This begins after the end of Series 1, but before the beginning of series 2 and is mostly AU- I own nothing of Ashes to Ashes.
Last time I looked.
'Where are you going?' he barked.
'None of your business' she replied crisply.
Gene looked at the clock and was amazed to find it was almost eight in the evening. He did a quick calculation in his head, George 'Hutch' Hutchinson had been held for around ten minutes over the maximum amount of time, he'd have to ring through to the night sergeant and tell him to let the little scrote go, he grabbed the phone but kept watching Alex as she fiddled around at her desk, tidying things as she always did just before leaving.
She was still there as he ended the call, applying lipstick.
'So, what is it tonight?' he called to her, 'Bingo? Fenchurch Debating Society? Basket Weaving? Volunteering at the Soup Kitchen?'
'None of the above.' she said, ambling to the door of his office. 'Anyway, let me take a guess at your thrilling plans for the evening. A hazardous curry before falling asleep in front of High Noon or High Plains Drifter? Or maybe a vat or two of wine in Luigi's?'
'You saying I'm predictable?' Gene polished the side of one of his boots on the carpet tile.
'You stick me in a box I'll do the same to you' Alex replied. 'You know nothing about the real me, whereas I know more or less everything about you.'
Gene's eyes darkened and he pouted momentarily before shrugging, 'Carry on thinking that love, suits me fine.'
'Don't call me love.' she said.
'Ok sweetheart' he watched her face for the reaction he knew was coming, saw the expected haughty look appear, and grinned, 'Oh hang on, it's been a few months, maybe it's your picking up an unsuitable man and shagging his brains out night.'
'Whatever Gene.' she turned away from him, 'Night.'
As he watched her cross the incident room he wondered why he did it to himself, and to her, come to that. He wondered who the real Alex Drake was. She was beautiful and clever, he had to give her that, but she also had a terrible vulnerability and numerous chinks in her armour, not to mention an unfathomable lack of self confidence that confused him, made her so hard for him to deal with. He'd hurt her just now, talking about the unsuitable man shagging thing, he'd seen it in her face. If only she could be a hard faced cow all of the time he'd find it so much easier. All those times when she was quiet and almost tearful and miles away, when he long to grab her and comfort her, but he never did. For all he knew she did run to someone for comfort, but he tried hard not to think about it because he couldn't bear the thought of her with a man, any man. He knew that in that situation killing would come easily. It exhausted him keeping things casual and light, such hard work keeping a lid on his feelings.
Alex was heading to Luigi's through the miserable drizzly November evening, wondering if transfers were implemented the same way in this world. She couldn't work with him any longer, couldn't stand the way he seemed to perform a strip search on her soul every time he looked at her. She was about to enter the trattoria when something stopped her. Maybe he was right, maybe it was unsuitable man shagging night after all. Nothing had changed since she had failed to save her parents from being blown to kingdom come. She had no more control than she did then. She was helpless, scared and alone. Maybe the worst thing about this world was the way she was no longer honest with herself. And how desperate was she that the only person who could make things better was a completely out of date relic with dirty blonde hair and eyes the colour of a stormy sea? Yet she'd never in a million years tell him that. She would never give him so much power. He was way too powerful already. She doubled back out of the entrance to Luigi's and saw someone move in the shadows. Was it Gene? Could he be following her? She waited for a minute or two but he didn't appear. Nobody appeared. Yet she was certain there had been someone. She pulled the collar of her white leather jacket higher around her neck and shivered before walking back to Fenchurch East, vigilant, expecting him to come skulking out of a side alley. Back at the station the Quattro was parked in its usual spot. Gene came out of the double doors with WPC Melanie Carson, who was giggling and peering up at him with what looked like adoration. They got in the car as if this was a regular occurrence .Alex stepped out of sight as the Quattro zoomed out of the car park.
'Hmm' she shook her head, maybe she didn't know quite everything about her impossible DCI after all. As she walked back the way she had come she realised her face was set in a pout.
Why was he taking a plonk home? When she reached Luigi's she relented and went in for one drink before going up to the flat.
'Ok Ma'am?' Shaz giggled from the table where her calf was casually resting on Chris's thigh.
Alex nodded, 'Fine thanks.' she sipped the wine and stared moodily at the mural, before scanning Luigi's for an unsuitable man to shag. There didn't seem to be a lot of choice. She knew things had to be pretty dire when she realised that Luigi himself was top of the list.
An hour later she was still there, and finding hard to pour the wine from jug to glass with a steady hand. Shaz's giggles and shrieks were becoming irritating yet somehow she couldn't be bothered to move from the bar stool.
Gene entered the trattoria and smirked before heading to Ray and holding out his hand, Ray scowled and handed over a crumpled tenner. 'Knew I was on a loser. Why do I do it?'
'Never mind Raymondo, one day you might strike lucky eh?' Gene commiserated.
'Yeah, and what's the betting you won't have any cash when the time comes.' Ray grumbled, giving Alex a dirty look.
'You want a bet on that too?' Gene asked.
'Maybe not Guv eh?' Ray said, lighting a cigarette, 'just take your money while you can, suppose there's no chance of you buying me a drink out of it?'
'No chance at all' agreed Gene happily, striding to the bar and standing a foot or two away from Alex. 'Luigi!, Dying of thirst here.'
'It take 3 days to die from thirst' Luigi tutted as he pushed a large scotch at Gene.
'Yeah? Well it feels like I've been stood here three days.' Gene replied, he turned to Alex, 'DI Drake, fancy seeing you here, drink?'
'No thank you.' Alex said, not looking at him.
'Aw come on!' Gene said, 'The reason I have this extra little windfall is down to you, you may as well reap the benefit.'
'God you're immature.' Alex muttered, still not looking at him. 'playground stuff.'
'Sorry' Gene shrugged, 'But I guess I've just proved you are as predictable as I am.' he lit a cigarette.
Alex flapped at the smoke but still wouldn't look at him, 'No, all you've proved is that Ray is an easy target on a safe bet. It's not rocket science is it? I live above, so it's entirely plausible that I would stop off here for a quick drink before retiring for the evening. The thing is with you is that you never….' she turned to look at him as she finished the sentence and was incensed to find she was talking to herself, Gene had joined Ray, Chris and Shaz at their table. They all sat there laughing at her as she pontificated to thin air.
A tall man with dark hair was handing his dripping raincoat to Luigi, who was buzzing around him with menus as though the man was the Lord Mayor of London. Luigi ushered him to a table and handed him the menus, nodding dementedly.
The man gave the wine list a cursory glance and ordered speedily before opening the food menu.
Luigi rushed behind the bar and took a bottle of Soave from the fridge.
The dark haired man looked up from the menu and surveyed Alex, who smiled rather drunkenly at him. The man appeared to look right through her.
'Who is that?' she asked Luigi as he scooped ice into an ice bucket.
'Dunno' Luigi crashed the bottle of Soave among the ice, 'He rich though, Savile Row, Rolex .'
'Maybe one more jug of wine?' Alex asked, but Luigi had bustled off to look after Mr Soave. 'Sod it' she said, sliding her feet from the bar stool rung to the floor, she took a few swaying steps across Luigi's, pausing as she reached the table where Gene was holding court, 'Goodnight….' she struggled for a suitable one size fits all insult, 'constructs.'
'Careful Bolls.' he pretended concern.
'I'm always careful.' Alex huffed, knocking over a chair.
Gene was on his feet immediately, he picked up the chair and asked it if it was ok, 'It's fine sweet heart.' he told Alex, 'but says just be more gentle with it next time.'
'Piss off' Alex muttered, trying to exit with dignity , the sound of their mirth ringing in her ears.
As soon as Alex had gone Gene stood up to go too. He was disappointed she hadn't stayed longer. Had even been working his way up to suggesting they went somewhere other than Luigi's for a bite to eat. But then she was right, he was immature around her. She tolerated him at work all day, there was absolutely no reason for her to have to socialise with him at night. He passed Mr Soave, who was piling fluffy pink taramasalata onto melba toast, and gave him a filthy look. Alex had smiled at him, ok, Mr Soave hadn't smiled back as far as Gene could tell, but he gave him the look just in case he was thinking about it if he ever saw Alex again. What a tosser with his perfect hair and watery green eyes, just her type, Gene imagined. He was relieved that Mr Soave hadn't taken the bait. Things could have turned out very messy all round. A vivid image of Mr Soave with taramasalata sliding down his face went through Gene's mind.
'Was that Alex Drake?' Mr Soave called out as Gene took a couple more steps.
Gene turned and glared at him, 'Who are you?'
Mr Soave carefully pushed his half eaten starter away before replying calmly, 'I was a friend of her mother's.'
'And why are you here?' Gene didn't bother to hide his hostility.
'Just keeping an eye on things.' Mr Soave said, as Luigi zoomed in to remove the abandoned taramasalata.
Gene pulled out a spare chair and sat down without being invited. It was Mr Soave's turn to look hostile.
'I'm trying to enjoy my supper.' he said.
'You're eating in the wrong establishment then.' Gene advised. 'So, what did you say your name was?'
'I didn't' the man looked irritated.
'You called out to me.' Gene said, 'Opened the conversation; you got me all interested and now you clam up quicker than a prossie with a financially embarrassed punter. Who are you and why are you stalking DI Drake?'
Luigi appeared with a plate of steaming meatballs and gave Gene a warning look which Gene completely ignored.
'Those look hot.' he remarked, 'Could do a lot of damage.'
'Are you threatening me?' Mr Soave showed the very first sign of being less than confident.
'Just tell me who you are and I'll leave your balls untouched.' Gene said nicely.
Mr Soave sighed, 'My name is William Braxton, as I said, I was a friend of Caroline's….' he stopped and his hand went to his mouth as he realised he shouldn't have let slip Alex's mother's name.
It took Gene a second or two to cotton on, he frowned, pouted and splashed some Soave into a spare glass, 'Caroline? Caroline Price?'
William shook his head frantically, 'No, no, another Caroline'
'DI Drake's been ramming psychiatry down my throat for the past few months and I've been picking up a few tips.' Gene said, 'enough to know when someone's telling porkies- those meatballs don't seem to be cooling off much do they? And that sauce is very sticky, it adheres well- shit to a blanket.' his hand strayed to the dish of pasta and he sized up William's lap.
'It's complicated, too involved for you.' protested William, mentally kicking himself black and blue.
'You underestimate me.' Gene fixed his steely gaze on William, 'I may not appear to be the brightest button in the firmament, but I know my nine times table, and I almost passed the Eleven Plus, so tell me- how was Caroline Price Alex Drake's mother?'