Summary: Sam is arrested for murder
Rating: M - Mature Adults only (may contain drug references, violence, nudity, coarse language, sexual references, adult themes)
Warnings: Loosely based season one
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended
Gene sat brooding in the corner of the pub with the forlorn air of a miserable Victorian painting. He’d started off with a beer, but now he was nursing a scotch and a full ashtray. No one came near him, no one even dared glance in his direction. Sam’s taint had rubbed off on Gene by close association and Gene could well imagine the talk, even if he wasn’t the one to hear it any more. A small part pf him had warned him this could happen, but it was sensibly staying quiet and avoiding any shrill ‘I told you so’s’.
Gene’s quick acceptance of Sam and his strange ways had engendered a fair degree of resentment, especially from certain quarters, and Gene had been a little too free with his affections.
He couldn’t help it. There was no way he could have helped it. Suddenly there was a bright boy with bright ideas that actually worked and got good, brass pleasing results. A bright boy who was a cheeky little bastard and gave as good as he got. No tugging the forelock with that one. No fear and no false modesty, either. Sam demanded truth and integrity, he’d bullied Gene into being a better man, a better cop. And he’d become his friend, his lover.
Gene had been smitten. He’d never had anyone stand up to him before. Not like that. Not right up close in his face. It had been intoxicating.
He ground out another stub of a cigarette into the ash tray that was becoming as crowded as a peak hour carriage on the Tube.
Now he was paying the price, and he damn bloody deserved to. He’d been stupid, he’d let his guard down. He’d shown weakness and the wolves were trailing him, smelling the blood. There was talk, about Sam, about why Gene was protecting him. He’d told them it was because Sam was one of them, the old thin blue line. But it was because Sam was his, and not everyone was buying the brothers in arms line.
Slowly, he unfolded the doctor’s type written report and scanned the blocky text again, no longer really seeing the words, the lines of text just slightly out of kilter with the lines ruled heavily on the form as a guide. As horrible as it was, at least now Gene had something more than hope, or possibly denial, to guide him. Here was the first proof that Sam had not acted alone. That the events could not have unfolded as all the previous evidence had suggested. Here was the first crack in that wall that would bring everything tumbling down.
Gene just hoped he wasn’t standing under it when it fell.
Look at the mess you’ve gotten me into now, Sam, Gene scolded silently, stroking Sam’s hair softly, brushing it back from Sam’s forehead a little, as though trying to tidy him up.
He heard a scuff and shot back as if scalded, but it was only the plonk, bearing watery machine made coffee.
Her coffee, but she offered it to the Guv anyway, needing to fill in the awkward silence, unsure if she walked in on a surprisingly tender moment, or if the Guv had just been plucking a few stray hairs from Sam for forensics to match. It was hard to tell. The Guv looked exhausted.
“You should get some sleep,” she advised, almost sternly.
He shook his head, not even offering an argument.
“Why am I here, Guv?” she had to ask.
“Because he’s a murder suspect.”
“I know that, but why can’t one of the other uniforms stay here?”
“Sorry, Love. You should have been relieved hours ago. I’ll go phone Phyllis. She’s probably forget. It’s a madhouse back at the station. “
“It’s all right, I don’t mind watching him, I’m was just worried I’d fall asleep on the job. I just wondered why you were only sending WPCS? Surely the regular officers would be better, in case somebody has another go at Sam?”
Gene glanced up and down the corridor, then at the floor again. He shook out another fag out of his packet and lit it.
“Because I want you here, if he wakes up. Or one of the other women.”
“Because if he starts talking, if he needs to talk, you’re trained in that sort of thing.”
She couldn’t imagine what sort of thing the Guv was talking about, then her eyes widened. Annie stared at him in shock.
“Let’s just the bastards who beat up Sam didn’t pull any punches. They wanted him to get a very definite message. He can’t remember anything right now, but if he does, I wanted one of you girls on hand.”
“He won’t talk to me, not about that.”
“Probably not, but you know what to do, so I’ll leave it to you.”
He glanced up, his face haggard and bloodshot.
“What are you going to do?”
“Get the bastards. They better be miles away by now because I’ll bloody kill them if I get my hands on them. So help me, I will.”
It had been a good exit line, but the plonk wasn’t about to let him go with that.
“Why are you doing this, Guv? All of this? You don't even like him." It slipped out, confused and annoyed.
"You'd be surprised," Gene replied, off the cuff. He didn't have time for this.
“But how do you know he didn’t do it. The things they said in the paper – “ Her face echoed her horror. “You know he’s not right, Guv. Not right in the head. He could have done it. I’ve read about the sort of men who do this sort of thing. They’ve got all sorts of sexual hang-ups.”
Gene barely repressed slapping her, his hand crunching the plastic coffee cup dangerously, squeezing the lukewarm brown liquid over his fingers.
“He’s not repressed and I don’t want you going around whispering that he can’t get it up. Just because he hasn’t been fumbling around inside your bra doesn’t mean he hasn’t been elsewhere.”
“Elsewhere?” She stamped on the word furiously.
“There ain’t nothing wrong with Sam’s equipment so I don’t want you telling anyone there is. Healthy appetite, our Sam.”
“How would you know?’ she demanded.
Gene fixed her with a searing look and leant in close, too close.
“I’ve wiped his cum off my hands more times than you’ve had hot dinners.”
Annie reeled back in shock as Gene’s words smacked into her. She just stood there in shock, mouth hanging open, like one of those blow up dolls they’d fetched up from that porn dealer.
Gene himself felt punch drunk. He’d never meant to say it, not out loud, but all her twittering about, her insistence that she knew Sam and all his secrets better than Gene did, it had finally broken open all the seething jealousy and territorial anger Gene had been sitting on for months. Sam was his and his alone and he didn’t need some bint sniffing around like a bitch in heat, even with a murder charge hanging over Sam’s head, holding Sam’s hand, stroking his brow, whispering all the sweet nothings Gene could never say. He certainly didn’t need her muddying the waters by gossiping over the fact that Sam hadn’t made a move inside her panties and that he probably couldn’t get it up without any dangerously kinky shit involved.
“One word,” Gene warned, pulling rank to cover his admission. “And you’ll never see the outside of the toilet block for want of cleaning them.’
Annie was still open mouthed in shock, though it was slowly morphing into outrage. She couldn’t, she didn’t want to see it, but all the pieces were falling into place: Sam’s mixed signals, his reluctance to put the hard word on her, which at first she’d found charming, then frustrating. She now understood Gene’s hostility towards her. He wasn’t just a misogynistic bastard, he was jealous.
“Sam was with me, the night in question,” Gene admitted. Now he’d made a proper mess of things there was no point in muddying the waters any further. As much as he could see his career spiralling into the ground in tearing flames, and his beloved city dragged along with it, their was some relief in the act of saying it out loud. Of telling someone of the horror he had been going through. Even if it was her. Especially if it was her.
“Not the whole night,” he elaborated, twisting the knife, just a little. “I wish to God he’d stayed, but he didn’t. He decided to walk home. He was happy when he left, I can tell you that. I don’t know what happened, but I do know that whatever happened, it weren’t Sam who did it. He’s been set up, so you can stop thinking that he did and just keep a proper eye on him like I asked you to.”
That last rebuke stung, and it was meant to. She should have been watching Sam. She’d been told the sort of state he was in.
“You should say something, Sir, about where Sam was,” she pushed back, angry with him, angry with both of them. She hadn’t asked for this. She hadn’t asked to be appointed Sam Tyler’s minder and keeper and nursemaid.
“There’s no point. I can’t alibi him so what’s the use? It’ll only make things worse. “
“You shouldn’t be working the case. You’re too emotional…”
“Bloody hell I’m emotional. But I can’t trust anyone else to do it right. I need Sam on this, but he’d rather play silly buggers with crockery so it’s just me.”
“Not just you,” Annie reminded quietly.
Gene swung an intense look at her, as though really seeing her for the first time. She loked as wormn as he felt.
“Just stay with him. Don’t talk to anyone else. Don’t let anyone else near him.”
Her eyes widened. “Do you think, do you think it could be one of us?”
Gene didn’t know, and that’s what made his stomach turn. If anything, he could line up several suspects in the station well before he bothered rounding up scum off the street.
“If he wakes up, just, just try and get him to talk. It’s in there, somewhere, in that strange little head of his. I know it is.”
“What if he can’t remember?”
“He has to.” And that was all Gene had to say on the matter.
She just stood there, staring at him. Everything had changed. The whole world had tipped over in an instant.
At first she’d thought the Guv had been all in a tizzy because it was one of them, one of his own men, but now she could see it was because it was Sam. Even now, she found it hard to believe. She just couldn’t see them as…she choked on the words. How could it be, when they were always fighting, the Guv slamming Sam bodily up against walls in the station, screaming at him, and Sam, breathing hard, his eyes bright…oh. It hadn’t been fighting. It had been foreplay.
Even so, she couldn’t think of it as anything more than fucking, and yet. There was something about the Guv, something broken inside. Sam had gotten under his skin, too. She could see it now.
“He’ll be alright,” she offered.
“No he won’t,” the Guv insisted quietly. He drank the rest of the coffee with a grimace and handed her back the plastic cup.
Gene slipped the key in the lock and turned it, pushing the door open. He’d had the lock repaired, though he didn’t really know why he’d bothered, since Sam had nothing worth nicking. They’d broken the last lock, bursting open the door to arrest Sam. Gene had a key, but he hadn’t wanted to use it, his instinct already telling him that Sam was in deep shit and Gene was better off distancing himself.
Only he hadn’t kept his distance. It had all been for show, pretending not to have a key, pretending his heart wasn’t breaking. There was no way he was going to lose Sam, not like this. Not now the doctor had convinced him that Sam was the victim in all of this.
Gene let the door close behind him, and stood, alone, inside Sam’s little flat. It was nothing more than a crime scene now, and Gene tried instead to remember better times, the last time he’d let himself in with the key Sam had given him. He’d found Sam just fresh from the shower, wearing nothing but a quizzical half smile and the towel he was using to rub his ruffled hair dry.
Sam had dropped the towel as Gene, never one to waste an opportunity, had scooped him up into his arms and damn near ravished him with heavy kisses, his hand cupping and squeezing bare buttocks and stroking and teasing until Sam was almost panting in his arms and then flat on his back on his bed, throat arching, arms reaching upward to grab and scrabble at plywood as Gene gave him a thorough seeing to.
Gene smiled at the memory of watching his beautiful boy come in his arms. Sam had just laughed, coming down to earth, realising they hadn’t even spoken, just gotten straight to it without even asking why Gene was there or saying hello.
Gene crouched by that bed now and then pulled it up with a clatter. There, still lying, where it had rolled underneath, was Sam’s truncheon. Damn it. He’d been so intent on having the lab boys work over scene down by the canal he’d not made sure they’d paid equal attention to Sam’s flat. Maybe he’d been afraid they’d find something incriminating. He could have kicked himself. Instead, they’d missed all the evidence that pointed to Sam being innocent.
He let the bed fall back down on it, never wanting to see it again. Why bring that back here? Why, other than just to taunt him? Was that what this was? A message? From who? Warren?
Gene glanced around the flat, realising that everything here could have been gone through, and arranged just so. He also knew he’d better have a thorough look himself, before he called he lab boys in, just in case there was anything else left to find that would not help Sam’s case at all. It wasn’t evidence tampering if the whole bloody thing was being stage managed.
He stood up wearily, feeling every ache, and went to the kitchen where Sam kept his supply of rubber gloves under the sink. Sam was rather, in Gene’s opinion, disturbingly obsessed with pulling on rubber gloves at crime scenes and preserving evidence, screaming if anyone dared touch anything he considered important. Down the line, he kept saying. Might be useful one day if they preserved all the evidence as best they could. Then Sam would mutter something about databases and registers and Gene would just let him be. Gene was never quite sure if Sam was onto something, completely barmy or taking the piss. Sometimes it could be all three, at once.
Nevertheless, Gene pulled on the gloves, ready to give the place a good going over. Starting with the kitchen. He picked up the small glass jar labelled “Basil”, unscrewed the lid and gave it a sniff.
Hello. He sniffed again, read the label again, then re-screwed the lid back on and slipped it into his coat pocket. That wasn’t basil, and he was pretty sure it hadn’t been planted by any person or persons unknown, either, as the label was written in Sam’s own hand, before he’d had his fingers broken. No, Gene would be having a word with Sam about his magic kitchen herbs later.
Right now, he wanted this place gone over, top to bottom. Dusted for prints, the lot. He picked up the phone, carefully, with a tissue, and gave Chris a call. He needed help, and Chris at least knew how Sam worked, was unlikely to be too surprised by anything they might find, and he could be trusted to keep his mouth shut. Chris could keep an eye on the labs boys, and this time make sure they did a proper job.
Jimmy Patterson rocked back in his chair, almost falling off it. Spitting flecks of blood onto the floor, he righted himself, and glared venomously at Gene.
Gene, shirtsleeves rolled up, just smacked him hard across the face again for his insolence. Gene could keep this up all day, and they both knew it. Patterson had only been on the middle rungs of Warren’s organisation, and therefore hardly important, but it was enough to send back some small token of Gene’s displeasure, without upping the ante too much. Gene it was sure it was Warren. The whole set up just reeked of the little games he liked playing, and if Patterson coughed, even to just some half heard rumour, it’d be enough.
Right now Gene didn’t really care. He just wanted an excuse to smack the smug son of a bitch. He raised his fist again.
Patterson barred his teeth at him furiously, then, as the hand came down with a mighty smack, fearfully.
“You can’t do this!”
“What? Try and help you back into your chair? It’s hardly my fault you’re so clumsy, Jimmy,” Gene taunted as he savagely kicked Patterson out of the chair and sent him sprawling across the floor, then righted the chair with one hand and hauled Patterson up and dumped him back in the chair with a thud with his free hand.
“You can’t smack me around without asking any questions,” Patterson complained.
Gene leant in real low and close.
“Just making sure I have your undivided attention. So tell me, what have you heard about Tyler?”
“Which Tyler?” Patterson panicked as the fist came up again. “The one in the papers? I’ve heard nowt, Mister Hunter, honest. Whoever done it, I don’t know ‘em. I haven’t heard nothing, Mister Hunt.”
Gene leant in closer, his voice a growl.
“You’ve heard enough, or you’d be saying Sam did it.”
“I heard some copper’s been set up. Teach him a lesson, they said.”
“Who said?” Gene grabbed the man by the lapels and he nearly shrieked as he was yanked upwards.
“Nobody, Mister Hunt,” he pleaded. “It’s just talk. Pub talk. Nobody knows anything.”
“Liar!” Gene dropped the man with equal force.
“I don’t know anything, Mister Hunt. Please. It wasn’t Mister Warren. I’d tell you if it was.”
“It’d be the last thing you said. Well then, if it wasn’t Warren, who was it? Who’s been bragging about setting up one of my CID officers? Tell me, you little toerag.” He picked Jimmy up and shook him until he teeth rattled.
“No, nobody,” Patterson pleaded, sobbing now, really afraid that he’d never get out of the Lost and Found room alive. He’d never seen Hunt so wild.
“Tell me,” Gene screamed at him, giving him another smack. Patterson rocked back, hard.
Gene sat quietly, hunched over in the plastic hospital chair, studying the bruises on Sam’s face, seemingly even more luridly purple under the harsh fluorescent lights. They’d really come up now, and Gene could see exactly the sort of beating Sam had taken. No wonder he’d been punch drunk in the cells.
It was unforgivable, what someone had done to Sam. It was even more disturbing that Gene had first blamed himself for those marks on Sam. His hands shifted unconsciously, like Lady Macbeth’s, as he waited out his vigil.
He’d never pulled his punches with Sam. Well, he had. If he’d ever really meant business with Sam, he could have been him down onto the ground. Gene was, after all, a hard man in a hard city. But he’d never meant to hurt Sam, he’d only meant to try and kick some of the snotty out of him, wipe a bit of that superior smugness off him, and remind him, most importantly, who was boss around the station. It had been corrective discipline, no more than the sort of smack around the ears you got at school, though Gene could tell from the shocked way Sam would glower at him, that getting six of the best wasn’t something Sam was used to.
Lately, Sam had shown less resentment towards the rough and tumble, particularly in bed, but too rough handling could still spark off that temper of his, and Gene never knew whether Sam would blow hot or cold. Mind you, if Sam kept that smart mouth of his in better check, Gene would have to deliver the odd clip just to keep in him line.
Like the last time.
Fed up with him mouthing off, Gene had just grabbed Sam by the collar and swung him into the wall. Only he’d been a bit caught up in the moment and had really slammed Sam into the brickwork, so that when Sam staggered back he was bleeding. And he’d shot Gene such a vicious look as he’d wiped away the blood from his brow that Gene knew, in no uncertain terms, that he would be keeping company with his own for at least a week.
Sam just couldn’t see that Gene had to do it, he had to keep Sam in line, and Sam just wasn’t up for listening most days. A good smack now and then should do it, but Sam was such a broody little bastard. He took these things to heart, when Gene meant it no more than a punctuation mark to his request that Sam pull his head in.
It had never really meant anything, all that push and shove, but Gene couldn’t help thinking of the blood trickling down Sam’s face as he watched him now.
He should have known he could have never have caused all the terrible injuries Sam had, but when he’d first seen the bruises, when they’d been new and only just starting to show, then yes, he’d thought they were his. He never meant to bruise, but it was all a bit hands on when they were together, and sometimes he didn’t hold back. He was evenly matched in Sam, it was what had made it so exciting. They’d roll with each other, grappling hard. Even now he felt a thudding pulse rip through him.
Sam’s belligerence was what had made his prick twitch in the first place, the way Sam stood up to him, eye to eye, toe to toe, the way he refused to be pushed around. Sam could take it and dish it out and Gene had never thought twice about it, until now. He’d not said anything about the bruises because he’d thought they were his. It would be a while before he forgot that.
Gene glanced up from his persecutions to find himself being watched.
“How long?” Sam managed to croak.
“You’ve been here?”
“No,” Sam tried a wan smile.
“Longer than I should have. Wasting time I don’t have. I just had to see you. I was worried about you,” Gene admitted, which, coming from a man like Gene, made it a surprisingly tender admission.
“I’ll live,” Sam reassured, somewhat ruefully.
“You should have said something in the cells,” Gene admonished quietly. “What were you trying to do? Prove how hard you are?”
Sam tried to shake his head and winced.
“I must have been out of it. I didn’t really feel it. At least, not at first. I thought you might have noticed the bruises.”
“I did, but.” Gene couldn’t finish that thought, so Sam finished it for him.
“You thought the bruises were from…from you. That’s why you said nothing?” Sam exhaled softly. “You’ve never hurt me that badly. I wouldn’t let you. I know things can get a bit intense, but trust me, it wasn’t you. You didn’t do this. None of it.”
“I thought – shit, Sam, I’m so sorry. I should have said something.”
“You were preoccupied. It’s not everyday you arrest your boyfriend for murder,” Sam absolved him.
“No, I suppose not.” Gene agreed. “Shouldn’t want to make a habit of it.”
“Gene.” Sam tried to sit up, pushing himself up on the pillows, suddenly serious.
“I know it wasn’t you,” Gene answered him quietly.
Sam looked surprised.
“You weren’t sure before?”
“Well, the evidence was pretty convincing.”
“Planted evidence,” Sam reminded.
“And you’ve got to admit, you couldn’t remember. Even you weren’t completely sure.”
No, he hadn’t been. He’d spent a long horrible night in the cells staring at the blood on his hands, unable to remember what had happened, or how he had gotten home. He’d never been so scared in his life, not even with everything that had happened to him.
They sat quietly, not talking about that night, their own private fears, or what had driven Sam to slash his own wrists. Gene could well imagine, and Sam didn’t have to.
Sam’s replies to the psychologist they sicked onto him had been thin lipped and monosyllabic at best. Still, the shrink hardly had to reach for reasons as to why Sam had harmed himself. The fact that Sam had been beaten, raped and charged with murder pretty much covered it. He’d made a few notes on Sam’s chart and left it at that.
After several long moments Gene stood, pulling his coat on.
“Better get back to it. No rest for the wicked”
“I suppose not.”
They paused, slightly awkward.
“I’ll fix this, Sam,” he promised.
“You shouldn’t be working this case. You’re too involved.”
“Of course I’m bloody involved. Are you telling me you’d rather take your chances on Carling clearing this up? He’d like as not just lock you up and throw away the key.”
Sam looked slapped. He’d never thought about that. Now was a perfect time for Ray to get his own back, while Sam was down and vulnerable. Gene was probably the only thing standing between him and a life sentence.
“No. Sorry. And thanks.”
“Protecting me. They must be lining up to have a go out there.”
“You’d be surprised.”
“No, I wouldn’t. I know I’ve made enemies.”
“Yes, you would,” Gene continued, exasperated. “You’ve made more friends here than you think, Sam. Even if they think you’re a little shit personally, they have to admit you’ve come up with the goods. You’ve proven that much. It’s about time you realised you’re one of us, Sam, and we won’t let you fall. There are a lot of good people out there working your case. I’ve got some of the lab boys working double shifts, just for you, and the girls are keeping the tea on all night.”
“Really?” Sam was genuinely surprised, and touched nearly to the point of tears. He couldn’t quite imagine invoking the same sort of response at the station he knew.