Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: PG-13 for this section.
Word Count: 1462 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 headache that greeted Sam into the world just after sunrise wasn't quite as bad as the nausea that accompanied it. He crawled out of the cot and into an upright position only for his stomach to lurch and a spot just behind his eyes to start pounding.
He hadn't had that much to drink, had he? Maybe he had. Maybe he hadn't and was coming down with influenza. Maybe it didn't matter, because he still had to go into work, and was, in fact, almost looking forward to going into work because he had a clear direction.
He got ready and walked to the station, ignoring the twisting in his guts and the throbbing in his skull. He was the first in CID, taking it upon himself to get the tea and coffee sent up from the canteen and a window or two open. He shuffled around the office, trying to decide if he should begin by writing more for his profile or drawing up a list for shops to call, considering they both had to be done.
He settled on the list and sat with the telephone directory, thumbing through the pages until he reached the ones he wanted. He'd start by calling, then, if he felt it warranted it, he'd visit personally. So far, he still had no idea what type of person they were looking for, and was worried he might put suggestion in people's minds were he to throw random descriptions about.
Gene arrived twenty minutes later, raising his eyebrows in surprise upon seeing Sam sat at his desk.
"It's early," he said, as if this was a paragraph-long discussion with interrogation, explanation and repetition.
"Yes," Sam responded. He distracted himself from the awkward moment by rolling his pen between his fingers, not daring himself to stare at Gene; who looked healthier, more like his old self, tie just loose as usual and slung slightly to the left.
"Has there been any more news?"
"No one's come to tell me. Have they told you?"
"Guess not, then."
Sam rubbed at his neck, cricking it to the side. "I'm writing up a catalogue of clothing stores I can contact."
"Good idea. I'm gonna go have another chat with forensics, see if I can't hurry them along a little."
"If you harass them too much, you'll make it worse."
"And if I don't, they'll get complacent."
Of all the places Sam missed, the high-tech laboratories of 2006 were close to the top of the list. They might have already solved this case with better equipped and finer resourced SOCOs. As it was, they were relying upon apparatus that seemed archaic to Sam's mind, and solid methodology, but slow processes. It might not take a single day to get a DNA result, as often suggested in fiction, but at least it existed as a viable path. He'd have to wait 11 years for anyone to think of it, and he was sure there was something that the killer had missed; they simply wouldn't be taking the same precautions a likeminded villain of his era would, would they?
Not that he could say that, since, according to Gene and everyone else, they weren't just in keeping with the times, they were advanced, ahead of the curve. It was frustrating in the kind of way Sam could never entirely reconcile with himself. There were some things he was only too happy to have left behind --- or forward --- but not this.
"Just be gentle, yeah?" Sam asked, thinking about Douglas and his deer-in-the-headlights reaction to Gene.
"I can be positively tender when the need calls for it," Gene said with what Sam could swear was a smile. Sam bit down on his returning smirk and gave a goodbye gesture.
He grabbed a mug of coffee and walked back to his desk, almost colliding with Geoff.
"Morning, Geoff. What're you up to today?"
"Guv wants a couple of us to go interview teachers at Crumpsall Lane on the quiet like."
"Good luck, you never know, you might alight upon that one salient fact that cracks this case wide open."
Geoff didn't say anything, pressing his lips into a thin line that suggested he disagreed. Sam expected he'd given up on expressing negative opinions aloud through rigorous social conditioning working under Gene's rule. He didn't actively consider that Geoff might just think he was an idiot, although the thought lurked at the back of his mind.
He watched as Geoff grabbed his own coffee and scanned his list of numbers and addresses. He'd start with the small shops first. He picked up the phone.
"Jenny's Dresses, this is Jenny speaking, how may I help you?"
"Hi, this is DI Sam Tyler, I'm making routine enquiries regarding the sale of dresses in your store; has anyone with the past month or so made a bulk purchase of identical items?"
"Not to my knowledge, but I do have a new girl working for me. It'd be just like her not to tell me. I can ask her if you want?"
"Just give me a moment."
Sam rolled his eyes up the ceiling, coiling the telephone wire around his wrist. He didn't like waiting. He wanted quick answers and quicker action.
"Sorry," Jenny said, "no more than three items bought at once, and all of them different dresses in different styles."
"Right, thanks anyway," Sam said, attempting to inject warmth into his voice.
Three hours later and Sam was beginning to question his wisdom. Perhaps the killer had great foresight and bought the clothes one at a time? Maybe they went to multiple versions of the same shop?
He was about to pick up the receiver for what felt like the nine hundredth time when the phone rang. He glared at it for a moment, then hovered his hand, before finally picking it up with a rash, jerky movement.
"DI Sam Tyler speaking."
"Not the wisest thing you've ever done, is it? Bringing your target to the station?"
Sam recognised the voice. He cleared his throat and considered his words carefully. "What wasn't wise about it?"
"You don't want him to know what you're up to, do you?"
"And what would that be?"
"Keep your cover, Sam. Don't let him know you're the one responsible. Don't call back."
Sam opened his mouth to yell, but the other end of the line clicked off and he was stuck staring at the receiver again. Morgan. Morgan was saying he had a cover. That he was responsible. What for? Why did this man Sam had never met think they had an ongoing relationship? And what exactly did that relationship entail?
Sam decided to take a break, not feeling up for more crushing disappointment. He wandered to the canteen for another pot of coffee and was pleased when he saw the softly smiling face of Annie. She beckoned for him to sit next to her and he did so gladly.
"How're you going?" Sam asked, noting the colour in her cheeks.
"I'm doing okay," Annie said, nodding, hearing the concern in the question. "I've been keeping myself busy, every little bit helps."
"Yeah, same. I've been ringing about the clothes the victims wore."
"Chris told me they weren't the victim's clothes. Have you checked that they're not home-sewn?"
Sam frowned and then slapped a hand against his head. "No. Shit. It didn't even occur to me."
"That's why we need more women in CID."
"That's completely sexist, Annie."
"To you maybe. I'm saying we can't rely upon a man to think with any common sense."
Sam gave a wry tilt of his head. "How would I tell if they're home-sewn?"
"Well, first of all, there'd be no labels. Would you like me to look at them and tell you what I think?"
"That'd be excellent. Though I reckon Oswald's going to blow his stack." Sam bit into a custard tart and found it thick and unappealing against his palate. His spit it back out into a napkin and ducked his head forward self-consciously. "Annie, are we alright?"
"Why wouldn't we be?"
"You've been… distant, lately. I was worried I'd done something to offend you."
"You haven't offended me, it's nothing like that."
Sam looked into Annie's eyes, searching, but she was avoiding his gaze. "Then what is it?"
Annie didn't answer for a long time, but eventually she spoke with a faltering pace that made Sam feel these were difficult words for her to say. "Sometimes you scare me, Sam. There are moments when I look at you I think I'm looking at more than one person. It terrifies me."
Sam took another sip of coffee and nodded dully. Sometimes he terrified himself.
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