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Life on Mars fic - Signals - dorsetgirl
September 5th, 2007
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Life on Mars fic - Signals

Title:               Signals            (Part 1a/1 – split due to LJ post restriction)

Author:           DorsetGirl

Fandom:         Life on Mars

Disclaimer:     The story is mine, the characters sadly are not. No money being made, no harm meant.

Rating:            Brown Cortina for anal sex, swearing

Word Count:  5,780 total over two sections

Notes:             Gene/Sam slash

Summary:       Sam discovers that being with Gene has changed a lot more than just who he wakes up with.

A/N:                 Set about three months after “What Do Girls Do”, which explains the relationship history they each brought to this one. Many thanks to <lj user=”jayb111”> for her fast and very intelligent beta reading. I haven’t been able to watch a single episode since mid-July (kids gone back today, yay!) and I’m a bit worried I’ve lost the voices, so friendly concrit would be welcomed, ta.  

 

 

 

Signals

 

Resisting the urge to call out “Gene! Look at me, Gene!”, Sam stood poised – and posed – on the highest diving board. Days like this, he thought, he really did feel like the kid in this relationship.

 

All afternoon he’d been alternating between the swimming lanes and diving boards; indulging in informal races over a couple of lengths and then perfecting his somersault to pike. In between, he’d bought himself an ice-cream, and spent half an hour lying by the outdoor pool soaking up the sunshine.

 

From where he stood now, he could see Gene in the distance, still sitting in the cafe with a newspaper, his cigarettes and yet another coffee on the table by his right hand. He’d been there since Sam had gone off to change, declining to reveal what Sam saw as a magnificent body to the gaze of other swimmers. “You know what happened last time, Gladys”, he had said. “Any running down the tow-path on a Sunday, I’ll do with me trousers on thank you.”

 

Sam couldn’t understand why anyone would want to spend the whole of Sunday afternoon sitting around doing nothing; he’d had far too many of that sort of Sunday when he was a child after his father had gone away. Sunday afternoons were when Ruth retreated mysteriously to her bedroom to be alone; Sam realised now that she had probably been crying up there and hadn’t wanted him to see. He’d had to sit quietly downstairs by himself, waiting for tea-time.

 

He shook off the memories, positioning himself at the very end of the board. He allowed himself to fall forward, turning over once then straightening his body and legs as he accelerated towards the glittering water.

 

* * *

 

Gene had been aware of Sam standing at the end of the board, but he felt daft watching him openly, knowing that he tended to take on a soppy look if he looked at Sam for too long. Seeing Sam leave the board, he did allow himself to watch him all the way down, enjoying the perfection of Sam’s body as it arrowed downwards, achieving entry to the water with scarcely a splash.

 

Part of Gene would have liked to be in the water with Sam, but he knew it was better this way; less chance of embarrassing himself. He couldn’t swim as fast as Sam, he was never quite sure how Sam could enjoy looking at his body, and the sight of Sam in those little trunks raised issues that in a public place were best hidden behind the newspaper.

 

A larger part of Gene was quite content sitting here in the cafe. When the wife had first left, he’d spent many lonely Sundays in the office, just chatting to the Desk Sergeant half the time, pretending to work on case notes the other half. Even before that, one way or another for as long as he could remember he had spent Sundays working or doing what other people wanted, or in his early days simply trying to avoid the old man. This way he got to sit around doing nothing with a coffee and the paper, while watching Sam strut about posing for him under the guise of practising his diving technique.

 

Only trouble was, Sam never seemed to realise that Gene wasn’t the only man who enjoyed looking at him. Glancing up, Gene saw a big, confident-looking Greek move up behind Sam, who was again waiting in line for the highest board. The man was taller than Sam and twice as broad, with Mediterranean black hair coating his back and shoulders. As he approached Sam he smiled and said something, gesturing up at the board.

 

Momentarily forgetting not to stare, Gene watched the daft sod smiling back at the hairy Greek like it wasn’t obvious what he was after. Gene could see the smarmy bastard touching his gold rings and necklaces as he smiled at Sam and stood just an inch or two too close.

 

For a DI, Sam could be remarkably naive, Gene thought. He’d even convinced himself the bloke at the hardware shop was only being ironic. Gene had tried to explain at the time, but it hadn’t sunk in.

 

 

 

As Sam had come out of the shop, Gene had straightened up from where he’d been leaning on the car. There had been no good reason why he couldn’t have gone in with Sam, but he’d said no. “I don’t shop, Gladys, get that through yer head right now. You want to bring all those books in here, you put up the shelves to stick ‘em on.”

 

Watching Sam juggle the unwieldy lengths of wood, he’d contemplated offering to help carry, but decided he couldn’t be bothered and stayed put, watching.

 

Sam appeared to have pulled while he was in the shop; leave him alone five minutes off-duty and they were all over him, and he never seemed to notice. This one was practically panting.

 

Sam’s new friend stopped abruptly when he saw Gene; he looked accusingly at Sam and asked a question Gene didn’t hear. Gene watched Sam’s face as he said “Er, yeah”, his expression wavering between pride and confusion.

 

The bloke looked challengingly at Gene, who looked straight back and raised an eyebrow. Backing off, the man glared at Sam. This time Gene heard the words quite  clearly -  “cock tease” -  as he walked away. Sam had still been staring after him as he’d reached Gene.

 

“You’re giving off signals again Sammy-boy.” Gene teased him as he opened up the car. ”Must have not shagged you hard enough this morning.”

 

He started taking the wood from Sam who was still standing there looking puzzled. Sam said “What? He called me a cock tease! But ...I only smiled and said hallo”.

 

Gene grinned at his indignation and confusion, then spoke more seriously. “Gladys, you put an arse like that in trousers like those, and cock-teasing is the least of what you’re doing. You need to be more careful, I’m not the only bastard wants you, you know.”

 

Sam stared at him for a moment then apparently dismissed the matter. “You’re talking bollocks; blokes were never interested in me before, so why should they start now I’ve got you? I don’t want anyone else.”

 

Gene gave up temporarily, happy for the reassurance, not that he’d ever doubted. When he tried later that night to warn Sam again about the impression he gave with those tight trousers and the melting smile he seemed to think Gene was joking and took it as an invitation to investigate their effect on Gene.

 

 

But watching Sam now, standing dreamily next to the hopeful-looking Greek, Gene could practically see the sign over his head, gleaming in the sunshine reflected off the water. It said “I like alpha males” or, as Gene often thought of it, “I could be yours, big boy”, and it had materialised the day Sam had chosen Gene’s arms and Gene’s bed.

 

Gene knew that Sam himself was completely unaware of it.

 

The big Greek could certainly see it, or would have done if he’d raised his eyes from Sam’s trunks. For his own safety, Sam would have to know one day, Gene thought. He wasn’t looking forward to making Sam understand that other men wanted him just as much as Gene did.

 

 

* * *

 

Sam only realised he was thinking about Gene again when he felt his cock twitch and noticed the man next to him glance down. Summoning up visions of Ray and Phyllis, Sam climbed the tower for his last dive. The Greek, noticed only by Gene, watched him all the way.

 

Sam surfaced at the edge of the diving area and swam another length before clambering out of the water near the cafe. He raised a hand to Gene, who had temporarily abandoned his paper to watch, and indicated the changing rooms. Gene nodded in acknowledgement as Sam walked away, while behind him the Greek entered the water with rather more show and splash than most people would consider necessary.

 

* * *

 

Gene reached for his coffee when the Greek followed Sam into the changing rooms, intending to follow straight away. Then, thinking better of it, he put the cup down unfinished. He’d allow a few minutes for things to develop before he intervened, make Sam see for himself what he was so good at stirring up. He might even be wrong, though he doubted it.

 

Five minutes later, Gene finished his coffee then walked casually round the pool and into the changing rooms. It wasn’t that Gene didn’t trust Sam; he did, totally. And, good copper that he was, Sam wasn’t likely to get into a situation he couldn’t handle. Gene just thought he’d better get there before Sam handled it in proper Hyde fashion -  caution, cuffs and all.

 

Pushing the door closed very quietly, he could hear Sam’s side of an intense conversation. The other man’s voice was a low, dark-voiced mutter.

 

“...no, sorry mate, you misunderstood.”

 

“---“

 

“Well you were wrong. I’m not...”

 

Gene heard the man laugh mockingly.

 

“---“

 

“Really, I’m not interested. Sorry. Hey!”

 

Gene grabbed the door quickly and let it bang shut. “Sam? You in here?”

 

Walking round the corner he saw the Greek step away from Sam and glance towards Gene. Gene hooked both thumbs in his belt and stood looking at him. “On your way. He’s not interested.”

 

The Greek looked back at Sam who didn’t seem to know where to look. Receiving no encouragement the man walked out angrily.

 

“You OK?” Gene kept his face blank and his voice light.

 

Sam walked forward and faced up to him, pointing a finger at his face. “Do you mind not talking for me? I was just about to send him on his way.”

 

“Thought I’d better help you sort things out before you started arresting him, Gladys.” Gene took the locker key out of Sam’s hand and turned away.

 

Sam spoke to his back. “Help me? What, you think I couldn’t handle it?”

 

Gene took the bag out of the locker and shoved it at Sam. “I know you could handle it, Sam, it’s just how you were gonna handle it. You go telling him you’re a police officer and you’d never have been able to come here again. He’d be down here all the time, provoking the bendy copper, trying to get you to react until you end up arresting him or something. And then how are you going to explain what you’re arresting him for?”

 

Sam sat down and looked at Gene mutely. Gene could see he was thinking about that one and spoke more gently. “You’d have ended up being approached everywhere you went, Sam. So unless you actually want to stand up at the Town Hall on market day and tell everyone and his missis, this is the best way. Let me handle it.”

 

Seeing Sam shiver in his wet trunks, Gene opened his kit bag and started rummaging, glancing sideways at Sam. “ ’Sides, if you’re going to start arresting every man that fancies you, you’ll need to give us time to build some more cells.”

 

Sam gaped at him.

 

“What, d’yer think I’m the only man in the world that fancies you?” Gene found Sam’s towel in the bag and passed it over. “Look, get dressed for God’s sake, this isn’t the best place to be discussing this.”

 

Sam stood up and started to dry himself off quickly, still looking stunned.

 

Gene laughed at the look on his face and said “Yer gorgeous, you bloody idiot, haven’t you seen the way they look at you?”  And I wish I hadn’t said that.


He leaned against the wall and watched Sam pull up those tempting trousers.  “Why d’you think I stick so close all the time? If Rathbone was 20 years younger...”

 

“What, you don’t trust me, you’re making sure I don’t get a chance to talk to anyone else?” Sam paused with one arm in his shirt. “Hold on a minute – Rathbone?”

 

Gene ignored him. “Of course I trust you, and I wouldn’t try to stop you talking to whoever you want. I’m just protecting you, you great twat.”

 

Sam starting doing up his shirt buttons as he asked again. “You said Rathbone. And what do you mean, protecting me?”

 

Gene took Sam’s jacket out of the locker. “He fancies you.” He held onto it, subconsciously inhaling the Sam-smell as he turned back to face Sam. ”Can’t believe you hadn’t noticed”.

 

Sam shuddered before asking “How the hell do you know?” He sat down to put on his boots, not sure he wanted to hear the answer.

 

“Can see it when he looks at you, Sam”.

 

Gene could see Sam practically gag at the idea; he was right, it just didn’t bear thinking about. Sam grabbed his bag and jacket and headed out of the changing room. Gene grimaced, following his thoughts unerringly, but waited until they were outside the building before reassuring him:

 

“He’s not going to touch you, Sam, don’t worry. For one thing, you’re probably too junior – best to only go down one rank, it’s far too dangerous else. And for another thing,” Gene hesitated and took a deep breath, ”He knows you’re mine.”

 

* * *

 

Sam stopped dead. “You told him about us! Gene!”

 

“Of course I didn’t tell him, you daft twat! I just saw him looking at you and I - looked back. I had no choice. He thought nobody knew about him, but I’ve known for years, and now he understands that, you’re safe.”

 

Sam couldn’t move. All this time, he’d thought this was private, nobody’s business but his and Gene’s. And Gene was boasting about it to the likes of Rathbone!

 

“Come on Gladys, you’re gonna get cold.” Gene said, pulling him towards the car. “He hadn’t guessed about me, ‘cos I’ve never been with anyone from work before, but he’s not going to say anything; he’s got more to lose than I have.”

 

Most of this went past Sam as he still struggled with the idea that Gene was ...protecting... him; exchanging little signals with people about him.

 

He said “Don’t you think you’re taking a lot on yourself here, Gene? Telling people like Rathbone? Warning people off? What happens if I want to ... talk to someone else?

 

* * *

 

Gene flinched, wishing he hadn’t opened Sam’s eyes to how many people fancied him. Still, he’d have worked it out eventually.

 

“I’m a bloody police officer, Gene, d’you think I’m going to fold up if someone talks dirty to me? I can handle it for God’s sake, just butt out.”

 

They were at the car by now, and Sam was practically yelling.

 

“You’re missing the point, Sam.” Gene got in the car and leaned over to open Sam’s door. As Sam got in he continued “You have no idea how many important people would like to shag you, and if you piss ’em off handling it badly, it won’t be them all over the papers, it’ll be you. I know you can handle it, of course I do, but it’s how you handle it, and how much you have to handle.“

 

“I’m just trying to say, Sam, you need to be careful. Since you’ve been with me you’re attracting a lot of attention.” Gene looked away uncomfortably and stared out of the windscreen. “It’s your pretty arse in those tight trousers. I mean, I love looking at your arse, who wouldn’t. But that’s the point, isn’t it. People see you parading around in those and they think that’s a message. And then you smile at them and they know it is.”

 

Gene dried up, not wanting to acknowledge even to himself how he’d like to keep Sam covered up, away from the gaze of men who might be a better catch than he was.

 

“I smile at them? And wear tight trousers?” Sam looked as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. “And they think I’m encouraging them?”

 

“Well, it’s enough for some people” Gene answered. “Me mam would have got a smack for less.”                                                                                                                                                         

Sam looked blank, then disbelieving. “Are you threatening me, Gene?”

 

“For God’s sake Tyler, you always have to make a drama out of everything. ‘Course I’m bloody not; I’m just saying that’s all. I’m not me Dad, I’d never ...well, only at work, and only scum. And they deserve it,” he finished defensively.

 

Sam now looked incredulous, which was only a fancier word for the same thing, so feeling on slightly shifting ground, Gene tried once more to get the point home.

 

“I’m just saying, be careful who you smile at.”

 

“I can’t believe I’m hearing this. We’re not discussing this any more. Take us home and I’ll show you you’ve got nothing to worry about.”

 

“You’re still missing the point Sam,” Gene snapped, starting the engine. ”I’m not trying to protect my interests - I’m trying to protect you.”

 

* * *

 

Continued in Part 1b

  
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