Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 1,375 words.
Notes: Sam/Gene slash. Title from "Thin Line Between Love and Hate" by The Persuaders.
It started with a punch. Yeah. A strong, fingers-curved, thumb-clasped punch. And the weight of twenty stone of DCI behind the punch. And Sam bending down, down, down, retching and coughing and itching to punch back. And it was so familiar - so like every other time, every other punch, but, somehow, different too. Like this punch meant more than the others had. Like it wasn't just about domination and brute force. Like maybe there was a whole lot of fear there. So Sam had stretched back up to full height and looked into Gene's eyes and the fact that he was quick was something that he could see annoyed Gene, because Gene was still staring at him with an expression mixed of shock and terror and lust.
"D'you want the last bit?"
"You have to ask? Course. I'm not gonna sit here watching you wrap your gob around it, am I?
Sam shrugged and raised an eyebrow, but didn't say, 'well, you might, I've seen you watching before.' He cracked his neck, reached back and handed Gene his beer, concentrating on the rise and fall of Gene's chest.
The air was thick with smoke. Sam had tried to deny Gene the luxury, but had been met with the kind of stony resolve that Sam wished Gene would use in anything other than pissing him off. Sam was growing attached to the smell of tobacco, waking up purposefully burying his head into his pillow to absorb it.
He'd sort of noticed that this was a little bit strange, but wasn't going to examine it too closely and figured it was because nicotine was an addictive substance. Sam didn't actually know if you could get addicted passively, but he'd done most things in his life passively, so there had to be a chance.
Gene sat with his feet up on Sam's chaise longue, slowly swallowing his beer, his head tilted back and his eyelids lowered.
Sam tapped thoughtfully on his kitchen table. "Do we start at the beginning?"
"Word in your shell-like, pal."
"How do you even remember that?"
Gene's face went contemplative, then he gave a small smile. "It's a gift."
"I meant with the case we're working on. Obviously."
Gene opened his eyes and fixed Sam with one of those 'what do I have to do to get you to shut up?' glares.
"What do I have to do to get you to shut up?"
"Answer my question?"
Gene sighed. "Yeah, I guess we start at the beginning."
Actually, no. It must have started before the punch. The punch was the catalyst, the mechanism, the sparking action, shall we say. To get to the punch, you'd have to understand everything that went before - that there had been other punching, that they'd not just been displays of Alpha Male, that Sam gave as good as he got. And you'd have to see, just a little bit, what it was between these two, what had happened, beneath the surface, that had shaken that. Or stirred. Or something.
"You look different," Gene grunted.
"It's not a compliment."
Sam took a step back, extending his arm. "It should be."
Gene walked into the flat with the air of a troubled man. "All packed, then?"
"Nothing much to pack. I'm a person of few material possessions."
"Few mental ones too." Gene nodded, casting his eyes around the hollowed out space they were in. "You sure about this?"
"You're doing that protective bear trick again. Surprising to say, Gene, but that's not your job."
Gene frowned. "Yes it is. I take care of my team."
Sam rolled his eyes. "No, that's your choice. You don't have to."
"Shows how much you know. As DI, don't you care about what happens to Chris, Ray, Annie?"
"Not to the point of mollycoddling them."
"I've never mollycoddled you."
"So don't start now."
Gene's shoulders tensed and Sam predicted an oncoming onslaught. There was very little to keep Gene from laying into him. Only, Gene didn't move. Not a hair's breadth. He kept still, feet firmly planted, a hulking presence.
"You're doing that arrogant, 'I know everything and the world revolves around me' trick again," Gene said eventually.
"Not as refined as my, 'I know everything and you know nothing, but hey, why don't we work together?' trick, but close enough," Sam agreed. He waited a moment, reached forward and placed his hand on Gene's arm. "I'll be fine. You know I will. You're worrying for no reason."
"I don't worry."
"Then your imitation is amazing. You should win awards."
"You are such a bloody bastard."
"And you're a magnificent one. But that's what makes us so good. And we are. So good. I'll get a result, Guv."
"What if it's not the right result?"
It was all action, on the surface. Physical and vital. All manly bravado and macho posturing and shouting, the walls quaking with the force of it. No one got any peace when they were in full flight. And this wasn't a mask, it wasn't just shielding all that brewed between them, it was part of it, an important part, part of what made them click and unclick, wind and unwind. They didn't fight to conceal what was really there, the fighting was integral to what was really there. That's how the other aspects crept up on them both. Sam felt sure he'd come to the conclusion first, but Sam thought that about everything. Gene was the one with the strong instinctual core, after all. In fact, it would make sense to say that Gene had known from the off everything that had been going on, but Sam would never accept this.
"Aren't you glad I came to save the day?"
"I'm always glad to see you, Gene," Sam rasped. Bizzarely, he meant it. The rope around his wrists had him red-raw. When Gene bent down and took it off, brushed his thumb against the marks, Sam squinted in pain.
"You're so good, Sam," Gene said mockingly. "At getting yourself into situations stickier than Joan Sims' panties."
"I did not need that imagery, especially now, thanks so much. Nothing worse than imagining a granny like that."
"Granny? What're you talking about? Not bad in a butch sort of way, Joan Sims. I was trying to cheer you up."
"What the hell makes you think I want butch?"
Gene hauled Sam up and propped him on his shoulder. "You could have died," Gene said, his voice lower than usual, though Sam realised that might be due to trying to lift someone who may be slight, but still relatively heavy, in comparison.
"Thought I was going to, for a moment there," Sam admitted.
Gene clicked his tongue against his teeth and exhaled deeply. "Least you got a result."
"The right result."
Sam pressed into Gene's side, more than he had to, enjoying the contact that was so different from everything else he ever had. He breathed in Gene's scent, the tobacco that assaulted him in lonely moments, the sweat and lingering residue of washing powder. He forgot about all of those things he'd vowed he'd say if he ever saw Gene again. There'd been a list, he knew there had. A remark about Gene needing to bend further on occasion, a suggestion that he might be helpful in that.
So, it didn't exactly start with the punch, but the punch was the defining moment. The point of no return. And before either of them knew it, they were grappling and grasping at each other, but not trying to cause damage for once - oh no - trying quite the opposite. And it was terrifying, for both of them, a whole new experience in lots of ways. But neither of them minded, in that second, because they weren't thinking about what was going on. It was hands and lips and skin, lots of skin, tonnes of skin, becoming more and more exposed. When they stopped, there was an understanding that they weren't really stopping.
It doesn't matter how it started, in the end, the important thing is that it did. And whilst it was beyond problematic from around nine different angles, they were both too caught up to pay much attention.