Hi, I realise that most people have stopped writing these, so it might be a little late, but here it is anyway - an alternate ending to series three, with a bit of angst thrown in there for good measure. :P Just a quick notice before you start reading - I'm currently running a shuffle songfic competition, so if you're interested in that, the rules and details are at the top of my profile page! Anyway, I hope you enjoy this and it's written to an absolutely beautiful song by Snow Patrol called 'You Could Be Happy'. A quick thank you to TheFatalIllusion, who is ridiculously awesome, for reading this through for me too! Happy reading and reviewing, wink, wink! :P
Disclaimer - I don't own Ashes to Ashes or these amazing lyrics. :D
You Could Be Happy
Staring down the last dregs of whisky in the bottom of his glass, Gene swirled it round and thought about how similar the colour was to Alex's eyes. He glanced up through the door of his darkened office to see an even darker CID, most of the room engulfed in shadow. Her desk though, he could see her desk. If he strained his eyes and leant forwards a little way, he could see the outline of her desk, the neat stack of files on the left hand side and her pens, all lined up neatly in one perfectly organised row. It was so...her. Closing his eyes and taking a deep drag on the cigarette between his fingers, Gene briefly wondered if he wished hard enough, she would be sat there when he opened them again. Pen pushed thoughtfully between her lips as she twirled a strand of hair around her finger, eyes focused on whatever she was reading. But when he opened them, he was met with the same dark scene, CID buried in the shadows of memories he could never relive, no matter how many times he closed his eyes and wished.
With a long sigh, Gene pulled the cigarette out from between his lips, sparing the crackling amber glow a brief glance before he knocked back the last of his whisky and slammed the glass down onto his desk. He wondered what she was doing at that very moment, behind the misted up window in the door of the Railway Arms. Perhaps she was sat at the bar alone, staring deep down into her glass, just as he was doing now. Or maybe she was sat with the others, laughing and joking as they all got wasted and played card games till they couldn't think straight. She could have her chin propped up glumly in her hands on the bar, her face morose and eyes shining with unshed tears. Or perhaps she was laughing with the rest of them, her eyes lit up as she smiled the beaming smile that had never failed to make him want to kiss her, forgetting who and where they were.
You could be happy, and I won't know
But you weren't happy, the day I watched you go
But then, he thought of the lost look on her face as she turned and walked into the pub, on his orders. It was ironic, Gene thought as he placed his head in his hands, that the one time she actually followed his orders, was the one time that he truly didn't want her to. But maybe, that was the precise reason why he loved her. She never did as he said; would sometimes even do the opposite of what he had told her to, just to annoy him. Just to see that maddened glint in his eye and snap back at him with that infuriating, self-confident tone that had always sparked fiery arguments between the two of them. Letting out a long sigh, Gene allowed the memories to play over and over in his head, torturing him with all those reminders of missed chances, opportunities that he had allowed to pass by... Why hadn't he just kissed her when that knock sounded at the door? Why hadn't he told her to ignore it? Why had he gone with Ray when she was there, waiting for him to follow her upstairs? He sighed again, pushing his fingers through his hair. More than anything, more than wanting to open his eyes and see her sat there at her desk, he wished he could take it all back. All the chances, all the opportunities, all the wrong words. If there was a way to erase time, no matter the cost, he would. He would. For her.
And all the things that I wish I had not said
Are played on loops till, it's madness in my head
He'd warned her, told her not to trust him, not to help him. And what had she done? Typical, infuriating, defiant, beautiful bloody Bolly, gone rummaging around in the past, fishing out evidence that was better left in the back of a storage room somewhere, gathering dust and being forgotten. These past few weeks had been hell for him; this wasn't what he had wanted for them, not what he had wanted for her. The tense silence as they sat in Luigi's some nights, not talking like they used to, not flirting like they used to...Both feeling unable to cross the line that had been all but invisible before. And then there were the shouting matches, the typical Guv and Bolly standoffs that had become something of a legend throughout the station. They weren't the same. There had been real fury, real exasperation in her eyes these past few weeks, and it had killed him to see it. Hurt like a kick to the balls and a punch in the stomach.
Gene lifted his head from his hands and leant back in his chair, eyes closing tightly as his hands balled into fists at the injustice of it all. All he had wanted was for them to go back to the way they were – the Guv and DI Drake, unbreakable. All he had wanted was her. But now all the silence, the arguments, the fire, the fury, the rage...it all blurred into one, along with the late nights laughing and flirting until the cheap wine left them incapable of proper thought. Gone. It was all gone. She was gone. God, he missed her.
Is it too late to remind you, how we were?
Not our last days of silence; screaming, blur...
And again, the image hit him. Her face, her eyes – lost, hurt, desperate to stay... The taste of her lips still lingered on his, and the picture of her face was engrained on his memory. He had forgotten what happened to Sam, and the countless others who had come before him... But her, he couldn't forget her. Wouldn't forget her. She was, amongst other things, unforgettable. The only light in his office came from the dim glow of the lamp on the edge of his desk, casting his shadow onto the opposite wall as he took a final drag on his cigarette and stubbed it out, watching as the ends of it flickered amber before slowly dying and turning to ash. She had been a little like that. Fiery, confident and ballsy at first, and she always had been...But sometimes, late at night in Luigi's, or in her flat when they had danced to music he would usually have called poncey, mushy, gay-boy rubbish, he felt he had accessed the part of her underneath – the part of her where the fire was softer, warmer, but still as beautiful as the rest of her. He should have stopped her. And then she could have been sat here with him now, perched on the edge of his desk, one arm draped over his computer as she held a glass of whisky in her other hand. If he had stopped her, called out for her just before she had stepped through the door, everything would have been different. There would be two shadows, not one, cast onto that opposite wall.
Most of what I remember makes me sure
I should have stopped you from walking through the door
Gene had never been one for sentimentality, or for remembering facts that weren't necessary. But from the moment they had met, he had made an exception for her. He remembered everything: all her perfections, all her imperfections; all her qualities, all her faults. He knew her inside out, back to front. She was the only person who had ever managed to worm their way that far into his heart, to fill his mind and soul so completely. She had done that. She had wrapped herself around every part of him, so utterly, so completely. And he loved her. Had done something so ridiculous as to fall for her. He remembered her murmuring, the day he had pulled her from her coma, that you couldn't help the way you fall. Every word was true. And now, looking around his darkened office, swathed in shadow, Gene knew he had never felt an absence as obvious as hers. She had left a gaping hole in CID, in his heart and in his mind. A hole Gene was sure no-one could ever hope to fill.
Eyes flickering again to her desk, Gene wondered for what felt like the hundredth time how she was, how she felt, what she was doing. Was she happy? He hoped so. She deserved to be. She had made him happy, even if he may not have always shown it, or told her so. Every time she had responded to one of his jokes, or flirted back with him in Luigi's, their eyes meeting, he had felt that familiar tug on the corner of his lips, the one that slowly turned into the briefest and rarest of smiles. And sometimes, he remembered, she had smiled back at him and understood.
You could be happy, I hope you are
You made me happier, than I'd been by far
Not even Sam, or Manchester, or his ex-wife had ever made him as happy as she had. After Sam had gone and he moved down to London, Gene knew, and had pretty much accepted, that the good times were over. He was never going to smile, or laugh genuinely again, and somehow, that was okay. He found himself not minding as much as he had once thought he would. But then, along she had come. All fur coat, no knickers and a brain to rival Einstein's. Gene had both met, and found, his match in her.
Letting out another long sigh, Gene lit another cigarette and watched the flare of his lighter reflect in the glass of his office door before taking a deep drag and exhaling, remembering how much she had hated but secretly loved, he knew, the smell of cigarette smoke on his breath. Just as he had claimed to hate whatever girly, flowery perfume she had sprayed herself with each morning, when in reality, it was a scent that plagued all his best dreams. It was subtle, sexy, feminine and completely and utterly unique to her – something that defined her, just as his cigarettes defined him. And Gene knew that if he got out of his chair and crossed over to her desk, his boots echoing on the black and white tiles, he would be able to smell the ghost of her, lingering there near her chair, her desk. His coat, he was sure, carried the same scent as well, from when she had kissed him, one hand on his face as the other rested lightly against his chest. Everywhere he looked, everywhere he turned, she was still there. And he wanted it to stay that way. The day he forgot her facial expressions, her mannerisms, her face, her touch, her scent, was the day he truly gave up.
Somehow everything I own smells of you
And for the tiniest moment, it's all not true
And really, she wasn't gone, was she? Gene sighed again, this time in frustration as he unscrewed the cap on his bottle of whisky and poured himself another generous measure. For the briefest of moments, as his eyes were dragged back to her desk once more and he thought of her face and the feel of her lips against his, he refused to believe it was true. She wasn't gone. She would come back. Either that or he would go and get her. It was then that Gene realised he had been kidding himself when he had sent her into the Railway Arms with the others. He couldn't live without her, of course he couldn't. How on earth was he supposed to function, without her pushing her nose in where it wasn't needed and pointing her arse in his direction? He hoped she would continue to do those things in the pub; he hoped she would laugh and joke along with the others, with no inhibitions, or him, to hold her back. No-one should cry in the afterlife.
Do the things that you always wanted to
Without me there to hold you back
Don't think, just do...
Gene had been eleven years old when he had made the firm decision never to cry again. It had been the day after Stu had died, and his Dad had been locked away for causing death through drink driving. But now, sat alone in his office, with nothing but his whisky and cigarettes for company, Gene could have sworn he felt a tear drop from the corner of his eye and slide, burning, down his cheek. With a sudden rush of anger at the unfairness of it all, he picked up his glass and downed the contents in one gulp, the alcohol setting his throat on fire as he swallowed it down and slammed the glass back down onto his desk.
"I hope you've got another one of them for me."
The voice made him freeze, cigarette hanging limply in between his fingers as he heard his office door open wider and someone stop in the doorway. His eyes were fixed on the now empty whisky glass as he found himself unable to drag his gaze upwards to the figure stood in his doorway, blocking his view of her desk.
"Can I come in?"
Somehow, Gene found his voice and power of movement again and jerked his head to look upwards, his heart thudding in his chest. The cigarette dropped from between his long fingers into the ashtray, where it soon crumbled into dying embers. "You never asked for permission before, Bolly," he murmured, voice low as he struggled to process the sight before him.
A smile spread across her face, lighting up her eyes in just the way he remembered as she stepped forwards and perched on the edge of his desk, one arm draped over the computer as she helped herself to a glass of his best scotch. And when she didn't speak, only smiled at him over the rim of her glass, Gene pouted thoughtfully and said, "Thought I told yer to get a drink in for me at the saloon bar."
She laughed, yet at the same time, Gene could have sworn he saw the glint of tears in her eyes and he felt a sharp tug in the pit of his stomach. He didn't want her to cry, not ever again. Not for him, not over him, not for anything. The lamplight was threaded through her hair, casting a warm glow across one side of her face as she gazed at him, almost as amazed to see him as he was to see her. Still, though, she didn't speak. She just sat there, gazing and smiling, deft fingers clutching the whisky glass as she drank. And then, wordlessly, she gently placed the glass down and got up. For a moment, Gene thought she was going to walk back out of the door, and that the last few seconds had been nothing but a dream, but she didn't. Instead, she silently made her way around to his side of the desk, perching on it in front of him so her legs were between his as he looked up at her. "And since when did I start following orders from you?" she asked, voice joking, but teary too. The pain of losing her daughter was still raw and showed on her face, no matter how much she smiled at him, or how glad she was to have come back.
"Never, Bols, that's the bloody problem," he muttered as he reached up to place his hands on her waist. His eyes flickered briefly up to hers for a moment, as though asking permission, before he pulled her down into his lap and wrapped his arms tightly around her waist. "I told yer I couldn't 'ave yer putting me off my stride."
Allowing a wide smile to spread across her face, Alex blinked back tears and reached up to brush a few strands of hair away from his forehead, her fingertips trailing down the side of his face as though trying to commit him to memory. "You can't do this without me, Gene," she murmured, telling him the same thing she had told him before he sent her into the Railway Arms. She laughed then, bowing her head forwards to rest her forehead against his, warm breath fanning gently across his face. "It seems someone else thinks so too."
Gene pretended to look confused and frowned, pulling her even closer. With her warm body in his arms, pressed against his, he was thrown back to her flat, dancing to Spandau Ballet. He had stupidly let her go then, and he wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. "Who's that then, Bolly?"
Alex just nodded upwards towards the ceiling before returning her gaze to him. Their eyes locked as hazel collided with blue and Gene traced abstract patterns onto her hip through the tight denim of her jeans. Pulling her closer, he murmured against her lips, longing for a taste of her again, "Better not argue with that then, Bols."
"Wow," Alex whispered, her lips brushing his for the briefest of kisses. "It seems the almighty Gene Hunt as finally found someone he doesn't want to argue with."
Smiling in response and watching as she smiled back at him, Gene pressed his lips to hers and kissed her the way he should have done as soon at every opportunity he'd been given. Their mouths moved together effortlessly, each moulding to the other as though they were designed to. She was more than he could ever have hoped to remember, and it was then that Gene realised he had been, for once, wrong, to send her away from him. Apart from anything else, he needed her, like a fish needed water and a bird needed the sky. He held her tighter in his arms, inhaling the subtle, flowery scent of her again as he made sure this was real. Their noses brushed intimately together as they pulled apart, hearts beating in time, and Gene knew that this was no dream; he wasn't going to wake up at any moment, alone in a cold bed with no-one beside him.
Meeting her gaze, Gene murmured quietly, "I missed you, Bols."
"I know." Alex smiled against his lips and kissed him again, her fingers moving to gently undo the knot of his tie. "That's why I came back."
"You could have been happy in the Railway Arms, Bolly..."
Looking up at him, Alex gave him the faintest of smiles as she deftly undid the top few buttons of his shirt and slipped her hand inside, resting it over his chest where she could feel his heartbeat. "I could have..." Her next words hung in the silent air for a few moments as Gene absorbed them and moved his own hands down to rest on her denim clad thighs, one snaking its way round to rest on her arse.
"But I could be a lot happier with you."
More than anything, I want to see you go
Take a glorious bite out of the whole world
Gene chuckled, his hands playing with the hem of her blouse as he kissed her again, savouring the taste of her. He'd swap an ancient bottle of single malt for her any day. "Well, only one question left to ask then, Bolly."
"Oh?" She raised an eyebrow playfully and bent her head to press a kiss to the pulse point on his neck, her lips lingering there as she looked up at him from beneath her eyelashes. "And what's that then?"
Smirking, Gene pulled her flush against him and murmured against her skin, teeth nipping her collarbone slightly. "Your place or mine?"
Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed this and please review!