Rating: 12
Summary: Because this much is true...
Disclaimer: I do not own Ashes to Ashes.
A/N: I cannot believe it took me this long to discover the awesomeness of Ashes to Ashes. I find it easier to believe that I have written a fic for it. It wouldn't leave me alone after I saw the finale. And so here it is. Please be gentle, but let me know what you think. I know there are loads of post-eps for 3x08 out there. I haven't yet read them all. I apologise if this bears resemblance to any of them.
A/N2: Thank you to Victoria and Crowded Angels for reading this through for me and for the lovely encouragement.
Date: 12th December 2011

… … …

He doesn't want to do it; would rather keep it as some sort of - Shrine's the wrong word; sounds too girly, too clingy. Too sad. But it's the closest thing there is. He doesn't want to move on just yet. But he knows he has to. He has to help this new poor sod and clinging to the past won't do that. He has his new DI and the guy needs a desk.

He swings the door of his office open, feigned confidence and bravado in every movement. And he's about to utter the words he didn't want to say when his eyes fall upon what should have been the empty desk.

He feels his mouth open and close a couple of times like a bloody goldfish before he regains the power to think straight.

"DI Drake," he bellows as he's done so many times in the last few years, but this time the words almost catch in his throat. He must be imagining her, right? "My office. Now!"

The demand seems to bring her inordinate pleasure and his heart pounds heavily in his chest as her bright smile spreads across her lips. She stands and walks towards him and he tears his eyes away only long enough to check if everyone else sees her. No one looks as if they think he's gone mad.

She slows as she passes between him and the new guy. Gently touching her fingers to Gene's arm, sending a flutter through his body that he will never admit to out loud, she precedes him into the office.

"Find this guy a desk!" he shouts to no one in particular as he pushes the door closed behind them and rattles the blinds into place.

When he finally faces her she seems to be waiting for him to speak, but that smile is still on her lips. He's pretty sure she can't help it.

"You can't be here," he points out.

"Says who?" she quips in response.

Damned infuriating... "You went inside. You -"

"I want to be here, Gene..."

"It's not about what you 'want', Bolls. Would it kill you to do as you're told for once?"

"Bit late for that," she remarks pointedly. "Why shouldn't this..." She gestures to the room around them but he knows she refers to this place. "... Be what I want it to be?"

"Not how it works, Bolls."

He half expects another blase "Says who?" until she steps closer to him, lowering her voice to a whisper. "I'm here."

He wants it to be true; he wants it to be that simple. But nothing ever has been. "You can't be."

Her lips curve back into a wide smile and he knows he isn't going to argue with her for much longer. He wants her here. It would have been selfish to keep her, but if she has chosen this... Who is he to argue? Especially if some higher power has allowed her to return.

She lifts her hand to his cheek and softly trails her fingers along his skin. When she leans forward, he holds his breath, remembering their dance; remembering how simple kissing her had seemed for that brief moment before the knock at the door brought back reality. Then he recalls their actual kiss, how real that was; how painful to know it was a goodbye.

She rests her forehead against his and her breath dances across his lips as she whispers, "I know this much is true, Gene."

Despite the overwhelming sense of anticipation, relief and fear that he is imagining it all, he manages to laugh, once, at her reference, and knows her smile has widened in response.

"You and me, Gov, you and me," she reminds him, echoing his own words from what seems like an age ago.

"You're supposed to -"

She draws back to fix suddenly serious eyes on his. "If I'm not there..."

The pain in her eyes reveals that she's thinking of home; of Molly.

"... Then I'm going to be here."

"Do I get a -"

"No." And her smile returns. "This may be your world, Gene Hunt, but I'm here to stay. With or without your permission."

He exaggerates a sigh. She'll know soon enough that he would grant her permission for anything. He doesn't need to say it. So instead, he mock-grumbles, "It's going to be a long... eternity."

Another flash of pain tells him she hasn't fully accepted the truth yet, but she manages that beautiful smile as she tells him, "I hope so."

And he pulls her towards him. And he kisses her.