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And The Lost Nightingale Sings

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It's easier to forget she even has a daughter. Now. When she looks into his eyes. Those blue eyes. {real eyes} Sometimes, sometimes it's so much harder to remember that this isn't real. That the real world is out there somewhere, outside her head and the bullet that brought her here.

Sometimes, she doesn't mind that this world will end eventually. When there's murder and victims and suspects caught too easy to be right. When she's shouting at empty rooms and opaque walls. And no one's listening to her because psychology is 'bollocks' and hitting gets the job done much quicker.

And then there are his eyes and that sort of not quite smile that tells her he knows she's right but is going to make her work for it. And there's Chris and Shaz and Ray and they're closer than her other team {her real team} ever were. And everything comes back to the Guv who holds them steady and maybe she's been keeping them all standing a little too.

If she thinks about it too much, now that it's nearly over and she's almost found her way back, then she starts to think that maybe she doesn't have to leave. But she does. Or maybe they can come with her. But they can't. If she believes in time travel then they're not meant to move but if she doesn't then they're not really real. But those eyes.

Her imagination's been good, but never quite like this. And she's never looked into eyes like his and felt the way she does now. If this is Sam Tyler's dream world absorbed into her own, well he didn't give colours or styles but these all seem to fit. This is right {real} and how could she know that when she's had nothing to compare it with?

Gene lays where he dropped and she'll not be sleeping on the couch tonight. The red and black and yellow on his face is still bright enough to be painful and she knows if he took off his shirt she'd see more of the beating. But he won't, eyes closed breath even. And how could she imagine this? She couldn't.

His cheek is hot and smooth and rough when she slips her fingertips towards his jaw. It might be her mind playing tricks but she feels him press his face into her palm. And of course it's her mind because none of this is real. Except it feels like it is. Like life {reality} and not death. Slipping her fingers into his hair she soothes the groans as he settles in sleep.

He's far from perfect and if this isn't real shouldn't she have gotten perfect? Because he's stubborn and heavy handed and the stereotype of another age. And he's smart and gentle and tougher on himself than she could ever be. And she shouldn't have fallen for him; this middle-aged phantom. But she has and she did and when she leaves it's him that she'll miss like Molly.

She can hear it, even now, clearer than it's ever been. The sounds of the other world seeping in. And it will be beeps and scrapes and the metallic echoes of hospital doors that will take her away. It's not sane {realistic} to think she'll get to say goodbye and now she's taken back his letter he might never know. That she'd drag him with her kicking all the way to the future. If it were possible. Easy. That she'd bring Molly back here if she could. Where he could look after them both. Where this un-real world sometimes makes more sense than the real one.

His breaths fill the silences as she steps away into her room. Little snores he'd deny or exaggerate depending on his mood when awake. She stands beside Molly in the frame of her door and watches his chest rise and fall in time with her own.

"He'd love you Molls. He'd love us both." And he does, she thinks. Or he would. {if it were real}