Word Count: 885 words.
Notes: Sam/Gene, written for the 'sober challenge' over at 1973flashfic. Title from the song ‘Alcohol’ by Barenaked Ladies.
Summary: A snapshot of a night Sam doesn’t exactly remember.
There are things he doesn’t remember about the night. Everything’s disjointed and time has elided and he has no fucking idea what he said and did during several hours of his life. This is the worst part. He finds it hard enough to self-censor when he’s completely compos mentis, let alone when he’s cut. Some days it takes all his willpower not to scream with frustration over how slow everything is, how much he misses modern technology. They’re gonna know he’s mad.
He shouldn’t care about that, but for some reason, he does.
He’s aware he’s lying in dampness and hopes it isn’t his own vomit, though he guesses it’d be small mercy that he didn’t choke to death. When he looks, eyes stinging with movement, he realises it’s water. There’s a glass on the shelf above him that’s tipped to the side. He wonders, briefly, if he poured that, or if ---
Some things don’t make sense, in his head. A hand, large, and warm, and reassuring, stroking down his back as he sicks up all over the pavement. A low, gruff voice telling him he’d be alright if he’d get up off the ground.
“Trying, Guv. I’m really trying.”
“Try harder, you div.”
His brain does a somersault as he actively tries to recall. His bones feel heavy and there are small cuts over his right hand's knuckles, and he thinks he may not be entirely sober yet, possibly even dying from alcohol poisoning, because he’s never been more nauseated in his life, and fuckajesus, this was a terrible idea, why would anyone do this to themselves?
A cheek against his, stubble grazing, lips against his temple.
His mind’s mixing reality and fantasy.
Sam struggles in the covers, legs getting more tangled and back aching with the sheer effort of it all. Eventually he just about manages to sit up straight. Then immediately regrets he did so. He flails for his glass, stumbles to his sink, pretending there’s no such thing as dizziness, and takes long, slow sips when he finally gets water where he wants it.
The image of Gene’s face, brow creased with concern, lips a thin, straight line, floats to the surface of his consciousness. Fingers tilting up his chin. The other hand bracing his shoulder.
He spoke a lot of shit about social justice and morality. He remembers that much. Went on and on and on about the ‘right’ thing, about balance, and order, and sticking by the rules. And he believes it, every word, but he’s embarrassed by how naive he sounded. Can’t be as articulate and convincing as you’d like when words longer than three syllables feel like another language. Plus, he has a feeling he was saying all of it to an audience of one who doesn’t agree with anything he says nor most of what he does.
A lunge, a childish, greedy lunge, all hinged on one goal: want. Being pushed back, firmly, the words “not like this.” Disappointment and anger and confusion and rejection, all mingling together through the fog of his senses.
And then, being dragged along the corridor, shrugged out of his leather jacket. Other stuff. He’s sure other stuff. Checking his watch and it being 1 am, then 2.34 am, then 3 am. All the while, a rub over his shoulder blades, and someone to listen, and want, want, want, but can’t have.
“I need to go.”
“Stay. You won’t go ‘cause you need to stay, ‘cause I may well die and I’m your responda – repsonda --- I’m your DI.”
Fuck, he’s never been this hung over in his life. He’s not sure it’s physically possible to consume enough water to fix this.
There’s a knock at the door. Sam stares at it distrustfully and walks over.
His voice is cracked and dry as he speaks. “Hello?”
“Still alive, then?”
Sam opens the door. Gazes at Gene. He’s holding a brown paper bag. It occurs to Sam he hasn’t been home, just gone to the corner shop down the road. The light hurts and holding the door open isn’t a barrel of laughs, and there’s a horrible, twisting churn of shame and humiliation in the pit of his stomach.
“No, I’m a hologram.”
“Alive and as witty as ever,” Gene says, pushing through. He casts a glance over the whole of Sam. Sam’s pretty positive it isn’t a pretty picture. “You need a bath. I’ll go run it, you start frying.”
“Can’t fry. Not unless you want your food coated in a soupçon of Sam Tyler saliva and regurgitated bile. Don’t think I could manage a vomit entrée, but that much, at least, would be yours.”
“You really are completely useless.”
Tasting of tobacco and whisky and a leg pushing between his, bricks cool against his back and this overwhelming sense of --- of being --- of safe.
Sam presses the palms of his hands to his eyes. He shouldn’t have done that. “How about I run the bath and you fry?”
“Compromises,” Gene says mock-seriously. “They’re what make the world a better place.”
And this is perfect, it’s so good, everything he never knew he wanted, and he’s going to regret it in the morning, because he can already feel the ill effects, but he needed the courage, and now he has it. He has Gene.