CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM EPISODE ONE SERIES 3
And it seems that I just can't stop writing about Gene and Alex. Just a one shot - but please be warned. This story is based on spoilers and clips for series 3 and is therefore more spoilery than a spoilery thing from Spoily McSpoilville. You have been warned....
"How do you feel Alex?"
Alex blinked and tried to focus on the question. "Sorry?"
The grey-haired man sitting opposite her smiled benignly and repeated the question, scribbling in his note-pad as he observed her. "How do you feel today?"
Alex crossed her legs slowly and considered the question. How exactly did she feel? "Fine," she said at last. "I feel fine." She bristled as her companion smiled indulgently and scribbled some more. Condescending bastard.
"Do you know exactly why you're here today?"
"Well you're the psychologist, she said impatiently, "surely you…"
"Psychiatrist," he interrupted.
"I'm a psychiatrist not psychologist."
Alex smiled sadly. "Yes. That's what I meant."
Gene's image popped into her head and she felt a familiar pang of homesickness. Which was ridiculous because she was already home wasn't she? She'd finally woken up from her coma and left the Eighties behind her. Granted she'd been a bit confused when she'd first woken up. Haunted by Gene's face and Gene's voice she had run screaming through the hospital until someone had grabbed hold of her and sedated her. He'd gone quiet after that.
But recently he'd come back, gradually at first, so gradually she'd hardly noticed in fact. A word here and there, a thought that was so Gene she'd laughed aloud, causing Evan to ask what she was laughing at. And then a whisper in the dead of night, insistent, desperate, and just a hint of remorse in his voice. She clenched her fingers into the palm of her hand and pushed him away.
The psychiatrist cleared his throat and Alex snapped back to full attention.
"How's your daughter?" he consulted his notes once more, "Molly isn't it?"
"She's…" Alex's brow wrinkled as she tried to remember, "…she's…."
"Where is she Alex?"
"I…" she looked up in panic, "she's not here, Molly's not here."
"That's right," he said soothingly.
Molly wasn't here. She'd gone away. They said it was better for her, better for them both, but Alex wasn't so sure. Why would they send Molly away from her? This was supposed to be the happy ending wasn't it? So why wasn't she here?
"Hmm?" Alex looked up into the concerned eyes of the psychiatrist.
"Your hand Alex –it's bleeding."
"What?" She looked down at her hand and unclenched her fingers only to see livid marks and blood where her nails had been digging into the soft skin of her palm. She couldn't feel it. She couldn't feel anything. Shit. She stood up quickly.
"Where are you going?"
"I...I have to go…leave…I have to leave."
She ran out of her psychiatrists office and out onto the street, hailing the first passing cab she could find and jumping into the back.
"Where to love?"
"Anywhere…please just drive."
With no more than a raised eyebrow the taxi driver pulled off and Alex settled into the comforting and familiar seat of the black cab. She closed her eyes and took a few deep breaths before opening them again. It was fine, she was fine. She slowly looked at the palm of her hands. The nail marks were still there but the bleeding had stopped. She couldn't feel anything at all.
This wasn't real.
Tears of pure frustration threatened to overcome her fragile hold on reality – or was than unreality? For weeks now she had suspected that this was not the 2008 she had left behind but she had managed to ignore every sign, desperate to believe that she had finally made it home. She accepted without demure the surgeons breezy pronouncement that the bullet hadn't entered her brain and that she's be as fit as a fiddle in no time. And her recovery period had been uncannily quick. No brain damage, no physical or mental scars. Only the vague sense of unease that something wasn't quite right.
But if this wasn't real where was she? And more to the point how the hell did she get out of it? In desperation she glanced out of the cab window to get her bearings. Piccadilly Circus.
"I'll get out here driver."
"'ere? You can't get out 'ere love."
"Chris?" Alex's eyes widened with horrified surprise as the driver turned to face her and she recognised the familiar face of her former DC. "What are you doing here?"
"I work 'ere."
"No, no, no…not back there. I can't go back there." She made a grab for the door handle and to her surprise the door opened immediately. She leapt out and made a run for the pavement.
"Oi! Come back. You 'aven't paid!"
Alex ignored the Chris-faced taxi driver and ran, ignoring the stares of the tourists and blank faced locals who barred her path.
Alex span around at the sound of Gene's voice. "Go away. Leave me alone!"
"You alright ma'am?"
Panic stricken she looked straight at the young woman who had accosted her. "Shaz. You have to help me…please help me."
"You need to go back…Guv needs you ma'am. Doesn't he Ray?"
Alex wheeled around to see Ray staring at her with a slight expression of disgust. "I told you before, being next to the Guv is the right place to be."
"No!" She pushed Ray aside and wandered blindly along the pavement.
"Bolly! You coming back sulky knickers or do I 'ave to come and get you?"
Gene's voice was getting louder now and she whirled around, clasping her hands over her ears. "I can't Guv…I can't."
"Yes you can Bols. Look at me."
Tears blinding her eyes she looked in the direction of the voice. "Where?"
"Up here yer daft tart."
She raised her eyes upwards towards the bright neon signs that Piccadilly Circus was famous for. One by one they changed until each sign showed Gene's face glowing brightly, his face etched with worry and concern. For whom she wasn't sure.
"I need you to come back Bols. I can't do this without you. They think I tried to kill you."
"Just come back. We're a team Bols – we'll work it all out."
"I can't. Molly…she needs me."
"She's not real Alex."
"She is…she's real to me!" Alex turned and ran, unwilling to give in, desperately clinging to the unreality of her daughter's presence in this world. She dashed towards the busy road.
Alex heard the screams of the onlookers before she actually saw the bus that hit her.
She didn't feel a thing.
Falling. She was falling. Away from something? Towards something? It didn't seem to matter. Darkness swirled all around her as she continued her descent, murmurs of voices filled her head but she couldn't make out the words. Colours and light began to flicker in the darkness but she couldn't see what lay beyond. Smells. She could definitely smell things; antiseptic and lavender, starch and soap. There was another smell too. Her nose twitched as she tried to identify it. Whisky and tobacco with a sharp tang of Old Spice.
"Come on Bols. I know you're in there. Wake up."
She resolutely ignored his voice.
"Do I 'ave to slap you woman! WAKE UP!" Gene took hold of her shoulders and gave her a brisk shake. "Look we've gotta sort this out. I'm in so much shit it'll take more than a shovel to get me out. Bols?"
Alex ignored him. He could damn well wait.
"Right. Sorry Bolly, got no choice 'ere."
Alex's eyes flashed open in pain and confusion as Gene's hand connected with her cheek in a short sharp stinging slap.
"Well that worked then. Good to see you Bols."
Alex looked around in confusion. "What?"
"I'd love to stand and explain love but if we don't shift it toot bloody suite, the Old Bill'll be 'ere and I'll be in handcuffs before you can say Karma soddin' Sutra. Here I got you these." He threw some clothes onto the end of the bed. "Yer old kit's no good."
"Get yer knickers on – you've pulled."
Alex watched in exasperation as Gene absented himself from the room and she changed into the clothes he had provided. Wretched man. But had she really expected him to change? She touched the cheek he had slapped, still tingling from the contact of skin on skin. She could feel.
"You ready?" Gene poked his head around the door and on seeing her fully dressed entered the room.
He stood for a moment as he contemplated the sight he'd never thought he'd see again. Living, breathing Alex. He nodded his head slightly and waved his hand to indicate her new clothes.
"Looks good on you."
Alex smiled. "Thanks."
He moved a step closer. "So. Did you miss me Bolly?"
A snort of laughter escaped her lips. "Like a hole in the head."
He shrugged his shoulders. "Fair doos."
"Oh and Gene?" She stepped closer until their bodies were almost touching and she could feel the warmth emanating from his body.
She reached out one hand to touch his cheek and saw the flash of surprise followed by something else. She licked her lips as her hand travelled down his neck and came to rest on his shoulder. She leaned ever closer until her lips were next to his ear. She could feel the heat from his hand as it came to rest on her waist. She smiled seductively and then grabbed his bollocks…quite firmly.
"You ever slap me again and I will crack your nuts so hard you'll think Christmas has come early. Do I make myself clear?" She twisted and squeezed just hard enough to bring tears to Gene's eyes.
"Yes!" he squeaked.
She squeezed again. Harder. "Sorry. Didn't quite catch that?"
"Yes. Fer Chrisakes. Yes!" he howled.
She stepped back and brushed her hands together in satisfaction before turning towards the door, not bothering to check if he was following.
Gene stood bent over, trying to catch his breath as the feeling began to return to return to his balls. He gradually stood up straight and took a deep breath, a hint of a smile curling around his lips.
She was back. And he had the strangest feeling that his life would never be the same again.