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Fans of Life On Mars
Fic, On The Road To Freedom, White Cortina, by DorsetGirl 
17th-Nov-2008 01:46 pm


Title: On The Road to Freedom

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

Pairing: Sam/Gene

Word Count:  1,510

Summary: Gene learns that taking Sam home isn’t going to be as easy as he had hoped.

A/N: Part of the Survival series. The piece that I finished Wine and Candles for is still not playing ball, so I wrote this instead. This chapter takes place on the morning Sam finally gets out of hospital, in other words a few hours before Not Just a Cry for Help. Not beta'd, so do shout if you have any comments or concrit.


Previously posted: Not The Dark (by dakfinv) / Body & Soul / Watching / Hope / In The Eye Of The Beholder  / Breaking Through / Still With Us / On The Road to Freedom / Not Just a Cry For Help / Keep Taking the Tablets Breaking Glass / UselessOut to Lunch / Still Want You / Fighting to Survive / Into the Dark / Talk to Me



On The Road to Freedom




“Mr Hunt! Mr Hunt, if I could...”


Gene held his breath but carried on walking, wheeling Sam steadily towards the double doors and freedom. One of the tyres was almost entirely worn away in places; the rim clicked on the floor endlessly and he toyed with the idea of telling Sam the one about the Irishman and the wheelbarrow. But he was fast asleep again, head lolling to expose the paleness of his neck against the blue shirt. Gene kept his eyes firmly on the daylight ahead, steadfastly ignoring all thoughts of kissing that soft skin, of running his hands through the lank hair as his tongue travelled around the warm column of Sam’s neck into the deep valley behind Sam’s collarbone.


“Mr Hunt! I need a word before you go.” The voice was more authoritative now, but Gene had recognised it and kept walking. He hadn’t gone to all this trouble to get Sam out before morning rounds just to be stopped at the final hurdle.


As he finally reached the doors, they were pushed inwards by the cheeky redhead and her little dark-haired friend – on their way back from breakfast, Gene supposed – and he couldn’t manoeuvre the chair quickly enough to prevent one wheel getting momentarily stuck. In the confusion of “After you”, “No, no, after you”, the doors swung shut and Gene was caught, the young Registrar’s coat of office flapping around him as he hurried the final few steps to place a hand on Sam’s unheeding shoulder. He stood facing Gene as he caught his breath.


“Good morning Doctor Haskell,” the nurses chorused as they passed. The quiet one whose name Gene never remembered couldn’t take her eyes off the young doctor, while Molly looked speculatively between him and Gene.


“Good morning, girls; may I say, you’re both looking particularly lovely this morning.”


Gene snorted as the little dark one – Susie? – blushed prettily and treated the doctor to a full eyelash flutter while Irish Molly merely raised her eyebrows and gave him a knowing smile.


“Yes, well, run along quickly now, Sister’s waiting.”


“Yes Doctor; see you later, Doctor.” They hurried off in a whirl of perfume and stout brogues, the quiet one looking back soulfully as Molly whispered in her ear. Gene watched as they disappeared down the corridor leading to the X-Ray department - he didn’t like to think of the hours he’d spent waiting in there – before reluctantly turning back to Haskell, waiting restlessly now by his side.


“Come to say goodbye, have you? Glad to see the back of us, no doubt. Feeling’s mutual, so if you don’t mind...” Gene spoke dismissively, only half his mind on Bloomfield’s lapdog as he realised for the first time that the wheelchair was going to be almost as much handicap as Sam’s original injuries. He eyed the distance between the door handle and the back of the chair, wondering how the bloody hell anyone was supposed to hold the door open and push the chair at the same time.


“In a manner of speaking, yes.” With a nasty jolt, Gene realised he’d forgotten the doctor for a moment. Weeks of sitting night after night in Sam’s room watching him sleep hadn’t done his powers of concentration any good.


“Obviously I’ll miss having Mr Tyler on the ward, we’ve had some very interesting chats while I was on call.” Haskell shuffled his feet, an uncomfortable mixture of arrogant doctor and gawky young man. “I am truly delighted that he’s finally well enough to go, er, home, but I just wanted to make sure you know how long it’s going to be before Sam is ...” he lowered his voice, “... ready.”


Nonplussed, Gene abandoned his calculations for getting out of the doors without hurting Sam’s knees and looked round, indignation rising.


“What do you mean, ready? Do you think I’m thick or something? I’ve got eyes in my head, I know it’s going to be a while yet before he can go back to work, but he’s going to be ...”


“No, Mr Hunt, not work.”


Gene opened his mouth to speak but the doctor held up a hand and leaned forward slightly.


“I mean ... well...” He looked Gene straight in the eye. “Let me just say, I know how much Sam means to you. I know how ... close ... you are.”




Gene’s eyes narrowed. “You don’t know anything. Not about me. Not about Sam.” He stood still, waiting for the punchline.


Haskell held his hands up placatingly.


“If you say so, Mr Hunt. I just wanted to make sure you knew, that’s all. Because I don’t imagine anyone else has spoken to you about this. They ... well ... it’s just that it’s going to be quite a while before Sam is, er...  It’s not so much the physical damage, you understand, although obviously you will have to be very careful not to, er, place any weight on quite a few areas.”


“I repeat, do I look thick? I am not totally lacking in restraint! And let’s be clear about this, I am taking my DI to my house, temporarily, so that I can look after the silly sod and stop him doing anything stupid! No other reason, got that?”


“Of course, Mr Hunt, and that’s ...admirable. Everyone here, er, admires the way you’ve given up so much of your time to help Sam through all this. No, it just occurred to me that in your ... position ... that is, not officially being family, as it were, it was quite possible that no-one had really prepared you for what’s going to happen over the next few months.”


“...few months?” Gene felt his heart sink.


“What I’m trying to explain, ... may I call you Gene?”


“DCI Hunt to you. Let’s not forget our places. Don’t want people talking, do we?”


The young man swallowed, and nodded. Sticking his hands in the pockets of his white coat, he continued.


“As I said, DCI Hunt, I just wanted to ... you see, so many doctors still see the patient merely as a collection of symptoms, but I like to think I can do better than that. Indeed, for me, Sam’s case goes a long way towards proving that ignoring the, ah, character and personality of the patient can be very counter-productive. Once Mr Bloomfield agreed to my suggestion that you should be allowed to visit whenever you wanted, the improvement in Sam’s rate of recovery was, if I say it myself, remarkable.”


“Look, if you’ve got something to say, spit it out. There’s a draught from bloody Siberia coming through this door and it’s going right up me jacksy, so if it’s all the same to you I think we’ll be on our way. I’d like to get Sam into the car before he dies of exposure!”


“Of course, Mr Hunt.  I’ll be brief.”


“Well, that’s a blessing.”


“It’s just that, well, from what I know of Sam – Mr Tyler – he’s not going to find it easy being an invalid. He’s going to be chafing at the bit to get out of bed and back to work, and he’s going to find a prolonged period of convalescence very difficult. His type always do.”


He looked at Gene earnestly. “It’s not going to be easy for either of you. He’s going to be angry and frustrated, and he’s going to take it out on you. That’s not fair, of course, but it’s the way it is.”


Gene shifted impatiently but didn’t speak. He didn’t need anyone else casting doubts on his ability to look after Sam properly.


“I can see you don’t believe me, and I can understand that. Seeing you two together these past few weeks has been ... well, never mind that.


“But you need to appreciate that while Sam has been in here, he’s been able to blame us - the hospital - for his lack of progress, his confinement to bed, his continuing exhaustion, and you’ve been the breath of fresh air; the relief from it all if you like. Once he gets home, however, he’ll have no choice but to blame himself or you.


“And there will be blame, Mr Hunt, I’m sorry to say. Sam – Mr Tyler – doesn’t strike me as the placid sort who will accept what comes along and deal with it peacefully. As I say, he’s going to be angry and frustrated and you’re going to be the target for some very necessary letting off of steam. And any ... demands ... you might want to make, well, they’re only going to add to his feelings of being trapped, with you and by you. He’s going to see you as the cause of his troubles – his jailer, almost – and that’s going to alternate with a level of dependence and insecurity which, from what I’ve seen of you, Mr Hunt, you are going to find it difficult to deal with.


 “I’m afraid this is going to be a very difficult few months for you both, Mr Hunt.”

17th-Nov-2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
I love the "outside view" of Gene and Sam here. That doctor has really got to grips with their personalities hasn't he?

Loved it btw :)
17th-Nov-2008 03:04 pm (UTC)
That was me by the way!
17th-Nov-2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much - glad you enjoyed it!
17th-Nov-2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
It's great to see this back. :) What an awkward conversation for Gene! You carried it off very well. I like this doctor. :)
17th-Nov-2008 10:08 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like poor Dr Haskell; he invented himself in the previous story he was in, and he wanted to be in this one too, just so he could talk to Gene again...

I'm glad you think it worked, and thanks for commenting.
17th-Nov-2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Very nicely done! The sheer embarassment of the conversation (for both Gene and the doctor) comes across well. I also like the way that the doctor is actually being quite helpful, but Gene isn't really listening in his anxiety to get Sam home (and get their relationship away from prying eyes!).

I'm very glad I already know how it ends :)
17th-Nov-2008 10:13 pm (UTC)
Poor Gene really didn't have a clue, I don't think. I mean, sure, he'd worked out certain - matters - but he really didn't understand that he was in for months of caring. Still, he wouldn't be the Gene we know and love if he allowed that to change his plans.

got some of your beta done this morning; I hope to do another chunk tomorrow am and get some off to you
17th-Nov-2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
Oh, the few months are going to be hell for all of us. But I hope they make up with each other well. I think healthy sex life makes healthy relationship :D
17th-Nov-2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
a healthy sex life makes a healthy relationship

Oh yes, I think you're right there, but poor Sam is still in an awful lot of pain, so they will have to wait for a while. I think that if they work sensibly together things will get better now with Sam being at home.
17th-Nov-2008 05:57 pm (UTC)
this is going to be really difficult for Sam and Gene as the next couple of chapters have shown so well. I like, looking back, that they warned Gene and at some level he just didn't want to believe what was going to happen.
17th-Nov-2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
I agree; poor Gene just doesn't really understand what he's just signed up for. He'll get it sorted though. I really haven't decided how much of the next few months to write, so I'll just have to see how it goes. (I have a few courtroom bunnies slinking in corners winking at me which may come first). Thanks for commenting!
17th-Nov-2008 06:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, but it's great to see this series again, it's really been a long time since you updated and I love that you've brought back the Registrar from 'In the Eye of the Beholder' and given him a name, no less - he was a really intriguing character there and I love how his POV there adds texture to his advice to Gene here. I can believe that Dr. Haskell does care about Sam's recovery, but his infatuation with Gene gives his words a certain bias and you can almost feel that quick flicker of hurt when Gene refuses to let Haskell call him by his first name (bless him for trying, though).

And your Gene, of course, remains a wonderfully engaging study, I love his single-mindedness in trying to get Sam out of the hospital to the point where he has to tell himself to not look at Sam's neck for wanting to kiss it, that in particular was really moving in a gruff sort of way. Thank you :)
17th-Nov-2008 10:27 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you like Dr Haskell; he asked to be in this, which was written quite quickly yesterday. I have several other part-baked chapters for this series which have been refusing to come together for ages now, together with quite a few bits and bobs on odd pieces of paper, so at some point I need to do some sorting out.

I'm not sure just how far Dr Haskell is infatuated with Gene - he certainly fancies the pants off him, as who wouldn't, but I think here he's simply trying to make sure Gene understands what he's getting into. I imagined that any sort of briefing that patients' families might get (for what little it's worth) would not be given to Gene, even though they all know that he really is Sam's only family; and Haskell, being gay himself, feels more responsibility than anyone else to make sure Gene gets the information he needs.

I'm glad Gene works for you; I really love writing him. I really felt for him wanting to get his hands on Sam!
17th-Nov-2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
Love this description of Sam: Sam – Mr Tyler – doesn’t strike me as the placid sort who will accept what comes along and deal with it peacefully.

And it is wonderful to see another chapter in this series. And I think the way you have the doctor trying to give Gene advice and him just not quite getting it works very well. It has to be something he experiences.
17th-Nov-2008 10:31 pm (UTC)
Sam ... doesn’t strike me as the placid sort

bwahahaha! Glad you liked that bit! I do feel sorry for Gene here - I think by the end of Not Just A Cry For Help he has realised that he needs more information and support. They made so many fundamental mistakes on that first morning at home; I might be writing that in the next few days, but it depends on Gene.

Thanks for commenting!
17th-Nov-2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
I was just thinking about how much I was missing this series and here you are. :) Very nice.
17th-Nov-2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much; I'm sorry it's taken so long, but I have a number of chapters which are refusing to come together. This one was quite a quick job; there were supposed to be two more sections to it, but Dr Haskell talked for rather longer than I was expecting! Thanks for commenting, and I'm glad you liked it.
17th-Nov-2008 11:07 pm (UTC)
Wow...I can't explain how I feel about this. It kinda has the feel of Gene looking back and remembering the moment after all the shit between him and Sam has happened. Sort of...surreal, y'know?
18th-Nov-2008 07:11 am (UTC)
Sort of...surreal, y'know

Luckily, I seem to have the ability to focus on the piece that wants to be written at the time, and not get too confused by what's happened in other times! (I hand-write it as it comes, then type it up; then I read related stories to check continuity and put in or take out details as required. For example for this one I read Eye of the Beholder for Haskell's voice and for Molly and her friend, and I read Not Just A Cry For Help because that's what happens next. I deliberately added mention of the shirt because we know from the later story that it's brand new for the occasion, and I wanted to drop in the tiniest subtle reminder of that.)

I hope you enjoyed it anyway! Thanks for commenting.
18th-Nov-2008 03:54 am (UTC)
Uh, first can I say that I cheered when I saw a new bit of Survival had been posted? I think you know how much I love this series and to get more of it - absolute yay!

I love the visual of Gene pushing the worn wheelchair containing sleeping Sam, and then having it get caught in the doorway right when he needs to get away.

And, like others have said, this Dr. Haskell really understands how Sam and Gene work. I'm glad he understood the nature of Gene and Sam's relationship, but didn't seem to be judging them for it. He was just looking out for his patient and addressing the health/emotional concerns that could arise, and, as we know, do. I think it's just the sort of talk Gene needed, though of course we also know it doesn't quite sink in right away (considering what happens in Not Just a Cry for Help.)

This was a wonderful installment, as always! And, I can't wait for more! (But, take as much time as you need, of course. I'll just be sitting here patiently, twiddling my thumbs. :) )
18th-Nov-2008 07:52 am (UTC)
Thank you! I know how I feel when I see a new installment from you, and it gives me a lovely warm feeling to know that you might be something similar to see my new chapter *blushes*

Fortunately, to date I've not had to learn about wheelchairs, but I've done my years behind a buggy, and believe me, you need a whole new approach to life (and doors). They literally are a handicap in themselves.

I quite like Dr Haskell; he's floating at that stage between being a plot device and a fully-fledged character. Pete Martin in An Unhappy Man remains the only OC that I actually know what he looks like, but Haskell (who hasn't got a first name yet!) is throwing up a few bunnies, so we'll see.

I do have lots more ideas for this series than I will ever have time to write, and I think I need to find all those little scraps of paper that I scribble ideas on (I have to hide them!) and see what's what. I think the next bit is going to be straight after this one, on the way home, but I may also visit the actual homecoming at some point, with the difficulties starting to sink in for both of them.

As always, thank you for a lovely comment - it's a great feeling to know that people are still enjoying this series.
18th-Nov-2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
Yay! A new chapter of the Survival series and finally a chance to sit down and read it. :)

I like Dr Haskell and I can feel for him here. He's trying to do the right thing and get through to Gene about the difficulties he's going to face once he gets Sam home but Gene's really not taking it in. Little does he know what he's in for.

I love your Gene. I could just see him being intimidating and trying to wheel Sam out of the hospital and not get waylaid by some well-meaning naysayer. It's just so true to Gene that he would behave this way. Wouldn't mind seeing more of Dr Haskell in the future either.

Very glad you posted this. :)
18th-Nov-2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
Trying for the fourth time to post a reply - LJ keeps eating it every time I hit "other options" and I have to copy it in again!

Thank you for a lovely comment - I'm glad you like Dr Haskell, because I think he has potential for a couple of later chapters. I agree, poor Gene doesn't have a clue what he's letting himself in for; I'm not at all sure I actually want to write too much of that, so I need to sit back at some point and take stock of what parts of the timeline I've covered, and where I've left gaps that could usefully be filled. I do have about half a dozen ideas in various states of incompletion, if there is such a word; however, my writing time has been severely reduced for various reasons so I must try to be more organised about things.

And I'm very happy that you think I've got Gene right; I do find him a lot easier to write than Sam, but it's obviously very easy to drift off-centre without noticing. I love Gene too, and I like to get him right. Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment.
22nd-Feb-2010 04:03 am (UTC)
Wow. Someone recced your Survival series on LI'73 today and I just lost a big chunk of my Sunday to it! I get intimidated by multi-chapter epics as a rule but I got sucked into this one right away and could not stop reading. Angsty, hurt Sam + gruff, struggling-to-cope Guv is my drug of choice when they're written well so I've been a happy (and sometimes heartbroken) bird for the past few hours here. Beautifully done, super intense fic.
21st-Mar-2010 02:58 pm (UTC)
Hi, I just realised I never replied to this; I'm so sorry about that.

This is a fantastic comment - thank you so much! Each piece of this series was written separately as and when the inspiration struck, so it was never envisaged as a "multi-chapter epic", and I'm very happy that you've enjoyed reading it.

I do have lots more stories for this series on my hard disk, but they're all stacked up behind a chapter which needs a lot of structuring and plot-picking, neither of which exactly come naturally to me...

Thanks again for commenting; I really appreciate that you took the time.
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