Disclaimer I do not own anything related to Ashes to Ashes or Life on Mars. :(

What Makes A Man?

Sharon was beginning to get used to being the first person to arrive in the office every morning. Annie had started maternity leave and was about to have the baby any time now. That meant Sam was arriving to work as late as he could get away with. She dumped her denim jacket over her chair as she went to fill the kettle. There was no way she was going to face a day full of paperwork on the Alarby Road robbery without a good dose of caffiene inside her first. She looked up as Ray walked in with Chris. He was teasing her boyfriend about something as Chris goodnaturedly rolled his eyes and sat down.

"'Ello Shaz luv" Ray called as she appeared in the doorway.

"Hiya, coffee?"

"Please" Both men smiled at her. Shaking her head she returned to the kitchenette to make the drinks. Sometimes the two policemen seemed like little boys. She couldn't help but smile.

"Oi Shaz?"

"What Ray?" She sighed as she turned to face him.

"Guv and Alex been in yet?"

"No, so you've gotten away with being late again" She watched as Ray pulled a face.

"Not late luv, just a little creative with the time keeping. Anyway, unless something big does 'appen today we got to get that bloody paperwork done. You know I remember this job when we did more than keep little notes. When coppers actually walked the streets and the scum ran when they saw us" Ray leant in the doorway as he reminiced about his time in the force.

"Yeah?" Shaz poured the milk into the mugs. "You remember the introduction of the wheel too?"

"Cheeky mare" Ray laughed as she handed him the mug.

"Yeah" Shaz laughed "I am, so just you remember that when you are winding my Chris up"

"Yeah Ma'am" Ray mock saluted her as he returned to her desk.

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Alex hated running late. She had dropped Molly off at school while Gene had taken Ruby to nursery but was still late. She bit her bottom lip as she remembered exactly why she was late. It was all Gene's fault. She had been awake before the alarm. Only this morning so had Gene. She blushed as she thought about waking up next to her husband and cursed the fact they both had to work on their wedding aniversary. She threw her car into the police station car park as she looked at the near empty car park.

"Where is he?" She knew Gene had left before her, insisting that as the senior officer he had to be there before the rest of the team turned up. She had a feeling he just hadn't wanted to be around her and Molly when they were getting stressed out over trying to get ready. Alex slammed the car door shut as she looked around the car park. There was no sign of the bright red Audi. Now Alex was really beginning to worry. When she looked up to see Ray and Sam walking towards her she really began to sense something was wrong.

"Alex" Sam stepped towards her. She hadn't even stepped inside the police station but she had a feeling something had happened. The way Ray looked on the verge of tears but angry at the same time. The way Sam looked at her. She had seen him give families bad news a million times before. He had the same look now. She shook her head slightly.

"No" She held Sam's gaze. "No"

"Alex listen" Ray could hardly believe what had happened. The call from traffic had been like a nightmare.

"No Ray, whatever it is. Nothing has happened. Not now, not this time. Me and Gene, we've been through enough" She stepped back from the two men as Sam took hold of her shoulders.

"There was a car accident"

"He drives like an idiot" Alex was suddenly angry. If Gene is ok, I will kill him. My God, if anything has happened to Ruby. She swallowed hard as she fought the urge to be sick.

"It wasn't his fault. Alex please, just listen to Sam" Ray spoke calmly.

"Oh my God. Gene? Ruby?" Alex began to panic as she thought of her husband and baby daughter.

"Ruby is fine" Sam watched as relief flashed through her eyes. "Gene is in hospital. It looks like a lorry skidded as he took a corner. He didn't have a chance"

"In hospital" Alex repeated. "He's alive"

"Yes Alex, he's alive" Sam smiled slightly. "But we have to go to the hospital"

She nodded as the late winter sunshine made her squint as it hit her eyes. She was determined not to cry. There was no reason to cry. Gene was alive. The fate of his beloved Audi was still unknown but she really couldn't bring herself to care about the car. Silently she let Sam and Ray lead her to the car. She glanced as Sam opened the passenger side door of Ray's car.

"You go with Ray. I'll be there later. Someone has to keep an eye on this lot" He kissed her cheek before turning and walking back to the station. Alex watched him go as Ray called her name. She snapped her head to face him.

"You ready?"

"Yes Ray" She had to force the words around the lump in her throat. She had to see Gene. She had to know what had happened but more importantly she had to know if it was really a terrible accident or if one of Gene's enemies had finally got lucky.

I'm coming Gene, just wait for me. I'm coming. Alex glared out of the windscreen as Ray started the engine.

A/N Is Gene ok? What really happened? More soon.