Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: NC-17, I think.
Word Count: 965 words.
Notes: Gen. Dark.
Summary: An alternative take on part of 2.08.
The others disappeared in short order. He saw them go, dissipating into thousands of tiny molecules, along with the scenery, the backdrop of 1973, until there was nothing left but him. Chris had been the first, eyes wide as he faded into oblivion. Then Ray, a pierce of anger as he bled out and then cracked into all of his component parts. Annie was the last before Gene, fear in every aspect of her expression.
He doesn't know why he stayed, can't peg it. But he did. Initially lying, with his leg shot, and his head throbbing, and his heart betrayed, Gene Hunt survived. And then, later, just lurking about, nowhere to go, nothing to do. Sam, the little shite, didn't even know it, wasn't remotely aware.
He could see everything Sam saw, heard everything Sam could hear. Sometimes, got his thoughts in full Technicolor and Dolby sound. Mostly, he was surrounded by emotion. Frustration and disappointment, guilt and disbelief. It tugged at him from all sides, occasionally consoling, frequently annoying. He'd spend hours of the day shouting inside Sam, trying to get the bastard's attention.
Sam hadn't been lying when he'd told Cartwright he was from the future. Gene supposed he should experience some kind of justification at that - a congratulatory triumph --- 'no, I wasn't mad to think my DI belonged with me instead of the loony bin', except, as it turned out, Sam didn't appear to be his DI. He wasn't a DCI. Gene wasn't even real.
He felt real. He had real feelings. He had a will of his own. And currently it was being crushed by Sam, no longer a physical presence in his reality, but the prison in which he was trapped. He raged against it, battering at the corners of Sam's mind, shouting obscenities.
Time turned and Gene saw Sam leave the hospital, where naught but a boring conversation was made. He was constantly surrounded by insecurity and longing. It drove him to his limits. He'd scream, 'get over it, you poof', but Sam took no notice, just continued about his drip drab day, putting on suits and easing back into the life he'd presumably left behind during the time he'd been an outcast in his own world.
Instead of letting them attack him, Gene started to take Sam's emotions and twist them, turning them into weapons he could use. He merged and curved Sam's small successes into despondency, stretched short moments of anxiety. He had nothing better to do with his time. It changed the way Sam thought and so it changed the way he acted and Gene found that he could steer his movements and abilities with a careful bit of planning that Sam would once have said he was incapable of.
It was a Tuesday when he discovered he could take more direct control. Sam was moping - he moped a lot, the prissy pansy - clutching onto a hot cup of coffee. Gene had a sudden flash of anger, remembering the coffees they had shared, tasting of dishwater and loaded with too much sugar. He thought about how pleasant it would be if Sam's fingers were to suddenly slip and the coffee to come crashing down over his lap. And it happened. Just like that.
The next was a stack of folders perched atop the table. It was orderly, precise, and Sam's hand came sweeping through it at Gene's behest. There was a swell of terror, a sense of confusion, and Gene took it all. He muffled the panic and ramped up the apathy and knew that in some very small, but very consequential ways, he had complete and total control.
Gene allowed Sam to visit his mother within the week and rolled his eyes through a stilted and forced conversation that seemed to him to be as much about absolvement as it was understanding. Gene took the love Sam felt and balled it up, shoving it into a part of Sam's mind that was never used. He let the guilt roam free.
He contemplated using Sam's body in much the way he'd abused his own, when he had thought it was his own, when he had thought it was a body --- drink too much, smoke too much, fuck whomever, whenever he liked. But the appeal was lacking. He had no sense of purpose. Sam had been relegated to a desk job - meetings and paper - and Gene rattled at his boundaries, but never got far. He didn't want to be eking out an existence within these confines. He knew he could never completely eradicate Sam, who was blanker with every day, but still niggling there, staring back at him in the mirror.
At one point, Gene had thought Sam had seen him. He'd frowned and peered closer, a haunted look crossing his stupid, weasel face. The horror had mounted and Gene had let it, permitting his anger to surge, the betrayal close to his heart cast out for Sam to feel. Sam's hand had been bloodied, fine cuts along the knuckles, and he'd earned himself seven years bad luck.
Except there was to be no seven year stretch. Gene got sick of it, sick of Sam, sick of limited resources and little pleasure in life. He didn't want to be whatever it was he was; a ghost of a personality, an additional construct of Sam's. So he stopped all of Sam's pain receptors and listened with eagerness to the thoughts of a return to the days gone by --- Sam's uncertainty and perplexity at wanting to go back to the way things had been in a fictional 1973. He walked Sam up to the roof of the station and urged those thoughts on with unhurried manipulation.
And when Sam jumped, Gene felt joy.