The Sheriff and His Deputy
Sam / GeneRating:
noneThe Sheriff and His Deputy
The sheriff stared daggers across the office at his smirking deputy perched on the edge of his desk, arms and ankles crossed in insubordinate challenge.
"I'm not saying it."
"I am taking up residence here until you do."
"I want to know!"
Gene Hunt paused in his pacing, frustrated, asking,
"Because it was important enough when you thought we were both about to die!"
His pacing resumed.
"We didn't die. We're 'ere, alive. It's no longer important."
"Until the next time?"
"What next time? Do you do this just to piss me off?"
"The next time we're both about to die. And no, I don't. I do it to feel alive."
"I don't make a habit of getting bundled into the trunks of strange cars at gunpoint, Sammy."
"You surprise me."
The sarcasm wasn't lost on Hunt, but as much as he wanted Sam just to get bored and get out, he knew from painful experience that his DI didn't give up that easily. Once Tyler had his teeth into something he didn't let go. Like....
"What are those dogs with big teeth?"
The apparently random question at least caught Tyler off guard and he frowned, obviously trying to follow the train of thought and immediately de-railing.
But the answer had already come to him. "Rottweilers!" Actually, Sam was nothing like a rottweiler. More like a terrier.
"What are you talking about?"
Hunt didn't reply. Instead he closed his eyes and squeezed the bridge of his nose hard, wincing at his own bad analogy and the headache closing in like a speeding train. Definite lack of alcohol in his parched bloodstream. It had been at least twenty-four hours since he'd set foot inside a pub and that was previously unheard of.
Holding up one, hopefully silencing hand, he shook his head. "Sam, look, I know you think I don't like you but you're wrong."
"I don't think you don't like me. I wouldn't have stuck around if I thought that. I wouldn't care so much about what you have to say to me now."
"Ray doesn't like you." But it was a low, cheap retaliating shot and Gene knew Sam knew it.
"He loves me, he just doesn't know it."
Finally Hunt stopped pacing, took a step back and leaned against a filing cabinet, setting the darts trophies on top rocking.
"Sometimes I think you rile me up just to get me to lash out at you so you've got an excuse to hit back."
Sam was listening now, head cocked to one side like... like a Cocker Spaniel.
What was going on in his brain with all the dogs suddenly?
"You don't need an excuse. I'll beat the crap out of you whenever you want me to." He let the brief smile touch his lips before it fell away again. "I mean… you just have to say if you need to let off steam."
"Do I?" There was a definite underlying hint of suggestiveness to Sam's tone, which Gene decided to ignore. It was too close to the mark, too close maybe to what he really meant but absolutely wasn't going to voice.
"You know... I wish I knew who the hell you are and where the hell you've come from. I can't work you out and that drives me nuts. So I end up feelin' like I'm banging my head against the brick wall that you are, and then I end up banging you against a brick wall because it makes me feel better."
He watched Sam's eyebrows rise half an inch.
"You've got the filthy mind of a Catholic Priest, Sammy-boy."
"Are you sure you mean...?"
"Shut up. You wanted to hear what I had to say so just listen for once. You might have noticed I don't beat up the rest of 'em. You always take the first swing at me and...."
"In the hospital...."
"Extenuating circumstances. As I was sayin', before I was rudely interrupted yet again, you take a swing at me, I hit you back but you just keep coming. It's not good, Sam. It's getting like some bloody habit I can't break."
He glanced at Sam, hating the creeping feeling of vulnerability. He wasn't good at what his wife used to refer to as 'fluffy talk'. He wasn't good at laying himself on the line like this. He'd rather stare down the hollow end of a shooter than have this conversation with anyone, let alone his DI, but it had seemed necessary, and easier while lying in the boot of a car with Sam's knee in his stomach and squinting in the pin-points of sunlight piercing the otherwise black space through the rusted boot lid.
He should have known they'd get out in one piece, and that Sam would call him on his moment of weakness.
"Do you ever feel like the world's playing some bloody great joke on you and you're the only one not seeing it?"
Sam laughed. And not just a chuckle. A giggle that quickly erupted into full-blown hysteria. When he was apparently finally able to suck in enough oxygen to speak, he managed to respond to what had been a rhetorical question.
"You have absolutely no idea."
Gene didn't know what to do. He stared for a minute, then dropped his face into his large hands.
"Why do I feel like you're not supposed to be here, not supposed to be… with me? Why do I feel like I'm on borrowed time with you, Sam?"
The remnants of laughter died away and when he lifted his head Sam was watching him, the same expression on his face Gene sometimes saw on Mrs Hunt's on those increasingly rare occasions, just before she hugged him and told him she loved him.
Anger had always been his natural defence and he tried hard to stop it from tearing out of him. "For what?"
"For not being who you want me to be."
Pressing his fingers into his eyes and his eyes into his skull to relieve some of the tension in his head, Gene groaned softly in his throat. What had he done to deserve this?
"It's not about that. You don't understand."
"Then explain it to me."
"What've I been doing for the last ten minutes?"
Sam's eyes widened in that way they did when he shook his head. "I don't know." It wasn't surprise, it was that annoyingly contagious expectation that everyone should live up to his own personal standards, no matter how balmy they might be.
Straightening, Gene reached into the top drawer of the filing cabinet behind him and lifted out a bottle of blended Scotch whiskey. Unscrewing the top he didn't bother hunting around for a glass, just took a swig and grimaced at the rough taste on his tongue and scolding burn to his throat. He preferred Single Malt but this was his back up bottle, on stand-by just in case he got caught out. It had been in there for as long as he'd been working out of the building - trust it to Sam to be the one to make him turn to it.
"Life was simple before you came along," he stated, half-referring to the bottle in his hand although he knew Sam wouldn't get it. "The rules were simple. Now 'alf the time I feel like I'm stumbling around blindfolded and the other 'alf I feel like that's what I've been doin' for my whole life! You've complicated things, Sam."
"If I could go home, I would, believe me."
"What does that mean?!" One hand clenched around the bottle, the other curled into a fist, Gene stepped forward and immediately Sam drew back to defend himself.
This wasn't what he wanted - another fight. Shaking his head, Gene dropped to a crouch, knees cracking as they bent, bouncing on the balls of his feet looking up with what he knew was pleading in his expression and not caring just then. "I'm right, aren't I? You don't belong 'ere. You keep goin' on about leavin' but you can't. When you asked me if I could send you back...."
Sam glanced away. "Would you, if you could?"
With a heartfelt sigh, Gene pressed the heel of his hand against his forehead. He wasn't sure he could answer that. "When I said life was simple before you came, Sam, I didn't mean it isn't good now you're here."
"Would you send me back?"
Hunt looked up, met the pebble-hard stare of his DI and nodded. "If it was what you wanted. What else could I do? You don't want to be here, no point in keepin' you, is there?"
The deputy watched the sheriff drop like the cowboy in a cheaply shot bad death scene for a low-budget western.
Not Gene. Not the one person who had dragged him kicking and screaming into belonging in this place, in this time of mavericks and lunatics.
Not Gene who'd spilled his soul in a long night of whiskey-fuelled confession and frank admission, whose aftershave mixed with the smell cigarette smoke and alcohol fumes had kept away the test card girl and let Sam fall asleep with his head on one broad shoulder, to wake up warm with a strong, possessive arm around him.
The anger that welled up inside him was like a whirlpool, sudden and strong. He lashed out at the gunman standing behind him, reaching back, grabbing his wrist and feeling only a cold flash of pain when the bullet sank into his shoulder. It didn't stop him putting an elbow in the shooter's face, taking him down.
Later he would have vague recollections of a blurred Chris and a smirking Ray leaning over him. He imagined Gene telling him he was a bloody idiot in a voice filled with pain. He dreamt of a warm hand against his throat.
Then nothing but blessed black.
There was applause for the sheriff and his heroic deputy.
Dismissed from hospital ("It's just a flesh wound, Sir."), bound up in bandages and Sam with his arm in a sling, they stood in the open doors of A-Division's CID headquarters, shoulder to shoulder, high on morphine and triumph.
It was lucky that Chris - in an uncharacteristic display of intelligence and sense - had dismissed the idea of going straight to the pub. A couple of pints and they'd both have been out cold on the floor.
As it was, after a celebratory whiskey, Sam crashed out on Gene's sofa while Gene went to talk his own chief through what had gone on.
By the time he got back to his office CID had emptied out - presumably into the Railway Arms - and Sam's soft snoring was the only sound except for the quiet voice on the radio. Gene switched that off, dropped into his chair and crossed his ankles on the edge of his paper-strewn desk. What was he always telling Sam? "Don't give me anything to read," which seemed to translate into Hyde-speak as 'Please let me have copies of every document you can get your grubby fingers on.'
Not that his DI's fingers were at all grubby - cleanest fingers in Manchester, Sam Tyler's. How he managed it, Gene would never know. Where he got some of his ideas from was an equally unsolved mystery. If it were a crime, he'd have fitted some deserving, low-life sod up for it by now and crossed it off the books.
But there was something about the lad, something that drew him in a way he hadn't been drawn by anyone before. Like the other night, when he'd had an argument with the wife. He'd gone to the pub, found Sam sitting at the bar.
They'd got drunk, staggered back to Sam's pokey little flat and collapsed out on the bed, squashed up next to each other necking cheap red plonk straight from the bottle and talking about nothing at all.
Sam had fallen asleep with his head on Gene's shoulder and oddly he hadn't minded - hadn't minded at all in fact, had put his arm around Sam's shoulders, just to give them more room, and had fallen asleep himself like that.
No big deal. But he knew it would have been if Ray had caught them like that.
What did worry him was the way his dick reacted to Sam's physical presence in a way it hadn't reacted to his wife's in years.
Now and again he'd felt it, rubbing up against the seam of his trousers, and he'd looked around for the tits it had spotted and he hadn't to find there weren't any. Just Sam, arm locked behind his back, or fist bunched ready to punch back. So maybe there was sommat exciting about getting a junior officer down on his knees in front of him, or getting in his face close enough to feel his breath. He'd never thought about it before, probably because Sam was the first one to bring out this need for something unashamedly physical.
He watched his DI shift on the uncomfortable, battered sofa. Not that the camp bed in his flat was any more comfortable. "Gene?" And since when had it become 'Gene' and not 'Guv'? Why did he allow this man such incredible liberties?
"It's all right, Sam. Just the cogs, that's all." He swallowed once. "Let's get you 'ome, ay? You can sleep it off."
Sam nodded vaguely, still out of it from the mix of prescription drugs and alcohol, and made a valiant attempt at standing up, hugging his injured arm to him.
Gene caught him before he fell over. "I think I should probably stay...."
"That was going to be my line, Sunbeam," he muttered under his breath, glad when Sam swayed in his steadying hands - seeming not to hear him. "I think we should get you home."
Sam took a step back and reached for Gene's arm when the rest of his body started to tip sideways. "No... she'll come and then.... I'm stayin' 'ere."
"Sam...." With a sigh, Gene wrapped one arm around his DI's waist. He remembered Sam talking about 'her' the night he'd stayed over after the argument with his wife. He had no idea who 'she' was, but Sam was frightened by her, and that didn't sit right with what he knew about the lad. "Come on. She won't come, not to tonight." Why did the best copper on his team have to be ready for the nut house?
But Sam turned his head, looked straight at him, eyes bright and clear, maybe too bright. "You don't believe me."
Gene could feel another headache coming on. His ribs ached where the bullet had impacted the silver hip flask - one of a small collection kept about his person - and he knew from past experience he'd have a shiner of a bruise in the morning.
"She won't come if I'm there, will she?"
Sam shook his head once, certain when he stated, "No."
"Well then. Come on, stop being such a jessie."
The sheriff shifted on the bed, back against the wooden headboard, socked feet bouncing to some tune only in his head (David Bowie he'd decided after a couple of bars) his deputy wriggling against his shoulder, vying for space.
"We need to find you a better place to live, Sammy-boy."
They were both drinking cheap whiskey from blue, thrift-store mugs with cracked handles, sitting side by side as much as the cramped space would allow them to - Sam's shoulder tucked into Gene's aching ribs.
"That would be like accepting I'm stuck 'ere," Sam muttered, finally toeing his own shoes off.
"What's so wrong with that?"
He shook his head. "You wouldn't understand. But… it's nothin' personal...."
"Well it bloody well feels like it! Ever since you got 'ere you've been trying to leave. I know you don't think I give a mouse's bum but I do."
"The phrase is a rat's arse."
"Rat's arse, mouse's bum, what difference does it make? I do like you, Sam. You're a good bloke. And… and I like you. A lot." Grabbing the half-empty bottle from the mattress, he filled their mugs again.
It felt natural when Sam's head came to rest against his shoulder, as it had done that previous night, to turn his chin into the short dark hair. Sam smelt different than everyone else. There was something… clean, almost sterile about him, under the soap and shampoo. And there was something very disturbing about noticing it.
"When you say a lot…."
Gene could hear the unspoken question in the way Sam trailed off, but felt no tensing of the man sitting so close to him, nothing to say he was uncomfortable with the unvoiced suggestion.
"Why do you give a rat's bottom?"
"Because it would be nice to feel loved by someone, even if it's just for a night, even if it's just physical." Sam lifted his mug to his mouth. "Even if it's you."
"What do you mean, even if it's me?"
Sam turned his head, using the point of Gene's shoulder as a pivot, all unfocused eyes and affectionate smile.
Gene was more than a little surprised by his dick's interest. This wasn't a fight, wasn't withheld violence. This was gentle, deliberate.
"I'm a bloke, Sam." Why the hell was he stating the bleedin' obvious? "You're a bloke."
"So?!" What kind of question was that? "Is this what it's like in Hyde? Men knobbing other men for kicks?"
Sam shrugged one shoulder, the one that was supporting the sling, and nodded. "Amongst other things?"
"What? Like… animals?" He couldn't keep the disgust out of his voice. Where the hell was Hyde anyway? Why did Sam always make it sound like some foreign country?
But Sam was giggling. "No. I mean, for kicks amongst other things."
"Love. Need. Desire. Plain and simple lust. The same reasons men knob women and women… knob other women with dildos."
Gene closed his eyes for a moment, feeling his rapidly hardening dick rubbing against the seam of his trousers for the second time that night. "You, Sam Tyler, are disgusting."
But Sam chose that moment to tip his head back on Gene's shoulder and close his eyes. "I wouldn't tell a soul."
Gene swallowed, not actually sure he'd care right then if Sam shouted it from the roof of the station. He dipped his shoulder, twisted his neck and awkwardly covered his DI's parted lips with his own mouth.
God but Sam tasted good - whiskey, coffee, toothpaste and that same unknown quantity Gene could smell in his hair. Responsive too, something Gene hadn't experience in too long, he realised. He pulled back, wanted to yell feral triumph at Sam's small, pained cry of loss. Instead he downed the remainder of his drink in one swallow, dropped the mug to the floor and reached for Sam again, kissing him properly this time, pushing his tongue deep into the welcoming mouth, sweeping along the base of his teeth, then licking the underside of Sam's own tongue, bringing it back with him into his mouth to suck on it.
He could feel long fingers clutching in his hair, short nails scraping his scalp. A hard hand skimmed down his back to wrench his shirt from his trousers and find flushed skin.
Gene moved over Sam, not relinquishing his mouth, taking the majority of his own weight on one hand pressed to the mattress, mindful of their injuries, while he pulled at the dark patterned shirt with his other until his fingers brushed hot flesh.
Sam's one available hand meanwhile was clawing into his ass through the worn material of his pants as he squirmed like something trapped. Gene was about to tell him to keep still when an explosion of sensation shot along the length of his dick and wiped all conscious thought from his mind. All he could feel was the hard steel length of Sam's cock thrusting slowly along his own through too much cloth and he managed a moment of cohesion enough to realise that Sam's scrabbling hand was an attempt to get rid of some of the layers.
Gene arched his back, pushed the waistband of his own trousers down as far as he could, felt Sam's fingers around his dick and a second later felt the intensity of silky skin sliding against his own, Sam's strong, knowing hand locking their dicks together, creating a tight grip to slide through. Gene could feel the edges of his mind turning fuzzy - like the static on the television screen when it was too late even for the test card girl and her funny little clown.
Only when Sam's tongue dove insistently between his lips did he realise he'd lifted from the kiss, and he met Sam's mouth willingly, groaning softly, swallowing every glorious sound of sex that Sam made.
It couldn't last. It was too much, too long since Gene had been with someone who seemed to want him so badly, and he came, hard, yelling in pure, incredible ecstasy, stunned by the intensity of it, by his own searing need.
Sam wasn't far behind, hand slick with Gene's cum, snatching a hard kiss to apparently silence himself.
After a few long, deep breaths, Gene collapsed off to one side, one leg falling between Sam's, one arm curving across his stomach.
"Good God, Sammy…. It's been a long time since I've felt like that."
He could barely think straight. "Dead serious." Fingers combed through his hair, caressing his scalp. For one bizarre moment he felt like purring.
"What about… your missus?"
Gene screwed his eyes shut for a second but he wasn't going to regret this, not a chance. It had been too good, too bloody brilliant for regrets. "Been a long while since she's grabbed at my dick like you just did."
"Why?" Such an innocent question.
"What do you mean why?" He couldn't help but smile at the expression on Sam's face - concern, hurt even, all just for him. How long since someone had looked at him like that? "We've been married a long time and I'm not exactly husband of the year, if you get my drift."
"You have affairs?"
Gene laughed at the absurdity of the suggestion. "Who'd 'ave me?"
"I did. And I would again. I think you are… absolutely gorgeous."
"Now I know you're drunk, Sammy-boy. Time to sleep it off. Let's just hope you don't wake up with too many regrets, ay?"
"Not goin' to 'appen."
But his eyes were already closing; breath turning to soft snores. A couple of minutes later he turned onto his side and snuggled into Gene, who couldn't resist. Who was to see him cuddling his very male DI? Who was to see him drop a kiss into the short dark hair before resting his cheek against the crown of his head and closing his own eyes?
The deputy slept through the night, protected from the bad thing in his head by his sheriff.