Fandom: Life on Mars
Word Count: 1,330 words.
Notes: Sam/Gene slash. Title from the song "Starlight", by Muse.
Summary: It's freezing cold, so anyone with sense would be indoors by now, curled up with a cuppa or a fine brew; but neither of them is particularly sensible, so they're out.
'Well, this is surprising', Sam thinks, 'we've managed another entire day without a fight. Must be setting a new record.'
Sam isn't entirely sure how it started, but he knows that it's a routine he wants to keep. The nightly walk. He supposes it began as something work related. Or maybe drink related. Perhaps Gene had just been ensuring he got to the flat without a brick to the head. Whatever the cause, the effect is really quite --- nice is too plain a word, and almost anything else would seem pretentious.
Yeah. It's comfortable. Not like a pair of worn shoes. Or a coat on a cold winter's day. Or a well-stuffed sofa. But like an unerring sense of having a place in the world.
He's getting unexpectedly sentimental about it.
Gene strides along with those legs that are, Sam realises, astonishingly long. His movements are elegant, exact, and never strike Sam as being in any way urgent, even if they're quick. And Sam guesses this custom they've adopted is every bit as enjoyable for Gene as it is for him, because that's a smile curving his lips, no doubt about it.
Sam's had a really shit day, so he can't help but feel gratified that he's got some company and something to do. It was his fault, he thought he'd been directing Chris to do the right thing by facing up to McMillan, but it turns out he'd made a mistake, and Chris had almost been shot.
He's alright, is being treated like a hero by everyone else. But Sam feels his error keenly. Due to his idiocy, they could have lost one of their own.
"Never really wanted to be in charge when I was younger," Gene says, peering up at the night sky as if he's seeing it for the first time. Sam follows his line of sight and finds himself marvelling at how much he can see. There's less pollution and less interference from the city's lights than he's used to, and he hadn't actually noticed that before. The stars blink and shimmer down at them, connected in constellations he should really make an effort to learn some day.
He stumbles over a pebble and it very nearly sends him crashing to the ground, so he snaps his head forward again, with an additional look in Gene's direction. "What changed?"
"I came into more and more contact with people who were meant to be in charge, all of them failing dismally. I became convinced I could do better, and since there was nought to lose, I gave it a shot." Gene blows on his hands, his breath jetting out into the night air. After a while, he tucks them into his pockets, looking every bit the casual, laid back lad-about-town he sometimes pretends to be. "But I suppose you'd say I'm just another incarnation of the first lot."
Sam is occasionally too honest for his own good. He concedes the point. "Sometimes."
Gene appears unsurprised.
"A lot of the time, I think you're the best leader I've ever met," Sam adds, and this time Gene snorts.
"Really?" he asks, deadpan, clearly expecting Sam to say it was a joke.
But Sam's not joking, not even close. "Really."
Gene pats Sam's back, his hand solid and comforting. "Funny. I was gonna say the same of you. Or something thereabouts, at least."
Sam shakes his head. "I cocked up today."
"Yeah. Horrible side-effect of being human. You'll learn to deal with it eventually."
It's freezing cold, so anyone with sense would be indoors by now, curled up with a cuppa or a fine brew; but neither of them is particularly sensible, so they're out. The chill makes their breath plume into the air like steam from a train and they stand close to one another just in case there's a chance of body heat transference. Sam finds himself continually glancing in Gene's direction, searching for an expression, recognition, something; he's not sure what.
'I wonder what he'd say if I told him this was my favourite moment every day. He'd probably call me a lazy git.' He walks along for a while, gazing at the glow cast by the nearest streetlight. Eventually, he bites the bullet.
"You know, I think this is my favourite time of day," he says, eyes fixed on Gene's face.
"It's not day, it's night," Gene retorts. Then he does something Sam didn't expect. He nods and says, "mine too."
Sam contemplates asking Gene why. He knows his own answer. It's quiet, and warm despite the cold, and he loves being with Gene. He doesn't say any of this, because it doesn't need saying.
"I could murder some chips."
"Best idea you've ever had, Sammy-boy. There's a good chippie about fifteen minutes walk from here, you up for it?"
They've finished their beer and are about to set off. It's not something they declare or make a fuss about. They just nod to one another and go. No one's said anything about it until tonight, when Derek clearly feels the need to air his grievances and makes an off-hand remark about 'the boss and his little boy toy bandito.'
Sam could punch him. He could push him into the carpet and shove his boot up his arse. He's about to do something when Gene links their arms together and lisps exaggeratedly.
"Samuel darling, I can see where we're not wanted. Take me home, please."
Sam isn't sure if he should play along. He's keenly aware of Gene's arm against his own, warm and there. He squares his shoulders --- doing his Ray Winstone act, and lowers his voice deeper than usual, "of course, Genie-doll, I'll take you away from these uncouth bastards."
They walk into the night air, still joined, laughter following their retreat. Gene doesn't let go of Sam until they're a couple of streets away. Sam adjusts his jacket and quirks an eyebrow.
"Small-minded pricks," is all Gene says.
'Small-minded,' Sam thinks, 'but in some ways right.'
When they've been walking in silence for an hour and a half, Sam needs coffee. They arrive at his flat, and he asks Gene if he wants one too. Gene comes up the stairs without a word.
Inside, Sam puts the kettle on and goes to stand awkwardly in the middle of his living space, crossing his arms. Gene follows his movements with his eyes, coat folded over on the cot and tie worked loose.
"You needn't worry about the likes of Derek," Gene says, "he knows his place."
"I don't give a toss about Derek," Sam replies. "I just didn't want false accusations to stop our nightly jaunts."
Gene tilts his head to one side, his voice quiet and low. "What about true accusations?"
Sam forgets to breathe at that moment, but he keeps his guard up. "I'm not your boy toy."
"No," Gene admits. He steps forward. "The words were ill-chosen, but the idea behind them..."
Sam stares. He takes his own step forward and uncrosses his arms. "All we've been doing is walking."
"That's how you think of it, is it?"
Sam's surprised by the almost coy nature of Gene's question. The smallest note of hopeful anticipation in his words.
Sam closes the space between them, his heart thumping against his ribcage as he puts a hand on Gene's waist and draws him close. Gene wraps his arms around him, dipping his head down and approaching for a kiss. Sam closes his eyes completely just as their lips touch.
It's slow and sensual and not really anything like Sam had imagined. Gene strokes a hand up his back and grips into his hair just as he opens his mouth and lets Sam slip his tongue between his teeth. Their thighs brush together, denim against polyester rustling, as they push close, purposeful in getting as much of their bodies in contact at once.
And this is --- nice is too plain a word, and comfortable applies, but doesn't quite carry the right amount of excitement attached to the action.
Yeah. It's perfect.