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Fans of Life On Mars
Fic, An Unhappy Man (8/8), White Cortina, by DorsetGirl 
7th-Feb-2008 02:23 pm
Well, here it is – the final chapter. Posting earlier than usual as I have to go out, and today there’s obviously no point posting later! I wouldn’t normally post twice a day, but it’s been my intention right from the start to post this before Ashes to Ashes is broadcast. It’s taken so many months to reach this stage, but I’m just getting in under the wire here! I hope you like it. 

 

Title:                 An Unhappy Man Part 8 of 8

Author:              DorsetGirl

Fandom:           Life on Mars

Disclaimer:        I don’t own these characters or their universe. BBC/Kudos do. I’m not making any money.

Rating:              Gen, White Cortina

Pairing:             N/A

Spoiler:             MAJOR SPOILER FOR ENTIRE FIRST AND SECOND SERIES

Word Count:     approx 28,000 This part 3,017

A/N:                  You should note that this story tackles the very heart of the series, so if you have ambitions to watch any part of either series unspoiled, please DO NOT click on the cut!  Huge thanks to jayb111 and mikes_grrl for thorough and insightful beta’ing.

Summary:         The summary and more detailed A/N are under the cut in Part 1. See warning above.

 

A/N: At some point there will be a sequel to this story, as yet unnamed, comprising a number of missing scenes from Episode 2.08. It’s about 80% written, although as my brilliant betas both lobbed a few sequel-bunnies at me I may have to put in a few more scenes and review that percentage.

 

 

Part 1, Part 2a, Part 2b, Part 3a, Part 3b, Part 4a, Part 4b, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7a, Part 7b

 

 

 

MONDAY

 

Monday morning finally arrived and with it his new badge, dropped off personally, as promised, by DCI Morgan. “Oh, and Sam, I’ll take the briefing papers back with me. You obviously can’t take them with you, and I don’t want them left here.” Morgan waited expectantly.

 

“Of course, Sir. If you’ll just hold on a moment, they’re in the car.” Annoyed at the unexpected request, Williams pulled the neat packets from the kit bag, taking the opportunity to deposit his “being Sam Tyler” notebook in the inside pocket along with his notes on preservation and evaluation of forensic evidence.

 

Far too late now to wish he’d listened to Doctor Whittaker, he thought exhaustedly as he ushered Morgan back out of his echoing flat. Yet again he’d woken up feeling as if he’d been running and fighting all night. The state of the bedclothes seemed to support the idea.

 

He forced himself through the usual routines - coffee, wash, shave, dress, toast, coffee - hoping that the simple, repetitive processes would engage his attention for long enough to help him achieve some degree of calm. The Tyler clothes felt strange against his skin.

 

The ticking of the clock, reflecting the sun in the corner opposite the window, seemed louder than usual. He found himself pressed to acknowledge every minute passing as he struggled to get the toast down. Now he had finally reached the point of no return he felt sick, and every mouthful and every movement only increased his fear and nausea and a foreboding sense of unreality.

 

To keep himself focussed, he decided to rehearse his first meeting with DCI Hunt. Polite but not submissive, he thought. Minimally subordinate rather than deferential. ‘Sir’, obviously, although he planned to drop that as soon as possible. If Sam Tyler was going to challenge Hunt on his own ground, it would start with the name. But then he would have to decide when to begin using the man’s name instead of his title. Too early and he risked getting smacked down for insubordination; too late and it would be just that - too late.

 

He got up and paced the kitchen, trying to put the Tyler walk together with the manner of speech he had practised, remembering at the same time to concentrate on his pronunciation and the delicate balance between submission and challenge that he’d decided he had to use with Hunt. And that’s without thinking what I’m going to actually say, he thought despondently. Perhaps Tyler would stand still while he was talking? Well yes, but all the time? I don’t think so.

 

He tried again, this time focussing on finding the right words to signal to Hunt his compliance with orders at the same time as his essential independence of thought. When it all fell apart for the fourth time he ran his hands over his face in frustration. There were just too many things to remember all at once.

 

He’d have to put them in priority order so that if he couldn’t manage everything at once, at least it was only the one aspect that wavered. But if any aspect wavered at all, wouldn’t that make them suspicious anyway? Wouldn’t they then start looking at ... No, calm down. They have no reason to be suspicious, he reminded himself. No reason at all. He tried again, but each time something jarred; some part of the performance didn’t quite work.

 

When he caught himself panicking for the third time, thoughts spiralling out of control, he admitted that Doctor Whittaker’s dire warnings were very close to coming true. He knew he should never have agreed to this, although to be fair there hadn’t been much actual agreeing involved.

 

He took a few minutes to have one last try at phoning Pete. Please be there. He hadn’t dared try again last night; he’d had insane visions of the landlady reporting him as a heavy breather. Please, answer the phone. But again, the phone rang and rang at the other end. Oh please, just for once...  He’d wound himself up so tight over the past week, and this was the final straw; he couldn’t stop tears of unendurable stress forcing their way past his flawed control. Angry and ashamed, he wiped them away immediately, brushing at his eyes impatiently as he walked through the flat, checking everything one last time.

 

At eight o’clock on the dot he left the flat and made himself comfortable in the shabby borrowed Rover, dumping his made-up transfer papers on the passenger seat. As he finally set out for what he knew would be his last secret operation, he realised with a sense of shock that he’d been promised the Davis operation would be “the last one” as well. That memory had lost itself amongst all the fear and confusion at the end of the Davis business, and it must have surfaced now triggered by his fears of the new operation. In an attempt to take his mind off those fears he hit the Play button on the 8-track.

 

I still don't know what I was waiting for

 

For further distraction he decided to practice the new pronunciation again. He’d finally decided to go for the Southern-influenced glottal stop he’d learned at the orphanage to disguise his own precise t’s.

 

And my time was running wild, a million dead-end streets

 

Concentrating on how to speak would help ensure he never forgot to think about every word before he uttered it. Driving the Rover carefully through the familiar streets, he finally admitted to himself that he was terrified.

 

Every time I thought I'd got it made it seemed the taste was not so sweet

 

‘A’ Division, with its rough characters and infamously non-standard procedures was never going to be a place he could fit into easily. But that was precisely what he had to do. The operation could never succeed if he stood out as being too different.

 

So I turned myself to face me

 

He had to be unobtrusive, appearing to go along with their unacceptably archaic practices while not incriminating himself. He shifted uneasily in his seat as he realised that he no longer had any faith in his ability to absorb the new identity and keep to it. There’d been too many before it, even without the “new personality” to complicate matters.

 

But I've never caught a glimpse of how the others must see the faker ...

 

Desperately, he went over the background in his head: mother still living locally, father not to be mentioned. Auntie. Hyde. Gap Year. Over and over. Mother. Auntie. Hyde.

 

... Turn and face the strain ...

 

He wished now he’d invented a father after all. It would be something else to talk about. What sort of idiot talks about his mother and auntie to the people he works with? And did it fit with his new personality? Did smiling, confident people talk to colleagues about their mums and aunties? Hardly. He scrubbed hard at his face, concentrating on the feeling of skin against skin.

 

...Just gonna have to be a different man

 

He knew he’d never been as scared as this before going into a job, and he still couldn’t pin down what it was about this one that was so frightening; he knew it wasn’t just the pressure of remembering the new personality. He tried to ignore the voices in his head, whispering endlessly ‘it’s like a different planet, Sam; in a coma, Sam; like going back in time, Sam’.

 

How could it be so much more difficult to be a police officer amongst police officers, than to be a small-time drug-runner amongst similar? But it was, and he could not stop his face crumpling as the despised tears threatened again. He’d vowed at the age of twelve never to cry again, and he’d kept that vow until the day he came home safe from his very first undercover operation. Since then it had been more difficult.

 

... Time may change me but I can't trace time ...

 

He took a deep breath and tried to concentrate on the road.

 

He was being ridiculous, he told himself firmly. Hed dealt confidently, time and again, with villains who would not have hesitated to kill him if they thought it necessary. But that was different: expected, he told himself, just their natural behaviour.

 

What was not natural, he thought, was a police officer for whom the lines were apparently so blurred there was no guarantee he would not kill too. Williams could only hope that DCI Hunt was closer to human than Morgan had made him sound.

 

Now he realised that this was the main cause of his fear: that he was going to have to cosy up to this terrifying creature and pretend to agree with everything he said and did when what he really wanted to do was just tell the man he had to change.

 

... Where's your shame, you've left us up to our necks in it ...

 

God, I’m so fed up with being alone – I’m always on my own, he thought again self-pityingly. Rubbing a hand across his mouth, he swiped it back again, moving a tear away from his top lip with the back of his hand.  He gripped the wheel more tightly as the voices in his head grew louder, fading and swelling again.

 

The tears were trickling down his face now; he could not stop them. ‘It’s like another planet over there, Sam’. As a tear coursed delicately into his mouth he licked it away. ‘It’s like going back in time going over there. He tightened his lips in an attempt to get himself under control. ‘Keep your eye on the prize, Sam’.

 

He hit the steering wheel. “Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it!” he shouted, angry with himself even as he did so for losing control. It was the one thing he’d agreed with the staff at the Home about: people with an adequate command of the language don’t need to swear, and normally he never did. Just one more sign of how dangerously close to the edge he was.

 

In his imagination Morgan laughed and repeated his favourite joke yet again: “They’re so dozy over there Sam, you could run rings round them even if you were in a coma.”

 

The next track started. He had never much liked this one, or the one after, so he hit the fast forward, then after a few moments, the ‘Play’ button.

 

Too absorbed in what he was doing, he wasn’t paying enough attention to the road. He realised belatedly that he had slowed down, forcing the following traffic to overtake with increasing difficulty as he wavered dangerously close to the middle of the road. As he looked up a red car hurtled past, the driver blasting his horn.

 

Williams screeched to a halt, unreasonably shaken by the non-incident.

 

He turned the engine off and undid his seatbelt as the track he wanted began to play softly. ”Life on Mars”: how appropriate for a man heading for another planet, he thought hysterically, desperately trying to get his breathing under control. He was overwrought, he knew. He desperately needed to calm down before reporting to Hunt.

 

It’s a Godawful small affair 

 

He sat, shaking, and took more deep breaths in an attempt to calm down.

 

Pictures flooded jaggedly into his mind, each unsettling image swirling and flashing as it was replaced by something worse. Suspects with bruised faces, staring defeated at the camera. Reports Morgan had shown him: “unwarranted violence”; “exceeding allowed custody times without charge”; “unexplained injuries”.

 

To the girl with the mousy hair.

 

And, then, from four years ago, the newly-promoted DCI Hunt himself, staring grimly out of a newspaper report. Hard face, mouth like a steel trap. Long-lashed eyes burning out of the page. Williams had woken up one night yelling in fear with that picture fixed in his brain.

 

He shook his head to clear the images.

 

But her mummy is yelling “no!” 

 

He wound down the window, but the car still felt airless. The music was not working its usual magic; he still felt too shaky to drive.

 

And her Daddy has told her to go.

 

Eventually he opened the door and cautiously stepped out into the road, leaving the music playing.

 

But her friend is nowhere to be seen.

 

Still trembling, he leaned on the car door, trying to calm himself down.

 

Now she walks through a sunken dream.

 

He lost track of how long he stood there, regaining control of himself. Finally, realising he was going to be late for work on his very first day in ‘A’ division, he took another deep breath then got back into the car.

 

To the seat with the clearest view.

 

Ashamed of his weakness, and angry with himself, he banged his fist on the dashboard, hurting his hand, and started the engine.

 

And she’s hooked to the silver screen.

 

Summoning up all the mental strength he could find, he willed himself to focus on the music and drive on.

 

But the film is a saddening bore

 

Still trying to get control of his thoughts, he pulled out without looking over his shoulder.

 

Cos she’s lived it ten times or...

 

A lorry blared its horn as it rocked the car, a wall of steel appearing with heart-stopping suddenness at the driver’s window.

 

...MORE

 

Williams panicked and spun the wheel frantically. He couldn’t see where he was going. Something was wrong with his hearing as well, and he couldn’t feel the ground beneath the car. Random sounds and flashes of green filled his head as he struggled with the wheel. 

 

 

* * *

 

The car careers across the wasteground as if the driver cannot see where he is going. Eventually, the engine seems to cut out and the car drifts to a halt.

 

After a while, the driver’s door opens. A man steps out clumsily and stumbles away, clutching his head. He gazes up at the sky; uncovering his ears he stretches his arms out, and then up as if in supplication. As he reaches towards the sky he staggers and collapses on the ground.

 

Faintly heard, music plays from the car’s 8-track.

 

...friend is nowhere to be seen

 

Slowly, the man’s limbs untangle and relax until he’s lying flat on his back. 

 

* * *

 

 

 

Sam half-woke, struggling to understand what had happened. He had been driving, he thought, and now he seemed to be walking, searching. He was moving through woodland, sunlight dappling his vision. 

 

As she walks through her sunken dream.

 

Moving closer to consciousness, he recognised his persistent childhood nightmare, and lay still, sweating coldly, as it played again inside his head. He was walking through the woods. As always, something terrible was going to happen and he had to stop it.

 

to the seat with the clearest view.

 

 Where are you?” he whispered. Again the sun lit the woman in the red dress as she ran, screaming, from ...who?

 

And she’s hooked to the silver screen.

 

If only he could feel the ground beneath his feet, he knew he could save her this time. As he tried desperately to see what or who the woman was running from, the sunlight tilted and he was surrounded by blackness.

 

But the film is a saddening bore

 

* * *

 

Sam opened his eyes as if shocked awake.

 

cos she’s lived it ten times or more

 

He could feel rough ground under his back. His fingers, arms limp by his sides, moved across stones and dust. Only his eyes moved as he ran through a mental inventory of bones and muscles. Nothing broken or torn.

 

she could spit in the eyes of fools 

 

He sat up, gasping with the effort and looked around him, bewildered.

 

as they ask her to focus on

 

He tried to focus on his surroundings.

 

sailors fighting in the dance hall

 

As he started to pull himself up, he looked all around again, seeing only wasteland stretching for several hundred yards in all directions. He seemed to be on a building site, except there were no new structures, only the smoking aftermath of old buildings destroyed.

 

oh man, look at those cavemen go

 

Still finding his balance, he tried again to stand up. It seemed to be taking a very long time, he thought, dazed. 

 

it’s the freakiest show.

 

He staggered slightly, and finally managed to get himself on his feet.

 

take a look at the lawman

 

Now he could feel the ground he was standing on. As he stood up, the world starting to steady, he tried to get a grip on his wandering mind, still skittering uncontrolled.

 

OK, first things first: where the bloody hell am I?

 

...beating up the wrong guy.

 

God knows he thought as he looked around him, seeing nothing he recognised.

 

oh man, wonder if they’ll ever know

 

Bewildered, he started to turn on the spot, still seeing nothing that made any sense.

 

he’s in the best-selling show

 

Completing the circle, he stared again, bewildered, at the broken buildings all around, the smoke rising and the dust settling.

 

is there life on Mars

 

He blinked in shock as he finally acknowledged the music that he had assumed until now was only in his head. Life on Mars, he thought. That’s appropriate - it is like another bloody planet.

 

His mind seemed to click into place at last and he moved purposefully towards the car he had noticed during his survey, tripping over demolition rubble as he went. As he got nearer, the music swelled, filling his head with sounds that were definitely real. Well, probably real. OK, maybe real.

 

Right, come on brain, think about it. I must have been going somewhere. I wasn’t coming here, that’s for sure.  He looked in through the car window, seeing an 8-track in the console; a pile of paperwork on the far seat. So, what do we know so far? He concentrated, and spoke out loud.

 

“My name is Sam Tyler. I had an accident, and I woke up ... here.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

END

 

 

 

 

Lyrics to “Changes” and “Life on Mars”, both from Hunky Dory, copyright David Bowie. Reproduced here without permission but with no intent to profit or harm.

 

John_neck
Comments 
7th-Feb-2008 03:43 pm (UTC)
I am so glad this is now posted in its entirety! I'm downloading this pronto into my Palm for some good late night reading!!
8th-Feb-2008 10:53 pm (UTC)
I hope you'll enjoy it - let me know what you think!
7th-Feb-2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
I admire you so much for this. It's amazing. I wanted to wait until you posted all of it.. I'm half way through.. you should be really proud. =)
8th-Feb-2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you're enjoying it so far - thanks for commenting.
7th-Feb-2008 05:41 pm (UTC)
This was so cool! I will try to have something more coherent later when I am not at work.
8th-Feb-2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it; thanks for reading.
7th-Feb-2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
This was EXCELLENT!
Really believable as a prequel.
Loved the mixing of the lyrics and the scene setting.
I never realised how the song structure and images juxtaposition themselves.
*big round of applause*
8th-Feb-2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much. You should have seen the first draft for this. Song lyrics in one colour and font, John Simm's actions on screen in another colour and font, Sam Williams' actions and thoughts interspersed between them in a third colour and font.
7th-Feb-2008 08:00 pm (UTC)
And I'll say it again that I loved this.

A fascinating character study that gives up depth for Sam's background and fits wonderfully with the series.

Really wonderful.
8th-Feb-2008 11:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for sticking with this and for commenting along the way.

fits wonderfully with the series

That was all I ever wanted this fic to do, so I'm really pleased that it worked for you. Thank you so much.

I discovered this morning that the iPlayer allows screencaps, so if I can work out how to get the picture a bit bigger, I might have a play with icons this weekend. (I'll be getting a paid LJ yet at this rate, purely to have more pictures available!)
9th-Feb-2008 08:37 pm (UTC)
I discovered this morning that the iPlayer allows screencaps, so if I can work out how to get the picture a bit bigger, I might have a play with icons this weekend. (I'll be getting a paid LJ yet at this rate, purely to have more pictures available!)

oooo - will kepp an eye out for new icons then. I just realise that I am too lazy really when it comes to sorting out new pictures. Well too lazt and I keep getting distracted by reading lots of fic.
7th-Feb-2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
The way you have managed to weave all the background threads into this and meshed it with canon - genius!
Really brilliant stuff - I can't wait for the rest!
although I'm maybe hoping for not quite as much angst :)
8th-Feb-2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you, that's a lovely compliment!

As I think I said in the notes to Part 1, the sequel is largely written, but Jay and Mikey both made suggestions about other scenes that could usefully be included, so there may be more to do.

It will be a much simpler structure than this one, luckily, although there is the complication of "which personality is he in this scene?"

Anyway, it may be a little while, because I'm feeling pretty burnt out by this one just at the moment!
8th-Feb-2008 12:11 am (UTC)
Oh brilliant, brilliant ending! I absolutely love how you paralleled Williams' final drive and accident with Tyler's final drive in 2006. And the transition from Williams to Tyler was perfect since you had set it up so well.

Congratulations on finishing this fic! I'm so glad you did and it was joy to read every step of the way.
8th-Feb-2008 11:13 pm (UTC)
the transition from Williams to Tyler was perfect

Music to my ears, m'dear, thank you. It seemed pretty clear that the accident was the time at which the personality change occurred. So I wasn't sure whether people would take the ending as obvious, or surprising, or what.

joy to read every step of the way

That's lovely of you to say so; thanks very much.
8th-Feb-2008 12:22 am (UTC)
Anonymous
Absolutely BRILLIANT! I look forward to the sequel..

:-)
8th-Feb-2008 11:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much.
8th-Feb-2008 01:24 am (UTC)
Woo! You are like. . . the shit. You are. Really. You are the SHIT (which is a good thing btw, in case that's just something my friends and I say). This so awesome and a wonderful explanation for everything. Love. Just love.
8th-Feb-2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
Well, I've been called a lot of things in my time, including a shit, but never before the shit. You have a neat line in compliments, may I say! I'm very pleased this worked for you.

8th-Feb-2008 01:56 am (UTC)
I just read the first part and it's awesome, I love it! I can't wait to read the whole thing when I'll have a little spare time. I'm late with everything now and it seems I have a lot to catch up with, but I'll definitely start with this one.
8th-Feb-2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you liked Part 1, and I hope you'll like the rest too. Do let me know what you think of it.
8th-Feb-2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
Oh man, this was amazing! Absolutely out-of-this world amazing! The transition from Williams to Tyler was so perfectly smooth it was terrifying. You wormed your way so deeply into Sam's head that at times I felt like I was going mad along with him! Kudos to you, this is great stuff.

He’d finally decided to go for the Southern-influenced glottal stop he’d learned at the orphanage to disguise his own precise t’s.

Linguistics = love!

He hit the steering wheel. “Fuck it, fuck it, fuck it!”

Hahaha! Oh John Simm, you were so easy to lip-read at that moment! I love this little detail.

"Changes" has always been one of my fave Bowie tracks and I'm glad to see that you've managed to incorporate it here as seemlessly as you did with "Life on Mars".

My only criticiam is this: I wish here at the end we got a bit more into Tyler's hed and we would finally see how all Pete's ramblings about possible future tech somehow translated into Williams/Tyler thinking that he was from the future. I know we obviously get that from the show itself, but I would have liked to have seen that here.

That said, this is a very minor criticism of what is a genius fic. I've got this thing copy-pasted into Word and I can already tell I'm going to have a lot of fun re-reading it over and over. Great job!!

--j

PS: If you could wear out CDs like Sam Williams did with his vinyl, my copy of Hunky Dory would have been decimated long, long ago!
9th-Feb-2008 12:28 am (UTC)
You wormed your way so deeply into Sam's head that at times I felt like I was going mad along with him

That is - wow - that is a serious compliment. *blushes madly*. I just don't know what to say. Thank you so much.

Changes The lead up to the "accident" was obviously written to fit with the episode with Life on Mars playing on the soundtrack, but there was no music in the first half until a few weeks ago. The scene was complete, and then I realised I needed to have Sam Williams switch on the 8-track. So I googled the album to find out which was the first track, found the words to Changes - and I just could not believe how well they fitted in with what I'd already written. I simply slotted them in , just moving a couple of paragraph breaks to fit. No need to move any words around. It was almost eerie!

I wish here at the end we got a bit more into Tyler's head . God, there were days I thought I was never going to get out of Sam Williams' head!

I can see what you're saying here, and I sort of agree, but I'm not at all sure I could have done it without another 5,000 words.I’m not at all sure I could have done it at all without losing the will to live, to be honest.

You need to bear in mind that when I started this fic back in June 2007, I had posted What Do Girls Do, at under 2,000 words, and I had about 5,000 words of Real Men Don’t. And that was it. My total writing experience.

What you’re saying here is very much what I wanted to do, but I’d already tried justifying “the future is only in Sam’s head” in a post at TRA, and people just hadn’t got it, so I decided to settle for proving that he was very interested in future developments and thought about the details rather a lot.

Finally, I’m very honoured that you’ve actually copied all this into Word to read again, and thank you very much for your detailed comments.

9th-Feb-2008 03:47 am (UTC)
This was serious undertaking and my hat's off to you. It is always a hard road to do this kind of story in fan fiction as it comes packaged with none of the expected smut/fluff/realationship goodies that fan fiction readers are often looking for. The fact that you pull this off beautifully and manage to keep people so absorbed in your story without any bonus sweeties is brilliant.

Lots to think about and really well thought out.

Thank you for this!
9th-Feb-2008 01:54 pm (UTC)
It certainly was a concern of mine - is it possible to have a fic about a boring - probably depressed - man, and that fic not be boring and probably depressing?

Luckily, it seems to have worked; this was something I just had to write, for the character. In a strange sort of way, the fact that people liked it is my gift to that character, poor lost and lonely Sam Williams. Does that make sense?
9th-Feb-2008 02:00 pm (UTC)
And I've just noticed your icon - Fantastic!Nine

Thank you very much!
12th-Apr-2008 02:18 pm (UTC)
a foreboding sense of unreality. Hee! You've done it again!

The song lyrics were just magical. They fitted in so well with everything that had gone before and after it, and I was just sitting there singing along with wide eyes and a big smile just as I'd always done in the show. If I could, I'd make this fic my personal canon. It's the cleverest thing in the world and it's magical. All those threads you weaved, all that time you spent; it was all one hundred percent worth it, so thank you!

I am so, so glad I finally got round to reading this. At the time you posted I was having a bit of a break from the LoM fandom (but only because somebody mentioned Starsky and Hutch and I instantly became obsessed) and I let this fic float past me; kept forgetting to go back to it later. I'm so happy I found it again, because if only I could go back in time now and tell myself to read it, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. :)
15th-Apr-2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
If I could, I'd make this fic my personal canon.

Notwithstanding the fact that I wrote this, that's pretty much how I've always felt about this particular perception of Sam's reality. Although I was very happy with the ending as presented, I feel something like this could have led to a far more surprising ending to Series 2.

I must hurry up and finish my sequel to this fic; it looks at missing scenes in 2.08 from the point of view of this version of Sam Williams/Tyler.

All those threads you weaved, all that time you spent; it was all one hundred percent worth it

I will treasure that comment; thank you so much! And thank you for sticking with this and commenting on every single post - that is awesome and I thank you from very deep in my heart. I feel very warm and validated!
5th-Dec-2008 01:20 am (UTC)
This is absolutely fascinating. Sam Williams is one of the things that intrigue me most about the ending to Life On Mars and you've made him incredibly real. This is an angle I'd never considered but at the same time, something I can't dismiss: if 1973 was real, there was another person there before Sam.

The stray phrases from Morgan about how it would be like going to the past and how Sam could outsmart them all in a coma were masterful, subtle and just a little creepy. William's susceptability to fantasy was incredible tangible and his languishing personal life coupled with creating an ideal personality was perfect. You feel bad about losing Williams at the end, but at the same time he's becoming who he wanted to be.

Just a damn cool fic. Thank you.
5th-Dec-2008 07:47 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for a lovely comment; it's brilliant to know that this is still being read occasionally. I admit I remain very proud of it indeed.

"masterful, subtle and just a little creepy" Yep, that's Morgan, right there!

You've hit the nail on the head with what I was trying to achieve in this fic, and I'm very happy that the Williams personality came together plausibly for you. Yes, I felt very sad for Sam Williams "disappearing" at the end, but the only thing that kept me going on this fic was delivering him to Gene so he could get some comfort and start a new life with someone who would care about him. (There is a sequel still on the stocks, currently languishing behind Survival, which looks at 2.08, when he discovers who he really is.)

Thank you very much for reading, and commenting, and welcome to the comm. (btw, would you mind letting me know how/where you came across this? thanks)
3rd-Feb-2009 03:45 pm (UTC)
Unbelievable. Absolutely amazing. The slow unfolding, the working in of every little detail in how Sam forms his new identity to the sources of the nightmares he takes with him... The subtlety of Pete's more-than-friendship that Sam never quite 'got'... I was on the edge in the final scene anticipating the accident--and then when it didn't come as expected--fantastic twist, moment of relief before...Boom! Loved the brief and jolting dissociative paragraph afterward. All in all: Phenomenal!
4th-Feb-2009 12:58 pm (UTC)
You quite liked it then? *g*

This is a wonderful comment; thank you so much for taking the time to tell me what you liked about it, I really appreciate that. I adore that this still gets read occasionally, a year after posting; in many ways this is my favourite amongst my own fic, and it's great that other people enjoy it too. Thank you so much for your very kind words.
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10th-Nov-2009 07:45 am (UTC) - Re: a lot of babble basically boiling down to me liking this a lot
First off, it totally made my day to see this comment - it’s so great to know that this still gets read occasionally. Thank you!

I could feel how huge the thing was that Sam was missing

Poor Pete; I got to really like him while I was working on this - he was my first real OC, and he actually started writing himself the way Gene does. And yeah, Sam doesn’t have a clue.

Was he avoiding Sam or had something happened to him?

Neither, luckily. (Not thick - the story is firmly Williams’ pov and he never finds out why Pete doesn’t answer the phone.) As it happens Pete is happily away on holiday with his new man. Straight after I posted this fic I wrote the story of Pete coming back from holiday to all these messages, but it got trashed in beta and I lost heart. It’s still in my WIP folder along with what happens when Sam finds out in 2.08 who he really is).

I was seriously very proud of him when he decided to [re-create himself].

Awesome! That’s one of the best compliments ever - Sam Williams isn’t quite an OC, but I had to do all the filling-in of details and personality myself, and I did get to feel pretty maternal towards him, poor damaged little lamb, so I am totally thrilled that you believed in him enough to care about him.

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment in such detail, I really appreciate that!
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10th-Nov-2009 07:13 pm (UTC) - Re: a lot of babble basically boiling down to me liking this a lot
If you're at all interested, I can send you the story of Pete finding out that Sam has gone undercover again, and the reader finds out a little more detail of what really happened when Sam completely lost it in the bank.

(On the Monday morning while Sam Williams is driving towards Gene, Pete comes home and finds the letter that Sam sent him.) I re-read the story this morning and still like it quite a lot, but I don't currently have time to get it ready for posting. (It needs tightening up a bit, basically). If you're interested, I'd love to know what you think of it.
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10th-Nov-2009 10:55 pm (UTC) - Re: a lot of babble basically boiling down to me liking this a lot
Don't worry, I absolutely don't expect you to beta it! It's not ready for that kind of detailed attention anyway; I just really wanted to share the story with someone after all this time. Obviously if you do have any comments, like you think something doesn't work, do feel free to say so!

I thought probably the easiest thing was to post it to my journal, for your eyes only. I've therefore added you as a friend so I can set you up as a "custom group".
9th-Jan-2010 06:08 pm (UTC)
I loved this fic, it's just so amazing. All your OCs were so well developed and i'm not sure whether to count Sam Williams as an OC but he was really well developed.

In fact i'm going to save it and then re-read at my own leisure on my netbook when i don't have the interwebs it's that good.

I know i'm not the first person to ask for a sequel and won't be the last but this fic needs a sequel. I really want Pete to go find Sam after 2.08 it would just be so cool. Or for Sam Tyler to start getting nightmares about being Sam Williams. So please please write it. :)

Even if you don't this works well as a standalone and i can handle that, but i just love Pete so much, I want more of Pete. He has to be one of the best developed OCs i've seen. And Sam W is so sweet i wanted to give him a hug the whole way through the fic.
24th-Jan-2010 02:25 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! There's certainly a lot of work in this, and it makes me very happy that people still read it occasionally.

I don't think I'd ever really written OCs before this; Pete wrote himself, bless the little sweetie, but Sam Williams (I think he's very nearly an OC) took a lot of thinking about. I became very fond of Pete while I was writing this, and I do have a number of fics planned out for after this story. I don't know when I'll have time to finish them, though.

And Sam W is so sweet i wanted to give him a hug the whole way through the fic.

That's wonderful, and I really wanted to do that myself. My main motivation to finish this fic was to get poor Sam Williams to Gene, who will look after him from now on. I really must find the time to complete the sequel and Pete's stories. Thank you so much for commenting, I really appreciate that.
29th-Mar-2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
Just making a brief preliminary comment, here: I have finally read it. I am so profoundly impressed by what you put together here, how fully thought-out and how chilling it is. I will be going back and making comments on chapters, but...
So, you're going with "mad", then? ;)
I am convinced that Pete was his imaginary friend. Don't know if you ever confirmed that in any comments or anything... Probably not. But that's my belief.
Oh, Sammy! At least Gene (and Annie) are ahead for him...
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