The Short Way Home

Disclaimer. I own none of the named characters, except Frank, who I'm pretty sure I made up. They belong to someone else, and merely took up brief residence in my brain.

A/N. This is my first attempt at fan-fic, and the first thing I've written for public consumption for a very long time! I'd love to hear your views. This first chapter is just a very brief scene-setter. The whole fic is pretty much complete, so you won't have to wait long for the proper story!

1st November 1981

DI Alex Drake looked critically at her reflection in the mirror. Blue eyeshadow really was impossible to get right at 6 o'clock on a Monday morning, and she did sometimes wonder why she bothered. But it was part of her image now, along with the rather unprofessional clothes. Gene had once told her that dressing like a tart was part of the reason she was here, and at the moment that was better than anything she could come up with.

Not that she'd been trying to come up with anything recently. It was the only way to keep herself sane. Work. Drink. Shout at Gene. Laugh at Ray and Chris. Flirt with Gene. Work some more. Drink some more. Get so bloody tired she would sleep without dreaming. Anything to avoid thinking about what was happening to her and why she was here. Because since the bomb she just didn't know. That had been the one thing keeping her going. Stop the bomb going off: go home. But she hadn't done either. So was that it? Had she missed her chance? Was she stuck here? Did she just have to wait to die? Or not die? Or was she supposed to do something else? She just didn't know.

It was so hard to keep fighting when her opponent was like smoke - opaque and elusive. But likely to be deadly.