Loz (lozenger8) wrote,

Try a Little Tenderness (6/?)

Title: Try a Little Tenderness (6/?)
Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: PG-13 for this section.
Word Count: 1,565 words this section.
Notes: Sam/Gene slash.
Warnings: There is extreme 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. A young girl has been murdered. Tensions are high, and there's more than one kind of tension.

Sam shouldn't have been able to sleep. He should have been too wired. He suspected his pounding head and concentrated effort over forty and more hours had caught up with him. Sam collapsed onto his cot at sundown and didn't seem to awake until there was the sound of cracking wood from somewhere above his head.

"Morning, Gene," Sam mumbled, struggling to gain some form of vertical.

"Arse out in the air, Sammy-boy. We've scientists to kick."

"Metaphorical kicking, yeah?"

"We could do it with similes if you really want. Get cleaned up and dressed."

Sam stretched, the muscles along his back twinging. He looked at Gene, who had planted himself in the centre of the room and was cracking his knuckles.

"You just gonna stand there?"


Sam stifled a yawn and walked past Gene to collect the trousers he'd left on the chaise longue. He purposefully brushed against Gene in a bid to remind him that this was his territory, but short of pissing all over his loafers, there wasn't much he could do. Sam should have been used to this kind of treatment, but it always slightly shocked him how Gene could demand the world and expect another planet free. He could glare for as long as he liked, but Gene remained steadfast, watching his movements with open curiosity. Sam brushed his teeth and Gene seemed to count the bristles on his brush. Sam took his vest off, put another one on, went for a fresh shirt - green stripes - and Gene's eyes scanned every movement.

"You almost done, or do you have to put your nail polish on?" Gene asked irritably, after Sam deliberately lingered over easing on his boots.

Sam quirked an eyebrow. "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr DeMille."


Douglas was nervous. He twitched. Sam didn't blame him. Gene had mellowed since Monday, but Gene's mellow was still bloody terrifying under certain conditions. He loomed. It helped that Douglas was 5 ft 4 at a stretch, with thick glasses, and thicker masking tape holding them together.

"It's the same fabric as worn by the victim," Douglas said with no preamble. His primary social skill was the ability to judge which information an officer of the law would want first. He had probably had the lesson beaten into him over years of working with the kinds of people that Sam had despised and purposefully steered clear of before coming here, whereupon he'd had no choice but to count them colleagues. Coppers who didn't give a toss about the science and evidence until it backed up their poorly rationalised theories. Douglas knew, instinctively, that the Guv wanted solid proof that Carolyn had been in that car, and provided it accordingly.

But it was the other information that fascinated Sam. The scraps and clues that could lead to their killer. He only wished they had the kinds of laboratories he was used to, with centrifuges, slides, petri dishes, and computers using algorithms to speed up processes.

There were other fibres to be found in the wreck of the Ford Granada; natural and synthetic. There should have been fingerprints, but their killer had both wiped the car over and, it appeared, been wearing gloves. Even the smallest nooks and crannies had been dusted and yielded no results.

Sam started to find himself piecing together a profile, wishing he'd gone to more seminars, had focussed on it more. He had been friends with a profiler, at the beginning of his career as a detective. Tony had talked about the mind of a killer as if it were a model to be dissected. One of those plastic anatomy figurines they use in medical training. But instead of real, physical aspects of the brain, Tony would talk about motivations and catalysts. About reasoning and repression. Killers were always rational, Tony said. It was just that their idea of rational and a sane person's were always different. Actually, Sam had immediately thought that not all killers are insane, but due to the nature of his job, Tony spent most time with the more extreme versions of what Sam encountered almost every week.

Sam wished he had Tony's expertise here. He was floundering in the dark. It was easy to concentrate on what had to be done - the routine and ritual of talking to others and gleaning information that might be of use. But this wasn't a typical murder. Carolyn had been horrendously abused. The killer had set a stage. It sent warning signals ringing around Sam's mind. He needed somewhere quiet to work.


"What are you doing just sitting there?" Gene asked an hour later; half-growl, half-query.

Sam wondered what Gene would say if he answered with the entirely truthful "trying to get into the mind of the killer."

"Thinking," was all he said.

"The rest of us prefer doing."

"Yeah, well, can't have one without the other." Sam tilted his head to one side and glowered at Gene. "Or at least, you shouldn't." He huffed out a breath. "If you must know, I was analysing the scene - the way the body was left. Trying to determine what it told us about our killer."

"What it told us? It told us we have a sick fuck on our hands who delights in tormenting little children, Tyler. It told us we'd better get a shift-on to slap the bastard behind bars. Not sit around navel-gazing."

"Carolyn was dead before ---"

Gene shot him a white-hot glare. "Shut it, Tyler."

"I'm just saying, the killer may not have actually tormented her. The act of penetration was after the fact."

He was trying to be objective, trying to be logical, and Gene's punch threw him off balance. He reeled back in his chair and frowned up at Gene, licking the split in his lip.

"I'm trying to help," he said, doing his best to tamper down his feelings of anger, because he knew why Gene had done it, he understood. Gene was standing there, shoulders rising and falling with deep breaths, his eyes fiercely trained on the floor.

"You wanna spend your time thinking about this, you do so," Gene said, deadly quiet. "But don't talk to me about it. I'm gonna make that killer's life hell, no matter what had been running through their pathetic little mind when they took away that girl's life."

"Knowing more will assist us, Gene."

"I'm not sure you can learn more by sitting in a dank little room by yourself."

"Better this than the alternative."

"Right. You leave the real work to the rest of us."

Gene left, and Sam stared at the empty spot where he had been. He needed someone to talk to, someone to bounce ideas off and he'd known Gene could never be that person, but a small part of him couldn't help but want him to be anyway.

Annie had a degree in psychology. She had also taken it badly, and she hadn't even seen the body. Then again, all Sam had seen was head and shoulders, carefully cleansed, wound in her head and that was it.

He shook his whole body down, standing. No. Gene was right. He couldn't dwell on it. He had to be abstract about this. Cast it in the form of patterns, hypotheticals and trends. He could talk about those things with Annie. Had to.


"The Guv's gonna blow his stack when he discovers you've taken me away from collating witness reports for a sticky bun."

"Non-existent witness reports, you mean? And no he won't. He knows what I'm doing."

Annie raised her eyebrows. "Just because he knows, doesn't mean he likes it. Sometimes I think you forget he's the one in charge."

Sam stared at her, hand paused as he lifted a chip to his mouth. What was this, hate Sam day? Annie's eyes settled on the small red cut of his lip and Sam realised she had been misinterpreting events to fit with what she thought she knew of her Boss and Guv.

"We haven't been fighting," Sam said, explaining despite knowing he didn't have to justify himself. "It was... an aberration."

"So you haven't been pushing him, then?"

"Would it matter if I had?"

Annie gave a slight shrug. "You do have a tendency to make things worse."

Sam's eye twitched. He tried to stop it by dragging his fingers by the side of his head. "That's not me," he said, aware that by now they really weren't going to have the quiet collegial chat he'd hoped for. Unsurprising, really; it had been a nice dream.

Annie glanced at the paper on the table and then looked straight into Sam's eyes.

"What do you want, Sam?"

"I need your psychological knowledge."

"I'm not a psychologist, Sam. I studied it in University. I don't have any experience."

"You have more than anyone else in this station, Annie. You know more about the workings of a human mind."

"Maybe I don't want to?"

Sam slammed his hands against the formica. "Why wouldn't you? Why wouldn't you want to do all you could?"

Annie crossed her arms, eyes wide in indignation. "I was doing that with the collating."

Sam stopped himself from screaming. He clenched his fist under the table until his nails dug deep into the skin of his palm.

"I need you," he said quietly, as warmly as he could. "I need to examine this." Sam noted the flush creeping over Annie's cheeks. "We won't talk about it directly," he amended.

"So, what? How?"

Sam bit the inside of his cheek. "We could roleplay?"

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
Tags: life on mars, rated pg-13, slash, try a little tenderness, writing

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