Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 2165 words.
Notes: This is gen is the same way any of my buddy cop fic is gen, which is to say; not much, but Sam and Gene aren't shagging. Yet. For operafloozy.
Sam was just at that point where he could still stand perfectly straight, but everything else in the world was leaning off to the left. He giggled as he watched Chris attempting to put the moves on Alison, the new plonk. Chris' moves consisted of buying a drink and then sloshing it all over Alison's shirt, attempting to mop it up with his knitted vest, and then knocking her to the ground as she tried to move away and proclaim she was fine. Chris had asked Sam for advice. Sam supposed he'd made a mistake when he'd told Chris to be himself.
"Why're you so happy?"
"I'm not. I'm just amused," Sam said, turning to view the source of the question; Gene, who'd come to sit next to Sam at the bar.
"You seem happy."
"Is there a law against it? Actually, I already know the answer. There isn't."
Gene jutted his chin forward and Sam thought he looked defensive and annoyed. His words confirmed Sam's suspicions. "Not like you, that's all. Normally you'd be all, 'I'm so lonely, no one understands me, my life is being stabbed to death by a bastard in an alley with a flick knife', and I'd be having to pad my ears with cotton wool in order to escape your monotonous droning."
"Maybe I had a good day? Why'd you care, anyway?"
"I don't. I just like knowing what's going on with my team. Are you getting some, is that it?"
Sam drank the last dregs of his beer, swirling it around his mouth and savouring the taste. "Yeah, I am, actually."
"Yep. She's well hot. One of those demanding, experienced types. Seems strict on the outside, but once you get to know her, wow..."
Gene stared at Sam with burning intensity. Eventually he pointed to Sam's glass. "Want a refill?"
Sam expected Gene to say something along the lines of, 'well, then, I want a scotch. The finest Nelson has.' But he didn't. He bought Sam his drink and sat beside Sam again. On several occasions it looked like he was going to speak, but he remained silent. Sam didn't know if he should say anything, so for once, he didn't.
Sam wasn't the only one Gene bought drinks for. Sam lost count after the fifth for Ray, but figured there must be a good reason he was being so generous. Usually Gene had the drinks bought for him, not the other way round.
When Sam decided it was time to go, he went and said goodbye to everyone, making sure he was in Gene's line of sight when he gave Phyllis a quick, chaste kiss on the cheek. Over her shoulder, he raised his eyebrows at Gene, then spun on his heel, grinning widely.
That'd get the bastard thinking for a good ten minutes. In the meantime, he trudged home to an empty flat.
Gene spread his hands out wide. "Everyone, I want you to meet our new colleague, Mr. Coffee."
Sam stopped typing his report and allowed his gaze to wander, trying to see who Gene meant. Finally he realised, not a who, but a what. Sitting on the desk next to Gene was an automatic drip-brew coffeemaker. Sam thought he may well have died and gone to heaven.
"Direct from America," Gene continued. "Had to have it checked and installed with a new plug, but it's alright now, fully functioning."
As everyone else went to look at the appliance with awe and wonder, Sam sidled up to Gene. "Can our budget really handle this?"
"Didn't come out of the budget, Silvia Seven. Paid for it out of my own pocket, okay?"
"Sick of you lot falling asleep on the job, that's why."
Sam pointed towards Gene's chest. "You're hardly one to talk. You take naps all the bleeding time."
Sam was about to say, 'no you're not', but Gene pre-empted him by stepping back towards the rest of CID. Mr. Coffee looked incredibly appealing and Sam guessed he shouldn't worry about Gene's motives so much as enjoy the fruit of them. It had been so long since he'd had a decent, unburnt coffee, and it might not be an espresso maker, but it was better than nothing.
Sam had never actually spoken to Geoff. There'd never been any need. He'd given him orders, but that was different. Wasn't the same as passing him a parcel and making a joke about how he'd hit the big 5-0, and how'd he manage that, eh, in their line of work? So he felt pretty awkward, standing off to the side, as everyone else clapped Geoff on the back and talked to him about his interests --- apparently he liked angling? Sam didn't know how that was possible in Manchester.
He was dimly aware of Gene coming to stand with him. "There you are, being a sad sack again. Hasn't Phyllis been badgering your tadger lately? Rogering your todger? Binging your ding-a-ling?"
"Uh... no." Sam tried not to invoke mental images, which for some reason always ended up with him handcuffed to a filing cabinet, and bit into another biscuit before continuing. "You know she never was anyway, I was just being stupid."
"I think that opinion's in the eyes of God."
"Yeah, as I said, your default."
Gene had a large wedge of chocolate cake on a small plate and Sam stared at it, feeling his mouth water enticingly. "I don't remember being asked about pitching in this time, how much do I owe?"
"Nothing. It's all been sorted."
Sam frowned, then looked at Gene. He could see a certain amount of reservation in Gene's stance and he wasn't looking anywhere near Sam.
"Have you been splashing out again?"
Gene finished eating his cake. Sam almost went to get a napkin as he noticed Gene'd missed some of the chocolate icing and had it smeared below his lip. "What's it to you if I have?"
"Geoff's been one of my best and brightest since I was nothing but a kiddywink in a shark infested pool. He was one of the few who showed me some bloody respect before I'd earned it."
"So that'd be a yes?"
Gene still hadn't licked away the icing. Sam jittered and wondered how strange it would be if he simply reached up and swiped it away himself.
Gene's eyes finally settled on his. "Yeah. Now, I don't know if you noticed, but I'm not a suspect, so stop practicing your interrogation technique and go dance or something. At least pretend you're having a good time."
"Alright, but first there's something I've gotta do."
Sam was quick and methodical as he ridded Gene of his extraneous icing, but Gene's expression was slow and languid. The corner of his lips quirked as he regarded Sam.
"That's been killing you, hasn't it?"
Sam clenched his jaw, feeling a disproportionate outrage at the offense. "You knew it was there?"
"Was hoping to convince Cartwright to lick it off later."
"Oi! You keep your greasy mitts off."
"Last I checked, your name was not written in indelible ink across her luscious skin."
"And last I checked you were a man of some honour. Not much. But a teeny-tiny amount at the very least."
"You really don't know the first thing about me, do you?"
It was a Monday when Sam realised he had landed on a bizarro world where up was down and down was left. Ray was wearing a coat that was identical to Gene's. Identical, only slightly smaller, which meant that it wasn't Gene's, but was, in fact, a camel hair coat all for Ray. Sam thought he may just be a little sick in his mouth.
"New coat, Ray?" he asked, hoping his horror wasn't reflected in his voice.
Ray must have been feeling generous, because he actually answered. "Yeah."
Sam tried very hard not to sound like he was being mocking. "Is it 'dress like your co-workers' day, by any chance?"
"Nah, it's 'dress like your personal hero' day."
"No." Ray flicked his cigarette into a nearby ashtray and leaned forward. "Listen, it was a present from the Guv, alright? I thought, if I wore it once, he'd be happy, and then it could go take pride of place in the back of the wardrobe."
"That's... an oddly sensitive thing for you to do."
"Sensitive my bollocks. Have you ever been shoved headfirst into a toilet by the bloke who can demote and promote you?"
Sam had, so he patted Ray on the shoulder and went to make the morning coffee.
It was pissing down with rain. Ordinarily, Sam wouldn't have minded, but it wasn't only pissing down with rain outside, it was pissing down with rain inside too. His ceiling had breached. He had all manner of bowls, pots and receptacles in place to collect the water seeping through, but it wasn't doing much to help.
He called up Gene, asking for more containers, and secretly hoped that when Gene saw the fiasco, he'd suggest Sam stay at his place. Gene arrived quickly and certainly looked like that suggestion was on the tip of his tongue.
"Better get this seen to, Sammy-boy."
Sam sighed. "I can't afford to get this seen to, not for ages."
"No bother, I'll pay for it."
"No, you won't."
"Yeah, I will."
"This'll cost a bomb."
Gene nodded. "I know. Doesn't bother me. Can't have my star DI coming down with something deadly, not unless I give it to him."
"Where are you getting all this money from? I've seen a DCI's pay packet, it's not that crash hot."
Gene looked a mixture of annoyed and humble, an odd combination that made Sam feel like a bit of a prick. "It's just money. No need to get prissy about it."
"Oh, prissy? You wanna see me get prissy? I'll show you sodding prissy."
Sam arched forward and he could see Gene's fist coming before it even moved. He swerved to the side, grabbed Gene's hand and twisted it up. He pushed Gene against the wall and kept him pinned. He knew that within a second Gene could have him flat on his back, but Gene didn't move.
"Seriously, Gene, you've been spending more money than you should have in the world. How? Are you on the take again?"
"No. But as you so kindly remind us both, I was on the take before."
Sam squinted. "I'm confused."
"I used to get bribed a lot, yeah?"
"I hardly ever spent it. I used to keep it stowed away. I'm trying to get rid of it before it burns a hole in my mattress."
"Oh." Sam relinquished his grip. "Why didn't you spend it at the time?"
"Too obvious. And it was dirty money."
Sam raised his eyebrows. "You felt guilty."
"We already knew that."
Sam thought about it. He honestly hadn't considered that Gene had given his previous corruption any second thoughts. He didn't think Gene was the type to regret anything. He walked to his dining table, careful not slip, and retrieved the bottle of scotch he kept there. He sauntered back, and offered it with a steady hand.
"Here. Call it payment in lieu of actual cash you don't need anyway."
"Payment for what?"
"Letting me sleep at yours, of course."
Gene gave the scotch an appraising look. "What makes you think I'm gonna do that?"
"I know your deepest, darkest secrets."
"No you don't."
"Okay then, I'm a dab hand in the kitchen."
Gene screwed up his face in disagreement. "You make all kinds of weird shit, but I wouldn't call you a dab hand."
"You like my wit, charm and poise."
"Fine. How about; because it's the right thing to do?"
"Always takes me a while to do the right thing, you know that, dearest Samuel."
"Then there's nothing I can offer you. I can only plead to your sense of decency."
"Oh, I wouldn't say there's nothing. And, in fact, what I have in mind probably runs counter to any form of decency your pretty little mind could construct." Gene stopped gazing at the scotch and gazed at Sam instead. "Get your jacket."
Sam picked up his jacket with a small measure of trepidation, unsure of whether he wanted to put himself at Gene's mercy --- especially a Gene who had seemingly unlimited available funds.
"You'd never go on the take, then?" Gene asked suddenly.
Gene gave a small grunt of interest. "I'd've said every man had a price."
"Maybe I do, but it wouldn't lead me to corruption of that sort."
"I'm beginning to feel decidedly put out by your suggestions."
"You and me both."
Sam followed Gene out of the flat as Gene spoke. "You know, that jacket's totally useless. Would you like me to get you a nice new coat?"