Loz (lozenger8) wrote,

Can't Explain this Feeling

Title: Can't Explain this Feeling
Fandom: Life on Mars
Rating: G
Word Count: 1,100 words.
Notes: Buddy-cop Sam & Gene. Written as commentfic for duckyone
Summary: Gene tells Sam how he feels about him.

Now, Sam was faced with a dilemma. Whole days would go by when he would wonder; should he have responded? And if so, how? Should he still respond? If so, how?

When Gene first told him he loved him, Sam almost choked to death on a cheese cube. To say that this was unexpected would be an understatement on par with 'it's best not to stick your head in a fire', or 'no one would mistake Chris for an astrophysicist.' Sam could honestly say he had never once anticipated that Gene would look at a medium-rare steak with pepper sauce set in front of him and say, "you know, there are times I love you."

Sam regretted his habit of eating whilst cooking as he doubled over and felt heat rise up the back of his neck and over his face, even though his current state did seem oddly appropriate as a response. Death by Gene. Well, he always figured it was a possibility, although he'd thought Gene was above suffocation by proxy and more into manual operation. Something that felt like a brick was dropped onto his back from a great height, and Sam realised Gene was patting him, trying to help him dislodge the fromage de la mort. He coughed and spluttered and eventually the cheese sailed out of his mouth with a pint of spittle and joined the usual debris on his floor. Sam collapsed onto the nearby dining chair and looked at his prepared chicken salad resting on the kitchenette counter in dismay and distrust.

"Still alive?" Gene asked, pointedly taking a large wedge of beef and wrapping his lips around it with relish.

"Just about."

Gene continued chewing, and then, "What happened? Did it go down the wrong way?"

"Yeah, had a bit of a shock, that's all," Sam replied.

Gene took a moment to frown as he walked back to the dining table, quite obviously scanning his memory to divine the source of surprise, before settling on his words before Sam's untimely accident.

"Because I said I loved you?"

Sam stared at this, wondering when he had arrived in the topsy turvy land where clouds were made of lead, cats barked, and Gene used the word 'love' in connection to him; not just once, but twice.

Gene didn't let him respond. "If it makes you feel any better, there are times I hate you too." He scooped up some green beans with his steak and raised the fork with nonchalant grace. Sam opened his mouth to speak, but no sound came out.


That was the beginning of the end, really. The end of what, Sam wasn't sure, but it certainly held a note of finality. Perhaps the end of allowing aggression to take over every discussion, of thinking that everything Gene did was done purposefully to spite him. Sam stopped scowling at his enjoyment of a man who had no qualms about offending anyone, even during highly sensitive moments. Arguments were still waged, punches still thrown, but not only for the sake of the argument.

And Sam knew he was attaching undue importance to an offhand remark that was likely meant as a joke, but, well, Gene loved him. Not many people had done that. And only two before Gene had admitted it.

Now, Sam was faced with a dilemma. Whole days would go by when he would wonder; should he have responded? And if so, how? Should he still respond? If so, how?

His own declaration would come across as cack-handed and naff (he could see the scene now. "Gene, I love you." "And so you sodding well should. Anything else you'd like to declare, Valentino, or should I put the cork in it now?) He couldn't bring himself to organise a rendezvous with City players --- and even if he could, there was no way he'd manage it without Gene knowing. And buying tickets to Roger Whittaker felt almost like dancing with the devil.

Sam was stuck. An impromptu piss-up? A fine single malt? A new silver hipflask? All aiding a vice he'd rather not encourage, if truth be told. How about something simpler; another home-cooked meal. But this was either no different from what they'd always done after a long and onerous stakeout, or would seem like Sam had misinterpreted Gene's words for signifying more than friendly affection.

"You've been strange," Gene said, a full two weeks after the earth-tipping, mind-whirling exchange that had Sam looking for Jeremy Beadle and hidden cameras, and treading on eggshells. "Stranger than usual, which is about as strange as any man can stand before he seriously contemplates getting someone committed."

"I'm not wearing a tin-hat, you've got to give me that."

"I'm not giving you anything until you tell me what's crawled up your arse."

Sam took a deep breath. "You have, if you must know."

"Funny. I don't remember that. I'm fairly sure I would."

"Gene, when you think of me, what d'you think? That tosser Tyler? That stupid little prick? Him, with the airs and graces? Because I used to think that's how you'd label me, in your mind. Oh look, he's speaking again, that odious nerk. And I could handle that. I understood it. We drive each other up the wall and that seems right. But if you love me, even just enough to joke that you do, well --- are we actually friends, then? Best friends?"

Gene stared, eyes wider than Sam had ever seen them before. He seemed to collect himself after a few seconds of silence, and with an arched eyebrow and plenty of mockery, he said, "Oh look, he's speaking again, that stupid, odious tosser Tyler, with the pea-sized brain and astounding ability to turn a simple turn of phrase into an existential crisis."

Sam supposed his crestfallen expression must have been more than obvious, as Gene lessened his incredulity and gave him a forceful pat on the shoulder. "When I think about you, I don't use labels. I don't just refer to you as the latest in a long line of insults. And I shouldn't have to tell you that we're friends, Sam. D'you really think I'd let you get away with half the shit you do if we weren't? In some ways you're my best friend, in others you're my worst enemy --- and I don't know about you, but I wouldn't change that."

Sam nodded, once, thought some more about it, realised he had been taking it all far too seriously. "I wouldn't either." The corners of his lips twitched. "For the record, I love you too."

"For the record, I never need to hear that again."

"Fine by me. But I do. Deeply."

"Yeah, yeah, Casanova. If you really mean it, you'll make me another one of your steaks tonight. This time with a mushroom sauce, and mash, and peas. And those little twirly carrot stick things that no doubt take you hours."

"It's a date."

"No it's not."

"It so is."

"It isn't!"

"Will you bring the dessert?"

"I hate you."

Tags: buddy cop, life on mars, rated g, writing

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