Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: PG for this section.
Word Count: 1,320 words this section.
Notes: If you ever read my fic, you're pretty well acquainted with the form my writing takes. I primarily write vignettes. When I do longer narratives, they often cut from big scene to big scene. I'm trying to break the mould. I've been trying to break the mould from the very beginning. This is an experimental (for me) Sam/Gene slash fic, set in a nebulous time during series two.
Warnings: There will be violence and darkness in this story.
Summary: It starts out like any ordinary day - as ordinary as it gets in 1973. And then they have a case. Tensions are high, and there's more than one kind of tension.
There was a spot just above his nose that was aching with the thrum of an orchestra. Sam opened his eyes and then screwed them shut again. He didn't remember it ever getting this bright in his flat before, but the light was piercing. He rolled to the side, bringing a sheet with him, and was soon on the crusted carpet of his flat, scrabbling about the notes from his last case, an empty scotch bottle - so that was where that blinding pain was coming from - and what smelt suspiciously like a well-worn sock. He prised one eye open again and clutched for his watch. Shit. Quarter past eight. He'd meant to get up early and go for a run. Well, there was always the walk to the station.
He didn't shower. He should have showered. Ordinarily he would have showered. But he was still half asleep, disgruntled, and he knew he couldn't be any worse than more than half of CID, who bathed maybe once a month, if he was lucky. He dressed quickly, grabbed a stale slice of bread, shoved it in his mouth and was on his way for just another day at the office.
He thought like this every morning, and most mornings he was fully justified. Criminals seemed to do shift-work, go on paid holidays, and all in all, work slowly. It wasn't always buzz, buzz, buzz, and when it was, it was equal parts excitement and mind-numbing head-against-a-brick-wall annoyance. If you substituted 'brick wall' with 'Gene bloody Hunt'. This morning, however, things were different. Even at the front desk, Sam could tell his expectations of a quiet day were going to be disappointed, but conversely this made him happy. He wouldn't always admit it to himself, but he hadn't wanted to be a cop since childhood because he liked paperwork.
Which wasn't to say he didn't like paperwork. It was very useful. Even just as a distraction device.
There was hushed talking and bustle. Dennis was unceremoniously yanking on the arm of what Sam presumed was a felon, with a glare that was usually absent from his heavy-set face.
"Guv wants me to tell you he wants your lily-white arse in his office right away, Boss," a voice said. Sam turned, looking into a stare that could cut through diamond.
"Thanks, Phyllis. And if I may say, you're looking lovely this morning. That shade of purple eyeshadow really suits you. Bold decision to put it under the eyes."
"You're in for a good hiding, young man, don't care if you're a superior officer."
"Promises, promises. Did he say what it's about?"
Phyllis shook her head, and Sam noticed the tightness of her mouth. She was being literally close-lipped about something. He stepped away, pushed the button for the lift with trepidation, and contemplated the seventy different things it could be. None of them were good.
CID was quiet. Too quiet. It was a muted tone that signified the very worst on Sam's spectrum of bad things. He sucked in a deep breath and pushed his way into Gene's office, coming up short when it turned out Gene was right inside the door, just about to push through himself.
"Finally," Gene snarled. "We need to get going."
Finally? Gene wasn't usually in until much later himself. Sometimes midday, depending on the night before.
Sam placed his hands into his pockets and rocked back on his heels. "How come?"
Sam didn't know what to say to that, so he didn't, just span around and followed Gene, frowning to himself as Gene clicked his fingers for Ray, Chris and Annie. He refrained from asking questions, even though he desperately wanted to. Answers would come soon enough. They normally did. In the form of a poor-taste joke or snide remark. Or, occasionally, a careful and deliberate explanation. It wasn't always easy to tell when you'd get which.
Crammed into the backseat, Chris and Ray started talking about the weather. Gene took his eyes off the road to tell them to shut it, which caused Sam to look back himself. Annie's forehead was creased and she was examining her nails. Bad, then. Very bad. Sam's mind started flickering through all of the types of cases this could be. Drugs. They were a distinct possibility. Drugs always got Gene riled up. Rape. That was slightly less likely to produce this kind of reaction, which annoyed Sam, but Gene was one of the many in the mind-set that rape victims must have had it coming. One day, Sam would see to correcting that assumption. Maybe it was something officer related - a man injured in the line of duty. No, someone would have said something, wouldn't they?
Sam didn't have to wonder much longer. Gene stopped the car along a stretch of street that had already been cordoned off. Two bobbies stood waiting and Gene waved them to the side before lifting the rope and signalling the others to step under. Sam snuck underneath and straightened back up to find himself looking at tarpaulin lying across the ground against a wall. Murder? They dealt with murder every week. Alright, so it was a marker of just how desensitised he was, but he didn't understand why this should make everyone so awkward and uncomfortable.
"Forensics must be here soon," Ray remarked, fidgeting with a cigarette as he shuffled it out of the pack. He went so far as to offer one to Chris, who took it gratefully and lit it.
Sam walked towards the tarpaulin, crouching down and examining the street. It was grimy, a couple of wooden crates on the pavement. The doors and windows of the nearby building were boarded up. Sam reached forward to pull the tarpaulin back from where he thought the head of the body would be.
"Sam, are you sure you should...?" Annie's worried tones asked.
"Tyler. Cut it out," Gene interjected loudly, right by his ear. Sam reeled back in shock. He had just managed to get his fingers around the edge of the blue plastic and a corner came away with him. Peeking out from beneath was a small, shiny black shoe with a buckle, attached to a small, pale leg. Sam stood up and crossed his arms.
"A child," he said, flatly.
"No more than nine," Gene returned, and took a swig of scotch. "You won't wanna have a proper look until the white coats are here."
"Who found the body?"
"Street cleaner. Bright bloke. Didn't touch it, just called us straight up."
"Sat having a tea with PC Mallows, in the café down the road."
Gene glared coldly. "Happy? All accounted for?"
Sam dipped his head. "Yeah. Yeah, sorry, I just wasn't anticipating this."
"No one ever does," Chris murmured and Sam was about to say something reassuring when another car pulled up and the boys from forensics appeared.
Douglas was the only one who had enough social aptitude to conduct a full conversation. He listened to Gene's orders carefully, gave a clear indication of how long they were going to be looking for evidence, and what time Gene should expect to talk to Oswald to get some answers about such matters as time and instrument of death.
Gene turned back towards Sam and the others. "We're gonna go have a nice, detailed chat with everyone who happens to be within walking distance."
Sam nodded. "Anything in particular you want us to ask?"
"Oi, you, did you see someone murdering a little child down the street?"
"The hot and heavy approach, I see."
"Get off your sodding high horse, Tyler, and get your little notebook out. You're my official scribe for the day. Cartwright, probably best if you go to the café and see what you can find out from Sweeper Steve. Ray, Chris, I want you starting from that shop on the corner. We're going this way."
Gene started walking and Sam once again had no choice but to follow him.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16