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Fans of Life On Mars
Fic, Watching, Blue Cortina, by DorsetGirl 
30th-Apr-2008 03:08 pm

Title:    Watching

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 out of this.

Rating:  Blue? Cortina for angst

Pairings: Sam/Gene implied

Word Count:  1,514

Summary: This is a sequel to Body and Soul, and takes place some time before Fighting to Survive.

A/N: Although this is a sequel to Body and Soul , it was written before that story, so I hope it makes sense. Thanks again to [info]duckyone and  [info]vicfarmer for making me think about writing more. Not beta'd.  





“Guv! Just had the Royal on the phone; sounds like they’ve got DI Tyler!”




Gene couldn’t remember moving from his desk. He couldn’t remember driving here, or walking the long corridors searching for Sam’s room. He couldn’t remember waiting to be allowed in. He was simply here, looking down at last on the broken body, hands clenched in pockets to stop himself reaching out.


It was even worse than he’d expected. He sweated as he looked down on the still figure, so small he barely registered on the tranquil spread of crisp white cotton. Sam embossed his lonely shape on a child’s portion of the bed, and his face was the starkest white Gene had ever seen on someone still living.


There didn’t seem to be enough of Sam to measure for the box.


“How long?” he muttered.


“I’m sorry?”


“I said, how long? How long has he got?”


“Mr Hunt, we need to discuss this outside.”


“No, tell me now. Tell me how long, I’m not leaving him until... Just tell me, OK, how long?”


“Mr Hunt, you must come away, please, come with me now.”




A hand closed round his arm, tight as a vice, and pulled. “Mr Hunt. I must ask you to wait outside now. You’re distressing Mr Tyler.”


He ripped away from the constraining hands; four of them now, inconsequential specks at the edge of his anguish.


He faced them, roared again, “TELL ME! YOU’VE GOT TO TELL... “ He caught the last shreds of sanity, forced himself to calm down, voice cracking. “I’ve got to know, please, tell me, I can’t - how long?” and something in his tone finally got through to wherever doctors keep their compassion, husbanded carefully and meted out only in desperate straits, in the hope that it will last the course.


A voice spoke firmly behind him. “I will discuss this with you outside, Mr Hunt, and then you can come back in, if you keep quiet. Mr Tyler needs to feel safe. We can never be sure how much a coma patient takes in of his surroundings, and you, Mr Hunt, are in danger of undoing all the good we’ve been able to do so far. Please. Come with me now.”


Dazed, glancing over his shoulder at the fragile figure in the bed, Gene moved where the arms guided him. He couldn’t feel the floor for some reason, couldn’t tell if he was putting his feet in the right places.


He felt the air change on his face, some subtle change in the noises around, and he could no longer see Sam behind him.


Abruptly, he found himself seated, a cup of water at his lips.


“Drink it, please. We need you to calm down. You’ve misunderstood, Mr Hunt. Mr Tyler is not going to die. He’s a very lucky...”


Through the roaring in his ears and the black and red clouds behind his eyes, Gene heard the nurse speak calmly. “Here, Mr Hunt. It’s all right, I’ve got you. In the bowl, OK?” He strained forward and brought up his breakfast, his lunch, all the whisky he’d downed while he waited.


Gasping and shuddering at the bitter taste, burning up and chilled to the bone, he put his head down in his hands as the corridor slowly took form around him. The nurse bent down to put a hand on his shoulder.


“Are you OK now? Mr Hunt? Can you hear me? Squeeze my hand if you can understand what I’m saying. I need to know you’re OK. Mr Hunt?”


Dragging in a lungful of acrid whisky-tainted air, feeling the clammy sweat break out again, he pursed his lips and breathed out slowly, shakily. Gaining some form of control, he opened his eyes and tried to find the words.


“Is he ... ? Did you say he’s ... ?”


“He’s going to live, Mr Hunt, although he’s going to be very weak for a while. Luckily, there’s been no major organ damage; he was found just in time. He’ll live, Mr Hunt; that’s about all we can promise at the moment, but it’s more than we could be sure of when we brought him in.”


Gene managed the smallest of smiles, still breathing deeply, and brushed at his eyes impatiently. “So how long will he be in here then? When can I – when can he go home? And how soon till he can get back to work?”


“Mr Hunt, you don’t seem to understand; this man has very serious injuries! It’s possible he’ll never walk again. He has a chest drain for a punctured lung, he’s got bruised kidneys, two broken ribs, a cracked right femur, compound fractures to the left leg.... He’s been starved for at least a week and has suffered severe beatings on a number of separate occasions. He’s a very sick man.”


“I’m not asking ’cos I want him back at work you daft tart! I want him lying in that bed as long as it takes him to get better; there’s nothing to him. But, I need to know, because the moment he wakes up he’s going to ask. Guaranteed.” That’s after ‘what year is it?’ of course. “And I’m going to be here to tell him, so you’d better tell me, love, OK?”


“Please, Mr Hunt, keep your voice down! It’s going to be a while before he wakes up. He’s been through a terrible experience and we’ll be keeping him under for at least a few days until we can be sure there’s no new infection. Then he’s got weeks here while we make sure all the bones are knitting properly. We’ll let the family know when they can make arrangements for his recovery at home. Which reminds me, there’s no-one here yet; who’s the next of kin, do you know?”


“That’ll be me. Hasn’t got anyone else.”


“Oh. I hadn’t realised he was a relative of yours, DCI Hunt?”


“Well, he’s not. Strictly speaking, that is. Not as such. He’s...”




“He’s my DI. And a bloody good one at that, and I want him back at work in one piece, have you got that?”


“We’re doing our very best for Mr Tyler, you can be sure of that. Now, if I might suggest, you don’t look too well yourself. This has been a bit of a shock for you; you need to get some sleep and perhaps come back in a few days.”


“Not going anywhere. I’ll sleep in there, don’t want those bastards coming back for him. He might be able to identify them. When he wakes up, he’s going to find me right there, waiting.”


“I’m sorry, Mr Hunt, but I can’t allow that. We have to let Mr Tyler have peace and quiet. You can see him tomorrow for a few minutes if you ...”



Moving. Pinpricks, gnats biting at his arms, red clouds. Pulling; shoving. A door. Shouting. Firm hands, a half-nelson confidently applied. Comprehension, slowly dawning.


“Get off me Ray, I’m staying. He needs protection.”


“Guv. Sit down, shut up and listen to me a minute.”


Struggling. More shoving, a chair coming up to meet him. Knees on the cold floor. Face on the chair, banged down hard enough to bruise. Pain enough to clear the mind.


“Look, I don’t know why you’re so bloody keen to stay here with the twonk, but I do know this: hospitals like people who stay quiet and do as they’re told. Them’s the ones who’s allowed to stay, Guv, all right? Nice quiet well-behaved people who don’t upset the patients.”


Sharp, bright blue eyes. “Got it, Guv? Gonna behave yourself if I let go?”


Just nod. Do it. Stay.


“Thanks, Ray.”


He sat on the chair, getting his breath back. Looking at the tubes and bandages and wondering what was going on in there. If you could get plasters for the mind.




“See? He’ll be OK now, he’s not unreasonable, he’s just a bit, you know, doesn’t like people messing with his team. Tell you what, love, he gives you any trouble, you give me a bell straight away, OK? Here’s the number, you just ask for Detective Sergeant Ray Carling, all right? Or, better idea, how about if I buy you a drink tonight? For your trouble, like. And you can tell me how the Guv’s been. If I need to come round and sort him out again for you.”




He sat in the chair and wondered how long it would take for the bones to heal and the fear to fade and the world to start again. If it would be the same.




“I’ll be off now then, Guv. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, OK? I’ll send Cartwright in later, see if you need anything. Dinner, like. Can give you a lift home later if you want, you just tell Cartwright, she can phone me. Guv? I’ll see you later then, OK?”



He sat in the chair and watched Sam breathe.






30th-Apr-2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
Okaaayyy, so: this comment put me in a bit of a cold sweat earlier because - and I'd never realised this before - I never read back for character.

I do spend entirely too much time reading and reading before I post, checking for continuity, order of events, general flow etc, but I don't think much about whether the guys are in character or not. Which is a pretty serious omission.

So, I think you're saying that the OOC wasn't actually too bad in the end, which is a relief, but I would be very interested to know which bits struck you as being OOC - on first reading, and on second.

I guess it's human nature simply not to comment if we can't find anything positive to say, but genuine concrit is very useful and quite hard to come by. Thank you for being honest!
30th-Apr-2008 11:24 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the twisted world of Drayce's rules of commenting. Buckle in for the ramble.

1)IF you have written a story in a fandom I'm active in and said story is written in something strongly resembling English and obviously not had its first draft written in crayon, I WILL comment after reading it.

2)IF you have met my criteria in #1 and you do NOT see a comment from me it is because I have somehow missed your story being posted (it happens occasionally) or the warnings/pairings have put me off. For instance, I have one absolutely concrete squick. I will NOT read incest stories. The only authors I have ever even come close to flaming were ones who did NOT warn for incest. Other semi-concrete squicks are rape, abuse, character death and "Ashes to Ashes" cross-overs *cough*, although heavy angst is OK and I'll read some of the others IF not too graphic (I often ask a friend who has peered over the wall how the land lies).

My point, and I do have one, is this. If 1 & 2 are met, you will get a comment from me and I will NOT say what I don't mean. I am hopefully as polite and encouraging as I know how to be, but I will say something if I think it doesn't work... ask Mikey about my response to one of her stories.

When I say that I went away to "think what my comment might be" I certainly meant to return. I was just thinking of the best way to phrase my response. After all, we all have widely different opinions on who these characters are and I didn't want it to come across as a "demand" that you write Gene the way I want to see him. When I returned to read in a more thorough fashion I realized that I'd tripped myself up with the speed of my first read which had left me with the impression of a very EMO!Gene careening around hospital corridors. Part of that is a good effect because, damn, an out of control Gene would be a careening mess in a hospital corridor. I read it more slowly, hence the comment I actually posted here. Once it snapped into place in my head -- the difference between internal and external dialogue -- I lost that sense from my first reading and now I couldn't put my finger on it for you anymore, unless you read it through fast and think of how emotional it might appear to be in that context.

Erm... I'm sorry. I seem to have rambled on again as is my wont. But really, for the record DG, I never let (hopefully) good manners and a stated intention to be encouraging to other writers stand in the way of an honest reponse.

Edited at 2008-04-30 11:26 pm (UTC)
30th-Apr-2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
now I couldn't put my finger on it for you anymore

Ah, damn. I was hoping to learn something from the way you saw this and what wasn't clear enough. I think actually Gene is pretty emo here. Partly because, as has been said recently, I tend to write Sam/Gene a little more "sweet" and "romantic" than others do. Hmmm. But mainly because I'm convinced this man really does have emotions, and hell, if he doesn't get a little overwhelmed when he thinks Sam - his centre - is going to die, then he's not the man I see at the end of 2.02

Thanks for coming back to me; I hope that if you do think something's gone badly wrong you would say so. I always half-expect someone to email me and say "Take it down NOW, you're embarrassing yourself."
1st-May-2008 12:02 am (UTC)

IF you read it back over fast -- I know it's tough for the writer to do as you are very close to the work -- imagine reading some of Gene's internal dialogue as things he is saying/showing to the medical team. Imagine how OOC that would be.

You do write Sam/Gene in a more sweet and romantic fashion than a lot of writers do and I don't personally have an issue with that, even if it isn't my instinct to do so. They're complex characters in canon, so I see no reason why they can't be interpreted in fan fiction in a wide range of ways. You do regularly have Gene, in particular, say things to Sam that I couldn't force into Gene's mouth if I tied him to a chair, drugged him and beat him half senseless. I couldn't do it. You do it and most of the time I'm delighted by it. A large part of that is that your stories tend to centre around the "private" time of Sam and Gene. All couples have a public and a private face. As stated, while I can't get Gene to say anything overtly romantic, that doesn't mean you can't or that you shouldn't.

Where OOC would kick in for me hard though is Gene saying those things in a PUBLIC venue, to others. I just can't wrap my head around that concept at all. As I've already said I read it fast -- I don't normally do that, leaving reading to when I have time to concentrate -- and I read it as Gene "saying" those things to the medical staff and for me, that would be problematic in the extreme.

Viva la difference, right?
1st-May-2008 12:29 am (UTC)
You do regularly have Gene, in particular, say things to Sam that I couldn't force into Gene's mouth if I tied him to a chair, drugged him and beat him half senseless.

Um, tell me? (I feel quite uncomfortable not knowing). I know he stepped way out of his box in Wine and Candles. I fought him and rewrote him again and again but he was determined!
1st-May-2008 01:48 pm (UTC)

I'm on my way to yet another bloody meeting so I don't have time to collect examples right now. However, you have nothing to be uncomfortable about, particularly if you look at that sentence in the context of my longer ramble.

You often say that you can't "make" Gene do anything, that he says what he wants to say. Well, to be a writer, is often to live with a benign form of schizophrenia as the characaters come to life in your head.

In your head, you can have Gene say romantic things/articulate his emotional life and feelings clearly to Sam.

What I meant by that sentence is that I CAN'T do that. The Gene that lives in my head can "show" those things but not really say them. It's just like I can write a lot of "odd" Sams but I can't write EMO!Sam to save my life because I just don't see him that way.

It all has to do with interpetation of characters filtered through our own subjective experiences in the world. Just as well really, else we'd all be writing exactly the same thing.
1st-May-2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
Ooh, no, don't take time over it, I just thought if you had one or two you could mention off the top of your head, but don't worry about it.

I can't write EMO!Sam to save my life

Funny you should say that, because I've just written majorly emo Sam for the first time; I normally see him as being rather more controlled and balanced, but it's another part of this series (which is going to need a name at this rate), and he's a very unhappy bunny indeed, very screwed up.

It came out as a stream of consciousness, comma splices everywhere, but on leaving it to cool I think for full impact it's going to have to be punctuated properly. Which is going to be tricky as I don't want to lose the initial feverish rambling kind of feel to it.
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