Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 2,900 words
Notes: Sam/Gene slash. A continuation of We Both Go Down Together and Red Right Ankle. Title from The Decemberists.
The curtains are a thick green, soft to the touch. They haven’t been washed of dust for a long time and Sam coughs as particles attack him from all sides.
“I said close ‘em, Tyler, not fondle ‘em.”
Sam draws the curtains together and spins on his heel to see Gene on the sofa, glowering in his direction. He doesn’t look the picture of health. Quite the opposite, actually; sitting awkwardly, his ankle bound, a deep cut in his forehead and grimace on his face.
Sam stumbles over, wincing. He collapses beside Gene, their knees knocking together. “We’re in a right sorry state, aren’t we?”
“Like the after-effects of a late night bender enjoyed by Mickey Mouse and Malcolm Muggeridge.”
“We should really go back to the hospital,” Sam starts. He holds his hand up in a conciliatory gesture as Gene’s fingers curve around as if to strangle him. “Wait… wait, I was just gonna say ‘but we’re not.’ Okay?”
“Good. Now, be a good lad, and rustle us up something to eat.”
Sam juts his chin forward. He’d cross his arms, but he’d rather not tempt fate.
“How am I suddenly your lapdog?”
“Nothing sudden about it. Soon as you arrived on the scene, you became my pet, to do as I deem fit. Fetch the newspaper, chase away bastard cats-”
“Shit all over your nice cream loafers,” Sam bites back. He leans deeper into the sofa and adopts an airy demeanour. “Lick you all over?”
Gene’s head whips around so quickly, Sam thinks it may spin off.
Sam takes that moment to have a proper look at the room they’re in – the spartan minimalism he wasn’t expecting. There are no obligatory vintage knick knacks on spare shelves and surfaces.
“Are you alone?” Sam asks, the words coming out before he can think about them.
“No, I have you here, haven’t I?” Gene retorts.
“I know what you meant. And yeah, I’m alone. No skin off my nose, but making a song and dance of it would raise eyebrows, so I didn’t see to mention it.”
Sam shakily stands on tired legs and wanders into the kitchen. The fridge is actually stocked with butter and eggs, which surprises him. Not much else, of course, but then, the one in his own flat’s bare. There’s bread in the breadbox. Tins of soup and baked beans. The saucepans are easy to find and it’s a simple case of opening up a couple of cans and watching them simmer away as he prepares the toast.
Two plates, two mugs of tea; he balances it all deftly as he makes his way back into the living room. Haute cuisine at its finest.
Maybe not, but it’s food, at least. And not made by old biddies and young dollybirds in hairnets.
The gratitude is obvious in the gleam of Gene’s eye as the plate is set atop a book on his lap. They eat in a companionable silence unlike the one they shared between hospital beds. It’s the quiet of munching mouths, too consumed with consuming to offer observation.
When they finish, Sam stacks everything neatly and rests for a while, wondering if he should go back to the flat now that he’s seen Gene home safely. He doesn’t think it’s possible for Gene to get into any more trouble, but he’s always had a flair for underestimation. Gene seems to sense that these are the thoughts flurrying through Sam’s mind, because he lights up a cigarette and gestures to the door.
“You can go, if you like.” He tilts his head back. “Don’t have to, of course, if you’re not feeling up to it. You could stay here, sleep on the sofa. Fine by me.”
After having spent the better part of six days in Gene’s company, Sam supposes he should be clawing at the walls to escape, but he’s not. The thought of not being with Gene, even during their most uncomfortable moments, unnerves him. Being by Gene’s side feels as natural as note-taking or pontificating.
“I will stay here, if you don’t mind?”
“Wouldn’t offer if I did, Sammy-boy.”
It’s only just gone seven, so there’s no point in discussing sleeping arrangements. Sam closes his eyes and lets his chest expand with air, breathing it all out in one slow, continuous exhale.
He senses more than feels Gene shift closer. The sofa dips a little and there’s the warmth of Gene’s body-heat, but that’s it, until Gene’s lips are suddenly on his and Sam doesn’t know which way is up. Sam’s eyes fly open and his hands clutch automatically around Gene’s shoulders, but gently, so as not to cause damage.
The kiss is forceful and tastes of tomato sauce. ‘This is a big mistake,’ Sam thinks, but doesn’t say. He rearranges himself until they’re intertwined and kisses Gene back as vigorously as he wants to. Days of pent up frustration; more than sexual, but undeniably tinged with a constant flickering memory of a stolen moment under rubble, cause him to lose any notion of inhibitions and lick and nip furiously, pushing his tongue insistently into Gene’s mouth.
One of Gene’s hands grips Sam’s hip and pushes him back. Sam stops, is going to move away entirely, but then Gene pushes him down until Sam’s kneeling on the floor by the sofa, not relinquishing the back of Sam’s head, his fingers entwined in his hair. Gene Hunt doesn’t do subtle.
Sam thinks he should probably start arguing, now - say something witty and caustic - but everything about Gene smacks of urgency and need and Sam doesn’t know why he wants to satisfy him, but he does. He pulls Gene’s zip down – familiar and oddly soothing – and licks his lips as he contemplates his next response. He’s never done this before. He’s quick to learn. Gene spreads his legs wider. Sam adjusts his position until his ribs give him only a dim ache and not sharp pain.
Sam pumps Gene tentatively once or twice, then licks a broad stripe from root to tip. He places his hand at the base of Gene’s cock and takes him into his mouth, imitating the actions of girlfriends gone by. The sensation of Gene hot and thick in his mouth is like none other. Sam’s eyelids flutter shut as he goes as far as he can and then pulls off again. Gene’s fingernails scrabble against his scalp and his breath comes out in a harsh wheeze as Sam repeats the movement, getting acclimated to the feeling. He speeds up, listening to the small grunts and rocking with minute thrusts, until he knows Gene’s close. He swipes his tongue over the tip.
Gene pulls out and comes over Sam’s cheek, startling Sam into looking up. When he does he’s mesmerised by the expression on Gene’s face; skin flushed, lips parted, and a burning intensity Sam’s never seen before. Gene blinks, once, then closes his eyes for good, arching his head back. Moments later he staggers to his feet, awkwardly collecting his clothing, and stomps up the stairs with the co-ordination of a three-legged elephant. Sam doesn’t try to stop him, not even to ask where the linen closet is. He clumsily climbs back onto the sofa and puffs out air. He strokes his hand idly against his crotch, but he doesn’t want to bring himself off thinking about Gene when he’s so close, so he wipes his face over with his sleeve instead.
Sam doesn’t sleep during the night; the sofa is uncomfortable - one of the springs is loose. His aches and pains are aching and paining him more than usual. He can’t stop reflecting on Gene and what they now have and how many problems it creates and how what he wants most of all is to sail up those stairs and fuck Gene until he’s incapable of formulating an insult, let alone inclined to make one. A lot of the time when Sam closes his eyes, he half-thinks he’ll never open them again. The living room light stays on.
At eight he thinks it’s acceptable to be banging about making noise, so he slouches towards the kitchen and prepares tea and toast. Not very inventive, perhaps, but guaranteed to appease. He’s seen Gene awake at eight before, he knows it’s not an impossibility. He sits at the kitchen table and spreads jam with skilled precision, pushing it right to the very edge.
The kitchen is more comfortable than the living room. It looks lived in. There are burn marks and indentations across the table, scuff marks on the floor. Sam surveys his surroundings as he brings the rim of his mug to his lips and tilts it. He’s picked up the wrong mug, gone for the one with an abundance of sugar, but doesn’t stop sipping.
Gene crashes into the room, elegant as ever. He hardly looks at Sam and takes his toast without a word of thank you.
“We should talk,” Sam says, having a fair idea that the suggestion will be shot down in flames.
Gene sniffs, every facet of his response brimming with disdain. “Talking’s for wankers.”
“Yeah. So we should talk.”
Gene tastes some of his tea, grimaces and grabs the canister. He places three spoonfuls of sugar into the drink, then adds in some scotch from one of his many flasks. Sam attempts to keep his face straight, but can’t help his lip curling up in disgust.
“Really, Gene,” Sam begins again. “We need to decide what we’re going to do… about us.”
Gene slams his mug down. “There is no ‘us’.” He spits the next part. “I’m not a poofter.”
“I know. But, you know, there’s a sliding scale...”
“There’s a sliding nothing.”
Sam warms up to the quarrel, spurred by confidence and adrenaline. “You wanted me.”
“I was saying what you wanted to hear, Samantha. You weren’t playing properly and I needed to give you some motivation,” Gene sneers.
Sam’s been slapped in the face by Gene before, so he knows the sting and the humiliation, but Gene is even more adept with words.
“I don’t believe you.”
“You don’t have to. Doesn’t stop it from being true.”
Sam’s nails dig into his palms. The ache of his cracked rib thrums persistently. He takes a deep breath and holds his space, forcing Gene into eye contact.
“I know this isn’t easy,” Sam says, voice so quiet it hardly sounds over the electric whirr of the refrigerator.
“Easy,” Gene echoes contemptuously. His eyes are flint as he stares at Sam. “Very little in life is easy, Tyler, though it’s obvious someone forgot to pass that message along. You have to be joking if you think there’s a ‘this’ that should be talked about. Forget it ever happened, for God’s sake. Let us live in peace.”
“Oh, forget it? Forget you had your hand around my cock, pushed your tongue into my mouth. Yeah, that’ll be easy. Dead easy with you fucking staring at me the way you do.”
“Didn’t I say? ‘Don’t get your girly little hopes up.’ I’m fairly sure I did.”
“Yeah. And then, a week later - just last night, in fact - you were snogging me on your sofa. And not exactly complaining as I blew you off. In fact, you looked almost pained you couldn’t return the favour. So don’t go talking to me about random selective amnesia.”
Sam hasn’t asked for this. Never once thought to himself it would be a great idea to grow attracted to his superior officer. If he had any sense at all, Sam would fall neatly in love with Annie, but Sam’s far from sensible, despite what he likes to think. He’s increasingly annoyed that Gene seems to think he’s only too happy with the situation. But there is a situation, and he’s not going to ignore it just to be convenient.
“Last night was the last time,” Gene says, but the way he says it is far from convincing and Sam can see his façade starting to crack.
“Okay, that’s good,” Sam asserts. “Best that way anyway.” He stands purposefully close to Gene, turning his head until their cheeks are almost touching. “No shagging through filing cabinets and floral wallpaper.”
Gene voices a choked off sound and grasps Sam’s arm in a vice-like grip, clenching his teeth and setting his shoulders. He winces and Sam thinks it’s probably physical as opposed to psychological torment.
“You can’t judge a man by the words he utters when he’s near death,” Gene rasps out.
“On the contrary, I think that’s the only time true words are ever spoken.”
There’s a knocking at the front door. Sam sees Gene’s obvious relief and is tempted to ignore it, to arch into Gene and take what Gene’s not offering by force, but he steps away and gives him space. He goes to open the door in resignation.
“They said you’d gone home,” Chris proclaims from his spot on the doorstep, as if this should be news. Sam holds back a glare and nods, dully.
“Yeah. There’s no hospital in the world that could keep him,” he says, sticking his thumb back behind him, hoping Chris understands.
“Came to reassure you, like. You’re not supposed to go near the station, the Super forbade it, but Ray and me have all this intel, and it doesn’t seem fair to let it go to waste. Annie’s covering for us.”
This is the last thing Sam wants. He doesn’t particularly give a damn about the bastards who placed him here, only that they did.
“Come in, Chris. Tell us what you’ve found.”
“Ray’s parking the Guv’s Cortina. Better wait a bit.” Chris walks into the hallway, ducking his head deferentially. “You look like shit, Boss, if you don’t mind me saying so.”
“You’ve said it now, so I guess it’d be unfair of me to say no.”
“Who is it?” Gene barks.
“Just me, Guv,” Chris yells back, as Gene lumbers into view at the other end of the hall. Sam brings a hand up to his head and rubs.
Ray appears with a large bottle of scotch and brash attitude and Sam bitterly thinks about the joys of male bonding. They regroup in the living room, four warm bodies pumping testosterone. Sam figures he shouldn’t be shocked when Gene offers everyone a tipple and Ray accepts. Chris blames his refusal on dodgy cornflakes. Sam mentions alcohol poisoning and presses into a chair.
“Nick’s still not been found,” Ray announces, downing his scotch in one go.
“Did you check where he’d been before?” Gene asks. Sam would berate him for asking the obvious, but then considers who he’s asking.
“Yeah, ‘course. Been round his mam’s, all his old haunts, no one’s seen head nor tail of him.”
“He’s dead,” Sam says, matter-of-factly. “Think about it --- we know Nick’s not as bad as all that, really. Not a killer. Not the type to wilfully bring about someone’s death. It’s not his form. So he was set up and then got rid of once his usefulness expired.”
Gene raises his eyebrows, managing to avoid glancing Sam’s way as he comments. “The way your mind works hammers a shudder up my spine.”
Sam ignores him. “Maybe Mack’s wasn’t such a red herring. We should look into old employment records.”
“Already done that, boss. Have them all here for you.”
“Oh.” Sam’s surprised and unsure whether he’s happy or deeply depressed. He settles for ambivalent. “Great!”
“And we’ve a long list of informants for you, Guv --- see if you can’t beat some sense into ‘em,” Ray continues.
“How do we get hold of them?” Sam asks.
“Around their bloody necks, if there’s such a thing as justice,” Gene answers.
“I mean that neither of us is in a fit state to drive.”
Ray looks impressed with himself. “Thought of that too. We’ve hired you a chauffeur.”
Gene frowns. “We don’t have the cash.”
“Well, when we say hired, we really mean ‘convinced’ and when we say ‘convinced’, we really mean ‘forced’,” Chris says with a grin.
“I’m not putting up with them in uniform sniggering behind my back.”
“Don’t have to. It’s that deaf bloke.”
“Leonard?” Sam asks pointlessly, automatically feeling sorry for the man who had to put up with Ray and Chris forcing him into an association he probably never wanted to make again, and then doubly sorry because Leonard would have to put up with the atmosphere brewing between himself and Gene.
“Fan-bloody-tastic. Not content with seeing me crushed, you want me to crash to death with an invalid and tightarse here.”
“He’s deaf, not blind, there’s no reason for us to crash, you lunatic.”
“With that wet-wipe? We’ll crash.”
“Leonard should be here in an hour,” Chris interjects. “And then you can get started! Bet you’re best pleased.”
Sam stands abruptly and instantly regrets it. He contemplates knocking everyone out and making a run for Mexico. But it would be futile and laboursome and really all he wants to do is stay where is, making a few minor changes. Gene’s attitude, for one. The entirety of 1973 for another.
There had been a time Sam had thought he was in control of all of the elements in his life, but he’s had to accept that everything spins upside down and side-to-side. No control. None at all. He’s at the mercy of fate. And Gene.
Next Part: Of Angels and Angles