So this is it - the very final instalment of Rumours of Angels. It has been a very long haul so I want to thank everyone who stuck with it, reading, reviewing and generally giving me encouragement - I wouldn't have been able to finish without you.
Many special thanks to grainweevil whose episode transcripts are not only a lifesaver when it comes to research, but a treasure trove of humour and pithy comments and often a leaping off point for ideas. Thanks Al
Heaven Can Wait
Alex regained consciousness slowly, languidly rising from the depths of a sound sleep, slowly becoming aware of the faint light creeping in through the curtains and the deep, steady breathing of the man lying next to her. Even before she opened her eyes she was smiling. She was still half-asleep as she slowly rolled onto her side in order to get a better view of the sleeping colossus beside her. Gene was lying flat on his back, arms akimbo and looking ready to take on the world even in sleep – should the world be stupid enough to tangle with Gene Hunt.
Fully awake now Alex was content just to look at him, drinking her fill as she took in his sleep-mussed hair, strong features and long long lashes that wouldn't look out of place on a girl – not that she'd ever told him that. Perhaps she would tell him one day. But they had so many things to tell each other and all the time in the world in which to do it. They had made a good start on that eventful night a little over a week ago – the night that had changed their lives (or their afterlives – she still couldn't quite get her head around the terminology).
That night, after the Railway Arms and the incident with Harry Damien, they had talked all night long. Alex hadn't pressed him for details but after a shot of whisky and a touch of mutual seduction in the bedroom, Gene had been quite happy to lie in her arms and gradually reveal what had happened to him and how they had been given a second chance. She sighed and gently kissed his shoulder, tempted to kiss him into wakefulness but equally aware that he really needed to catch up on his sleep. She remained content to watch him through heavy-lidded eyes, still unable to quite get her head around the fact that she had apparently been dead, killed by Harry Damien in a fit of pique – only to be brought back to life by a tiny twist of time. She shuddered when she thought of how Gene must have felt, watching her die and not knowing for certain if they would ever meet up again. If the roles had been reversed she knew she would have gone mad with grief.
It made her all the more determined to make the most of this second chance, to live this strange but compelling afterlife to the full – both professionally and privately. Having Gene as Superintendent didn't take as long to get used to as she thought. She knew he had his doubts and reservations but together they had formulated a way of working that would encompass the everyday policing that still needed to be done and the more esoteric elements of their job….guiding new arrivals to a safe haven. More difficult to adjust to was the new role that Gene had asked her to take on – Detective Chief Inspector. She had passionately argued against it. She wasn't experienced enough in her own view, especially now that they had lost Ray, Chris and Shaz. How on earth could she take this on? But Gene had been equally forceful in reply, insisting that this was exactly the right time for her to take the reins of CID – a team consisting of a mostly clean slate, devoid of any expectations or past history. In the end they had come to a compromise, Alex would be Acting DCI until someone was 'transferred' to Fenchurch East – or until she decided that she wanted the job permanently.
"You don't half make a racket when you're thinking." Gene's voice rumbled from his chest, husky with smoke, drink and sex.
Alex glanced at his face but his eyes were still closed, his posture still totally relaxed and for a moment she thought she had imagined his voice. But then his eyes flickered open to sleepily contemplate his bedside companion. "Can't sleep?" he asked.
She smiled lazily as she contemplated the veritable feast in front of her. She ran one hand lightly over his stomach, drifting upwards to his chest, teasing and taunting as she went. Gene was not everyone's idea of a bone fide gorgeous hunk but he was sex on legs as far as she was concerned. She leaned over and nipped at his jawline, loving the feel his unshaven skin.
"What do you think?" she answered finally, as she stared into his eyes.
Gene, still only barely awake but recognising that look, thought it was Christmas morning and his birthday rolled into one. "I think," he said slowly, contemplating his next move, "I think that I need to give you the benefit of my superior experience in these matters."
"Policing matters obviously."
"You're going to lecture me on police procedure? In bed?"
A slow grin slowly crept across his face. "Never a better time Bols. And the first lesson is coming right up." He deftly flipped Alex over onto her back and pinned her gently in place.
"Lesson one. Never underestimate your victim just because he's flat on his back – that's when he's at his most dangerous." His eyes glittered playfully.
"Of course. How silly of me." She fluttered her lashes teasingly while somehow managing to keep a straight face. "You're so good to take me in hand like this Superintendent Hunt sir."
"Think nothing of it DCI Drake. In fact I think if you ask around I'm famous for my 'hands on' approach." As he spoke he ran his hands firmly down her body, tracing her womanly curves until they came to rest on her hips.
"So I see."
"In fact….," he started to kiss his way down her neck, "…I like to get to know my officers intimately." He kissed the hollow of her throat and a low moan told him he was heading in the right direction.
"Intimately?" Alex was enjoying playing the game Gene had started.
"Oh yeah." He dotted kisses down her chest until he was gloriously nuzzling between her breasts. "How else am I supposed to keep abreast of matters?"
Alex gasped as his mouth latched onto an already pert nipple, his expert tongue flicking it into full arousal.
"Don't hold back love. You got something to say best to get it off yer chest."
She almost collapsed into a fit of giggles. "Next you'll be telling me not to beat around the bush!"
Gene's wiggled his eyebrows with amusement. "Now there's an idea."
Alex lay back and closed her eyes as Gene kissed his way down her torso and settled between her thighs, gasping as his tongue began to do wicked and unspeakably marvellous things that sent shivers down her spine and flashes of lightening around her body.
All joking had been pushed aside as the intense feelings of want and need bubbled to the surface. Gene's face was a picture of concentration as his hands wandered possessively over Alex's body. He knew each curve and dip, each goosebump and minute imperfection – but he still couldn't get enough of her and never could. Ever. To think that he had almost missed out on knowing Alex, of loving her….it was almost unthinkable. They had been born in different times and in the normal course of affairs they probably would never have met. But because of their untimely deaths they had met. And for that reason alone he couldn't bring himself to regret his lost youth – he had more than made up for it here. A low moan brought Gene back to the present and concentrated his mind – and body – in the here and now. Best not keep the lady waiting. He kissed his way back up her body, settling himself between her thighs as he did so.
Alex opened her eyes to find him smiling down at her, his face younger and less careworn than before. Maybe it was always like that when they were alone together, but she suspected it was also something to do with recent events, of knowing that this world didn't have to be any kind of purgatory at all. It wasn't all doom and gloom, even though they had a serious job to do here. She reached up and stroked his face gently. "You know I love you?"
"Never doubted it for a moment." He smiled as Alex's long legs wrapped around him and drew him in. He kissed her brow. "Besides, how could you resist eh? Fine specimen like me."
"Quite." She gasped as Gene began to move, biting her lip as the almost unbearable shards of pleasure began to wash over her. "Can we stop talking now?"
"Who's talking?" Gene increased the tempo, his brow furrowed in concentration as he focused on Alex's face, registering each sigh and each minute change in expression, wanting only to give her exactly what she needed…and maybe a little bit more.
They moved together now, a tangle of arms and legs and bodies tightly moulded with barely an inch between them. Alex grasped at his flesh, drawing him closer still as she desperately reached for the ultimate pleasure that was just beyond her grasp. He held her steady, anchoring her safely as he always had, but increasing his pace to meet her need.
"Oh god, oh god, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…."
She bucked against his hips as a fierce orgasm ripped through her, sending blinding flashes of blue and silver stars through her mind as the pleasure continued to ripple through her body. Gene rocked against her as his own orgasm took hold, welcoming the loss of control and the few seconds of blank oblivion as his body went into overdrive and then collapsed empty and spent.
They wrapped themselves around each other content to doze and bask in the afterglow of exertion, wanting to hold onto the precious feeling for just a few moments longer.
Alex smiled contentedly, her fingers idly running through Gene's hair as he rested on her chest. She could feel him slowly drifting away, his eyes closed and his breathing becoming deeper by the second. He sleepily mumbled something incomprehensible as he closed his arms around her.
"Sorry sweetheart?" She thought he wasn't going to answer, he seemed so relaxed and far gone into sleep. But then his voice rumbled quietly as he made one last effort.
She smiled and kissed the top of his head. "It certainly is."
Later that evening, Gene was seated in his usual corner in Luigi's, alone and nursing a bottle of wine as he waited for Alex to arrive. He took a long drag from a cigarette and idly wondered if he should give up the demon nicotine – didn't seem to be much point now that he wasn't actually killing himself by smoking. He took another drag and resolved to think about it some more.
Gene nodded in acknowledgement as a young lad from uniformed branch passed his table. He was getting used to it now – not being 'the Guv'. Although as Alex had pointed out, he would always be the Guv to some people. He found he didn't mind it as much as he thought he would. Detective Superintendent Hunt – he could get used to it. Besides, he was making up his own rules as he went along. Although he had his own office, it was on the same floor as CID and within barking distance of Alex's own office. And he made sure he knew exactly what was going on in CID, what cases were current, who was causing problems in his manor and what operations were needed to keep the people in his city safe. And then there was his own private bolthole from this madhouse, the safe haven that Superintendent Michaels had shown him before he too had gone onto higher things. Gene wasn't quite sure what to do with it yet, but he kept the key safely just in case. He had even given it a nickname…The Spare Room. It seemed appropriate.
"Ah Signore Hunt. You are all by yourself?"
"Very observant Luigi – you should be a detective."
Luigi shrugged. He was well used to Gene's 'humour' but he knew the man had a heart underneath it all. That was why he stayed here after all. "And where is the lovely Signora? You have not upset her I hope?"
"Upset her? I'll have you know I'm a model of even-temper. Anyway, she's taking her own good time tarting herself up – something special she said."
"Of course." Luigi shook his head knowingly. Living in a household of women himself, he was no stranger to the vagaries of fashion and under no illusions about how long it took to achieve the desired result. He wandered off with a happy smile on his face, now quite looking forward to the appearance of Signora Drake.
Gene was just about to take another swig from his glass when Alex walked in and the whole world seemed to stop – just for a second – and then the noise resumed. She stood at the edge of the room, hands on hips and eyes darting confidently around the room. She looked drop-dead gorgeous, dressed in skin-tight jeans and a white leather jacket. A wry smile played on Gene's lips as the memories came flooding back, memories of the very first time he had seen her dressed like that – it seemed like a lifetime ago. Gene now knew two things. One: he must shag her brains out. And two: he most definitely would. Later.
Meanwhile his eyes followed her intently as she crossed the room towards him. Silently he poured her a glass of wine, filling it to the brim the way she liked it.
"On the house DCI Drake."
"Cheers." She took a healthy swig from the glass, grimacing slightly at the dodgy vintage of Luigi's finest. "Tastes like it dripped off the house." She took a deep breath and then finished off the glass.
"Luigi, another bottle of the house rubbish."
Alex settled herself next to Gene and waited as Luigi brought a fresh bottle and Gene poured them both another glass.
"So, this is our new team then?" Gene said as he looked around the crowded tables.
"Looks like it." Alex followed his glance. There were still some familiar faces of course. Bammo, Terry and Poirot, currently engaged in building a tower of champagne glasses, were here. Gene reckoned they must be permanent fixtures, coppers who had decided for one reason or another to stay here – there were no rules as far as he could see and Alex could go along with that. It gave the place some stability as others came and went. And of course Viv was still here too. She searched him out now and found him chatting in the corner to one of the new arrivals. He seemed almost recovered from his recent ordeals although Alex had a feeling that it was almost time for him to move on. She made a mental note to keep a close eye on him…she hoped she would know when the time was right.
As if hearing her thoughts Gene spoke. "He'll be fine. We'll know when he's ready."
And of course there were new arrivals too. DS Penny Clarke, a feisty blonde who still looked shell-shocked by her arrival in the 80's – another one to keep a close eye on. DI Tommy O'Brien was an older man in his fifties, lots of experience but Alex had a feeling he was hiding something. But then again, weren't they all? And seemingly oblivious to everything strange and weird was young PC Darren Banks, who was keen as mustard and who had developed an immediate crush on Alex. At least according to Gene.
For a second Alex felt an overwhelming helplessness as she contemplated the task of guiding these people towards the rest of their afterlife. Some would choose to stay and some would leave and go towards their well-earned rest but how on earth would she…..
"Earth to Bolly!"
"What? Sorry. I was miles away."
"I know where you were." He discreetly squeezed her hand under the table. "And I know what you were thinking. Just remember, you're not alone Alex."
She nodded and then smiled brightly, shaking her head slightly. "I was just thinking….maybe that's why you forgot everything. Maybe it's all too much to remember…trying to help these people…"
"Ah but you forget Bolls, I was trying to do it all alone. No bloody wonder I nearly went doo-lally with it all. We're a team – that's the difference."
She thought for a moment. "You're right of course."
"Course I'm right," he said with his usual confident swagger. "Now grab that bottle and let's get started."
He led the way towards the table where the rest of the team had gathered, finally ready to get down to the serious business of eating. As insults and jokes were exchanged, and Luigi and his waiters bustled and took orders, Gene refilled Alex's glass.
"Like I said before, it's all about timing this life. We've still got things to learn, adventures to have."
Alex smiled and clinked glasses in a toast.
"Unbreakable Bolly. Unbreakable."