Steady As She Goes (86/86)Author:
2365 this part; [147,169 overall]Summary for Whole:
After an accidental shooting at the station, Gene struggles to keep his team from tearing themselves apart while his and Sam's friendship is pushed to the limits.Summary this Part:
angst, swearing, violence, violent imagery, minor drug use, mild sexual situations, self-harm for wholeSpoilers:
none here; see each chapter for specific spoiler warningsPairing:
mild Sam/Annie, Sam/Maya, Gene/missus, Sam/OCDisclaimer:
Belongs to BBC/Kudos Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part 15 Part 16 Part 17 Part 18 Part 19 Part 20 Part 21 Part 22 Part 23 Part 24 Part 25 Part 26 Part 27 Part 28 Part 29 Part 30 Part 31 Part 32 Part 33 Part 34 Part 35 Part 36 Part 37 Part 38 Part 39 Part 40 Part 41 Part 42 Part 43 Part 44 Part 45 Part 46 Part 47 Part 48 Part 49 Part 50 Part 51 Part 52 Part 53 Part 54 Part 55 Part 56 Part 57 Part 58 Part 59 Part 60 Part 61 Part 62 Part 63 Part 64 Part 65 Part 66 Part 67 Part 68 Part 69 Part 70 Part 71 Part 72 Part 73 Part 74 Part 75 Part 76 Part 77 Part 78 Part 79 Part 80 Part 81 Part 82 Part 83 Part 84 Part 85 Part 86A/N:
This is it. It's here. It's over. It's finished. It's done. *Takes enormously huge breath and sets down pen.*
Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that has ever commented and has stuck with this, what I thought would never end, fic. This is the longest work I have ever written, it comes out to about 456 pages in Final Draft, and while I enjoyed every minute of the writing process it feels very good to have it completed.
I'm not going to stop writing LoM fic, at least right now, but I am going to be shifting my attention slightly to my original work. I do need to practice writing short stories (this was supposed to be my attempt at a short story and look how that turned out.) So since I did promise Sam some fluff for all the torture here, if anyone has any fic requests, fluff or otherwise, please post them in the comments and I'll make a list and try to go through them.
Thank you all again for being such an awesome comm and, as always, please enjoy!
His mum wanted him to buy a new suit. Despite his insistence that he had plenty of nice suits already, the Saturday before his review Sam found himself being dragged to the tailor’s and getting fitted by a very short Italian man who didn’t understand the concept of “personal space.”
When he lamented his fate to Gladys she told him she supported him one-hundred percent. She didn’t see a reason that Sam should ever wear clothes at all.
Sam had to admit he looked good in a suit and did prefer it to the atrocious seventies shirts he now kept in a special part of his walk-in closet. It was the action of buying a suit that had upset him. Actually purchasing such an article of clothing meant that he now saw himself as staying in 2006. Well, it was 2007 now. A full year to the day since he had woken up. A full year to the day since Gene Hunt had died.
Handing his credit card to the merchant had been painful enough due to the exorbitant cost of the ridiculous thing but entering his pin code had been akin to signing away his past, admitting he would never return to the land orange and brown. To Ray and Chris. To Annie. To Gene.
Things were certainly better for him now than before the coma but the instincts Gene had honed so well for him were telling him nothing would be as good as it had been in 1973. Even after meeting Gladys, Sam would walk down the street and wonder what would happen if he stepped off the curb just as the bus would pass. Would he simply be splattered across the road? Would he wake up at St. Mary’s in 1973? Before or after the kidnapping? Before or after his breakdown in front of the Super? If he did go back, would he have anything to go back to? Gene, certainly, and the others but what about his job? And would he be alright mentally or...at less than his full capacity?
Sam decided Gene was right when he told him he thought too much. He’d simply asked himself if he should go with the red or blue tie and had found himself in the middle of an existential crisis.
“Right. Red or blue.” Maybe asking himself out loud would help. Before he could come up with a definite answer there was a frantic knocking at his front door.
“Sam!” He heard Gladys shouting on the other side and immediately dropped both ties to the floor. “Sam! Are you there?”
He opened the door in a flash and saw Gladys standing there, face flushed and stained with tears, her usually neat hair an awful mess. Before he could say anything she threw her arms around his neck and started sobbing.
“Hey, hey. What’s the matter?” He pulled her inside and shut the door.
“ ‘S Mum. I can’t...I can’t find her,” she wept into his shoulder.
“Come here.” He guided her to the sofa and helped her sit down. “Take a deep breath and tell me what happened.” He held her hand with his while brushing the other through her hair.
“I had to go down to London yesterday to meet with my bosses. See if I could negotiate more time off. Well, they’re miserable old poncey bastards who couldn’t give a shit how many clients I’ve pulled in for them and everything just went horribly. Then I missed my train and didn’t get back til late.”
“Is that when she went missing?” Sam felt his own heart race. Gladys and Mrs. Hunt were his last connections to his past life. He couldn’t imagine losing either one of them now.
Gladys shook her head. “No. My aunt was with her. But I was completely knackered and in such a foul mood I just went straight to bed and left my keys on the hall table ‘stead of hiding them. I always have to hide them else Mum will...She wasn’t anywhere in the house this
morning. I’ve been running round like a spastic headless chicken but I haven’t found her anywhere.” Gladys went very still and squeezed Sam’s hand tighter. “ ‘S all my fault, if I don’t find her. If something happens. I promised Daddy. My last words to him. I promised I’d look after her and I’ve let him down. I knew today would be a bad day I knew it cos, it’s, you know...and still...I’ve gone and fucked it all up.” She dropped her head in her hands, her normally boundless energy gone.
“Good thing your boyfriend’s a high ranking police official then. “ And Sam praised modern technology as he only had to reach in his pocket and pull out his mobile instead of leaving Gladys’ side to reach the landline.
“Maya? It’s Sam. I need you to put plod on the lookout for a missing person...Plod...Uniformed officers then. Just listen, please? Her name is Margaret Hunt. Seventy-one. Graying auburn hair. Green eyes. She has Alzheimer’s and hasn’t been seen since last night. And I need you to check all the area hospitals to see if they’ve admitted anyone fitting that description...Top priority...I know what time my review is Maya. Can you take care of this please? For me?...Thank you.” Sam hung up the phone with the press of a button, an action that one year on still filled him with unexplained glee, and started to rise from the couch. “Right. So where haven’t you checked yet?”
Gladys didn’t move from the couch as she looked up at Sam. “Oh God. That’s today. Your review. Shit. I didn’t even...I shouldn’t have bothered...”
Sam sat back down beside her and gently turned her face to his. “This is more important,” he confided to her in complete seriousness. “This will always be more important. Now, where would she go?”
“She’s only wandered once before. Right after Daddy...” Gladys fought hard to control her tears. “She went looking for him.”
“Have you checked the cemetery?”
“Yes,” she nodded. “And I told the ground’s keeper to ring me if he saw her.”
“Good. Good thinking. Where else?”
“Uhm, everywhere she likes to shop or visit. I still take her those places so I remember them but if she’s looking for Dad...we only lived here til I was seven. I don’t remember all the places he went.”
Sam could feel his eyes light up. “I might have an idea.” He took her hand and hurried out the door and out of the building, completely forgetting anything involving ties or suits. “You drive here?”
“Yeah. I’m over there.” She pointed to a car parked half on the road, half on the pavement.
“Definitely your father’s daughter,” Sam mumbled as they rushed over.
“Nothing. I thought you had a BMW. Since when do you drive an Audi Quattro?” Sam asked in slight distaste as he hopped in the passenger’s seat.
“It was Dad’s. After he sold the Cortina. I take it out every once in awhile, keep the engine running smoothly.” Gladys had seemed to regain her emotional strength as she revved the engine and pulled onto the road.
Fifteen minutes later they were parked outside Sam’s chosen destination.
“The chip shop?” Gladys asked disbelievingly as they left the car.
“I was right before, when I said it used to be a pub? It was an old copper’s pub, The Railway Arms, back in the seventies. I’d say there’s a fair chance your dad spent a lot of time here back in the day.” He hoped Gladys couldn’t see his smirk.
Together they ran inside and didn’t have to search long to see a confused waitress trying to explain that no one called “Nelson” worked there.
“Mum!” Gladys shouted. The waitress sighed with relief and hurried away while she had the chance.
“Gladys Hunt,” Margaret scolded. “You are much too young to be in a pub. I’m going to give your father a right going over soon as I find him. I’ve told him time and time again. Do not bring your daughter to the darts match. She is not your lucky rabbit’s foot and that Skelton lad will probably poke her eye out.”
Gladys was too relieved to try and correct her and simply took her by the arm and guided her back to the door.
“DI Tyler,” Margaret accused in the same scolding tone. “You should know better than to let Gene take her out like this. My husband’s been rubbing off on you lad. Not a good sign,” she tsked. “Can you at least yell at him for me? He might actually listen to you.”
“Uhm...Right,” Gladys regarded both her mother and Sam more oddly than usual. “Let’s get you home, Mum.” Gladys escorted Margaret to the Audi, still fixing a sheepish Sam with a curious gaze. After her mother was safely in the backseat, Gladys leaned on the car and tapped her fingers on the roof, staring directly at Sam.
“What?” He asked nervously.
“Nothing...Only...your name sounds familiar, now I think about it. My dad, when he was really pissed, I thought he used to mention--”
“You remember your mother as Alzheimer’s?” Sam interrupted.
“Yeah. You’re right,” Gladys sighed and they both finally got in the car.
“ ‘Sides, I was only born in 1969. Would be impossible,” he smiled.
“Yeah.” Gladys repeated, still sounding unsure as she started the engine. “What time’s your review?”
“Five mintues,” Sam answered, checking the clock and Gladys hit him with an all too familiar grin.
“I can make that.”
Sam gulped and instinctively reached for the handle above the door. “I’d rather you didn’t.”
“They look lovely.”
“Bit girly for Dad. Should’ve brought him whiskey or something more suitable.”
“Would be a waste of good alcohol,” Sam smiled.
Gladys helped her mother lay the fresh flowers in front of the large gravestone. Together, the three of them stared at the name silently, missing the man that had forever changed their lives.
“Going to rain soon,” Gladys shivered. “Best get Mum home soon.”
“You go on ahead. I’ll be right there,” Sam encouraged her.
“What? You two need a little private time?” She asked sarcastically.
“Something like that,” he agreed.
Gladys sighed and took her mother by the arm. “Like I said. Completely bonkers.”
Sam laughed quietly and watched them walk away towards the car before turning back to the headstone. As soon as they were out of range, Sam reached into his pocket and pulled out a mini bottle of whiskey and set it with the flowers.
“Gene Hunt,” he read off the gravestone. “Husband. Father. Gentleman. Well, two out of three’s not bad, eh Guv?” He smiled and knelt down, pulling at the weeds with his fingers. “I know you hated it whenever I tried to talk about...well anything. But at the risk of sounding incredibly Dorothy, I want you to know I’m sorry. For everything I said...that
day. For everything you went through after.”
Sam dropped his hands against his knees and continued to stare at the grass. “I don’t remember everything. It’s all getting a bit hazy to be honest. Especially the things towards the end but...I don’t hate you. I don’t think I ever hated you. Well, there were a few moments during the Raimes case but other than that...”
Sam laughed to himself and finally returned his eyes to the gravestone. “You were able to do what no one else could, Gene. You got me home. You probably never realized what you did for me. No way you could I guess but I want you to know, you did the right thing. You saved me, Guv.”
Sam reached into his suit jacket and pulled out his badge. It felt silly to show it to grave but he did it anyway. “I finally got it back. I’m officially DCI Tyler, head of A-Division, CID.” Sam heard Gladys shout and turned his head to see the younger Hunt trying to corral her mother back to the car.
“I’ll watch over them Guv. I’ll keep them safe and our city clean. I promise.” Sam stared at the gray stone one moment more before rising. “Oh, by the way. Promise me your ghost won’t come back and tear off my scrotum if I try to marry her, alright Guv?” Sam could’ve sworn he heard a roll of thunder in the distance and suddenly the dark sky that had been threatening all day suddenly opened up and rain came pouring down.
Sam stood there and outstretched his arms, relishing the feeling. “This is a brand new suit, you bastard!” He laughed.
“Oi! Coma boy!” Gladys shouted from the car, an old newspaper doing little to protect her from the weather. “You’ll get pneumonia standing out there like that. In the car. Shake a leg. There’s a good lad.”
Sam continued to smile as he briefly placed one hand on the now slick granite then ran back to join the Hunt’s in their car. He leapt into the passenger side and closed the door as quickly as possible before shaking the water from his hair.
“Watch it!” Gladys scolded as she turned on the engine. “You’re getting the upholstery all wet. Worse than a dog you are.”
“How about I make it up to you? Cook you dinner?” Sam couldn’t seem to stop smiling despite the fact he was completely drenched and starting to shiver.
“What did you have in mind?” She asked, still slightly annoyed.
“I know this Jamaican recipe. Omelette with sausage and banana.” Sam excitedly tapped his fingers on his damp trousers.
“That sounds positively ghastly,” Gladys grimaced.
“I think it sounds lovely,” Margaret spoke softly and she and Sam shared a secret smile.
“Well you are out of your flipping mind Mum,” Gladys grumbled as she put the car in gear and backed out of the space. “Right then. Egg and vomit it is.”
Gladys drove carefully through the grim, rain soaked streets of Manchester and as Sam leaned his head back and looked up at the darkened sky, he realized it was the brightest day he had ever seen.
Followed by: All the Lost Souls