The pair were beaten at the Brisbane International by Jeremy Chardy and Grigor Dimitrov but that was far from the story.
Hutchins was playing his first competitive match in over a year having spent 2013 receiving treatment for, and then recovering from, Hodgkin lymphoma.
The 28-year-old discovered the illness as he sought the reason for a back complaint and by the time he did, the cancer had spread through his body.
Tennis was quickly shelved but he went into remission in July and spent the end of the year preparing for his return to the court.
That came with regular partner Fleming and it was like he had never been away as the pair took the first set to love.
Chardy and Dimitrov, clearly more battle-ready than Hutchins, fought back, though, and took the second set 6-4 before taking a deciding tie-break 10-4.
Hutchins and Fleming will now look ahead to the rest of the month with the Australian Open ahead, while they are hopeful of winning a spot in Great Britain's Davis Cup team for their clash with the United States in San Diego.