Title: Nothing to Worry About
Word Count: 1278
Rating: white cortina
Pairing: Sam/Gene if you squint and tilt your head
Summary: It's New Year's Eve.
A/N: And here is my attempt at fluff. Well, by fluff I mean I neither shoot, stab, or bring Sam to much physical harm. Please enjoy!
Not that he was worried, or some such girly nonsense like that, but Tyler was drinking a lot tonight. His weight in scotch it looked like which, granted, didn’t take much, the skinny sod, and it was New Year’s Eve after all, wasn’t it? A man had a right to drink more than his fair share during the holidays. Still, his DI had been in an odd mood all day. Again, Tyler being odd not an unusual occurrence and not a behavior that warranted any sort of concern on his part.
“Guv! ‘S your turn,” Ray slurred, holding out the set of darts.
Gene gulped down his whisky, wasn’t going to let a nancy-boy like Tyler out drink him tonight. Though as Nelson refilled the lad’s glass for the umpteenth time, it seemed like an increasing possibility.
“Whoever decided to mix darts and alcohol should be under psychiatric evaluation,” Sam swayed, speaking slowly so as not to stumble over the numerous syllables.
Gene threw the first dart, a near perfect hit. “You of all people shouldn’t be talkin’ ‘bout psychiatrists, Gladys.” Gene tossed his second dart, clearly on pace to beat Ray’s pathetic score.
“S’pose you’re right Guv,” Tyler sighed and finished off yet another double scotch. Gene nearly missed the board entirely with his last throw. That heavy note of resignation in Sam’s voice, that wasn’t normal for Tyler and Gene realized that was what had felt off the whole day.
Ever since the picky pain moped into the station that morning, and mope was the right word, Tyler’s step being devoid of it’s usual smug swagger, his mood had been one of a defeated man. He’d ignored Carling’s typical taunts, not bothering to retort with one of his own usually whip smart comebacks. He didn’t chide Chris when the boy spilled mayonnaise, yet again, over a crucial bit of his beloved evidence. He hadn’t even argued with Gene once, not even when he mocked Tyler’s beloved Reds.
Gladys could sulk but even this was above par. Not even Cartwright’s glittered hair and well placed cleavage could yank the DI’s now sunken eyes off the scotch bottle. Collecting the darts and handing them to a plenty inebriated Skelton, Gene strode back to the bar and planted himself on the stool next to Tyler. Not that he was worried, or course. Just needed a fresh drink himself was all.
“Pint of bitter, Nelson, and whatever Moping Mabel here’s havin’.” Gene pat Sam on the back and was surprised at how tight his muscles were clenched, especially after so much liquor.
“You buyin’, Guv?” Tyler scoffed.
“Course not Dorothy. Thought the man payin’ ought to choose ‘is own drink is all.” Gene accepted his pint from the barman as Sam, without fuss, reached in his pocket for his wallet, nearly falling off the stool in the process. Gene caught him by the shoulder and held him upright while Sam pulled out a tenner and tossed it on the counter. It was the “without fuss” bit that concerned Gene, not that he really was concerned.
“ ‘Nother Nelson,” Sam pointed to his glass. “An’ keep the change.”
Nelson’s eyes went wide and he and Gene shared a brief look of confusion. “That’s a mighty big tip, mon brave,” Nelson told him as he handed Sam a fresh glass, leaving the note on the counter.
“Won’t be in about, oh, thirty years,” Sam swirled the contents of the glass.
“Better save it for the next round, Tyler,” Gene warned as he sipped his pint.
“Got more,” he sighed, staring down at the sticky counter. “Not like I’ll be needing it tomorrow.” Tyler finished off his scotch while Gene’s glass remained firmly on the bar. There was only one reason a man thought he wouldn’t be needing money for tomorrow and that was that he didn’t think he’d be around tomorrow.
The last glass seemed to be the one to finally rebel as Sam’s pale skin went green and he clutched his stomach.
“Not in my pub, Mr. Tyler,” Nelson warned and Gene quickly stood, grabbing his deputy by the arm.
“Out the back Sam. C’mon.” Gene needed to practically carry his very pissed Inspector out the door.
“Five minutes til the new year, Guv!” Ray called after them as they hurried out of the pub.
Once outside, Sam immediately fell to his hands and knees and sicked up all over the gritty pavement. Gene crouched beside him and rubbed a hand over his leather clad back. Gene had never seem him drink this much, not Tyler, but he wasn’t worried. Not really. Sam heaved again.
“That’s it. Get it out Sammy. Think you’ve had enough for tonight, eh? Knew a girl like you couldn’t hold your liquor. Have a bloody brilliant hangover tomorrow I bet.”
Sam slowly sat back, short hair askew and eyes glazed slightly. “Won’t be a tomorrow,” he muttered.
“Tyler, what the bleeding hell are you on about?”
Sam’s heavy eyes struggled to meet his Guv’s. “ ‘S 1973, yeah?”
“Not for long.”
Sam’s lips formed a mad grin and he poked Gene in the shoulder. “Exactly! What ‘appens when 1973 ends?”
“Typically, it changes to 1974.”
“Yes. Typically! But this isn’t typical is it? Nothing ‘bout this place or my bein’ here, none of it’s typical or normal is it, Guv?” Sam was swaying even as he sat on the ground and Gene had to hold him by the shoulder just to keep him upright. It was only to keep him upright. That was all.
“Tyler, do I even need to tell you you’re making less sense than usual or isn’t it obvious even to you?”
“How many minutes, Gene?” Sam suddenly grabbed his Guv by the shirt. “Two? Three? Then what? I din’t think I’d be here long enough to find out but now it’s here. I’m here an’ have no idea what’s goin’ to happen!”
Gene removed Sam’s hands from his shirt and placed his own on Tyler’s forearms, keeping him still. “What? New Year’s works differently in Hyde, does it? Can’t happen less you’ve got forms filled out in triplicate?”
“No, it...but...what’s going to happen Gene?” Tyler wasn’t crying now, was he?” “Will everything disappear? Will I end up someplace else? What if it all goes back to the beginning? What if I have to live through it all again? I don’t...I don’t know if I could do it again.”
Before Gene could answer, the sound of music came drifting out from the filled pub. “C’mon.” Gene stood and held out his hand. “Let’s go, Tyler.” He hoisted the compliant man to his feet and ushered him back through the doors, the sounds of their fellow officers singing “Auld Lang Syne” becoming clearer as they returned to the pub.
“ ‘Appy New Year, Boss!” Chris drunkenly threw his arms around Sam then stumbled off to try and kiss Annie.
Sam checked his watch, then grabbed Gene’s wrist and checked his watch. Then he checked the clock on the wall. It was 12:01 am everywhere he looked. The poor lad looked stunned.
Gene clamped an arm around his shoulder. “Welcome to the 1974, Sam.”
Suddenly, Tyler’s face broke into an enormous grin, making him look much less than his thirty-six years, and Gene felt all his muscles relax at once, a heavy, unknown burden lifted from his slim frame.
Then he passed out, his Guv catching him just before he hit the ground. “Off to bed with you then. Lightweight,” Gene sighed as he hauled the still smiling unconscious body out to his Cortina, but he wasn’t worried. Not anymore. Not that he ever was.