Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 1,430 words.
Notes: Technically Sam/Annie, but actually more about a platonic Sam/Gene relationship. Based on something we've learnt about Ashes to Ashes. This is the last one for a few weeks at least, everyone. ♥ Have fun without me.
"You drive like a nancy."
"Cool car though, yeah?"
"Cool? Do you belong in a Brando film now? No it's not sodding cool, it's bloody hot. I don't have any idea why you decided today would be a good day to piss about in a rundown piece of shit."
"Look, you won't let me drive the Cortina-"
"Because you drive like an arse, with none of its bonus bounce."
"-and I need my own transport."
Gene looked singularly put out. "Never needed it before."
"Didn't think I was staying before."
Gene tactfully ignored the statement, pretending he didn't know what Sam meant. Sam swerved to the left, braking before a line of dustbins.
"The object is to hit 'em."
"You may have rubbed off on me on some things, but no, I don't think so. I think I'm gonna take it."
"Remember to give it a name. I reckon it looks like a Maude."
Sam scowled. "Stop being a git. You're just jealous."
"Oi! Maude was the name of my mum."
Sam laid a hand on his back. Gene shrugged away from the touch.
"I'm sorry," Sam said. It was a stupid, pointless thing to say, but Gene appreciated it beneath the booze and bitterness.
"Found another bloke."
"Bet he's a complete tosser."
"Obviously. You'd not leave the Gene Genie for anyone else, would you?" Gene took another drag on his cigarette. "He's not a complete tosser. I know him." He laughed, the sound cruel. "Years, she's spent, trying to deny her feelings."
Sam slid another beer across the table. "It happens. In our profession, more frequently than others."
Gene nodded, sucking in breath before pressing the glass to his lips. He took a swig and savoured the taste. All too often it just slipped down his throat. He didn't appreciate it the way he was supposed to.
"Can't go around regretting decades of your life, but I wish I'd been there more."
"Think of all the criminals who've been sent where they belong because the great Gene Hunt did his job."
"Think of all the lonely nights she must've spent, hating me for being the great Gene Hunt instead of a nice, simple butcher." Gene tipped his head back and downed the rest of his beer. "Don't be like me, Sam. You tell Annie how much you love her every day, or God help me, I'll shove a pole up your arse and use you as a flag."
Sam hovered in the doorway, buzzing like an annoying gnat. Gene had half a mind to tell him to buzz the hell off, but he sensed Sam was there for a reason. After a time, Sam spoke.
"So, I was wondering. Will you be best man?"
"I'm always best man."
"I meant at my wedding."
Gene stopped filling his flask and his head snapped up. "You're finally making an honest woman of her?"
"Yeah, well, she finally said yes."
"Which one of you's gonna be wearing the dress, then?"
Sam smirked. "You, if you like?"
"Yes you'll be wearing the dress?"
"No, you daft pillock, yes I'll be your best man."
Gene settled next to him at the bar, signalling to Nelson that he could keep the change from the tenner handed over. "Drinks are on me, Tyler. A little birdie just told me your little bird's knocked up."
Sam turned and beamed at him. "Yes, that's right! The terrific Tyler tradition continues. I've been thinking about names all day."
Gene smiled in amusement at Sam's enthusiasm. The last time he'd seen Sam so animated was the match they'd gone to together. United scum had won and Gene hadn't spoken to him for a week. It hadn't helped that Sam had spent the entire time singing stupid little songs whenever Gene came near.
"Why'd I have to wait for Chris to tell me?"
Sam pursed his lips, avoiding looking into Gene's eyes. "I was kind of hoping I could ask you something."
"No, you may not have a month's paid vacation. There's crooks to catch, as you well know."
"No. I was hoping you'd agree to be the Godfather."
Gene ducked his head forward, speaking in husky, barely comprehensible tones. "Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me."
Sam laughed. "You're such a dick."
"Such kind words. And yet, you ask of me a point of honour."
"Course I will, dearest Samuel. Poor kid's gotta have a decent role model to aspire to. Can't all be apron strings and poxy pandering. If he's gonna grow up to be a real man, he'll need to see one in action."
Sam kicked him, hard, in the shin.
"It's called evidence, Gene."
Gene stopped, raising his hands in mock-prayer. "Oh God, not again."
"Motive?" Sam continued.
Gene continued ignoring him. "I promise you, I'll build an ark. One that can go underwater. All the nutsos of the world on it, so the rest of us can live in peace. I'll put two of every wild cat on there. You won't have to do anything but shut him up!"
Sam got right into Gene's face, staring him down. "Anything beyond your sneaking suspicion."
Gene braced his shoulders. "You never learn, do you?"
He really didn't. It didn't matter how often they had the conversation, it always bounced back at some point or another, déjà vu on a timer.
"To bring Stevens in we need a rock solid case."
"I could do with one of those right now to sling about your head." Gene sighed in resignation. "Do what you have to do."
Sam paced, hand banging against his thigh in tense rhythm. "Shit. This is a disaster."
"With you involved, is there any surprise?"
"Now is really not a good time, Gene."
Gene cracked his neck, leaning against his desk and glowering. "It's never a good time with you, Samantha."
Sam had been on edge for weeks, now. Nothing Gene said could make him calm down. He reminded Gene of the first time they'd met, on the precipice of insanity.
Sam twisted on his heel and clutched Gene's collar, leaning in close and spitting venom. "I am gonna crack this case wide open and whether it's with your help or not, there's gonna be a result. So you can shut the fuck up, or you can meet my fists."
Gene kneed Sam in the balls, sending him crashing to the ground. He dragged his head back. "I do not help, you, Tyler. You help me. I am the one who calls the shots."
A drop of blood shattered against the concrete floor. "Then do something," Sam pleaded, voice muffled. "Because he's gaining ground and I can't see the right path to take."
Gene let Sam up, but Sam recoiled and punched him swiftly in the gut. Arched over, Gene glared up at him. "Well, I can. I'll kick you up the jacksy and give you a headstart."
Sam's voice echoed against Gene's wall. "There's no other way."
"Stevens won't leave Annie or Ruth alone."
Sam stared at one of Gene's trophies, concentration creasing his brow. His skin was pale, there were bags under his eyes. He looked like he hadn't slept for a month and the truth was that he probably hadn't.
"We fight the scum in any way we can. Just, sometimes, it looks a lot like running," Gene said. He briefly placed a hand on Sam's arm. "Set it up, give it a couple of years and then make good on giving your lot a future."
"My father left me," Sam replied, not really replying. "He left us and my mother never recovered."
"Wasn't trying to save your life though, was he?"
"Maybe if we all disappeared?"
"Too obvious. They'd track you down. Going after three's a lot easier than going after one. You can make it convincing."
"There's no other way," Sam repeated, his voice thick with emotion. He swallowed, twice.
Gene stared at him, knowing that the only things he could think of to say were unsuitable, and despite evidence to the contrary, Gene did occasionally have a sensitive side.
"I'll keep my eye on them from afar. Make sure the rent's always paid, that Ruth's always looked after when Annie's at work."
"Thank you," Sam said. He smiled gently at Gene. "You're finally getting rid of me."
Gene stared at his desk, his shoulders hunched. "I'll miss you."