Phryne wakes from a restless sleep by Dot drawing open her curtains. She can tell it’s later than when she usually asks to be woken. No doubt her companion noticed how much she drank last night and to what time.
Or perhaps it’s just the fact her heels are still on that gives her away.
“Good morning Miss,” Dot says, her voice sounding falsely bright to her hangover.
“Morning,” Phryne attempts to force the same amount of pep into her voice.
Because nothing is wrong. Why would anything be wrong?
Jack is probably waking up in his ex-wife’s bed. Naked. His hair mused. His large long fingers sliding up her waist to eagerly grasp Rosie’s breast.
Or, somehow worse, they’re probably cuddling . Simple intimacy. Clothes still on. Jack will be whispering sweet words of adoration in Rosie’s ear, while she smiles.
Phryne’s stomach curdles with displeasure as she turns over to meet her companion's apprehensive gaze.
Jack is the most honourable man she knows. And honourable men, in her experience, like nice stable things. Like pin ties, or strict speed limits while driving. And marriage.
“Mac and one of her friends are downstairs, if you want some company,” Dot offers, tearing Phryne away from her memory of the wedding band tan that is still inlaid on Jack’s finger.
Yes, because that’s exactly what she needs right now.
A happy couple who definitely had sex last night.
But if she doesn’t go downstairs then Mac is certainly going to come up. And Phryne’s headache right now is too piercing to talk about her love life.
Except no- not love life.
Her life with Jack.
“That would be lovely, thank you Dottie,” Phryne replies faintly.
The young woman leaves with a slightly sympathetic smile. No doubt her scent is giving herself completely away to her Omega companion.
Phryne waits until the door clicks behind her to bury her face in her hands.
What the hell is happening to her?
If only she was back asleep. Everything was easier in her dream.
Jack had accepted her offer of going back to her place. Phryne felt no fear, only excitement when he professed his love for her. Then it was a blur of clothes and lips, as they magically transported from her parlour to her bedroom, and Phryne proceeded to give the Beta the best night of his life.
Of their life.
But dreams are only dreams, and not necessarily always answered.
Phryne feels slightly more than hung over as she makes her way slowly down stairs. Her head is not just heavy, but feels stuffed with cotton balls.
She’s solved murders with more alcohol in her system, but this morning she doesn’t feel like she could complete a crossword. Perhaps she’s caught that sickness that Jack seemed to be suffering from last night- his forehead was as hot as a furnace.
A sort of wisp of a dream falls over Phryne at the idea of taking care of him; making him drink bits of pieces of Mr Butler's homemade chicken soup, and placing buttered toast between his lips. Nursing him in her own bed until he’s all well.
Phryne shakes her head, dismissing the strange thought. Well not strange. Of course she’d look after Jack.
But the intense need to do it. That’s odd.
“Good morning,” Mac eyes her off suspiciously as Phryne rounds the corner and into her parlour, “Big night?”
“Hardly,” Phryne mutters.
Mr Butler- bless him- places a steaming cup of coffee in her hands. She thanks him ardently before taking a sip, hardly noticing when it burns her tongue.
Mac gives her a look, like she doesn’t quite believe her. Luckily Phryne can tell she’s more interested in entertaining the young lady beside her than she is with investigating her.
She is lovely. Soft looking, with pink cheeks and green eyes. By the looks of her dress, she comes from a bit of money, and when she turns her head to the side Phryne can see the love bite beginning to bruise on the side of her throat.
“Josie Brecker- please meet my oldest friend- Miss Phryne Fisher,” The dark haired girl grins up at her sheepishly, her hand held tightly in Mac’s own. Her under eyes are dark, but her face has the sated look of someone who's not had much sleep the night before.
Mac gives her a smirk.
She told Phryne once that she’s a Beta who fucks like an Alpha. Fully inebriated naturally, and too drunk for Phryne to take her up on it at the time. Clearly it’s true, the way Josie is gazing up at her friend says everything. She’s certain the two are tipping towards a relationship.
Not that she's envious. Not at all.
“Nice to meet you,” Phryne says honestly with a genuine smile, before collapsing into a chair.
It still smells like him round the edges. Not that his scent is particularly strong. It’s weak- even for Beta standards. At the beginning of their acquaintance Phryne found it strange. Not many men go through life wanting to go so unnoticed by potential mates.
No doubt it’s something he’s had to face constant teasing over- especially in the Police Force. Some Alpha’s consider those with weaker scents, Beta's especially, lesser men. They are lucky Phryne has never been in the presence of their mockery, because she would pull her gun on each and every one of them.
It’s not like Jack smells bad. Honestly, it’s attractive. Like honey whiskey and pen ink. It makes Phryne wet just to think about it, and one of the reasons she likes to lean so close to him in the middle of an investigation.
Phryne leans back in her seat, letting it run over her. Something she associates with just Jack. If she closes her eyes she can almost imagine his gentle smirk
“Breakfast Miss?” Mr Butler clears his throat, getting her attention.
“That sounds perfect Mr B,” Phryne says thankfully, pretending she isn’t currently squirming in her seat.
“All the trimmings if you would Mr Butler,” Mac agrees before barely covering a yawn with the back of her hand.
Phryne raises an eyebrow at her. Jesus, did they get any sleep at all?
“Not for me please,” Josie pipes up shyly, her sweet scent strong. Very strong if Phryne is honest.
“Are you alright?” Phryne asks, concerned, “You look flushed,”
“I’m fine, really,” Josie waves her worries away without meeting her eye. But if it’s possible her cheeks grow even redder, til she’s almost strawberry in colour.
Phryne leans forward, not believing her in the slightest.
“Are you sure?” Phryne pushes, “I’ve heard something is going round,” Something about Josie’s hot cheeks reminds her of Jack last night. So does the way her eyes look restlessly around, not focusing on anything in particular.
“I’m the doctor Phryne,” Mac frowns, but leans out anyway to put her hand on her girlfriend's cheek.
“My doctor,” Josie swoons under her touch.
Phryne is reminded fervently of last night, when she tried the same thing and Jack brushed her aside.
She feels her forehead crinkle, and hides her dejected expression in her cup.
“Is something going round Miss?” Dottie asks in concern, accidentally taking a sip of coffee out of her own cup and wincing at the taste, “We should let Mary know- she’s got a new baby and all,”
“I’m not sure,” Phryne crosses one leg over the other, wondering, “Jack was very warm last night,”
“Was he now,” Mac muses innocently, with a shared look with Dot Phryne doesn’t fancy very much.
As if they’ve been talking about her and her own damn feelings behind her back again.
“Yes,” Phryne says curtly, shooting the pair of them a glare, “He was going to have dinner with Rosie, so I hope she doesn’t catch whatever he’s got,”
There’s a slight venom in her voice at the idea. Of Rosie tending to Jack when she isn’t. Of her being her shoulder to lean on for him.
“He can’t catch what I have,” Josie says soothingly, clearly uncomfortable with the energy in the room, “My heats coming is all,”
Wasn’t Jack without a coat last night even though it was freezing?
Her scent- so strong.
But Jack barely has one- a Beta through and through.
Unless… that’s the point?
“What did you say?” Phryne stands above Josie, her hands on her hips. Her brain is ticking over too quickly to be polite.
“Phryne!” Mac exclaims as Josie stutters, clearly flustered.
Phryne ignores her friends' astonished faces and rushes into her entrance hall, ringing City South Police station so quickly her fingers cramp up.
“Hugh!” Phryne barks down the phone as soon as she hears someone pick up.
“Hello Miss-” Hugh says brightly.
“Is the inspector in?” Phryne quickly cuts him off- If what she thinks is true she has no time to bother with pleasantries.
“No Miss,” Hugh says immediately, and Phryne’s blood runs cold, then burning hot, “He’s taking the day off,”
“The whole day?” Phryne asks, her eyebrows rising up to her hairline.
The last time Jack took the whole day off, was never. That she knew about anyway.
The last half day he took, was to deal with his divorce.
“Yes Miss,” Hugh confirms her suspicions, “His wife, sorry, his ex-wife, called in for him an hour ago,”
What else was so serious that Jack would call in? And not even himself- get someone else to do so.
His wife. His ex-wife. Who clearly knows exactly what Jack is going through. And not her.
The woman Jack stayed back to embrace after their last case- while Phryne went home alone.
And why wouldn’t Jack pick the classic, perfect woman he’d chosen to settle down with before. They’d been married for Christ's sake.
Jack had already turned her down once because she was too much trouble for him. Perhaps she was still.
Perhaps he had decided that Rosie was a better fit.
“She did,” Phryne growls unhappily, hot jealousy hardening her veins like candle wax. .
“He never calls in, he must be really ill,” Hugh comments innocently, apparently unaware of her temper. .
“I think it must be,” Phryne agrees darkly, “Thank you Hugh,”
She hangs up the phone with a clang, her breathing ragged.
Jack- not at work. Rosie- with him. At least knowing. Knowing more than Phryne does.
And if there’s anything Phryne hates more than anything, it’s not knowing.
Phryne doesn’t think. Her coat is floating around her shoulders. Mr Butler, bless him, passes her her hat.
“Miss!” Dot calls out, the concern in her voice evident, “Where are you going?”
Phryne meets Mac’s intense knowing gaze. There's no doubt in her mind they’re thinking the exact same thing.
That Jack is an Omega, and for some reason, none of them knew.
“To see if I’m right,” Phryne murmurs dangerously, before swinging out the door.
Phryne drives like a madwoman. Which is saying something because usually her driving is perfectly safe.
She pulls up in front of Jack’s house with a screeching halt, her neck almost snapping with the recoil.
She’s never actually been inside- Jack has always been careful to never explicitly invite her. But what kind of detective would she be if she didn’t know where her partner in crime lived?
Phryne climbs out of her vehicle, her green coat swinging behind her. His garden is as beautiful as she’s always suspected, but Phryne barely throws it a second glance as she takes his front steps two at a time.
“Jack!” Phryne trills out, knocking hard on the door.
It’s fine. He’s probably inside nursing a cold. Perhaps he’s just finished breakfast, and he could offer her a cup of tea and they could spend the morning together.
Phryne waits impatiently but t here’s no reply.
“Jack!” Phryne calls again, peering through the front windows. She can barely see a movement.
That’s not to say he’s not in though. Jack could be in the backyard, tinkering with something, or reading a book in the morning sun.
Phryne worries at her bottom lip.
If Jack is an Omega close to heat she’s going to have a new murder to solve because she’s going to kill him, because how dare he not tell her? She considers him the closest person to her heart, and yet he’s hiding this from her?? After all they’ve been through?
And if Jack is an Omega and he’s in the midst of heat well…
Her lock picks make quick work on Jack’s front door.
It’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. That’s what Phryne tries to tell herself anyway.
What if Jack is really sick and needs urgent medical attention?
What if he’s moaning on his mattress, calling out for her?
Phryne’s inner Alpha perk ups up her nose hesitantly.
Her fingers slip a little around his doorknob. Phryne has never been with an Omega in a heat before.
Omegas, yes. Betas, naturally.
And that will never be happening again. Rene made sure of that.
Phryne swallows thickly. Helping an Omega with their heat is serious. A commitment. The possibility of a mating bond- of forever.
Of everything Phryne has always said she’d never want. Until him.
The door swings open with a creak. Phryne sways hesitantly on the doorstep.
Immediately the most lovely scent fills her nostrils, making her stomach warm.
Led by her nose, Phryne walks in on heavy legs.
It’s small. Neat. A bookshelf in one corner is at risk of collapse with how many novels he’s kept stacked on it. Clearly he’s not a fan of doing his dishes.
Phryne hugs her arms around herself, taking it all in.
‘ None of us ,’ Her Alpha sniffs indelicately, ‘Not right,’ She’s clearly not impressed.
We’ve never been here before , Phryne attempts to placate her, of course it doesn’t smell like us. But she can’t deny the unsettled feeling roaring through her body.
Jack is a familiar person in her parlour. In fact Phryne can’t remember the last time they didn’t spend a Friday evening together- his soft voice filling her ears, his fingers tinkling at her piano. Even his goddamn office smells like her.
Phryne has forgotten what it was like, to walk into a space that is so obviously Jacks, and to find nothing of her inside it.
‘ Not good enough, not good enough for him ,’ Her Alpha growls unhappily, causing an unhappy rumble to squeeze out of Phryne’s lips, ‘ Bad Alpha, ’ .
That’s crazy, Phryne tries to fight the thoughts. But why has he never invited her into his private home?
She has an answer to that as well. It’s the very reason Jack always leaves her house at a scandalous hour without staying the night. Why Phryne has never had the pleasure of having him in her boudoir.
The reason why she’s not in his bed right now. It’s because of her.
Because Phryne is frightened of taking the next step.
Of being someone’s something.
‘Bad Alpha, ’ Her Alpha’s hackles are raised. P hryne frowns, her fists clenching.
No wonder Jack hasn’t told her anything. She has no right to be here. At all.
They’re friends. Not even ‘old friends’- a technical definition of hers.
Just friends. Not lovers. Not anything really but close crime solving partners.
They could be- Jack has made that resoundingly clear. That he loves her.
It’s Phryne that’s put their relationship on standstill. Her, that’s continuing to pretend that they’re both content with midnight drinks, and flirtatious one-liners.
The dark truth is Phryne is not- she's not content with that. And she knows Jack isn't either. But she’s still too much of a coward to say anything.
Her heels click loudly through the halls, as Phryne takes out her self loathing of Jack’s carpet. She squeezes her fingers over the tip of her nose, trying to get a hold of herself, to keep the nose out of the picture. Her ridiculous pheromones to dampen.
Yes, Jack’s scent is stronger here. But it’s his home, of course it would be.
Yes, Rosie is probably with him, taking care of him. But they were married- it makes sense that Jack would want something familiar, especially if he is in heat.
No, Jack didn’t ask her to help him. But that’s fine.
Fine, fine, fine.
Phryne halts in front of the only room she hasn’t investigated yet. It smells of Jack strongest here. Phryne rests her head against the door, attempting to contain herself. This isn’t right. She shouldn’t do this. She’s already broken into Jack’s home, the least she can do is give him the dignity of not invading his bedroom.
She opens the door.
Phryne’s mouth goes slack.
Some of Jack’s clothes are folded neatly on his chair. There’s a well read Zane Grey novel on his side table, and there’s a vase of well cared for flowers on his dresser. But that’s not what has caught her attention.
His bed is covered in the softest blankets, and is decorated with more pillows than Phryne’s own.
An Omega’s nest.
Soft, safe, a place for them to return to.
To sleep in. To be fucked in.
Hot wet slick begins to pool in Phryne’s lingerie. His scent. Honey whiskey, pen ink, and earth . Like something warm and alive.
‘ Mine ,’ Something deep and primal within her whispers.
Phryne falls to the floor, burying her nose into his blankets. It’s unbearable. How much she wants him. Arousal licks up her spine. Just spending a minute in his room… it’s almost enough to send her into a rut.
‘ Omega, ’ Her Alpha purrs contently, ‘ Omega, need Omega, ’
“Jack,” Phryne moans into the blankets, her fingers stretching out, attempting to grasp as much of the blankets, of him, as possible.
Her beautiful, darling Jack. An Omega. Her Omega.
Phryne sits up, her nose twitching angrily.
He’s not here.
He’s not here- he’s with her.
Jack’s phone is in his kitchen. Phryne’s sure there’s a proper address somewhere written down in this house, but right now she can’t look. She can barely remember her own damn number.
Phryne wants Jack. She needs Jack.
“Hello,” Dottie’s sweet voice filters through the line, “Miss Fishers residence, how can-”
“Dot,” Phryne interrupts, her nails tapping irately on her lap, “Get me the current address of Rosie Sanderson- now if you please,”
She hears Dot’s quick intake of breath. No doubt her tone of voice is a little too irritable, too needy to be mistakable.
Phryne can smell it on herself- the rise of her scent in the air, so obviously aroused. It mixes with Jack’s perfectly, like lemonade on a hot summer’s day, and Phryne is going to slap him across the face and then fuck his brains out.
“Are you sure that’s wise Miss?” Dottie asks tentatively.
Phryne takes a trembling breath, trying to quell her burgeoning rage at her honestly very brave companion.
It takes a certain kind of guts to attempt to step between an Alpha going after an Omega as the risk of getting ripped to pieces.
Phryne reminds herself that she is not in the right state of mind, and Dottie is as sweet as sugar and her friend, and it would be rude of her to threaten someone she loves over the telephone.
But Jack’s scent is heavy in the air, and slick has begun to drip down her thighs.
“Now Dot,” Phryne snarls in a tone that burgeons no argument, and her companion rushes to fulfil her mistresses orders.
To drive to get to him takes far longer than Phryne wanted, and far longer than her Alpha could stand.
In an ideal world her Omega would be in her bed, hard and waiting for her to get home. His nest would be in her house, and there would be no damn question about who Jack was spending his heat with.
‘ Mine ,’ Her Alpha growls.
Phryne’s fingers tap on her steering wheel as she pushes her Hispano to go faster.
Jack would be beautiful and naked and hers.
He will be.
‘ Ours, ’ Her Alpha sings, urging her on, ‘ Omega is ours, claim Omega ,’
Phryne’s clit is throbbing. She’s so wet, she swears it's begun to sink through to her skirts. And that’s just from his scent and her vivid imagination.
Rosie’s place is nice. But not as nice as hers. Phryne can’t help but preen a bit at the knowledge that this isn't even her own home- it’s Rosie’s sisters. At least that’s what Dottie warned her.
She, meanwhile, is an Alpha. His Alpha. An Alpha with a nice home, and money she’s more than willing to spend on her Omega. An Alpha who can provide for her Jack. Phryne is trembling. The rough voice in her head has never been so loud before. So all-consuming.
Jack’s car is parked awkwardly out the front. As if he wasn’t in the right mind when he parked it.
She lost her hat somewhere on the wild drive, but Phryne couldn’t care less. She’s in front of Rosie’s front door, no doubt disheveled. She feels crazed- addicted to something she hasn’t even had a taste of yet.
She can scent him already through the wood. Jack. Warm and heady.
Phryne slams her fist on her front door, and doesn’t stop until it opens.
“Miss Fisher?” Rosie asks, a deep frown on her sleep deprived face. She’s still in her nightgown, a silky robe drawn haphazardly around her waist.
Phryne sneers at the sight.
“Where is he?” She asks brusquely, pushing past her and into the house.
Jack is nowhere to be seen. But he’s here.
Phryne knows it. Knows it in her soul, like his own is calling out to her.
‘Omega,’ Her Alpha roars in her chest, her heart trembling beneath her rib cage.
“He doesn’t want to see you,” Rosie states defiantly.
Anger, anger like Phryne has never felt before, rages through her like wildfire.
She pushes the other woman up against the wall, despite their differences in height, and leers up at her threateningly.
How dare a Beta tell her what to do. A Beta who let Jack Robinson slip through her fingers.
“Like hell he doesn’t,” Phryne bares her teeth, her voice lowering dangerously, “He’s mine, Jack is mine , do you hear me?”
There’s a creak of a door opening, and Phryne sees someone appear in the hall out of the corner of her eye.
“Alpha?” Jack’s voice is soft and broken round the edges, “Phryne?”
Phryne turns to see her Omega naked in nothing but a sheet round his waist, his hair curled and wild across his forehead, his cheeks pink and sweat stained.
Her breath hitches in her throat.
‘ Mine, ’ Phryne’s Alpha sighs in relief at the sight of him, ‘ Home, ’