I don't own Ashes to Ashes

This is it...

Thank you all for reading; I hope the finish works.


The morning of Ciaran Merlot's trial dawned crisp and grey, and Gene found himself awake at the crack of dawn, stood in the untended back garden with a cigarette in one hand, and a whiskey-tinted coffee in the other. He was dressed in his jeans and Rugby shirt – the same ensemble he had worn when Alex had first called him over to her flat in the dead of night – and was vaguely aware of the fact that the chill which crept over his bones was not solely due to the ridiculous notion of negating a coat in the middle of winter; he realized all too well that it was, at least in part, down to the knowledge that the McKellen case would soon be over, whatever the outcome, and he possessed no further part in the proceedings.

Joe Ellison had already been sent down for eight months, despite a particularly moving argument on his lawyers part that the older man had been led to believe a lie through no fault of his own, concurrent with the illness that Sophia Merlot had so robustly exploited in her favour. Sophia herself was currently awaiting trial, although the defence lawyer seemed to hold little hope for her fate, pending the forensic evidence from the lab, and the statements by both Ciaran and Joe which placed her at the scene of Rosa's death- since Ciaran was pleading guilty to murder, and the evidence dictated that he had in fact been there, his word was being taken most seriously, and it seemed unlikely that Sophia would manage to wheedle out of the charge of accomplice without some bizarre and well-timed act of God, which, given the circumstances, would be seemingly undeserved.

Of all three cases, however, Gene knew he was most concerned with Ciaran's; it wasn't that he believed the teenager didn't deserve what was coming his way – far from it, in fact. The whole thing had been one of the most gruesome and taxing cases Gene had ever had to work on, and he was in no doubt that Ciaran was to blame, however much Rosa had coerced and cheated him.

No, what bothered him wasn't the fact Ciaran was going to prison – it was the fact that the teenager had accepted it with such easy nonchalance; most people who went to prison disputed it, and even those who pleaded guilty feared the lonely nights in a dark, damp cell, with a cell-mate who was probably capable of murdering them in their sleep... But not Ciaran; Ciaran, it would seem, welcomed the idea, as if with open arms. He held no qualms that he deserved it, and nor did he protest that he would die in prison, or that he wouldn't last a week; he simply accepted it, and sat back to wait for his sentencing.

From all that Gene could gather, the teenager was looking forward to a lonely life in a cell, during which he could relive countless times the moments of he and Rosa's cherished love, and the final act of passion that had so far proved to be nothing but painful for him.

The only time that Gene had spoken to Ciaran since charging him, the boy had only shrugged, asked the result of the latest football game, and claimed that love was worth every ounce of pain that prison would send his way; Gene had left without speaking, trying to ignore the dazed, almost wistful look that had broached Ciaran's eyes – he could only hope that he had imagined it.


The gentle voice broke through the haze of thought instantly, and he looked around to see Alex, wrapped in his overcoat and clutching a cup of hot water in her hands – caffeine, it would seem, didn't agree with the child currently residing in her stomach, and she had taken to drinking no tea or coffee whatsoever.

Gene smiled weakly over at her, his eyes trailing appreciatively up over her fabric-swathed body as he felt a warm, flipping sensation in the pit of his stomach. He vaguely wondered if he would ever tire of the sight of her, if her curves would ever fail to fascinate him, before he lifted his arm, allowing her to move closer and rest her head against his shoulder. She held the cup in one hand, allowing her other arm to slip around his back as she glanced worriedly up at him.

"Are you alright?" She asked softly, biting slightly upon her lower lip. Gene shrugged, lifting his cigarette to his lip and taking a slow drag, before catching the disapproving look she sent his way and dropping the offending item to the floor, stubbing it out with his foot.

"Sorry," he muttered, grimacing. With his hand now free, he slipped it around her waist, resting it protectively against her still flat stomach as he kissed her forehead very briefly. "I'm fine," he assured her belatedly, breathing deeply. "Just- I dunno..." he shrugged, taking a large swig of coffee before muttering, "forget it, Bols. Let's go back to bed." He emptied the last dregs of drink into his mouth, and then led her inside, his hand still splayed over the as yet unseen bump of their child as he went; Alex covered his hand with hers, smiling slightly up at him.

The shift in his character had been almost immediate having discovered her pregnancy, and she had come to find it both frustrating and endearing in turn. Whilst previously his public attentions had been relatively few and far between, it soon became common practice that if Alex were stood at the bar in Luigi's, or even sat down on one of the stools, Gene would stand close behind her, his arm firmly around her waist and hand placed protectively across her stomach. Sometimes, it annoyed her, particularly when one of the team approached them in the bar and Gene resolutely pushed himself into their line of vision, as if threatening to castrate them were they to step much closer.

On other occasions, however, the sheer, feral masculinity of it had Alex biting her lip and quivering with arousal, and it was all she could do to wait until he finished his drink before begging him to take her home. On such evenings, Gene was more than willing to abide by her wishes, showing her repeatedly how thrilled he was that her sexual libido had in fact not decreased, but risen exponentially. And whilst there was no denying that before the pregnancy the pair of them had been nearly insatiable, recently Alex had barely been able to keep her hands off him...

Not that Gene minded of course – the sex-on-tap did more than enough to compensate for his incapability to form coherent thoughts the rest of the time, and it was completely worth walking around with a near-constant ache in his bollucks. He'd been worried at first that the pair of them would suddenly become old bores, who occasionally had a tumble on anniversaries or birthdays; thankfully, he'd come to like Alex's pregnancy a great deal, and the likelihood of boredom seemed to be slimming by the day.

"Gene?" Alex rubbed his shoulder lightly as they lay in the bed, her lips pressing against his neck for a few brief moments before she glanced up into his eyes. He shifted slightly to look at her, arm wrapping around her waist as he tucked her firmly into his chest, saying nothing. Alex sighed, gently caressing his neck with elegant fingers as she pressed a soft kiss to his pulse. "You do remember what I said, Gene, don't you?" She whispered, looking up and holding his gaze for a few moments; his frown was evident, and she sighed again before speaking. "About this not being the end? I'm not going anywhere after today; I love you, and-"

"It's not about that," Gene smiled reluctantly, pressing his lips to her forehead and rubbing his hand gently against her shoulder. "Wouldn't let you bugger off with my kiddywink in yer stomach, anyway..." pulling her closer, he smirked, "I'm afraid you've got at least seven months left with me, love."

"I won't leave," Alex assured him softly, caressing his cheek. "You've got nothing to fear in that respect."

"Yeah," Gene smiled, hugging her tightly. "Good..."

She looked at him carefully, waiting for him to speak; when he didn't, she sighed, resting her head against him and allowing her hand to trace delicate patterns across his chest and stomach. He groaned slightly, allowing her the enjoyment of this simple act for several moments, before gently catching her hand, and twining their fingers together; with a contented sigh, he drifted into a doze.


Gene led the way out of the court room with his arm around her shoulders, ignoring the glances she kept sneaking in his direction, and lighting up a cigarette despite her disapproval. Alex didn't voice her annoyance, although she did shrug herself slightly out of his hold and move to simply stand beside him in the street. He leaned against the railing before him, taking a deep drag and saying nothing until he had inhaled and exhaled several times. When he did speak, he failed to meet her eyes, and his voice was gruff and quiet.

"He'd be better off in prison," he murmured, stubbing the cigarette out on the metal and dropping the butt to the floor. Alex remained quiet, saying nothing, but moving closer and slipping herself into the circle of his arms, lips falling to his throat for a brief moment as she allowed him to continue speaking. "If he wasn't messed up before, he'll be screwed as a prozzie now."

"Maybe it's for the best," Alex supplied, reaching for his hand and squeezing gently. "He's not well, Gene; maybe he-"

"He's not mad, Bolly," he answered, shaking his head. "He got fucked around, and he's a naive little shit, but he's not mad – he knew just what he was doing, and he knew it wasn't right. He should be in prison servin' it, not 'aving needles shoved up his arse 'cause they think he's cuckoo." He resisted the urge to reach for another cigarette, pressing a hard kiss to her forehead and sighing deeply, closing his eyes to the scent of her.

"Gene, they know what they're doing," Alex replied, touching his cheek gently. "Trust them; if they think he'll be better off getting help, then maybe you need to just-"

"You know as well as I do they get it wrong sometimes," Gene growled, gulping hard in his throat as he drew back slightly. "He could go in there as sane as I am an' still come out more messed up than the rest of 'em; they should've sent him to prison an' let 'im live with it."

"You don't really think he was sane, do you?" Alex asked, touching his shoulder hesitantly. "I mean, honestly sane – sane enough that he knew just what he was doing and why?"

"I think he was in love," Gene answered, voice softer than before. "An' if bein' in love makes you mad, Bols, then almost every bugger in a police cell should be off to the loony bin with a straight jacket an' a sedative; I've been bangin' up scummy bastards fer nearly thirty years, Alex, an' of all the shitty murderers, rapists and serial killers, he's one of the sanest buggers I've met! He knew what he was doin'; he deserves a cold cell an' a hairy French bloke, not a warm bed an' mollycoddlin' from some waddlin' old ninny!"

Alex sighed, standing on tiptoe to press a gentle kiss to his cheek, feeling the tension of his shoulders relax slightly as she rested her head against his. "We were never going to like how this case ended," she murmured rationally, dusting at his coat absently with one hand. "Whether he'd ended up in prison or hospital, we'd have thought they'd got it wrong – maybe he isn't well, and maybe he is. Either way, he'll be living with what he did for the rest of his life – you know as well as I do that he won't let himself forget."

Gene glanced at her, and then sighed, stroking her hair and resting his head atop hers. "Yeah..." he conceded, closing his eyes briefly as she gently squeezed him in return. A few moments of contentment passed, in which Gene allowed the anger and frustration to seep out of his body, welcoming the warmth of her and indulging himself with the intense glow of joy that radiated through his body. Alex's hand reached down to draw his own to her stomach, rubbing warmth into his chilled skin, before holding the hand gently in place against her. Gene smiled, cracking his eye open and drawing back to tentatively caress her cheek with his spare hand.

"How's the mini-Genie?" He asked, smirking as she rolled her eyes in amusement.

"Not quite ready to leave the bottle," she replied, catching his fingers with hers and smirking wickedly. "But if you direct your rubbing elsewhere, I'll be sure to reward your efforts and grant you a wish..." she trailed off, licking her lips suggestively as he chuckled, hand slipping slightly higher to tease the underside of her breast with his thumb, eyes locked on hers as he spoke.

"Only one?" He murmured, waggling his eyebrows suggestively. "I thought three was standard?"

"Mmmm, yes, but I'm pregnant – get very tired, very easily. It's more difficult than it looks you know..." her hand drifted down across the silk fabric of his tie, tickling briefly across his stomach as Gene chuckled, leaning closer and growling softly in her ear.

"I better make it count then, hadn't I?" Without waiting for a reply, he tugged her firmly down the concrete steps and towards the car.


They fell naked onto the bed with little or no semblance of grace, Alex giggling into his neck as he pushed swiftly into her, his teeth and lips leaving caresses and marks in their wake as he slowly tracked upwards from shoulder to ear. The sigh of pleasure that left her lips caused him to smile, and he moved slowly within her, gently kneading one of her breasts in his large left hand, whilst stroking across the tender, sensitive flesh behind her knee with the other. The breathless laugh that emerged from her was warm and rich, and Gene's whole being responded to it; with a gentle hand, he hooked her leg over his shoulder, pressing a gentle kiss into Alex's thigh as she pushed her hips encouragingly up at him. His eyes were closed as he sank into her over and over, breath coming short as she murmured gently up at him, her words barely audible as her head fell back against the pillow, hair in disarray, as her hand swept across his shoulder and down his chest.

"I love you," she whispered, eyes glazing over with pleasure as her other hand clenched reflexively at the fabric of the duvet. "Gene- oh, God, Gene... I love you..."

"Shhh..." he murmured, rolling her nipple between his fingers and pumping his hips slightly faster, mouth open slightly as his head lolled back, sinking his length deep into her body. His free arm wrapped firmly around her thigh, urging her gently against him as he groaned a harsh, bitty reply. "Tell me later, Bols," he managed, grunting slightly as her fingers traced teasingly across his stomach and down towards his navel. "Preferably when I'm not busy tryin' to shag you senseless..."

He bit gently down on her thigh, her moan like music to his ears as her whole body shook with pleasure and anticipation. His hips moved more quickly, blurring against her hips as he pushed faster into her, lifting himself onto his knees and directing her hips with both of his hands, pulling her swiftly over his length with lustful and yet still tender direction. Alex gasped beneath him, her hands finding his shoulder, nails digging into soft flesh as she responded to his touch, urging him on as his fingers sought the sensitive nub between her legs, rubbing her gently with the rough pad of his thumb as he left a bright red mark upon her leg with his teeth and lips.

"Shit!" Alex gasped, the combined sensations overloading her mind and body with pleasure until she was trembling on the brink, her brow coated with sweat as Gene pounded into her, his eyes now closed as he worked her swiftly with his fingers. Her sharp nails dug into his back, drawing a hint of blood as she dragged herself up towards him, wrapping her arms firmly around his neck as he crashed his mouth against hers, swiftly dislodging her leg from his shoulder as he moved eagerly within her.

Alex's words continued, a flurry of gasped and breathless profanities uttered against his lips as hands, mouth and length worked her knowingly and expertly to her peak. When finally she began to tighten, when eventually she threw her head back and loosed a guttural moan that shot straight to Gene's groin, he tensed, jerking her body more firmly against his own as his thrusts became erratic, lustful and full of desire.

"Fuck!" Alex moaned, tangling her hands in his hair and jerking it slightly as her body writhed with uncontrolled pleasure. "Oh shit, Gene- Gene... fuck... so good... so- so- Christ! Gene! Shit!"

He managed a throaty chuckle as he attempted to ride out her orgasm, his chest glimmering with sweat as he went. She tightened around him with a wanton moan of delight, and he realized he was lost, instantly following it up with three hasty thrusts before releasing deeply into her, over and over again, their joined bodies still trembling with release as they collapsed back onto the duvet. His body covered hers easily, almost protectively, and Alex vaguely noted that Gene was lifting himself slightly upon his elbows to relieve her of the burden of his weight; she smiled, her eyes glazing slightly as she pressed her lips gently to his still thundering pulse.

"Christ," Gene muttered breathlessly, his hot breath whispering across her flesh as he tenderly caressed her cheek. "Don't think I'll ever get bored of shaggin' you, Bols," he murmured, pressing a gentle kiss to her ear. "Especially if you keep swearin' like a sewer rat fer the next thirty years..." He kissed her lightly once again, then rolled to the side, sighing weakly when she rolled over to enter into his embrace, her head resting on his chest with a noise of contented happiness.

"Well, if you keep shagging me quite so efficiently, the swearing will most definitely remain." Her lips chastely brushed his chest, and she felt the thrum of smugness that emanated from him as she lay alongside him, her body still quaking with delight. It was several minutes later, when her breathing had returned to normal and the pounding of her heart had levelled out slightly, that Alex looked up at him, a weary but playful smile on her face.

"I love you," she grinned, seeing the familiar twitch of his lips and wondering if he'd expected the repeat so soon. He shifted closer, hand in her hair and smile on his lips as he nodded, smirking to himself.

"Only sensible," he murmured, gently rubbing his nose against her forehead and smirking at her slight laugh.

"Oh really?" she asked, sounding amused; Gene grinned.

"Course," he answered, cracking open an eyelid and smiling down at her. "I'm a copper; best shag you'll ever get, an' I can waggle me warrant card whenever yer start misbehaving..." he grinned, chuckling when he saw the sardonic amusement that covered Alex's face.

"Misbehaving?" She queried, shifting slightly closer and hooking her leg over him, feeling the tip of his length against her thigh and wondering how long it would be before he took advantage of their renewed proximity. "How might I do that?"

Gene glanced suggestively down, waggling his eyebrows suggestively. "Reckon you keep shiftin' that leg about an' I can give you a demonstration."

"Sounds intriguing," Alex teased, stroking his chest dotingly. "And I believe you've still got a wish to make, Mr Hunt... want to collect?"

Gene smirked, lips twitching slightly as he pressed a gentle kiss to her brow. "Depends," he murmured, stroking her hair. "Any terms?"

"Anything within reason..." she smiled, scraping her fingers gently across his stubble and pressing a gentle kiss to his chest.

He looked at her thoughtfully, eyes falling to her lips, and then lifting back up to her face. His thumb stroked gently down her cheek and across her lips, his eyes warm... Then he leaned forwards, his lips brushing gently across the shell of her ear before he spoke, his voice a soft, gruff whisper, laced with sincerity and warmth. "Marry me," he murmured, his eyes closed as his arms noticeably tightened around her. He could feel her body tense with surprise, felt her twist her head around to look at him, and he cursed himself inwardly for his stupidity, instantly back-pedalling and attempting to throw her off. "Forget it," he said instantly, shaking his head and drawing away. "Just bein' thick. I'll just go an'-" He had dislodged her leg and was halfway out of the bed before Alex's hand caught his wrist, her expression surprised but not, if Gene was correct, unnerved.

"Do you want to?" She asked, after a few moments of watching him carefully. He thought he saw her lips twitch, and he sank slowly back into the bed, mouth pursed thoughtfully before he shrugged.

"Makes sense," Gene muttered, scratching his head distractedly. "I mean- you're preggers, we're livin' together, we 'aven't killed each other yet..." He shrugged, gently touching her stomach as he finished. "Don't see why not..."

"Gene, me being pregnant isn't enough to base a marriage upon... There's got to be more than that, or we won't even get down the aisle." She stroked his cheek lightly, smiling warmly up at him. "I'm a modern girl, Gene – if that's what brought this on I'm more than happy to just live together."

Gene said nothing, reaching over to his bedside table and getting up to light a cigarette, opening the window slightly and standing across the room to smoke it, his eyes not leaving her as she sat forwards on the bed, her knees held up to her chest as she returned his gaze levelly.

"That's not it, Alex," he murmured eventually, shaking his head and swallowing hard. "I- I jus' think we could do it, Bols... be a family; me, you an' the sprog –may as well stick a ring on yer finger an' make sure nobody else gets any ideas." He took a deep drag on his cigarette, averting his eyes slightly as he exhaled through the window by turning his head to the left. When he looked back at her, she was smiling, her chin resting on her arms as she shook her head slowly from side to side.

"They can have whatever ideas they like, Gene – I won't let them try them out." She waited, watching as he shrugged and took another drag. A few moments later, she spoke again, her voice soft. "I thought you didn't want to get married again."

"Never said that," Gene answered swiftly, exhaling shakily. "Said she'd 'ave to be a demon in the sack – an' yer might not wear devil horns or nout Bolly, but I've seen you do things some prozzies wouldn't."

"Like what?" Alex laughed, shaking her head. "We're adventurous, Gene, but I'd hardly say we were ground-breakingly filthy.

Gene chuckled, stubbing out his cigarette and blowing smoke slowly from between his lips. "Point is," he smiled, avoiding the question, "if I'm ever gunna get married again, it'll be to you; may as well make it official an' make sure the sprog keeps 'is dignity – Christ knows he'll need it with two coppers fer parents." He reached for his cigarettes habitually, placing another one between his lips and lighting up a moment later.

Alex frowned her disapproval, but didn't verbally reprimand him, instead slipping from the bed and walking over to wrap her arms around his waist. If she felt his surprise, she gave no sign, resting her head against his shoulder and kissing the warm flesh gently. He wrapped one arm around her, stubbing out the newly-lit cigarette with his other hand before embracing her tightly, his nose in her hair as he inhaled deeply.

"I love you," he muttered eventually, his mouth cotton-dry, just as it always was when he told her how he truly felt. "Reckon I could spend my life doin' it if you'd let me... An' if that's what yer want, we might as well get hitched so every other nosy bastard who looks at yer arse knows an' all..." He gulped slightly kissing her forehead hard before speaking again, his voice soft. "Will that do?"

She pulled back slightly, meeting his eyes with hers; Gene was surprised to see that her lip was trembling, and her eyes glistening with unshed tears. "That'll more than do," she whispered, standing on tiptoe to kiss him, her mouth soft and gentle against his. She was surprised when he reached for her hand, pulling it to his chest and kissing her chastely just once before he pulled away, meeting her gaze as his fingers wrapped around hers. There was a moment where he frowned, glancing down at her hand before smiling nervously.

"Ain't bought you a ring yet," he said honestly, forehead crinkling. "Sort of- wasn't plannin' to ask yer for a while yet... Was gunna take you out an' get yer pissed first..." He grinned nervously, stroking her cheek for a few moments before frowning, wetting his lips with his tongue. "I'll take yer tomorrow," he promised, kissing her softly on the forehead. "You can swoon over diamonds while I get pissed in the pub, then if I'm really hammered I'll take you out - somewhere posh."

Alex smiled, stroking his cheek as she shook her head slowly from side to side. "You can take me out for dinner," she promised him. "In fact, there's a lovely French restaurant I've been looking at for months! You-"

"Won't ever be that pissed," Gene interjected with a grimace.

She smiled, ignoring him as she went on. "You can even go to the pub all afternoon and get drunk if you like – but you're not buying me another ring."

"I'll pretend I didn't hear that," Gene muttered darkly, his eyes narrowing instantly. "I ain't havin' the other blokes sayin' I'm too tight to give you a bloody engagement ring, Bolly – they'll be sniffin' around yer skirts like dogs!"

"I've already got a ring!" Alex said, smiling as she touched his cheek with her hand. "One that means everything to me..."

"That's not the same," Gene murmured, grimacing slightly, although he felt his heart skip as he realized exactly what she meant, as he heard the unmistakeable sincerity in her voice. "I wasn't proposin' then – I am now. It's not fer that, it's-"

"Gene," she whispered, stroking his lip with the soft pad of her thumb. "I know how much this ring means to you – I know what you meant when you gave it to me; and married or otherwise, no other ring will ever come close." She leaned forwards, catching his lips in a tender kiss as she whispered against his mouth. "I love you... I don't need a new ring- I just need to know it's mine." She pressed her lips harder against his, tongue swiping across his lips as she closed her eyes to his familiarly breath-taking embrace.

Her hands went around his neck, and she laced them together with ease, drawing the ring from her left middle-finger with some difficulty, before finally dropping her hand down to find his, pressing the ring gently into Gene's palm as she nipped lightly at his lower lip. His hand closed firmly around hers, the other tangled in her hair, drawing her closer against him as Alex smiled against his lips. "Bring it to dinner," she whispered, squeezing again at his hand. "You can ask me again then."

"Mmm..." Gene murmured. "I'm not sure you've actually said 'yes' yet..." Trailing off, he closed the distance between their mouths once more as he kissed her firmly. "But I'm sure you'll convince me..." He tugged her against him, giving her no chance to reply as he walked her back towards the bed, pausing only once to place the ring in its box, which resided, as it always did, in the bedside drawer.

A moment later, he pushed her gently to the mattress, kissing her soundly all over again.


Gene watched with a small, tired smile on his face as she slept soundly beside him, the duvet resting low on her hips as she lay curled into his side, hand resting gently across his chest. The dim light that crept through the window caused the ring on her wedding finger to glitter slightly in the light, casting strange shapes onto the wall of their bedroom as it did so.

Warmth spread through his chest as he remembered the smile on her face as he'd asked her a second time, and the gentle caress of her lips against his as she'd leant across the table to kiss him warmly... Smiling slightly, he shifted closer, pressing his own lips against her brow as he held her clse.

It struck him suddenly, laying with her wrapped in his arms, how very far he had come; less than a year ago, the idea that he would be laying in bed with Alex Drake had been nothing more than a ridiculous, unattainable fantasy, one that had plagued his thoughts and dreams, but always seemed too far out of reach to ever become a reality. Now, he was living with her, sleeping beside her every night as she carried his unborn child, and awaiting the day in the not too distant future when he could call her his wife... And yet, he realized, the most profound difference lay in the simple knowledge that she loved him, that she welcomed him into her life openly, and that, in doing so, she'd allowed him to love her back.

It might have taken a violent murder to bring them together, and a grieving, guilt-stricken teenager to make him realize the real depth of his feelings, but he knew now that she was his everything – his world, his whole life, his future... And although the verdict of the case had left a bitter taste in his mouth, and despite the knowledge that Rosa McKellen had destroyed the lives of two boys foolish enough to fall for her, Gene began to understand, with a clarity that had always escaped him, why love was held in such high esteem.

He had seen it tear people's lives to shreds, and he'd seen the anger and hatred it could lead to – but at the same time, it had changed his life, given him warmth and security that had before been lost in the years of self-contempt and bitterness; he felt more alive and invigorated than he could ever remember being. His life had finally gained meaning beyond the four walls of his office and the paintwork of his car, and the knowledge was both exhilarating, and, quite frankly, terrifying.

He leaned forwards slowly, pressing his lips tenderly to hers as he smiled to himself. His hand slipped absently to her stomach, stroking across the warm flesh as his heart swelled with pride at the knowledge of the life that grew within her. He'd certainly come a long way, he smiled to himself – as long as the sprog didn't support Manchester United, he could quite believe that his life would be complete... Even if he would never admit it to anyone but her.

"Night Bols," he murmured, kissing her cheek softly. After a few moments of hesitation, glancing at Alex's peaceful face and concluding that she was, in fact, asleep, he shifted slightly and lowered his mouth to her stomach. "Night Sproggy," he whispered, gently kissing the warm flesh. He felt Alex stir, instantly freezing in place as she did so.

"Gene?" She asked tiredly, voice slightly hazy. "Are you talking to my tummy?"

"No," Gene answered swiftly, shifting between her legs and moving further down her stomach, kissing across her flesh as he shook his head. "Just wakin' you up..."

Alex smiled, giggling as he kissed her inner thigh. "I haven't had the chance to sleep yet... And I'm not called 'Sproggy', and if I-" she broke off with a shrieking laugh as Gene tickled her viciously on her sides, pinning her firmly down as she attempted to wriggle out of his reach.

"Do something useful with yer mouth, Bolly," Gene grunted, pinning her down and pressing his hips firmly against hers. "There's a pipe down there that could use some attention!" She giggled as he moved further up her body, lips firm against her skin as he went.

"What about Sproggy?" She teased as his hand travelled up and over her stomach. He stilled for only a moment before tickling her again, delighting in the raucous shrieks of laughter that left her mouth as she slapped his hands away.

Gene kissed her firmly, chuckling against her mouth as she continued to wriggle uncontrollably beneath him, before pushing the duvet off their bodies and allowing his body to melt into hers all over again.


And that, my dear readers, is that!

I hope that the final chapter tied up any loose ends, and that it was a satisfying finish – it's the end of the line for now, but I've got a sequel lined up in my head if the mood takes me... It's just a matter of when, where and how!

Thank you, as ever, for all of your encouragement with this story, and for sticking with it to the end – it would never have gotten anywhere without you all, and I hope it's been enjoyable! I'm sort of flabbergasted that I've managed to finish it, and that it's gone on as long as it had – hope it's been worth it.

Thank you.

Mage of the Heart