Thanks to Emzi.x for her beta work. This is the end of the road, guys. Thanks so so much for your reviews and I hope you haven't been too traumatised by this story! It's been really fun for me and some time I might think about another one and I'll try to make it a happier affair!
Disclaimer: Alex and Gene et al are sadly not mine.
A shot rang out. Edward Koepp fell forward, losing his grip on his prey. Gene hauled him back, shoving him to the floor. There was no thought, his world silenced around him as he took in the horrific sight of his Bolly lying still in the pink water, her hair floating around her face like a halo. Her skin was pale except for the raging bruises at her ankles and wrists, and the red lines that, through the water, seemed to swim like an invading virus over her skin. He pulled her by her arms first, catching her under her waist and lifting her limp body into his arms. Moving out of the bathroom he laid her gently on the floor, pulling his coat off to cover her, even in this desperate moment wanting to protect her dignity. Feet thundered past him into the bathroom as he thumped her chest, over and over. "Breathe, damn you." He stared at her face, white except for the glaring rainbow-hued bruise on her right check. He put his lips to her blue ones, willing her eyes to open before he needed to breathe for her. He felt a hand on his shoulder. "Guv, it's over." He shoved the hand away violently, returning to thumping her chest. His lips returned to hers. He would not give up. Koepp had been holding her down when he entered the room, it wasn't too late.
He felt the jolt like an electric shock through her body, arching her back as water surged from her lips. He turned her over onto her side, rubbing her back, trying to avoid the worst cuts – don't think about them - encouraging the water on its exodus. She choked and spluttered. Her eyes opened in confusion. It was black, wasn't it? No, she could see. "Molly?!" she cried. As the last of the water left her, she rolled forward, letting herself go limp, bringing her arms and knees to her chest. Her body shook violently. Gene wrapped her fully and tightly with his coat and lifted her off the dirty floor, realising that she was going into shock, or hypothermia, or both. He roared: "Where's the fucking ambulance?" as he raced down the endless flights of steps holding her tightly in his arms.
She hung her hands around his neck limply, without the strength to hold herself up. He's here. It's Gene, she thought foggily, in between the blackness that invaded her consciousness.
"You 'ang in there, Bols," was the breathless reply as they charged down the stairs.
"I'm… pregnant," she managed to whisper before fading away.
He laid her carefully on the waiting gurney, the paramedics taking over from him. He stood with his arms limply at his side, watching helplessly as they warmed her with blankets and covered her face with an oxygen mask.
"Her neck" - he pointed - "she's bleeding."
"We know, Mr Hunt. Give us space to do our jobs; we're helping her all we can." His world seemed to slow so that every nanosecond lasted an age. The paramedics were talking to him but he could make no sense of their words, a nonsensical noise deafening him instead. He peered down at his wet shirt, deep red staining the front. He felt his stomach lurch.
Gene looked around trying to get his bearings. He saw a second ambulance and the bastard murdering scum receiving treatment for the gunshot wound to his shoulder. White rage boiled in him. The lion inside roared and he thundered over and before anyone had time to react he tipped him off the gurney and kicked and kicked and kicked him, liquid, brutal anger surging through his veins. With every kick the frustration that had grown in him for three months, its seed sown the night he slept with Alex, swelled in him like a nuclear mushroom cloud, no sense of when the explosion would reach its crescendo and the soft fallout begin. It took three men to pull Gene off him. He spat at the pathetic bloodied figure, finally giving in, spent, and allowed himself to be pulled way, drenched in sweat. He stormed off to his car, his eyes throwing daggers at anyone stupid enough to look at him, daring them to approach him. He slammed the door shut. He leaned his head forward on the steering wheel and did something the Gene Genie would never allow another person to witness: he sobbed, his whole body shaking with tears.
Friday 30 April, 1982
Gene shifted uncomfortably in his chair, twisting his old camel-coloured coat over him. Nurses offered him blankets; doctors advised him to go home, that they would call if - "when" he had growled - she wakes up. He rebuffed them. The gentle rhythmic beating of the heart monitor lulled him into a semi-dozing state. After the intensity of the first few desperate hours in hospital when the doctors could offer no assurances that she would survive, she was now sedated, doctors advising that with the combination of loss of blood, starvation and shock, as well as the mental trauma, should she panic she would possibly be too weak to combat an attack. She had needed a blood transfusion and she had a very nasty injury to the back of the head but scans revealed no brain damage although they warned him of the headaches that might follow. She had stitches to the deeper cuts, and the rest had all been sterilised to help prevent infection. She was laid on her side to reprieve the pressure on her back where the deepest cuts were, though tubes seemed to emanate from every area.
Gene told the doctors about the pregnancy. He had no answers to the questions they put to him, only insistence that they check the welfare of the baby, who was safe. Miraculously, they said. There was evidence from her bruises that she had fallen heavily at least twice. Three months, they told him. They reassured him, though he was hesitant to believe them given the circumstances of the other deaths, that she had not been sexually assaulted. He needed to hear that from Alex.
He shifted again in his chair. Lumpy, fake leather, and hard as a rock. He pulled his rank as DCI to overrule hospital policy for visiting hours, declaring he would stay where he was until she woke up. Shaz had brought him a few changes of clothes. Ray and Chris, as well as other members of the team, had all popped by over the last couple of days. All were relieved at her 'safe' return. They had gone to Luigi's that evening, without Gene, but it had hardly been a celebratory night. They sat quietly, each lost in their own thoughts. Chris comforted Shaz, who was unable to hold back her tears at the memory of the dire sight of Alex in intensive care, and the hopeless and desperate look in the Guv's eyes.
He heard her gentle groan first. He reached out and took her hand in his.
"Bols?" he called softly. She was wrapped in white sheets and wore a white hospital gown. Her hair, now partly bereft of its curls, hung softly around her neck; a thick stray strand wound its way along her neck and tucked itself between her chin and the pillow.
"Mmmm?" she replied, frowning without opening her eyes. He said nothing further, he simply squeezed her hand. She could feel light on her face. She ached all over. But she felt stronger, her head was clearer now, only sleep seemed to dim her consciousness. She felt his hand in hers and she squeezed it in return, the relief at his touch a natural painkiller. She drew her knees up and shifted herself towards him, wincing at the sharp pain in her neck and back. She opened her eyes slowly, blinking against the light. "Hospital?" she asked quietly. He nodded his response. She looked up at his eyes, questioningly. She couldn't bring herself to ask. Her eyes flickered downwards and lingered for a few moments before returning to his face.
"The baby's fine." He smiled briefly through his frown. She felt tears sting her eyes. It had been so wrong that night – too desperate -and in the days afterwards she had battled with herself, her emotions rocking between self-loathing and regret; she had considered talking to him to try to find a way to bridge the gap that had subsequently opened between them. But he had been so distant. Then this horrendous case had arisen and absorbed all their energy. To then find herself pregnant, tying her inextricably to this world, confused her feelings for him all the more. During her time undercover she had tried not to think about the pregnancy, or Gene. She tried to convince herself it was inconsequential as she would soon be home with her daughter. But there had been moments when she forgot where she was and she would momentarily slip and maternal pleasure would seep through her bones; and she would fantasise of other nights with him, without their mutual drunkenness to ruin it.
"Gene, I'm so sorry, I should never…" She stopped, tears choking her.
"'Ey, 'ey, what you got to be sorry for?" he soothed urgently, moving his free hand to her face, stroking the hair away, running a thumb along her unbruised cheek. Alex savoured the sensation, so gentle after the brutality she had endured. She pushed those painful memories away; there would be time to confront them later. She would cry desperately, both for herself and for the death of her daughter. And he would comfort her, bemused at the sight of this beautiful, intelligent woman in his arms - carrying his child, he would think in astonished wonder - feeling her grief as if it were his own. He would have his chance to make amends. Her scars, both physical and mental, would heal slowly and she would allow him to help her return to strength. They would tentatively accept their desire for each other, that night long forgotten.
"I didn't want to…to be here. I was…scared. My daughter…" How could she possibly explain why she had rejected him so? "I want to live, Gene."
She tried again, more determinedly this time, swallowing the tears. "My…our baby. I have to fight to live."