I discovered this story when I was doing a bit of tidying up. Originally posted for one or two people only way back in 2009, I can scarcely believe it was so long ago. I still remember writing this, and how this partnership were as real to me as Gene and Sam at the time. Perhaps I ought to dig out the rest of their universe... (My apologies for any formatting errors - how wonderful to see that LJ can still be a complete bastard when you're trying to post in a hurry).
Title: Happy Now?
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: Blue Cortina
Pairings: Sam/Gene pre-slash; OC Pete Martin with his new partner.
Word Count: 5,720 approx
Summary: Poor Pete got a pretty rough deal in ‘An Unhappy Man’. This story gives Pete the happy ending he deserves, and we find out a few more details of what happened to Sam in the bank.
A/N: The events in this short story take place an hour or two after the ending of ‘An Unhappy Man’; it takes a brief look at what Sam is doing in the middle of that life-changing Monday morning; and incidentally explains why Pete never answered the phone during that pivotal week in Sam’s life.
The phone was ringing as Pete shouldered his way through the door, catching the strap of his bag round the doorknob in the process.
“Jim, can you get that? I’m a bit stuck here.”
“Don’t be daft, what if it’s work? Get it yourself, you silly bugger; I’ll sort this out. Go on, quick, before they hang up.”
Abandoning the bag to Jim’s more efficient ministrations, Pete hurried along the hall towards the back of the house. Banging his knee on the landlady’s umbrella stand as he did every time, he cursed when the phone stopped ringing just as he put his hand on the receiver.
“Bugger.” He stared at the phone for a moment before walking back to his own door. “Do you think it would be work? I’m not due back till tomorrow. Do you think I should phone them? It might be something urgent.”
“They’ll ring again if it’s important. Why give them the excuse to call you in early?” Jim leaned in briefly to kiss the top of his head. “I was hoping to ... keep you busy ... myself this morning. I don’t have to be in until two o’ clock, so I thought: get your damn cat back, have breakfast, then a little lie-down until lunchtime. What do you think, love?” He followed Pete into the flat, dumping both bags on the sofa.
“I think you’re too good to me, that’s what I think. We could have gone to your place first; you didn’t have to bring us here straight away.” He smiled, snuggling into Jim. “ I’m pleased you did, though.”
“Soppy arse. I knew you wanted to get back and water your pot plants, that’s all,” said Jim briskly. “I’ll get the kettle on while you go and see Mrs Scary. Or is 7:30 too early?”
“No, she’s always up by 6-30; that’s what the noise is you were asking about the other week. On days when you wake her up coming in really late, she kicks my door when she goes to get the milk in next morning.”
“Nice woman,” Jim commented.
“Oh, she’s OK. She just likes to let me know she’s keeping an eye on things, that’s all.”
“Well, it won’t be for much longer. Go on, go and get the cat back.”
“OK. I hope he’s all right, poor little thing, he really does miss me you know, even when I’m just at your place for the weekend.” As Jim ostentatiously looked at his watch, Pete backed out of the room, holding his hands up in defence. “All right Mr Time and Motion, I’m going. Get the catfood out while you’re there, would you, she’ll have run out by now if she gave him the amount I said. He’ll be hungry.”
“It’s the last time you’ll have to do it, and you know she won’t have, she’ll have starved the poor bugger all week. And don’t get talking to her!” he said, shooing Pete towards the door. “Like I said, I’ve got plans for the rest of the morning.”
* * *
Jim smiled as he watched Pete tap on the landlady’s door, then backed quickly into Pete’s flat as it opened. No sense antagonising the woman; he knew she was well aware of the nature of their relationship, but he also knew she was far more comfortable not being confronted with the evidence in the form of his actual presence in the house. A classic case of “What you don’t know can’t hurt you,” only in Mrs Amey’s mind it was “What you don’t see you can’t be accused of condoning.”
He went through to the kitchen, wrinkling his nose at the stale smell. As he’d half-expected, Pete had forgotten to empty the bin before leaving. Lucky it was only one week, else Mrs Amey would have had the police in looking for a dead body, and wouldn’t that have been embarrassing for an ambitious DCI. Not that she knew his rank, of course, but it was a tenner to a green shield that Pete had told her in his artless way that his new “best friend” was a policeman, and goodness knows what else besides, and it would take the office grapevine all of thirty seconds to run through the list of unmarried officers called Jim who had recently moved down from Manchester, and come up with DCI Sweetman, late of ‘D’ Division in that fair city.
Hearing the letterbox rattle on the outer door, he put the kettle on for tea before looking out of Pete’s front door. Pete was still standing in Mrs Amey’s doorway, listening politely; she appeared to be telling him off; nothing new there. It would be a relief to get Pete out of this place: it would be far less suspicious to have Pete “lodging” at his own flat rather than risk anyone finding out how frequently a DCI visited this run-down old house in what was frankly a pretty rough area. Some of the things he saw on his way back to the Tube in the mornings he had to be very firm with himself about leaving be.
He slipped quietly out to the street door and scooped up the post, winking at Pete as he retreated into the flat to sort through the small pile. Two for Mrs Amey: gas and electric by the look of it – why do all the bills always come together? – one airmail for the Czech student whose tiny room lay between Pete’s rooms and Mrs Amey’s larger flat, and three for Pete.
One was from his sister Julie: Jim should know her writing by now, he’d seen it often enough. She was the only member of Pete’s family who knew that Pete preferred men, and she was very sweet about it. She’d interviewed him quite sternly when they first got together, informing him that she would not stand by and see Pete hurt again, not after the last time, so if he was going to muck Pete about like that he’d better just sling his hook right now. He’d almost laughed, then decided to take her concerns for Pete seriously, and ended up telling her about his ambitions for his career and his future with Pete, both of them long-term. They’d only left her house three days ago; goodness knows what she’d found to write about in that short time.
He looked at the other two letters: a bank statement and a white envelope addressed in a cramped but neat hand, and postmarked – oh, shit - Hyde. His heart sank; Sam Willams. Always bloody Sam. Just when he thought the man had started to fade out of Pete’s life, here he was again. Writing to him, hassling him at home, spoiling the end of their holiday. Oh don’t be so bloody mean, Jim told himself. It’s not like he’s actually here, is it, or likely to be. Poor bastard couldn’t find his arse with both hands, he’s not likely to find his way here without an engraved invitation. And he had one of those before and never took Pete up on it. So calm down, right now. Jealousy ain’t pretty.
He took a deep breath, and put the post on the table before turning to the kettle and pouring out the tea.
* * *
Pete did his best with a nervous smile as the door opened. He hated this bit; the landlady was a fierce old bag who was quite capable of deciding that Pete’s presence in her house was “bad for her reputation”, and the fact that he was moving out soon anyway didn’t seem to lessen his fear of being thrown out ignominiously for being who he was.
“Oh, Mr Martin, it’s you. Did you have a good time on holiday with your ... friend?” Pete never expected to be invited in to his landlady’s rooms, but something about the way she stood in her doorway reminded him every time that she was actually worried about him contaminating the place in some way if he entered.
“Well, not really a holiday, Mrs Amey. Christening, my sister’s first. Family stuff, that’s all.” He couldn’t help remembering the last time he went home, for Julie’s wedding. She’d looked so pleased with herself, bump and all, as she walked down the aisle. As she passed Pete in the front row she’d winked at him conspiratorially before turning her full attention to her waiting groom.
And in the evening Pete had taken advantage of the happy pair’s early departure to sneak off himself; as he had hoped, he found Sam just leaving the station for the night. However, pleased as Sam was to see him, the evening didn’t go well, and Pete left earlier than he’d planned. On the Sunday, sitting gloomily alone on the 12:23 back to London, he’d been surprised but pleased to see DCI Sweetman looking for a seat. They’d had a brief conversation about Sam and the aftermath of the Davis affair; the DCI had asked Pete where he was headed, and had sat down to tell Pete about his forthcoming job interview and associated flat-hunting expedition. And the rest, as they say, is history. He smiled, and tuned back in to Mrs Amey who had paused significantly.
“I said, you had a lot of phone calls, Mr Martin. I do think you could tell people when you’re going to be away; it’s very inconsiderate to expect me to keep answering the phone for you all the time.” She raised her voice meaningfully, leaning out of her doorway for a moment. “And that young man next door is no better.” She stood back more naturally and continued, “I’ve told him it’s his job to answer it after eight o’ clock, but he doesn’t. It’s not right, me with my back, standing out in that hall in the cold of an evening.”
“I’m very sorry, Mrs Amey,” Pete smiled appeasingly. ”I wasn’t expecting any calls. Was it the same person every time, or several different people, because I can’t think why work would be ringing me. Did they say what they wanted? Or did they leave any messages at all?”
“I’m sure I don’t know, Mr Martin, there were so many calls. Two or three times a night some times. I nearly called the police.” Pete winced, thinking of Jim’s reaction to the idea of his new “flatmate” being involved, however innocently, with dirty phone calls. “He left a message the last time. Friday night it was, asked for you to phone on Saturday morning. Sounded a bit upset - one of your sort is he? - and of course, I didn’t know you weren’t coming back until Monday. That cat of yours is lucky he got fed yesterday, young man. My son had to get another tin; you can give me the money now if you like. Williams, he said his name was.”
“I’m very sorry about that, Mrs Amey, we’ll get ... I’m sorry? Williams? You mean the...?”
“Your caller, the one that kept on ringing. Sam Williams. He said he might write instead. Not a happy man if you want my opinion, not that you do, I’m sure, you young people today ... ”
“Erm right, thank you,” he said distractedly over his shoulder, already half way back to his own door.
“Mr Martin? Your cat, Mr Martin! Don’t you want your cat back??”
* * *
“Jim? Did I hear the post come? Is there...”
Jim silently handed him a letter before turning away. “I’ll be in the kitchen when you’re done,” he said over his shoulder.
Pete wasn’t listening. His attention was focussed on the neat handwriting on the white envelope. Taking a deep breath, he ripped it open. Inside, there was one small sheet of paper, white again, half covered with Sam’s slightly awkward but characteristically neat handwriting.
Just a brief note: I wanted to let you know that I will be away, if you understand what I mean, for quite a long time. I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch for a while. I understand now that I should have phoned you, and I’m sorry I didn’t. I hope London is treating you well. I’ve been trying to ring you all this last week, so I hope you’re OK. Perhaps we can get together for a drink when I come back, although I don’t yet know when that will be.
All the best,
Pete started shaking and sat down jerkily. I don’t believe it; I just don’t believe ... how can they do that? How can they send him in again? After last time? Don’t they know ... shit. They don’t, do they? That’s the bit I wouldn’t let anyone tell Morgan. This is my fault. If I’d let Jim tell Morgan the doctor said he must never go undercover again, this wouldn’t be happening. This is my fault, it’s all my...”
“Love? What does he say? He’s not coming down, is he?” Jim called from the kitchen.
Pete sat frozen in shock, staring ahead blankly; they can’t, he thought, they just can’t. He looked down and read the pitifully few, unhappy sentences again. He’ll never cope. They promised him, never again.
“Pete?” Jim put his head round the kitchen door. “Toast’s ready, how long does it take to read ... oh. What’s up?”
Pete turned towards him, wiping his eyes impatiently.
“Look at this! How could they do this? He told me last time they’d promised him. Never again. And now look!” He waved the letter at Jim, who reached out for it.
Pete pulled the letter back and crumpled it up distractedly before putting it on the coffee table and smoothing it out again. He looked up, wretchedly.
“It’s Sam. They’re sending him undercover again. After what happened last time! It’ll kill him! Oh God, how could he, that bastard Morgan, how could he do that to... He’ll kill himself, Jim, you didn’t see him, what he was like last time, you don’t ...”
“Hey, just calm down a minute, love, let me think. OK first things first, and being selfish about it: why do you care? Do you still love him?”
Pete stared at Jim, mouth open in shock. “No! Of course not! You’re everything I ever ... No! But...” He stopped, and thought for a moment before continuing resolutely.
“OK, I know I built it up into something it never was, but it ... look, it was the most ... I’m sorry, I know you don’t want to hear this and I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t for ... anyway ... he was ...” Pete took a deep breath. “For a long time, Sam Williams was the most important person in my life. Back then, meeting him was the best thing that had ever happened to me. And being with him was ... it was ... I used to live for those evenings. We’d go for a drink, pizza, he’d talk about how he wanted to change things in the force. I can see now how I read it all wrong, thought that we ... Still.”
He looked up at Jim. “You and me - I’m so happy, you know I am. But I can’t ... I can’t just switch all of that off. It still happened. And now he’s ... You don’t know, you didn’t see what he was like after that bank thing. He needs help.”
* * *
He needs committing, Jim thought. Recognising but not regretting the callousness of the thought, he merely raised his eyebrows and waited for Pete to continue.
Pete raised his voice slightly, leaning forward in his seat and waving the letter agitatedly. “You don’t understand, he can’t cope, and he’s all by himself. I’m the only friend he’s ever had, he hasn’t got anyone else to care about him or even know where he is! This is my fault! I should have let you tell Morgan what the doctors said.”
“That doesn’t make it your fault, love. I took that decision, not you. I thought at the time that it was the best thing for Sam if Frank didn’t know how bad he really was. I’d probably do the same again.” Jim ran a hand through his hair, trying to put aside his jealousy of the man whose only real fault was to be extraordinarily pretty; poor bastard didn’t have much else going for him, after all. “Looks like it’s backfired a bit though, given Frank a loophole to shove your mate through.” He thought for a moment.
“OK, this is what we’ll do. I don’t believe even Frank would send him in again if he was really about to go off the rails, but I’ll ... “
“You didn’t see him, you’ve got no idea ...”
“Love, I was there! I was stood ten feet away when he flung himself into Mike Mackenzie’s arms and called him ‘Daddy’! Took a lot of persuasion to keep that out of the papers, let me tell you! ‘DI calls colleague Daddy, cries in his arms’; that really would have finished his career.” Jim looked grim. “Look, I’ll phone Frank, find out what’s going on. He won’t muck me about, I know where the bodies are buried.”
“Not from here; I don’t want everyone hearing.”
“No, of course not; I’ll use the phone box by the newsagent’s. Do you want to come? I think I’ll have a quick word with Mike before I talk to Frank; he might know what’s happening. Here, drink your tea, then we’ll go.”
Jim watched Pete sip his tea slowly, gradually calming down. He was such a volatile little creature; even if Sam hadn’t been totally oblivious to his charms, it would never have worked. Pete needed someone to lean on; someone to keep him steady. Jim had seen those merry blue eyes shine with excitement and flash with anger and impatience; he had seen them glazed with desire and dimmed with tiredness and despair, but he never grew tired of watching them change from minute to minute as Pete wore himself out reacting at full throttle to everything.
Seeing the anxiety gradually smoothing itself from Pete’s face, Jim started talking again, keeping things light but to the point in hand. “Did I tell you, Mike Mackenzie had a chance to move to ‘C’ Division just after I left, but after what you had to say about the way Frank had treated Sam, he decided to stay where he was for a while. Pity he wasn’t quite ready for my job; he’ll make a great DCI one day.” He took Pete’s empty cup and put it in the sink. “Come on then, I want to talk to Mike as soon as he gets in. He might know where Sam’s going, and we can maybe catch him in the office, have a quick word before he sets off.”
It wasn’t quite what he’d planned for their last morning before going back to work, he reflected as he strode down the road, Pete taking little extra steps every now and then to keep up. He’d planned on a lazy morning in bed with the sweetest lover a man could wish for, not chasing up information on said lover’s ex-boyfriend. Ex-non-boyfriend, he corrected himself. Be thankful for small mercies.
Mike wasn’t able to tell him anything about Sam other than that he’d apparently been doing well in his desk job, to all appearances fully recovered, and that there had been a rumour, quickly suppressed, of him moving to ‘A’ Division. Five minutes later Jim was reluctantly dialling ‘C’ Division and asking for Frank Morgan.
“Frank, it’s Jim.”
“DCI Sweetman. What can I do for you? Settling down in London?”
“Yes, thank you: bought a car, got a flat; found someone to share it with. Back in the right half of the country; couldn’t ask for more.” Jim shifted the handset to his left ear so that Pete couldn’t hear whatever Morgan might have to say.
“Well, I’m sure you haven’t called me to talk about your domestic arrangements. I’m a bit pushed this morning, I’m a man down, so what can I do for you?”
“Since you ask, Frank: Sam Williams. A little birdie tells me he’s on the long-term sick. That’s a bit sudden, isn’t it? He didn’t mention it on Saturday. So where have you sent him this time? And how are you proposing to cover your arse when he tops himself?”
Beside him, Pete winced and bit his lip. Jim took his hand and squeezed it gently.
“How do you know I’ve sent him anywhere? He wouldn’t have told you that.”
“Never mind how I know, Frank, let’s just say a friend of a friend. You’d be amazed who I know up there. And don’t dodge the issue. Where is he?”
“It’s an operational matter, DCI Sweetman. Need to know only.”
“Frank, I’m just back from holiday this morning and I’d like to unpack before I go in this afternoon. Don’t make me phone every DI in ‘C’ Division. Do they know you promised Sam you’d never send him undercover again, by the way? Look a bit bad in the papers, that, don’t you think?”
“That conversation was strictly between myself and Sam.”
“Like I said, you’d be amazed. So ... ?”
“... He’s gone into ‘A’ Division. To get evidence against Gene Hunt. The man needs taking down, and Sam ... agreed to go in.”
“One of us? Tell me you’re kidding, Frank, you can’t do that to another DCI. And how the hell did you persuade Sam to ‘volunteer’?”
“Hunt’s bent, we need him out: soon, and publicly. Sam seemed to think it would be good for his career to get away from the deskwork for a while.”
“Come off it, Frank, Sam hasn’t got a career any more. I was there, remember? It was my DI that led him out of that bank and put him in the ambulance.” Jim sighed. “Your precious Sam called him “Daddy”, for God’s sake. Clinging onto him like a kid, grinning like he’d won the pools, crying like his Mum had kicked him in the face; he was all over the place. I’d have put money on him never coming out of hospital, myself.”
Beside him, he saw Pete close his eyes and flinch.
“Well, luckily he’s made a full recovery. And he’s anxious to get back to operations.”
“Lucky for you, maybe. Not so lucky for Sam. From what I hear, he was walking dead when he came out. So, how long have you sent him in for?”
“As long as it takes. Say six months. At the outside.”
“Six months? Right, tell me what you’ve got set up for contacting him. And what name is he using?”
“That’s really none of your business.”
“You’re so right. But like I said, friend of a friend. He’s not alone in the world, Frank; he’s got me keeping an eye on things. Name.”
There was silence at the other end. Pressing more tightly against Jim, trying to listen, Pete gave him a wobbly smile. Eventually, Morgan spoke.
“Tyler. He’s gone in as DI Sam Tyler. I’ve got an emergency number for him in the office; if he wants to contact me, there’s a phone box on his way to work”.
“Demoted as well, poor bastard. Right, now listen. I’ll be keeping in touch, see how he’s getting on. Anything happens, you let me know. And don’t forget, Frank. We wouldn’t want the papers knowing how you’ve treated that man, would we?”
At the other end, the phone was put down silently. Jim held onto his end for a moment, thinking. Pete’s reactions were giving away more than Jim had ever really wanted to know about his feelings for Sam, but he was right up to a point – this could be said to be their fault. If they’d told Morgan what the doctor had said, perhaps Sam wouldn’t at this moment be on his way to ‘A’ Division to put his sanity on the line and undermine a man who – rough as he was – had always in Jim’s eyes been a strong, good, copper.
Finally, slowly, he put the phone down, still not sure how best to play this. The man he’d last seen being helped into an ambulance hadn’t looked fit for any role more demanding than fifth shepherd in the Infants’ Nativity. And the one brief phone conversation they’d shared - where he’d told the man for his own safety to bail out of the operation and report to Morgan immediately - hadn’t given the impression of any great flexibility or native cunning either. On the contrary, Williams had acted like a small child told to give his toys back.
Jim couldn’t honestly see the idiot fooling Gene Hunt for five minutes, but there was nothing to be gained by telling Pete that; he’d panic, silly so-and-so, and there’d be no consoling him until he’d actually spoken to Sam himself, which was not going to help Sam to merge into his new setting.
So, decision made. Play it down for Pete, keep on top of things by phone to Mike, and put the wind up Morgan every so often.
He took a deep breath. “OK, here’s how it is. Yes, he has gone undercover, and I’m going to have Frank’s guts for that. You don’t treat your own people that way, especially when they’re a couple of screws loose to start with.”
Seeing the fear on Pete’s face, he added quickly, “It’s OK, love, I know where he’s going, and he’ll be fine. There’s no need to worry; he’ll be in no danger whatsoever.” Well, not from the people he’s infiltrating, anyway. How Sam would cope with the distinctly murky street-life of Gene’s city-centre Division was another matter; they weren’t exactly going to stand still and wait politely while he did things by the book, Hyde-fashion.
Pete let out a shaky breath and managed another tremulous smile. “Where is he then? And how do you know he’s not in any danger? He’s undercover, for God’s sake! What did you mean, another DCI? And how long is he going to be there? Can I phone him, check he’s OK?”
“NO! No, love, absolutely not. Right, not necessarily in order: he’s gone in to the centre of Manchester, to ‘A’ Division, so he’s going to be safe and warm in a cop shop for the next six months, and when he does walk the mean streets it’s going to be with a badge and proper back-up. As to ‘another DCI’: Frank’s had a brainstorm, decided he’s got a mission to straighten up other people’s Divisions, and he’s starting with Gene Hunt.”
Jim grinned maliciously. “He’s making a big mistake there; Gene will ...”
eat your pretty sweetheart for breakfast? String him up by the gonads in his first five minutes?
“...take good care of your mate; he’s a good man underneath it all. Strong leader; keeps at a case like a dog at a bone; looks after his team.” He thought about that for a moment. “Actually, Gene might even be good for Sam, show him a different style of policing – and of team management. Frank’s too cold; you could find Sam will actually do better under a more human style.”
“We’ll soon find out, anyway,” Jim continued. “I didn’t realise, but it turns out Mike Mackenzie’s sister is married to one of Gene’s dozier DCs. Lazy git by the name of Mark Withers, wouldn’t say boo to a goose, sits in the office doing nothing all day as far as I can make out. Mike’s going to phone him, casual-like, in a few days. He’s got sawdust between his ears, Mike says he’ll have no problem getting out of him what the new DI’s like. He won’t even notice the question.”
Jim rubbed his hands together. “Right, I’m cold, I’ve done what you wanted, now you’re going to show me how grateful you are. Come on, let’s go home. Now.”
He realised Pete was looking at him oddly. “What?”
“How do you know this, this ... Gene Hunt? And how well do you know him?”
“I don’t know him. Well, not like that, anyway, I can assure you, Gene’s a respectable married man. We’ve met socially once or twice over the years, that’s all. He’ll look after Sam, don’t worry. What Sam will do to him is another matter, of course. Gene’s a hard nut, but he doesn’t deserve what Frank’s got in mind for him.”
He looked closely at Pete. “Look, you know where he’s going; you know he’s going to be safe. He could actually come out of this rather well if he plays his cards right.” He shifted his lower body subtly, pressing against Pete for a moment. “And if you play your cards right, you could come rather well too. Now for God’s sake, can we get out of this phone box before I get arrested for lewd behaviour?”
Pete still wasn’t ready to let the subject drop. “But ... but ... is that it? Just, ‘he’s gone undercover, he’ll be all right’? You know he won’t be, he can’t be. He’ll never cope. Not unless this Gene Hunt is really thick. So what now? I can’t just say, ‘oh all right then, I’ll forget about it now.’ I can’t, you know that. I feel responsible.”
“Well, you’re not. He’s a grown man, for heaven’s sake. Look,” Jim spoke a little impatiently now. “He’ll be getting there any time now; he’ll be settling in, finding his desk, all that sort of thing. Meeting his new team. He’ll be fine. Now come on, I want to get my oats before I go in this afternoon. I reckon I’m entitled after all this.”
Pete smiled reluctantly and stepped out of the phone box, dropping Jim’s hand as he went.
* * *
Three hours later, Jim reluctantly uncoiled his arms from around Pete and sat up. “Ok, love, that’s your lot. Some of us are on duty in an hour. Are you getting up or are you going to lie there looking ravishing for a bit longer?”
“No, I’ll get up; I’ll make you some coffee while you’re getting ready. And we never did get round to eating the toast – do you want some lunch before you go? I could do you some bacon and eggs.” Pete was pulling on a comfortable t-shirt as Jim finished doing up his shirt buttons.
“No, that’s all right; I’ll pop into the canteen before anyone notices I’m back. Look, I meant what I said, OK? I’ll keep in touch with Mike, see how Sam’s getting on, but like I said, I actually think he might do OK with Gene.” Jim spoke over his shoulder as he disappeared towards the kitchen.
Pete hurried after him. “That would be great; you know, I really hope he meets the right person one day. Someone to look after him like you look after me.“
Jim laughed. “He’d have to change his whole personality then, from what you’ve told me.” Then, seeing the look on Pete’s face, he relented, smiling. “Sorry, love. You can’t expect me not to be jealous. I’ll tell you what: when it’s all over – when we hear he’s been pulled out, gone back to ‘C’ Division - you can ring him yourself, and we’ll go and visit. How’s that?”
He pulled Pete into a hug then stepped back, lifting Pete’s chin with a forefinger. “He’ll be OK, you’ll see. He’s probably having his first meeting with Gene right about now.”
* * *
Sam catches his breath as he stares into the unfathomable eyes so uncomfortably close. He doesn’t know what he’s done to deserve this; can’t work out who this man is.
He’s not even sure he knows who he is, beyond the name. Sam Tyler: that part he’s sure about; everything else is just mist and confusion. Since he woke up this morning in the middle of a demolition site, his world has been an endless stream of confused, half-noted impressions.
And now this; this part is not confusing, it’s all too clear. If it’s an impression, it has key-shapes and handle-marks in it from the filing cabinet Sam is pressed up against.
Sam stares up at the big man whose extraordinary magnetism is lighting a fire in Sam’s soul, warming the lonely edges and making him strangely breathless. Before he drowns completely in the sensations, he gathers his wits and shoves the man’s hands off him.
The response is unexpected: this overpowering lion of a man lands a fist in Sam’s gut so fast Sam doesn’t see it coming. He doubles over, gasping, but instead of apologising, the man grabs his lapels again and shoves him even harder against the filing cabinet. Sam screws his eyes shut. Despite the pain, if he looks into those eyes again he thinks he might just fall into them.
“They reckon you’ve got concussion. But I couldn’t give a tart’s furry cup if ...”
The man shoves his hips forward, touching Sam for one delicious split second. Sam opens his mouth, barely stopping himself from groaning out loud.
“...half your brains are falling out, and don’t ever... “
Sam is shoved even harder against the filing cabinet and the unexpected conflagration moves to his mind. He opens his eyes and watches as the entrancing mouth moves again.
“...waltz into my kingdom playing king of the jungle.”
Sam struggles against the heat and confusion, pulling himself together enough to gasp “Oo the ’ell are you?”
“Gene Hunt, your DCI, and it’s 1973, almost dinnertime,”
Sam has barely started to process the answer before the man steps even closer; Sam hadn’t thought it possible or he’d have torn himself away before this incredible man could light his fire in Sam’s groin as well as everywhere else. Now it’s too late. The eyes move close enough to burn, the mouth almost near enough to kiss. Through the erotic mists he hears the man growl,
"... I'm 'avin 'oops,"
and his confusion is complete.
* * *