seeing the third season so thought it a good idea to get a wriggle on and post at least the first chapter of it.
I do not own anything. Miss Fisher is the artistic property of Kerry Greenwood, yada yada. If she were mine I am pretty sure I would be a hell of a lot richer for starters.
Please let me know what you think and if it's worth carrying on with.
The Debt to Happiness: Chapter One, Egg shells
It was early; the low, orange sun streaming through the window suggested it was not yet six in the morning. Jack had been watching the shadows in his bedroom regress for some time. He convinced himself there wasn't any point in continuing to lie in bed. To eke out what little sleep was left to be had of the morning. Not when sleep would likely be fractured by the same, restless dreams that were currently filling his nights.
Last night's dream had him particularly unsettling; he'd dreamt a noose around her neck, the slack of the rope drawn taught by the pull of a gaoler's lever. He'd woken with a violent start, his hands grasping into thin air for the nonexistent rope in a futile attempt to release her from it. He'd spent the rest of the early hours trying to erase the dream from his mind and to calm his thundering pulse. He was thankful that sleep had evaded him for the remainder of the night.
At least during the day he had a better chance at attempting to curb his thoughts with well practised determination and in busying himself with the mundane tasks of daily life and of course his work. He was thankful for the summer heat, it had a tendency of exacerbating peoples criminal inclinations and brought with it a thankfully hectic working day. However, no amount of distraction during the day was enough when he was left alone with his thoughts in the night. No, his dreams were beyond his control.
With a resigned sweep of his arm, Jack threw the thin cotton sheets away from his body and swung his legs over the side of the bed onto the mercifully soft rug below. He took a deep drink from the glass of water on his bedside table to remove the taste of the sleep he did manage to get and returned it to the precariously full surface once more. He made a mental note to tidy away the unnecessary clutter from the table before work. The early hour lending itself to another productive morning before his shift began.
Rubbing his face with his hands, he tried to encourage into his body some kind of enthusiasm for the day ahead but found none. Instead, minutes later he caught himself, elbows on his knees, blindly staring at his clasped hands as if in a trance. So much for control, he inwardly chastised. It seemed the longer she was gone, the more his mind conjured her into being.
Thoughts of her were his constant companion, they entered his mind unannounced and without permission in just the same way she would have breezed into his office in the past. That was before the call nine months ago.
He physically shook his head of the thought; it was no use covering the same ground. Gripped by a determination, he pushed his hands down onto his knees to leverage his ascent from the bed; he rose to begin his day. Having discarded his pyjamas as a concession to the muggy heat of the previous night, he walked naked to his adjoining bathroom.
Returning from the bathroom after his morning ablutions and a quick shower there was a slight chill to the air; the oppressive, humid heat of the previous days had been broken by an almighty rain storm in the early hours of the morning which had cleared away the heavy, humid air that seemed to be hanging over the city for the past few weeks and replaced it with an unseasonal chill.
But for the damp towel slung over his hips, he made no further modification to his state of undress and gave little mind to the fact that he had left his curtains undrawn to allow the air to circulate through the room, and anyone looking through the window would have a rude awakening. Unconcerned, he strode over to a chest of drawers near the window to retrieve a fresh pair of undershorts and vest donning them with swift efficiency and then stepping into his suit trousers. He felt the loose braces tap against his legs as he crossed the room towards his bed once more.
Retrieving his watch from the bedside table, he let his eyes fall on the objects layering its surface, mentally sorting through what should be tidied away. He had several of his favourite books stacked about five deep; paperwork from his most recent cases for those nights when sleep evaded him and a near empty bottle of scotch for those nights when sleep had come but it had come with nightmares.
As they usually did, his eyes fell on a delicate egg shell resting on a piece of parchment inside a matchbox. It was a memento from another life, a life so fleetingly a part of his own. That little eggshell of the faintest blue, the very sight of it brought with it the smell of elderflowers, the feel of cool water between his toes and sun warmed hair against his fingers. How was it possible for his heart to pitch and soar within the same beat? Why had he kept it if it brought him such exquisite pain? It would do him no good to leave it there as a reminder. He knew he would never have it within him to remove it.
He'd absently began buckling his watch to his wrist when the sound of a car door shutting on the street below met his ears and forced him to break from the reverie. Though the sound was not unusual in itself, it was still very early. Out of ingrained curiosity, Jack made his way across the room to the window, picking up his shirt as he went.
He didn't see any movement on the street below him, so he raised his eyes instead to the horizon to hazard a guess at what the weather would bring for the day ahead. He took in the sky and realised that the sun would be short lived, there were dense, dark clouds in the horizon and the wind was beginning the chase the debris from last night's storm across the street below. He was about to turn his attentions back to dressing when his eye was caught by something familiar. A little way down the opposite side of the street he saw it; her motor vehicle.
He wrenched the window open as far as it would go to better see the street below, his eyes focused on the driver's side of the familiar red car to see if he could see its occupant but he saw nothing. He scanned the road frantically. Please, please, he thought, let it be her. But there was still no sign of life. He leaned further out of the window grasping onto the frame for leverage until he could see the steps running up to his front door directly below him. He leant a little further until he finally saw what he had been waiting these many months for. She was there; right there. Her shiny cap of black hair, although longer than when they had last met was unmistakably hers. He felt his heart beat sway his body slightly at the sheer force of it; his body rebelling against the rush of adrenaline so early in the morning.
He watched from above as she lifted her hand to knock on the surface of the door. He waited for the anticipated sound to rise up and meet his ears. He waited, and he waited, but it did not come, she did not knock.