Yet another post 3.08, if Alex had come back/stayed story. Drabble. Basically if she does stay and they have a last drink in Luigi's. Think it might have another chapter or two in it but I'm not sure yet.

Reviews always appreciated.

One Last Round

It felt good, right, like it always should have been there. His hand on the small of her back. The warm air of Luigi's hit Alex as she descended the steps; a few members of CID were in their usual spot, already a little worse for wear. The limited light from the candles cast exaggerated and humorous shadows of the officers, were they all...?

Alex swallowed another round of tears. Gene's fingers pressed into her coat, nudging her forward, an understanding look of his face. He knew what she had been thinking.

Of course when she had returned from the Railway Arms he had responded exactly as expected; something resembling: 'Get back to paradise you dozy cow!' But she hadn't and she wouldn't. Molly was gone. Gene wasn't.

Gene was home.

"Ahh Signor Hunt, Signoria Drake!" Luigi called from behind the bar. "At last! I start to think you abandon me on my last night."

Gene strolled confidently forward. She automatically missed the feel of him, the warmth of his closeness. Protection.

"Us? It's you what's abandonin' Luigi! Scarpering like a true Italian!"

"Signoria, please do not be sad for me."

Gene turned to look at her, concern painted across his features, although she was pretty sure he was trying to hide it.

Her face was wet; she'd started crying at some point. She forced a smile, trying to convince them and herself.

"It is sad Luigi. It's the end of an era."

"I'll 'ave a beer and glass of 'ouse rubbish for the lady."

"Right away!"

They took their usual corner, for the first time since Operation Rose. It wasn't lost on Alex. She shuffled closer to him, suddenly needing him near again.

"You err... you serious 'bout staying then?" Gene fumbled. Alex didn't reply; she felt numb. "You have to go back Alex."

That did it. She couldn't control the tears anymore; they sprung out of her eyelids like water bursting a dam, instantly soaking her face. She was dead. Molly was gone. And he was pushing her away.

God, this was one hell of a night.

"I mean I don't even know 'ow you're 'ere. Ya not meant to come back after ya passed over."

"But I did." She whispered. "That's got to tell you something."

"Yeah, that you can twist anyone round ya little finger."

Alex smiled but it didn't reach her eyes. Gene sighed heavily. Why was she making this so hard? All he wanted to do was to reach out and comfort her. He couldn't. This needed to be done.

"I'm not saying this to hurt you. Ya can't stay 'ere and not accept..."

"I have accepted it. But that doesn't mean that Molly is going to be there."

Her voice cracked when she said her daughter's name, her heart constricted. The pain stabbed at every inch of her being.

Gene remained quiet for a few moments before murmuring, in a tone softer than Alex had ever heard him employ:

"She's not here either Alex."

Alex looked up and met his eye. Stormy blue collided with chocolate brown.

"But you are."

Silence surrounded them as Gene's gaze bore into her. It was heat vision, almost burning her skin. He was sensing every strand of her DNA. Looking at her straight down the middle, through every barrier she'd ever put up. No-one had looked at her like that before. She was suddenly breathless.

"One beer and one house red."

The moment was gone. Gene glanced away as Luigi placed their drinks down and waltzed off singing and grinning wildly.

Gene took and mouthful of bear and grimaced.

"Ya know, might actually miss this place 'n it's warped attempt at good booze. Think I've forgotten what a decent beer tastes like."

"Will we forget?"

"I don't know." He replied honestly.

He might as well cave; she was going to get her own way, always did. Gene suspected he'd be disappointed if it were any other way. Not that she needed to know that.

"But if we do that's when Keats will rear his oh so pleasant 'ead again, or someone like him."

"We'll be ready this time. Stronger..." Alex paused and grinned. "Unbreakable."

"Come 'ere." He gruffed, just as he had all that time ago in the underground vault. Raising his arm, offering himself to her. She leant into him, burying her head into his neck as he embraced her. Lips resting on forehead. "Now all we need is some of that shit Spandau Ballet!"

Gene felt her grin against his collar. She slipped a cool hand under his jacket, resting over his pounding heart.

"Are ya sure?"

Alex pulled back slightly to look him in the eye.

"Yes."

"You just gave up heaven for me Alex and I'm not entirely sure that I'm worth it."

"You are."

He kissed her as though his life depended on it, as though he had a life to be dependant. Everything he couldn't say. Everything she was to him.

Alex had never felt more alive.

"Gene..." She murmured against his lips.

"Mmm..."

"Take me to bed."