1. The blood and the searing pain are nothing compared to the look in Gene's eyes as he holds onto Sam, resolute, unwavering.
"Don't you ever-" Gene starts, but he doesn't finish. Sam hears the lingering 'do that to me again, or I'll kill you.' He dips his head and winces in pain, and Gene slaps him around the face to revive him.
"I'm still very much here, Gene," Sam says, stripping the words of the heightened annoyance he feels. He doesn't slip away that easily.
"You better be."
Gene drags Sam, bodily lifting him up, his arms strong and supportive.
"No, Gene, you need to let me get onto my feet."
"You're too weak. You've lost a lot of blood."
"I'll be okay. Really."
"I'm not letting go."
Sam contemplates making a joke about that, about Gene's insistence on having his hands all over him, but suspects it will cut too close to the things they've never spoken about and never done. The things that are always there.
"Don't let me go, then. But let me get my legs beneath me, at the very least."
Gene tightens his grip, but propels Sam forward until he's mostly upright, the ground underneath the heels and balls of his feet. Sam can hear his breath coming out in a ragged tangle of emotion and exertion.
"You'll do that next time too, won't you? Actually listen to me for a change?" Sam asks, making light of the situation.
"There might not be a next time if we don't start moving, Tyler."
2. After a brief hospital stay, Sam is adamant he commence work immediately. He isn't one to dwell in chemically cleansed rooms - preferring dust, smoke and grime. Gene gives Sam simple cases. He doesn't say he will, but he does. Sam convinces Chris to offload those that present more of a challenge.
When Gene finds out, his stentorian voice echoes throughout the whole of the station, not just CID. He goes into a two minute monologue, declaring himself every authority figure under the sun, before eventually realising the sky is overcast.
But Sam uses logic against Gene's emotion and insists on working to the best of his ability - an ability that has not been diminished by metal working its way into his flesh. Gene acquiesces to a point, designating difficult cases that they work on together.
3. The hardest of them all puts them in a perilous situation more dangerous than the one in which Sam found himself on the receiving end of a bullet. It's them against the world. They have no weapons, only wits. Sam devises a plan.
"Gene, we need to separate."
"I'm not leaving you."
"Admirable, I'm sure, but in this case, very, very stupid."
"I'm not the idiot who manages to get himself placed at gun point five times in six months."
"No, but you are the idiot who manages to get himself placed under the thumb of a crime boss," Sam hisses. "If protection's the deal, I've no complaints, but we protect each other."
"Fine. But I'm the one who goes first."
Gene leaves Sam. Sam concentrates on the steady thumping of his heartbeat. A minute passes and Sam sees Gene across the stretch and signals. They dive out, together.
4. "It should be away from here."
Sam notices the undertone in Gene's words but chooses to ignore it.
He knows what Gene's talking about, even though they've danced around the issue since first being aware of it - since first slamming against a filing cabinet.
"No. It should be here."
"It's too dangerous."
"We've been in dangerous situations before."
"You're too stubborn for your own good, Tyler."
Sam smiles. "You would know."
"It has to be you, this time," Gene says. "You're the one who has to give in."
"You don't give in to me, Gene. God, it'd make things a hell of a lot easier if you did."
"It feels like I give into you. Every time we don't see eye to eye."
"All the time?"
Gene lets out a breath that conceals a word. "Always."
"Okay then. This time it'll be me."
"Where do you want to go?"
"My flat." Sam steadies himself, waiting for the reaction. Gene's brows raise and come crashing down. "Technically, that is away from here."
5. "Move forward," Sam says quietly, his mouth by Gene's ear. Gene reflexively moves back, pressing weight into Sam and blocking his way. "I need to get through."
Gene spins, casually, quickly, inching their bodies apart, but not enough for Sam to move past him. His gaze travels over Sam, shirt unbuttoned. He smoothes his hands down Sam's chest and eases the shirt away from his body.
Gene traces the scar from Sam's bullet wound, his fingers brushing over the exposed skin of Sam's arm, up to his shoulder, over his collarbone. Sam tilts his head back and looks at Gene through lashes shielding half-closed eyes. Gene swipes his tongue over his lower lip.
"Tell me why I should do anything you ask."
"You trust me."
Gene nods and grips Sam's wrist, suddenly aggressive. He pulls Sam close and everything they've never admitted in words gets shown in action.