Title: Unstoppable Force, Immovable Object

Author: Cortina-Quattro

Pairing: Gene & Alex

Rating: K

Setting: Between Ep 1.6 and 1.7, after my other fic "Contrary Evidence" (I highly recommend reading that first!). This leads into events of Episode 1.7.

AN: Thanks SO much to Louella for the amazing and quick beta. YOU ROCK!


It's a stupid, complicated dance, the way they move around each other. Well, it isn't elegant enough for a dance... more a military campaign, really. Gain ground, retreat, switch sides, gain ground, retreat again, and so on. He throws around blatant innuendos, utterly lewd jokes and the like, while she dodges them with scorn and a world-weary sneer, pretending to ignore him. Fire, duck, reload, aim, fire, deflect…

But then… there's the bits of honesty he hides within all those quips, the occasional intensity of his gaze that makes her feel more than a little nervous. Because his own nervousness is hiding there within his banter: he actually means the things he says most of the time -- the offers, the suggestions -- even as it makes him uncomfortable, makes him confused. Makes him angry because he thinks it makes him weak.

It's almost really rather sweet.

And that, in turn, makes him dangerous. Because sometimes she stops and considers it. She remembers how he kissed her back in that evidence room and how she'd been so utterly willing, so utterly blind to anything but him at that moment. So… no strings, no consequences, none of this real, what could it hurt if she actually took that step?

Only, there's that sense that he is the one real thing -- the one real person -- in this world of unreality. That, and the trouble that would come from having any kind of personal relationship with a superior officer, and the probable loss of respect of CID if they knew, and how it would complicate matters, and, and, and...

At least, that what she tells herself when she's alone at night. Alone, and knowing he's still downstairs at Luigi's and she's desperately holding herself back from going.

*********************************

It's late, she's exhausted after a long day and it's more than time to go home, if she can call a flat full of other people's belongings her "home." She's in a wretched mood, what with little sleep the night before, and there he sits, still in his office, playing a stupid game on a computer that could be used to propel him into the modern age if he'd only take the time to learn. She's been on edge around him ever since the incident in the evidence room and the tension makes her want to lash out. "You do know you could be doing something useful with that thing?" she sneers, standing in the doorway.

"Am. Pong," he grunts, ignoring her, dismissing her. This only makes her angrier.

"How do you get on? This computer is supposed to be a tool in your arsenal, not a toy. You could put it to good use!" She steps in, waves a hand in front of his face, interrupting his game. Oh. That got his attention. He grabs her hand, focused fully on her now and definitely not amused. "Fine. YOU bloody work it, then, and put that big-arsed brain of yours to good use." He curls his lip as he looks her up and down, making her livid, before adding, "Only thing women in the Met are really good for anyway, typing and brewing tea and tidying up."

She rears back, eyes wide in anger. He knows that was a completely cheap shot and something that is designed purely to set her off, and it works so beautifully, so easily. Maybe too much so; she's already in a rare mood and he knew it even as he dug in for the fight. She's been broody as a hen all day.

"You bloody anachronism," she spits, "you sexist, chauvinistic arse! You aren't looking to the future at all when you could be so brilliant, could do so much more. You're just going to wither away with your bloody Pong and your bloody attitude and your pints at the pub. Someday, Gene, computers are going to be used by every person in the office, messaging each other instantly, sending case files in the blink of an eye, and even communicating with agencies across the world in a second." She snaps her fingers under his nose, causing his eyes to narrow further. "And where will you be? Playing PONG!" She storms out and realizes he's following her, guns blazing. He's good and mad now, and she's too fired up herself to consider whether this was a wise idea. No one else is around to hear them screaming, and she's pretty sure he's considered that. Could make things a lot worse.

Hard on her heels, he swings into the kitchen as she's reaching for a mug, pointing a finger in her face. "What? An entire world connected by computers and all, talking to each other? You really are off your rocker, Barbarella. Get your head out the ether and come down to bloody earth and do some proper policing." He slams his hand against the cabinet, actually making her jump. "Do some paperwork with Shaz if you're so keen on making more of it. This isn't '2001', HAL-bloody-9000."

She echoes his violence, crashing down the mug she was holding onto the counter. "Oh, what, because the advances of the future threaten your personal view of reality? Can't bear to think about that future and what it holds in case there's no place for you in it, you and your archaic ideas, blah blah blah? Oh, sing a new one, Gene, and stop making the same excuses."

She turns to pour some coffee and he frowns at her back. Old habits do die hard, he'll be the first to admit, and sometimes he doesn't think he can't keep up with the times. Not that he'd ever admit it to her in a million bloody years. But there she is, still talking bullshit out that plummy gob, though he doesn't really tune in to what she's going on about until she laughs, condescendingly, "God, I'd love to take you back to my own place and show you a thing or two."

She freezes, realizing what she's just said and the implication he will take from it. She meant back to 2008. He's going to think upstairs at Luigi's.

She turns slowly and meets his gaze, actually feeling a blush come on and hating herself for it. His steely blue eyes are burning through her and before she can move, he's taken a step across the tiny kitchen floor and has her backed against the counter. "What, exactly," he purrs, "do you think you can show me, Bolly?" His body is inches from hers; she can feel the heat of him as he stares down at her. And all she can think about is the memory of that evidence room.

She's utterly humiliated because she's reduced to stammering, "I... that's not what I... oh, stop it, get off." He's much too close and it's making her head swim and the stupid thing she said is making her mind bring up all sorts of images that she most certainly shouldn't be thinking, and damn it all he can see she's flustered and his eyes have the gleam of triumph.

"Stop what? You're the one making the offer to show me a thing or two." He's still staring down at her, trying to figure out what exactly is going on here. Because something most definitely, positively is. So he dares something he wouldn't have considered before. Not before that evidence room, anyway.

Angry, embarrassed, she reaches out her hands to push at his chest, to push him away from her but he grabs them instead, pinning her wrists to her sides and leaning in. For a moment, she's utterly convinced that he's is about to kiss her again, here in the middle of this kitchen and she catches her breath in anticipation as he breathes in her ear, "Any time you want to show me, Bolls, say the word." His lips ghost faintly against her skin as he speaks and she lets out the tiniest gasp, more a breath than anything, but his hands clench convulsively on her wrists at the sound.

He rears his head back to look down at her, eyes widened in surprise, an unguarded look softening his features and making her catch her breath again. He looks like he's about to say something else and she can only think of getting away from him as quickly as possible before he does, getting away from the way he's making her feel right now. This was not the way this was supposed to play out, this was not supposed to happen again.

This time, when she struggles and shoves at him, he backs off and lets her go. Only, she's thinking he won't ever let her get away from the way he made her gasp just now and she's more certain than ever that something is going to give. Soon. She glances back at him as she leaves and that unguarded expression is still on his face, faintly quizzical, brows furrowed… before settling into a calculating look. He's on the hunt. God help her. And all she can do now is run.

He watches her leave, determined to take away the memory of that little breathy sound and the way her eyes had darkened. Her armour has chinks he hadn't noticed before, and he's not about to let that go. Not when he could possibly get what he wants. Not when she's followed up that kiss in the evidence room with a reaction this satisfying. So, maybe it hadn't been just survivor instinct after all. And maybe he shouldn't let it drop.

He lets her run, for the moment. But only for the moment. He's already planning his next move.

*********************************

Unstoppable, irresistible force, she thinks. That's him. He never stops. And actually, she honestly likes that about him, in many ways. And, well, he's getting harder to resist, if she can be truly honest with herself. But immovable object - that's her. She won't give in. She can't. Stupid idea. Worse idea lately, since he saved her at Alla Casa. Silly of her, really. He was doing his job, that was all, and it was lucky for her. It meant nothing when she woke up to see his mouth above hers, only an attempt to save her life. Never mind the look in his eyes when she reached up to caress his face, never mind that at that moment if he'd tried, she'd have let him.

As for the kiss in the evidence room? Survivor reaction, heat of the moment. That was all. Had to be.

Unstoppable force. Immovable object. An endless transfer of colliding energy. And they really shouldn't, couldn't exist in each others world.

No matter how much she might begin to want it otherwise.

FINIS


AN - 'Cause to my mind, it neatly ties into our quandary with Alex and Gene in 1981/2

"...if such a thing as an [unstoppable] irresistible force exists, then no object is immovable, and vice versa. It is logically impossible to have these two entities (a force that cannot be resisted and an object that cannot be moved by any force) in the same universe."