Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 900 words
Notes: It’s not exactly slash, but if it were, it’d be Sam/Gene.
Summary: They talk a lot but say very little.
They talk a lot but say very little. Sam thinks this is probably a normal thing, for men. He hasn’t spent his life surrounded by close male friends --- he’s always managed better with women. Managed better, but not always preferred.
They talk about football and the latest case, what they should get for dinner whilst working long hours.
But that’s it.
At least, most of the time.
When they say things, there’s always a tightness in their interaction. As if each man is waiting for the condemnation. Thin lips and furtive eyes, expressive hand movements that flower in peripheral vision. Gene is always honest --- more honest than Sam would expect; too honest, often. And Sam always has to lie. Histories and anecdotes; stories that reflect who they’ve come to be --- Sam’s are filtered and Gene’s are brutal.
Gene comments on this, once. “I thought I was the mysterious one,” he murmurs, during a conversation where he asks Sam what it was like when he started in the Force and how he got such an early promotion out of Uniform.
“I was one of the first who learned how to operate the computerized database,” Sam can’t say, because if he did, Gene would simply punch him for being mad, and whilst it’s happened before, Sam’s getting sick of it. So he waffles on about getting a good arrest record and showing great foresight and it’s sort of true, but not entirely, which Gene clearly senses.
Sam spends most of his time with Gene on stakeout avoiding conversation. Not the small talk; the short, sharp chitter chatter that Sam has learnt to adopt in order to pass for human. But the sort of talk that requires him to spin suitable tales that have the inherent potential to trip him up.
He sits, restless, gazing out the window and hoping to see a sign of movement --- something that can distract him from the body beside him.
“I was fifteen when I first kissed a bloke,” Gene says, and Sam practically leaps from his seat, his head snapping to the side so he can gaze at Gene.
“What?” he croaks, his mouth suddenly dry.
“You heard me,” Gene retorts with the barest hint of a glance in Sam’s direction. “How about you?”
“I don’t think I understand the question.”
“How old were you?”
“When I first kissed a bloke? Is that a trick question? I answer with a number and the next thing I know, Ray’s hauling me through the window and into the boot for a bit of cop bollocks Lacrosse?”
Gene fully looks at Sam now, anger evident in every line and curve of his frame, his eyes dark and glaring. “What the hell d’you take me for? Look, I’m not an idiot, Sam, and ever since I met you you’ve been hiding something. So, I figure it’s this, or you’ve a stack of bodies in your back garden. I’m really hoping it’s this. It would make sense as to why I’m not inclined to throw you in the canal, even when you pull crazy shit on us every five minutes.”
Sam swallows thickly. He can tell the truth, or, he can tell a truth, not necessarily his own. He’s never kissed a bloke before, but he’s thought about it more than once. He knows enough stories he could probably piece together.
“I haven’t,” Sam says eventually, aware that he’s paused for a fraction too long.
“Right. Should I get a warrant, then?”
“But I’ve wanted to.”
Gene nods, but doesn’t say anything further. Silence crowds in around them, as the nearest streetlight flickers on, casting a glow and creating shadows that loom and beckon.
“It’s always risky, talking about yourself,” Sam finds himself continuing. “You never know what you’ll say that’s gonna put you in it.”
He flexes his hand, watching the skin whiten around his knuckles, and hates himself, because he’s really only speaking to hear more from Gene. He waits, patiently, like a tiger on the prowl, sure of nothing, but ready to spring into action.
“The last time I kissed a bloke, I was twenty-two, pissed as a newt, and he never held it against me, which is why I couldn’t let him die alone,” Gene says, his voice reverberating through the car.
Sam shifts in his seat slightly, aware of the increased thump of his heart. He isn’t sure how to push Gene, or if he really wants to. His curiosity is tempered by his very real need not to feel like he’s Gene’s sole confidante. It would place him in a position of power he’s not sure he can handle, not when there’s no way Gene could ever maintain that role for him.
The words spill out before he can stop them. “Did you love him?”
“Not like that. You know what it’s like, working together so closely all the time. You forge a bond, a trust no one else could match. Least, you’re meant to.”
Gene lights up a cigarette, looking pointedly in Sam’s direction.
“There are things about myself I can’t share,” Sam says quietly.
“You could try.”
“No I can’t.”
Gene huffs out a breath, blowing smoke that fills the car. “One day, I’m gonna rely on you and it’ll be blind faith, nothing more.”
Sam bends his head down, tilted towards Gene. “And one day, hopefully, that’ll be enough.”