Thursday, 21 July 2011

CH 36 Back for Good (FINAL chapter)

Silence.

Stillness.

Quietness and calm, all around.

Gene Hunt came out of the darkness, and opened his eyes.

Ouch! By God, that hurt. He closed them again.

Sinking back into the pitch blackness he felt a pain somewhere inside his body, where he couldn’t be certain. His legs felt numb. He pinched himself, gently at first, then harder. Ouch! That did bloody hurt.

Raising his head he tried to open his eyes again, like a baby emerging from its mothers womb, or somebody awakening from a deep coma, he struggled, his eyes hurting against the bright, bright lights that glared down upon him.

So this was it?

Heaven?

Or Hell?

Or was it?

He could hear a clock ticking nearby. Tick-tock, tick-tock. Christ it was loud. He thought he could hear voices too. He glanced at the fluorescent strip above him. Jesus, he hoped to God he wasn’t in a bloody coma. He couldn’t cope. He rested his head on his hands, rubbing his eyes. What year was it now? 1952? 1973? 1981? Or some other year he had drifted into?

He thought he heard footsteps. Getting closer.

Instinctly his hand went to feel for his gun in his coat pocket and as it did so his elbow caught something and he knocked an empty bottle of scotch whiskey onto the tile floor. It didn’t smash but it made an almighty clatter. He bent to pick it up . Don’t say he had just got completely bladdered and had the dream or rather nightmare from hell? Had it all been real, Father Daniel who had befriended him to make him save the lost souls of his team, and who turn had been his own murderer back at that isolated farmhouse in 1952. A life for a life. And Maggie, Mary, Sister Magdalene who all morphed into one, and whose soul Alex Drake had picked so she could save his soul. Alex. How clever to pick the flame haired Maggie, knowing Gene wouldn’t have been able to resist her charms. So who had he made love to back at the Black Cat club, Maggie, or Alex? When Maggie had explained she had wanted to be a nun he had laughed. To get her away from the prostitution and drugs racket. She said one night, she had had a vocation. Only she never got to take her vows due to being brutually murdered and her body being discovered in a make-shift grave in Southern Cemetry. He remembered the woman in the car who had taken him to the police HQ when he had first come back to Manchester. He was certain that had been Maggie too, he remembered her apprehension when they drove down the Parkway past the cemetery. And that little Womble kid, the young Maggie. Yes. Now it all made sense. His killer had come back to gain his own redemption and set Gene free too and Alex Drake had saved his soul, and that’s why she was always out of reach and he had never quite gotten hold of her. So what happened now?

He was absent-mindedly fingering the whisky bottle wishing it was still half full, despite his blinding headache when he was startled by a door opening.

He opened his eyes wide and looked up.

Welcome back, Guv. Heavy night was it?”

Ray Carling grinned. It was Ray Carling, although he looked a little older, a little balder, and a little fatter. The 80s perm thing he had going on had certainly disappeared but all the same it was Raymondo.

Gene looked confused.

He rubbed his hand across his face.

“Am I dreaming Ray?”

“I wish we bloody were, Guv. There’s something kicking off big-style, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about… Chris said if…”

“Chris? Skelton? He’s here?”

Gene stood up, dusting down his coat. His legs were still a little numb, and trembling. He put a hand out on to the desk, his desk he noticed, to steady himself. He was in an office. His old office.

“Chris, here, come and tell the Guv what’s going on, you know more than me.”

Gene stood at the doorway trying to take it all in. It was way too much. Bewildered he looked around. As he started to walk into the room, people started to clap, slowly at first but as he got into the throng of them the applause got louder and louder. He looked around at the sea of faces, very familiar faces, some he hadn’t seen for quite some time. Sure enough, there, large as life, stood Viv, who shook his hand. Standing next to Viv was Skelton, who like Ray and Viv had aged. Gone was the puffy hair too, and it seemed darker in colour, and the Plonk, Grainger, who leaned over to kiss him.

“Nice to see you Guv”.

Gene caught a waft of her perfume. Something quite light. She too looked older, she had a few lines here and there around her eyes, and her hair was longer. She was no longer wearing a copper’s uniform either.

Yet there was one face missing. His heart skipped a beat.

He fumbled in his pocket remembering the last time he had been in this office, although he was sure where he was, Manchester or Fenchurch.

“It’s wherever you want us to be Guv”. Chris Skelton said, patting Gene on the back “It doesn’t matter any more as long as we are together”.

“I think maybe Fenchurch then, am sick of the bloody sight of Manchester”.

They all laughed.

“Here” Gene went across to Chris who was standing with his arm around Shaz. He handed the ring he had taken from Skelton’s desk before his latest time travelling experience. Chris took it from him and placed it on Shaz’s wedding finger.

“It’s a sign of commitment. It’s what I expect from you all, and it’s my commitment to my team.” Gene said.

He walked around the desk to where Carling was taking a phone call and writing something down. Once he put the receiver down, Gene pressed something into his hand.

“Ha, nice one Guv. Did you get any action then?” It was the card from the Black Cat club, with the phone number on the back.

“There was a girl there I once copped off with, huge knockers like this” Raymond held his hands out in front of his chest.

“Oh I’ve had plenty of bloody action alright, Raymondo, enough to last me a lifetime. You wouldn’t believe. But thanks for that. It gave me something to believe in. I don’t know why. Maybe it was luck, you know, black cats and all, but it certainly put me on the right road to follow, even when times were tough and I was about to give up. They say a cat has nine lives, well so does the Gene Genie!”

“Anytime Guv”. Ray replied, sheepishly glad to see Gene.

“We have missed you, Guv” Shaz said, tears welling up in her eyes.

Gene was in danger of getting over emotional himself, especially as there was still one person he needed to see, and now he was beginning to doubt that he ever would.

He felt the crucifix and st. Christopher in his pocket. They had become untwined. For ages the chains had been twisted up and knotted and he had had little time or inclination to unravel them himself. Was it a sign?

He felt a lump in his throat but no way was the Gene Genie going to break down in tears especially in front of this lot.

He got a grip.

“Right you lot! Thanks for the welcome but as you can see, the Gene Genie is back and here to stay. And the first thing you lot need to do is get this place spick and span in shipshape and ready to roll. It’s a bleeding shithole, who’s been in charge whilst I have been away? Carling? “

They all stared at Gene as he went into a rant, as footsteps appeared down the hall.

“ Whoever it is is a complete arsehole …and couldn’t run a piss-up in a brewery…”

At that moment the door swung open. Gene had his back to it yet swung round in shock as he heard a voice say,

“Actually it was me. I am in charge”.

Standing there in all her Bollyknickers glory was Alex Drake. A little older too, hair a little longer and without those god-damn awful shoulder pads and beads. She still looked like Miss Bleeding Prim though he noticed as she was wearing something floral which would have looked more at home at the Tatton Park Flower Show, her string of pearls swinging.

Gene was actually speechless.

Alex.

Alex.

Bloody Bollyknickers.

She was here.

After all this time, all the searching, aching, wanting….she was bloody standing right in front of him.

He reached out to touch her, on the breast, as he had done so many times before, giving her a quick squeeze.

She moved his hand away instantly.

“Don’t touch what you can’t afford! “

Gene laughed. Oh it was Bloody Drake alright. She had all the come on off a tart yet was like Miss Jean Brodie. Well that would soon change, he would sort her out once and for all. Bloody typical re-action.

His heart lept inside him and he thought he would explode. He didn’t care if it was real, or not. All that mattered is that they were there, all of them, his team, together.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out the cross and chain and dangled it in front her.

She took it from him, her fingers brushing against his, whilst everybody around stood in silence , watching. Yet it was as though they were the only two in the room, in the world.

She closed her fingers around the crucifix and he crushed his hand over hers.

“That’s for keeping the faith, Drakey. I always knew one day. One day we would be back together. You gave me hope, and the strength to carry on. I never gave up.”

There was a tender moment. Alex reached up and brushed her fingers against his face.

The she suddenly turned towards her old desk and the spell was broken.

“Right, Guv, I have something for you too”.

There were cries of “oooh”, and Carling’s dirty laugh echoed the station.

Gene smirked “Is this a gun in my pocket or am I pleased to see you! About bloody time”.

His eyes narrowed as she dangled a set of keys in front of him. What else could they be for, but the bloody Quattro., come back to life.

“Come on follow me, I have something to show you”.

“Now there’s an offer I can’t refuse” Gene rubbed his hands and just as they were leaving Skelton handed him a piece of paper.

“Guv, this is the job that’s kicking off up Tottenham Court road. We got a tip off we need to go.”

“No worries Skelton, but it can wait. There’s urgent needs to attend to…”

“Pub?” said Carling

“Pub sounds fine to me Raymondo. We can go into the Railway Arms as many bleeding times as we like and it don’t bloody matter”.

“Yeah and Luigi’s got a nice place. Not quite the same, does a lot of fries and southern fried chicken but its not bad and makes a change from a vindaloo or kebab after a bender”.

Gene, Ray, Chris and Shaz all followed as DCI Alex Drake led the way.

“Bleeding Hell” Gene remarked.

“It’s all yours, Guv. Sorry about the Quattro. Can’t get the parts. Will this do?

“I’ll say this will bloody do very nicely Drakey”.

Gene stared in amazement at the shiny new top of the range Mercedes.

He whistled at the sexy silver machine.

“Wow!”

“Wow indeed! Said Alex “Mind you, it’s only a little one”

“It’s not the size but how you use it that matters, Drake, as you’ll find out later.”

“Shall we take it for a spin?” Chris suggested.

“Right. Fire up the Merc, Raymondo”.

“hmm., it doesn’t have quite the same ring though, does it as Fire up the Quattro” . Typical Alex had to dampen the moment, however Gene soon forgave her as she slinked in beside him into the passenger seat, her flowery dress riding up to reveal her long legs, and those bloody red shoes. Some things never changed.

“I’ve always wanted a ride in one of these” Alex said nonchalantly.

“Later, Baby, laters” Gene winked.

Ray, Chris and Shaz justled in the back.

“Whoa, “ said Ray “I ain’t sitting in between you two lovebirds, move over Chris”.

“Children! Behave. “ Gene was in command. He fired up the engine, and as they drove away from Fenchurch to give it a whirl. As it ticked over Gene felt the power beating out.


“Hey it’s even got a TV look Chris. We can watch “Loose Women”.

“Shaz you plonk. It’s a sat-nat. Gene do you know what one of those is…satellite navigation.. you put in the postcode..” Carling began to explain.

“It’s OK Raymondo I already know. Remember I have been playing Marty McFly for the past God knows how many years, I’ve had more cling-ons that Doctor Who. Now MUSH the lot of you.”

The silver beast roared away through the streets of London, out onto the ring road and headed towards the motorway.

“I need to feel the power. We’ll give it a good run on here and then go back for a drink. What do you say, team?”

They all agreed.

“What about that Tottenham job, Guv?”

“What about it Christopher? It can wait. Sod it. Everything can wait, listen up…” as they sped along the outside lane of the M1 touching 90, nothing could stop them”.

“I am the Gene Genie. You are my team. We may have been heroes in a past life, we may have spent time apart, drifting along as lost souls. But we belong here with each other, each and every one of us. Wherever you go, I go” he looked at across at Bolly who gave him one of those looks that made his knees quiver. She smiled back. He was on a promise no doubt about it – he whip those Bollykecks off before she could mutter the words “Sam Tyler”.

“Just remember all that, never forget. Gene Hunt is alive and kicking, with his team. I am back. We are all back, for good”.

He turned the radio up and inside that car the air was filled with merriment, laughter, fun, and rude comments, and the occasional blaspheme from its driver.

After they had tested their new toy and the novelty was wearing off, the hunger for life and raging thirst overtook them.

“Pub?” Gene uttered in the rear view mirror at Ray.

“Pub.”

Gene turned the car around to make the return journey. Just as they were passing a slip road they saw a figure stood on the hard shoulder, thumbing a lift. Gene slammed his foot on the break suddenly as he passed, causing the car to almost skid, and they all came to a halt with a jolt.

“Good job it’s got airbags ” Alex said in her usual tone.
Gene pressed the button for the electric windows as a face peered in. A face, oh so so familiar. A face that had disappeared such a long time ago, yet had never been forgotten, by any of them?

“Room for a little one, Guv?”

“Drake, in the back, now.” He commanded to Alex who quickly got out, giving the hitch-hiker a hug as she did so”.

“Easy tiger! “ said Gene, although he couldn’t be angry. He felt too elated.

“It’s about bleeding time! Get in, Tyler!”

It was like Carno’s in the Mercedes from that moment on, all speaking ten to the dozen, questions, questions, questions.

“I need to talk about Annie. About what happened. My Dad he…I have moved on Gene.…” Sam Tyler said, rather melancholic.

“Hey, don’t worry pal. There’s all the time in the world for that now. Here. I got something for you..”

With one hand on the wheel, Gene fumbled in his pocket for the final piece he had been holding on to.

Sam held up the St. Christopher.

“I wondered what had happened to this….Thanks, Gene. I just wish I knew what had happened to my leather jacket, cost me a fortune that did at Louis Gross”.

Gene caught Alex’s eye in the mirror and a secret smile passed between them.

“Right Sammy Boy, like I said we got all the time in the world now. My team is back and complete. We are bloody back for good. And now, we are all going to the pub where Nelson will serve us up with some fine alcohol to celebrate”.

As they sped along, they suddenly hit a bump in the road which jostled them all up against each other, especially those in the back.

“What the bleeding hell was that?” asked Gene.

“Have we hit something? Asked Chris.

Shaz looked out of the back window.

“Oh, it’s nothing, Guv. Just looks like a pile of old rags in the road”, said Shaz.

“A bit of broken glass too, looks like a pair of glasses or something and somebody’s old raincoat”.

There followed a silence.

“Do you like the new motor, Sam?” Raymondo said now squashed up between Chris and Alex.

“MMmm. Not bad.”

“Not bloody bad? Tyler it would give your poxy Cortina a run for its money. Dinky toys for little boys…” said Gene.

“Oh Sam, did you have a Cortina? I loved those. My Dad had one…” said Alex her big eyes lighting up as she caught Gene’s in the mirror again.

“Yeah, I’ll show it you if you like, when we take a trip up to Manchester. It’s all changed back there now you know , Gene. You wouldn’t recognise it”

“Tell me about. I bloody wouldn’t” said Gene.

“Yeah Alex, it’s a date. I’ll even take you for a ride in it, if you like…”

This was becoming all too much for Gene.

“Whoa. Listen. I will say who does what, and who goes where? Understand? I am still Gene Hunt. DCI Gene Hunt. I am still your Guv. You do as I say, and not as I do. Get it?”

They all cried back in unison “Got it, Guv”.

Yet Sam continued.

“I was only saying how Manchester is a different city now. It would b nice to show Alex around , you know, take in some sights, show her the new Hilton hotel, Gene you want to see it, its over 23 stories high. It’s a real whopper”.

Alex giggled in the back.

Gene felt his ears starting to steam.

“What do you think Alex, I think maybe you own me one. It’s so cold without my leather jacket. I could take you for a ride, maybe go on a date, and you could keep me warm, what do you sa. That’s if you’re not already attached?”

But Alex didn’t get chance to answer. The air was silent, as she sat quietly, alongside Raymondo, Chris and Shaz.

They all watched as the Mercedes made it’s way back into the centre of London, pulling up outside the Railway Arms.

Desparate for a drink, one by one they headed to the doors of the pub where they now knew Nelson to be waiting with nothing more than a welcoming drink.

“Guv?” Carling stopped.

“Get mine in Raymondo my good man, and make it a large one”.

He watched as they disappeared through the doors, trying not remember the last time, déjà vu, that had happened. Only this time it wasn’t the same. It was different. Gene Hunt was alive and kicking. Nothing could stop him. Nothing would stand in his way. He was back with his team. Back for good. He had fought for his life, and death, he had saved souls and his own soul had been saved. It really was time to move on.

He watched as Sam opened the car door and started to get out.

“Tasty bird Alex isn’t she…I think I may be in with a chance there…”

Gene pulled him back by the collar of his shirt and shouted in a loud, clear voice.

“Oi, Tyler, a word in your shell-like, pal!”




THE END

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