Hi, so here it is....the final instalment of the story. I don't want to sound all cheesy and award-ceremony-ish now so I'll keep this short. I want to thank you all so, so much for being so brilliant and I'm really glad you enjoyed this story as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I'm still astounded by the number of reviews and response I've got for it so thank you all very much! So without further ado....here you go!
Disclaimer – I don't own Ashes to Ashes.
Epilogue – Lucy Hunt
Gene paused at the hospital door to check that Milly was keeping up. He frowned for a moment, his eyes searching the path for a flash of her red hair, but he needn't have worried. She quickly appeared, a toothy grin stretching from ear to ear as she tugged on her school blazer and ran up to him. She stretched her arms up in silent glee and he bent to pick her up, swinging her around so she was sat on his hip. Anyone watching would have been certain he was her rightful father.
'Yer really are too big fer this, Milly.' He told her as they made their way in across the bare reception area to the desk. 'Yer said on yer birthday that yer were a big girl now.'
Milly just smiled and slipped down to her feet. She stood on her tiptoes to peer over the desk, her stomach practically bubbling with excitement as she hopped up and down, eyes wide with anticipation.
'Alex Hunt, please, love.' Gene said to the kindly woman behind the desk as he glanced at Milly, the corner of his mouth twitching up slightly when he saw how excited she was. Truth be told, he could barely contain his own excitement. He had a daughter – a tiny, beautiful and precious little daughter who was every bit as important as the other two females in his life and he couldn't wait to see her. Couldn't wait to hold her small, warm body in his arms and feel her hands clutch his fingers as she opened her eyes to see her Daddy for the first time.
The woman looked up and smiled at him and Milly. 'Room thirty-four, just down the corridor.'
Gene nodded and tapped Milly affectionately on the shoulder. 'Come on little Lady, let's go see yer new baby sister, ey?'
Milly nodded and skipped off in front of him, weaving her way in and out of nurses and patients as she beamed like the midday sun. Eventually she stopped and looked back down the corridor, waiting for Gene. 'Come on!' She called impatiently, her hand already reaching for the door handle.
Gene smiled as he reached her. 'I'm 'ere, I'm 'ere. Go on in then, before yer burst with excitement.'
Milly grinned and pushed the handle down. She immediately fell silent though as she entered the peaceful room and Gene followed quickly behind. The door shut behind them and Gene's face spread into a rare grin as his wife looked up from the hospital bed, a tiny bundle of pink blankets in her arms. She looked exhausted, her eyes were drooping and expression tired – but Gene could barely tell. Because on top of that, her skin was glowing with happiness and her eyes radiant as she stared down at the baby in her arms.
'Come on, Milly – come and meet your new baby sister.' She said softly as Milly slowly made her way over, all traces of impatience now dispelled by the magical charm the sleeping baby seemed to hold over the room. She seemed almost nervous as she approached the bedside and peered at the little girl in Alex's arms.
Alex reached out to push the blankets down so Milly could see, and she let out a soft sigh of delight. A wide smile spread once more over Milly's face as she reached out, ever so slowly, to touch her sister's cheek. Alex and Gene both watched as a fascinated Milly stroked the baby's smooth skin, her eyes wide and face amazed.
'Cute baby....' Milly murmured, quite obviously completely taken by the sleeping baby as her fingers caressed her face.
Alex smiled and nodded, reaching her own hand out to touch her daughter's cheek. 'She's gorgeous...'
Milly grinned and stepped back, dropping into the seat next to the bed, her eyes still fixed on her sister's closed ones. She looked as if she'd never tear her eyes away, like her sister was suddenly the most precious thing in the world to her – a tiny baby that she'd protect with her life.
Alex dragged her eyes away from her new daughter up to Gene, a soft smile lighting up her features. 'Come and hold her.' She said gently as Gene walked forward and she held her out.
Gene settled himself on the bed, his eyes also fixed on the tiny baby in Alex's arms. 'Are yer sure, Bolls...I'm not really sure how t'...'
Alex laughed lightly and extended her arms further, slightly reluctant as Gene took their baby from her. 'You'll be fine, Gene.' She told him, watching as Gene bent his head forward to peer at his daughter for the first time.
His eyes grew wide as he took in the perfectly round face, the peaceful, sleeping expression and plump, rosebud lips. As if in awe, he placed a finger gently on the side of her face, running it carefully down over the soft flesh as though scared she might break. How on earth could he have had a hand in making something so.....perfect? It was impossible for him, surely. He met Alex's eyes and for a moment they just gazed at each other, it was only when her face blurred before his eyes that he realised that tears had formed in the corners of his eyes. He looked back down at his baby daughter, still stroking her face lightly with his finger. 'She's beautiful, Bolls.....beautiful.'
Alex smiled as she felt her eyes mist over too. Seeing Gene holding their daughter in his arms just looked so....so right. So completely and utterly and breathtakingly right. And she knew she had made the right decision. This was where she belonged, where she was needed now.
She missed Molly, yearned for her with all her heart – but she was a big girl, a strong, beautiful girl and Alex loved her like mad. But she'd gone....she had no place in that world anymore – it was like a splendid garden, closed off to her so tightly that she couldn't even see it anymore. But she knew Molly was there, and she knew she was safe.
So she was left in this garden, where at first, there hadn't really been much. But then things had grown, slowly, but beautifully. The garden had grown and flourished until brand new shoots burst through the ground, giving new life and a clean slate. And now, looking around this beautiful garden where she was surrounded by people she loved and who loved her back....she couldn't help but call it home. Because she knew Molly was just in the next garden, separated by a mere wall and a securely locked gate. But she was there, and she was safe and, Alex hoped, she was happy.
'She is.' She whispered, touching her daughter's forehead lightly as she gestured to Milly to sit up on the bed too. 'She is.'
The door shut quietly behind Gene and Milly as they went to get Alex a drink. It was about the only time Gene had ever closed a door quietly; the thought made Alex chuckle slightly as she looked down at her now awake baby daughter. Piercing blue eyes like her father's stared up at her in wonder as she gurgled quietly, her small yet surprisingly strong hand clutching at Alex's forefinger and Alex couldn't help but keep smiling. She'd forgotten how good it felt – to hold a tiny, warm person in your arms and know that you had created them....it was unlike any other feeling, it was just....bliss.
'Can I see?'
A voice startled her and Alex looked up, eyes suddenly alert as her arms tightened slightly around her daughter's small body in an unconscious move to protect her. But upon seeing the sight before her, she relaxed, her whole expression softening as her eyes widened.
The girl smiled and took a step forward, looking at the baby in Alex's arms with gentle eyes. Her wavy hair was pulled back in a ponytail and she was taller, her cheekbones more prominent and lips slightly thinner. The birthmark that had once been all too visible on her cheek was covered by a light layer of foundation, but Alex would know her daughter anywhere, young or old. And this was her daughter. Her Molly.
'She's beautiful, Mum. Really beautiful.' She murmured. She'd reached the bed now and had sat down on the seat that Milly had occupied just moments before. She didn't reach out to touch her Mum or her half-sister, but instead just sat, content to look and smile.
Alex guessed that she couldn't touch. A glowing, shimmering light surrounded her daughter like a halo and for some reason, Alex felt that she only had so much time and that when the light faded away – so would her daughter. 'Just like you were....are, Molls.' She stopped and looked up from the baby in her arms to gaze at Molly. She drank in her matured features, the sharp line of her nose and soft curve of her cheek.
'You look so grown up, so beautiful....' She whispered, her hand hovering in midair, wanting to touch but knowing somehow that she couldn't.
Molly glanced at her mum's hand sadly. 'You can't touch me, Mum...I haven't got long. But I had to see her, and you.'
Alex smiled and nodded, ordering herself not to cry. She wouldn't ruin this by crying, wouldn't allow tears to mist her vision. 'You're so grown up...' she said again, a lump forming in her throat as she thought of all the things she had missed. Molly's GCSEs, boyfriends, school dances, trips....everything that was a part of her childhood – and she couldn't share it with her Mum. 'How old are you now?' Alex couldn't help asking.
Molly pulled her eyes up from the baby in Alex's arms to meet her eyes. 'Eighteen. I go away to Cambridge in a month...Evan took me out for this really fancy meal when we found out I'd got in.' A wide smile spread across her face, showing even, white teeth.
Alex almost exploded with pride and she couldn't help but beam back. 'Congratulations, Molls....I always knew you could do it. My clever Molly.'
Molly smiled and her hand twitched, as though she longed to touch her Mum or baby sister. 'I have to go soon....what are you going to call her?'
Alex glanced down at her baby daughter, her eyes wandering over her perfect features. 'I'm not sure,' she murmured, looking back up at Molly. 'What do you think?'
Molly grinned. 'Lucy.'
Alex couldn't help laughing as Molly quoted the name that she'd always longed to be called. Ever since Alex had read her 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe' when she was seven, Lucy had been her favourite character and it seemed some things never changed. 'How did I not guess?'
Molly shrugged, her smile lessening slightly and as it did so, Alex noticed with a deep stab of sadness that the glowing light around her daughter was fading. It wasn't long now.
'Yeah?' Molly replied, smiling again.
Alex's eyes connected with hers and she reached out a hand. Although she knew she couldn't touch her daughter, she let it linger near her cheek where the fading light illuminated the tips of her fingers. 'I love you. So, so much and I'm so proud, Molls....I'm sorry I couldn't be there for you. I'm sorry I couldn't drive you to your first school dance, or see you get your exam results....or tell you off for chasing some idiotic boy who never deserved you in the first place....'
'I'm sorry I couldn't be a proper Mum to you, Molls.' There were tears in both women's eyes now as they gazed at each other with misted vision, the lump in Alex's throat growing raw and painful as she attempted to swallow it down.
'You'll always be a proper Mum to me, no matter what. I love you, Mum.' Molly told her, her voice coming out as a hoarse whisper as she tried not to cry.
Alex smiled weakly as the light continued to fade, her fingers reaching out and grasping for what she couldn't hold. 'I know....I love you too, Molls. Happy Birthday.'
And with that, Molly was gone. Leaving nothing but an empty seat and large, salty tears streaming down Alex's face as she cradled her daughter, Lucy, tight to her chest.
Alex was snoring lightly in the bed as Gene stood by the cot, gazing down at his daughter. The only light came from a lamp on the chest of drawers as it fell across her face and cast shadows across Gene's. His lips curved up into a small smile as he reached out to run his finger down the side of Lucy's face and pull up the blankets further.
A daughter. He, Gene Hunt, had a daughter. A beautiful, gorgeous, perfect little daughter. He couldn't quite believe it, if he was honest. How had something like this come from him? How on earth had he ended up with a gorgeous wife and two perfect little girls...it just wasn't plausible. In fact, if someone had told him this two years ago, he'd have laughed in their face and told them they were pissed. But not now. Now, this was all he wanted.
Her name was Lucy Hunt. And she didn't know for a long time that her Dad could cause a villain to confess all his secrets with one mean glare and a well aimed punch, she didn't really find out just how many insulting, sexist lines he could come out with....all she knew was that he was Daddy, and he was the best Daddy in the whole wide world.
And so there it is! I hope you all enjoyed it and please leave me one last review! Thanks so much for all your support and I hope you'll like my new Ashes to Ashes story – 'Rock 'N' Roll Suicide'. X =D