Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 410 words.
Notes: Spoilers for episode three, series two. This is set almost directly after the last scene and it is gen.
"I expected you to be angrier," Sam says, glass heavy in his hand. He frowns, the crease in his forehead deepening. "I wanted you to be angrier."
"What about? Your disappearing act? I'm used to it, Sam. You always think you can solve every case by yourself - but that's not how policing works. That's not how anything in this world works."
Sam shakes his head, dazed. "No. That's not what I --- I was talking about Ray. I thought you'd be angrier about my --- about what happened." He turns in his seat to look at Ray, who's still not entirely there, light eyes staring into the distance even as his lips curl into a smile beneath his moustache.
Gene looks at Sam - no, looks into him - and speaks slowly. "If you couldn't tell I was bloody furious, you're a lesser man than I took you for, Tyler."
Sam screws his face up, licking at the scotch burning away at the top of his mouth. He rolls his shoulders forward and leans onto the bar.
"If it had been me. If Ray and me hadn't been digging away at each other. How angry would you have been then?"
Gene stops the hand that was raising the glass to his lips. He rolls his eyes and shrugs, nonchalant. "Inconsolable."
Sam winces, downing his scotch in one go. "That's what I thought."
"I hope you've learned your lesson, Tyler. We can't afford any more mistakes like that. I'm not losing a member of my team just because you want to score points off 'em."
Sam nods and slides off the barstool. His shoulder brushes against Gene's as he goes to say goodbye to Annie. He's surprised by the hand on his sleeve holding him back.
"If it had been you," Gene says, his voice deadly quiet, "this city wouldn't have slept until I'd turned over every scummy Irish household trying to find out who'd done it. And I wouldn't have succeeded, would I? So be thankful and don't whinge about not being on the receiving end of my wrath. Knowing you, you'll get me good and riled up again in ten minutes."
Sam gazes for a while, acutely aware that Gene is still gripping his wrist. He acknowledges Gene's words with a dip of his head and Gene lets go.
"See you tomorrow, Gene."
Gene softens the cold stare fixed on Sam and pats him lightly on the arm. "And I'm glad."