Hello again everyone, it's been too long and, yet again, you have my sincere apologies for the massive delay. I put off writing this chapter for ages, but it eventually demanded to be written.

So this is it folks, finally the end. I know I haven't given much warning that this would be the final chapter, truth is I didn't know myself. This is what came out when I eventually started writing this chapter and it seems like the perfect place to leave it.

Very grateful for those of you who have stuck with it and I hope you've enjoyed the story; I've certainly enjoyed writing it anyway.

Massive thanks to my superb beta-reader, Roxy0800; you've been absolutely brilliant and I wouldn't have got anywhere near this far without you!

Disclaimer: Don't own any of it.

So, for any of you still reading, enjoy.

'You sure you're up to this Alex?' Gene asked, the concern evident on his face.

'Yes, for the hundredth time today.' Alex sighed, but couldn't quite work up the determination to be truly annoyed with him. She caught the doubtful glance he sent in her direction. 'Gene, I'm fine, honestly. It's nothing.'

'Three broken ribs and a dislocated shoulder, not to mention a bloody great bang to the 'ead, is not nothing.' Gene protested with a growl.

'I feel much better now and I'm going insane just lying around with nothing to do.'


'But nothing. The doctor said it would be OK as long as I took it easy.' Alex cut him off and Gene just grumbled in response.

Alex had been let out of hospital after four days, but only under strict instructions that she was to stay at home for at least a few weeks before even thinking about going back to work. She had not been at all impressed with that rule but had complied at the time as she was still in a large amount of pain. However, having spent almost two weeks at home with nothing to do she was slowly being driven insane and had been nagging Gene and her doctor for days to let her go back to work.

Her doctor was a little wary about letting Alex go back to work so soon, considering the nature of her job, and wanted to make sure that Alex was as healed as possible before allowing her to return to CID. Eventually, about three weeks after the kidnapping, he finally decided that it would be safe for her to go back to work, as long as she promised not to overdo it. Alex readily accepted, willing to promise anything if it meant she could go back to work; she was still in a bit of discomfort, mostly caused by her ribs, but her injuries were sufficiently healed now that the majority of the pain was manageable with pain-killers.

Gene huffed once more before leading Alex into the station. He had always been protective over her but this latest incident had increased that sentiment dramatically and he didn't want Alex landing back in hospital because she was too damned stubborn to take a few weeks rest. But even he had to admit that she had looked a lot better over the last few days and the constant nagging about work was starting to drive him mad. Plus, he couldn't wait to have her back in CID and knew that the rest of the team wanted her back as well.

'After you Bolls.' Gene flashed a grin at her as they reached the double doors into CID.

Alex smiled back and they pushed the doors open together, making an impressive entrance as always.

'Ma'am!' Shaz called in surprise, she had visited Alex at home just the day before and Alex hadn't mentioned that she was coming back to work. 'I didn't know you were coming back today!'

Alex smiled at the younger officer. 'I think I'd have gone insane if I had to stay home another day.'

'Good to have to back Boss.' Chris grinned.

'It's good to be back Chris.' Alex replied.

'Yeah, nice to see yeh Ma'am.' Ray nodded at Alex before turning back to his magazine.

The rest of the team all mumbled similar greetings, all more pleased than they let on to have their DI back. Alex rolled her eyes and smiled to herself at their comments, only just realising how much she had missed this place while she'd been away.

'Right, yes, good. Delighted to have you back with us Lady Bolls.' Gene quipped as he addressed the team. 'I'll trust you lot to fill DI Drake in on what's been going on around here in the last few weeks. And just so you all know, no matter what she says to try and convince you she's not, Bolly's on desk duty until I say otherwise. Clear?'

'Yes Guv.' The team nodded in unison as Gene shot a challenging look at Alex, daring her to argue. She returned the look with a glare before Gene retreated to his office with a shrug and Alex went to sit at her desk.

'Hi Ma'am.' Tom greeted Alex as he came over to her desk.

'Tom, good to see you. I can't believe you're still here, you must be sick of this place by now. Although Gene did say the case is nearly all wrapped up now, right?'

'Yes, almost done now. The Ricky Ball case is all sorted, he's in prison along with Martin Sharpe, who's turned in most of the people involved in the drug ring back in Nottingham. And there's probably only a day or two's worth of paperwork left to sort on DI Gordon before that's all finished up as well.'

'That's great Tom. You must be glad to finally see the back of us.' Alex smiled at him, a little sad that she would have to say good-bye to him soon.

'Well, actually…' Tom looked nervous as he trailed off.


'I was thinking that I might ask DCI Hunt if I could transfer down here, permanently.' He admitted shyly.


'Well, yeah. I mean, I know all my family and everyone live in Nottingham and it'll be difficult to see them as regularly as I might like. But I love it here, the team is great and I really want to keep seeing Sarah. I've made more friends, real friends, in the time I've been here than in all the years I've lived in Nottingham.'

'That's great Tom.' Alex smiled genuinely at him, noticing now how much the young man had changed from the nervous boy she had just met a few short months ago.

'You think I should then? What about DCI Hunt, do you think he…?'

'Tom,' Alex interrupted. 'Go and ask him. You've been a real asset to the team since you arrived here and Gene has realised that, as much as he might try and deny it. He'd be mad to turn you down.'

'Thanks Ma'am.' Tom blushed.

'Go on then.' She encouraged him, and Tom gave her a nervous smile before moving away to knock on DCI Hunt's office door.

'Oh, what did you say to Tom?' Alex asked as she and Gene re-entered the station after their lunch break.

'About what?'

Alex rolled her eyes. 'About him transferring down here.'

'Oh, I wondered whether you had put him up to that.' Gene smirked at her.

'I did nothing of the kind!' Alex protested. 'He just wanted to know whether there would be any point in asking you.'

'And you told him, yes, of course.'

Alex nodded. 'Tell me you didn't prove me wrong and humiliated the boy.' She asked, genuinely a little worried.

'Course not.' Gene grinned. 'He may be an annoying little twerp, but Christopher's a thousand times worse and don't even get me started on what I have to put up with from you and Shaz. No, he's an intelligent lad, it would've been stupid to turn 'im down.'

'Oh, Gene that's great! He'll be delighted!'

'Alex?' A female voice asked and Alex turned around to see who had spoken to her.

'Evie?' Alex asked in surprise. 'What are you doing here?'

'I heard what happened, how he was caught, my attacker. I know you're working, I won't keep you long; I just came to say thanks really, for everything you've done for me.'

'Don't be silly, I've got plenty of time; been assigned to desk duty for the foreseeable future anyhow.' She shot a playful glare at Gene, who merely shrugged his apology and walked into CID, leaving Alex alone in the corridor with Evie. 'How are you?'

'Much better thanks. Pretty good actually.' Evie smiled and Alex could see she was telling the truth. It seemed that the life in her eyes, that had been seriously lacking the last time Alex had met with the young woman, had finally returned and she looked genuinely happy.

'I'm glad.' Alex smiled genuinely. 'You seem much happier.'

'Yeah.' Evie nodded. 'Don't get me wrong, I'm not over it yet, not sure if I ever will be; but I'm getting there, slowly.'

'Good. One day at a time hey?' And Evie nodded again. 'I guess Mitch being caught gives you some sort of closure.'

'Yeah it sort of does. Mitch, was that his name? I didn't bother to ask, didn't care. It was after you spoke to me actually that I finally started to come back to myself, it really helped, you'll never know how grateful I am.'

'Oh, it was nothing. Just doing my job.' Alex said quietly.

'But you weren't though, were you? I haven't heard of many well-respected inspectors making house calls to depressed teenagers. I don't know what made you come to see me, but I'm so glad you did.'

'But I didn't do or say anything that you hadn't heard before.' Alex protested.

'You did though. You were the one person who didn't treat me like a victim, and gave me the kick start I needed to get my life back on track; made me realise that my life didn't have to stop because of what happened to me. Yes, you were sympathetic and wary of my feelings, but you didn't treat me like some pathetic child like everyone else did. They didn't know what to say and so they either offered me words of condolences, like someone had died or something, or they didn't say anything at all. They just didn't get it, and for some reason you understood, and I'll always be grateful for that.' Evie finished, giving Alex a watery smile and stepped forward to give Alex a hug.

Alex hugged her back, her eyes welling up as well. After a while, Alex stepped back and swallowed the lump that had formed in the back of her throat and smiled back at the young woman in front of her.

'You're very welcome. I'm just glad I was able to help.'

'Alice wanted to pass on her thanks as well by the way.' Evie stated. 'It means a lot to both of us that he's been caught.'

'How is Alice?'

'Fine. Still trying to work through it, we both are; I'm sure you and that other girl are too. But, thanks to you and your colleagues, at least we have a chance to do that now.' Evie smiled gratefully at Alex. 'Anyway, I'd better get going. Thanks for everything Alex.'

'Take care Evie.' Alex smiled back and waved as the young girl left the station.

'You OK?' She heard a voice behind her ask.

Alex brushed her eyes with the back of her hand and turned around to face Gene, who had come out to check on the two women just in time to see Evie leaving.

'Yeah, I think I am.' She nodded.

'Come here.' He smiled sympathetically and pulled Alex in for a hug.

'I helped.' She said quietly, sighing as she felt the huge weight she'd been carrying around for years, finally lifting from her shoulders.

Gene said nothing, merely comforting her with his presence and pressed a kiss into her hair.

'Thanks.' Alex said when she eventually pulled back. 'I needed that.'

'You're welcome Bolls.' Gene said, his eyes twinkling in amusement. 'C'mon, we'd best get back to work.'

'Yes Guv.' She grinned and followed him back into CID.

'Shazza.' Gene called once Alex had sat back at her desk. 'Can I see you in my office?'

Shaz gulped, wracking her brains to try and remember if she had done anything to result in a summons. 'Yes Guv?'

'Stop lookin' so nervous Shaz.' Gene said as she shut his office door. 'I just need your opinion on something.'

'My opinion?' Shaz asked in surprise. 'Surely DI Drake…'

'No! She is the one person I definitely cannot ask.'

'You all right Guv? You look a bit pale.' Shaz asked, concerned as the colour visibly drained from his face.

'Fine.' He growled. 'Now I know you and Alex tell each other everything, but can I have your word that you won't mention this to her?'

'Mention what?' Shaz asked, very curious and also a little apprehensive.

'Shaz.' Gene pleaded.

'All right, you have my word.' She promised quickly, her DCI's pleading tone was unnerving her. 'But only if it's not something bad; if it's going to hurt or upset Alex then I don't want to know and you should tell her yourself.'

'It's nothing bad, not unless she says no at any rate.' Gene mumbled as he moved around to the other side of his desk and opened the desk drawer. He pulled out a small box and placed it in front of Shaz.

'Open it then.' Gene snapped as Shaz just stood there, bewildered. She hastened forward and picked up the box.

She gasped in surprise and almost dropped it when she opened the box to reveal a ring.

'Oh my God!' She squealed in delight and looked back to the face of, a clearly very uncomfortable, DCI Hunt.

'Is that all you're going to say?' Gene stared at her. 'I think even Chris would have been more helpful.'

Shaz brushed aside the comment. 'Guv, it's stunning. Alex will love it!'

'You think she'll say yes then?'

'Are you kidding?! Of course she will.' Shaz grinned at him. 'Oh I'm so going to enjoy telling her 'I told you so'.'


'Oh, nothing. So when are you going to propose?'

'Err…Well I was thinking tonight actually.' Gene stated, feeling more awkward than he had done in years.

'Oh my God, that's so soon! But when, where, how?' Shaz asked excitedly.

'Do I really have to go into details with my WPC?' Gene groaned in exasperation.

'No, but it is necessary to check with you future fiancée's best friend that you aren't going to make a complete mess of it. Guv.' She added his title as an afterthought to try and maintain a little respect for her superior officer.

'Watch it Granger.' Gene admonished, but he couldn't help the corner of his mouth tipping up in amusement at the young woman's obvious excitement. 'Erm, well it's exactly a month since we moved in together, so I was thinking of taking her to the restaurant I took her to for our first date to celebrate and asking her while we're there.'

'Aww, that's so romantic. Sorry Guv,' she corrected when she saw the dangerous glint in his eyes, 'I mean that sounds acceptable.'

'Better. Are you sure the ring is all right?'

'It's perfect.' Shaz beamed.

Gene nodded as Shaz made her way to the door. 'Thanks Shaz, and don't tell the others.'

'I won't Guv.' She flashed a grin at him as she left his office. 'Good luck.'

'Yeh know it's a month today since we moved in together?' Gene asked nonchalantly as he stirred his tea in the CID kitchenette.

'Yeah it is.' Alex replied distractedly, searching the drawers for a clean teaspoon. 'Hang on, how on earth did you know that, men never remember trivial dates like that?!'

Gene just shrugged and grinned. 'I'm a man of many talents Bolls.'

'I'm impressed.' Alex grinned back and kissed him softly on the lips.

'Fancy going out fer dinner to celebrate, somewhere posh?'

'Who are you and what have you done with Gene Hunt?' Alex joked. 'Seriously, what do you want? There has to be some ulterior motive here that I'm just not seeing.'

'That hurt Bolls.' Gene quipped back with mock offense. 'And I'm not after anything, just thought it might be nice.'

'You're serious?' Alex asked in surprise. 'Well you are just full of surprises, aren't you Gene?'

'You have no idea.' He mumbled to himself, already feeling nervous. 'That's a yes then?'

'Of course.' Alex smiled. 'I'd love to, anywhere in mind?'

'I was thinking maybe that Italian place we went to a few months back.'

'You mean the one you took me to on our first date?' Alex asked.

'Yeah, that one. That all right?'

'Yes, lovely.' She smiled at him affectionately. 'You're so romantic sometimes; I love you.'

'Love you too.' He murmured, not bothering to complain at being called romantic, as Alex pulled him down for a kiss.

'Oops, sorry to interrupt Guv.' Chris muttered as he wandered into the kitchen.

Gene sighed as he stepped back from Alex. 'Does it ever occur to you, Christopher, that you wouldn't have to apologise if you just didn't interrupt us in the firs' place?'

'Sorry Guv.' Chris apologised again. 'Anyway, just had a call in; robbery been reported on Church Street.'

'All right.' Gene looked at his watch and turned back to Alex. 'Bolls I'll be back by seven so I can change me suit before we head out. That enough time for you to get ready?' He asked sarcastically.

'Hey, be nice; I could still decide to stand you up.' She grinned back at him. 'Get going, I'll see you later.'

Alex left the station just after five and went home to get changed for the evening. When she inspected her appearance once she was ready she thought that she was probably a tad overdressed for just a date. She didn't really care though, they hadn't been out properly, just the two of them, for ages and she was really looking forward to tonight.

Alex was in the en-suite to the master bedroom, applying her make-up and finishing her hair, when she heard Gene arrive home.

'Alex!' Gene called as he slipped his shoes off in the hall.

'I'm up here!' She called back and heard him ascend the stairs and enter their bedroom.

'You ready yet?' He asked her.

'Just finishing off.' She replied, practically sensing his smirk from the other side of the door.

'You know, I was joking before when I asked whether you'd have enough time to get ready. Should've known better.' He laughed, pulling his work suit off and picking a smarter one from the wardrobe, remembering to transfer the ring across from his work jacket to the suit jacket he was going to wear this evening.

'You want me to look nice don't you?' Alex asked while applying her mascara.

'Alex, you'd look gorgeous no matter what you wore.' He grinned.

'Thanks, doesn't mean I'll take any less time getting ready though.' She quipped.

Gene shook his head in amusement and continued buttoning his clean white shirt. He was just straightening his tie in the mirror when he heard the lock on the bathroom door click and he looked up to see Alex emerge.

She looked stunning and Gene was speechless. She was wearing a simple knee-length black dress but it showed off her gorgeous figure to its best advantage and the simple silver jewellery and subtle make-up completed the look to make her absolutely breath-taking.

'Remind me never to complain about you taking too much time to get ready ever again.' He grinned at her. 'You look gorgeous Bolls.'

'You're looking pretty good yourself, Mr Hunt.' She replied with a smile of her own, her eyes roaming appreciatively over his body as she walked over to him and kissed him on the cheek.

Gene turned his head to give her a proper kiss but she laughed and stepped back. Wiping her lipstick off his cheek as he pouted at her.

'There are several good reasons why that is not a good idea. One, I've just finished my make-up and I'll have to reapply it all if we do that; two, red is not your colour; thirdly, and most importantly, if we continue down that road then it is highly unlikely that we'll make it out of this room tonight, and as tempting as that option may be, I'm rather looking forward to tonight.'

Gene just grunted, but knew that she was right and went back to sorting out his tie.

'Here, let me do that.' Alex said softly and stepped in front of him to straighten his tie for him. 'Perfect.' She said once she'd finished, taking a small step back to admire his appearance.

'Thanks.' He smiled at her, bending down to kiss her but thinking better of it and placed an affectionate kiss on her forehead instead. 'Shall we get going then?'

The evening so far had been perfect, it couldn't have been better even if Gene had wished it. The starter and main course had been delicious and they were just waiting on their dessert now. Gene knew that he was running out of time and that he would have to ask her sooner or later or the meal would be over and he would miss his chance, but he just couldn't seem to work up the courage to do it.

'Are you all right, love?' Alex asked. 'You seem a little distracted.'

'A little distracted?!' He thought. 'I'm panicking my brains out here!'

'Fine.' He replied with a small smile. 'Just do it, you nancy!' He scolded himself but ignored that particular voice in his head and frantically searched his brain for something else he could talk about. He was relieved when he remembered his earlier telephone conversation. 'Oh, I was on the phone to Elsa earlier today. Finally asked her about Mikey coming to live with us.'

'Really, and what did she say?' Alex bit her lip nervously, knowing how much it meant to Gene and also realising how much it had come to mean to her as well. She had seen Mikey twice more since that weekend before the kidnapping and she had grown very fond of the little boy.

Gene grinned. 'She loved the idea. Said she'd speak to Bernie about it and make sure it's definitely what Mikey wants to do, and then he can move down here.'

'Oh Gene, that's fantastic!' Alex gushed. 'Won't they miss him though; Mikey's been a huge part of their lives?'

'Yeah I'm sure they will. But to be honest, Elsa didn't sound particularly surprised, as though she'd been expecting it fer ages. I think she was just waiting for me to get me arse in gear and do what was best for Mikey, not that she'd ever say it to my face of course.' He flashed a grin. 'And they're both gettin' on a bit now, it'll be nice for them to finally be able to relax and enjoy their retirement.'

'You don't think Mikey will mind that I'll be living with you as well. I mean, I only met him just over a month ago, he might not want to share his Dad with a stranger.'

'Don't be silly Alex, he adores you. And you'll have plenty of time to get to know him properly over the next few months.'

Alex nodded, knowing what Gene said was true. 'I can't believe it, in less than a month's time I'll have been here for a whole year.' Alex mused, as much to herself as to Gene.

'Don't I bloody know it, my whole bleedin' life turned upside down on the day you arrived.'

'Well, I'm honoured, DCI Hunt,' she smiled mockingly at him, 'to have made such a huge impression on your life.'

He grinned at her and then his face took on a more serious expression. 'You have though, Alex, changed my life I mean. Can barely remember what it was like before you showed up anymore, don't want to neither. You…I…'

Alex looked at him expectantly, wondering what on earth could be so important that the great Manc Lion was tripping over his words. He hadn't had problems with his articulation since they first got together, and was watching with amused curiosity as Gene struggled with what to say next.

Gene, however, was not finding it quite so amusing; his hands were clammy and his heart was beating so fast that he was sure the whole restaurant could hear it. 'Christ, I've never been so nervous in my entire sodding life; bloody poof.' He scolded himself. 'This is worse than when Gran caught me with that bird in my teens, oh what was her name? This is definitely not the time to be thinking about that Gene; get a grip!' He'd been working up to this for weeks and now the time was finally here and he couldn't think of a single thing to say; completely and utterly, degradingly lost for words. 'Oh get on with it, you great twat! Here goes nothing.'

'This last year has been the best of my life. I mean I know it hasn't all been a bed of roses, far from it; yeh've royally pissed me off more times than I can count, swannin' into my kingdom in your high heels like you own the place, and I've been more angry than not since you arrived.' He snorted in amusement as Alex arched an eyebrow. 'But I wouldn't change it fer anything, 'cause you've made me think and feel things that I haven't done in a long time, if ever. I've felt more alive in the last few months than I have in years, and I've got you to thank fer that.

'I know that I'm a grumpy bastard and not exactly the easiest person to live with. And I know this is probably a bit soon, but I love you, so much. I don't think I could live without you now, and I don't want to, almost losing you finally made me realise that. So,' Gene took a deep breath and pulled a small box out of his jacket pocket as Alex's eyes widened in realisation of what he was doing, 'Alex Drake, will you marry me?'

Alex's mouth dropped open, shocked to the core. She hadn't expected a proposal from Gene this evening, if ever, and she was taken completely by surprise and what surprised her even more was how badly she wanted to say yes. She thought fleetingly of Molly and whether tying herself here would mean never getting back to her little girl; but she then decided that if her life was here now then she might as well start living it.

'Yes.' She heard rather than felt herself say, until her brain finally caught up with her words and her mouth curved into a radiant smile. 'Yes, of course I will.'

'Oh thank Christ for that!' Gene let out the breath he hadn't realised he'd been holding and his face split into the gorgeous grin that Alex loved so much. He opened the box to reveal a gorgeous sapphire and diamond encrusted engagement ring and, with fumbling fingers, placed it on Alex's finger.

'Gene, it's beautiful.' Alex gasped, her eyes misting up.

'Are you sure?' He worried. 'It's not new, it was my grandmother's. If you'd prefer something else…'

'No, honestly, it's absolutely perfect.' She beamed at him before leaning over and kissing him lovingly and Gene willingly responded, finally able to relax and bask in his relief and joy at Alex's acceptance.

'Your grandmother's?' Alex asked when she finally pulled back. 'When did she give this to you then?'

Gene rubbed his neck self-consciously. 'She didn't actually. Me mam gave it to me when we went to visit her last month. 'Just in case' she said when I tried to protest, seems she knows me better than I know meself.'

Alex laughed, mentally noting to herself to thank Mary at the earliest opportunity. 'She certainly does.'

Gene and Alex finished up the rest of their meal in a whirl of laughter and kisses and loving glances; planning their future and whatever it may hold. They talked about weddings and Mikey and their new life together, both filled with a new sense of hope and purpose.

They were reluctant to leave at the end of the meal and wanted to head straight home and spend the rest of the night together, alone. However, they both knew that they would have to face the team at some point and thought it better to get the announcements and celebrations done tonight rather than at work the following day. So they, rather unwillingly, headed over to Luigi's; surrendering themselves to the wolves.

'Congratulations Alex!' Shaz ran at Alex as soon as she and Gene entered Luigi's, taking a second to check there was a ring on her finger before doing so in the unlikely event that either Alex had refused or, more likely, DCI Hunt had chickened out. Alex found herself being suffocated in the younger woman's embrace and couldn't help but grin.

'And you too, Guv.' Shaz grinned when she finally allowed Alex to escape.

'Let me see!' Shaz demanded and pulled Alex's left hand up to inspect the ring.

'Shaz, you've already seen it!' Gene said in exasperation.

'Oh hush, I only saw it briefly in the box.' Shaz replied, clearly her friend's engagement was much more important than showing respect to her senior officer.

'Already seen it?' Alex raised an amused eyebrow at Gene.

Gene rubbed his neck in embarrassment. 'Yeah, I err, wanted Shaz's opinion.'

'On asking me to marry you or the ring?' Alex asked knowingly and laughed as Gene glared half-heartedly at her.

'I'm sorry to have to say it, Alex, but I told you so!' Shaz grinned. 'Actually I'm not sorry at all, it feels so good to finally say it.'

Alex groaned and rolled her eyes. 'Whatever Shaz.'

'You can't just say whatever Alex…'

'What do you mean 'I told you so'?' Gene asked.

'Oh, I bet Alex…That's a point, how much do you owe me Alex?' Shaz asked, her eyes flashing with mirth.

'I don't believe we actually set an amount.' Alex shot back.

'Bet on what?' Gene asked in frustration.

'I bet Alex a few weeks back that she'd be engaged within a month, and here you are, engaged.' Shaz explained, shooting a satisfied look at Alex.

Gene raised an eyebrow at his new fiancée who shrugged, and he rolled his eyes.

'Seems that everyone I know is psychic; knows what I'm gonna do before I've even done it. Except, Bolls of course, blissfully unaware as ever.' He smirked at her and winced slightly as she slugged his arm.

'Oi, watch it you. I can still make you spend your engagement night on the sofa you know.'

'You wouldn't dare.' Gene challenged her.

'Oh wouldn't I?' She smiled back wickedly. For a second, Gene thought she might do it just to prove him wrong and decided to shut up just in case. He had absolutely no intentions of being anywhere tonight except in bed with Alex, and preferably not asleep either.

'Oh you are so easy to bait.' She grinned at him, having noticed his slight change in demeanour. 'There's no way you'll be sleeping on the sofa tonight.' She whispered in his ear before kissing him heatedly on the lips and was delighted when he responded with equal passion.

'Oi! Knock it off Guv, some of us are trying to eat over here!' Ray shouted across the restaurant.

Gene and Alex broke off reluctantly and both sent a withering look in Ray's direction before stepping back from one another.

'Luigi! Champagne all round!' He ordered with a grin. 'I'm gettin' married!'

There was brief silence, in which the smashing of Ray's pint glass could be heard, before the room erupted in cheers. There was a sudden rush forward from the CID team, and of course Luigi, all eager to offer their congratulations, Ray included.

The rest of the night was spent in a glorious state of merriment and drunkenness for the entire team. Apart from, surprisingly, Gene and Alex who celebrated with a couple of glasses of champagne, but nothing more, as they both wanted to remember this night.

At well gone one o'clock in the morning, Luigi eventually forced the drunken remains of the CID team out on to the streets above, offering teary-eyed congratulations to the newly engaged couple as they departed.

Gene and Alex stepped out into the cool night air and watched in amusement as, a more than slightly tipsy, Shaz tried to support a very drunk Chris and Ray as the trio stumbled their way home.

'Where to now Bolls?' Gene smiled at her, offering his arm.

'Home.' She smiled back and she realised it was; whatever this place was, imaginary or not, it was her home now. Here, with Gene, is where she really belonged. She missed Molly more than she could say and hoped, however small the chances might be, that she would find her again someday; but she knew in her heart that this was where she needed, and wanted to be, always.

So, that's it. Hope you've enjoyed it.

Before you ask, I have no idea whether or not I will write a sequel. I have a few ideas and even one or two bits and pieces written but I don't know whether they'll ever develop into a story. If I do decide to write one then it won't be a for a while yet, got way too much going on with uni to get sucked into writing another fic at the moment. But who knows?

Review, let me know what you thought of the story =)