Just a short little Christmas themed story. Probably only two chapters but I hope you enjoy
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters portrayed nor the lyrics used in this story.
Chapter 1 – Angel or Demon?
Gene pulled his heavy black coat closer around him and flicked up the collar, grateful for whatever protection the thick garment afforded. It was a bitterly cold December evening and once again he wondered what the hell he was doing here. He wasn't a man given too much introspection or soul searching; generally speaking he just got on with life, carried out his orders and protected his people. And most of the time that was enough – until she came.
She. Bollyknickers. Bolls. Alex Drake – the fly in his ointment, the sand in his machine and the pain in his arse. He pursed his lips, as a sudden image of Alex appeared unbidden into his mind, all hair, teeth and tits as she poked him in the chest and read him the riot act – again. Or maybe, just maybe she was the grit in his oyster – destined to become a pearl?
"Christ," he muttered to himself, "I'm a bloody poet now." Anyway if Alex Drake were destined to become a precious stone it would be a diamond and nothing less.
He watched hidden amongst the shadows and waited patiently as the last of the congregation filed out of Southwark Cathedral. Any other time of the year he could have just slipped into the empty nave unseen by a living soul, but the week before Christmas there were more carol services and concerts than you could shake an elf at. And so he waited until the happy families, lonely pensioners and homeless drifters had wandered off into the cold, crisp night and the be-robed clergy had disappeared into the vestry, before he quietly entered and slipped unobtrusively into a pew nearest the altar.
He closed his eyes and let the peace wash over him, the utter stillness and quiet providing a balm to his soul. The world could do without him for a for an hour.
"Father," he replied without even opening his eyes.
Canon Nicholas Tindale raised his eyebrows, "You know that…"
"…you're not a Father," Gene finished and opened one eye, "all the same to me."
"Anything I can help you with my son?" he said gently, as he sat down beside Gene.
Gene shook his head. "Nope. Just needed a rest…somewhere quiet."
"You must be busy this time of the year?"
"Yep," Gene stretched his legs as far as he could before fixing the jovial priest with an unnerving stare, "you too?"
"Ah yes there's much to be done. But it's the best time of the year you know?"
"Best for what?"
"Saving souls," replied Nicholas.
Gene laughed grimly. "Thought you Anglicans didn't go in for that sort of thing."
"Oh, we do our bit," the cleric laughed. "Do you know of any souls that need saving?"
Gene looked around the cathedral. It was totally deserted now, the flickering candles casting eerie shadows in the vast empty space. "Maybe," he said quietly. "I do me best."
Nicholas stood and rested his hand on Gene's shoulder. "I know. But don't forget you're not alone in this world eh? The power of love is always with you. You should use it."
Gene felt a sarcastic remark bubble to the surface but managed to keep a lid on it. Instead he turned to Nicholas, a wry smile playing around his lips. "Especially at Christmas?"
"Especially at Christmas."
'Oh I wish it could be Christmas every day, when the kids start singing and the band begins to play….'
Alex didn't much like the sound of Christmas every day, especially if she was stuck in the kitsch hell of a 1981 Christmas. If she had to listen to Wizard, Boney M, or Slade one more time she was going to scream! Although come to think of it, things weren't much different in 2008. Same old music, same old scene.
She took another large slurp from the glass in front on her and smiled as Luigi deposited yet another bottle of wine on the table as she watched the rest of CID get into the Christmas sprit. Ray was trying to manoeuvre some busty redhead under the mistletoe while Chris and Shaz were snogging in the corner; the rest of the team were either staring morosely into their pints, eyeing up the totty from the office parties or singing loudly at the top of their voices. Everyone except Gene that is.
Come to think of it – where was Gene? It wasn't like him to miss the chance of a booze-up with the team but when she'd asked if he was coming, he'd just mumbled some excuse about needing to be somewhere else.
Alex sighed. She had to admit that it wasn't the same without him. As much he irritated and annoyed her, and even with the noise and bustle of Luigi's, it just wasn't the same when he wasn't there. It seemed lifeless somehow. Soulless.
"Only a bloody construct," she muttered as she unsteadily poured more wine into the glass. But was he? Or was he the ghost of a memory, a shadow of the man who had saved her life on the day her parents died? And if he wasn't a construct, if he was real…
She shuddered and pushed the thought away. Because if he was real then everyone else in this crazy world was real; and if everyone else was real, then everything she did was real and had real consequences. But most of all, it meant that what she felt for Gene was real; the feelings she had been battling with since she first arrived and fainted at his feet. Feelings that were growing steadily stronger, no matter how much alcohol she ingested to try and drown them.
"Sod him," she mumbled and she unsteadily to her feet and staggered towards the exit.
"You alright ma'am?" Shaz called after her.
"Fine…gonna be fine. Just need an early night," she slurred, as she turned and bumped into the very real and considerable form of Gene Hunt.
"Early night Bols? Best idea you've had in weeks." He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"In your dreams Hunt." She swayed slightly as she poked him in the chest.
"Quite often actually," he retorted.
Alex opened her mouth, poised to deliver the barbed insult on the tip of her tongue, but quickly closed it again. Even through the murk of her alcohol-fogged brain, the idea registered; Gene dreamed of her. Did he? Really?
"Do you?" she mumbled.
"Yes." Gene reached out a steadying hand as Alex continued to sway before him. "But then I wake up in a cold sweat before you start bloody nagging!" Christ he was far too sober to tell her the truth; that he woke up clutching his pillow and with a hard-on you could use to play snooker with.
Alex frowned and hung onto the lapels of Gene's coat as she stared into his eyes. "I think you're lying."
"And I think you're drunk," he said holding out his hand. "Keys."
"Yer bloody door keys woman."
"'Cos the last time you were this pie-eyed it took you half an hour to get the bloody key in the door. Come on – ladies first." He gestured to the stairway that led to the flat.
Alex handed over the keys and staggered towards the stairs before turning around. "You only want to look at my arse!"
Gene smiled. "There 'ave to be some compensations Bolly."
He watched appreciatively as Alex turned and slowly climbed the stairs, hanging onto the banister as if her life depended on it. It was a nice arse, no getting away from it; firm and round and deliciously smooth – at least in his vivid imagination. He cursed as she paused and then staggered backwards, almost knocking him back down the stairs.
"For Christ's sake! We'll be here until the New Year at this rate."
Alex turned around, "Would you…."
She never got to finish the sentence as Gene quickly grabbed her around the waist and threw her over his shoulder in a fireman's lift, his arm settling firmly around her thighs as he began to climb the stairs.
"Will you stop struggling or you'll have us both down."
"Think I'm going to be sick," Alex said.
"No you are bloody not! Not until I've put you down anyway." Gene struggled as he increased his grip on her wriggling form and finally turned the key in the lock. He threw the keys on the table as he took in the all too familiar surroundings. Oh yes, she'd changed things around a little bit but he knew the flat like the back of his hand; not surprising given the number of times he'd passed out in a drunken stupor in Luigi's and been put to bed here – before Bolly or 'BB' as he liked to think of it.
"Put me down!" she shrieked.
"Would yer stop whinging woman," he said, as he strode towards the bedroom. He couldn't help noticing the distinct lack of festive decoration; not a stray piece of tinsel, Christmas tree or fairy light to be seen. Not that he had room to complain of course but he had just imagined she would be into all that.
"Gone overboard with the decorations love," he said sarcastically.
"Sod off you miserable…."
"Now, now Bolly," he said giving her arse a good slap, "peace and goodwill etc etc."
He threw her, not un-gently, into the middle of the bed and quickly stepped back, fully expecting her to come at him fists flying. Except she didn't. Instead she rolled onto her side and curled up into a tight ball and started to cry. No, not cry – sob; great wracking sobs that seemed to be wrenched from her very soul.
"I want…to…go…home," she stammered in between each shudder.
Gene looked around the darkened room in desperation, each howl of misery threatening to rip his heart in two. He should leave…but how could he? How could he leave her like this? He sighed heavily and gave up the fight.
"I know love, I know," he soothed, as he sat next to her on the bed, "so do I."
She opened her eyes and looked up at him, "You don't understand…"
His long fingers reached out and gently stroked her hair, brushed the tears away from her cheeks, "Shush now. I understand – more than you know."
Alex allowed herself to be comforted, the warmth of his hand and the soft low rumble of his voice gradually lulling her into slumber. She felt her boots being removed and heard his curses as he struggled with the left boot, and then the soft warmth as he wrestled with the quilt and finally drew it over her.
And then utter quiet.
"Don't go Gene," she whispered urgently.
Gene stopped with his hand already on the bedroom door. "Eh?"
"I can't do this alone."
He turned and walked back towards the bed. She was still lying in the position he had left her, curled up in a ball and facing away from him. He knew he should leave, get out of here while he still could; but even he wasn't that hard-hearted. With a glance heavenward he uttered a silent curse before removing his boots, coat and jacket, his tie already discarded long ago. The mattress dipped under his weight as he at first sat tentatively on the bed and then rolled over until his body cushioned hers as he lay behind her. His arm reached around her body until he found one of her hands, their fingers entwining in solidarity.
"You're not alone Alex."
There was no reply but Gene hadn't really expected one. He could hear the low thud-thud of the up-tempo music in Luigi's change to something slower and more mournful. He concentrated until the words finally became clearer.
'It'll be lonely this Christmas, without you to hold; It'll be lonely this Christmas, lonely and cold….'
He closed his eyes and moving closer to the sleeping Alex, he willed himself to sleep.
……………to be continued.