Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 1333 words.
Notes: Gen. Gene turns up at Sam’s late at night and there’s some degree of grope-like handling, but it’s not actually slash. The title is from The Hollies’ song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”.
There was a knock on his door. No, it wasn’t really a knock. It was more like a thump. There was a thump near his door, so Sam went to investigate. After all, investigation was how he bought his bread and butter, and he’d always had an innate curiosity.
The door wide open, he peered around, and saw Gene slumped against the wall. His clothes were rumpled. His hair was mussed about. He looked battered and beaten. Worryingly, he had a great big gash in his forehead and from it blood trickled down the rest of his face and onto his shirt. He had a noticeable smear of blood across his sleeve.
Gene’s breathing was ragged and Sam immediately went to him, hoisting him up so Gene’s arm was over his shoulder. He practically carried Gene into the flat and sat him down on a chair. He went to the bathroom and got a flannel and some dettol. He soaked the flannel in warm water and went back to Gene, who’d shifted position lower and was wheezing.
“They really fucked you over, didn’t they?” Sam said, starting to clean away the trickle of blood near Gene’s neck.
“That’s an indelicate but accurate description, yeah,” Gene croaked. He closed his eyes temporarily, pain creasing their corners until his laughter lines were deep reminders of the number of years he’d been on earth.
Sam continued to clean away the blood and grime. He inspected the laceration by Gene’s hairline and did his best to do away with any dirt without impeding the clotting. He’d turned on the light but it only cast a dull glow with which to work by. Sam wanted to keep Gene talking, though it was obviously causing him some pain. He figured it was better for Gene to be in pain than unconscious.
“Who did this to you?”
“Lads who are working for Tosh Preston.”
“Who the hell’s Tosh Preston when he’s at home?”
“Dunno, but at work he’s a nasty little bugger who used to be one of Warren’s thugs. He always had slightly more nouse than the others and he appears to be trying to build up his own empire.”
“Yeah, well. That’s what happens, isn’t it? Cut one down, several spring up in their place.”
“Like the hydra.”
Sam sighed and placed Gene’s hand on the flannel, keeping it steady. He knew he didn’t have any bandages, but he did have a couple of shirts in his wardrobe he had vowed he’d never wear. He tore the sleeves off and started making suitable rectangles. He went into the kitchen and got a glass of water.
He took Gene’s hand off, put the glass into it instead. “Here, drink this.”
“I don’t make a habit of drinking tap water.”
“Maybe you should. It’d do wonders for your complexion.”
Sam tossed the flannel to the side and put his newly acquired fabric in its place, pressing down gently. He got Gene to follow his finger, noting how Gene kept blinking and wasn’t entirely looking in the right direction.
The blood was still flowing quite rapidly from the wound, but Sam knew he had to let it. It wouldn’t do any good to wrap Gene’s head up, even if he was getting blood everywhere. Sam applied pressure around the gash with deft precision. Those mandatory First Aid courses had come in handy, then.
“You really need to see a doctor, Gene. This needs stitching.”
“You’ll get an infection.”
Gene coughed, bringing his hand up to his mouth and wincing. Sam delicately started applying the dettol and Gene’s voice became incrementally higher as he spoke. He grabbed onto Sam’s free wrist and almost snapped it in two.
“Sod infections. I’ve had much worse than this and I’ve survived okay.”
“If you can call your current physical condition okay,” Sam said, rubbing at his wrist before starting to apply some more dettol to the tip of the wound. He made sure his other arm was out of reach.
“Oi. No backchat from you. Just because you can run on half a meal a day, doesn’t mean anybody else should.”
Sam grinned for a short time before concern altered his expression.
“Why’d you come here, Gene? Why didn’t you go home?”
“Couldn’t go home and let the wife see me like this. For one thing, she’d kill me.”
“For the other?”
“She’ll have to see you eventually.”
Sam moved in closer, looking Gene directly in the eyes to see if this would do any good to improve his concentration. He spoke firmly but quietly.
“Oh, Clara. I can go up to three days at a time without seeing her. Work and all that, you know.”
“This isn’t going to clear up in three days, Gene,” Sam said, starting now to feel around Gene’s middle section. Gene’s breathing was worrying him quite a bit. Sam wondered if he had a cracked rib.
“Maybe not, but it’ll look a damn sight better.”
“Where are you going to stay in the meantime?”
Gene gave Sam a pointed look. Sam brushed his hands through his hair before tutting and continuing on with his assessment. He didn’t think the ribs were cracked. He hoped they weren’t. It wouldn’t do to have his superior officer die in his flat, especially since he’d expressed a desire to kill him on more than one occasion.
“Sometimes, I think the trust you place in me is a curse.”
“If so, it’s mine.”
“Since this is the case, you’re coming with me to seek some proper help,” Sam asserted. He took the now empty glass from Gene’s hand.
“What? I said I didn’t want to see a doctor.”
“Tough luck. You’re under my roof, under my care. You need to be seen by a professional.”
“You are a professional.”
“A professional medical type. You’ve no choice in the matter.”
Sam lifted Gene up from the chair, hooking his shoulder under Gene’s armpit and firmly bracing his back. They shuffled towards the door, Sam grabbing his car keys. It occurred to him that Gene was going to bleed all over his upholstery.
“So where you taking me, then?”
“Don’t know. Haven’t thought that far ahead.”
Gene laughed harshly. “Good to know I’m in capable hands.”
Sam and Gene stumbled down the stairs, Sam doing his best to make sure they didn’t topple over. Gene was heavy and extra cumbersome because he didn’t appear to be in full control of his faculties. He kept lurching to one side. Sam wondered if Gene was entirely sober. It wouldn’t surprise him if he wasn’t. Maybe that was how he’d got into this situation, started mouthing off or something.
“Why’d they go after you?” Sam asked, voice strained from trying to get Gene into the car.
“Oh, you’d like to know, wouldn’t you?”
“Yeah, if I’m to spend the rest of my night with you, I would like to have some idea of the reasons why.”
“You’d be proud of me, Sammy-boy.”
“Yep. Wouldn’t accept the bribe Tosh made me, would I? You’ve filled my head with stuff and nonsense.”
Sam looked Gene up and down. He took in the laboured breathing, the bruises starting to form around his cheekbones. The gash and the bloodcovered shirt.
“Christ. I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t be. Best decision I ever made in my life. We’ll rid the world of that kind of scum, Sam. You wait and see.”
Sam reflected that Gene had to make it through the night first. He started the car and began heading towards the nearest hospital. He wasn’t sure if they’d admit someone at this time. He hadn’t really understood how things worked the last occasion he’d been there. It was all odd rules and even stranger enforcement.
He knew he had to at least try. After all, Gene had protected him before, and now it was his turn to return the favour.