jamie_dakin: (lom - sam_gene_brightred)
[personal profile] jamie_dakin
Title: At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners
Fandom: Life on Mars
Pairing: Sam/Gene, The Test Card Girl
Rating: NC-17
Spoilers: You not see show, you not read fic
Words: 2,457
Disclaimer: Life on Mars belongs to Kudos and the BBC. Title and epigraph come of course from John Donne's Holy Sonnets VII and X, respectively.
A/N: For the 07' Life on Mars ficathon, written for [livejournal.com profile] m31andy who wanted the Test Card Girl, motivations and 'I never said it would be easy.' This is a sort of a splicing of two requests, sorry, I'm horrid at following instructions. God knows I’m usually nervous enough about the writing itself but then there was that whole added factor of writing for Andy… and, well, she and Fi renewed my interest in this fandom so... well, I hope you like it.

At the Round Earth's Imagined Corners

Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which yet thy pictures be

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die

The sun is losing its balance on the razor edge of morning and Gene is behind him, inside of him, moving too slowly, every imperceptible motion a poem of dulcet agony.

Sour, sloppy kisses as they couple achingly, just this side of unbearable and Sam's close - so close - but he can't focus, everything is scattered and disconnected and fuzzy, his nerves coated in mercury and the harder he tries to rein them the faster they slip from his hands. But Gene is too far gone now so Sam doesn't, doesn't ask him to stay, to hold off.

He's resisted the urge, until now, to bring his hand down from its terrible angle at Gene's neck and jerk himself smartly, expertly. Gene's wheezing already, he'll have to.

He's always late, Sam, always missing his cue, his mark, his era.

He doesn't want to though, wants to come just from this, just from Gene.

Just a little longer, he tries to say, but then he's never learned this language before; the one Maya gave up so quickly on teaching him.

Gene intercepts his hand before it can reach its destination. He's always so ashamed when he thinks Gene any less clever than he truly is. Because Gene will stay, of course he will, though that language is as foreign to his palate as the food Sam serves him. As Sam is to him.

It's like the sodding bedsit of Babel sometimes.

Gene pulling out snaps everything into focus and Sam opens his eyes for what seems like the first time since they stumbled through the door half an hour ago. The wires supporting his mattress strain as Gene maneuvers around him, bitten nails already digging under Sam's knee before Sam can figure out if what he really wants is to say no.

Gene's thin lips are drawn tightly in frustration as he struggles with the cap of the half-empty lube and Sam, though grateful because the first application is well beyond dry now, suddenly doesn't want to be doing this anymore.

He wants Gene to leave, wants Gene to be disgusted by this, by him - spread and sweating and filthy.

Wants Gene to quip, spitefully, that if he was going to do this with a subordinate it might as well have been Cartwright; sweet-smelling bright-eyed Annie who would have had the courtesy of faking at least twice by now, probably even once for real.

He doesn't want Gene to readjust aforementioned painful grip at his leg, doesn't want Gene to dip his head to press an awkwardly determined kiss to Sam's now faltering cock, chapped lips pricking at already sensitized skin while lube-slicked fingers slip into him with an obscene ease.

Doesn't want Gene to look at him like that as he licks a hot stripe up the stretch of Sam's belly.

Because it's too far into morning for this to still be ok, they've been doing this too long for this to still be ok and Sam can't help but think there is far too little drink in Gene's blood for him to be scraping his teeth at Sam's collarbone as he nudges Sam's thighs further apart.

It's arctic outside. The frost whips at Sam from the poorly insulated window and contrasts too sharply with the clammy film of unclean shared sweat between them. He shivers involuntarily as he swallows down the bile rising in the back of his throat and hates, hates that smug grin plastered on Gene's face now. He hates it all even more when the smugness dissipates but the grin is still there; an intricately painted shadow on a pocked canvas.

Because more so than anything else he doesn't want Gene to say anything right now, fingers curling slowly out of Sam and wiped unceremoniously on the nearby crumpled bedspread.

But Gene stays silent, mistakes the kaleidoscope play of light in Sam's eyes for something much warmer than it is and the faux reflection makes Sam fumble and drop all the hatred he's just collected so painstakingly. He imagines it ricocheting off Gene’s stained teeth, now bared as he hisses sharply, finally brushing against Sam again.

It's just that they don't do this. It's too close, too much.

He's raw and it hurts, Gene knows and for the briefest of moments Sam sees the hesitation pool behind his eyes but he doesn't stop and Sam is grateful he wasn’t asked if it’s alright.

The angle is deeper than before and Gene's arm shakes violently near Sam's head as it struggles to support his weight, threatening to snap and give out from under him and wouldn't that be a funny story to tell the lads eh? And Sam wants to say that, finally a language they both share but Gene moves to lean on his elbow then and the rattling of the loose screws in his bed frame stops, like a raucous refrigerator being silenced when you hadn't been aware it was making any noise.

Gene, he thinks, as the pain ebbs and mellows, is not dissimilar.

Sweat trickles from Gene's temple down to Sam's now that their foreheads are pressed together, plates of their skulls grinding as though they were butting rams.

In the darkness forged by Gene's overgrown hair as it hangs around them like an unwashed curtain they breathe recycled air from each other's mouths; Gene's wheezing grunts humid and spicy against his nose and Sam tells himself it's the carbon dioxide making Gene’s eyes glassy.

He's close again, moves to press the ball of his foot against the side of the mattress as he bends his already impossibly angled knee even more - anything, anything, to get Gene somehow further inside.

That might be the beginning of a sprain in his left ankle, the weaker one.

He closes his eyes and tries to concentrate on the smell of Gene's sweat, on his cock trapped under the press of Gene's belly and the way his bones feel too brittle to offer any contra to Gene's exhausted thrusts.


It's low pitched and urgent and Gene could have said anything, anything at all – thas' a good lad - but he says the only thing that Sam can't cut and paste and apply to anyone he might prefer to tell himself Gene is really fucking.

Gene licks his cheek then, an almost canine gesture that, though odd, is not unfamiliar -

"You mustn't close your eyes Sam, isn't this your favorite part?"

The sing-song of her voice and the texture of Gene’s tongue at his jaw swings at him from the dark like some bastard big right hook.

She's sat perched on the kitchen table, covering the clown's eyes with one hand and eating popcorn with the other, the rhythmic swing of her stocking-clad feet from under the red dress a blur of nauseating white.

And Sam can't, he can't, please not again – but Gene swallows the words and though Sam knows they are meant to pacify him, every kiss is just one more to the last.

It's the last time.


Please no.

And then Sam is blindly trying to push Gene out and off and away but it's too late, he's coming and there's blood trickling from Gene's mouth into his, choking him, drowning him, but Gene's too heavy and the blood balloons Sam's lungs as he comes between their vanishing bodies.

And though he always thinks he feels Gene smile against his muffled pleas, lost in the echo of shotgun rounds against cobblestone, he never knows for sure.

The delay on the air conditioner in his room starts up again and the rattling masks any name Sam might still be mouthing into his damp pillowcase an hour later as he finally nods off again.

* * * *

It’s dark when he wakes up again but then the shades are permanently drawn in the apartment these days and his biological clock is still, well, timelagged.
He checks his watch, closes his eyes and counts to five before checking again. Still 12:19. Not dreaming then.

Sam knows about dreams now; lucid, waking, night terrors. He smells Gene's cigarettes on a delivery boy (one of what seems like a small legion, bringing him the most exotic foods at the most ungodly of hours just because he can) and spends the next 4 hours reading about phantosmia.

He also knows about her now; her father the engineer, her sister with the missing teeth, the royalties she never got. At first he hopes that the sheer extent of his newfound knowledge might push her into exile from his mind.

But she remained and Sam has convinced himself she's what's holding up the phantom twisted corridors of his hallucinations, the flat heels of her patent leather shoes reverberating against their walls and creating the illusion of properly constructed tunnels lined with solid memories.

She's the one breathing air into the millions of tiny imagined moments and preventing them from collapsing in on themselves like proper dreams should.

Today he ends this.

* * * *

Finding her had been easy enough, too easy perhaps.

The house is unmarked, so generic he almost walks right past it, as though he were expecting it to be fashioned as a gargantuan television set or something.

He knocks on the door and waits, noticing he's only taking up half the doorstep because Gene should be there at his right.

She's heavy set, mousy brown hair streaked with unkempt gray, almost as if to match the white lines decorating her calcium-deficient nails. He knows it's her but asks all the same.

"Carol Hersee?"

She sizes him up, squinting against the mid-afternoon sun as the soft tendrils of smoke from her slim menthol cigarette curl around her face.

"You're not selling anything are you?"

"No I...."

"Stalker? Bubbles isn’t for sale."

"No, I'm a police officer. Detective Chief Inspector… Hunt."

She gives his offered credentials a cursory glance, nods and leaves him scrambling for the door as she turns around and invites him in over her shoulder. Just put the kettle on, she says.

Her house has all the trappings of a home, and yet it decidedly is not one. It's there in the furniture, the catalog art and the pristine and dusty volumes of obligatory classic literature.

What is it he expected to find, he berates himself as he mulls around the weakly lit living room. A glass and gold shrine to the sodding clown? He hears his inner psychotherapist cluck his tongue and scribble down a reminder to schedule a meeting with a real life counterpart.

He hears her puttering around the kitchen, remembers his prepared excuse. A spate of burglaries down the street, yes, they’re doing door-to-door inquires. No, no tea for him thank you.

Burglaries? How awful. No, she hasn’t heard anything. Sorry she can’t be of more help. Yes she’ll be sure to lock her doors.

He's halfway down the stairs to the front door before he works up the necessary anger – Isn’t this your favorite part? – to make a fool of himself.

“I was asked to say hello by a… colleague of mine, DCI Sam Tyler? Said you were old friends.”

Casual. Cucumber calm. Three tumblers of single malt before he came calm.
But there’s no recognition in her eyes, not even the tiny flicker he was taught to look for in the academy.

"I’m sorry detective, I can’t quite place the name. DCI Tyler you said?”

"Yes. No. Right, of course. Well, sorry to have bothered you."

He’s already moved his hand to the chipped doorknob when she says "Used to know a DI Tyler though, hope that extra letter improved his taste in wallpaper."

He turns and she's the same as she ever was, thin blonde hair and crooked teeth that were never straightened.

"Don't you like me better like this Sam, aren't I prettier?"

She's as he's never seen her before, yellow hair aflame and eyes leaking blue-tinted liquid ice down her pallid cheeks and onto her white lace collar and red dress in a violent orgy of Technicolor.

“No, you can’t… who…” He trips over the last step and stumbles back towards the nearest corner on heels and hands as she moves towards him.

"Oh but surely you don’t expect me to remember all my names Sam, I do have so many. But you know me Sam, why have you forgotten?”

She pushes aside coats and umbrellas and bends down to stroke his hair, smelling of persimmons and the musty quilt Gene kept in his office.

"I came for you so many times Sam, I read you a story when you had the mumps and I crawled into that dusty broken car and reached inside your lungs and bruised your heart trying to catch you but you're so very good at hide and seek. I grew so fond of you Sam; I've never had a friend I could play with more than once."

He's on his knees and her sharp little nails claw into his cheeks, staining themselves red with his blood like vinyl polish and she leans forward to finally kiss him, like she's always meant to since he was 12 and she broke his arm standing over him with her fist down his throat.

Her mouth is small and cold, like dry ice, and he's running away from her in the woods, sunlight reflecting off the wet leaves of the treetops.

'Where are you?'

No. No, he's running after her.

She's the girl in the red dress.

She's every girl in every red dress.

"How can I leave?" he asks, trembling but not terrified. How could he be when he's known her forever.

She smiles then, gently. "Oh Sam, how can you stay?"

"My mum…"

"I never said it would be easy Sam," she lisps, her fingers tracing sharp delicate patterns across his windpipe.

* * * *

She’s not with him when it happens like he wanted her to promise she would. The fall down is lonely and terrible, the impact less so.

* * * *

He knows where he is, Sam.

But then knowing is a far more flexible and fickle creature than its opposite.

Gene knows. He never says the words but they’re there, spelt out in Morse code against Sam’s tongue along with Gene’s forgiveness. Gene’s heavily bandaged leg and Sam’s apologies lying as dead weight between them.

Bracing himself on the sandwiched pine and plywood of his bed frame as he lowers himself onto Gene, Sam feels the splintered wood dig into his palms with every uneven upward thrust and smiles.

Later, with Gene's heartbeat thudding loudly against his ear and the whistling of cold wind spiraling upwards towards him finally drowned out, he thinks he smells persimmons.

- fin -

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