: Lovers WalkAUTHOR
: JanniWORD COUNT
: Sweetness! Light! Humour! Love! Monsters! Some tinkering and fix-it-ing, and definite alteration of (and spoilers for) events up to and including S2.08 of LoM. Crossover with New Who S2.10.RATING
: Blue Cortina for suggestions of suggestiveness.AUTHORS' NOTES
: For the fantabulous lozenger8
, on her birthday. :) Quick and dirty beta courtesy m31andy
. No jokes about the quickness or the dirtiness and to whom those adjectives most aptly pertain. ;)DISCLAIMER
: Life on Mars and Doctor Who belong to the BBC, and Life on Mars also belongs to Kudos. No infringement is intended and no money is being made. Title borrowed from Joss Whedon because it fits like a glove and I hope he doesn't mind. I promise not to get it all gooey, and I'll give it back when I'm done.LOVERS WALK[SETTING: A ROOM, with a fireplace, where a video camera is being hastily positioned and repositioned by an ageing gentleman who looks vaguely familiar. He is seated in front of the camera, and he's manipulating it on its tripod with the REC light blinking as it frames the picture, which is how we're seeing this; it is revealed we are watching someone's home video recording. Hands come up and adjust the camera once more, and A MAN dives into a rocking chair in front of the fireplace, sat at an angle to it and conveniently close-by a small table with a nice mug of hot chocolate and some biscuits sat cheerily to the front. THE MAN is an elderly ELTON POPE, and a further look at the video recording we are watching reveals the date to be 12/19/2035.]
Are you seated comfortably? Oh, good. Got the hot choc and everything? Good, good. Fantastic, even. I want to make sure you're well settled before we get on with this.
I've seen a lot in my life, done a lot of things. I told you lot awhile ago how I met the Doctor, right? And the sad tale of LINDA?
Today I'm going to tell you a different sort of story altogether. It's almost like a fairy tale, only just like with the Doctor, this one's true
It's even got a happy ending, of sorts. I mean not everyone can be like me and Ursula, of course, but this is very like, very like indeed
It all started back in 1973.
I know, I know, I hardly look like I could be old enough to have been alive in 1973, and you're right. But my father? My father remembers everything
. Me, I need my recordings to help keep track, although I didn't always. But him? Very sharp mind, that one. But you don't just come to run a criminal empire without having a sharp knife or two in your drawer, if you know what I mean.
I only personally bore witness to the latter part of the story, but my dad told me all about this ridiculous fellow called Sam Tyler who he met in 1973. Sam Tyler was apparently a DI, answering to no-one else but his DCI, a man by the name of Hunt. Gene Hunt. Despite his authority, however, Sam Tyler was absolutely and unquestionably barking mad.
Or at least, that's what my dad thought. Didn't find out the truth till years later, oh no. At the time, Sam Tyler snapped and told my dad all these utterly lunatic things. Things about how he'd really come from the future, and how this wasn't his time, and so on and so forth. Of course, when my dad tried to say something about it, Sam simply denied it and got him locked up. My dad hated him for a long time afterward, but eventually grew out of it when he found God in prison and took up making up for his life of crime and proselytising to anyone who would listen. Now me, I'm not one to hold grudges, but I must admit I may have had a teeny, tiny little one for awhile just because it's all Tyler's fault my dad weren't there for me when I was a kid.
But then again, things could have turned out so much worse. I mean, even I have to admit it was probably for the best. When I was a boy of course I hated Tyler for it. But after I found out how my dad could get a bit, er, rough with those close to him when things weren't going his way, I figured I might've been lucky. After I met the rest of LINDA and all that, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have held with all those interests of mine, either. The old him, anyway. The new him? Sweeter than milk lapped up by a litter of week-old kittens. Things turned out really well all round, actually.
Now where was I? Oh yes, Sam Tyler. What a conundrum that one was! And it took adding me into the equation to work out the true meaning of it.
It all started when my dad finally got out of prison. He was a changed man, and while I already knew it, he wanted to apologise to everyone he'd ever hurt for all the bad he'd ever done. Me being a good son, I tried to help him the best I could. Since I already had such great research skills, it only seemed natural that I'd take on the job of hunting up the people he wanted to find.
Of course, I fully expected Sam Tyler to be somewhere round the same age as my dad. Perhaps even a little older. I mean, he had
locked my dad up back in 1973, hadn't he?
Imagine my shock when I found out he was closer to my
age! I mean, obviously there've got to be a lot of blokes around called "Sam Tyler," right? Tyler's an awfully common surname (and no, he's not related to Rose, I checked), and Sam's an awfully common given name, so it's only to be expected.
But no, it wasn't just someone with the same name. It was him
. One and the same. The man who locked up my dad all those years ago had been telling the truth after all. He'd travelled through time somehow, and very few people knew it.
Luckily, I'm a man with keen ears and eyes, and a reassuring bedside manner. Between me and Ursula, we managed to get him to trust us enough to tell us his story of mystery, time-travel, loss, and how eventually love does conquer all (a fact I know we know all too well---don't we, honey?). It went a bit like this...******
As things often do, it all started completely by accident."What decade is it supposed to be?"
Sam Tyler said, by way of introduction and smirking that self-important, sarcastic smirk and doing that funny thing with his head and neck that just made you want to give him a good punch. Or at least, it made his commanding officer want to do the latter---on this occasion and many others yet to come as of the date of this particular line of very witty dialogue."It's 1973. Almost dinnertime. I'm havin 'Oops,"
came the reply, spoken just shy of a hair's breadth from Sam's indignantly quivering nostrils.
Not quite "you had me at hello," but close enough.
They say it takes a lot to really get to know a person, truly. Many people think they do, but few ever really do. A lot of relationships are often fraught with peril as a result---and I'm not even talking of romantic entanglements. But sometimes peril is all it takes. Add a continuous drip-feed of peril and you've got a recipe for something very potent.
Now, going by the facts at hand, I believe that's precisely what happened. "Sure," you say to yourself. "I've seen this a million times before. Boss and underling together at last." And if you want to be that cynical, go right ahead. Stop paying attention to my words, because you already know what's coming from that odd and unwelcome tingling in your tummy button.
Still with me? Right. Well. I needn't tell you what happened next. So much of how we relate to other people is determined by the circumstances in which we meet for the first time. That scenario I just related? Take that and steadily ratchet up its intensity over the next few months and you have the bare anatomy of what happened. Dust-up after dust-up, and for a while neither of them willing or able to admit that it all added up to something they really didn't want to admit to. (The oddest thing of all was, you'd think Sam would have been more able to admit to it, him allegedly being from a more enlightened decade. But you'd be wrong!)
And then came the incident with my father, which, truth be told, sealed the deal.[ELTON pulls A QUAINT, OLD MINI-CASSETTE RECORDER out of his pocket and presses "PLAY."]"Oh, Gene suspected I was completely round the bend by that point,"
Sam laughed. "But he did it anyway. Better than flowers---oh, sorry, lad. That was rather insensitive of me, wasn't it?"[There is a sound of incoherent mumbling off-tape, then of ELTON clearing his throat uncomfortably and pressing the "STOP" button on the recorder.]
It's quite lucky for him that by the time I caught up with him for this interview, I'd already come round to thinking that things really did work out for the best as far as my father was concerned. Still, it really was
quite insensitive of him. Ursula wanted to stuff his teeth into the back of his head; it was all I could do to hold her back.
Turned out it was all Gene could do to hold Sam back as well. One particularly late night, after far too much fine single-malt and far too little conversation, Sam finally came out with it."Do you want to know where I really come from?"
Sam leaned his head back against a wall in his flat, wincing at the cold as his warm, slightly sweat-slicked back met with the temperature-indifferent and really quite hideous wallpaper behind him. He was slurring slightly, but he didn't notice."If I had just 5p for every time you've asked me that question, I could retire happily in the morning."
Gene lay sprawled on the floor next to Sam, facing nearly the same direction but much happier by far with the feel of grotty carpet against his back."I'm from...the future."
Sam meant it to sound dramatic, but somehow, it didn't quite."Do you really think I don't know that?"
Gene asked, quietly, more than half-annoyed and suddenly about three-quarters very serious.
It was true that it was a late night, and even truer that Sam had probably never been quite so drunk in his life, but he still managed to boggle at this revelation."I've tried every angle in my head---which, despite what you may think, I happen to use quite often. It's the only thing that makes any sense, much as it pains me to think that my city all end up like you in the future,"
Gene's mouth pulled down into a slight grimace, then returned to normal in an instant.
And that, as they say, was that. Truth is often far less exciting and dramatic than fictional truth. And what is love really but complete acceptance? But I've digressed terribly. I'm sorry.
Things continued in this manner for quite some time longer; that is, until Sam somehow found a way to get back to his proper time. Which, too, was also completely by accident. Makes sense, doesn't it, that an accident should remedy an accident? And some people wonder why they need maths.
Still, despite all the lessons he'd learnt, in all of his cupidity, Sam almost ruined everything. He would have done, too, if he'd had his way.
Not so, Gene. "I never thought I'd see you again as long as I lived,"
came the familiar, comforting tones of roughness of a certain voicebox which had been steeped in a lifetime's worth of hard drinking and innumerable fags.
And without even a backward glance, dully-suited Sam Tyler stepped away from the edge of a nondescript roof in the glass-and-chrome vista of 2007. And swallowed. Hard."I didn't make you up inside my head?""No, Sylvia, d'you think I'd really be up here freezin my bollocks off tryin to talk you down if I was just 'inside your head'? As though your addled little brain could come up with the likes of me, anyway."
Gene snorted and pulled at the lapels of his tweed overcoat, snugging it up a little closer to his neck against the wind.
And in that moment, everything changed for the better. As the two men walked away and down to Gene's waiting car and drove off into the sunset, it almost seemed like someone had turned up the tone and saturation on the film of their lives. Colours somehow got brighter; harsh angles softened; everything became more vivid and soft and lovely and wonderful---even those nagging rust spots that persisted in trying to grow in the wheel wells of Gene's beloved classic Cortina, no matter how often he just as persistently scrubbed them out with a bit of steel wool.
It's hell thinking you've lost your mind. I should know. And nothing says love like finding out you aren't crazy after all.
What a wonderful world, indeed.