Title: Gordon Hill, S.E. 6
Word Count: 1,000
Summary: Jonathan and Maddy share a close moment in the midst of her own personal tragedy. A missing scene from Series 2, Episode 3, "The Scented Room."
Author's Note: Written for brunhilde_1013, for the 2010 fandom_stocking holiday exchange.
Disclaimer: The Jonathan Creek concept, storyline, and characters are © 1997 – 2010 David Renwick/BBC Entertainment/BBC Drama. No money is being made from the creation of this material. No copyright infringement is intended.
Jonathan Creek had never felt quite so much like a fool.
It was amazing, really, considering how many times in the last few months he'd found himself in improbable situations not of his own making. Murderous models, treacherous revenge-seekers, tragic tricksters caught in their own ready-made webs of deceit – he'd been privy to it all, thanks to her. Once upon a time, she'd railroaded him into helping her with one of her impossible mysteries; these days all it took was the mere strength of her charm (or was that force of her will?) and he'd find himself questioning once again how it was that she could so easily made him feel tricked.
Maddy Magellan had been many things to him: vivacious, tenacious, even a little bit ridiculous. She was the yin to his yang – the butterfly to his caterpillar, the quick-thinking hustler that worked so well with his lateral-wired brain. They had grown quite close in the few months of their friendship, so it was unsettling enough to know she had been keeping something from him, but a secret of this magnitude?
He hurried his step as he drew closer to the scene, his heart beginning to pump furiously in his chest.
She wasn't hard to spot, a lone figure standing on the edge of the destruction site. He moved forward on silent feet, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his duffel coat, drawing it around himself even as he felt the sticky heat of the fire that curled through the debris scattered nearby. She turned as he approached, and he was surprised to see tears sliding down her cheeks. Her expression was dull, ravaged with sorrow and pain and other, unnamed emotions he'd never seen cross her features before.
For a moment, he froze, uncertain and maybe even a little afraid as he attempted to anticipate her reaction to his presence. Was he intruding? Had he overstepped whatever tenuous bond they shared? She'd purposefully kept this a secret from him, after all. She was here to confront the ghosts of her past, the ugly memory of her mother's horrific death and the end of her own broken childhood.
These were private things, things she'd never shared with him – things he had no idea even existed.
Barry's words came back to him in a rush: You've not yet scratched her surface.
She sighed, bringing him out of his reverie. "Jonathan," she choked out, reaching out to grasp his arm.
"Come on," he murmured, turning away from the sight of the nearly decimated building. He made to leave, but she held firm, her attention still poring over the sight of the digger, crushing the last wall to remain standing on the property. He'd never seen her like this, her emotions so stark and plain across her face. Is this what it looked like – felt like – to confront old pain?
Why did she subject herself to this?
He closed an arm around her shoulders, gently pulling her away from the destruction. They were silent as they stumbled over the piles of broken brick and stone, picking their way back to the path leading out of the old residential neighborhood. Silent, that is, until Maddy deigned to speak.
"Jonathan," she said quietly, so quietly he almost missed it, "how did you know?"
The words bubbled on the tip of his tongue – I talked to Barry, and he told me your secret – but he stayed them, instead tightening the brace of his arm around her in response, hoping it was enough.
She slowed to a stop. "Jonathan," she prodded, her tone suddenly urgent. "How did you know where to find me?"
He glanced back at her, his study assessing, and rapidly drew two conclusions in parallel: how desperately she'd wanted to keep this secret from him, and yet, how relieved she was to have someone to share it with.
"Does it matter?" he replied, genuinely curious but hiding it in his usual droll tone.
She stared back at him for a long moment before letting her eyes fall. "I suppose not," she conceded, furrowing closer to him, wrapping her arms around his waist. "I can never win against your tedious processes of watertight logic, anyway." She paused. "It's just a little scary to think you know so much about me, that you can just divine my location out of thin air."
A corner of his mouth lifted into a wry half-smile. It always amused him – even when it frustrated him – that she had such faith in his conjurer's brain. He'd never admit it to another living soul, but he liked it, this feeling of trust and loyalty that had blossomed between them.
She pulled away and began walking again, treading steadily, with purpose, although not with great speed. She sniffled, wiping away her tears, trying to recapture her composure as whatever heady moment between them was lost. They were almost back to her car when she reached down, taking his hand in hers and gripping it tightly.
"Thank you," she said softly, without looking back.
Before he had the chance to respond, she released him, circling around the car and glancing back after she'd opened the driver's side door. "Well, come on then," she announced, plastering a brave, fake smile on. "Tell me the real reason you're here. Did the lure of a hundred thousand pounds finally weaken your defenses?"
Jonathan could only shake his head as he opened his door and climbed in beside her. It was amazing, really, watching her climb back out of the depths of emotional turmoil with such ruthless efficiency. Maybe this was right – maybe this was the way it should be. Maybe she wasn't ready to share all the skeletons in her closet…and, God knew, he wasn't ready to do the same.
But if he ever did…?
He glanced at her covertly as he pulled the door closed and she started the ignition, the car's engine roaring to life.
She'd probably be the only one to understand.