Sort of a follow up to my story 'Gotta get a message to you'

Disclaimers: All characters belong to BBC and Kudos.

Rated for language

Summary: Alex has gone home and Gene is ... well, not very happy

I've had many times, I can tell you,

Times when innocence I'd trade for company

And children saw me crying.

I thought I had my share of that.

But these Miss You Nights are the longest.

(Miss You Nights, Cliff Richard)

Chapter One

"Think we should say something?"

"Like what, you div?" Ray said slowly stubbing out yet another cigarette and reaching for his pint.

Chris looked from Ray to Shaz and then his gaze returned to the man in the corner slowly losing himself in a bottle of whiskey. "Dunno" he conceded

"Well I think its really sad" Shaz said. "Ever since DI Drake left he just hasn't been the same has he?" She slowly took another sip of her white wine and looked around Luigi's. They were the only people left, the rest of CID having left the restaurant hours ago looking for livelier locations. 'Just us three' she thought 'and the Guv of course'. Ray and Chris just wouldn't abandon him while he was like this. She glanced over to where he sat, alone in the corner, staring out at the world with sightless eyes, his thoughts seemingly miles away. Shaz noticed Luigi hovering, casting concerned looks in the Guv's direction.

"Ray, go and talk to him" Shaz said

"Why me?"

"'Cos you've known him the longest mate" Chris added "and besides, he'll listen to you".

'Wouldn't bank on it' Ray thought to himself. True he had known the Guv longest but that didn't mean he knew what the 'eck was going on inside his 'ead. Especially now. He'd never seen him like this anyway – angry, morose, argumentative and sometimes downright nasty – and not just the ponces and scumbags either, oh no - and likely to punch someone just as soon as look at them. When Sam died, the Guv had grieved of course but it had seemed more natural. He was sad, got drunk, got angry, got sad again and then life had seemed to go back to normal. Well, after they moved away from Manchester anyway. But this, this just felt different. 'Poxy bleedin' women' he thought 'nothing but trouble'. Drake had just disappeared after that business with the Prices – nothing, got even a goodbye. Still, he had to try something. He was just making his way over to the solitary table, when Gene stirred, mentally if not physically.

"Piss off the lot of ya" he slurred.

"Come on Guv, time to go 'ome" Ray said moving closer to Gene's table.

He laughed mirthlessly. "What bleedin' 'ome?" and reached for the bottle. "This is my 'ome, right 'ere in this bottle". He looked drunkenly at Ray and hicced. "Eh that's funny that is, Genie in the bottle"

"Yes Guv, but you can bring the bottle with ya, promise. You need to get some sleep now"

Gene stood up unsteadily, eyes blazing. "Oo d'ya think you are then? Me mother?" poking Ray in the chest as he spoke. This was not going exactly how Ray had planned.

"No Guv but…..". Ray didn't have time to finish as Gene stepped forward and attempted to lash out. Ray stepped back out of reach before any contact was made, which seemed to infuriate Gene even more.

"You little shitbag" he shouted "gonna beat ya senseless now" and he moved menacingly if unsteadily towards Ray.

Luigi ran forward. "Please gentlemen, please. You go home now yes?"

"Just as soon as I beat this little toe-rag senseless" Gene slurred and aimed another swipe at Ray. Ray easily blocked the move and instinctively aimed his own punch, which connected hard with Gene's jaw. A look of shock briefly appeared in Gene's eyes before he crumpled to the floor.

"What have you done Ray?" Shaz ran over to Gene who was now lying on the floor unconscious. She checked his pulse and breathing but found all as it should be – apart from the fact that he was spark out that is.

"He's alright, think he's just had enough really" said Shaz

Ray leaned over and inspected him. "Well, maybe for the best – at least he'll get some sleep now." He looked around to find Luigi nervously pacing. "Oi, Luigi. Is that flat upstairs empty now?"

"Si, yes but…"

"No buts, the Guv'll be sleeping there tonight. I'm not taking 'im home, its too far out of my way. Gotta a problem with that?"

Luigi sighed. "No, its just that, well, everything is as it was, you know, when the lovely Miss Drake was staying there" he finished.

"Well he'll only be using the bed really so shouldn't be a problem" Ray said. 'Besides, not like she'd be coming back to get her stuff' he thought. "We'll pop back tomorrow morning and make sure he's okay – comprende?" Luigi reluctantly nodded his compliance.

"Right Chris, let get 'im upstairs and then we can all go home".

The Guv was a deadweight to move, but somehow they slowly managed to get him out of the restaurant and struggled upstairs to the empty flat. Luigi opened the door and left the key behind.

"I leave you now, you make sure he's okay, yes?"

"He'll be fine Luigi, honest" Ray said while Luigi wandered off to his own accommodation muttering as he went.

Ray and Chris dragged Gene's drunken body to the bedroom and manhandled him onto the bed, hoping that he wouldn't wake up until they had long gone.

"Christ I didn't think he'd be this 'eavy" Chris muttered.

"Wimp" said Ray with a sneer.

"Aww baby, never you mind. I think you're big and strong" Shaz said

Ray raised his eyebrows to the ceiling. "Can we just do this and get out of here before he wakes up?"

They threw Gene onto the bed, still made up with a bright red duvet. 'He's gonna love that when he wakes up' Ray thought, 'just the right colour when you've got an 'angover'.

"Right, lets get out of here now" he said

"You can't just leave him like that, fully clothed" Shaz said and moved towards Gene. Chris quickly stepped forward. Didn't want his girl taking another man's clothes off, even if it was the Guv.

"I'll do it" he said, "you go in the other room".

"It's alright Chris, I didn't mean you had to strip him naked" Shaz laughed. "Don't think he'd be too pleased about that. Just take his boots and jacket off - that should do it. Oh and better take his tie off as well - wouldn't want him to strangle himself".

"Oh, er, alright then. Give us a hand then Ray". When they had finished manhandling the Guv, and Shaz had thrown a blue blanket she had found over him, they turned the light out and left the flat as quietly as they could.

Gene surfaced slightly from the miasma of alcohol and wondered where he was. Didn't matter – nothing did any more. It was dark and comfortable that was the main thing. He rolled over but became aware of a familiar scent all around him. He clutched a pillow to him and breathed deeply. 'Alex' he groaned. A solitary tear escaped from his eye before he once more surrendered to the oblivion of sleep.

…………………to be continued.