Gene awoke to an empty bed but his frustration was quickly tempered by the scent of bacon frying. He grinned to himself as he stretched, trying to work the ache out of his muscles. Glancing across at the alarm clock, he realised that he had slept for far longer than he had meant to, it was almost midday. Still, it was Saturday and there was nowhere else he had to be. He couldn't help grinning as he remembered the previous night. Whatever happened next, Gene knew he was a lucky bastard. Alex had been everything he had expected… and more, but it wasn't something he wanted to put into words. She had been so responsive to him and Gene struggled to recall a time when he had found sex satisfying on something other than a physical level. Who was he kidding? Rolling over he buried his face in her pillow, breathing in her scent and not caring that he was being a soppy git. There was no denying it… she had him by the balls.

He wanted to stay exactly where he was but expecting Bolly to bring him breakfast in bed was probably a bit of a stretch. Besides he was ravenous and there was always a chance that she would be willing to go another round on the kitchen table. Gene didn't bother searching for his clothes. He was fairly sure that she wouldn't want him wandering around naked and her dressing gown was hanging on the back of the bedroom door so he wrapped that around him. But as his hand rested on the handle, Gene suddenly became aware of voices in the room beyond. At first he thought it was the television or the radio but his heart sank as he recognised the male voice.

"I just wanted to make sure that you got home safely…"

Keats. Bastard.

"Yes I did… as you can see," Alex's voice replied.

Gene thought he could hear annoyance in her tone, the strained politeness that she usually reserved for superior officers who were being dickheads.

"You're limping…You're hurt."

"It's nothing. Sir, this really isn't a good time. I'm supposed to be off duty."

"I know. I was just wondering… God, I'm not usually this nervous… Could I buy you dinner? Sometime?"

Once again Gene had to fight the urge to punch the twat and he would have done it too… if he suddenly hadn't had a better idea. Opening the door, he strolled into the kitchen. He didn't acknowledge Keats' presence at first, making a point to greet Alex with a kiss. Not a full on snog, just an intimate little brush of his lips against hers. He slid an arm about her waist,

"Morning love," he whispered, enjoying the shiver that ran through her body as his breath caressed her skin. Only then did he turn to Keats,

"Something we can do for you, Jimbo?" he asked.

The other man's face was dark for a second and then he spoke again.

"Did you get what we needed?" he addressed Alex. "Information about Tyler… as we agreed."

Gene held onto her a little tighter, not wanting to accept what Keats was saying. He couldn't believe it. Not after last night. She wouldn't have slept with him if she didn't trust him. That wasn't the Alex he knew… or at least the Alex he thought he knew.

"She thinks you murdered him."

"No… no… Gene I…"

The panic on her face was real enough and Gene's arm fell from her waist. As much as he wanted to deny it, Keats' words had a ring of truth. She'd been banging on about Tyler for weeks. Gene hadn't been joking when he said it wasn't a subject for small talk. He wouldn't talk about Tyler… couldn't talk about it. Still hurt too much.

"Why are you doing this?" she appealed to Keats.

"You deserve to know the truth, Alex."

The man's voice was gentle; as if he had her best interests at heart.

"Truth?"

"About what he did to Sam Tyler… to DC Cartwright …"

For some reason, Gene couldn't bring himself to speak, to defend himself. He couldn't understand why he stood there as Keats moved closer to Alex

"Annie?" she questioned.

"There have been so many, Alex."

She frowned.

"But Annie…"

Then the bastard touched her, cupping her face in his hands, brushing his thumb over her lips.

"Alex…" the word was torn from Gene's throat. He was pleading with her, begging. All his wants and desires were encapsulated in that one word. She turned to him, meeting his eyes for a second before drawing her fist back and punching him squarely on the jaw.

"What the bloody hell was that for!" he demanded, shocked out of his impotence.

"Interesting, don't you think," she said, her voice almost devoid of emotion, staring at him as if he were some kind of laboratory specimen. "He's made no attempt to hit me back."

"What do you mean?"

It seemed as if she had confused Keats as well. Gene was glad he wasn't the only one… and that Jimbo wasn't as smart as he pretended.

"Any cursory psyche assessment would show that Gene Hunt does not possess homicidal tendencies," she went on. "And as for suggesting that he would physically hurt a woman… quite frankly that's just a pathetic attempt on your part to make up for your woeful lack of testosterone."

"Don't do this, Alex," Keats warned.

"I'd like you to leave now."

"You don't know what he's capable of!"

"The lady wants you to go," Gene said quietly.

"What no threats? No…. I'm going to kill you?" Keats sneered. "Oooo I'm so frightened of the big bad Manc Lion. Look at you… dressed like a girl."

"And you're dressed like a twat."

It wasn't the most original of comebacks but Gene had reached the point where he didn't care. He wanted the man gone.

"I had sex with a beautiful woman last night. What did you do? Wank into a jazz mag?"

Keats, however, ignored the insult, turning his attention back to Alex.

"I hope you know what you're doing Alex."

"I do."

"And you won't live to regret your decision… or die by it."

He walked out of the flat, leaving them silent and uncomfortable in his wake.

"Come here, Bols," Gene said, wrapping his arms around her, bringing her head to rest on his shoulder. He could feel her body shaking and he realised that she was far less composed than she had appeared.

"You didn't kill him, did you?"

"No."

"Tell me what happened."

"Alex…"

"Not now… I mean someday."

He couldn't reply, just hugged her hard but Gene had the feeling that he had to leave. She needed some space, maybe they both did. Letting her go he returned to the bedroom to find his clothes. God he looked like shit, he realised when he was once more dressed in his crumpled suit… badly in need of a shower and a shave. The happy afterglow had vanished and the self-doubt had returned. As he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror Gene could believe that this want she wanted.

Alex was still in the kitchen when he got back, arms clutched across her stomach, she didn't look as if she'd moved very far. She was thinking hard, he could tell by the small frown on her face. Never a good combination as far as Gene was concerned.

He bent and placed a rather chaste kiss on her cheek.

"Right… See you later then."

"Yes … Later…Gene?"

"What?"

"About last night …"

Gene closed his eyes, waiting for what he thought was the inevitable brush off. It was either that or she wanted to 'talk'. At that moment he couldn't decide which option he preferred.

"What about it?" he asked, trying to sound as if he didn't care.

"Do you really think I'm beautiful?"

He looked back at her, surprised that she had to ask.

"Yes Bols, I do," and he offered her a rare smile. "Always have."

She stepped towards him, undoing the buttons on the shirt she was wearing and all Gene could do was watch as she bared herself to him.

"Say it again," she breathed.

"You're beautiful Alex."

And then, it seemed, they no longer had any need for words.

Gene didn't actually get out of the door until some time later, on a promise to return as soon as.

He lit up as he hurried down the stairs, determined to make it back in record time. It was the first fag he'd been able to have for hours. Not that he minded. It seemed that shagging Alex eliminated his need for nicotine. He paused when he reached the street outside, looking up at the window of the flat like some stupid ponce who was about to burst into song.

"The game's still on," a voice said. "You haven't won."

He turned to see James Keats step out of the shadows. Gene smirked and then punched him in the gut. Sod taking the higher ground… fuck being the better man. Keats was really pissing him off.

"I think you'll find I have … Goodbye Jimbo."

Yes, victory was sweet. He'd probably screw this up but all Gene knew was that, for now, he had Alex. He had something worth fighting for.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

The End