Fandom: Life on Mars / Ashes to Ashes
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters or their universe. BBC/Kudos do. I’m not making any money out of this.
Rating: Blue Cortina for a little language and non-graphic sex
Pairing: Past Gene/Jackie; possible past Sam/Gene; NO GENE/ALEX
Word Count: 1800 approx
Summary: Big spoilery thing for A2A 2.04
A/N: I wrote this fic after Ashes to Ashes 2.01, and at the time I put in the notes “Now with new, improved, series two Alex Drake.” With 2.02 we saw a return to the yearning looks and meaningful silences, but for the purposes of this story I’m sticking with 2.01 Alex rather than 2.02 - Matt and Ash may know how to put together a story arc, but they don’t exactly have form on creating convincing and consistent character arcs across a series. Finally, I do know I haven’t got much of a grip on Alex’s inner voice, but I’ve been wanting to incorporate her enigmatic comment to Gene (“Someone fell in love with you once”) into a fic ever since she said it, and this situation seemed a good vehicle. Posting in a hurry because it will no doubt be jossed in just a few hours!
“I’m looking for DCI Hunt.”
Alex turned away from her report-writing briefly as the woman walked into the office. Educated Scottish accent; clean, clear enunciation. Not unattractive, all told, although the hairdresser clearly hadn’t done her any favours. She moved to get up but was beaten to it by Ray, of all people. It wasn’t like him to...
“Jackie Queen, as I live and breathe!”
Alex stared in surprise as Ray moved forward to greet her. This was Jackie Queen?
Alex looked the woman up and down with more interest: not exactly what she’d expected, but then again, Sam hadn’t really said that much about her. Just that she was the senior reporter on the Gazette, a hard but intelligent woman, and apparently had some kind of history with Gene. Sexual, had been the implication.
And now here she was, looking - six, seven months gone? And wearing something that from Sam’s description looked remarkably like Gene’s famous camel coat.
That coat and its warmth had featured in Sam’s coma-ramblings too often for Alex not to recognise it now; more often than he had probably realised. His notes were full of how he had felt so much more in 1973, and one of the things he had plainly felt on more than one occasion was Gene’s coat. In fact, the colour and texture of that coat were so much a part of the way Sam had remembered Gene, that Alex had been pleasantly surprised to find him wearing something slightly more stylish on her own arrival in his world.
Well, now she knew why; he’d apparently given the old one to Ms Queen. On a par with giving his suit to that poor unfortunate last year? Or a more mundane or even intimate connection? Ray was still standing gawping like a fool, so Alex belatedly stood up and walked towards the tired-looking blonde, hand held out.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms Queen. I’m Alex Drake, Gene’s DI.”
Before the woman could answer, Gene’s door opened; they both turned to face him as he stepped forward.
“Ms Queen! To what do we owe this... Ah.” He ground out his cigarette and fanned the smoke away. “Decided to join the human race, I see. Or is that an Alsatian you’re brewing in there? Would suit your style, that.”
“Shut up, Gene.” Jackie faced him coolly.
“Well, that’s nice. Just trying to make polite conversation with an old acquaintance, Jackie. And that’s my coat.”
“You left it in my flat, Gene. Oh, come to think of it, that’s not all you left behind.” She took the coat off, stroking the bump defiantly. A gasp ran round the room, with a muttered “Bloody hell” from Ray. Alex shot a glance at Gene. Jackie was still talking to him alone, ignoring the circle of agog faces.
“I’d hope that carrying your baby makes me more than just an acquaintance, Gene.”
“Mine? Don’t think so, love. You told me you were on the Pill. Go and find some other bloke to fit up.”
He turned away dismissively, back into his office. Jackie walked slowly after him, still talking.
“I was on the Pill. I don’t lie, Gene. I was ill, if you remember - that curry place you insisted on going to in Rusholme. The Pill doesn’t work, apparently, if you throw up; not that they tell you that, oh no, we can’t have doctors sharing important information about their own bodies with women, can we?”
“Oh, here we go, Women’s Lib; change the bloody record, woman.” Gene held his office door open as Jackie walked past him, one hand protectively around her abdomen. Alex followed, turning a warning look on the rest of the team as Gene shut the door.
“OK, Jackie. Supposing for one dramatic moment that it is mine - and I’m not saying I accept that - what are you here for? Bit late to be asking for money for the abortion, isn’t it? What is it, six months?”
“More like seven, Gene. Thirty-one weeks, and believe me I’ve counted them. Thirty-one weeks of being sick, and swollen ankles...”
“They look sharp enough to me.”
“...and heartburn, while you, Gene, have been running around London enjoying yourself. You told me there was nothing here for you.” She glanced briefly at Alex. “You said you’d be back at weekends once in a while. I waited for you, Gene. Stupid, I know. I should have guessed - the leopard doesn’t change his spots.”
“Yeah, well, I’ve been a bit busy, Jackie! Not exactly a nine to five job, this, you know - you don’t get weekends off just ‘cos some poxy reporter phones up from Manchester saying she’s got information!! Anyway, I’m surprised you even remember, the state you were in. Wasn’t just the curry had you puking up, was it?”
“Oh, I remember, Gene, believe me. Better than you do, it seems.” Jackie stepped forward until her bump was almost touching Gene. He put his hands up defensively and moved back a foot. Jackie turned towards Alex for a moment.
“Mr Hunt here likes to play the big man, don’t you, Gene?”
She turned back to Gene, moving closer again. This time he stayed still, glaring at her but not speaking.
“But you weren’t much of a man when you were in my bed, were you? Whose name did you shout as you pumped your filthy seed into me, you bastard?”
Now, for the first time, Gene looked uncomfortable. He seemed about to speak, but Jackie over-rode him.
“Oh, so you do remember.”
Jackie turned to Alex, her face vindictive.
“Your precious DCI is a pervert, did you know that? Drunk as a lord, in my bed, he swore his undying love - to Sam bloody Tyler!”
Jesus. Alex bit her lip and concentrated on keeping a straight face.
“The big hero Gene Genie can only get it up for a woman if he pretends she’s DI Tyler!”
“Not much bloody difference in your case, you bony cow!” Gene exploded. “Right, that’s enough, go on, hop it! We’ll discuss this later, in private. Alex doesn’t need to hear this. And nor do the rest of the team, do I make myself clear, DI Drake?” He gave her a look full of foreboding, narrowing his eyes at her as she stood her ground.
“Perfectly. Although actually, I think it’s rather sweet,” Alex said, calmly.
They both turned to stare at her. She smiled at Gene; the poor man did look very uncomfortable, as indeed he should.
“I mean, that you cared enough about Sam to think of him at such a moment.” Speaking fast before they could interrupt, she continued. “Granted, it’s not exactly tactful, and speaking as a woman I completely empathise with Ms Queen’s very understandable feelings of aggrievement and betrayal, but still, it’s - sweet.”
“Sweet, you call it? I don’t know what sort of...”
Alex cut her off. “And it completes the circle, which - regardless of whether this is all in my head, or Sam’s, or even yours, Gene - is actually rather satisfying.” She smiled at him encouragingly.
“What are you on about, Drake? Excuse my DI, Jackie, she has no firmer grasp on reality sometimes than Tyler did.”
“Simply this, Gene. You might remember, I told you a long time ago that someone fell in love with you once; I thought it was odd you didn’t ask how I knew. Now, obviously I can’t speak for Ms Queen’s feelings...”
“Me? He wasn’t even any good!”
“...but I happen to know that Sam loved you very much indeed.”
Gene’s face was a picture. For the first time, Alex understood why Sam had complained constantly about not having his mobile in 1973. She’d have given a lot to have her digital camera here to capture the flow of bewildered emotions across the normally carefully-controlled face. Pride, disbelief, joy, desolation: it was clear that whatever he’d felt for Sam, he had no idea of just how important he had been in that displaced man’s life.
Jackie interrupted the moment. “Look, I didn’t come all the way to London to listen to you two talking about Gene’s disgusting habits - love, indeed! For another man! I came to tell you this is your baby, Gene. And I want to know what you are going to do about it.”
There was a moment’s silence. Alex could see that Gene was still reeling from her own revelation, so she spoke directly to Jackie, giving a moment to collect himself.
“I’m sure that DCI Hunt will do the right thing, Ms Queen. Whatever your personal opinion of his relationship with DI Tyler - in whichever form that relationship may have taken - Gene is an honourable man, and I feel sure that...”
“Yes, thank you, DI Drake, I know my responsibilities!” He turned to Jackie and spoke more quietly. “Look, we’ll come to some arrangement, OK? I always... well, if you’ll let me see him - or her - I’d like that. A lot.”
Alex watched him standing in front of Jackie Queen, his usual arrogant stance softened by what looked almost like entreaty, whilst mingled with the shock she could see the beginnings of pride and resolution. He’d step up to his responsibilities, she had no doubt about that; Gene Hunt had the most finely-developed sense of personal honour that she had ever come across. And he’d be a good father, too - his whole life had been dedicated to protecting the weak and fighting those who threatened them.
She almost wished she could stay, to see this new development play out over the years to come, but perhaps this situation would help provide the distancing she clearly needed, to break away from Gene’s thrall and return to Molly.
But in the meantime, she was looking forward to using Jackie’s revelation to get Gene talking about Sam properly. She guessed that he had never been able to tell anyone about his feelings for another man, and she found herself wondering exactly what had happened between them after Sam’s return.
Had they got together after Sam’s return? Had they both allowed themselves that one dangerous step? She looked at Gene briefly, talking intently to Jackie. She wasn’t sure she would ever know, but she hoped so. DCI Tyler had never admitted as much, but it had been as clear as the pen in his hand: whether he understood it himself or not, DCI Tyler had loved Gene Hunt with all his heart.
“Oh. Um, sorry, Gene. Ms Queen. I’ll leave you two alone to, um, discuss matters, then, shall I? Pleased to meet you, Ms Queen.”
She walked out of the office, mind spinning. As she sat down, her attention was caught by the desk calendar.
Forgetting her half-finished report, she started to count back the weeks.
~ ~ ~