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Fans of Life On Mars
Fic, Still With Us, White Cortina, by DorsetGirl 
27th-Jun-2008 03:11 pm

Title:    Still With Us

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:  2,325

Summary: Gene has been waiting a long time for Sam to wake up.

A/N: This is part of the Survival series, but I hope it makes sense as a stand-alone. For some reason this has been the hardest part of all to get right, and I’m not sure I’ve managed it. Please note that although Gene has something of a dialogue with The Man Upstairs, I promise that whatever religious beliefs he may come out of this with, he’ll be keeping them to himself! Not beta'd, so do shout if you see any problems or have some concrit to offer.


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






Still With Us



* * *


Whatever happens, remember. You’re the Guv, and he’s your officer. That’s all. All that anybody needs to know. Time enough for the rest of it when you get him home.


* * *


Gene has spent so long planning for this moment. Whatever Sam’s first words might be, Gene has his answer ready, because he knows that when it happens he won’t be thinking much. Too excited.


Too scared.


So he’s done his thinking night after night alone in his bed, or sat right here with his arse gone numb on that stupid chair. And he knows exactly what Sam’s going to say when he wakes up. If he -


No. Never think that. Come on, you’re the Sheriff. Just go through it all again. What he might say, and what you’re going to say back.


* * *


“What year is it?”


“1974, you daft pillock”. And Christ, don’t you dare say anything different. Want you home, not shipped straight off to the loony bin.


* * *


“Where am I?”


“In the Royal, you soppy git, where’d you think? Lying about doing nothing; all right for some.” Too far away from me is the truth of that one, Sammy. On the wrong side of a hospital blanket; wires and tubes making me scared you’ll break, and nurses giving me funny looks every time I come in here looking worse than you do.


* * *


“What happened?”


“Short version? You tell me. You were kicked about a bit. Wherever they had you wasn’t exactly the Ritz, you hadn’t eaten for a while when they brought you in.”  I don’t know, Sammy, I just don’t know. And I pray we never find out either. Did I tell you I’m a praying man now? Amazing what it’ll do for you, being forced to watch your own life drain away in someone else’s hospital bed.


* * *


“When can I get out of here?”


“Pretty soon, Sammy boy. Soon have you back to work.” When they finish putting your beautiful body back together.


* * *


“What day is it?”


“Thursday, Sam. They might let you watch Top of the Pops later if you’re good.” First day of the rest of my life.


* * *


OK, so you’ve learned your lines; just remember to sound convincing.


Oh God, give me this. Let him still be my Sam.


* * *


“He’s waking up, Doctor.” Matron stood back as Mr Bloomfield walked in unhurriedly with his retinue. The registrar took his place next to him at the head of the bed, leaving the students to jockey for position with the nurses behind them. Matron stood at the foot of the bed with Sister. Jostled unnoticed towards the door, Gene found himself, unusually, out of the action. Sick with nerves, he fought the urge to light a cigarette, knowing this wasn’t the time.


“Mr Tyler! Can you hear me?” The confident, port-and-stilton tones of the Royal’s most senior surgeon would have woken a lesser man at first hearing, but Sam was an expert. He’d been clinging to this coma for more than four weeks and no mere consultant was going to bring him out unaided. It would have to be withdrawal of the painkillers, apparently. “Cruel but necessary, I’m afraid,” Bloomfield had explained. “We shan’t keep him awake long; just enough to make sure there are no problems we don’t already know about. No need for you to be there, Mr Hunt. We can manage matters, reassure Mr Tyler before we put him under again.”


“He’s my officer. I’ll be there.”


* * *


And here you are. You stay calm and see what he says, then you say the answer. Simple. Just one of your officers, remember that.


And don’t even think that he might not be Sam any more.


* * *


From here he could only see parts of the bed; stupid to let these bastards elbow him out like this, but he hadn’t been thinking. You knew you wouldn’t be; should have thought before where you were going to stand. Bloody idiot. So now he was stuck in the back row, as much use as a spare prick at a wedding, and he didn’t dare distract the sodding doctors in case there were any problems. Like Sam waking up even more of a nutcase than he had been before.


Sam groaned. Matron moved to take his arm and stood checking his pulse-rate as he started to wake. Suddenly he screamed, a short, terrified sound trailing off into a sob.


“Mr Tyler! Can you hear me?” Bloomfield stepped forward and motioned Matron aside. “We’re just bringing you round to check everything’s all right. You can go back to sleep soon.”  He watched Sam for a moment. “Mr Tyler, can you tell me how many fingers I’m holding up?” He held up his right hand, fingers splayed.


Slowly, Sam’s eyes opened and he tried to focus on the doctor’s hand. He opened his mouth and closed it again, then licked his lips. “W...”




“Mr Tyler? Can you see me? How many fingers am I holding up?”


Oh dear God, please. I’ll do anything.


“W...” Sam swallowed. It looked painful.




“Just a moment, Doctor.” Sister stepped forward and picked up the glass from the bedside cabinet. She trickled a few drops of water into Sam’s mouth.


Sam licked his lips again and got the words out at last.




As one, the assembled staff turned to look at Gene, who stood frozen to the spot.


Sam spoke again, slightly louder. “Gene?”


Gene couldn’t move, couldn’t think what to say or do, all of his carefully planned phrases flown out of his head. In the brief hush, Sister stepped up, re-arranging pillows and tutting busily. “Now then, Mr Tyler, it’s very nice to see you awake at last. We’ll just need to...”


“Please. Gene.” Sam was starting to sound panicky now; he moved his head from side to side, scanning the faces.


“Mr Tyler, if you would just let me...”


Sam’s eyes opened wider and it looked as if he was trying to move. One arm dragged slowly across the covers, fingers clutching at the air. He was thrashing feebly now. He was going to hurt himself if someone didn’t...




One by one the hospital staff melted away, leaving a clear path between Sam and Gene.


He swallowed, and stared hard at the floor. The Sheriff and his Deputy, remember.


He turned and walked out of the room.


* * *


Gene slammed into the Gents’ and crossed to the basins. Look at the state of you. Colour of Gwen’s bloody mint custard, and shaking like a leaf. Are you a man, or a bloody schoolgirl?


He clung to the cold china, breathing hard, until his fingers ached. That’s your whole life, lying there on that bed, and when he wakes up the first thing he does is....


...say my name.


* * *


Sam waking him up with “Gene. Feeling sexy, sexy?” as his hands explored Gene’s body in the cool morning light. If Gene was awake enough he would answer – “Mmmm. Looking gorgeous, gorgeous.” Waking up alone these past weeks had hurt, like a cold stone in his heart.


Sam bringing him a cup of tea in bed on his day off. “Gene, I’m off now. See you later, love.” A quick kiss, Gene conscious of his morning breath against Sam’s crisp spearmint.


Sam welcoming him home at the end of a long day. “Gene? Thought I’d do dinner as you were running late. Can you get us a drink while I serve up?”


Sam sleek and hot under him, calling his name breathlessly as he came. “Gene! Oh God, yes, yes! GENE!”


* * *


Always the name, Gene’s name, Sam making it clear he knew exactly where he was and who with.


* * *


Feeling slightly calmer, Gene turned away from the mirror, fumbling in his pocket. He had the flask at his lips before he realised what he was doing, then hesitated before drinking.


He hadn’t promised anything about booze. Had offered Sam to give up smoking, yes. Not the booze, though. But what had he promised Him Upstairs? Anything at all, he knew. Whatever he’d thought at the time would work. Anything. And would He remember? Oh, come off it, you think He cares if Gene Hunt takes a drink on the day his lover comes back from the dead? Don’t think so.


But still. Wouldn’t do to breathe whisky in Sam’s face if he was still dozy. And don’t forget all those times Sister made you go home because you’d had a few too many. He stared at himself in the mirror before putting the flask away and opening the packet of mints he’d been carrying around for a week. Come on, get back in there before they think you’ve topped yourself or something.


* * *


When Gene finally walked back into the room, Sheriff on his face and Duty round his melted heart, even Mr Bloomfield looked relieved and turned towards him. Gene ignored them all and walked straight up to the bed, hands in pockets. He stared at Sam, taking in the dry lips, the pain in the eyes, the occasional grey hair; Sam hadn’t come out of this looking any younger.


Sam was looking up at him silently, his expression impossible to read, and Gene spoke loudly enough for the whole room to hear.


“Still with us then, Gladys? Noggin still work? Good. Perhaps you’ll favour us all with a few gems of your own special wisdom, fresh from the pits of wherever it is you’ve been dozing all this time. I hope you learnt something there because all I learned is that I still don’t like doing paperwork by myself.” He turned to the watching crowd. “OK, you lot, give us a minute. Need to talk to my DI. Get his statement.”


“Mr Hunt, Sam needs...”


Gene’s fragile composure cracked wide open and he turned to confront Matron, moving so fast she shrank back involuntarily.


”I’ll say what he needs! He’s my officer, my responsibility.” He leaned forward and thrust a finger in Matron’s astonished face. “If you have any compassion for your patients, now would be a good time to surprise us all by showing it.” He turned back to Sam, hands thrust deep into his pockets, and spoke over his shoulder.


“Go on, piss off, the lot of you. You can do all your needles and stuff later, whatever he needs. Just ... give us a minute.”


“Mr Tyler?”


Gene saw Sam nod slightly and he turned as the entire circus moved out of the room, Matron re-asserting her authority as she went. “Five minutes, Mr Hunt, not a minute longer.” Gene slammed the door behind them and stood facing it for a moment, steadying his breathing.


There was a muted but unmistakable snort of laughter from the bed behind him; he turned to see Sam smiling at him.


“That’s my Gene.”


Gene sat down and Sam shifted towards him slightly. Then he groaned, falling back against the pillows. “God, everything hurts.” He closed his eyes and swallowed tightly.


“What happened? Last I remember was going into – oh no, hold on. I remember being dumped in a – who found me? Gene, how long have I been here?”


“Don’t worry about all that. If it hurts they can give you some stuff, now they know you’re OK. Had to bring you all the way out or something, check what passes for your brain is still in there.”


Sam opened his eyes and glanced at him. “It is. And right now it’s revving up to pass on pain messages from every bloody cell in my body; God, even in the Nineteen Seventies they must have had – there must be pain killers.” His face tightened and he bit his lip.


Gene found himself leaning in; breathing in Sam’s scent, tracing the perfect curve of Sam’s neck with his mouth. He moved up to Sam’s face and waited. Sam took a deep breath and coughed painfully.


“Remind me not to do that again. Hang on. You’re eating mints?”


Gene looked shamefaced. “Wanted to taste nice to kiss you.”


Sam smiled and closed his eyes. “Go on then.”


* * *


How can a little peck on the lips be such complete perfection? Moving closer, watching that perfect pink mouth push forward so slightly; trembling despite your best efforts at being calm, you touch him, lightly. You’ve done this so many times before, even in here. Every day. Every night. But it feels different now there’s hope and light and a future again.


* * *


Gene knew Matron would be back at any moment, but couldn’t bring himself to move. Nothing seemed more important than trying to will his entire soul and strength into Sam through this gentle joining. Eventually Sam’s breathing hitched and he gasped in pain. Gene sat up, stroking Sam’s fingers below the cast.


“Sshh, Sammy, it’s OK, stay still, love.” Gene touched Sam’s face, still marvelling at how different it felt with Sam awake.


“Gene, oh my God, it hurts so much. Everything hurts. I’m sorry.”


“It’s OK, you’ve done nothing to be sorry about. Look, I’ll call the doctor back in. Just – before you bugger off back to the land of Nod, I wanted to say,” he leaned forward and kissed Sam on the mouth one more time, “I’ve missed you, Gladys. And I love you. So much.”


Sam’s drawn face moved momentarily into the smallest smile. “Love you too.” He caught his breath. “You’ll stay, yeah?”


“Always, you daft ponce.”


“Good. Now get that bloody doctor in here before I scream the place down.”


* * *


It didn’t take long. They measured his blood pressure (rising), tested his reflexes (fading) and Gene sat on the chair, close by while the needles sent Sam back to oblivion.


He ignored the staff bustling around him as they filled in charts and straightened covers. He concentrated on Sam’s face, seeing the new lines fade slightly as he relaxed.


Sleep well, Sam. Love you.


Calm at last, he sat in the chair and watched Sam breathe.

27th-Jun-2008 02:26 pm (UTC)
I know I've said it about once for every part of this series but I absolutely love how you write Gene.

The inner dialogue is so perfect and says so much. I love the way that you had Gene so determined to be in control and then had him fall to pieces when Sam wakes up saying his name. And the flashbacks were lovely as well.

You managed to get this alot better than just "right" ;)
29th-Jun-2008 06:01 am (UTC)
I absolutely love how you write Gene

Hi there, First Person! Thank you very much; I love writing Gene as well, I'm not sure why. Sam is interesting to write, but Gene - well, he's really special. I'm glad this worked for you.

I love getting your comments; apart from the fact that they're always lovely, your comment is my confirmation that the story is actually out there, visible to the world and not terminally terrible! Thank you for that.
27th-Jun-2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
Ohh, tears in my eyes! ♥

29th-Jun-2008 06:02 am (UTC)
Tears in the eyes is good, right?

Thank you, I'm glad you liked it.
27th-Jun-2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
This is perfect, so much better than you probably think it is. You definitely got it, with a capital IT. Everything about it flows perfectly and that moment when Sam wakes and wants, immediately, Gene was done so well. I was surprised Gene left the room and for a moment I doubted him, but you made it all better by bringing him back in more composed and wanting to put on his game face so he could have a few minutes alone with his Sammy. Gene thinking back to all the uses of his own name from Sam was a lovely touch, I adored how that brought him some composure, thinking that Sam is always with the name and that of course he would call for Gene first thing out of a coma,

Lovely, lovely piece.
29th-Jun-2008 06:08 am (UTC)
When I got to this at 6 on Friday morning I still had things like "Need some memories here - good times or when they found him?" dotted around the text. I read the story through and realised I was simply bored with it, so I left it. I came back at lunchtime determined to move into final edit and slashed half a dozen lines that I really liked but they weren't contributing much. Then things suddenly fell into place and the flashbacks just wrote themselves.

Leaving the room without a word just seemed so Gene to me; again that bit wrote itself and then I had to work out how to calm him down and bring him back.

Thank you very much; I'm pleased you think it flows well.
27th-Jun-2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
I almost started crying when Gene just froze, and holding the tears back was even harder when he just left. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been for him to not just run to him and kiss him in front of all those people, yet I completely understand how terrifying the thought of talking to him after seeing him as nothing but a shadow for so long.

I love this story so much, you know that, right?
29th-Jun-2008 06:14 am (UTC)
I still find it awesome that people might have emotional reactions to something I've written; it feels really strange, but good. Thank you for that!

Gene knew how difficult it would be physically, to stay back and not give them away, but he had no idea that he would emotionally lose control, poor lamb.

I'm thrilled that you like this series so much; I'm halfway through another bit at the moment, and I'm always worried that people will just get bored with it, because it's not progressing steadily towards a resolution as series normally do. (I can't do that, I'd get bored and give up.
27th-Jun-2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
Gene thinking how he's going to be so composed when Sam wakes up and then going to pieces and having to leave the room was heartwrenching. But the way he returned and shoed out all the hospital staff for 5 precious minutes alone with Sam was so much in character. Also loved the glimpses into their life together.

You write Gene so well and I could just imagine his inner turmoil and worry for Sam and his relief at Sam being on the mend. Another top notch chapter.
29th-Jun-2008 06:19 am (UTC)
Thank you very much love, I'm glad you're still enjoying this. Poor darling, I really want to hug him and reassure him - he's been so alone and he can't even tell anyone that.

loved the glimpses into their life together

I think that's my natural habitat; I love writing their warm cosy little home life! And I adore writing Gene himself, so I'm glad you think it works.

Thanks for commenting love, and I know I owe you an email. Take care.
27th-Jun-2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Jesus Christ, i am nearly in tears! Gene is written so perfectly...

29th-Jun-2008 06:20 am (UTC)
Thank you very much; I'm glad you're still enjoying this, and thanks for commenting.
27th-Jun-2008 05:23 pm (UTC)
Wonderful, emotive stuff, this - I'm smiling through my tears here!

As jean_geanie says, Gene's inner dialogue is brilliantly done and feels really in character, as do his spoken lines: gruff and tender all at the same time. Lovely, and just a little bit heartbreaking *sigh*.
29th-Jun-2008 06:26 am (UTC)
I'm smiling through my tears here

That's a major compliment - thank you! If Gene was a girly sort who cried, that's exactly what he'd be doing.

This was a tricky piece to get right, because certain sections insisted on being second person, and making that his internal dialogue was the only way to make it hang together. Then other bits wanted to be present tense, so all in all I had a bit of a fight on with this one.

I'm very happy that through it all Gene came over OK for you.
27th-Jun-2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
Oh my. You made me cry. Again.

Be assured, you most definately 'managed it'. It's so right that I'm running out of ways to tell you how much I love this series, and how fabulous it is. Your Gene is heartbreaking, and strong, and vulnerable, and funny, and gentle, and I love him so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you for another magnificent chapter ♥
29th-Jun-2008 06:33 am (UTC)
Thank you for an awesome comment; I will take it as good that I made you cry *g*

It's so right that I'm running out of ways to tell you

I don't mind if you want to recycle a few things, I'm just so pleased you're still reading and enjoying!

strong and vulnerable

You've hit the nail exactly on the head there; I think that is what Philip particularly brought to the part over and above what Matt and Ash had written; that vulnerability is what makes Gene such a wonderful character, and I'm pleased you think I've got that right. Thank you.

27th-Jun-2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
I was so glad Gene went back, you had me worried for a minute there. It made me smile that Gene had rehearsed an answer to every response from Sam except the one that he was most likely to make.

Thanks for this latest installment, I'm enjoying the series.

29th-Jun-2008 06:36 am (UTC)
The way I see it is that Gene never takes Sam for granted; he has all this gob-smacking confidence, with the "legendary prowess" etc, but he doesn't quite get how important he is to Sam, silly sod. You'd think it would be obvious, but a lot of the confidence is just the DCI persona rather than Gene himself. That's how I see it, anyway.
28th-Jun-2008 02:16 am (UTC)
This series just keeps getting better and better. I just adore your Gene. it's amazing how you write him.
29th-Jun-2008 06:39 am (UTC)
Thank you very much; I'm very pleased you liked it. I adore Gene and I love writing him.

btw I really really like your 2006!Sam story, and I would have commented by now if it weren't for doing my replies on this story.
28th-Jun-2008 03:37 am (UTC)
Oh God, this was just wonderful. So good that it made me pay attention to something other than my pretty Doctor.

Beautiful how Gene was so determined to be "the Sheriff" (all cool-tempered and whatnot) and ended up not doing anything he told himself he'd do once Sam woke up. (That's happened to me several times whenever a cute boy I know is going to be in my general area comes round, so I sympathize.)

Anyway, lovely addition! I can't wait for more!
29th-Jun-2008 06:45 am (UTC)
Hah, a compliment indeed! Yeah, I think in some ways Sam has Gene living the teenage mad-uncontrolled-crush sort of thing he never did when he actually was a teenager (what with the War and all).

I am halfway through another bit at the moment; I have the guts of it, but I have to decide where it fits and trim it accordingly. Really it comes after Fighting to Survive, but it's not happy, and I don't want it to look like an unhappy ending, because that is not where this is going!

Are you catching Series 4? Last night was totally gobsmacking; seldom have I ever been so surprised by anything on telly.
28th-Jun-2008 11:56 am (UTC)
I know I haven't commented much during this series but I have been reading them and I love them all.

This part was just wow. I agree with all comments above due to my ususal inability to comment well
29th-Jun-2008 06:49 am (UTC)
Hey, don't worry about commenting "well" - commenting at all is worth such a lot. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Thank you.

And hey, didn't you get a great reaction to your story! And a cartoon as well!
29th-Jun-2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Like all the parts to this series, this is just beautiful and gut-wrenching. Of course Sam would say the one thing Gene wasn't expecting, and throw the Guv completely off his game. I can absolutely see Gene having to leave the room and compose himself before coming back in. Very in character. I keep loving this series more and more and more. Thank you so much for writing it!
29th-Jun-2008 06:55 am (UTC)
beautiful and gut-wrenching

As I said to culf above, it still amazes me when I manage to provoke an emotional reaction in people with my writing; I confess that feels quite good, but also a bit uncomfortable, I'm not sure why. Thank you very much anyway!

I'm very pleased that you are still enjoying this. Did you get time to make the edits? I keep forgetting to go and have a look.
29th-Jun-2008 05:05 am (UTC)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know I was going to stay away until you finished, but there you go... *g*

Lovely notion of Gene rehearsing his lines and so very Sam to blow that right open.

It was painful to see Gene hold back, but what choice did he have really given, his and Sam's circumstances in 1973?

The worst bit for Gene of course was the Doctor asking Sam the number question and Sam appearing to answer with a letter.

Thank you.

29th-Jun-2008 07:00 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for reading!

You're right, he had no choice at all. Although I'm pretty sure the entire staff has worked it out by now, they would never actually say anything, and they would never expect him to acknowledge it.

Gene actually thought Sam was trying to say "One", which had him worried, but owing to the magnificence of English spelling I couldn't quite think how to make that any clearer! (How the hell did we end up with the sound from one dialect and the physical representation from another?)
(Deleted comment)
29th-Jun-2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Hi inari83 (or do you prefer Inkku?) and welcome to the comm.

Thank you for commenting; I'm glad you enjoyed reading this - I enjoyed writing it too.

I hope you'll have a great time here; we're a pretty friendly bunch!

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