So, this was an idea that popped into my head over the weekend and I wanted to see where it would go! I started wondering what would happen if Martha and Alex had a personality swap, so here is what I think would! I hope you like it :) Part Two - Martha will be up tomorrow or Wednesday, but in the meantime, please R&R, and enjoy!
Part One - Alex
Alex Drake wasn't sure where the overwhelming feeling of depression came from. The constant disappointment of waking up in the eighties every morning was torture enough, without this swamping, all-consuming sense of utter despair and hopelessness.
It wasn't hormones, or a hangover, or even triggered by a particular event, but all she knew was that she could take no more of this bitter, wicked world with misogynistic Hunt and his archaic team. She needed to get home to Molly, to Evan, and her life back in 2008, with her old boss and the reassuring shiny glass and chrome of New Scotland Yard, not the oppressive concrete and monochrome colours of Fenchurch East. Her own Lexus, untainted by the smell of fags, whiskey and curry, her own flat with her old clothes, familiar suits and shirts and shoes that she knew the individual, expensive textures of by heart.
More than anything, she needed her little girl. If she closed her eyes, she could see the young girl, hair blowing around her in a dark-blonde cloud, blue eyes gazing at Alex trustingly as she left her, alone, once again, at the school gates. In the later years, she had not been the most attentive of mothers, choosing work over her increasingly independent and wilful daughter who reminded her stressed mother of the painful memories of her ex-husband.
For fifteen years, Alex Drake had been her job. For three of those she had been alone in her quest, without a man at her side, and she could take the solitude no more. Now, bullish, thug-like Hunt dominated her life with his aggressive policy of interrogation and forceful methods, demanding answers from London's finest scum, taking no notice of the sensitive nature of his Detective Inspector, herself a victim of violence in her younger years.
Every day, here in 1982, the same slog. Wake up, get dressed, go to work. Get drunk, go home, go to bed. What did she have to live for? She was still defined by her job, her colleagues her only friends in this world of confusion and mania, this strange dystopia. Outside of work, she had possibly Luigi the kindly barman, but he was brought to her through her job, just like every companion she had ever known. Police work was a constant, a rich vein of conversation, dissent, complaint, a topic at dinner parties with the otherwise employed. She could talk for hours about her work, and as she lay in her bed on the morning of the depression, she felt a pang of guilt for the relatives and acquaintances she had bored senseless with her case studies and psychological ramblings.
She didn't want to do this any more. The dull monotony of work, the garish world on the eighties, lurid colours that danced across your vision the more you drunk, spinning behind your eyes, bringing the nausea to the surface, more garish colours splashing across the dark black of the pavement.
She was thirty seven, far too old to be getting that drunk, much too respectable to be tumbling out of trattorias with her boss's eyes on her arse as she staggered up the stairs, almost falling over the slippery, dark pavement as she had the previous night. The hangover pounded at the back of her head, a constant nagging pain that threatened to heighten her depression the more she thought about it.
She stood and walked into the bathroom, knowing exactly where she would find the tools she needed to carry out the deed she had once contemplated in her teenage years – then dismissed as a far too attention-seeking, needlessly painful idea – and now knew with grim determination that she could carry out. The razor lay on the side of the bath and she lifted it between forefinger and thumb, examining the tiny water droplet that lay on the blade, bisecting the harsh steel with a convex silver curve.
Where would be best to start? Somewhere easily concealed, barely touched, that no-one would ever see needlessly. Somewhere low risk. She had seen enough cases to know the perfect place, and she rolled back her pyjama sleeve to expose the soft flesh of her inner elbow. A few soft hairs littered her pale skin, and she focused on those as she dug the blade downwards, pressing it into the flesh, feeling it bite and watching tiny beads of blood bubble to the surface, feeling the burning pain but staying focused on the hairs, slicing, slicing...
And there was a chunk of her skin on the silver, and the blood was trickling down her arm.
"Shit..." she whispered, reaching for a wad of toilet paper to stem the flow, dabbing it try and gritting her teeth at the pain. She sank to the floor, rolling her head back so that her neck rested on the cool enamel of the bathtub, closing her eyes and feeling the warmth of her own blood under her fingers. Raising her eyes to the glowing light bulb above her head, she felt released, and she knew that this was going to be her secret, her own way to deal with this feeling.
After that first time, it got easier and easier, and so her arm became a scarlet ladder, the cuts getting dangerously closer and closer to her wrist, until finally one day at work, a cuff fell back a little too far and before she could snatch it back, Gene was summoning her into his office.
"Guv..." she whispered, realising she had fallen into the situation every self-harmer falls into, when she would be asked to explain everything, when he would demand to know why she did it.
He walked around the desk towards her, slowly, deliberately, and gently took hold of her cuff, folding it back, back, back, until her scarlet-lined arm was exposed to him, the blood raw and darkly clotted against her pale skin, the deep scarlet clashing with her silken pink blouse. He placed a single hot finger on one of the cuts, feeling the jagged line on it under his aged digit.
"Bolly... what have you done to yerself?" He whispered, his tone raw with emotion, and she snatched her arm back, turning away from him, the tears leaking from her eyes reflexively.
"It's nothing..." She muttered, slamming out of his office, tugging at her sleeve as she went, not bothering to disguise her tears. She knew where she would go, what waited for her, and the relief it would bring her, the release she needed from her pain.
But as she sat in the flat, her hand trembled just a little too much, her eyes fogged with tears that she knew could never be explained coherently until she had done this.
She loved him, and now he knew her shameful secret he would never want to be with a person so unhinged, so insane.
She dipped the blade to her wrist, feeling it bite, gritting her teeth.
No. This felt wrong. She looked down at the bright blood pulsing from her wrist and she knew then what she had done, indirectly, accidentally. She knew she couldn't let him think that she wanted this, so she crawled into the bathroom, feeling her strength ebbing, and scrawled a message onto the floor in the only medium she had to hand – her own blood. Her eyes closed as she finished the last word, and she collapsed onto the cool tiles, knowing this was it, her time had come.
Gene found her an hour later, lying in a pool of sticky scarlet, the message by her head telling him something he found difficult to believe.
"Accident. I love you."
The first part – a lie.
The second part could surely not be true, for she could not feel the same way as he did. She could not love him the way he loved her, but just to be safe, he knelt beside her, taking her perfect head in his lap and crying for the life they could never have. He whispered the words:
"I love you too, Bollykecks. I'm sorry."