Here it is – the final chapter. Thanks to everyone who has read/reviewed/favourited/commented – thanks so much for the continued support and the really interesting and insightful comments.

Thanks to monkey-in-hell for an unintentional line of dialogue she supplied in her last review – I just couldn't have phrased it any better.

Thanks to Ashley Pharoah for some dialogue which I have twisted for my own personal use. However, Ashes to Ashes and the characters portrayed still don't belong to me – more's the pity.

Warning: Most of this chapter is pure fluff – a fact of which I am totally unashamed


Chapter 26 – Promises to Keep

The repercussions from the events at the Hilton hotel were still being felt at Fenchurch East weeks later. Indeed, Alex thought as she sat in her office, the effects would quite probably rumble on for months – though hopefully in a positive way. At the moment though there was still an unsettled air – and not just in CID where the major change had occurred; the uneasy atmosphere seemed to permeate every corner of the station and it would be a while before things returned to normal – if they ever did.

The shocking murder of Mac continued to haunt Alex for reasons that she couldn't explain. All she knew was that it didn't seem right. And what had Mac meant when he said 'It's not over' – what the hell did that mean? Gene of course had been typically blasé but forthright.

"How the 'ell do I know what he meant?"

"Well aren't you worried? Intrigued?"

"Not really love. For all I know he could have 'ad a religious revelation and thought he was going to heaven. Wouldn't be over then would it?"

Alex frowned. "Possible I suppose, although Mac didn't seem the religious type."

"I was joking. They were the bitter words of a dying man Alex. Nothing more."

And that had been the end of that particular conversation, although she could hardly blame Gene for wanting to draw a line under Mac's death and his reign of corruption – it was causing him enough problems as it was, without the possibility that there was something unknown lurking around the corner.

A knock on the door interrupted her train of thought and she looked up to see Shaz bearing a cup of tea.

"Come in Shaz."

"Here you go ma'am, thought you might need this."

"Thanks Shaz, you're a star."

Shaz beamed. "Brill." She continued to hover by the desk.

"Something else I can do for you?"

"Well there was one thing…two things really."

"Go on."

"I was just wondering…I mean we," she pointedly looked out into the main office, "we were just wondering if you're going to be the new Guv…err ma'am. Now that you're not going to Milton Keynes."

Alex smiled. "What do the others think about the possibility of that?"

"Well I think it would great to have a woman in charge and you can be just as tough as the Guv sometimes."

"Well maybe not quite as tough but I do have my moments," she agreed.

"I think the job calls for brains as well as brawn and well, you've got Ray for brawn so I reckon you'd be great."

"Thanks Shaz but I don't think I'm quite ready for Guvship yet – this is just temporary until the new DCI is appointed." More to the point she didn't think the Met was quite ready either quite apart from the fact that she had her own ideas about her career and her life in this dysfunctional world. There might still be a small part of her mind that questioned her current reality but what she did know was that even if it wasn't real she wanted to make every second count.

"Oh, pity" Shaz said.

"Fancy being a DCI yourself one day Shaz?"

Shaz laughed. "Can you imagine it?"

"Seriously though Shaz, you should think about what you want to do in the Met – stay in uniform and progress that way or go down the detective route."

"You think I could – be a detective that is?"

"I don't see any reason why not. You have a think about it."

"Thanks ma'am, I will."

Alex smiled as she watched Shaz rejoin the rest of the team. If she only did one thing during her stint as acting DCI, then encouraging Shaz to think about her career was good enough. She was still smiling at the thought of 'Detective Shaz Granger' when the phone rang.

"Inspec…err…I mean DCI Drake."

"How goes it Bollyknickers?"

Alex laughed. "Are you really sure you should be addressing your DCI as Bollyknickers?"

Gene grunted. "Probably not. Good job yer only acting then, Drake."

"Quite. And what can I do for you Super," she playfully emphasised the final word.

"What you can do is get your acting arse upstairs to my office toot bloody suite."

"Is that an official request sir?"

"Course it is, although if something private does come up…"

"I'll be right there."

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Gene stood in his office and stared out of the window as he sipped from his steaming mug of tea. He had a pretty good view of East London from here and sometimes it helped being able to survey his somewhat larger kingdom. Events had moved pretty quickly after Mac had been shot – more quickly than even Gene could have imagined. His first priority had been to visit Sarah Watts, David Adams' fiancée and custodian of Peter Adams' incriminating diary. She had tearfully but willingly passed the diary into his care; she hadn't known what David had planned and now she was left utterly distraught. Unfortunately Gene couldn't offer any consolation – David had shot and killed Mac in front of 600 witnesses. No question that he would be going to jail for a long time.

Gene sat down in his comfortable chair and flicked through the photocopied pages of the diary; the original was firmly in the hands of the Met's internal Complaints Investigation Bureau. It was incriminating to say the least; complete with names, dates and descriptions of a host of dodgy deals involving Mac – and many others. CIB were going over it with a fine tooth comb and it had triggered an internal investigation of immense proportions. Even the Chief Super had not escaped retribution once it was discovered that he had been implicated, although he had been allowed to 'retire' with full pension.

"Retire my arse," Gene muttered to himself. "Guilty as bloody sin."

Although Mackintosh and the Chief Super were the most prominent casualties of the investigation, a multitude of junior ranks were questioned and either reprimanded, transferred or dismissed, depending on the severity of their transgression. For a brief period, Gene had been the most senior officer at the station – a situation that he had not been entirely comfortable with. Luckily a temporary Chief Super had been drafted in until a permanent replacement could be recruited.

All in all, his feet hadn't touched the ground in the past few weeks – especially as the Commissioner was taking a personal interest in the whole situation. Gene had been asked, and in such a manner that he couldn't really refuse, to stay on and take Mac's place. In return he had been given assurances that he could make whatever changes he felt necessary – in any of the five CID teams now under his control.

There was a gentle tap at the door and Alex popped her head around the door.

"You wanted to see me sir?"

"I always want to see you DCI Drake." His lips twitched with amusement as he watched Alex saunter towards him.

"I still can't get used to being called 'DCI Drake'," Alex said.

"And I can't get used to you calling me 'sir', so shall we cut the formalities – at least in private? How's my team anyway?"

"My team," Alex said pointedly, "are doing very well considering." She sat down on the edge of his desk.

"Considering?"

"Considering the upheaval that's taken place recently. It's been very unsettling for certain members shall we say."

"You mean Ray?"

Alex nodded. "Not just Ray, although he is the most affected. He worshiped Mac – thought he could do no wrong."

Gene grunted. "So did I love. Look how wrong we both were."

"Yes, but not only is Mac gone, now the Guv's gone – his Guv."

"I 'avent gone! I'm only upstairs."

"You know what I mean."

"Anyway, I intend to be a lot more involved than any Super he's known before, so you can tell 'im – tell 'em all – that I'm keeping a close eye."

"I will. But it would help if you could come to Luigi's tonight."

"Tonight? Not sure if I can get away in time."

"Please? It is Friday and it would help morale."

She smiled winningly and Gene knew he was lost. "Go on then." He figured he might as well make the most of it. Once they had a permanent DCI, it wouldn't really be the done thing for the Super to be hanging around drinking with the team. He had a feeling that boisterous nights at Luigi's might become a thing of the past – at least for him. But what he really wanted to do was take Alex out somewhere special – somewhere posh. He'd been thinking about it ever since the night at the Hilton; he had planned to say something then to Alex, to ask her if she might…if she'd consider… Bugger! If he couldn't even form the words in his own head how on earth was he going to say them to her?

"Gene? You've wandered off."

"Sorry, just thinking. We should go out on Saturday night…for a meal I mean."

"Ooh, that would be nice – we haven't been out together in weeks. Anywhere in mind?"

"Somewhere nice. Just leave it to me. All you have to do is put yer glad rags on and turn up."

"I'll look forward to it. So," she said changing the subject, "any progress on a new DCI yet?"

Gene grimaced and indicated a small pile of folders. "Just going through the applications. There's still time if you want to throw yer hat in the ring."

Alex shook her head. "No thanks – not yet anyway."

Gene inwardly admitted to a small sense of relief – but for personal reasons, not professional. "Well, you let me know when you're ready and I'll support you – you know that?"

"Thank you." She leaned over and took his hand. "I really appreciate it."

Gene held onto her hand for a minute, rubbing his thumb across her palm and releasing it reluctantly. "Anyway, much as I enjoy the sight of your lovely arse parked on my desk, if you don't leave now there's a very real risk of sexual harassment."

Alex laughed as she jumped off the desk. "Really? Who by?"

"Both of us hopefully. Go on with yer. I'll see yer later."

She opened the door into the outer office and then turned towards him. "Gene?"

"What?"

I love you. She silently mouthed the words and was rewarded by a rare smile.

"Yeah. Me too." As he watched her close the door and disappear from view, he thought again, for the thousandth time, what a lucky bastard he really was.

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Alex sat back and relaxed as she sipped on her cup of green tea; when Gene had said they were going out for a Chinese, this wasn't exactly what she imagined. The Feng Shang Princess was a beautifully appointed Chinese restaurant but what gave it the edge over its competitors was the fact that it was actually a floating restaurant set on the Regent's Park Canal. As she waited for Gene to return from his visit to the gents, she took the opportunity to have a good look around. Of course it was totally kitch and very 1980's but somehow the whole thing worked. The interior was decked out in yellow, black and gold and on one side a whole bank of windows looking out onto the canal. Somehow, Gene had managed to wangle what she suspected was one of the best tables, which overlooked the canal giving a great view of the canal and the other boats and houseboats along the waterway.

She couldn't remember when she'd had a better evening and Gene had been the perfect dinner companion, even if he did seem a little on edge. Hardly surprising given all the extra work and responsibilities he had at the station these days. Her eyes lit up as she spotted him making his way towards her, looking particularly handsome, in a dark suit and white shirt. He stopped briefly to chat to their waiter and she noticed him slipping the man a note. What was he up to now?

"Miss me?" Gene said as he returned to their table.

"Course not. I was too busy admiring the view."

"View's pretty good from where I'm sitting," he said, as he gave her the once over, "very nice indeed."

Alex smiled indulgently and placed her hand over his. "I've had such a lovely evening Gene. Thank you."

"No thanks necessary love – you deserve it." He took her hand and briefly raised it to his lips before setting it down again.

Alex was slightly shocked at his overt display of affection but recovered quickly. "Everything alright darling?"

"Yeah great. Why?"

"Nothing. You just seem a little…nervous?"

It's now or never then. He cleared his throat. "Actually there is something that…"

"Is there anything else I can get you?" the waiter enquired.

"What? Oh…no…nothing," Gene said impatiently, "Alex?"

"No nothing for me."

"And you enjoyed the food?" The waiter smiled expectantly.

"Delicious," Alex replied. "The blackened cod with miso was quite sublime."

"Thank you madam. And sir's Malaysian curry?"

"Fantastic. Now if you wouldn't mind buggering off?"

"Of course sir."

"Gene!" Alex exclaimed, once the waiter was out of hearing distance. "That wasn't very polite."

"Don't ruddy care. I'm trying to 'ave a private conversation here. Now…"

"Oh look Gene," she pointed out of the window, "look at that beautiful houseboat with the fairy lights…"

"Sod the bloody fairy lights Alex. Will you marry me?" he blurted. Shit. Gene looked on nervously as Alex stared at him with mouth agape. After a few more silent seconds, which felt like an eternity, he spoke. "Close yer mouth love – you look like yer catching flies."

"What? Oh sorry. Did you just say…?"

Gene took a quick gulp of beer. "Don't look so shocked – you can say no yer know." She was going to say no – he just knew it.

"I don't know what to say," she said quietly, playing for time until she managed to collect her thoughts.

"Well, I think either yes or no is traditional, although sod off is always an option I suppose." Please don't laugh that's all I ask.

"Gene," she took his hand and smiled directly into his eyes, "I wouldn't be so rude. I just thought you wouldn't want to get married again – after all you've been through?"

"Well, it couldn't be any worse than being married to Maggie could it?"

"That's hardly a ringing endorsement." She looked away, a hint of disappointment in her eyes.

"No, I didn't mean it like that." Bugger, he was making a right balls up of it. "I mean that I think I've been through the very worst marriage possible – and I was to blame for some of it an' all. But I've learned me lessons Alex and I know I'll be better at it this time – if you give me the chance."

Alex felt her heart pounding and almost threatening to break out of her chest. Could she do this? She loved him – that much she did know. But this was a big commitment – the biggest of her life in fact. She wouldn't just be committing herself to Gene, she would also be acknowledging the fact, once and for all, that she was staying here. But she couldn't keep him waiting – it was too cruel.

"You know, I wasn't very good at marriage either. What if I mess it up again?"

"From what you told me, you did your best Alex. The bastard told you to 'ave an abortion. Hardly your fault."

"You know I'm not easy to live with."

"Neither am I but here we are – still in one piece." He laced his fingers through hers. "Love you Alex – that's all I know. It's all I need to know."

"Yes," she said, so softly he barely heard.

He held his breath. "Yes what? Yes you agree with me or yes you'll…"

She smiled broadly. "Yes I'll marry you dumbo!"

"Shit. You will?"

"Yes I will." She laughed as Gene stared in amazement. "You can kiss me – if you want to."

"Too right." He leaned over the table, taking her face in both hands and gave her a long lingering kiss, much to the delight and amazement of their fellow diners. "We're getting' married," he said with amazement.

"Yes we are."

Gene stood. "We're getting married," he announced in a loud voice. There were a few cheers and shouts of congratulations as Gene gestured to the waiter, who then hurried to their table bearing a tray of champagne and glasses.

Alex giggled as the waiter poured the champagne and then made a discreet exit. "I don't believe this," she laughed, "this is so much better than my first engagement."

"Christ, mine too."

They clinked glasses and smiled. "To us," Alex said.

Gene nodded. "You and me Bolly," he said, taking a slurp of champagne before rummaging in his jacket pocket.

Alex's eyes widened in anticipation. "You didn't?"

He nudged a small silver box towards her which Alex reverentially picked up, her eyes lighting up as she opened it. "Oh Gene. This is beautiful…it's too much." In the box was a beautiful art deco style platinum ring, its central diamond set in a geometric shape, with several smaller diamonds on the stepped shoulders of the ring.

"Got a confession to make." He glanced almost shyly at her. "It's not new."

"Well, yes. 1920's I'd say but even so…."

"It was me mam's and her mam's before that and before you ask – no - Maggie never wore it. Me mam was still alive then and she didn't exactly get on with Maggie."

Alex could feel the tears forming in her eyes. "Will you put it on for me?"

"Course - but we can look for something else if you don't like it."

"It's beautiful Gene." She watched as he slowly extracted the ring from the box and then slid it easily onto her ring finger.

"Reckon someone in the family must have had good taste at some point – and some cash." He held onto her hand as though he'd never let go.

"It fits beautifully too. How did you…?"

"Borrowed one of yer rings to get this one sized. I am a detective yer know?" He stopped to brush the tears from her face. "No need to cry love. I'm not that bad."

Alex laughed through her tears of joy. "I do love you Gene Hunt."

He nodded with satisfaction. "Course you do."

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

December 18th 1982

Alex shivered slightly as the taxi crawled along Peckham Road towards her destination. She looked up and the glowering sky and frowned – it had been sunny this morning, why couldn't it be sunny now?

"Snow later," the taxi driver said with some authority.

"You think so?"

He nodded. "No doubt about it." He glanced in the mirror at her reflection. "Sorry about the delay love – usually quiet along here."

"Christmas I suppose."

"Don't worry – I'll get you there on time. He's a lucky man whoever he is."

"Thanks." She could feel herself blushing. Honestly – a blushing bride at her age.

Finally they arrived and having paid the taxi, she grabbed her bouquet of cream roses and forget-me-nots and ran towards the steps of the Southwark Registry office, where a tall figure in a dark suit was nervously puffing on a cigarette.

"You're late," Gene said gruffly.

"You're early," she countered with a smile. "But you look very handsome." And he did, standing there in a dark charcoal wool suit with matching waistcoat; she thought he looked good enough to eat.

Gene stubbed out his cigarette and leaned over to kiss her cheek. "Best get in out of the cold eh?" Privately he thought that he'd never seen anything so beautiful in his whole life. Alex always looked good of course but today she was positively glowing. He looked nervously at his watch but they had a few minutes before they had to go in. "Let's have a good look at you then."

He held her at arms length while his eyes wandered appreciatively over her body. He hadn't really known what to expect – what with it being winter and a registry office doo, but she looking gorgeous in an expertly tailored cream wool suit with military style trimming on the jacket and a seasonal touch of cream fur at the collar and cuffs, all topped off with a matching full fur hat.

He nodded towards the hat. "Didn't kill anything for that did you?"

Alex patted the hat experimentally. "God, I hope not. No – absolutely fake I'm sure."

"You look bloody gorgeous." He took her free hand as they faced each other.

"Sure you're ready for this?"

"I'm ready," he said confidently.

"It's a big step." For both of them.

He looked down at her and smiled. "Between you and me, Bolls, I've been wanting to do this for ages."

Alex beamed at him and she could feel tears starting to prick at her eyes again, "Me too, I just didn't know you felt the same way."

"Definitely - let's do it."

About 20 minutes later and paperwork completed, they sat together in a tastefully appointed room, with only the registrar and Freddie Truman and his wife for company. The truth was they hadn't actually told any of CID or indeed the rest of Fenchurch East about their impending nuptials. They just wanted a quiet day with no fuss although Gene had already arranged for a big party later in the week for when the team undoubtedly found out. Feelings might be a little bruised but this was the way they both wanted it – a simple moving ceremony followed by a few days to themselves. Although now that she came to think of it, she had no idea what the plan was; she had some time booked off work but she had no idea what Gene had up his sleeve.

"You okay?" Gene reached over and squeezed her arm reassuringly.

"Couldn't be better." She glanced around the room and smiled as she met Mrs Truman's eye. Her only concern about a registry office wedding had been the venue; she'd been afraid of some dreadful 1960's concrete block with a drab utilitarian room, but she'd been enormously relieved on her first visit here several weeks ago. The main building itself appeared to be Georgian at a guess and the room where they were now sitting was light and spacious with elegant armchairs, tasteful cream and gold accessories and even a chandelier and of course – a Christmas tree.

Gene glanced over at Alex as the registrar began to shuffle some papers. Was she happy? She looked happy. He looked over his shoulder at Truman who winked encouragement. Gene smiled and nodded back. It was going to be fine – they were both going to be fine.

"Gene? Alex?" The registrar indicated that they should now stand.

They stood together and Gene felt Alex slip her hand into his. He smiled nervously but silently vowed to spend the rest of his life making her happy.

A civil wedding doesn't take very long, especially when there are so few guests and no music or readings but the registrar did his best to personalise the occasion, taking his time and guiding them through their responses with practised efficiency. After the legally required declarations and convictions, the registrar had suggested an additional vow that they could take – apparently more meaningful vows were becoming quite the rage.

The registrar smiled at Alex. "Will you solemnly promise that you will always protect this man with your utmost care, that you will honour and cherish him in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer and that in all things you will be to him a faithful and loving wife?"

Alex looked up into Gene's eyes, surprised to see a hint of moisture there. "I will."

The registrar turned to Gene. "And Gene, Will you solemnly promise that you will always protect this woman with your utmost care, that you will honour and cherish her in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer and that in all things you will be to her a faithful and loving husband?"

"I do…I will."

"Do you have the rings?"

Gene glanced back at Freddie, who stepped up to stand at Gene's side ready to hand over the precious gold rings.

The registrar guided Gene through the words. "I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and of our marriage today." His hands were shaking slightly as he slipped the ring onto Alex's finger.

Alex was beaming happily, even as the tears rolled down her cheek, and she also repeated the words and slipped a ring onto Gene's finger.

The registrar continued. "Stanley Eugene and Alexandra, by the power vested in me as Registrar for this District, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride."

Gene wiped away the tears from her eyes and then took her into his arms and kissed her soundly, the world melting away just for a moment.

There was a discreet cough and then the registrar and the Truman's offered their congratulations to the newly married couple.

Truman slapped him on the back. "Stanley? Kept that very quiet," he chortled.

"Can yer blame me? Why d'yer think I use me middle name?"

"Secret's safe with me Stan…err Gene. Right, a few photographs and then off for a drink eh?"

Gene looked at Alex. "Well, we hadn't really planned anything for after."

"Oh you must come for a drink," Alice Truman said, "it is your wedding day and we must toast the happy couple."

"Exactly," Freddie agreed, "And I've been practising with the camera so get your best smiles ready."

"You okay with that Mrs Hunt?" Gene said with a smile.

"What? Oh that's me. Yes of course."

Truman was as quick and efficient with the camera as he was in a crisis, and he soon had Gene and Alex laughing and smiling as he snapped away, even roping in the registrar to take a picture of all four of them.

"Right, let's head outside and I'll just take a couple more."

"More?" Gene shifted uncomfortably as he watched the Truman's leave the room. "Don't see the need meself."

Alex turned into his arms and straightened his tie. "Once in a lifetime Gene. Just a couple more photographs – for me?"

He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her brow. "Only if you promise I'll never have to do it again…get married that is."

"I promise. You'll never have to do it again." She stared into his stormy eyes, losing herself as their mouths edged ever closer and their lips finally touched. She touched his cheek as his lips warmed hers, opening her mouth to taste him, hints of smoke and whisky and spice that warmed her very soul.

There was a discreet cough and Alex blushed as the registrar came back into the room to prepare for the next wedding. Clutching her bouquet with one hand and Gene's hand in the other, Alex followed as he led her down the long hallway towards the front door and out into the chill December air.

"Bloody 'ell, it's a bit parky now. I'll be no use to you at all if we don't get in the warm soon."

"I'll soon warm you up – don't you worry." Alex winked at him.

"Right you two lovebirds," Truman said, "just a couple more pictures here then we're done."

"Thank Christ," Gene muttered, "I could murder a pint."

They posed dutifully as Truman snapped away, determined to make the most of what little sunlight there was. "That's it," he finally announced.

Alex turned to Gene and smiled. "Wasn't so bad was it?"

"Gimme another kiss and I'll tell yer," he teased.

Gene wrapped his arms around Alex…his wife. The very thought brought a smile to his face as he kissed her long and thoroughly, only stopping when he felt a drop of moisture on his cheek. They both looked up and the grey and forbidding sky but Alex was the first to notice.

"It's snowing," she said breathlessly. She held out her hand to catch the rapidly falling snowflakes. "How wonderfully perfect."

Gene shook his head in despair but smiled indulgently. If Alex wanted snow on her wedding day then who was he to argue. While Alex was watching the snow with a childlike expression of joy on her face, he just caught sight of Truman gesturing to someone or something out of sight. He didn't even have time to alert Alex before the first shower of confetti burst over their heads.

"What the…."

"Surprise!" Shaz squealed. She was accompanied by Chris, Ray and several other members of CID, who also proceeded to throw confetti.

"How the 'ell did you find out?"

"Sorry, my fault," Truman admitted with a guilty expression, "though dare say your PC here would have found out in the end. – she seems quite tenacious."

"Well I think it's lovely," Alex said quickly before Gene could say too much. "Thank you so much for coming."

"Yeah…thanks," Gene said reluctantly.

"Sorry Guv, we just couldn't let you get away with not having a celebration so we've arranged a little get-together in Luigis."

"Oh…don't know about that." Gene could see his chances of whisking Alex away to the nearest bedroom rapidly diminishing.

"We'd love to Shaz – just for a while at least."

Gene capitulated. "Oh alright then – if it's all arranged. You coming Freddie?"

Truman laughed. "Coming? I helped arranged it all soft lad."

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A couple of hours later and Gene had to admit that he was enjoying himself – more that he had thought possible at the time. Luigi had done a sterling job of making the restaurant look bridal and celebratory and there was enough food and booze to keep the sternest of critics happy. He was now relaxed and happy as he slumped on the banquette and watched Alex happily chatting away to various members of the team; she looked even more gorgeous now than she had done earlier, removing her furry hat and jacket to reveal a tightly laced cream coloured corset embroidered with delicate red roses. He was already imagining himself unlacing the ties and revealing the gorgeous flesh beneath. He stirred uncomfortably in his seat as his eyes roamed over her – surely they could go now?

"Evviva gli sposi," Luigi shouted once again, as he had been doing regularly all afternoon. Long live the newly weds. Everyone cheered in response and yet more champagne flowed.

Alex could feel someone's eyes upon her but she didn't even need to turn around to know that it was Gene; she could feel him looking her up and down and the knowledge warmed her from the inside out.

"I'd better go Shaz," she said, "I think I'm wanted."

"I should say so," Shaz giggled. "You look so lovely ma'am. I just hope I look half as good when me and Chris get married."

"You will Shaz, trust me. Every bride looks perfect on her wedding day." She grabbed two glasses of champagne and sashayed her way across the room to Gene, slipping onto his lap and bestowing a sloppy kiss on his cheek."

"Husband," she purred.

"Wife," he replied.

"God that sounds so weird."

He frowned. "Weird good or weird bad?"

"Weird good." They chinked glasses and she proposed a toast. "To us."

He nodded in agreement. "To us." He shifted to accommodate Alex's weight on his lap and then whispered in her ear. "You know, much as I'm enjoying meself 'ere, I'd really like to see what's going on under that corset," he waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

"Really? Got somewhere in mind?"

He kissed her bare shoulder. "Course. My secret though. Bags are packed and in the boot of the car and I'm ready when you are."

Alex could hear a familiar song starting up and she smiled and took Gene's hand. "One more dance before we go?"

Gene sighed dramatically but he couldn't deny her anything today. "Long as it's not too energetic."

"Its not."

They found a space on the makeshift dance area as the sound of a slow song by the Beatles permeated the air.

"Beatles? Bit old fashioned for you?" Gene said, as he nevertheless took her into his arms and started to sway with the music.

"I happen to like old fashioned." She closed her eyes, feeling safe and secure in the arms of the man she loved – her husband.

'Bright are the stars that shine, Dark is the sky. I know this love of mine will never die. And I love her.'

Gene hummed along with the words as their bodies melded together, blissfully unaware of the other occupants of the restaurant. "And I love her," he crooned softly.

As the song came to an end Alex raised her eyes. "Gene?" she said softly, her eyes filled with love and desire.

"Yes love?"

"I think I'd like to go now."

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Hours later, Alex woke up with a start, naked and sprawled over the bed, her head resting on Gene's belly. And then she remembered – she was on her honeymoon. Gene twitched uneasily in his sleep and she hoped he wasn't suffering from one of his nightmares. She could just make out his face in the glow on the subdued lighting and a small frown was creasing his brow. She stroked his arm gently for a few moments and watched, as he seemed to fall deeper into sleep. Carefully, she adjusted her position until she too was resting on the beautifully plump pillows and could watch his face without straining her neck.

They had finally managed to sneak out of Luigi's without too much fuss, the celebrations set to continue long into the night by the looks of things. Gene however had made other plans and she had been pleasantly surprised when they Quattro had eventually pulled up outside The Olde Bell Inn, situated in a small village near Henley-on-Thames. She was already kindly disposed towards the quaint building but a light covering of snow made the inn look even more magical. She could tell just by looking that parts of the inn were obviously very old but it had some cosy nooks and crannies and the room they had been allocated was warm and spacious – they even had their own huge claw foot bath in the bedroom, which she fully intended to make use of at some point. Gene had apologised for not being able to take her away for a proper holiday but she understood completely; the station was still reeling from the impact of Mac's death and the subsequent investigations – Gene's place was there until things settled down at least.

They had already made love once – and very lingeringly at that; her body still ached deliciously from their exertions. Still, she was already beginning to anticipate another round of joyful shagging – because if you couldn't do that on your honeymoon, then when could you?

Gene shifted uneasily again, his head moving from side to side as he muttered incomprehensibly in his sleep. Alex watched as he began to become more agitated and she stroked his arm and shoulder, hoping her touch would calm him and bring him out of his obvious nightmare.

Suddenly he jerked awake. "Stop!"

"Sweeheart?" Alex said soothingly, "You okay?"

"What?" He looked at her uncomprehendingly for a moment. "Yeah…yeah...just a dream." He looked around the room. "Was there a bright light on?"

"No, there's just the night light in the corner. Why?"

"Must 'ave been dreaming. Back in a minute."

She watched with concern as he wandered off to the bathroom but he was only gone a few minutes, launching himself back onto the large king size bed with enthusiasm. She giggled as he wrapped himself around her body, nibbling at her neck and tickling with long dexterous fingers.

"Happy then Mrs Hunt?" He kissed her enthusiastically and then allowed her to answer.

"Very happy Mr Hunt. Is that toothpaste I can taste?"

"Mouthwash. Had a funny taste in me mouth."

"Ah." She sighed contentedly as he began to kiss her way further down her torso.

"Gene?"

"Hmmm?"

"What do you dream about? The nightmares I mean?"

He stopped mid kiss. "Not sure…not much really."

"But something obviously disturbs you," she persisted.

He rolled onto his back in the centre of the bed. "Not really a nightmare. More a feeling of being trapped than anything else…can't see anything…or anybody. Although tonight was different."

"Different how?"

"I kept seeing flashes of light and then when I woke up I had this strange taste in me mouth."

Alex moved closer to him. "And how do you feel now? Headache? Nausea? Anything like that?"

"Nope. I feel fine now. Just a dream like I said."

"Probably although its sounds a bit like a migraine," Alex agreed cautiously, "You will tell me if it gets worse."

"It won't – but if it makes you feel better then yes – I promise." He touched her cheek and then his eyes darkened, "Course, you could kiss it all better – if you wanted to?"

She smirked with wicked intent. "Now that sounds like a fabulous idea."

She quickly straddled him, running her hands possessively over his body as she began to kiss and lick and nip her way down his body much to his obvious delight.

"Mmmm," he mumbled, "nice…very nice."

"I aim to please," she said, as she tweaked his nipples and then ran her hot tongue over each one as they peaked. She could feel her own desire mounting but her aim was simply to return some of the pleasure that he had already given her and nothing would make her deviate from that course.

She kissed her way down his belly, nipping at his flesh, carefully avoiding his most recent battle scars. His cock was already standing proudly to attention, almost straining for her touch it seemed. It would be churlish to disappoint.

"Mmmpf," Gene groaned as Alex took him in hand "s'great…so good." He couldn't stop himself as he flexed his hips, thrusting into her willing hands.

"Such a big boy," Alex teased, her hands moving unceasingly over his erection until she finally settled into a rhythm, determined to bring him right to the edge. She moved into a comfortable position and began to lick the whole length of him, tasting the salty sweetness of his skin and using her whole tongue to drive him into madness.

"Please Alex…ohhh…yes…"

She opened her mouth wider and took him inside her wet and willing mouth, swirling her tongue around the head, causing him to shudder and jerk as she cupped his balls firmly. She moved one hand away and began to pleasure herself as she continued to suck at Gene, already tasting droplets of liquid as they formed. She moaned and licked them up eagerly, at the same time driving her own fingers deeper into her moist core.

"Oh fuck," Gene cursed and dragged her upwards and away from him – tempting as it was to just let her finish him off. But this was their wedding night and she deserved another bloody good seeing to – and so did he.

Alex pouted. "I was enjoying that."

"Know you were love – so was I, but I think you might enjoy this more."

He flipped her over until she was on all fours. "Hold tight."

Alex grabbed the sold brass frame of the bed as Gene spread her legs and surged deeply into her, only stopping when he was buried up to the hilt. Incapable of words she simply moaned her approval and began to circle her hips, waiting for him to start moving inside her. She didn't have to wait long as he held her hips firmly and then withdrew to the very edge, before thrusting in again.

"Yes… god yes…don't stop," she moaned.

"Not stoppin'." He rotated his hips as he watched his cock thrust into her again and again. He spread her cheeks a little wider and was rewarded with a mewl of delight as she pushed back against him, taking him even deeper into her tight warm depths. He closed his eyes for a moment and tried to collect himself, wanting to give her the utmost pleasure before he finally let loose.

Alex arched her back as she felt herself being filled again and again, groaning and squirming as she sought the elusive but ultimate satisfaction. She felt Gene's fingers move underneath her body and she was soon bucking with pleasure as his fingers danced over her swollen clit.

"Arghhhhhhh." Her body jerked uncontrollably as he continued to power into her and she felt a blinding, overwhelming explosion of sensation as she pulsed and throbbed around him. She grasped onto the bed frame for support as the aftershocks rippled through her body.

Gene felt her clench around him and grunted with satisfaction, even as his hips began to jerk erratically as he tried to hold on. "Fuck….yes…yesssssssss." He slammed into her one final time as he let go and came to a mind blowing climax, coming hard and fast as he cried her name.

xxxxxxxxxxxx

As he drowsily came to, Gene reached down and pulled the bed covers over their naked and sated bodes.

"Quite a honeymoon," Alex said with satisfied sigh.

"Not bad," he said, "but we could do it all again tomorrow – just to make sure we get it right."

Alex giggled and Gene smiled in return. He couldn't remember the last time he had felt so contented and secure and...happy. The future was potentially difficult and there were still obsticles to be overcome but he was now absolutely certain that with Alex by his side, he could make it. "Love you Alex…always," he whispered into the night.

She smiled and moved even closer, experiencing a long forgotten sensation of love and security in the arms of this simple but complex man; brash and overbearing but with a keen sense of loyalty and hidden depths that he had chose to reveal only to her. She was with Gene for a reason – she was sure of it now. She kissed his chest and then settled in the crook of his shoulder as her eyes drooped closed.

"Always."

THE END


….or is it? You might have noticed that I haven't tied up all the loose ends in this story and may have even dropped in another plot strand in this chapter. I tend not to do many sequels but I was bitten by the plot bunny and so we'll catch up with my version of Gene and Alex in another story in the not too distant future.