Title: Llais Soniarus
Fandom: Ashes to Ashes
Summary: Written for the OMG Challenge. Gene is acting strangely. Can Alex discover what it is he's hiding?
Disclaimer: I don't own Ashes to Ashes. If I did, we'd have had a different ending! The franchise and its characters belong to Kudos and BBC and I am not making any money from writing this.
A/N: So this is my first contribution to the OMG challenge. (I say first, cos I may have another in the pipeline.) It is supposed to be taken slightly tongue in cheek, because I know it's a very unlikely concept. However, I was struck by this idea, whilst out on Sunday and this is the end product. It's completely unbeta'd so all mistakes are my own.
The title is Welsh (or at least Google translate tells me it is, apologies if it's not.) If you speak Welsh it is very likely you will be able to work out, or at least have an idea of the plot. If you don't speak Welsh, I would recommend that you don't try to find out what it means as it may very well spoil the surprise.
Where was he? Alex was getting a little bit fed up with this now. This was the third night this week Gene had been absent from their after-work drinks in Luigi's and she wasn't happy about it. Not only did she, as highest ranking officer in his absence, have to buy drinks for everyone as had become the rule, but she was also stuck with Ray and Chris for company. There was only so many times you could watch a pair of grown men try to set their fingers on fire and Alex had reached her limit about two hours ago.
Gene really had been acting strangely over the past couple of weeks. He was distracted at work, which was completely out of character for him, and he was spending less and less time with the team after work. She had also found him whistling happily to himself in various situations; in the Quattro, while making himself a cup of tea, even on his way to interviewing a known drug dealer who he subsequently beaten up.
"Maybe he's got a woman," Chris had suggested earlier that evening, when Alex had voiced her concerns to him and Ray. Alex had tried to ignore the pang of jealousy in her stomach at the thought of Gene seeing someone; he was a free agent after all.
"More fool him if he has," was Ray's only remark, before returning his attention to his lighter. Alex sometimes wondered if he was suffering with pyromania; he was always trying to set things alight. There was no doubt Gene was hiding something, and Alex was determined to find out what it was.
Alex had her first opportunity to delve into Gene's activities the next morning when they were called out to a robbery in the high street. One of the eye witnesses seemed to know Gene and she was eager to tell him everything she had seen. She was an older woman, Alex guessed in her sixties.
Upon realising who the witness was, Gene had tensed as if he didn't want anyone to know that he was familiar with this person. Alex tried to get her alone to ask her about her relationship to Gene but he didn't leave them for even ten seconds. Their questions asked, Gene had dispatched Alex to talk to the security guard while he sent the woman on her merry way.
"You will keep me posted about what happens won't you Gene?" the woman asked as she was leaving, Alex straining to hear what was being said over the monotone sound of the guard speaking to her.
"O' course I will Mary," Gene assured her.
"Good. If you need anything else, you know where to find me."
"That I do."
"Right, well I'll be off then, but we'll see you tonight?" At the mention of the nights activities, Alex swore she saw Gene blush as he looked around to see if anyone had heard. He didn't notice Alex listening in, as she was feigning attention to the guard.
"I'll be there," he whispered hastily. "But listen, can yer not mention it around this lot; 'aven't told 'em yer see. "
"Don't worry Gene," she replied, tapping her finger against the side of her nose, "your secret is safe with me. See you at seven, don't be late."
As it neared 6.15, Alex noticed Gene get up to leave, heading for his coat rack; time to put her plan into action. Rising, she approached his office and knocked sharply on the door. He answered with one arm in his black coat, looking at her expectantly.
"You busy Guv? I've just got something I want you to look at," she said with an innocent smile.
"Can't it wait, Bolly?" he asked looking at his watch.
"I suppose it will keep until tomorrow. Going anywhere nice?"
"Not really. Meetin' up with some mates to watch the match." Alex didn't believe him for a second; the woman at the crime scene that morning hadn't looked like the type who enjoyed football.
"Well in that case, I'd say this is more important."
"Sorry Bolls, no can do. Promised I wouldn't be late. Whatever it is, we'll look at it first thing in the mornin'." Alex watched Gene leave and quickly made a decision. Once he left the office, she grabbed her trademark white jacket and made her way out after him.
She borrowed a pool car from the station and followed Gene, keeping a safe distance, until he arrived at his destination; a community centre on the edge of Fenchurch. Several other men arrived at the same time and they greeted Gene jovially. He smiled and laughed with them, which was a side to Gene that Alex didn't think she had seen before; he was certainly never that relaxed with Ray and Chris.
Once everyone had gone inside she left the car and went to investigate further. She looked through the windows but couldn't see anything; her view blocked by curtains. She thought she could hear music but she couldn't be sure. Just as she was debating opening the door and trying to get a better view that way she heard someone clear their throat behind her. She whipped round to see an older gentleman eyeing her curiously.
"Can I help you?" he asked. Instinctively she reached for her warrant card but then realised that, with Gene inside that might not be a wise move.
"Sorry. I was just er...wondering what was going on here tonight."
"Ah well, a mere description from me wouldn't even begin to do it justice," the man replied, a glint in his eye. "You'll have to come down to the Civic Hall on Friday and see for yourself. Starts at eight." With that he turned and entered the centre leaving Alex more confused than ever.
She tried to talk to Gene about it the next day but the opportunity never really presented itself; they were bogged down with cases all day. He did however join them in Luigi's that night and they sat at their usual table sharing several bottles of 'house rubbish'.
"Nice of you to join us this evening," she commented as he returned from the bar with yet another bottle of wine.
"What d'yer mean?"
"What I mean is that you've not been in here since last Sunday! I have had to pay for a round of drinks every night for this lot. You owe me."
"Not every night."
"What?" she asked, confused.
"Yer've not been in here every night," he clarified. Alex paled, did he know she'd followed him? Had the old man said something? "I 'eard Ray moaning that 'e'd 'ad to buy the drinks last night because you weren't 'ere either." Alex breathed a small sigh of relief, he didn't know. "So where were yer?"
"Oh, I had a headache," she lied. "Went straight home. But that doesn't change things; you jusy owe me for three nights instead of four."
"You should 'ave 'ad Luigi put it on my tab," he told her.
"Oh, that tab that never gets paid? No, my conscience couldn't handle that." She held her hand out, "£12.75."
"'Ow much?" he balked. "Bloody 'ell, what were they drinkin'? The Queen's piss?"
"Just pay up Guv." Gene opened his wallet and showed Alex it's emptiness,
"I ain't got it at the mo, can I sort it with yer on Monday?"
"I suppose; it's not as if you're going to do a runner is it?" Alex took a sip of her drink. "Got any plans for the weekend?" she asked, hoping it would prompt him to talk about whatever it was he as doing Saturday night.
"Not much. Might give the Quattro a wash, watch the footie." Alex was beginning to get angry now; what was he up to that he couldn't, wouldn't tell her about? She thought they were friends, maybe even on their way to becoming something more. She made a decision to call him on it but then Ray called over from the main CID table.
"Here Guv, come and watch this. Chris reckons he's finally mastered setting fire to his finger without it hurting!" Gene got up from the table to watch, and after Chris failed miraculously in his attempt, the night descended into drunken madness and Alex didn't get the chance to be alone with him again. Oh well, at least she didn't have long to wait to discover his secret.
Gene is acting strangely. Can Alex discover what it is he's hiding?