I don't own Ashes to Ashes

For GlassBomb, who requested a story of Gene's emotions during/after listening to her tape. Hope its what you were after!

He was just being him; just Gene Hunt, drinking at eleven in the morning from the safety of his own office, doing nothing particularly untoward... but for some reason when he saw the tape, he just knew it wasn't good news. It was a gut instinct, a sucker punch that just said 'It's not my day'. And then he turned it on, and for some reason, at the sound of her voice, he wasn't worried, wasn't nervous... he was intrigued, half expecting a declaration of love or admission, at the very least, of a sexually undeniable attraction...

"My name is Alex Drake." Ok, so it wasn't a traditional piece of romantic literature like he might expect from her, but maybe she was just adopting the 'tell-him-about-me-first' tactic, before she would later pounce... it sounded positive, though he did wonder why she didn't just start how she meant to go on...

"November 10th." He frowned, that was quite recent, really... but a good few days ago... maybe she'd meant to give it to him the day before and forgotten? But why then did it sound like a bloody diary entry all of a sudden. Did posh people feel so up themselves that they thought it was necessary, not to write their musings, but to speak them for later perusal and enjoyment of their own dulcet tones... not that he thought about her dulcet voice often... it was just a happy pleasantry of the job... But if it was her diary, should he be listening? Of course he should, he reasoned, because it was on his desk and it was as though she were practically sat there with a big arrow pointing to it that read 'listen to me'.

"Gene Hunt." Here we go, he thought, she's talking to me now, which meant it was just a few moments until he'd know for certain... but as he looked at the tape player, he knew there was something wrong with that tone; she was using the voice she saved up for when she was angry or pissed off and, not co-incidentally, it was usually directed at him... His fingers gripped the glass tighter, eyes fixed on the tape player as he thought...

"Always that man..." it could be taken positively he reasoned, trying to convince himself that she wasn't about to rip him to shreds and complain about his policing and his manners and his looks and his alcoholism... but nobody spoke in that frustrated, clipped tone when they were being positive and friendly...

"What is he?" Slightly low, he thought bitterly. Alright he was no Mel Gibson, and he didn't work out like some of the posh wankers she'd pranced around with since she arrived here, but calling him a 'what' was a bit much... he wasn't completely hapless with the ladies, after all! He'd tell her as much later on as well! In fact, he might even put the moves on her just to see what she did... that and maybe he wouldn't mind it too much himself...

"Ally or enemy?" And it hit him. It hit him like a brick to the stomach that maybe he'd been wrong about the tape after all. Maybe, in his own little misguided bubble, he'd thought it was a tape declaring her love, having mistaken the looks she sent him as lustful and wanting, when actually, really, the reason her eyes had gone dark wasn't that she was thinking about undressing him in a physical sense, but she was thinking about ripping him bare of every scrap of dignity he had... How could she think, after everything he had done for her, after every time he'd stepped in the line of fire and saved her life, that he was the enemy? How could she comprehend it, when all he'd ever done was look out for her, offer her friendship and companionship and, on some level, even if she hadn't noticed it, love? How could she believe he was the enemy? They were together, a team, a line of defence against corruption and malice and everything bad about policing... Hadn't they uncovered the truth about Mac together? Hadn't they sat waiting for the traitor of CID together in the dark of his office? Hadn't they sat together later that night and practically made a vow that they would always be beside one another; him and her. Friends; Colleagues; whatever they were, the word enemy was never one he would have brought into the equation.

His hand reached out, and he stopped the tape. He couldn't listen. He just couldn't. He'd rather not know, he'd rather not hear it, he'd rather sit here, burn it and pretend those words had never left her lips and he had never heard them on the tape. Because he could manage it, surely? He could pretend that nothing was amiss, that nothing had changed... but it was Bolly. Maybe if it was Ray, Chris, Shaz even, or any of the other blokes for that matter, he could handle it and move on... but it was her. His friend, he'd thought. His partner, his companion, his... his what? What was she to him? They weren't together, but sometimes... all the time... he thought about it, and they just seemed to fit, they worked, they meshed together... For a long time he just sat there.

He stared at the tape player, but he wasn't really seeing it. All he could see was her, filling up his minds eye with that smile, that walk, that laugh... everything just swarmed before his eyes... and before he knew it, he'd sat down and hit the button again, and her voice was reaching his ears once more, because he couldn't bear the thought of not knowing, of fooling himself into thinking she cared about him... His jaw was tight, face drawn as he listened.

"Why have I pitched up in his world?" So she knew then. She knew she'd uprooted his life and wormed herself into his skull so he could barely close his eyes without seeing her there... but did she have to sound so bitter about it? He wasn't asking her to return the favour and let him uproot everything about her life... he wasn't even saying anything about it at all... were his feelings really that obvious and blatant? How could he not have noticed that? He'd been careful; he'd flirted but he'd never told her... not really... he'd always found an excuse to change the subject, always said she should go to bed or asked her a prying question of some kind that turned the tables on her...

"Any minute now I could be dead." His ears would have pricked up at that if he hadn't already been listening so intently they were straining. Dead? What, had she managed to get some deadly disease and hide it from everybody else? Was somebody after her? Bloody hell, she was impossible. Why would anybody just proclaim they might be dead any minute? He might be dead in a minute; he might hit his head on the corner of his desk as he bent to pick up a pencil but he didn't go blabbing on about it, did he? The question of her sanity was posed once more and he contemplated confronting her about whether she was ill or whether she was... well... ill, he supposed, but in a more mental 'white-padded-cell' sort of way, as opposed to... well, as opposed to anything else, really.

"And if he finds me out... what would he do?" He hoped she meant she was ill. He really did. He really hoped, for a split second, that she'd got a nasty sex-infection, and that she did want him, really, she was just scared to admit it because that would mean she'd have to explain it to him and then he might get it too... but a nagging, stupidly reasonable part of his mind told him that this didn't have anything to do with disease and infections and doctors; all he could think, all he could suspect at that one moment, was that she was bent. Bent like everyone else, but bent twice for having bagged a crooked cop as being exactly that for extra cover. But it didn't make sense... she liked things by the book. She liked things the way things were meant to be, and she hated anything that blurred the lines between... or maybe he'd just fooled himself into believing her, fooled himself because he couldn't bear to think that Bolly, his Bolly, would go bent. She was always so decisive, so sure of herself and of the right and the wrong, that the whole concept of her being on the other side of the line was unimaginable... but he was either a friend or an ally, and even she didn't know which... so did she think he was bent too? Or couldn't she be sure either way? He thought he'd made it clear how he hated and despised everything to do with bent cops, and now she seemed to be actually implying... no. He was wrong. He was being stupid. Cops went bent, and he knew it, but not Bolly. Never Bolly.

"I have to fight..." Fight what? The corruption? He hoped so, because she really wasn't making any sense, and right now it could tip either way; she was teetering between trust and mistrust and he was terrified of tipping the scale too far... he hoped she wanted to fight it off, fight it off with him, next to him, together, like they'd fought Mac, like they'd fought everything; a team. That was what they were... and then she said it and the world seemed to implode.

"I have to fight him..." His throat was dry, and there was a lump that he couldn't seem to swallow; it just kept returning, coming back over and over again... she couldn't mean that. Because him and here were a team, weren't they? They argued, they bickered, they snapped and they retorted but they were always a team... why would she fight against him, after everything? Why would she feel she had to? If he was corrupt, then maybe... but then perhaps he was just being hopeful, deceiving himself as before, because all the evidence pointed to her being corrupt, wanting to fight against him to... to what? To encourage corruption?

It didn't fit.

It didn't work.

She was Bolly... but he couldn't fool himself any longer, and the doubt, the hopelessness, was suddenly replaced with anger; anger at her, for tricking and deceiving him, and anger at himself for having fallen for the pretty face and flirtatious glances. If she wanted to fight, then she had to know he'd oppose her to the bitter end if it meant keeping bent coppers off the force... No matter how much it hurt him, no matter what pain she put him through in the process, he couldn't allow her to be bent and get away with it...

She'd hurt him...

She wanted a fight, and she'd get one, but he still didn't know why, he still couldn't understand it...

"Argh! But what does Gene Hunt represent?" Everything she was against, apparently. Everything she professed to believe in but actually plotted to bring down. He was everything he needed to be and she was just plodding along and biding her time... before she tried to crush him, drag him to the floor, to hurt him even more... did he mean that little to her? It didn't matter, did it? Because right here, right now, she was the enemy, and as much as he wanted her as an ally he couldn't have it that way.

So what did he represent?

He'd represent anything he bloody needed to if it meant he could get rot like that... rot like her... out from the force.

"Oh God... I've got to get out of here..." It shouldn't have hurt; not after all he'd just heard. But it did. She was running away from them all, from her job, from their past, from everything they'd been through, everything they still had left to endure, and she was running away...

"I have to get away from him..." She was running from him.

And it hurt more hearing that than anything else; more than thinking she was bent, more than believing everything they'd professed to have was a lie and a fake... he was terrified of losing her, no matter whether she was bent or not, because it wasn't right to let someone like her go... It wouldn't be CID if she wasn't there bossing everyone else around... but it seemed that the money, the perks of being bent and the extra buzz were all getting to her, and she was revelling in it, enjoying every second... but she knew he'd catch on, and she was running away... and though it hurt to think she didn't trust him enough not to tell, he knew she was right not to put her faith in him, because right now, in this moment, with her cursing his apparent existence and his presence in her life, he'd do anything it took to bring her down.

"I hate this place." And it dawned on him that he was coming to hate this place too. He was coming to hate his job, and his colleagues, and everything he had to put himself through day by day, because they all seemed to turn on him, all seemed to fade away... everything good that existed in the world of policing just seemed to crumble when he got anywhere near it.

He'd thought Sam was his friend, but he'd turned on him, and even if he had decided to come back again, he'd wanted to betray him and leave him behind... he wondered sometimes if, had Annie not been there, he'd have returned to save the rest of them or not.

He'd trusted Chris for years; they'd been friends, practically brothers, or at least as close to that word as Gene could ever really know, because his own brother had been too drugged up to pay him any attention at all, and yet even Chris let him down, turned snout for a quick flush of money... And now Bolly...

Bolly.

Of all the people it could have been, should have been, it wasn't her. She'd been as close to his heart as anyone else, if not closer, and here she was, ripping his heart out of his chest with her words, and he knew it was her, and there was no way to pretend it wasn't, because nobody could perfect Bolly's voice to that degree. She was different, she was special, and her betrayal hurt more than anyone else's... If there was ever a woman to understand him, it was his Bollinger Knickers... only she seemed to have taken the other fork in the road too now, and the place he found himself in was worse than anything else he had ever known... He looked up, trying to forget, and he saw her coming towards him, through that panel of glass that she always seemed to like to drop the blinds on, always getting him a little more excited than strictly necessary by their covert nature, the secret chats, the whispered conspiracies and the private little quips and flirtations...

"Maybe Summers can help..." He didn't understand and he didn't want to; she'd said that Summers was bent to begin with, and, as they said, it would take one to know one. So they thought he'd died? Wouldn't be the first time they were wrong. A few minutes ago the idea of Summers being bent would have rangled him too, but everything seemed to be possible now... first Chris, now Bolly... it would only make sense if they'd pulled a bloody good fresher into the swell of corruption as well...

"But Hunt must never know..." and he cut it off as she walked in, talking at him, but he didn't care, not really, because the final dagger had been plunged into his back and he couldn't believe what was happening... The first part of her speech didn't register, but the final, shining words of 'trust no-one' rang true in his ears well enough.

"Yeah... trust..." he stood up, walking around the desk and pulling the tape out of its player, "tricky thing to come by..." He'd give her a chance, he thought, a chance to confess and a chance to put her trust in him this once, this final time, and maybe he wouldn't come down on her so hard... "Why am I a threat to you?" He thought he knew; from everything he'd heard -he wanted to be wrong- but from everything he'd just listened to, he could grasp that he was a threat because if he found her out, she knew he'd bring her to the ground just as he had done with Mac...

Mac.

Another friend who turned away from him. Mac was the shining example; Gene Hunt didn't stop doing his job, not ever, not even when it came to people he cared about... and it was bitter and it was callous, but he knew it was true. He lived by his job and he followed the book in his own way... but what had he done to earn himself such a string of betrayals?

"I don't follow," she said, and twenty minutes earlier he'd have explained it thoroughly and made a quip that she'd left her clever-knickers at home. Now he couldn't even voice it; he just lifted the tape, holding it out to her and watching as her face showed shock and defence, her hand darting out as if from nowhere to take the tape from him, whipping it from his fingers so if he wasn't so damn aware of the blasted thing, he might have thought he'd imagined it all.

"Where the hell did you get that?" She snapped, and he was reluctant to admit it, but he almost felt as though he'd invaded her privacy... but guilt was so far from the list of things he was thinking that it didn't matter; it didn't matter, because it was about him, and it was his information as much as hers in that respect.

"It was on my desk." He said, and though he felt indignant, he didn't bother to show it; if she thought she could just guilt trip him she had another thing coming, because if anyone should feel guilty it was her; her, for having lied and tricked and cheated and deceived him since the moment they first met, and he'd be damned if she thought he'd just lay back and let her walk all over him like he had done in the past. Not this time. This time, he was sticking to his guns, and not falling prey to any fluttered eyelashes or fake smiles.

"He left it for you, didn't he?" She was looking around, everywhere, at the floor, at the desk, at the tape... but not at him. She wouldn't meet his eyes. He wanted to feel proud, smug, pleased that she was so rankled, but it pained him to know how desperately he needed to look into those eyes and actually read her, properly, for the first time, without his brain clouded with misconception and disbeliefs.

"Who would that be?" He asked blandly, eyes not leaving her face. She was breathing heavily... one deep breath after another, eyes still flying every direction... but then they met his, and he was still falling prey to her, because she shouldn't look that calm, that sure of herself as she said, "it's very complicated, Guv... it's very difficult to explain." He moved closer, and even he didn't know why; he should be furthering the distance between them not breaching the gap to be close to her... her smell threatened to cloud his vision, but it was pushed aside as the closeness of her, the familiarity of her so near to him, brought up a flood of anger and despair. He calmed himself, breathing softly, then speaking levelly.

"You analysing yourself now?" Because it was all he could think; he didn't know what she thought was so complicated, because as far as he could see, she was bent as the rest of them, and though it hurt and it stung, it wasn't complicated and it wasn't difficult. So maybe she really believed all that psychiatry bollucks, and all this was, all this had ever been, was a game for her, a game that she liked to play, because it made her feel clever. And he knew he would never be able to equal her on intelligence and cleverness, but he wasn't going to stand there while she attempted to spin him some posh-tosh about mentality and expect him to buy it just because he couldn't understand... and he realised in that moment that she knew how to play him, how to push his buttons and frustrate and undermine him... he was brutal and he was physical, he wasn't one for words and explanations, and she'd learnt to stump him by bringing up a new piece of twaddle every day. Well, he'd learnt a thing or two about her, too, and he knew that attacking that posh exterior pissed her off more than anything else.

"You love it, don't you? The sound of your own voice..." His voice was colder than he could have predicted, but it didn't matter, because he saw the look in her eyes as he took a breath, and he felt the swell of pride in his chest, and even though there was still that wayward part of him that wanted to take it back and protect her from all the hurtful things he was saying, it still felt good, it felt right to be hurting her like this, because this... this was what she'd been doing to him all along... "Is that what you do overnight? Sit at home and talk into a machine, working out ways of bringing me down?" The anger flared in his stomach and he felt like a thousand dragons were breathing fire up into his lungs. He felt heat flood his whole body and he liked it, because heat like this meant he didn't care about her, didn't want her, didn't need her...

And that made it easier, it made her betrayal that little bit more bearable, because she'd wronged him, not the other way round, and now he was getting her back without thinking about it, without minding or caring, because she needed to hear it, needed to feel what he felt...

"No!" It registered that she was upset, choked up, and that small part of him he thought he'd quelled began pawing at the lining of his stomach and telling him to comfort her. "No. You have to believe that I'm on your side..." And he didn't know what it was about those words, those four words that completely contradicted the evidence he'd heard that morning, but he felt himself giving way, could feel himself relenting...

"Well I wanna believe you..." he told her softly. And he did. He did. Deep down he did. He wanted to, but wanting to do something and finding the ability to do it were very different things; there were alot of things he wanted to do, and very few were permissible... her tape hurt, and he was certain she must know it, because he didn't think there was any man in his right mind that could find out he'd been so tragically misguided without it hurting him, burning him to the very core... "but you've gotta tell me the Gods honest truth about yourself, Drake."

There he was, relenting again, giving her the chance to walk all over him and squash his heart into the ground... but he had to let her, because he couldn't live knowing there would always be that lingering doubt, that one question mark over where her loyalties really lay... But it was different now. He was her superior; he wasn't pretending to be her friend, he wasn't dolling out a nickname to calm the mood and he wasn't asking nicely. It was an order, and somehow, calling her 'Drake' made it easier to demand, because 'Drake' wasn't personal... 'Drake' was just his DI... if he called her Bolly he'd crumble and ask her nicely, and then she'd just push him about again... and as much as he hated to be pushed about, as much as he despised it, she was the one person he'd always managed to allow to get away with it...

She shook her head. "Time's running out for me here..." And she looked around, like she was going to miss it, like 'here' wasn't the same place she'd claimed to hate on November 10th when she recorded that bloody tape. She nearly fooled him; she had that look in her eye that he'd always thought was appreciative, longing... but he knew now she just acted, she pretended, she could twist his perceptions of things and make him think she really liked him, because that was always what she'd needed... he still didn't understand, but he didn't care. She was right; time was running out here, because if she didn't tell him honestly, if she didn't admit she was bent, he was going to turf her out on her arse himself. "Yes it is." And there he was, taking those few steps towards her once again, always edging closer... but he didn't want to be close to her, he told himself. He wanted to scare her to threaten her... and just because she was looking up at him and his stomach was churning didn't mean it wasn't bloody working.

"You know," he said quietly, voice soft, eyes narrowed. " I look around and I see Chris taking bones... the grave of my old boss, bent as a farthing... and I... um..." he searched for words. What was it that he thought? He was confused, and he was lost, and he was scared, but telling her them things would just show he was vulnerable, and she was all about phrasing and how answers were given, so he searched, and he found a word that made him sound like he could still get back on course, still excel and still catch any bent poofters that threatened his patch. "I feel adrift." And he did. He felt like he'd taken the right turn when he should've gone left and every other sodding person he knew was getting further and further away as he tried to do a U-turn on a one-way street, and all he wanted, all he needed, was for someone else to take the same turning, because if he was alone, everything was pointless... And she was staring at him, staring at him like she could be that person to follow him into the unknown, get him back on course... and against everything he felt and thought, against better judgement and instinct that told him to yell and scream and spit in her face, he practically whispered to her.

"You talk to me, Alex, if I mean anything to you at all." He still couldn't call her Bolly, he couldn't because he was scared what that name meant for him, what it represented between the two of them... was it a pet name, an endearment, or just another lie she thought would help her in her mission to fight against him... but Alex and Bolly were two different people now; Alex, it seemed was the woman who lied and manipulated and schemed against him, and Bolly... Bolly was his own 'imaginary construct' as she'd call it, his own little fantastical fabrication that he liked to believe shared his own world... Bolly had become a lie, and this was his final, desperate plea for a sign that something, anything of what he'd seen, had been truth.

And she was nodding. Nodding as though she really did care, and for the brief moment before her eyes met his he was close to kissing her, just because he was certain, positive, for the briefest glimpse of time, that he'd been mistaken, that he'd misjudged it and in a second he could make grovelling apologies for being so wrong about her... He moved closer towards her and then..."I'm from the future." And he shifted away, slightly to the side, staring at her with a depth of loathing even he couldn't have believed as she went on. "I was shot. And I woke up here with you." In that moment, he felt every ounce of respect he had for her draining away; she was taking the piss, and he knew she knew that he knew it, but still she went on, lifting her arms up as though she was laughing at herself, when, he thought bitterly, she was most likely laughing at him, laughing at the fact he really thought she cared... "Just like Sam Tyler, only..." He could feel the rage bubbling then. It was one thing to make a load of bollucks up and expect him to actually fall for it, but it was another thing, another thing entirely, to bring his deceased friend into the frame, because as much as Sam had pissed him off and yes, betrayed him, initially, he had always come back, he had always been there, and Alex didn't know anything about Sam, and Sam was a better person, a better friend, a better copper than her, because Sam always came back... Sam was never bent... Sam would never have bent, not for anything, ever... "only, this is my reality, and I am fighting not to die, because if I die, I will never get home!"

And for a moment he couldn't think, couldn't quite comprehend why she would lie to him like that, why she'd hurt him, betray him... maybe she was ill... maybe she thought she was from the future... And then she snorted with laughter and he knew that she didn't believe it any more than he did, and that made it worse, because the twisting, churning, lurching feeling in his stomach wouldn't go away... he fault nauseous and pained and his head was pounding as she went on. "And it's insane... but there it is... and I trust you, which is why I'm telling you the truth..."

The truth, he thought, couldn't be more plain than that; the truth was, she didn't trust him at all, even when he already knew what she was doing, what she up to. She was bent and she was scheming and she couldn't have been more plain about it if she'd just come out and said it. She knew he knew, and all she wanted was to piss him off that little bit more, to push him that slightest bit further over the edge... And he should have expected it. He should have known it was coming from the moment he heard her voice on that tape... but he'd thought he was wrong, thought he'd just misconcluded... no. The feeling of having his guts pulled out for real couldn't be worse than this; what had she done to him? His stomach was tight with anger and pain and hurt... He looked at her, getting closer and closer again, feeling the rage tightening in his stomach, winding up like a spring, and he was certain that any second now the coil would loosen and he'd let loose a torrent of abuse... he looked away. It hurt too much to look at the face of the woman he'd thought was different, the face of a thousand well-planned lies and deceptions.

"Guv..." And he looked at her again, and his eyes flashed with anger, and he knew he wouldn't be able to hold back his hurt and rage and pain if she stuck around much longer...

"You know, I ask for the truth, and you piss in my face." Because that was just what she did, he thought. Even though he knew she was bent, all he'd wanted, needed, pleaded for, in as much as he ever would, was that she would tell him outright, with honesty... instead she concocted a cock-and-bull story about the future, taking that last dig at his pride, his dignity...

"No... no, no, no, no, no, please, please don't do this..." she was whispering like she really cared, like it bothered her, but the truth was that he couldn't, wouldn't care anymore. He didn't want to listen, he didn't want to hear her apologies and her denials, because this was his patch, and for the first time he felt like the fog had cleared, like the wonder woman he'd taken her for had just received her dose of kryptonite and she was just a normal, average, bent copper.

He didn't need her.

He didn't want her.

Not Alex Drake.

"I'm telling you the truth... I thought it was all in my head, but Summers, Summers is here too..." and there it was again, her real ally; Summers. Bent as a farthing; like Mac and like Alex... "and he's from the future and I saw him... I saw him..." and now she was sounding like a pathetic little child whose candy had just been taken away from her. She'd been caught out and suddenly the story wasn't sticking, and every child knew that if you wanted to get the candy back then you had to –you had to- bring someone else into the equation, because then it wasn't just you in the wrong... "he shot his younger self, he's behind Operation Rose and I... I don't know why but I do know that I have to stop him!"

But he wouldn't help her. Not anymore. If she had problems, she'd loaded them squarely on her own back the day she'd whispered into her Dictaphone and spoke out against him. She'd lost him, she'd lost his help, and he didn't need to give her anything, because all the respect he'd had for her was drained away, somewhere in the sewers of his mind, and he never wanted to get it back, never wanted to fall victim to her again, because it hurt... it hurt too much...

He didn't know when she'd put the tape down, but he picked it up and held it out. His fingers shook with rage, and as she took it, their skin touched. For a moment, his stomach lurched and he felt that warmth again, that wish to forgive and forget... "Get out of my sight, Inspector," he ground out. And eventually, after what seemed like forever, she pulled her hand away and the slight confusion that had gripped him, the slight haze that had covered his eyes as he looked at her, dissipated. He watched her leave, heart heavy and pounding, head aching and spinning.

He wanted to hate her for everything she'd said and done, but that brief touch of her hand told him everything he needed to know; she was under his skin.