Fandom: Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes
Word Count: 1000 words, excluding titles.
Notes: My entry into fawsley and elfbert's drabble challenge, which is to take a Bowie album and base drabbles on the songs contained therein. Spoilers for the final episode of Life on Mars and the premise of Ashes to Ashes.
1. "It's No Game (No. 1)"
Tyler has complexes, Tyler has neuroses, Tyler's settled down considerably since the incident with Morgan, but not completely. Tyler may not be 'Tyler' at all. Gene still sees flickers of the madman who used to reside within his skin, dashing across his eyes when he's tense or nervous. He's always about now, never about when, sometimes about then. He rants and he forces and he gets results, has done for years. Results aren't enough. Stability and reliability go a long way. Never thought he'd think that, let alone say it. When he tries to drill it into Tyler, there's silence.
2. "Up the Hill Backwards"
This was meant to be his salvation, his life, his home, but he's boxed in on all sides by possibilities and probabilities. Could this happen?/Did this happen? He stumbles over his words, willing himself not to say that thing, or this thing, or anything incriminating. A stutter here, a swallow there, and he's caught in some kind of twisted aphasia. Everything, every last, little word, is the opposite of truth, but he's never felt more true. And it's not the time, it's not them, it's not even the future. It's him. Always him. He's wrong, can't grasp at reality.
3. "Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps)"
"They have to be stopped."
"I could stop them."
"If you think so."
"It's a nightmare, Sam. It's a risk."
"So? You don't care about risks and neither do I."
"This isn't the same as a bump in the night. They mean business, have done from the start."
"And you think I don't? Mean business?"
"I don't care what you mean. I care what happens. And this would be..."
"Doing whatever it takes."
"Suicide doesn't deter me. I know what I'm doing. What I need to do."
"But you want my approval."
"I need it."
4. "Ashes to Ashes"
It was Sam that brought him back from the brink. And Sam that will send him back there again. He gave up on hope, on belief, on trust, only to find them wrenched out of him once more with prissy words and prissier punches. Sam may well be the addiction he can't shake. Yet Sam wants to take it all away, everything they've built, on the off-chance, on a whim, on something so dangerous, it makes Gene's heart stop. And Gene can't let that happen, but senses he has no choice. This could be the end of them. Of everything.
He does not keep up with the times, has never kept up with them and doesn't feel the need to. He does his job, instead.
"You can't do it like that anymore," Sam yells. Gene ignores him, throwing the punch. "For God's sakes, Gene, it's the 80s. Someone could make a report about you, and that would be it. You'd be done for."
"Who? You? Is that how you're gonna succeed? Your final victory? And I do mean final, Tyler."
"No. This isn't a competition."
"Could've fooled me."
"I just wanna do something right, is that too much to ask?"
6. "Teenage Wildlife"
Gene finally says he can do it and that's all Sam needs to hear. He sets the cogs in motion and watches and listens carefully. It's almost like he's young again - and he is, of course, out there, close to being a teenager with teenage dreams and aspirations, many of which revolve around his current life, but not quite. Because he never would have anticipated this, never thought he'd be so hell bent on tearing his life apart, but he has to, because he has to know. Is he trapped, forever? Can he be shot down? And will he scream?
7. "Scream Like a Baby"
There is no body, there never will be. It shouldn't matter, but it does. He didn't see him fall, and if he squeezes his eyes shut, he can pretend nothing's happened.
Sam's somewhere else for a short time, that's all. Somewhere safe.
He never really knew him. He never really knew a thing, could only guess and wonder, and he guessed and wondered a lot.
He wants to yell and rattle and shake and scream - saying that knowing doesn't mean anything, believing is more important.
But he's not even sure he can believe anymore. He's lost him. He's lost them.
8. "Kingdom Come"
He's not sure when he makes the decision that he has to leave. He simply does. He decides, this is it. As soon as the bullet isn't shot from the barrel. He leaves. Without a goodbye. In his weaker moments, he wishes he had the courage.
He won't be forgiven, but he doesn't want to be. Forgiveness is for others, who ask for it, who work for it. He works for something quite different, always has done. It sets him apart from everyone else; that's his price.
Sam turns his back on the ones he loves and runs far away.
9. "Because You're Young"
No more dwelling on could-have-beens or should-have-beens. A life is there to be lead. The routine of a day gets him through, gives him something to concentrate on, until some days there's nothing but that - that driving necessity. It helps him keep his sanity, forget the withdrawal symptoms, and things can be almost normal again, except they never have been. He's not broken, he's not cracked, because he's stronger than even he anticipated. The cuts and scrapes have laced his skin with scars, but little else. At least, this is what he repeats, over and over, into an empty glass.
10. "It's No Game (No. 2)"
Drake has complexes, Drake has neuroses, Drake may never settle down. She sees monsters where there are none, clowns in serious situations. She's certifiable. He tries not to notice, because it's startlingly familiar, but he can't help it as she rambles on about the world not being the place it should be, that it needs to change, for them, for all those small people. Life as they know it will one day break into many varied pieces. And he doesn't think he'll ever understand, but perhaps he doesn't have to. He does understand one thing - Drake doesn't even get results.