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Living Loz
epilogue: changes 
25th-Apr-2011 09:11 pm
Life on Mars (Sam & Gene are awesomely n
Title: epilogue: changes
Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: G
Word Count: 880 words.
Notes: Sam/Gene, set 1989. Title from ‘Changes’ by David Bowie. The conclusion to the Changes Series (link takes you to the previous parts.)





The postcards always make him smile. He puts them up on the fridge next to the photograph Sam gave him at the airport. They've been coming less and less frequently over the past couple of weeks and Gene doesn't know whether to be thankful or miserable.

The latest is the shortest of the messages so far. A simple, "I'm gonna climb this mountain. It looks really wicked. I bet I could get some amazing photos." Gene rolls his eyes to himself and places it message-side up, alongside a picture of Ayers Rock, simply because he knows the juxtaposition would annoy Sam.

"The rock is not a mountain," a voice says from behind him. "Though, granted, you can climb it."

For a second he thinks it's an auditory hallucination. He swivels on the spot and wills himself not to gasp.

If anything, Sam's even more devastating with a tan. Long-limbed and golden, hair turned sun-streaked. He looks slightly older, but somehow even more vital.

"Three months, Tyler. It's been three measly months."

"They weren't measly, they were interminable. Hour after hour," Sam says.

He steps into Gene's space, hands settling on his sides, possessive. Gene's careful not to mirror him, anxious not to appear too overjoyed at his deal-breaking sudden appearance.

"And in those endless hours all I could think about was you," Sam continues, "stuck here, likely just as bored and alone as I felt. It didn't seem right."

Gene narrows his eyes. "For all you knew, I was laughing it up."

"Weren't though, were you?" Sam asks.

"Might have been. They've opened up a senior centre down the road. There are dance classes every Tuesday."

Sam ignores Gene's deflection, becoming more intent. "Come with me, Gene. We'll refund the tickets, choose somewhere quiet and out of the way."

"We've had this discussion."

"I know. I wasn't satisfied with the result."

Gene sighs and Sam keeps talking, taking full advantage of his obviously weakening state. He tugs Gene closer, settling one of his thighs between Gene's.

"There's so much of this world you haven't seen. Don't deny it, because we both know it's true. It doesn't have to be. We can investigate together."

There's something of the siren in Sam, Gene decides. He doesn't know why he hasn't realised it before. And yes, he may go crashing onto the rocks, but it'll be with a song in his heart.

Gene pierces Sam with a look. "You're gonna be the death of me."

Sam's smile is mischievous. "Haven't yet, despite my best efforts."

"Oi, cheeky."

The smile widens into a fully-fledged grin. "There's nothing to lose and everything to gain, so why not just capitulate to my will? We both know it'll happen eventually anyway."

"I have some self-respect."

"Can't fathom why. Not if you're foolish enough to turn down an offer like this."

Sam rocks his hips forward, slides one hand into Gene's hair, pulls him down for a kiss.

There's an unfaltering logic to his words. Rationality that Gene has fought so hard for a year and a half.

"Mexico," he says. "Why don't we go to Mexico?"

Sam's grin is radiant. "Mexico," he repeats. "Sounds wonderful."


*

Gene hasn't been on an aeroplane in decades and that knowledge is stirring his guts, but he's not going to inform Sam of this fact. To be truthful, he's unwilling to admit to himself that it might be fear of flying. He attributes it to Jackson house-sitting, Ruth's reaction when they come back, and the fate of the community centre in his absence.

He tries to distract himself with in-depth conversation. It doesn't entirely work.

"Had any thoughts about your future beyond this?" he asks, purposefully avoiding looking out the window.

“I had a lot of time to think, you know, on planes… trains…”

Gene interjects. “Automobiles.”

“Yeah. I kept asking myself, ‘what do I want from life?’ and for a long time, the only answer was you. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that I still want to help people. I want to change the world one person at a time." Sam pauses, taps his fingers against his tray. "I was thinking teaching.”

“Teaching? You? Give over,” Gene replies.

“What, no good?”

“You just want week upon week of holidays, that’s why you think it’s a good idea. Imagine it for real; a class full of snotty-nosed tossbags who think they know everything. It’d be like having thirty clones in the room.”

“Not teaching then. Okay. Well, how about counselling? Listening to people’s problems, giving advice. The kind of thing where you’ve gotta be strong and detached but in tune with your emotions.”

Gene considers this. He has to admit, it sounds apt. The kind of stressful Sam would thrive on.

“Don’t think I don’t see what you did there. Telling me one thing so that I can dismiss it, only to tell me the one you really want in prime position where I’d look nothing but curmudgeonly if I shot it down.”

“You know me too well.”

“Don’t I know it. You really want to listen to other people’s aches and pains all the time?”

There's a sparkle in Sam's eyes as he answers. “I’m with you, aren’t I?”

Comments 
(Deleted comment)
27th-Apr-2011 11:16 am (UTC)
;) I knew you would, but I did warn you early on that this wasn't to be.

♥ Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
25th-Apr-2011 12:50 pm (UTC)
"I'm gonna climb this mountain. It looks really wicked. I bet I could get some amazing photos." Hah! I adore Sam's sense of humour.

"And in those endless hours all I could think about was you," Sam continues, "stuck here, likely just as bored and alone as I felt. It didn't seem right." Awwwwww. This travelling around the world thing sounds so epic that it makes Sam's return even sweeter. And hey, that was kinda a last resort. If it didn't work, there's definitely no keeping them apart. :)

"Mexico," he says. "Why don't we go to Mexico?" YES! :DDDD

I want to change the world one person at a time. That is so Sam.

“You just want week upon week of holidays, that’s why you think it’s a good idea. Imagine it for real; a class full of snotty-nosed tossbags who think they know everything. It’d be like having thirty clones in the room.” I bloody love your sense of humour too. <3

"Had any thoughts about your future beyond this?" he asks, purposefully avoiding looking out the window.[...] “I had a lot of time to think, you know, on planes… trains…” I can picture this conversation so clearly, and it's lovely.

There's a sparkle in Sam's eyes as he answers. “I’m with you, aren’t I?” Perfect. :D

I'll be honest, I'm gutted that it's over, but I can't thank you enough for this series, Loz.
27th-Apr-2011 11:18 am (UTC)
♥ ♥ ♥

I am so glad you liked the ending, Sky. :D Thank you!
25th-Apr-2011 01:12 pm (UTC)
Yay for this epilogue. I really thought Sam would be gone for the year and I'm so pleased he came back and that they're going to Mexico (where else?) together. Great story. Thank you.
27th-Apr-2011 11:16 am (UTC)
Sam refused to go for a year!

Thanks so much! ♥
25th-Apr-2011 02:10 pm (UTC)
I could definitely get behind Sam Tyler the psychiatrist psychologist.

Their efforts at finding peace together are coming along nicely.
27th-Apr-2011 11:15 am (UTC)
They are, aren't they? Thank you :D ♥
25th-Apr-2011 02:30 pm (UTC)
I love this entire series so very much. I find the age difference between Gene and Sam here a bit heartbreaking, just because I don't want to imagine Sam losing Gene. And I wonder if Sam will feel resentful when the time comes, that Gene, in some way, had two chances to love a version of Sam while, in his reality, this Sam only has one go at a life with Gene. It's just hard to imagine where Sam would go from there, and I like that, especially as you've kindly given us a hopeful and happy epilogue.

I also like that Sam seems to accept that Gene loves him for him, which includes the shared (intrinsic?) qualities in common with time traveller Sam as well as the things that make this younger Sam a different person. I imagine it was difficult for Gene to accept that, too. It's so much more complicated than, say, a widower re-entering the dating scene and subconsciously looking for a partner who reminds him of the lover he's lost. I mean, in that situation there's going to be this ghost between them until they trust each other enough to realize they love each other without that buffer between them. I'd imagine that in the early days of that sort of relationship, in bad times there will always be an urge to say/think "these are the ways you fall short when compared to the person you are trying to replace". Totally unfair to all involved, but human nature. But here you also have the memory of Gene's first Sam serving as a sort of broken mirror held up to younger Sam. The urge to compare the two would be so much stronger (and maybe more fair, in some ways) because their shared qualities make it so much more tempting to say "this is who you could have been" or, worse, "this is who you should have been". And that is such a bigger obstacle than the age difference. So it was great to see that Sam was well on the way to getting over that.

So, yeah. Loved this story, and sorry for rambling!
27th-Apr-2011 11:14 am (UTC)
♥ ♥ ♥

Thank you for this comment. It means a lot.

I'd imagine that in the early days of that sort of relationship, in bad times there will always be an urge to say/think "these are the ways you fall short when compared to the person you are trying to replace"... But here you also have the memory of Gene's first Sam serving as a sort of broken mirror held up to younger Sam.

Completely. Gene really didn't want to do that to Sam v. 2.0, but knew he would anyway. A conundrum. (And one that hasn't entirely been solved, I'll admit.)

I'm really glad you enjoyed the story! :D
25th-Apr-2011 04:30 pm (UTC)
I always desperately crave epilogues so I'm so glad that you wrote one, especially one where Sam returns to Gene, seeming to realise that however much time they've got left together should be spent joyously exploring and finding out about things in each other's company.
27th-Apr-2011 11:11 am (UTC)
I had to write this epilogue. It's my rainbow. ♥ I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you!
26th-Apr-2011 03:58 am (UTC)
I LOVE this series and I really enjoyed the ending. I love how young Sam realizes that he may have sent Gene to himelf at a time when he knew he'd have been attracted to him. That older Sam wanted the chance to love Gene again. I also love how the timeline changes. A wonderful, clever, believable ending to a great story!
27th-Apr-2011 11:09 am (UTC)
♥ Thank you! :D I'm glad you enjoyed it!
26th-Apr-2011 04:56 am (UTC)
Wow. This is certainly an impressive verse you've put together. I love your Sam. He feels just like the real one, but molded differently and the parts with Ruth are really incredibly lovely. I remain a bit squicked by the massive age difference, but feel like you've handled it very well.
27th-Apr-2011 11:09 am (UTC)
I understand you being squicked. I would have been too had I not been writing it.

Thanks so much ♥
27th-Apr-2011 06:41 am (UTC)
There's something of the siren in Sam, Gene decides. He doesn't know why he hasn't realised it before. And yes, he may go crashing onto the rocks, but it'll be with a song in his heart.

*sighs with happiness* Honestly, these lines capture the loveliness of this short final chapter for me. And oh, flying to Mexico, forsooth. The way Sam and Gene are exploring the world as a couple, exhilarated and (at least in Gene's case) a little scared, but fully committed now. That last picture of them is perfect... jetting off into the new world together.

And the idea of Sam becoming a counsellor? This would be such a fantastic path for him. Both editions of Sam can be very perceptive, patient, gentle with others in a one-to-one mentoring situation; I can imagine this being fulfilling for him -- not easy, but rewarding -- in ways that even police work couldn't be.

“Don’t I know it. You really want to listen to other people’s aches and pains all the time?”

There's a sparkle in Sam's eyes as he answers. “I’m with you, aren’t I?”


♥ ♥ ♥

It really struck me at the end that this story isn't just about a 2.0 version of Sam, it's about Gene 2.0 -- a calmer, wiser, far more introspective Gene than the 1973!Gene that Sam first fell in love with.

And YEAH, that these two are now sharing a differently textured but equally valid 2.0 type of love is exactly how it ought to be. At the beginning of the series I wasn't sure it would, or should, go in this direction; but now? I'm 100% convinced. It's plausible, and natural, and right.

This series is nothing short of fantastic, and I know I'll be rereading it time and again, because there is simply so much richness here to rediscover and cherish. Thank you so much for "changes", I can't tell you how hugely I've enjoyed it <333
27th-Apr-2011 11:08 am (UTC)


Thank you so, so much for your support and hand-holding throughout this whole thing. You're a rockstar.

Your observations are always so insightful and exciting.

I am thrilled you like the ending. Thrilled!

Edited for hilarious typo. Oh, man.

Edited at 2011-04-27 11:19 am (UTC)
27th-Apr-2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
*hugs* My pleasure. It IS totally awesome and magnificent, you know ♥

Did you know the O.Eng. word þyrel also means nostril? Hee.
27th-Apr-2011 04:21 pm (UTC)
Yay! You finished it! And you finished it so well!

Of course, I enjoyed reading more and more of it, but I'm also very glad to see it concluded (though probably not as glad as you are!) I don't usually read WIPs, because so many of them are abandoned. This is the first WIP I've read in about 4 years; I trusted you :-)

I think you hit a great note with this one. It's hopeful, but you haven't glossed over the issues and complications of their relationship, or the outside response to it.

They've opened up a senior centre down the road. There are dance classes every Tuesday.

You always give the best dialogue XDDD
29th-Apr-2011 04:54 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! :D Especially thanks for trusting in me. I don't always trust myself ;)

I --- I'm kind of sad to see them go, really, but I also think that it ended at the right time. So it's an "oh!" type of feeling.

Edited at 2011-04-29 04:55 am (UTC)
27th-Apr-2011 06:46 pm (UTC) - sorry, nothing constructive, just mindless fangirling
Loz! But... but this is almost fluffy! You sure you're okay? Fell in love with your own characters and didn't have the heart to break them? Because really, they are all yours, forget the bbc and kudos. I'm so glad that you're getting a bit soft around the edges (happens to other great artists too at the moment, even Ken Loach), and I don't know what to say, other than THANK YOU SO SO MUCH for this series and don't stop writing. And showing off your shiny stories, of course. Ever.

Now I can let my fingernails grow again. Nice.

ps. For a moment there at the airport I thought, god, Sam'll come back and Gene shacked up with his mom! 'Cause you know what they say - thin line. Was that intentional? Like someone above said, if you someday did a commentary version to this, would be a fascinating read. But for now - you do have a big bang entry to write, right? Ha!
29th-Apr-2011 04:53 am (UTC) - Re: sorry, nothing constructive, just mindless fangirling
Hey, I've written fluff before. ;) I really felt that they'd earned some happiness.

As to your P.S, no, that was not intentional, but I love that your mind went there. That definitely would have been a twist! :D

Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it :D
30th-Apr-2011 02:31 pm (UTC)
As I thought you would, you handled it beautifully! This is a lovely end to the story. I adore the notion that Sam just couldn't stay away - and he's right, when you're away from someone you really want to be with, everything else pales. Interminable is the right word. :)

I love this story, the whole thing. I'll write a bit more in response to your notes in the other post, but yeah. It's quality, and thanks for sharing with us. :)
2nd-May-2011 11:35 am (UTC)
Thanks so much ♥

I've always been of two minds when it comes to 'Sam can't stay away'. I tend to think it's better if people can exist without that sort of obsessive streak and can have actual lives independent of their love interests, but, I shall not lie, whenever Sam would turn up and start talking to Gene, I'd go a bit starry-eyed and "oh, they're so in love!"
14th-May-2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
OK, it was only in retrospect that the flying to Mexico struck me as a pontentially timey-whimey thing for them to do... except that this timeline is already deviated from canon, so... It doesn't matter, does it? They're seizing the day, it's about them, and god knows if there will ever be time travel.

Oooh, Sam with a tan from months of travel... grumpy ol' Gene making jokes about the senior center down the road; they're so meant to be in their own peculiar destiny-making way, these guys!
21st-May-2011 03:32 pm (UTC)
♥ Thank you!
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