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The Road Not Taken

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It started innocently enough. Well, as innocent as anything could be when the man who isn't your husband has his hand on your breast.

The scene was pivotal to their first episode, and if she was ever going to prove that she was not a female knock off of Sam Tyler, just an empty headed bimbo for Gene Hunt to lust after when he wasn't bashing skulls in, then this was that moment. John set the bar, and she knew she could meet it, exceed it even, but that didn't mean she didn't feel the pressure. And he was well aware of her nerves. He was charming and personable, determined to set her at ease. He reminded her that this was Alex's story, not his. Which was nice, really.

Better than nice was the look on his face when she came out of wardrobe the first time, with that ridiculous mass of curls and the dress cut all the way up to hell and gone. He was gobsmacked. Sure, they all hooted and cheered and no one could miss Montsie's wolf whistle. They liked the look of her flying v's so much, they worked it into the script. But the look on his face made her cheeks flush and set the butterflies in her stomach dancing lower than was really called for. Gretchen had warned her, sure, but it was an entirely different thing to be standing here, basking in the heat of that look.

But it all came back to that scene in the radio room. It wasn't exactly Shakespeare, but she instinctively knew that this was a scene that would make or break the entire run. She said as much to him, over read through.

He'd taken his glasses off and nibbled on the earpiece, his eyes narrowing as he thought about it. "I think you have a firm enough grasp on the character, it won't be an issue. The question is, will you let him have a firm enough grasp on her?"

She'd laughed so hard, she'd nearly spilled her tea all down her front. It was a ludicrous idea, but it was so perfect, she couldn't help but agree. Matthew thought it was brilliant as well, and so they ran it a few times, trying to work out just how it would play. Timing was everything.

As would happen so many times during the shoot, they ended up in his trailer, running lines.

"Go on, grab it."

"You do know I'm a married man, yeah?"

"So? You're an actor. And I'm married, too, for what it's worth."

"Kids and all."

"Yeah, the works. Go on."

"It can't be for too long, and it can't be anything complicated."

"What do you mean, complicated?"

"Well, you know, anything -- involved."

She cocks an eyebrow at him and stands up, taking the script out of his hand and tugging him to his feet.

"You'll have a suit on, so I'll be resting my hand here."

"No, no. Inside." He takes her hand and brushes his lapel aside, placing it on his chest.

"Yeah, simple. So what do you mean, 'involved'?"

"Well, just a -- may I?"

She rolls her eyes at him, laughing a bit. She's not some young thing. She's a well-known talent in her own right. "Phil, please, just..."

He palms her breast then, ignoring the little gasp she makes at the sudden intrusion. "It can't be involved, because he's not a sophisticated man. So not like this." His palm curls underneath, fingers turned to the side, his thumb resting on her nipple. And just as she thinks she's got her breath back, the touch becomes a caress and her body responds, purely involuntarily. "Oh see, there we are."

She sighs, feigning exasperation, but she doesn't pull away. She's a professional. "Do get to the point, please."

"No, it can't be like this." His thumb circles the hardening nub, teasing her now. "Because the line is 'are you gonna punch me or kiss me?'" He's stepped in too close, and she already has a hand on his chest, but she's not pushing him away. "And then she smacks him away."

She tries to keep her voice level. "So, no, it'd be more like -- a quick grope. To make his point that if she can touch him, then he can touch her." Maybe her hand is slipping a little, her own fingertips exploring. When she finds his nipple, a rush of air escapes his lips and she can feel him leaning into that touch. His head drops until they are temple to temple. She swallows hard, barely believing what she's saying. "So it can't be complicated."

"No, it'd be brief. A one time, fleeting thing." His own voice is gravelled, a lush tension running through it like the edge of a knife.

"He knows they have to work together, that their colleagues can't ever see..."

"He's not stupid," he whispers, his nose nuzzling in her hair now. "He's got too much to lose. And she does too, he knows."

"So why risk it?" She turns her face up to him, her heart in her throat, her hand now keeping that last remaining distance between them. It doesn't matter. He has the most amazing eyes.

"Because there's chemistry there. Can't deny that, can you?"

She loves her husband. Loves her kids, there's never a moment of doubt that she has so much to lose. But yes, standing here, caught in his gravity well, she knows it would be pointless to even try to deny the pull she feels. "This is stupid," she says, and then a sharp gasp fills the air as he drags a nail across that sensitised bit of flesh, standing up so shamelessly for him.

"It is," he agrees, his voice the barest whisper. These trailers have thin walls, he knows. "Doesn't mean I'm not going to think about fucking you senseless."

She pulls back, her eyes wide, just as someone knocks and opens the door of the trailer. She lashes out, pushing his hand away and he smirks, deep in the character again, just that quick.

"Fandabydozy. Now then, Bollinger Knickers, are you gonna kiss me? Or punch me?"

"Oh, sorry. I'll come back later!" Marshall, ever the gentleman, excuses himself without another word.

As if the grin on Phil's face wasn't mad enough, he waggles his eyebrows at her and she breaks down in a fit of giggles. (Not for the last time, either.)

Chapter Text

(Property Of...)

She gives a quick triple knock and lets herself into his trailer without waiting for him to answer. Luckily he's wearing trousers, even if his shirt is still undone and his tie hangs loose around his neck. She's switched into something more comfortable and that soft grey sweat shirt which he shouldn't find appealing, but he does, somehow. Perhaps because she only wears it when she's in a mood to relax. Which means she's here to hide from the rest of the cast and crew.

Something that he doesn't mind at all. It's become a bit of a ritual with them thus far. First thing in the morning, marking out the scenes, running their lines, going over the blocking. Later in the evening, a night cap and discussing the next day's shooting schedule, maybe a little bit of gossip.

She cuts a glance at him as she makes them both a cuppa. She hasn't taken her make up off yet, and in an instant, those dark eyes and full lips draw a wave of heat and heaviness down into his groin.

"You're taking liberties again," he drawls, settling into the bench seat behind the table.

"Are you complaining?"

"Just stating the obvious." He puts his still booted feet up on the chair, crossing one long leg over another. He stretches his arms over his head and eventually drapes them across the back of the couch. Well, his right arm anyway. The left stays curled behind his head, as the trailer isn't big enough for him to stretch out completely.

She stands in the kitchenette, resting her hip against the cabinet, both hands curled around her mug, watching him through the rising steam. She's running through the scene in her head again, only this time she's just bent over his desk and his hands are pushing her short skirt over her hips. There's no one else in the room, no camera crew, no cast. Just the two of them and he's putting his hands on her skin.

Of course, it's just a fantasy. He'd never even laid a finger on her, not even in jest. Not even surreptitiously. Just the anticipation alone had had her tied up in knots all afternoon.

"You were a perfect gentleman today."

He just grunts at her, head tipped back, blue eyes watching her.

"I thought, surely with that scene..." Her voice tapers off as she takes a sip.

"You thought what, precisely? That I was going to feel you up in front of the cameras?"

"No. No, of course not."

"Right then."

He cocks his head to one side, still watching her. She's not just beautiful. She's stunning. She has a classic elegance, an air he associates with the movie stars of old. High cheekbones, alabaster skin, a wide mouth over a sharp chin. And those eyes, those gorgeous dark eyes.

He purses his lips as he looks at her, long since passed the point of wondering whether or not he should. He knows he shouldn't, nor should she, but it's never been a question of 'if'. It's only ever been a question of 'when'.

She brings him his cup of tea, and eyes his boots on the chair. "Doesn't wardrobe come to collect those at the end of the day?"

"Sometimes. Unless I tell them to bugger off."

She looks down at him like she can't decide whether to slap him or shag him senseless. "You want help taking them off?"

"If you like." Oh how he hopes it's the latter.

She hesitates another moment, and then sets her mug down and rests a hand on his boot, still looking into those eyes. She can feel the warmth of him through the snakeskin. Gently, she moves a hand under the heel, tugging it off and setting it aside. She pulls the other one off, and places it beside its mate. There's an earthy scent, sweat and leather, pungent and humid, strangely intimate. Not unpleasant at all. She takes a deep breath, and he hums, watching her react to his proximity.

"Come here," he whispers, his voice a low rumble in his chest.


"Just for a moment."

She looks down at his feet, at her mug, anywhere but at him. "You were a perfect gentleman." It begs repeating.

"That's not what you wanted though, is it? You wanted my hands on you."

She looks away, chewing on her lower lip, biting back a knowing smile. She won't deny it. She can't.

"So come here and sit beside me, and let me put my hands on you, Lee."

She stands, turning away, shaking her head. She gets two steps before stopping, a nervous laugh rising in her throat. He stands too, and by the time she's turned, he's there. He takes her face in his hands, bending to catch her mouth in a soft, slow, deep kiss.

All conscious thought evaporates. She can't breathe. He's touching her and she's exquisitely aware of the pressure of his hands as they skim down her arms, down to the small of her back, pulling her in close to his body. Her own trembling hands thread around his neck and she can't think. She tastes tea and cigarettes, and the wet heat of his mouth, the taste that is nothing but him. Each small mouthful takes her higher, and she clings to his neck, her fingers raking through his hair.

She melts against his chest and he gathers her closer, almost purring at the sweetness of her kiss. She's tall, and he can feel her crushed against him. His hands slip lower, over the swell of her bum, pulling her in tight against his hips, letting her feel just precisely what she's doing to him.

She gasps against his mouth, her grip around his neck tightening. "Phil, please."

"I want you."

The knock at the door makes them both start, jumping apart like guilty teenagers discovering their parents have arrived home early. He snarls something under his breath and she can't help but laugh, a desperate sound. She can't help but go back for one last kiss, one lingering, exquisite kiss before she makes herself pull away.

"It's all right. It's probably just the pages for tomorrow. Sit back down."

His fingertips dig into the meat of her hips and he growls against her jaw, a guttural, raw sound that lights her up all over again. Her eyes flutter closed, but she has to put space between them.

"Sit." She pushes him back towards the small couch, her eyes bright. She drags her hands through her hair, over her face. "Is my lipstick all..?"

"Here." He hands her his handkerchief and she turns to the long mirror behind the door, listening to him breathe. It's just a quick fix, and she moves to hand it back to him.

"Keep it." The knock sounds again, and someone calls his name. She glances back to see him settled again, long legs kicked up on the chair again. He nods, flashing her an easy grin. "Go on."

She smooths her hands down her front again, and clears her mind. She's an actress. This is what she does. She becomes someone else at the drop of a hat. It's just a step to the door, and she smiles at the script runner.

"New pages for tomorrow?"

"Yes, thank you." She takes them with a smile.

The door closes and she rests her forehead against it, fighting back a wave of giggles. She's still clutching his handkerchief in her fingers, and she stuffs it in her pocket. She turns just enough to look at him and he's smirking, too.

"You're insane," she says, and the accusation is nothing but affectionate.

"And you're too far away."

"I'm leaving now."

"Must you?"

"Yes. God, don't make this harder than it already is."

"That," he grins, "would be impossible, I think."

She dissolves in laughter again, the sound bright and wonderful, he thinks. She's so beautiful when she smiles. He'd give anything to see that smile first thing in the morning, looking at him across the pillows. He listens as her voice fades away again, and she's still smiling. Giddy. He can feel this, whatever it is, crackling in the air between them.

"I'm sorry," she whispers, turning back to the door.

"Don't be," he answers without hesitation, his voice gentle. "Don't be."

"See you in the morning?"

"I'll be here."

She lets herself out without looking back. And even aching as he is, he's all right with that. He knows she'll be back.

Chapter Text

"Did you get the pages?"

He grunts, not looking up from his paper.

"Have you read them yet?"

Over the top of his glasses, he watches her standing in the kitchenette of his trailer. She's thrown a tea bag into a mug and splashed hot water over it like it was the offending writer and needed to be boiled alive to pay for their sins.

"I take it you have an issue with them?"


Lies, he can tell. She wears all her emotions on that exquisite face of hers. Somehow she never got the posh totty as inscrutable cipher down very well, though it's fascinating to watch her try. He doesn't put his paper down just yet. He knows she'll tell him everything if he just lets her twist a little longer.

"Well, I just find it hard to believe that mere moments after she's locked in this intense, intimate scene with Gene, she's off shagging this complete stranger. I just, I'm struggling to see where that fits in her character." Two sugars are dropped like boulders on the hapless tea bag, the lot of them stabbed about with a flimsy little stir straw.

"Well, you didn't think they were going to shag straight off, did you?"


Again, he licks his lips and does not smirk at the pout in her voice.

"But you have to admit, making her look like a slapper isn't going to exactly help her case with the viewers. I mean, they're already struggling with the relationship as it is. Alex Drake is not Sam Tyler, it's that simple."

He folds his paper quietly, and sets his glasses on top of them, rising to his feet silent as a mouse. She's too busy wrapped up in the sound of her own voice to notice.

"It's one thing for there to be this unresolved sexual tension between the two of them, but to make it so blatant, and then to blink at the last moment -- to be honest, I don't see either of them backing down."

She starts a bit when he speaks, his lips right next to her ear. "You don't think he'd be a gentleman about it?" He rests a hand on the counter beside her, trapping her there.

"Why would he?" She sips her tea and hisses a bit, sucking air over her tongue to cool the burn. She cuts a glance at him through those long dark lashes, waiting for his explanation.

"Maybe he wants more than a one night stand? Maybe he's starting to acknowledge he has deeper feelings for her? Maybe he just doesn't want to shag his DI. There are any number of reasons."

She sighs, exasperated. "Maybe. I just don't get why she has to go and shag this total stranger afterwards."

"Oh that's simple. What's more attractive than a stoic man intent on preserving his lady's honour? That same man turned inside out with jealousy." He pulls away just long enough to reach across and lock the door to the trailer. And then he's right back where he started.

She turns to face him, not at all put off by how close he's standing to her. "Gene Hunt doesn't get jealous, does he?"

"At the thought of a total stranger in her bed, oh absolutely. When he should be the one with those long fucking gorgeous legs wrapped around his waist? You bet your Bolly Knickers he would be."

"Does he think about her that way?" She purses her lips and blows across the surface of her tea and his eyes are riveted to her lips.

"He hasn't stopped thinking about her that way since she walked into his life. He's thinking that way about her right now, as we speak."

"Oh is he now? So then why would he walk away from such an intimate question?"

"Because she was drunk." He bends his head, nuzzling the side of her neck, breathing in the scent of her. "And when they do decide to act on their attraction, he wants it to be mutual, or else, what's the point?"

She's grinning down at her tea now, her cheeks flushed. "You're awful, you know that?"

"Why would you say that?"

"I mean, I appreciate your dedication to the role, but no one told me you were a method actor." Her eyes close as his breath feathers over her cheek, but she's not pulling away. She never pulls away from him. She lets him push and push, deeper into unknown territory and he loves that she seems to have no limits where he's concerned.

"What would you do if I told you I wasn't, hmm?" His voice has gone quiet again.

"I'd ask what the hell you were doing, for one."

"Don't tell me you're not enjoying this."

She hums a little, watching as he takes her tea away from her and sets it aside. Her hands now freed, she reaches out to touch him, one hand on his hip, the other resting on his chest. "Maybe. A little."

"Don't lie. Your knickers are soaked aren't they?"

She bites her lower lip and he knows it's true. Still, she tries to deflect. "And what if they were? It's not like anything is going to come of it." She knows. He's let her set the boundaries so far, and respected them.

"Oh you don't think so?" Again, he breathes the words against the shell of her ear, smiling as she can't contain the little shiver that runs down her spine. "Maybe you'll get all wound up and go home to your husband and shag his brains out tonight. Maybe you'll be thinking of me the whole time you do, and maybe you'll come harder than you've come in years. Maybe that's what I think will 'come' of it. Like Alex in her flat, shagging Mr. Red Braces, is thinking of Gene the whole time."

"You think so?"

"Oh I know so. I know so. God, I can practically smell you, Lee."

She toys idly with the buttons on his shirt, whispering into the hollow beneath his jaw. "Does it make you hard, hmm?"

"You have no idea."

"Gene doesn't have a wife to go home to, not anymore. He'd have to go home and have a wank all by himself. In the shower, you think?"

"Yeah. Yeah, probably." His voice gravels, almost a whisper.

"Mmm, I like that thought. All naked under the hot water, taking matters in hand, so to speak."

"Oh you are far crueller than I ever gave you credit for, you little minx."

"Only paying you back in kind, for getting me all riled and then not doing anything about it."

"We have to be on set in ten minutes. Is that what you want? Just a quickie?"

"No." There's a breathless quality to her voice that tells him so much more than her words. "No, I just want to get through this scene without embarrassing myself, truth be told."

"Don't worry, love. They'll never know what hit 'em." He brushes a chaste kiss across her cheek, gratified to hear the little disappointed sigh on her lips.

"Now run along and don't forget your pages. Tell them I'm just behind you."

"Need a moment?"

"And a bucket of ice water, now mush."

"Yes, sir," she teases, plucking at his tie as she slips passed him to collect her script.

How he's ever going to make it through this series without getting arrested, he has no idea. But fucking hell it'll be worth it, just to spend more time with that incredible woman.

Chapter Text

The vault scene changed everything.

He'd spent the entire day being absolutely livid with her. Everything she did or said seemed to set him off, provoking a scathing retort or a blistering insult. Of course, it was all just as it was written in the script. And she'd responded in kind, her own delivery equally fierce, fuelled with her character's defiance. She gave as good as she got, and if the sparks that flew between them were real, the entire set would have burned to the ground.

But it was exhausting to work like that. She kept finding herself wishing she could have a break, just a moment alone with him, to reconnect, to find whatever it was she felt like she was losing, scene by scene, moment by moment. But it never came. And it was no solace when she finally admitted to herself that she just wanted to touch him, just wanted to feel the warmth of his body against her own. It just made the work more difficult.

No, she thought. Challenging. This wasn't difficult at all. She was a professional and this was some of the best work she'd ever been involved with. If she could keep pace with him, she would have the world at her feet. He set a gruelling pace, made her earn every step, and she gave her very best. That he never yielded, never once caved and gave her that little smile of encouragement was the hardest part of all, but she knew it was because he trusted her. He knew she had it under control.

(Did she? Or was she just desperate to not falter while he was watching? Did it make a difference in the long run? She didn't know.)

It all came down to the vault. A simple locked room scene, just the two of them, half-dressed, soaked to the skin with sweat both real and simulated. So close she could smell his skin and count his eyelashes. The tension between them was off the charts, so thick the entire crew seemed to be holding their breath as he beckoned her into his arms. The lump in her throat was real and the relief at just being able to rest her head on his chest was palpable. The lights dimmed and faded to nothing and he whispered the last line. It was all acting, superbly wrought, the way he gripped her so tightly, the way her lips came so close to brushing his.

And then it was done. The scene was called, and a smattering of applause rang in the small space, voices calling out to get the next scene ready.

She pulled away, shaking, grinning, giddy. He met her gaze for a moment and she knew, she knew. It was as if the road had taken a steep downhill turn, and she was gathering momentum, speeding towards an end she knew not what, only that it was a matter of time before the inevitable crack up. Just as with everything with him, it was exhilarating and terrifying in equal measure. And she didn't care anymore. She just didn't care.

It took forever to get through the rest of the scenes. Every retake, every pause for a camera shift, every cup of tea seemed to stretch her patience thin. They took a short break for dinner, and he wouldn't even look at her over the craft services table. She began to second guess herself, began to wonder if she hadn't just imagined it all.

She tried to settle her nerves by knitting between scenes, but it wasn't working. Her mind was racing. No, he wouldn't dare give them away, not with something as simple a glance. Hadn't they agreed, they both had too much to lose? She gave up and stuffed the mess of yarn back in her bag, and settled for sitting on her hands. Even her own rational assurances didn't soothe the ache in her skin, the line of tension in her jaw, the crushing tightness in her chest.

She tried to keep her eyes from following him, but it was impossible. It was all she could do to keep from grabbing his hand and bolting from the set. She wanted to be away from the crew, away from the rest of the world. She wanted him all to herself again, wanted their own locked room scenario. It must have been one in the morning before they finally wrapped, and she disappeared without even waiting for the usual post-shoot notes.

She managed to get away clean, leaving her white jacket and boots with wardrobe, heading back to her trailer to turn on the light and hang the 'do not disturb' sign on her door. There was no one around to see her slip away, just a few yards down the line, to his trailer.

She let herself in and watched carefully through the blinds as she pulled it shut behind her. She didn't turn on a light, reaching out a hand for the counter in the kitchen, a hand to rest on the table and then the door to the tiny bedroom beyond. The bed beyond was rumpled from where he'd sat earlier, reading his script. There was a pair of jeans draped over the foot, and a polo shirt that she brought to her nose, drinking in his scent. Her eyes closed and she sighed, arousal flaring in her skin.

She moved, as if in a dream, unbuttoning her blouse, thinking of him already. Careless fingers let it drop it to the floor, already working on her bra. She shimmied out of her jeans and stood in the darkness, wondering just what on earth she was doing here when she heard the door to the trailer open.

"Let me know if you see her, would you? Thanks, mate." The small trailer rocked as he stepped up.

"Shut the door," she whispered.

"Lee?" He turned on the light in the kitchenette, his eyes taking a moment to readjust before he caught sight of her, standing in the doorway, clothed only in shadows. "What the devil?" His eyes went wide, and his breath left his body in a rush.

"Phil, please."