Characters: The Doctor/Agatha Christie
Spoilers: 4.07, 'The Unicorn and the Wasp'
Word Count: 1,627
Author's Notes: I can't get enough Agatha. Apologies for the long wait. To make up for it, I give you EXTRA ROMANCE FTW. I know I can't be the only one who saw superchemistry.
Previous Parts: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four.
As You Like It
It's not often that I leap to conclusions. After many years of writing that horrible Belgian boor, I've learned that conclusions leapt to are places to find minor characters in a novel. The most unthought of answer is almost always the right one, and therefore the one that a reader would wish for.
Thus, when the Doctor suggested that Miss Eleanor's lover might be the murderer, I immediately disagreed. It was over coffee and brandy in the dining boxcar, where at this hour it was quiet and safe to discuss such things without worry of interruption.
"It might make the most sense initially, but what we must always look for is a motive. Why would Miss Eleanor not wish, but at least willingly accept Miss Hynes's death? None of the other passengers saw animosity between them." I shook my head as I looked down at my notes. There were a lot of webs, but the spider was nowhere to be seen.
"Maybe there's no animosity between the victim and Miss Eleanor, maybe she's simply covering for the man she loves?" the Doctor suggested, taking a sip of his wine. "Maybe she was acting under duress?"
"Perhaps. Isn't love duress?" I asked, shaking my head. I have never been successful in romance. Perhaps it is my plain appearance or the fact that I don't bother playing coy or standing down on my opinion for a man, but I have always found myself lacking in what men look for in other women.
Yet, my words caused a different sort of look from the Doctor. Not judging, no, he was never a judging man. Just considering. And while I do not often blush, I found my cheeks reddening under his stare.
But even if this were a romance novel and not a dictation of a murder, it would be too early in the evening to call what the two of us experienced as love.
Though my Belgian detective might've called it amour courtois.
"John Rohlmes," the Doctor said, gesturing with his glass. "The fiancé."
"No motive. As monied as his family is? No matter how much adoration he might've had for Miss Eleanor were they lovers, he wouldn't kill his wealthy fiancé to be with her."
"I'll never understand the British and their money."
"I'll never understand detectives and their impudence."
He grinned at me and I found that blush I swore I'd never have. The Doctor was good at bringing the side out of me I wasn't aware I possessed. I ran my finger along the rim of my wine glass and focused on my face not feeling quite so hot.
"What about the archer?" he asked.
"Still no motive," I said. "Also monied and involved in a complicated sport."
"A sport with an arrow."
"You are perceptive, Doctor, I assume that is why you've become inspector?"
He shook his head, "No, Agatha, think. Arrow. Small enough for that head wound?"
I thought of the wound on Miss Hynes's head. Small and round, the size of my pinkie and just as deep. No doubt the final wound the victim----no, Miss Hynes, I reminded myself as I refused to become as cold as my boorish detective---sustained. An arrow was thin enough to be the cause of the wound.
"But not nearly deep enough if it was shot," I told him.
He nodded. "Perhaps it wasn't shot."
The Doctor was a man of many strange ideas. Strange and brilliant, as I was beginning to discover. He held an intellect unlike any man I'd ever seen. His intelligence was clear and precise, but his method leapt about like a drunken frog. And those eyes. The eyes that I was avoiding since we'd begun speaking out of fear of drowning in them (yet again, as I apparently had a weakness for his eyes). He had such beautiful, ancient eyes. If Poirot had the eyes of the Doctor, I might've forgiven him his boorish nature and held his hand for many years to come.
"You are quite the unusual man, Doctor," I told him, examining my eyes again. "Ingenious, but I'm sure like my Poirot, you are already quite aware of that."
He didn't deny it or cover his ego with any false modesty, and I found that to be both frustrating and endearing. Frustrating as I had been dealing with a detective who possessed the same lack of modesty (false or otherwise), and endearing because I left a husband who did not. Perhaps there are no men who exist in the median between them but I digress.
A rag began to play on the record player and the Doctor's face split again into one of those grins. "How long since you've danced, Agatha?" he asked me.
How long? What a silly question to ask. Proper and monied such as myself? I was not the sort to get a leg up at parties. "I actually don't dance," I told him.
"Nonsense," the Doctor all but climbed over the seats to get out of the booth and onto the floor. "Probably been too long and everyone dances, even me!" He offered me a hand and with that smile and the wine and the music, how was I to deny him?
His hand was thin and surprisingly cold, though his fingers fit well enough in mine. His smile made me feel (of all things) young, and I found that his silly desire to dance was not nearly as silly as I had initially thought. He pulled me out away from the tables and placed a hand on my hip.
And then? Well, we danced. Rags are silly dances not really fit for inspectors and mystery writers, but we were content with ourselves. If nothing else, it broke me from the heavy cloud that had followed me since realizing how cold I had become towards Miss Hynes.
"They say it's never a good idea to meet one's heroes," the Doctor told me. I had become acutely aware of how close we were dancing. How long since I'd danced, he'd asked. Not so very long that I could not tell that we had long since stopped following the beat. When had we stopped following the beat? When had I stopped caring about the beat?
"Are you implying that you've met a hero of yours as of late, Doctor?" I asked. I'd been deemed many things in the past. Brilliant, creative, innovative, but never someone's "hero". Especially one such man as the Doctor---equally baffling and charming…the idea of being admired by him coupled with that devious smirk he seemed to offer only to me was enough to make my knees feel the slightest bit weak.
"It's said that one's heroes will always disappoint you," he said. "Well, I've always found the reverse is true. They prove themselves far beyond what you could've imagined."
Yes, the car had to have warmed up significantly since I last took note of the temperature. The Doctor was certainly not the cause of my flush, his skin so unnaturally cold. It was the wine and the music and the way he looked down at me. I was quite far gone for him, the young and handsome man that danced with me.
"You must've imagined very little for me then, Doctor," I said, a smirk of my own touching the edge of my lips. "I'm only a writer, after all."
"You're more than that, Agatha," he said. "You're brilliant."
It was in this moment that I was to be completely undone. For when the Doctor spoke his words, I found he had leaned towards me ever so slightly, and my eyes were drawn to his mouth. That ever-moving, ever-frustrating mouth with the slight smirk and the strange lines. I found myself wondering what it might be like to kiss that smirk away from him, a thought that very nearly bordered on romantic and I have never been a romantic woman. Perhaps I was once, but…
He leaned ever closer that I could feel his breath against my mouth, but then he did the most extraordinary and puzzling thing. He hesitated. For a man with his energy, his unending curiosity and blinding zest for life, I could not help but be surprised. Apparently the only thing that caused him pause were matters of the heart.
He began to move back and I decided that there was no reason why I should not take the proper initiative. Can a woman not make her way in the world? Of course she can. So why can she not kiss a young and handsome man when he is so wonderfully within reach?
While the wine may make me ambitious, it did not make me lewd. The kiss was simple and very nearly chaste. The Doctor did not return it at first and I feared that perhaps I had misread his intentions (and how humiliating would that be at the end of all the scorn I've received from the men in my life?). However, after a second's hesitation, I found he returned my kiss with the zest and passion I could only come to expect from him. My arms wrapped around his neck and his hand tangled in my hair and for the moment we were lost.
I would never imagine myself a romance writer, so I will spare the details of the kiss except to say that I was more than slightly disappointed with its end. Its end being, of course, the crashing open of the car door and the appearance of one Baron Cruiser, looking sweaty and terrified.
The Doctor and I broke apart immediately.
"I apologize." Mr. Crusier attempted formalities, but his own fear prevented them. "Inspector, Mrs. Christie. There's been another murder."