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Fans of Life On Mars
Fic, Keep Taking The Tablets, Blue Cortina, by DorsetGirl 
29th-May-2008 02:15 am

Title: Keep Taking the Tablets

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:  Um, Blue Cortina for non-graphic attempted suicide

Warnings: Angst; attempted suicide.

Pairing: Sam/Gene

Word Count:  1006

Summary: Sam gets “confused” about taking his tablets.

A/N: This is part of the Survival series, and takes place on the day Sam comes out of hospital to begin his convalescence at Gene’s house. Not beta’d.


Previously posted: Body & Soul / Watching / Breaking Through / Keep Taking the  Tablets / Useless /  Out to Lunch / Fighting to Survive




Keep Taking the Tablets



Gene pushed the Cortina hard, throwing it round corners with a disregard for his own safety that owed less to his usual insouciance than to sheer blind terror.


He’d known as soon as Skelton had said it - “might do himself in.” The vision had formed in Gene’s mind as clear as moonlight, and it had taken all the strength and detachment learned in twenty-five years on the job to stop himself running out of the door there and then. He’d managed a whole five minutes before the terrifying certainty had propelled him down to the car.


Arriving outside his own house, he winced as the front wheel grazed the kerb in his hurry. Breathing heavily, he sat gripping the wheel for a moment, telling himself he was being ridiculous. Even Sam, even Sam in his current fragile state, wouldn’t be so stupid.


Apparently he would. Following the smell, and feeling sick himself, Gene found Sam draped awkwardly over the end of the sofa. His face was blank and pale, and if the trail of vomit and the empty tablet container clutched in his hand were clichés, that didn’t make them any less real or frightening. Gene felt his own stomach churn as he realised Sam had opened every one of the packets they’d sent him home with.


Staying calm only by a major effort of will, Gene pulled Sam up and dragged him into the kitchen, cradling him tightly against one shoulder as he filled a glass with cold water. Propping Sam in a chair by the wall he flung the water in his face and watched with relief as his eyelids flickered briefly. Torn between calling the ambulance or getting the stuff out as quickly as possible, he refilled the glass, shook in some salt and held it up to Sam’s lips.


He stared frustratedly at the slack face and closed eyes. “Come on Sammy, drink it down for God’s sake,” he muttered. Making a decision, he forced Sam’s lower jaw down, held his head right back and poured until the water overflowed from the corners of Sam’s sick-smeared mouth. Tapping him smartly under the chin he watched anxiously until at least some of the liquid went down the right way, then ran to the phone.


“Ambulance, love, and make it snappy. Yes, it’s me. Well, it’s my dozy DI. Got sent home with enough pills for his own bloody chemist’s shop, and he’s eaten the lot as far as I can see. No, he’s at my house. Hurry ’em up, love, OK?”


He listened for a moment, glancing towards the kitchen where Sam slumped unmoving. “No, less than an hour, I’d say. Spoke to him on the phone earlier and he was all right then.”


Well, he had been, hadn’t he? If you counted your normally over-confident DI, your formerly assured and attentive lover, crying down the phone at you and begging you to come home because “they” were coming for him, as “all right”.


Which Gene didn’t especially, but he’d crossed his fingers and told Sam to piss off back to bed and grab some sleep so Gene could catch some villains and Sam could get himself strong enough to be of some use instead of sitting about twitching at shadows and crying like a girl.


Returning to the kitchen he managed to get another mouthful of salt water down the still-elegant throat, then gently mopped up as much sick as he could from Sam’s neck and shirt. “I’m sorry, Sammy” he whispered into his ear. “I wanted to get you fighting this, not giving into it. Come on, love, stay with me.” Sam still smelt of hospitals and Gene twitched his nose as the vomit stench mingled with the lingering disinfectant odour, but as he moved up to Sam’s face and delicately tongued away the tear-tracks he could still sense the underlying Sam-ness beneath the blank expression and the crusted shirt.


“Come on, Sammy, I know you’re in there – hold on, OK? Ambulance is on its way; soon have you sorted. You’re going to need pumping out, you stupid bugger. Just hold on though, all right? For me. ’Cos I do need you.” He pressed his lips tightly together and took a sharp breath to calm himself. “Never told you that before,“ he said, very quietly. “Always thought you knew.”


Hearing the siren outside, he quickly pressed kisses to Sam’s mouth and eyelids. “Hang on, Sammy, OK? I’m still here, so don’t you go away.”


He opened the door and gestured the stretcher-bearers through to the kitchen.


When they had gone, loading the slight body into the ambulance with casual efficiency, Gene looked around the empty room, reaction finally setting in, and registered for the first time the glasses Sam had been drinking from. His chest hurt as he almost choked on the next breath - their special wine tumblers, the ones Sam polished carefully every time they used them.


Shit, he really meant it. Anyone else, it wouldn’t signify, but Sam – he analysed everything, and if he’d used their special occasion glasses it was to make Gene think of those special occasions.


Thanks a lot, Sam. Remind me of our anniversary and then fuck off and leave me.


Gene stroked the arm of the sofa where Sam’s head had lain and contemplated a future without him. Even if he pulled through this, an openly suicidal police officer had nothing to look forward to except immediate retirement on “health grounds”. And that really would finish him off.


Gene shook his head emphatically. Over my dead body. Said I’d look after you, and I will. He had accepted the responsibility when he offered himself to Sam, and he wasn’t going to back away now.


Decision made – Sam was confused, that’s all: my fault, too many different bottles, just needs a bit of help getting organised – Gene went out to the car and headed to the hospital to save Sam’s career and reputation and keep both their lives worth living.


Tomorrow they’d try again.







A/N: Please note that as far as I know, making people sick is no longer recommended, and doing it by giving them salt water to drink is an absolute no-no. At the time this fic is set, however, as I recall it was the usual advice, and would therefore be the first thing Gene thought to do.

UnhappyMan2 by Ruuger
29th-May-2008 01:45 am (UTC)
I love how this is all sort of interwoven with your other piece, Wine and Candles, how it just is sort of a different snapshot in time but there are hints of it. Lovely.

Gene trying to stay in his skin long enough to make it look like its ok to go and check on Sam because he just knew...Assuming responsibility for Sam in all areas, telling him he needed him....Gosh honey you just make me fall more and more in love with Gene with your fics.

Great job on this part, as with all the others. : )

Edited at 2008-05-29 01:46 am (UTC)
30th-May-2008 12:46 am (UTC)
you just make me fall more and more in love with Gene

Job done then! Seriously, I love this character more than it makes any sense to love a fictional character, and I'm thrilled that's coming across.

Wine and Candles was very fluffy, but there was nothing in it to contradict this universe, and I liked the idea of the total contrast between the sweet romanticism of that story and Anniversary on the one hand and the bleakness and fear in this series, yet they're the same people, and that's why I linked them. Wine and Candles also provides a plot point for a future piece which might be the chronological end of the series.

Thank you for commenting, I'm glad you're still enjoying this series.
29th-May-2008 04:11 am (UTC)

At some point I'm going to have to go back and read these in order. Admit it, that was your eeeevil plan all along! :D

It seems particularly cruel of Sam to have chosen one of those glasses. He would know that Gene would recognize it. It doesn't even sound like he left a note.

That phone exchange between the two of them with Sam begging him to come home and Gene's "buck up" type of retort just seem so in characters for the lads.

Thank you! ♥
30th-May-2008 12:52 am (UTC)
I haven't even read them through in order. I'm deliberately avoiding doing that - in fact I've made a point of not re-reading the pieces in any order or at all, just a glance now and then to check continuity if I have to. I'm enjoying the dip-in-and-out approach tbh; I would never have set out to write a series, but bits for this just turn up every now and then, which I have to admit I'm loving.

It seems particularly cruel of Sam to have chosen one of those glasses

Wow, reading that this morning was a major WTF moment; I love how you've seen something quite different to the way I'm seeing things. Of course, you haven't heard Sam's thoughts on the matter yet...

I'm glad the phone call was in character for you; it's pretty pivotal to the action, after all! Thanks for sticking with this and for commenting.
30th-May-2008 02:03 am (UTC)

The way you wrote it, it seemed like Gene thought it was cruel too...
30th-May-2008 10:16 am (UTC)
He wasn't amused, certainly. Doesn't mean Sam actually intended to hurt him...

Sam's pov is basically written, but as you might imagine it's quite a difficult piece, and I can't do it justice with kids around the place, so it will probably go up next week some time.
29th-May-2008 08:04 am (UTC)
Guh, I am so glad that this string of fics was one of the first things that I ran into when jumping back into the comm - it's just gutting to see this happening, but the strength of the Sam/Gene bond is so well done in it. I love the way that Gene is covering it up, the way that he's wheeling through everything to figure out a way to explain, despite the fact that he's so often a man of black and white, this is the truth explanations only.

Gene's rapid action was also amazing - it was written with so much tension and fervor that I couldn't seem to read the words quickly enough! Very excellently done.
30th-May-2008 12:58 am (UTC)
the strength of the Sam/Gene bond is so well done

That made me stop and think; it's a major compliment and I thank you, but it's only just occurred to me that perhaps that is the whole point of the story - the way that bond is tested and twisted, and Sam may doubt it, but it's always there, pulling them through. Thank you!
29th-May-2008 09:03 am (UTC)
Gene, you are amazing - Sam is bloody lucky to have you on his side! Not that he deserves it much, at the moment. I think the way Sam seems to have done it to spite Gene for not being there when he calls is ten times worse than just being confused about how many to take. It's not that he doesn't realise what he's doing to Gene; he does know and deliberately hurts him. Gene is a better man than most if he can take that and still stay by Sam. Or he's just completely, helplessly loyal despite Sam's ruthlessness.

Fantastic writing, DG.
30th-May-2008 01:07 am (UTC)
As I said to draycevixen above, reading some of these comments this morning gave me a serious case of the WTFs. Everything you've said here is supported by the story, but I just didn't see it that way. (I don't mind, by the way!)

I want to leap to Sammy's defence here, but I'll let you form your own conclusions, and I will be very interested to know what you think when you see this incident from Sam's viewpoint.

There's just something very surreal about the fact that you like the writing and yet you read it completely differently from how I wrote it. Fiction is a strange world.
29th-May-2008 10:36 am (UTC)
I love how attentive Gene is in this, he doesn't even blame Sam.

Thankyou for such well-written angst :)
30th-May-2008 01:09 am (UTC)
Thank you; personally, I adore attentive!Gene. Perhaps it's him I'm putting through the h/c rather than Sam.
29th-May-2008 10:51 am (UTC)
Oh, poor Sam!
He's been through quite a lot this week, haven't he? *feels so sorry for him sitting at home by himself, being paranoid*
And he would be the sort of person to use the best glasses in the house, because it would be his last opportunity.

And poor Gene who has to live with that. Being close to someone who's tried to commit suicide must be so terrifying, because you can't watch them every second of the day, and you never know when they might try again.
It's very Gene to try to defend Sam. He's too loyal to destroy his carer like that.
30th-May-2008 01:11 am (UTC)
Awww, I'm so pleased that you can see Sam's point of view here as well as Gene's. And yes, Gene is very loyal, isn't he. It's one of his defining characters in the show imo. He made a vow to Sammy and he meant it. Thanks for reading and commenting; I really appreciate it.
29th-May-2008 11:28 am (UTC)
Sam is a worry isn't he. Can't leave him alone for 2 minutes. Thank heavens he has Gene to take care of him, not to mention clean up after him. But that's quite a scare he gave Gene and he's lucky that Gene still loves him.

Another excellent chapter. :)
30th-May-2008 01:14 am (UTC)
If he was mine, I wouldn't be able to leave him alone for 2 minutes, that's for sure. And yes, whether it's deliberate or not, he is rather putting Gene through the wringer here.

Sam's point of view on this is written; it had to be done before this one was posted, but it's a much more difficult piece to get just right so it might have to wait until after half-term for final polishing.
29th-May-2008 11:41 am (UTC)
I am so glad that you are writing this series out of order because I don't think I could have handled not knowing if Gene would actually keep his commitment to Sam.

Thank you for another powerful chapter.
30th-May-2008 01:20 am (UTC)
not knowing if Gene would actually keep his commitment to Sam

Don't worry, it never crossed his mind not to. I admit, I'm a little surprised to find myself writing what I suppose amounts to H/C. I would never have set out deliberately to do so, and I have no interest in cranking up the angst for the sake of it.

I'm just telling the story as it appears to me, so I'm very happy that you - at whose door it may be laid - are still enjoying it. Thank you for commenting.
29th-May-2008 12:41 pm (UTC)
This is a hard read, but oh so well done. Gene's reaction (deal with it now, process later) is spot on, and him noticing the wine glasses was heartbreaking.

I'm also glad you've written these out of order, as waiting to find out if Gene keeps his promise to Sam would be excrutiating!

Another fantastic installment, and as ever, I look forward to any more than may come our way.
30th-May-2008 01:26 am (UTC)
This is a hard read

I hope that's not too much of a bad thing; I'm avoiding reading these stories after posting, so I don't have a particularly clear view on how the story comes across to the reader.

I'm glad you're still enjoying this; I'm tidying up Sam's pov on this incident at the moment, and I have a piece half-done which may end the story, plus there are still a few facets of the story unexplored which I hope to have a go at.
1st-Jun-2008 03:15 pm (UTC)
I hope that's not too much of a bad thing

No, not a bad thing. I think fic that deals with (attempted/)suicide should be hard to read. Its dark and its terrifying and it changes relationships (for good or bad), so to make it anything but hard to read just wouldn't be 'real'... /rant

Glad to hear there's a bit more to come, look forward to it!
30th-May-2008 02:06 pm (UTC)
I absolutely squee'd when I saw you'd posted another part to this series because I absolutely adore it! You're writing is so touching and gut-wrenching and it makes me feel for Sam and Gene so much. I am certainly going to have to go back and re-read this all in order and I can't wait to read more!
30th-May-2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
*gulps* Am I sad and shallow that this makes me feel so good?

OK, so I don't exactly feel at my most adequate during school holidays, but this comment is so - validating, I guess is the word. Thank you so much! And I'm thrilled that you - with the kind of tension you're capable of writing - think this series is "gut-wrenching".
31st-May-2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
And I am always so happy when you post a new section to this because each bit adds more layers to the story and builds up the complex and powerful relationship between Sam and Gene.

That Sam has pushed himself to this steps speaks strongly about the despair he is feeling and showing Genes reaction, in some ways, emphasises this even more. And the last line is wonderful - huge amount of hope from just a few words.
31st-May-2008 10:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you; for me, the relationship between Sam and Gene really is one of those where "this is bigger than both of us", and I'm pleased that it's working for you.

Tomorrow they’d try again.

Over at writersonmars, in culf's Spotlight, she talks about Gene writing himself, and that line is an example of that. I was having difficulty working out how to end this, and then - I found I'd sort of typed that, and I don't remember doing it.

Thanks for reading and for commenting!

4th-Jun-2008 01:48 am (UTC)
Love tough guy on the outside Gene, taking care of Sam. Admitting he needed Sam just broke my heart. This is fabulous and it looks like I need to find the others and read them. (I'm fairly new to this fandom and am so thrilled there are such great authors here!)
4th-Jun-2008 06:13 am (UTC)
Hi, thanks for commenting, and welcome to the comm; I've seen you around commenting in the last week or two - I hope you have a great time here!

Admitting he needed Sam just broke my heart.

Aww, fic needs a little heartbreak now and then; I had to go back and check that he really hadn't said it anywhere else! As you may have seen from the comments, I'm posting this out of order, as ideas come to me. The full list in chronological order is at the top, with links, but most people have read it in this order:

Fighting to Survive, Body & Soul, Watching, Useless, Breaking Through, Out to Lunch, Keep Taking the Tablets.

This series is in the same universe as the Wine and Candles series and Anniversary, which are referenced occasionally but are completely different in mood from this series. (They're full-on fluff!)
6th-Jun-2008 05:35 am (UTC)
Yes, well, I'm totally addicted to LoM now and just want more! I am really amazed and thrilled that there are such talented writers in this comm and the variety of stories, the 'what if aspect', the imagination.

I still haven't read your other ones, but definitely will. Thanks for the chronology and what I guess was the order they were written. :)

Trying to keep up with the various fandoms is challenging and of course, real life gets in the way, too. I need to find time to write around it all! Haha! One of these days/weeks, I'll get around to getting up the nerve to do a LoM one.
6th-Jun-2008 06:10 am (UTC)
I'll look forward to a fic from you! New writers often bring a slightly different way of looking at things, and I think it keeps the comm fresh and gives us all a new lease of life.

And don't worry about RL - it'll go away if you ignore it long enough *g*
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