Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 2579 words.
Notes: Sam/Gene slash. A continuation of We Both Go Down Together, Red Right Ankle, How I Dreamt I Was an Architect, Of Angels and Angles and Billy Liar. Title once again from The Decemberists. I feel like I should warn for imaginary places that do not exist in Manchester. In this series there are imaginary places that do not really exist in Manchester.
The clean-up is immense. No one lost their life, or their limbs, but there are several injuries and several ambulances ready to take those who've been caught in the explosion. There's no discussion on the drive to the hospital and Leonard says goodbye with a distracted wave, as if he's guilty that he's going, but too overwhelmed not to. He frowns and motions vaguely and says he'll be back, early, as early as possible, but for now he has to go. Sam understands. His vested interest is both surging and ebbing. On the one hand, he wants to nail these bastards. On the other, he's too fraught to lift the hammer.
It seems like half the station's there, amongst cotton sheets and bed pans, and Sam collapses into a chair next to Chris and Annie, manila folders clasped under his arm.
"I think these might help," he says lamely. He'd love to give a rousing speech of victory, but his predictive skills say that this will never happen, not on this case. These cases. This whole, horrid mess.
"I'll give you a hand sorting through them," Annie offers, pulling one of the folders away from Sam and flicking through its contents. "Chris, could you get us paper and pens?"
Chris only just appears to hear her. "Ray," he says. A typically Chris-like divergence from the conversation at hand, but said in a tone of horror. Sam frowns and looks at him properly. Chris is staring into middle space. "He almost died like that. But he still goes on every day, like nothing happened. How's he do it?"
"I've balls made of brass," Ray says, coming out of the men's toilets and cupping his crotch. Sam rolls his eyes. For a moment, he had worked up to a form of admiration. It did take guts to come away from the experience a functioning member of society. But Ray can fold his three dimensions up like reverse origami, giving the illusion of a flat piece of paper.
After an hour of rifling through pages, Sam is pretty sure he's gone cross-eyed. He notices a twinge in his joints just as he completes writing out an extensive list of information on the people who used to work at Mack's.
He knows where Gene is. He tries not to think about it. Communication is the key, here, but communication means breaking through Gene's impenetrable wall of disgust and distrust and he doesn't think he has the strength. It's vital that they share this, though, so he stands eventually, making his way to Billy's room.
Billy is uglier with two black eyes. He's also free with a lot of information.
"Old Mack's son," he slurs as Sam walks into the room. "That's who asked us to start it. Create decoys, he said. His building. Why not blow it up? Didn't know you'd be there. That were a mistake."
"Pull the other one, it's got bells on."
"I mean it," Billy shouts, urgent, desperate. He's had Gene's fist in his face too many times to sound anything else. The hospital staff have been paid handsomely for a little seclusion. Sam knows. He paid them. "Let the police deal with local destruction and make a killing in the betting shops, the banks, jewellery shops, whatever we felt like."
"Like killing, do you?" Gene asks. His voice is level and quiet. It disturbs Sam more than the shouting, far more than the punching.
"Never killed anyone."
"Not me. That was Tim. He's got a screw loose."
"And so will you." Gene smiles, oddly manic. He jerks his head to the side and his neck cracks, the noise ominous.
"Tim who?" Sam questions before Gene can do anything else, his finger poised over the list he's compiled.
"Parker. Used to work for Mack."
"Now, why didn't you say that before?"
Sam closes his eyes for a moment, thinking that if he can't see it, the sound will evaporate too. When he opens them, Billy's bleeding again, from a cut across his cheek this time. This is bordering on a line Sam can't cross. He's felt like punching before, has done so in self defence, got positively enthusiastic about belting that pompous doctor, but this is beyond that. This is veering into a territory that no one can come back from. It's torture. It's wrong. They need to know more.
"And the other one, who's the other one?"
"Mack's son himself, Jamie."
"Billy, Tim, and Jamie?" Gene asks, not really asking. "Just little boys, really, aren't you? Little boys with big ideas that go boom in the night. Or the day. Or whenever you bleeding feel like it, ripping people's lives apart." He raises his arm again, but this time Sam catches it.
Gene throws him off, into a respirator. "Yes." He turns back to Billy. "Addresses."
Billy casts his gaze nervously from Gene to the door. "If I do that, I'm dead."
"You're dead already."
Gene wraps his hands around Billy and pulls him into an upright position, slamming into the back of his neck with an elbow. Billy screams, and the wail travels, strangled and intense, piercing through the air.
"Stop, for Christ's sakes, you're gonna kill him," Sam yells, only just managing to stand back up. He heaves in a breath as he stares at Gene. Gene Hunt doesn't do restraint.
"Walpole Avenue." Billy shudders. He cowers from Gene's presence. He's bigger than Gene, but he's also cuffed to the metal railings of his bed. And Gene has the advantage of rage and adrenaline on his side. Sam can see it coursing through him. He's not of his right mind.
"Another textiles factory," Sam says, voice hushed this time. His brain's working faster than his tongue can.
"They're all owned by Mack," Billy chokes out. "Least the deeds on the buildings are, if not the actual businesses."
"But the one in Walpole Avenue's still going."
"So when you said address, you don't mean that's the next one?"
"No. Least, I hope not. Least, Jamie didn't say. It's where we've had all our meetings, in the manager's office. There'd be no one there now. We'd another meeting tomorrow morning."
Sam leans against the doorjamb, his head rattling.
"So tell us where they'll be this second," Gene interjects.
"I don't know. I don't know where they live, they don't know where I live."
"I don't believe you."
Billy's rhythm of speech echoes that of a terrified man. "It's the truth."
"I really don't believe you."
Gene glowers down at Billy and Sam can see something that makes him more than slightly uncomfortable.
"Gene, let's go. Now. Come on. We'll have a long day ahead of us tomorrow, and-"
"I'm not going until I've wrenched every last drop from this dishrag."
"You already have," Sam says a second before Billy can. He places his hand firmly around Gene's wrist. "I know you're angry, but it isn't worth this."
Gene laughs, hollow and loud. He looks into Sam's eyes for the first time in hours and whole sections of him are dead. There's no sense of humour, no brash indifference. Just hatred, injustice, a glowing ember of something else that could be bloodlust. He goes to drag his hand away, but Sam won't let go. He digs his nails in.
"There is nothing else for us to do here. The others are outside and they'll keep watch."
"They won't need to if he's stuffed into a body bag."
Sam smoothes out his tone. "There'll be a shitload of paperwork if we have to stuff him into a body bag."
Gene has clearly thrown rational thought out the window. Or maybe he's more rational than Sam. "So? Not our job is it? Not anymore. Not for ages. Thanks to him and his pals."
"Even still, what?"
Sam can't curb his rising hysteria any longer. He lets go, lurches forward, eyes wide and pleading. "You can't kill him."
Gene raises his eyebrows and walks out of the room. Sam stares after him.
He storms out of the room, intent to catch Gene up no matter what it takes, but Gene's just outside the doorway.
"Your flat," Gene says, curtly. He has a few words with Ray and tells Sam to hail a cab.
The conversation they don't have in the cab is like every other conversation they've never had - a mountain to climb, a stream to ford, a city to rape and pillage. It's vast. It stretches between them and expands, until they may as well be sitting on two different continents.
Gene storms into Sam's flat before Sam can hardly get his key in and whirls around on Sam rapier quick. Sam can't comprehend where he's drawing it from, the endless supply of life-force. He feels battered and used, the other side of crumpled.
Gene casts a glance around the flat and his expression registers surprise, but he doesn't say anything about the moved furniture and Sam doesn't offer an explanation. Instead, Gene launches straight into his barrage.
"What was that about?"
"You can't kill him." Gene's imitation is high-pitched, unflattering, melodramatic, but accurate. Sam can sense seven levels of mockery invested in it.
"I was trying to bring you back to reason," Sam mutters. He glares, crossing his arms despite the broken rib, the burst of agony adding a wince to his expression that works well with his emotions.
Gene snorts. "You're really as stupid as you look, aren't you? I was winding him up. You've seen me do it before."
"Not like that. You were beating him to a pulp."
"He deserves it."
"No. He doesn't. He deserves gaol time, but ritual torture?"
"You're a fucking hypocrite. I didn't see you complaining when he was coughing it all up."
"It's 'cause you weren't bothering to look." Sam tries to slow his words, but he can't. "You lost your head, admit it."
"If I'd really lost my head, we wouldn't be speaking right now."
"We're hardly speaking at all. Shouting, yelling, berating, like we always do. No time for discussion between us, oh no. Just a word here, a punch there, the possibility of murder, but that's okay if it's in the name of revenge. Not justice, Gene, like you so claim, but cold-blooded retribution - pound for a pound."
Sam knows he's pushed Gene too far. Gene's ability to calm down has shattered and he's close on berserk. The bloodlust has returned to his gaze. He hits Sam like he means to murder him, and Sam hits back, striking out for any flesh he can. His knuckles ache and his chin's sore, but it's right. This is what they had before any of this began. The physical expression that said everything they needed to say. It's a lie, but it makes him feel better.
"I could kill you with a punch," Gene says suddenly.
"Do it, then," Sam replies. He laughs, the sound thick and muffled. "Make your life easier, wouldn't it?"
Gene sounds strained, like a twig on the verge of snapping. "You really think I'm capable of it."
"I think you've proved that with the proper motivation you're capable of anything, Gene."
Gene slams Sam into the wall, hands under his armpits, face only inches away.
"Anything at all," he grinds out, then crushes Sam's lips with his own.
It happens so fast, Sam doesn't really know how. His jeans are around his ankles and he's faced the other way; Gene's spitting on his own hand.
"I'm gonna fuck you, Tyler," Gene says, as if it should be a threat - but it's not. Not at all.
"Okay, then," Sam responds, casual as he can. He feels Gene hesitate, a hand still on his hip. "If you have to," Sam adds with a smirk. He doesn't feel as smug as he's pretending to. He doesn't feel much but his nerve-endings coming alive at Gene's touch. How has it got to this? When had he stopped paying attention?
Gene presses a finger into him carefully - considerably more carefully than his earlier actions had suggested he would. Sam tells himself it's because Gene's never done this before, there isn't a measure of concern for his welfare in it. The second finger slides in and Gene starts moving faster, fucking him with his fingers, and that's when Sam decides to wonder where Gene picked up the gay sex tips, or whether his instinct really is that good. Sam opens up for him, finding it ironic that the flesh is willing where the will is weak.
He feels Gene's cock a minute later, hot and thick, pushing past his resistance. Sam irrationally thinks about how this is stranger than 1973. It hurts like 1973 hurts - makes him feel vulnerable, out of place. But it's also amazing like 1973 is, unexpectedly amazing, and at the same time as being out of place, he fits. The best kind of contradiction; one that constantly surprises. It takes time for Gene to ease completely into him, more time than Sam was expecting would be taken. He clenches and his breath catches in his throat as Gene pulls out.
"Admit it - this is what you really want," Gene spits, fury and lust converging to give his voice a gravelled edge Sam has never heard before.
Sam wants to disagree, but can't. A part of him he can't control is relishing it. His body is responding in ways he didn't know were possible. His heart batters five times the acceptable rate and his muscles are at once tense and relaxed. This is what he really wants.
Gene drives in brutally and Sam drives back, fingernails scrabbling at the wallpaper. With an energy Sam can't explain the origin of, Gene rants and moves at the same time. He punctuates every three words with a hard thrust, and Sam listens to it, loves that Gene's finally talking to him. His arousal crescendos as Gene shifts against him, within him, with him. He meets his movements, as active as Gene is, the palms of his hands now set against the wall as he uses it for leverage.
"We almost blew up again today, Tyler. That makes a total of four times since I've known you that my life's been jeopardised by bastards with bombs. That's not even mentioning guns, knives, and your incredibly long fucking speeches. I can only conclude you're a dangerous man."
Sam can hardly think straight, but he grits his teeth, fire licking up his spine. "You love danger," he manages. "You thrive on it."
There's no verbal answer. Gene roughly fists Sam's cock and presses his lips to Sam's sweat-slick neck, slowing down for a series of long strokes. Sam keens, his throat scratched and dry. It's so good. He had no idea. Gene picks up the pace again, going harder and faster. His breath's hot and brushes against the fine hairs where his lips just were. The solid heat of his chest rubs against Sam's back, shirt buttons grazing against polyester. And he pushes, he presses, at just the right angle.
Sam comes with a shout, the feeling so intense everything in him weakens, not just the muscles in his legs. His resolve. His need to always be right. They all dissipate. Gene follows shortly after, clutching onto Sam's shoulder as he shudders for the last time.
They disentangle and don't look each other as they clean up. Gene leaves without a word.
Next Part: The Sporting Life