Title: Real Men Don’t ... Do They? Part 3 / 4
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: This section: NC-17 for swearing and sexual references. No torture, no horror, no Doctor Who.
Pairing: None in this section; Gene/Sam eventually
Spoiler: This chapter has a Major spoiler for Series 1 Episode 5. Nothing else.
Word Count: approx 15,650 in total. This section 3,870 words.
Summary: It takes Gene and Sam a long time to work out what we’ve always known.
A/N: This is the first story I ever wrote, but it’s taken a long time to complete. The first story I posted, "What Do Girls Do?", started off as the sex scene for this story, but it didn’t fit. This story might be described as “Relationship Without Plot”. The district of Morton and the Red Lion are my own invention.
Thanks: Lots of thanks to Galacticowl and to Jools at TRA, who both read various scenes and provided suggestions and lots of encouragement, so I felt it was worth finishing the job. Also to Loz who despite preparing for her new job found time be the first person to read the whole thing through and provide some very positive feedback and some useful lessons in style. And finally to the fantastic Jayb111 who did a very thorough and much appreciated beta job. Follows on from Part 1 and Part 2.
“OK! And now the Guv needs double top!” yelled Ray, as Withers threw his third dart, failing to find his last double. Gene was at the bar, buying another scotch while waiting for his throw.
Outside, a car horn sounded. And again, impatiently. “Come on Guv, that’ll be us” called Sam. He went outside and bent down to the open passenger window, looking across to the driver. “The Red Lion in Morton please mate, we don’t need picking up after.” He opened the back door, missing the look on the cabbie’s face as the man said “Meeting someone there are you?”. “No, he’s – oh hold on, I’ll drag him out”.
Sam walked back into the pub and yelled above the good-natured barracking Withers was still getting for his last throw. “Hey, Guv, are you coming then or what?”. Gene downed his scotch as he moved away from the bar towards the dartboard. He threw his last arrow to mingled cheers and boos as it hit the double twenty, took an ironic bow and followed Sam out to the waiting cab.
* * *
As they both got in the back and slammed their respective doors, Gene said “OK Tyler, now listen. I know what I said last night. But don’t go getting any ideas, OK? Just mates out for a meal. No talking about things. No sympathy and understanding. We can go through some of those cases you’re so keen to re-open, that’s all. All right?”
Sam stared back at him with an expression of disbelief, which was swiftly replaced by a brightly insincere smile. “Of course, DCI Hunt. It shall be exactly as you say. I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to show you the satisfaction that can be gained from a thorough investigative process.” Gene looked at him suspiciously and said “That could be taken two ways, Tyler.” Sam grinned again, more naturally this time and Gene could see he was enjoying winding him up.
As the cab moved through the streets in the direction of Morton, Gene looked quizzically at Sam but didn’t speak. When the cab pulled up in front of the Red Lion, his suspicions were confirmed. He’d guessed two miles back that this was where they were headed; it was the only “quiet” restaurant out this way. But what the hell was Sam playing at? Gene had only said he was fed up with being alone all the time, and next thing happens, Sam’s bringing him here!
God knows, he’d often thought Sam was a bit of a girl, but he hadn’t thought the lad actually was that way inclined. Not that he had thought about it. Was this really the sort of company the Hyde git thought he wanted? Or perhaps this was where Sam had been coming all those nights Gene assumed he was with his mates in Hyde. The mates the daft sod turned out not to have after all.
OK, then, Gene Genie, he thought. Duty calls. Can’t go in there as just a couple of blokes out for a meal, which is dodgy enough for a start. So we go in as who we are. The Sheriff and his Deputy. He looked thoughtfully at Sam, wondering whether this was worth saying before they went in, but Sam was busy pulling the money for the cab out of his tight trousers and didn’t see the look.
“Enjoy yourself gents” said the cabbie with a smirk, as he pulled away.
* * *
They walked in through the double doors together, and stood together as the maitre d’ approached. Sam gave his name, and asked the man to bring them two beers. “And let’s sort out the food while we’re at it. Chilli for me I think - what do you reckon Guv? Chilli OK with you? Gene!” Gene was too busy looking around to answer, so Sam told the man to bring two. As they walked through the dimly-lit space towards the table pointed out to them, Sam looked around at the other tables, and realised what sort of place he’d unwittingly brought Gene to. Shit. The Guv was bound to think he’d done this on purpose!
He’d murder Skelton tomorrow. Asked his Dad, my arse, he thought angrily. This has got Carling’s fingerprints all over it, the smirking bastard. “Tell the Boss that’ll suit him, it’ll be right up his street”. He could just hear him saying it. Well, fuck it, we’re here now, he thought. OK: professional face; duty visit. Sod ‘em.
Approaching the tiny table, they both automatically moved to the seat facing out into the room. “You sit over there Tyler,” directed Gene. “No way Guv. I’m not sitting with my back to the room. You think it’s such a good seat, you sit over there.”
Gene glared at him and said “No chance, Tyler, I’m sitting here, you sit over there”.
Sam sighed. “Gene. I feel sure that if we bring our combined talents – that would be my logical problem-solving skills and your brute force - to bear on the situation, we can arrive at a mutually acceptable solution”. Sam watched as Gene man-handled the table so that it was no longer parallel to the wall, but angled at 45°, so they could both sit “facing out”. They ignored the fascinated stares of the other diners and sat down as the waiter brought their first drinks.
As they raised their glasses, Gene fixed his eyes on Sam’s and asked “So, why are we here Tyler?”
“Up to you Guv. Either we’re here to be a mutually supportive, very small, gang of mates, to save us both from one more night being sad bastards drinking at home alone.” Sam gave him a brief, genuine smile, then widened it to his bright “I love to irritate the Guv” grin as he continued. “Or, we’re here so we can talk about the Forrester case without the rest of the station listening; because there were some very important questions that were never asked at the time, and I wondered why.” He slapped the table with his hand as punctuation and then pointed an index finger at Gene. “Your choice, Guv.”
“No, you brain donor, I meant why are we here. In this fairy grotto. Are you trying to soften me up for something?” Noticing that the party at the nearest table had stopped talking again, Gene lowered his voice. ”‘Cos it won’t work. In case you hadn’t noticed, Tyler, I am not a poof.” Gene looked at Sam and kept a straight face as he said “And if I was, I wouldn’t choose you. Not if you were the last person on earth. ‘Cos you probably tell people what they’re doing wrong all the while you’re shagging ‘em.”
Sam choked on his drink and laughed, but decided not to try to answer the question.
In the event, the evening turned out better than Sam had hoped. The Guv seemed to have got over his fit of gloom, and was quite entertaining on the subjects of cases and places, villains and victims.
Gene was looking a bit smarter today too, Sam thought; perhaps that had helped him to cheer up. He was wearing the green shirt again; he’d obviously got it professionally laundered since Tuesday night, so he wasn’t as incapable of that stuff as Sam would have expected. Sam made a mental note to find out which place the Guv used; spending Saturdays in the laundrette was something he’d waved bye-bye to when he was 23 and had never expected to start again at his age.
The chilli arrived half way through a re-run of the usual heated exchange on the merits of gut feeling and instinct against forensic process and evidence. They raised another glass to each other and tried the food. Sam thought it was remarkably good for the time, but Gene grumbled that it was next door to curry.
Towards the end of the evening, the waiter brought one more round of drinks, and Sam asked for the bill. As Gene passed Sam’s glass across the table, Sam reached for it, and their fingers touched momentarily. They looked at each other for a moment, and then away again quickly. It was odd, Sam thought, that a glancing fingertip touch could feel more intense than all that up-against-the-wall stuff the Guv liked to use to keep him in line. Get over yourself Tyler, he thought, there’s too many male hormones flying around this room as it is.
* * *
Gene rubbed his fingertips absent-mindedly as he watched Tyler adding up the bill. He was starting to feel claustrophobic, sitting next to Sam like they were a pair of fairies. He decided it was time to visit the Gents’, and as he strode across the room with most of his customary confidence, he tried not to catch anyone’s eye. Didn’t want to encourage any pervert who might be admiring his manly arse, did he. Just look like you’re on duty Gene, he thought.
When he got back from the Gents’, he didn’t take his original seat, but casually picked up his new drink and sat down opposite Sam instead, the very seat he’d rejected earlier. Sam had been gazing unfocussed at the room, but now shifted his eyes to Gene. Gene didn’t speak but stared back, noting the increased intensity of the look now it fell on himself. Perhaps moving seats hadn’t been the best idea.
“You’re doing it again Tyler. Why do you bloody keep staring at me?” he demanded. “I know it’s all Friends of Dorothy in here, but all the more reason not to make people think you fancy me”. Sam laughed uncomfortably as he looked down at his drink then around the room. “Or are you just trying to fit in? Is that why we’re here? Planning to go undercover again?” Gene snorted. “Well I tell you, you won’t find a Pete Bond in here; he was a one-off. Poncy intellectual types who turn out to be murdering hooligan bastards tend to be a bit thin on the ground.” He tossed back his eighth Scotch and looked back at Sam. “Might be different in Hyde of course.”
* * *
Jolted, Sam opened his mouth to speak, and shut it again while he tried to pull his thoughts together. It was true that he often thought about Pete Bond. He was still smarting from his mis-judgement of the man’s character; he had really hoped there could be a connection there, that Pete was someone he could have a drink with and talk about things other than football. Someone who could be a friend.
Sam realised the Guv was still staring at him, waiting for an answer. Sam said “Sorry, I er... I was just thinking...” What could he say? No way could he say what he’d really been thinking. Because what he’d really been thinking - God knows why - was “What would it be like to kiss a man?” And not just any man, but this man. Gene Hunt, his DCI.
The thought had come into his mind without warning as he had watched Gene stalk across the room to the Gents, all hard man confidence and, without the jacket, a surprisingly elegant back view. And he’d wondered: would kissing Gene be hard, stubbly, rough? Or would it be soft and gentle? And the taste – Oh God, the taste. Gene would taste of beer and whisky and most of all, cigarettes: that hard, bitter, foul taste that was so much a part of a smoker that you learned to accept it as part of the person even while wondering how long it would take for your tongue to turn black and drop off. It had been so long since Sam had kissed a smoker, but some things you never forget.
Sam shook himself and looked at Gene, who was still waiting impatiently – but silently, which was unusual – for him to speak. Sam looked at the golden hair worn slightly longer now, the fine mouth, the beautiful clear eyes which could be so hard, and on other occasions so understanding and open.
Sam was no prude, he wasn’t bothered what other people did, but thinking about other men, looking at them, wondering if... It just didn’t ring his bell. Or hadn’t. Now, Sam belatedly realised that – mercifully hidden by the table – his trousers had suddenly got too tight. Surprised at himself, he shifted a bit to get comfortable. Picking up his drink for something to do he smiled at Gene over the glass as he tried, desperately now, to think of something to say.
* * *
Gene looked at the smile suspiciously. There was too much ...eyes ... in it. Like getting a French kiss when you’re expecting a polite peck – you pucker up your lips innocently and next thing you know there’s a tongue wrapped round your tonsils. This smile was like that; just too close for comfort. Those brown eyes that could show so much emotion, such madness and such intelligence - all in the space of ten seconds sometimes – burned into Gene’s eyes till it felt like there was a tunnel surrounding them, linking them and shutting out everyone else. For a moment, it felt like even the music faded as Gene unconsciously leaned forward, drawn in.
“Don’t want to interrupt you gentlemen, but seeing as you’re new here?” Startled out of the oddly tense moment, they both turned towards the handsome young waiter, who smiled at them apologetically. “Sorry, just thought I’d mention: we got rooms upstairs. By the hour, all night, your choice”. As they stared at him, the waiter put the bill on the table, said “Just let me know when you decide” and moved on.
Sam and Gene watched him go, and then turned back to look at each other, and at their hands, lying close to each other on the table. Sam sat back, looking embarrassed, and put his hands in his pockets. “Time to go Sammy boy” said Gene, sweeping up the bill. “Before you start going native”.
As Sam turned towards the door, he put his hand into his hip pocket for his wallet, pulling tight his already tight-fitting trousers. Looking at Sam’s neat little arse, Gene realised with a shock that he’d already noticed it on several occasions.
He was a fast runner, Sam, so he often got to the villain first, while the rest of them were still puffing along behind. But he wasn’t a big bloke, he didn’t have Gene’s weight, nor did he have Ray’s viciousness, so his chosen method of nobbling the buggers seemed to be to tackle from behind, wrestling them to the floor with his lean, hard body pressed tight up against them while he went for the cuffs, and that arse... Gene didn’t notice Sam glance round at him, clock where he was looking and grin in surprise at the look on his face.
Gene snorted with amusement at himself for the turn his thoughts seemed to be taking, and averted his eyes. Perhaps it wasn’t only Sam in danger of going native? Nah, ‘s only natural, surely, to appreciate something nicely-made. Didn’t have to mean anything.
They reached the door. “OK Sammy-boy, you get that bill sorted, I’ll go and get us a cab; I can drop you off on the way.” Gene instructed. He stepped confidently onto the pavement and waved down a cab, feeling no need to worry about what the cabbie might think of picking up a DCI outside such a place. He didn’t miss the smirk the cabbie gave him when Sam joined him in the back though, but he decided to ignore it.
* * *
As the cab headed back into ‘A’ Division territory, Gene announced “OK Tyler, tell you what: as you paid for the meal, I’ll let you make me some coffee as well, how’s that?” “Fantastic” muttered Sam, who had been half asleep, and wasn’t even sure himself just how that response aligned along the irony/sincerity axis. Well, he thought, after all this was supposed to be their I’ll-be-your-gang-of-mates evening, and perhaps Gene just wasn’t drunk enough yet to face going back to his empty house.
The taxi dropped them off at the end of the alley, and as they walked in comfortable silence through the darkness, Sam tripped on a drain cover he really should have known well by now. As he pitched forward Gene grabbed him by the elbow and dragged him back up. “Come on Gladys, get a grip” he said, taking his other arm to steady him.
“If only”, Sam thought, standing upright so abruptly that he staggered against Gene, taking him off balance. Gene grabbed Sam’s shoulders to steady them both. Desperate for the warmth and comfort of a human touch, Sam just couldn’t stop himself putting his arms lightly around Gene’s waist. All the months of emptiness, the desperate dreary nights holding his pillow tight for comfort, pulled Sam, unresisting, towards Gene and held him there, every neglected nerve ending reaching out. Then, realising what he’d done, he stood frozen, waiting for the angry shove that would reclaim Gene’s personal space at the expense of Sam’s personal happiness.
When it didn’t come immediately, he looked up at Gene. Gene smiled down at him in a slightly puzzled way. “What’s the matter, you daft bastard?” he said. “Can’t stand up? After a snog? I don’t think so, Tyler!”
“I’m sorry Guv, I’m just so cold and tired, all the time. I just... sorry, personal space and all that.” Sam tensed his muscles to take a step back but he didn’t let go, and nor, astonishingly, did the Guv. Relaxing again, Sam rested his face on Gene’s shoulder and closed his eyes. After a long moment he felt Gene’s hands move to his back and he lifted his face, eyes still closed, resting his cheek lightly alongside Gene’s. Sam stood still and let out a deep, uneven breath of relief.
* * *
Gene stood in the alleyway with his arms round his DI, thinking that things had changed since last time he did this. Then, he had been 15, and had just scored the winning goal against those twats from the posh school, and he’d let go pretty quick in case someone got ideas.
But now, well... Sam was cold and tired, and he needed holding, and Gene knew all about cold and tired. He knew more about that than he’d ever wanted to know about anything. And it didn’t make him feel any better to realise that Sam was suffering too, and Gene, his own Guv, hadn’t even seen it until this week.
But to be fair to himself, he thought, the little bastard had hidden it all these months behind that endless arrogant nit-picking and banging on about bloody forensics. He wasn’t cold and tired then, was he. Bloody hot and dangerous he was then. And he’d fooled Gene completely.
Gene would never have admitted it to anyone else, but he had been so lonely these past three months. Night after night going back to that empty house; he’d been drinking more than ever as an excuse to have to kip on people’s sofas. Anything to stay with other people rather than go home alone. He’d done it again tonight. Unconsciously, he tightened his arms around Sam and closed his eyes.
They stood in silence for several minutes, until Gene realised with a shock that he was getting hard, and worse, so was Tyler. Gene stood absolutely still to avoid having to acknowledge it, but Tyler, the little nance, was starting to move, rocking his hips against Gene’s. Gene’s thoughts were falling apart now as he found himself moving in rhythm with Sam. He was on fire, he needed this, he wanted this. But he needed to get things under control. Which?
He needed this. Gene’s eyes snapped open and he saw Sam’s face, eyes looking into his so intently, lips closing in on his. Unable to resist the pull of those eyes again, Gene didn’t flinch away as Sam put his hands up to Gene’s face, holding it gently as he kissed him.
Gene involuntarily leaned into the kiss, but stiffened when he felt Sam’s tongue gently push into his mouth. “Jesus Christ”, he thought, “How did this happen? I’m not...” Gene gave up thinking as Sam moved a hand behind his head, caressing his neck. Gene heard Sam make a sound somewhere between a groan and a heartfelt sigh of relief, and then the hand was taken away. Gene felt a momentary chill at his neck, but he forgot that as Sam’s hand moved down the front of his shirt, shocking him back to reality.
Gene dragged his arms from Sam’s shoulders and stepped sharply away from Sam, who seemed as shocked as himself. His first thought was to crash the little prick up against the wall and teach him not to mess with the Guv, but he realised just in time that would mean getting close to him again.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and glared at Sam. “What the bloody hell was that about Tyler?” he demanded. ”Is this what you’ve been planning all night, you little pervert? Just because I was stupid enough to tell you I was lonely, doesn’t mean I’m that desperate.”
Sam stepped back, evidently shaken at his anger, but not surprised. “No, Guv, I didn’t plan anything, I swear, I just... I wouldn’t... Sorry”.
They stared at each other for a moment as Gene tried to work out whether he was telling the truth. Then he said “Don’t give me that Tyler; why else did we have to go to the posh pricks’ queer bar? You want queer, there’s plenty of places you could pick up, but not you. Oh no, you have to choose the lovers’ bar. And drag me along with you! Have you any idea what that’ll do to my reputation in this city!”
Gene couldn’t read the twitch that passed across Sam’s face, but he could read the thoughts that followed it. As an experienced copper Sam could hardly claim he hadn’t known what the place was. And as an arrogant prick he wouldn’t admit to there being anything he didn’t know. So he was stuffed both ways; Gene almost felt sorry for him. He watched him trying to think his way out of it, then Sam said nervously ““Look, Guv, can we do this inside? I mean, it’s a bit public out here, can we go in and talk about this in a bit of privacy?”
Gene thought about it for a moment. The kind of conversation they needed to have after what just happened was definitely not one he wanted to have in a public place. But there was a risk, the risk of getting too close to Tyler again. He could control Tyler, no problem, but could he control himself?
He straightened his shoulders. You’re the Sheriff, he told himself. You try hard enough, you can control anything. He motioned Sam to lead the way indoors.
Continues in Chapter 4 in a few days..