Fandom: Life on Mars
Disclaimer: I don’t own these characters or their universe. BBC/Kudos do. I’m not making any money out of this.
Rating: Green Cortina for foreplay
Word Count: 2,067
Summary: Sam has secrets. Set after 2.08 (no spoilers)
A/N: I’ve had the first half of this in a notebook for some time, but I couldn’t figure out where to go with it until yesterday. One of the things that surprises me occasionally in discussion about Sam’s decision, is the fact that some people feel he shouldn’t have done it because of the effect on his mother. Now, as a mother myself - although not necessarily an especially good one - I have quite strong views on that. And as it turns out, so does Gene. This is possibly the first time ever that I have set out to convey a particular message through a fic, so I hope it works and isn’t too clumsy!
Previously posted atlifein1973
“Christ, Gene, I’m dying of frustration here! Just - touch me. Please?” Sam tilted his hips, moving so his erection bobbed tantalisingly close to Gene’s face. His breathing was harsh and quick.
Gene tilted his head briefly, sniffing Sam’s scent for a moment, then went back to licking his way slowly along Sam’s perfect ribs. He had no intention of moving out of the honeymoon stage just yet, simply because Sam was an impatient bastard.
“Gene, Jesus, for God’s sake!” He was gripping the sheets now and panting, trying to rub himself against any part of Gene he could reach.
Gene ignored the histrionics. Without bothering to look up, he murmured, “Sam, did your mother never tell you not to take the Lord’s name in vain?” Engrossed in tracing the fine lines of Sam’s muscles, he felt rather than saw the tiny spasm of pain.
“Oh, sorry,” he said, annoyed. “I forgot, no mention of mothers allowed.” He rolled off and thumped himself down emphatically next to Sam, the moment spoiled. Fumbling a cigarette out of the pack on the bedside table, he drew in a calming lungful before acknowledging the tension in Sam.
“You’ll tell me one day, Sam, you’ll have to. Can’t keep it secret all your life.”
For a few moments all he could hear was Sam’s uneven breathing. Eventually Sam replied, very quietly. “Keep what secret, Gene?”
Gene drew again on the cigarette and let the smoke trickle through his teeth, watching absently as the coils moved lazily upwards. “Who you really are, Sam. And none of your Hyde bollocks, either. I saw the way you were with Morgan - you’re no more his man than I am.” He put out a hand and gripped Sam’s wrist hard, propping himself on an elbow to lean over him. “There’s something else going on, Sam, and I want to know what it is. I think I’ve earned that right, don’t you?”
Sam moved under Gene, twisting his arm to free himself. Gene watched as he got out of bed, keeping his face averted as he started putting on his trousers.
“Not much to say, Gene. Born local, worked hard, met you.”
“What is that, my life story in six words, by the Hyde wonder? Oh, I forgot, ... “
“I ... what?”
“No. Just, those are the only bits that matter.” He pulled up his zip with finality and picked up his shirt.
“To you, maybe. I like to think, as your lover, to use your word - your word, Sam, I was happy with ‘shagging’ - that I know you better than that. And you’re hiding something. Maybe a lot of somethings.” Gene pushed himself up and stared at Sam, trying to see past the poker face and the tightened mouth.
“So, let’s try again with something I don’t already know. ’Cos I’ve had enough of you being the mystery man, Sam. I’m up to here with your evasions and your lies.” He raised one hand above his head then let both hands drop to his sides. “What can be so bad that you can’t even tell me?”
He sat on the side of the bed, unheeding of the cigarette in his hand burning perilously close to the pillow. Seeing Sam glance at it before continuing, silently, to do up his shirt buttons, Gene exploded.
“Damn it, Sam!” He surged off the bed, gripping Sam by the shoulders. “Tell me something! Anything, for Christ’s sake! Because I’m beginning to think this is all about control.” He tapped Sam on the head. “Somewhere in there, you don’t want to loosen up and admit that you’re staying, is that it? Or does it turn you on, knowing you’ve got me tangled up in your little web? D’you feel powerful, you sick jessie?”
Something flickered in Sam’s carefully blank expression, and he put his hands up and shoved him off, back onto the bed. His face came alive with anger and he moved to stand over Gene.
“What, you think this is some sort of a game for me?” he shouted. “That I like not being able to tell you anything? You think it makes me feel good when you tell me things you’ve never told a living soul and I can’t even tell you which school I went to? Because it doesn’t, I promise you.” He stood for a moment, hands clenched at his sides, and spoke more softly. “It kills me, Gene.”
He bent over, put both hands to Gene’s face and kissed him fiercely. Pulling back, he sat down next to Gene and carefully removed the cigarette, stubbing it out with a grimace. Then he took Gene’s hands and looked him full in the face.
“Gene, I give you my word as a police officer, if I could tell you, I would. And as your lover, I promise you this is not a game, this is not about control. I love you, for God’s sake! I’ve chosen - I want - to spend the rest of my life with you! D’you really think I get a kick out of keeping things hidden from you?”
Gene shook him off and sighed sharply, unconvinced. “It’s not good enough, Sam. How’s a man supposed to relax in bed with his bloke when he keeps remembering he doesn’t know who that bloke is? When he could be an escaped nutter or something?” He narrowed his eyes and stared at Sam. “Because you certainly act like one half the time.”
Sam smiled. “I may be a nutter, Gene, but I haven’t escaped from anywhere. Not going to, either. You talk about webs, but it’s me that’s caught in yours.” He reached out and entangled his fingers in Gene’s, kissing them briefly. “Believe me, my life would be a lot easier if no-one cared who I was or where I came from, but I’m here, with you, and I have every intention of staying.” He leaned in and kissed Gene again, resting his forehead momentarily against Gene’s.
Gene moved slightly, still unhappy, and Sam drew back just far enough to look him in the eye. “I promise you, Gene, there’s nothing you don’t know that you need to know.”
Gene looked at him for a long time, watching the butter-soft eyes caress his face with no trace of guile. At last, he let out a long breath and nodded, scanning Sam’s face carefully for any sign of triumph. There was none, only faint relief as Gene spoke.
“All right, you want to keep your sordid little secrets, I can live with that. For now. But tell me one thing. Your Mum. You never mention her. You ashamed? Druggie, was she? Alcoholic, like my old man?”
Sam’s eyes opened wide in shock. “No! No, quite the opposite.” He looked lost briefly, then brightened. “She was the best Mum in my class. Always making cakes, always there when I came home. Everything you could want. She was brilliant, Gene, really. I’m sorry you’ll never...”
“So what’s the big mystery, then?” Gene interrupted. “Why the melodrama every time I forget and say the word ‘mother’? ’Cos it’s a bit bloody tedious. Some time I’d like to tell you about my mam - she’s a grand woman, you’ll love her - but, I don’t know, sometimes seems like no-one’s allowed to have a mother around you.”
Sam sat silent for a moment.
“So come on, then. Tell me all about her; was she...”
Sam put up a hand to stop him talking.
“Just - give me a minute, OK?” He took a few deep breaths, staring at the carpet. Finally, he started to speak, his voice low.
“I let her down. Badly. I took her love and ... and trust, and ... I threw it back in her face.”
Gene opened his mouth to speak and closed it again as Sam continued.
“Last time I saw her, she was... she’d been so...” His face twisted momentarily and he grasped Gene’s hand again and held it tight. “I’d been...ill. For a long time. And she’d been there, all the time. Every day. Waiting for me, looking after me. Talking to me. Just ... being Mum.”
Gene didn’t move a muscle; Sam rarely talked like this. Sometimes he seemed to have no setting between argumentative bastard, coolly professional officer and soppy, sentimental, adorably sensual lover. This halting, rawly honest creature was a Sam he wasn’t familiar with.
“And then, when I ... got better, I was ... I couldn’t cope. Couldn’t do the job any more. Didn’t want to. The job I’d built my life around.” He looked round at Gene, the horror of that realisation plain on his face.
“And that’s when you applied to us, was it? Thought you’d get away, take a walk on the wild side? See a different face of policing?”
“...Er ... yeah.” Sam ducked his head briefly. “Anyway, I went to see my Mum. Told her I had to go away. Explained that I’d made a promise to someone.” His eyes flickered up to Gene’s. “And she said... she said in that case they had nothing to worry about, because I always kept my promises. And then ... well, that’s when I left. I didn’t say goodbye, and I didn’t go back, and now I ... now it’s too late.”
“She dead?” Gene asked softly.
Sam glanced at him. “Might as ... Yeah.” He sat in silence for a moment then suddenly burst out, “I let her down, Gene!” He put his face in his hands for a moment then ran his hands through his hair, making it stick up in a way which made Gene itch to smooth it down again. “She gave me everything, and I took it and I walked away!” His voice was anguished.
“Let her down, buggery! You’ve done her proud, you twat!” Gene grabbed his hands and forced him to turn round. “That’s what mothers are for! They fit you for the world and send you out into it. That’s what they do!”
“Gene, you don’t understand, I should have stayed with her. She’s got ... she didn’t have anyone else, only me. It was my job to be there for her.”
“Sam. Look at me.” Sam’s eyes moved in his direction, but his thoughts were still clearly miles away. “Come here,” Gene insisted as Sam looked puzzled. Gene shuffled up the bed until he could lean back against the headboard and, keeping his grip on Sam’s wrist, motioned for Sam to sit in front of him. He pulled him back against his chest.
“Right, home truths now. We move on, Sam.” He ran his fingers through Sam’s hair, enjoying the feel of the silky strands around his fingers. “That’s what people do. Grown men don’t spend their lives thinking they should have stayed with their Mum. That’s not normal. Oh, yeah,” he smiled briefly, “this is you we’re talking about.”
He leaned forward to peck Sam on the cheek, and felt his face move into a faint answering grin. “Still, like I said, we move on. Mum’s job to cook the breakfast and wave you off with a smile and a hug. Your job to grow up and leave without a word of thanks. Way of the world, Sam.”
“We didn’t have enough money for a cooked breakfast. Besides, it’s ...”
“For God’s sake, you pillock, it’s a wotsit. Meta.” He waved his hands impatiently. “Thingy. And don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.”
He wormed his arms under Sam’s, holding him loosely around his bony ribs.
“Thing is, Sam, different jobs. Their job to bring you up; kid’s job to grow up. Cycle of nature. You move from one family to another, from your mam to your ... well. Anyway,“ he nuzzled Sam’s neck.
He could feel the tension gradually leaving Sam’s body as he relaxed against Gene.
“I never thought of it like that before. Growing up, moving on. I suppose that makes sense.”
“Thank you, Dorothy. Look, I can see you loved your mum, and I know it’s not Mr and Mrs Average with 2.4 kids and a bloody dog, but the way I see it,” Gene hesitated for a moment. “I’m your family now.”
“Fine by me, Gene.” He felt Sam wriggle between his legs, getting himself comfortable. “I’m here to stay. Get used to it.”