The gravestone was simple, weathered with age. Alex gazed at it and let out a soft sigh. She heard the gravel crunch behind her, felt the warmth of the sun go cool as his shadow fell over her.
"You okay, Alex?"
She smiled. "Of course. Why shouldn't I be?"
"Well, you're stood here and not... Do you regret staying?"
"Do you?" she countered.
"No, but then I had reason to stay. You had reason to go."
Alex lifted her eyes to the small crowd outside the church. "I had a reason to stay as well." She turned and looked at him. "I don't regret the choice."
Sam Tyler smiled. "I'm very glad to hear it." He offered her his arm. "Shall we go?"
"Yes." She glanced at the grave and then slid her arm around Sam's.
He let her lean on him as they walked the path back to the church. The blur of faces came into familiar focus and Alex smiled broadly, brushed her stomach automatically.
"Have you told him?" Sam asked.
"And have him strut around the office like a rooster? Bollocks I have. Anyway, I wanted to be sure."
They both winced at the familiar bellow.
"Too late now, Alex," Sam muttered. "So I hope you are sure."
"Where the bloody hell have you two been?" Gene was glowering. Alex looked at Sam and didn't bother to bite back the grin. "Come 'ere, you bloody silly mare."
"Oh, lovely," she said, but she slipped her arm from Sam's and walked over to Gene. He looked at her for a moment, then took her hand. It felt odd, like the new band that circled her finger.
"Right, Bols, we 'ave a piss up to attend."
Alex sighed. "It's called a reception, Gene."
"Whatever." He shrugged and pulled her closer. "Comin' Tyler?"
"And miss you dancing?" Sam asked. "How could I possibly resist?"
"Gene Hunt does not dance."
"I've heard that before," Alex said. She smiled at him. "And you were wrong then. Plus, people are going to expect it. It's traditional."
"Of course it is, but you're still going to do it."
"Bloody 'ell. You've only 'ad that ring on for half an hour and you're already bossing me about."
"I bossed you about before the ring."
"Yeah, but now I supposed to pay attention."
Alex laughed and turned to him. She heard Sam cough and listened to the scree of gravel as he moved to a more discrete distance. Not that she'd have cared if he stood and watched, she reflected as she slid her arms around Gene's neck.
"For better or worse," she whispered and smiled as she looked into his eyes.
"Better, I think." Gene returned her smile. "I love you, Mrs Hunt."
"I love you, too." She kissed him lingeringly and then pulled back. "I have something to tell you, later."
He arched an eyebrow. "Yeah? Anything to do with you pukin' every mornin'?"
Alex blinked and then gave a defeated sigh. "Oh, way to spoil a surprise, Gene." She looked at him carefully. "So how do you feel about it?"
"Pretty bloody fabulous. Nice to know everything still works at my age."
"Oh, that's romantic." She toyed with the carnation pinned to his lapel. "So how long have you known?"
"After I proposed, so you can quit thinkin' that now. The right thing is all well and good, Bols, but I didn't marry you cos of that. I married you to stop you buggerin' off with some other sod."
"What other sod?"
"Dunno, but I 'ad to be sure."
Alex shook her head and pulled him close. "There was only ever you, Gene. Only you."
He put his arms around her and she stood, head against his chest, listening to the beat of his heart. She didn't regret the decision to stay here, to stay with him. It was, after all, where her heart belonged.
So here she was, his ring on her finger, his child nestled within her womb. Everything after was just icing on the cake, pun not intended. She smirked against his jacket.
"Right then," she said. "Piss up time."
"About time too, Bols."
"That's what I said when you asked me to marry you."
"Most women settle for 'yes'," Gene said and slung an arm around her shoulders.
"I said yes." She cast him a sideways glance. "Several times and quite loudly too."
He groaned and adjusted his trousers. She giggled wickedly.
"This afternoon's gonna last forever," he groused. "Are you sure we can't just skip to the weddin' night?"
"Not can do," she sighed. "For one, everyone wants to see you dance and you can't disappoint your audience. And secondly, I'm starving. Eating for two, you know."
Gene's grin was faintly idiotic. "You're 'aving my baby."
"Oh, here we go." She gave him a look. "Stop crowing. I don't want the entire station knowing just yet. In case…" Her hand touched her stomach. "Let's just wait a while."
His hand covered hers. "It'll be fine, Alex. Trust me."
She smiled up at him. "I do. But it can be our secret for a while, can't it?"
"Good. Okay, let's go eat before I faint and give it away." She leaned against his shoulder as they walked to the waiting car. "March," she told him then. "I think. In the spring."
Gene looked down at her, then up at the sky. "It's a fortunate man that gets everything 'e wanted, Bols. I've always been the lucky type, but... I never expected all this."
"I didn't either," Alex admitted. "But I'm very glad that it happened."
He grinned at her and opened the back door of the car. She slid onto the seat and immediately snuggled up to him when he joined her. There was a cheer as the car set into motion and she watched the confetti flutter past the windows.
Everything she'd wanted, and a whole life in front of her. If this was a dream, then she didn't ever want to wake up.