Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: PG-13 for this section.
Word Count: 1,222 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.
"The score'll be five nil," Sam said, into his seventh beer of the night. The jukebox was playing Mott the Hoople, the Arms was full of smoke and Sam was concentrating on all of this all at once, because it took enough of his brainpower to stop him from concentrating on anything else.
"Sod that. I know how we can settle this."
"Oh yeah? How?"
Gene pointed at him, the action less than co-ordinated. "I challenge you - prissy-pants - to a duel."
"I left my shooting pistol under the pantaloons in my locker."
Gene squeezed his eyes shut, then opened them again and refocussed. "Darts, you stupid tosser."
Sam spread his lips in the semblance of a grin. "You are so on."
Part of him scurrilously suggested that this might not be as easy as he immediately thought, because he knew from personal experience that Gene was surprisingly good at both sobering up and pretending to be pissed as a newt, but he quashed that part and went to ask for the darts from Nelson.
Nelson bent forward on the bar, lowering his voice. "Do I really wanna be giving either of you something sharp and pointy?"
"It'll be fine," Sam said. "Fine," he repeated unnecessarily. "The real danger would be denying him. He might start on his sea shanties. I hear he does a mean sea shanty."
Nelson didn't seem to see the humour. He stepped back, holding a glass in one hand and reaching for the darts he kept secured on the wall with the other. Once upon a time he had left the darts out for anyone to use. Until that night the ambulance had to be called. It didn't matter how many times had Chris apologised, Roger never quite looked at him the same again.
Gene went first. Sam was glad he had refrained from crowing about potential success when he aimed and achieved a bullseye, but he nudged into him as he walked past, mouthing, "luck."
He lined up and was as precise as possible.
He was lucky he got the dart anywhere near the board.
Sam had never been good at darts. He didn't understand it. He had great hand-eye co-ordination, was an excellent marksman with a firearm, but darts skill eluded him.
Gene leaned forward, almost resting his head on Sam's shoulder. He sang loudly and out of tune.
"Up jumps a crab with his crooked legs
Saying 'you play the cribbage and I'll stick the pegs'
Singing blow the wind westerly, let the wind blow
By a gentle nor'wester how steady she goes"
Sam groaned, fairly sure his ear was about to start bleeding. "Shit, Gene, knock it off."
" Up jumps a dolphin with his chuckle-head
He jumps on the deck saying 'pull out the lead!'
Up jumps a flounder so flat on the ground
Saying 'damn your old chocolate, mind how you sound'"
"Christ, can someone get the man something to shove in his gob?" Sam said to the crowd, stretching his hands wide in mock-enquiry.
Gene went whisper quiet. "You could."
Sam swivelled, looking at him carefully. "What'd you just say?" But Gene had taken another dart and was preparing his turn, feet placed wide, eyes intent on his goal.
It didn't help that Sam got jeered at, although he tried to take it in good faith. Ray was loudest with the insults, and not nearly as sober as everyone else. Gene got applause and Sam got sniggering. Gene won, of course, and stirred the crowd up even more.
"You can't compete, Sammy-boy."
"I can compete, I just can't win," Sam returned ruefully, tongue poking out the corner of his mouth. He looked at the clock above the bar and made his decision. "I'm not gonna stay around for this abuse. I'm going home."
"I'll take you."
"You've another think coming, I'm walking."
Gene squared his shoulders. "I'll walk with you."
Sam quirked an eyebrow, but didn't say anything, just waved to the others and walked out into the cool night air. The stars were out. He usually wouldn't notice, but he couldn't help looking up as he tucked his hands into his pockets and walked with slow, measured steps. The stars twinkled, mocking the murky earth with beauty born of light. He liked the stars.
They padded along for several minutes before Gene spoke.
"I don't know how you can be so cold," he said in a conversational tone.
"Well, there's a wind blowing and I've only three layers on," Sam replied, deliberately misunderstanding his meaning.
"Young girl dead and another one missing," Gene said next, ignoring Sam.
Sam sucked in a deep breath and stopped walking. "I'm not cold."
Gene's voice rose in pitch. "You were play-acting as the sodding killer."
"It's a valid method."
Gene moved close and stared down at Sam. "It's deranged. She was terrified of you."
Sam didn't need to ask who Gene was talking about. He'd seen that himself. Hell, he'd been terrified himself, for a flickering moment. He kept his face straight and stood his ground, though, willing Gene to push this further.
"You were terrified," he said. "You shirk away from anything remotely new or innovative."
"Standing over someone with a deadly weapon is innovative, now?"
"The scissors weren't the weapon."
Sam regretted it the second he said it. Regretted the tone even more. A thread of control in Gene snapped and he grasped hold of Sam's shoulders, shaking him violently.
"You're so fucking smug."
Sam could have acknowledged his mistake. It would have been the sensible thing to do. He dragged his arms up and back instead, fists quick as he set up a guard and punched Gene in the gut. Gene squinted at him through the dim light cast by the moon.
Sam was winded in the next minute, arching over as Gene slammed into him. One arm was wrenched into an iron grip behind him, as the other was torn forward. Gene breathed, hot and heavy against Sam's neck.
"There's only so much I can put up with," Gene asserted.
"I'm not your enemy," Sam yelled back.
"Then stop acting like one."
Gene punched him again, but Sam rolled his shoulder and sent Gene crashing to the ground. This would have been a good time to step away. Sam looked down and kept thinking he should leave, just start walking, to safety, back to the comfort of a flat he hated. He bent down and pinned Gene to the asphalt. He knew he was nowhere near as heavy as Gene, nor possessed of his brute strength, but he had the advantage of gravity and clever grappling, and he held Gene there as he struggled, wriggled beneath him.
"You hate me when I care too much. You hate me when I don't care enough. When do you stop hating me, Gene? What does it take?"
Sam gave a low chuckle. "Don't like it much when you're not the one on top, do you?" He dug his nails in harder, teeth bared as he showed Gene that he wasn't his lord and master. Gene stopped squirming. He didn't move at all. He looked up at Sam, harsh breaths jetting into the air. His gaze was mesmerising, it seemed to say so much. Not acquiescence, though. Not a concession of defeat. Sam found himself wondering if Gene's heart was racing as much as his was, then questioned why he was wondering that.
He got up, contemplated kicking, but decided against it. He walked away without taking a look back.
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