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Fans of Life On Mars
Fic, Hope, White Cortina, by DorsetGirl 
17th-Jun-2008 01:50 pm

Title:    Hope

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:  White Cortina

Pairings: Sam/Gene

Word Count:  1187

Summary: To have and to hold.

A/N: This is part of the Survival series. It is rather less angsty than recent chapters, and takes place during Sam’s first stay in hospital after being found, starved and beaten. He is still in a coma (it is Life on Mars, after all). It might be worth my pointing out that, although this is a series, it is being posted out of order as various sections come to me, and therefore - I hope - each piece should make a certain amount of sense by itself. Thanks to [info]lozenger8  for a quick Britpick (you can take the girl out of Dorset...)  My kindly medical consultant,  [info]icudoc, reckons in the circumstances Sam might “mumble”, but I’ve applied a little artistic licence to that. And thank you for the other information,  [info]icudoc - your evil idea didn’t fit in this piece, but it may appear yet!

 Previously posted: Body & Soul / Watching / Hope / Breaking Through / Not Just a Cry For Help / Keep Taking the Tablets / Useless /  Out to Lunch / Fighting to Survive

 

  

Hope

 

“Gene.”

 

Sam was getting restless again. Gene sighed; ever since the nurses had “thought it might be nice” to shift him out of his private room – “bit of company, like, help him wake up” – the skinny git had been as twitchy as a nun in a bloody nightclub. The nurses were forever re-arranging his pillows and smoothing down his sheets. “Got to keep the place looking tidy for Matron,” they would explain defensively.

 

“Gene.”

 

It might be the fact that Gene didn’t dare touch him any more. Even when he drew the curtains, no-one asked permission before sweeping aside Sam’s illusory privacy and Gene had already been caught out once.

 

The first day out here on the main ward, he had been talking quietly into Sam’s ear and running his fingers through the short hair just the way Sam liked best. He had entwined the fingers of his right hand gently with Sam’s and was stroking the back of Sam’s hand with his thumb when the booming voice of Mister Bloomfield – bloody consultants, Gene would rip the bollocks off anyone who called him Mister at work – took him completely by surprise and he froze, staring up in shock as he held hands with his DI in full view of Bloomfield, Sister and three awestruck students.

 

He had muttered something lame about trying to hear what the daft sod was saying, but the explanation didn’t hold much water since the entire ward could hear Sam groaning Gene’s name. He wouldn’t forget in a hurry the way they’d looked at him, like he was a piece of dirt on their nice clean floor.

 

For safety’s sake he had kept his distance ever since, but it hurt, a lot, to sit by and ignore Sam’s endless anguished pleading.

 

“Gene!”

 

On the good side at least he knew that, caged though it might be, the essence of Sam was still in there.

 

Some days that knowledge was all that kept him going: the days when they had to increase the sedation while they performed their endless tests and procedures, and the days when they tried to reduce the drugs and Sam sobbed and moaned in his fevered dreams. The sounds of Sam’s terror defined Gene’s days and shattered his nights, and Gene was exhausted, drawn tight with fear and frustrated hopes.

 

Gene sometimes thought that if there was any downside to life with Sam it was just this - learning to feel again. He’d done well enough for years, closed to everything except doing his job and doing it well, and he knew he wouldn’t be having such a hard time now if he’d stuck with that, but it was too late. Sam had taken over his life and opened up his heart, and so he would wait for Sam as long as it took.

 

But every day he passed quietly waiting for Sam to wake up was another day spent policing his city by remote control, shouting down the phone at Cartwright and Carling. It was an unnatural coupling of soft talk and blunt instrument, and Gene felt wrung out with it.

 

Usually he gave his orders then crossed his fingers and hoped for the best because the alternative was to leave Sam to the brisk and silent efficiency of the nurses. But sometimes there was no choice, it had to be the Genie in person, and then not even for Sam would Gene sidestep his responsibilities. But, God knows how, Sam could sense when Gene was gone and would cry for him, and the nurses whispered amongst themselves with smirks and sidelong glances.

 

Gene wondered if Sam sometimes thought he was there, in whatever place they’d kept him during the worst eighteen days of Gene’s life.

 

“Gene!”

 

Sometimes the screaming suggested that deep in Sam’s mind he was still bound in endless torture, and at those times Gene wished he could take them both away and hold Sam like he used to, so the silly sod would know he was safe and relax enough to start healing.

 

And other times Gene didn’t know where to look, when Sam moaned his name, low and needy, so hauntingly like the last time they’d been together. The memory was so close, so real, that it made Gene stiffen even now. He shifted in his seat and covered his face as Sam started up again.

 

“Gene!”

 

Enough. No more. Gene got to his feet and swept out of the ward, fetching up outside Matron’s office in the time it took to glare a gaggle of pink-dressed probationers out of his way. The occupants looked round in surprise as he flung back the door.

 

“Well, well, well. Pity I don’t have a stone about me person, seeing as I’ve just found meself the two birds I’m looking for. Right then, as you’re both here: Tyler, my DI. Keeps making all this bloody racket. Now, he didn’t do it in the private room, only out there with all the nutters, so I want him moved back, pronto. Dare say the old bugger next to him won’t complain either, miserable bastard.” Matron and Mister Bloomfield looked at him blankly. “There’s no hurry, any time in the next ten minutes will be just dandy. So, shall I move him myself, or can I leave you to make the arrangements?”

 

The two of them looked from Gene to each other and back again. They were clearly the master and mistress of unspoken communication because any message passing between them was invisible to Gene’s impatient stare, but after the briefest pause Matron spoke decisively. “I will make the necessary arrangements immediately, Mr Hunt. If you’ll excuse me, Mr Bloomfield?”

 

When Gene returned an hour later from his evening visit to the station, he found Sam alone in a tiny room round the corner from the main ward. Gene went in and shut the door; Sam was crying again, gasping and moving his head from side to side agitatedly. Gene leaned over and placed his hands carefully on either side of Sam’s face before gliding them softly down his body, re-stating his presence and his claim.

 

“Sshh, sshh, ’s all right now, Sammy, got it sorted. Can look after you now.” Glancing quickly at the door he leaned over to kiss Sam gently on the mouth. Sam’s breathing slowed as, indefinably, he relaxed and settled.

 

Gene looked around the room. It didn’t appear to offer much in the way of facilities, but at least it had a door. No lock, but Gene had expected that. He took the wooden wedge he’d abstracted from its niche in Lost & Found, and shoved it under the door.

 

“Now then, Sammy,” he murmured as he positioned himself cautiously on the bed. “Budge up.”

 

Taking care not to crush Sam, Gene lay down next to him and buried his face finally, thankfully, in Sam’s neck. He breathed in slowly and felt Sam’s closeness like a caress in his soul. Sam’s breathing was already more regular, and even as he laughed at himself for sounding like some nancy novel, Gene started to unwind for the first time in weeks.

 

As the pain and guilt and loneliness softened inside him, Gene’s eyes closed in relief and he slept.

 

Gene_draw
Comments 
17th-Jun-2008 01:23 pm (UTC)
Beautiful, there's something about the way you write Gene that just fits perfectly with cannon while simultaneously revealing more depth.
18th-Jun-2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much; I'm glad Gene comes over as he should. And yes, I've always felt there's a lot of depth there to work with.
17th-Jun-2008 03:20 pm (UTC)
He breathed in slowly and felt Sam’s closeness like a caress in his soul. Sam’s breathing was already more regular and even as he laughed at himself for sounding like some nancy novel, Gene started to unwind for the first time in weeks.

Oh this is gorgeous. This bit right here is one of my favorite Gene things ever, it just leaped out at me and attached itself to my heart.

This whole thing is beautifully done, I think it is my fave of the series so far. I love that Gene demanded that Sam be placed back in the private room so he could take care of him, hold him, caress him, the way Gene should be able to. And the bit about Sam moaning his name and having it call up the memory of their last time together is heartbreaking to me, that Gene would know what it sounded like to everyone else, and that he knows intimately what that sound is....All kinds of heartache over that bit.

I love this series to pieces, you know that?
18th-Jun-2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
Your comments make me so happy. It's such a great feeling to know that people are enjoying this. I couldn't seem to get this one to flow properly, so it's a big relief that it seems to have worked for people.

Thank you very much!
17th-Jun-2008 03:24 pm (UTC)

Nice entry in the series. Gene wrestling his feelings, knowing what the lines on public behaviour are, his sometimes having to put the city first and the door wedge from Lost & Found. Lovely.

I *think* though that I might have to stop reading these until you declare the series finished. I'm a little OCD about reading things in order -- when I discover a new author I think I might like I have to start with their *first* novel -- but that's my problem of course and NOT yours. In otherwords, please don't take this comment as me being "whiny entitlement bitch" woman insisting on your doing anything to suit me, I'm just explaining myself in case you don't see a comment on your next story in this series. :D
17th-Jun-2008 11:45 pm (UTC)
I'm just explaining myself in case you don't see a comment on your next story

Thanks for the explanation, I appreciate that. At any given time I have no idea when or whether there will be any more of this, although I have had a possible ending on the stocks for a while. I probably will post that last of all.

I’m writing the series this way because it’s the only way I can; if I started reading it through in order, checking it for continuity, working out where the gaps are and filling them in diligently – well, I just wouldn’t. I would feel oppressed by the “obligation” within about three minutes and that would be the end of it. This series started as a one-off, something that just wrote itself because I was desperate to finish something, and I have been so pleased that I’ve managed to have ideas for other bits to go with it. I am also thrilled and gobsmacked at the response to the various parts.

Warning - weirdness alert! With this story I sometimes feel as if I’m standing in the middle of a circular room, while all around in adjoining rooms are playing out the different parts of the story. Occasionally I will hear what’s going on in one room and then I start to write it down. I really don’t feel that I’m making up this story, more that I’m “remembering” or “finding out” what happened at various points. (Am I mad, doctor?) There are plenty of obvious bits to tackle, but I’m hoping I won’t be reduced to doing it that way. This way is so much easier and more enjoyable, for me anyway, and I’m trying not to panic at the realisation that I don’t have another piece brewing at the moment!

To get back to the point, I’m not complaining about your approach in any way – none of my business for a start – and I’m definitely not trying to persuade you different, but this is just a thought I had:

Several of these chapters have evolved from mentions of past events in later chapters; some of them, as people have remarked, might be too upsetting for some people – including me! – if we didn’t already know things come out OK in the end; and some of them are a sort of double act with “what we saw” and “what really happened” being written separately.

For example I had quite a lot of “Not Just a Cry For Help” written before I posted “Keep Taking the Tablets”, and I posted them in the order I did quite deliberately, because I felt it would be stronger and more dramatic that way. I felt, and still feel, that Gene’s story would just be an anti-climax if taken after Sam’s on that particular event.

It’s only a comment, nothing more than that, and I’m definitely not being precious about how people “should” be reading, but I have a sort of feeling that chronological order isn’t necessarily the “correct” order to read this. I have certainly avoided reading them in any sort of order. I’ve just looked at bits as I’ve needed to for continuity, and perhaps not as much as I should have done, because I have a bad feeling about re-reading for some reason, like it will kill the inspiration.

*removes stick from arse, gets off soapbox*

Anyway, sorry about the ramble, but your comment really made me think about the difference between my reading and writing preferences (see below - cut for length), and about the differences between the way the writer sees a story compared with how the readers approach it, so thank you for that!
17th-Jun-2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
this makes me seriously want to cry. I love this series and you're right you can read each of them seperately. They're wonderful as stand alones but even more powerful when you use them as an excuse to just reread the whole thing over.
18th-Jun-2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
You re-read the whole thing? Wow, that is a compliment! I'm really pleased you're still enjoying the series. Thank you.
17th-Jun-2008 08:53 pm (UTC)
Ooo! I wasn't expecting to see a new part of this so soon and I clapped as soon as I saw it posted.

Pity I don’t have a stone about me person, seeing as I’ve just found meself the two birds I’m looking for.
This line is so Gene and so brilliant. It insults his "enemies" on so many levels. I could just picture their condescending looks when they saw Gene holding Sam's hand and wanted to jump in the story and slap them myself. I adore the love Gene has for Sam and at the same time hurt for them both since I know what's still to come for them.

This series continues to be beautiful and I do hope there is still more to come! I am curious about icudoc's "evil idea" and, without even knowing what it is, the angst-monger in me is hoping that you do use it.
18th-Jun-2008 05:37 pm (UTC)
I totally blush at the idea of you clapping when you saw this!

Pity I don’t have a stone about me person

I'm so pleased you liked that line. I could hear him saying something like that, but I wasn't particularly confident I'd got it spot on. I normally "just write what comes", but I do want to start including a bit more of Gene's very individual speech so it's great that you thought it worked. I sort of imagined the "let him who is without sin cast the first stone" aspect of it, like he was insinuating there was something going on between them.

[I] wanted to jump in the story and slap them myself

*grins madly and punches the air in triumph*

Regarding icudoc's idea, I don't set out to crank up the angst deliberately - this story feels more like I'm just remembering what happened, which I know sounds a bit weird - but it's nice to know I've got an idea in reserve if it transpires that I need Sam to have a big problem.
17th-Jun-2008 10:51 pm (UTC)
Just as I was starting to wonder when you'd be continuing this wonderful series - clearly you read my mind :)

After the traumatic last couple installments, this is such a lovely, sweet thing to read, even though it still has its darker moments - I really feel for Gene when he's caught by Bloomfield and his team, and glad he got his way in the end. Especially given how much Sam needs him *sniff* This line, though:

Gene leaned over and placed his hands carefully on either side of Sam’s face before gliding them softly down his body, re-stating his presence and his claim.

Oh, god. So beautiful. Can't tell you how much I love that image (more than I should, no doubt).

Brilliant, as usual. Thank you.
18th-Jun-2008 05:42 pm (UTC)
a lovely, sweet thing to read

Thank you; that is pretty much the mood I was going for, so I'm glad that came over. Strangely enough, although this was a much lighter piece, I had all sorts of problems in making it flow. I think I wasn't clear how far in Gene's head I was going, or whether we were just observing, but once I relaxed a bit and let him run things it went a bit better.

Thank you for a lovely comment.
18th-Jun-2008 01:31 am (UTC)
DG, this was beautiful. I love this Gene. He's still the same abrasive bully he needs to be in his public life but he can be soft to make Sam feel safe.

I loved this chapter. Thank you.
18th-Jun-2008 05:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much, Ducky. I loved writing Gene for some reason, and there's simply never any temptation to make him softer in any circumstances except with Sam. He's developed that swaggering confidence over so many years that it's always there at command, and he needs every ounce of it to be able to look after Sam the way he needs to.

I'm very glad you're still enjoying this, and I'm still amazed at how much has come about as a result of your four simple words ("this one little chapter"). Thank you so much for that prompt; without it, Fighting to Survive would almost certainly have remained a one-off.
18th-Jun-2008 10:44 am (UTC)
Another fantastic chapter. Like duckyone I also love this Gene so much. The way you write him in this series breaks my heart just a little for his situation. In fact, I know that Sam is the one with all the physical and PTSD issues, but it's Gene I feel most sorry for in all this. He is magnificent, and I love you just a little bit for continuing to write him ♥
18th-Jun-2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
I commented to someone recently - can't remember who! - that in fact it's probably Gene that I'm putting through the h/c, not Sam. Sam certainly has got major problems, but in many ways Gene is having emotionally the more difficult time. He has so many conflicting issues and calls on his time and emotions to manage. But I see him as a very strong individual, as long as he has a strong foundation, and Sam - comatose or not - is that foundation.
18th-Jun-2008 11:28 am (UTC)
Oh. Oh.
I love the way you've shown us Gene behaving entirely in character but with a softer side that he keeps entirely hidden.

Gene sometimes thought that if there was any downside to life with Sam it was just this - learning to feel again.

Yes - just wonderful *sniff*.

And the last couple of paragraphs bring home the fact that for all Sam, in his fragile and broken state, needs Gene, Gene needs Sam, too.
18th-Jun-2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
Aww, you just know that he has that softer side; it's there in the way he talks to Mrs Raimes, and to the Beauvoir Lady's mum. He totally identifies with how they're feeling. I'm very pleased that he came over as being in character.

Gene sometimes thought that if there was any downside to life with Sam it was just this - learning to feel again.

I actually reckon that's canon - not necessarily in a slashy sense *g*, but it is there in the show, definitely. I think in some ways Gene needs Sam ever more than Sam needs Gene!
18th-Jun-2008 11:47 am (UTC)
This was great. I loved the way you showed Gene's despair at Sam's behaviour since they went and moved him to a public ward and how he went about getting Sam moved back to a private room. That was pure Gene. I could just see him doing that. And the end was the same - totally in character for Gene. I loved the ending as there is so much hope there and that's really what it's all about. Gene loves Sam and Sam will get better.
18th-Jun-2008 10:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you; I'm glad it all seemed in character for you - the most interesting story in the world doesn't count if the characters aren't themselves.

Gene loves Sam and Sam will get better

Oh yes, definitely. However, I sort of think the ending of this one is quite sad, because Gene thinks it will all just unroll naturally from now on, and he has no idea quite how long things are going to take from this point and what setbacks there are going to be. Still, we'll let him sleep for now...
27th-Jun-2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
Thats a perfect Gene. Poor Sam :(
27th-Jun-2008 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I do love writing Gene; he's so complex that it's a real challenge getting inside his head.
30th-Jun-2008 12:58 am (UTC)
Sorry I am so behind on my reading but I am catching up very slowly. Wanted to say that this was very heart warming considering the state Sam is still in! I like how you show Gene's decisiveness; once he has decided to act that is it! : )
30th-Jun-2008 06:08 am (UTC)
Hey, no problem! I'm just so pleased that you're taking the trouble not only to catch up on reading, but to comment as well. I really appreciate that. (One of the sad things, I think, is that normally you get a flurry of comments over the first twelve hours after posting, and after 24 hours it's extremely rare to get any more at all. So you know by the end of the first day that's your lot, with a bit of an exception at weekends.)

Yes, I'm going to have a bit of a problem moving the tone of things back from all this hopefulness into what's still to come for them. It's one of the drawbacks of writing out of order. However, if I were writing in order, this series would not exist, simple as that. I just don't write that way!

Again, thank you very much for taking the trouble to comment.
3rd-Jul-2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how I missed this the first time, but I'm really glad I found it now, because it's brilliant!

", he had been talking quietly into Sam’s ear and running his fingers through the short hair just the way Sam liked best. He had entwined the fingers of his right hand gently with Sam’s and was stroking the back of Sam’s hand with his thumb." This is so adorable that I had to go back and re-read these sentences several times, and it broke my heart every time those people walked in on them and looked down on Gene for what he was doing.
Also, Gene holding Sam close when he'd got him back into a private room was heart-meltingly cute. Thank you!
3rd-Jul-2008 05:11 pm (UTC)
And I'm glad you found it too, because I love the idea of you re-reading a description I put a lot of thought into!

I really felt for Gene when I wrote that bit; he is doing the right thing for Sam, doing everything he can, but it's not his fault that in some ways it was still the Dark Ages.

heart-meltingly cute

Now that's not a phrase I tend to hear much since I started this series! Thank you for taking the time to comment.
28th-Aug-2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
Think it was Dak that recommended this to me and I love it. So sweet.

("Now then, Sammy,” he murmured as he positioned himself cautiously on the bed. “Budge up.”) This bit, I have to admit, had me a little choked up. I love the soft side of Gene.

Thanks for sharing. I'm new to LJ so I've only just worked out how to find all the LoM fic lol :D
28th-Aug-2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
Well, you've certainly found the soul of LOM fandom here in this comm! Welcome; it's always lovely to have new people.

I don't think anyone's recced this series before, so I'm very happy about that, and I'm so pleased that you enjoyed it. Thank you very much for commenting, and again - welcome.
21st-Jul-2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Ah, I love this. Gene finding the way to be there for Sam while dealing with the prejudices of the day. And I love that it is so right for both of them, when they can finally just lie together in sleep. As good for Gene as it is for Sam.
21st-Jul-2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks for commenting! Yes, Gene is carrying such a burden, and I like to think that he really needs that closeness to Sam to make things bearable.
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