Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 700+ words
Notes: Gen Christmas fluff-fic! Merry Christmas, everyone.
Ordinarily, Sam neither likes nor dislikes Christmas. It’s another routine to slot into his heavily regulated schedule; alongside his quarterly facial, the annual office review, and tax file returns. But he witnesses the ascending buzz to the holiday, as decorations even more garish than usual are plastered over ceilings and walls, with no small amount of dread. He’ll be expected to participate in drunken festivities. He has to brave the shops to buy people gifts in person, as opposed to a quick, researched click.
Sam glares at the tinsel bedecked radio playing Christmas songs that serve no purpose but to infuriate and torment listeners for two months a year. Ray has it set to a station that plays Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis and Sam guesses he should be grateful for small Slade-less mercies, until Chris comes by on his way out and turns the dial. Gary Glitter blasts over the airwaves and Sam contemplates warning everyone that they need to write his name on some sort of register, but he knows there’s no point.
A shadow looms over Sam’s desk and Sam steadfastly ignores it.
“Doth my eyes deceive me or is grumpy lumps being miserable as per usual?”
“Grumpy lumps is being a professional and finishing the final touches on his aggravated assault report.”
“Look, he wouldn’t stop ringing that bollocking bell. Be thankful I only threatened to shove the bleeding thing up where the sun don’t shine, and gave him a light pat across the cheek instead.”
Sam closes his eyes and visualises accidents with axes cutting the proverbial yuletide log.
“The Guinness case. Not you.”
“Oh. Well, that’s alright, then. We don’t need that for now, so you can come down the Arms and enjoy a pint or nine. That’ll put some fire in your belly and joy in your heart.”
“No, it’ll put some vomit on my carpet and anecdotes in your extortion arsenal.”
Gene rocks back on his loafers and stares down, singularly unimpressed by Sam’s attitude.
“C’mon scroogey-Sam, you’ve got to learn the spirit of Christmas at some point.”
“I’m already well-acquainted with Scotch - thanks anyway.”
Sam crosses the ‘t’ in the middle of ‘disreputable’ and continues concentrating on the paper set out underneath his wrist, not admitting to himself or Gene that the offer is tempting.
“Alright then, sod you. Go back to your sorry excuse of a flat and sob into your minestrone.”
Gene’s words convey a casual apathy, but the tone in which they’re said has a crisp edge that Sam has heard in previous incarnations of an oft-repeated extensive speech as City loses. Sam rolls his eyes, shrugs his shoulders - and stands.
“Okay. I’ll come,” Sam intones grimly. “But you have another think coming if you think I’m gonna don pointed shoes and tap merrily across tabletops in a display of festive cheer.”
“We’ll get you cut and see if that’s still your answer at three in the morning,” Gene replies, already turning to walk out of the room.
Sam pulls his arm through his sleeve and frowns as something hard and weighted knocks into his body. He tucks his hand into his pocket and retrieves the object. Sam drags his finger over the haphazardly applied sellotape.
“Shit. I was hoping you’d not notice ‘til later,” Gene mutters, head flicked back in Sam’s direction.
Sam raises his eyebrows and starts unwrapping the simple red paper. Inside is a glass globe containing a miniature, familiar city. Sam lifts it to eye level and peers intently as tiny shards of white cascade down to the base in an impressive facsimile of snow.
“I’ve my Manchester. Thought you might want one of your own,” Gene says simply. He strides out of CID, leaving Sam staring at his absence in perplexed dismay.
Later that night, the snow globe becomes unwitting participant in an argy bargy with Litton and his team, who seem not to care about strict drinking hole boundaries and the very real danger of pissing Gene off. It smashes to pieces and creates a satisfying blood nose in Sam’s nemesis.
Sam smiles whenever he thinks of it and even though he’s been given more expensive and personality-appropriate gifts throughout the years, the symbolic nature of Gene’s present warms him.