Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: PG-13 for this section.
Word Count: 1,248 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.
He found a quiet corner to sit in. His desk was clear, but it was also surrounded by everyone else in CID. People who often decided they needed to consult 'DI Tyler', or who had a habit of watching him, waiting for him to do something spectacularly bizarre. And, yes, perhaps part of the reason Sam was up on the third floor of the building, sitting next to a fern, had something to do with not wanting Gene to find out he hadn't left the station. Very few people would find him up here, tucked away into an unimportant and largely ignored section of the corridor.
He sat with his back against the wall, pathology reports perched precariously on his knees, sunlight from the window by his right arm splaying across the pages. He had a notepad and his concept map by his side. He had everything he needed, but didn't really want.
Reading both of Oswald's reports was illuminating in ways he didn't want it to be, but he started making cross-references anyway.
The first victim had been taken and killed within hours. Yet there had been a noticeable gap between the taking of the second victim and them finding the body. This was confusing. Sam would have thought that this was one part of the pattern that would remain the same. It wasn't like there had been an escalation in the violence, had there? It had been an equal level of brutality, though directed in another manner.
As he read through, Sam saw that he had been right - Tina's time of death had been relatively close to when she had been taken. They had only found her later. This worried him. The killer had the victims for the same period of time - an incredibly short period of time. This suggested that the killer wasn't building relationships with their victims - they either already had one with their victims or - more likely, were using their victims as avatars for the person they did share a relationship with. They were targetting girls of a particular type.
If they had only found Tina later, maybe Carolyn wasn't the first victim. Perhaps there were others, who were reported missing, but never found. The killer may have been placing them in areas they thought were obvious, but got overlooked. Tina's body had been at the dockyards for a day and they'd only found her because they were looking. A tingle ran up Sam's spine.
If the killer was targetting girls simply because of their appearance and locale, anyone could be a victim.
It all came back to Hyde.
Sam rapidly leafed through the reports until he got to the list of personal effects. He came out of his hiding place with the list clutched in his hand, and went to the morgue. Oswald was more than co-operative, rattling on about the 'fine stitching' on the dresses, which Sam might have found a tad disturbing, had he not known that Oswald always appreciated the small details. Sam was soon armed with the evidence bag he needed, although he had to bring it back, there was still some processing to be done by Douglas and his group.
He rang Patricia and agreed to meet her at a café near Market Street. He could have gone to visit her at home, but he chose not to. He also chose not to analyse the reasons why.
Driving to the café helped Sam free his mind. He concentrated on the traffic lights and pedestrians, on stop signs and the other cars on the road. But he knew he'd have to handle this matter delicately. Even though he tried hard, Sam sometimes found delicate matters difficult to manage. Actually, it was probably precisely because he tried hard that they became difficult to manage.
He parked the car, grabbed the bags, and walked towards the quaint little place he'd chosen precisely because it was warm and quiet and no one from the station knew of it. He went inside and ordered a pot of tea, figuring it was better that way, they could choose how much sugar and milk they would have. He was concentrating on trivialities. Then he waited, elbows against the table, eyes fixed looking through the window.
He didn't have to wait long. Patricia walked down the street, looking harangued and hassled. The last time Sam had seen her, she had been well presented, but she hadn’t made any sort of effort this time – devoid of make-up, unbrushed hair, pale skin. A pang of sympathy stabbed into his stomach and he shook himself. He had to remain calm, objective. He could do that. It was one of the elements of his personality that most pissed Gene off. Sam didn't know why his mind could never stray far from Gene.
He stood up, brushing his fingers down his jacket, and smiled welcomingly at Patricia as she came through the door.
"Hi Patricia, thanks for coming," Sam said, then inwardly cringed. He was making it sound like a job interview. I've reviewed your resumé.
"Anything I can do to help, DI Tyler,” Patricia answered, settling down across from Sam, her eyes immediately glancing around them.
“Would you like a tea?”
“Yes, thank you.”
Sam poured the tea, asking how much sugar and milk Patricia would like, giving the task his utmost attention. He didn’t know why he was finding this so difficult. It was routine. It was meant to be the kind of query he could make without any form of emotional disturbance. But he kept thinking about her reaction upon seeing her daughter, and he couldn’t help but hate himself for how much it affected him. To care so much, and have that taken away. And now, what was he doing? Opening up the wound and pouring salt. Trying to find the killer, yes, but causing more pain in the process.
Once they were both sitting cradling tea cups, Sam broached the reason they were there.
“Another child has been found. We don’t want to jump to conclusions, but we believe it may be the work of the same killer. There’s been a development in the other case and I want to check if it applies here too. We never asked you to look through Carolyn’s belongings, and I know this is upsetting, but do you think you could do so now?”
Patricia nodded slowly, brushing her hair away from her face with a hurried flick. Sam picked the evidence bag up off the floor and placed it delicately on the table. The clothing Carolyn had been wearing was folded neatly within; shredded red cloth with a white collar.
“Do you recognise this dress?” Sam asked, knowing it wasn’t so much a dress as a ribbon of material.
Patricia stared at it for a long time, as if she had disappeared into her own little world.
“No,” she said eventually, voice distant. “I don’t. It’s not Carolyn’s. She didn’t like these sorts of clothes. More into dungarees, something that could withstand wear and tear.”
“Thank you,” Sam said, unable to articulate anything more.
He accompanied Patricia home, ensuring she was with a friend. He had learnt the hard way that people who had undergone a great trauma sometimes gave up on life. The father in the case he had solved with Maya had hanged himself shortly thereafter.
Sam set about making his way back to the station, wondering how other investigations were going.
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