“So. A year, eh? Doesn’t seem possible.”
“What?” Sam looked up briefly.
“A year. That’s how long it is since you waltzed into my department acting king of the jungle.”
Sam glanced at his watch before looking back at his notes. “And your point would be?”
“Nothing. Go back to your poncy reports.”
“Thank you.” Sam smiled politely and resumed reading.
A sigh. “Yes?”
“... that makes it almost like our anniversary.”
Sam put on his patronising look, the one Gene often fantasised about swiping right off his face.
“Guv, I think if you check your diary you’ll find I resisted your unprofessional importunings for five months.”
“And two days, Sammy. Five months, two days and fourteen hours to be exact.”
“What – you noticed the exact time? Didn’t think you’d even remembered the date.”
“Shows how much you’ve still got to learn, Sam.”
An awkward silence fell as Sam tried to return to his report without Gene noticing.
“So, you don’t consider today is our anniversary then, Sammy?”
“Gene, I think we’ve just agreed that today is short of our anniversary by five months, two days and – apparently – fourteen hours.”
“So you don’t fancy going out then? To celebrate? I thought dinner, maybe. I’d suggest dancing, but even on me anniversary I think that’s something best kept for when it’s just us.”
“With you on that one, Guv, although... maybe one day.” Sam sighed, thinking ahead 32 years.
“So, um, what do you think?”
“I think, if I don’t get this bloody report finished in the next ten minutes, you’re going home on your own. So, if you’ll excuse me...” He pointedly held the report up and turned away from Gene.
“Oh. I’ll leave you to it then, shall I?”
“Yes please, Gene.”
The disappointment in Gene’s voice was clear, but Sam didn’t look up again.
* * *
“D’you like it?”
“Like it? I love it. Must have taken hours.”
“Nah, I just slipped home for a bit when you were in with Rathbone this afternoon. Set it all up then. Knew you wouldn’t leave the station without me, not today.”
Sam stood close to Gene, arms round Gene’s waist and his head against Gene’s shoulder as they looked around the room.
The table was laid for two; candles in newly-polished wooden candleholders stood between the plates they’d bought when Sam had refused to eat off Gene’s wedding china any more. “It’s not the same, Gene. Not now we’re together,” he’d said.
The tumblers they’d always used for wine gleamed alongside an open bottle of red, and a single rose stood, graceful in clear glass, at the centre of the table. From the kitchen came the aroma of chilli, and a bowl of chopped parsley stood on the worktop by the door.
On the mantelpiece, a frame Gene hadn’t seen before had appeared round the slightly blurry print of their first ever kiss. Phyllis had snapped them at the Christmas party, unnoticed as Gene took advantage of a dare and grabbed Sam under the mistletoe, kissing him until he thought he’d collapse. Next day, Sam had confiscated the picture, face stiff with disapproval and fingers trembling as he hid it in his bottom drawer.
“I don’t believe it, you even remembered the parsley,” Gene murmured, bending his head to kiss Sam’s neck.
Sam laughed. “I’ll never forget it, Gene, it was everywhere!” Funnily enough, it had been the parsley that made him see Gene was deadly serious about wanting to look after him. Not that he’d ever told Gene that of course, because it sounded stupid. He just knew that no way would the Gene Genie have any truck with poncy herbs on his own account; that little touch had been just for Sam and his fancy Hyde ways and that made it worth more than a thousand declarations of love from anyone else.
“So, looks like it is our anniversary then?”
“ ’Course it is, you soppy sod. Till that moment, I was just confused. Standing there with everyone staring, I didn’t know what was happening to me, how I’d ended up in this dump. I just wanted to go home. And then you sauntered out of your office like a force of nature and took my breath away.”
“Not quite how I remember it, Sam. Seem to recall a few snide comments about what year it was meant to be.”
“I didn’t know who you were, did I? Wasn’t going to tell you in front of my new department that I’d just fallen in love for the first time in my life.”
Gene smiled and kissed him lightly on his hair.
“And then you dragged me into your office and slammed me up against the filing cabinet and – I realised that I was home; never wanted to be anywhere else again.”
He turned to face Gene, standing close and putting his hands up to Gene’s face.
“You changed my life, Gene, there and then. So yes – although it’s not the day we actually got together - this is our anniversary.” He kissed Gene on the mouth. “Love you, gorgeous.”
Gene wrapped his arms around Sam and held him tight, face buried in his neck. “Love you too, sneaky bastard.”
A/N: “Their first ever kiss” as described in this story took place in a fic called Not Exactly Regulation by suggsygirl, with whose permission it appears here.