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
Annie returned to her post slowly, idly stirring her tea with a pale paddlepop stick as she went. She glanced down the darkened corridor and was stricken for moment, seeing her worst nightmare, a shadowy figure skulking just outside Sam’s room.
“Hey!” She dropped her tea with a splash and started belting down the corridor but her quarry scarpered like a rat, slamming through the fire doors and vanishing, and Annie couldn’t see if he’d run up or down. Frustrated, she trotted back to Sam’s room and called the station over her radio.
“I’m not sure, but I think it were him. I’m going to check on Sam now. He seems okay. I know the Guv will have my guts for garters but I’ve got no relief here. He what?”
The answer crackled over the radio: “The Guv’s been told to take some leave. They want him to stop messing about and just hand Sam over, signed, sealed and delivered, and he won’t. They wouldn’t dare suspend him, but they’ve shoved him out the door all the same.”
“What are we going to do?”
“What we can, love,” Phyllis assured her.
They couldn’t stop any of them working on the case in their own time, and they weren’t about to let one of their own go down, not for something as crooked as this.
When she finally got to Sam he was trembling, as if shivering, and insensible to her calling his name for too many minutes until he finally woke, confused, twisting away from the sudden blaze in his eyes as she snapped on the lights.
“Sam? Can you hear me?”
“What? What’s going on?”
“There was someone here, do you remember? Did you see who it was?”
Flashes of memory tore through Sam, too fast to catch and he twisted away.
“No,” he answered wearily. “I don’t remember.”
“It’s all right.” The doctor had arrived and was preparing a syringe.
“What’s that?” Annie demanded, protective.
“Just a sedative to calm him, help him sleep. It sounds like he had a mild seizure. Has he had them often?”
“I don’t know. The last time he got a bump on the head he was very confused and disorientated. I thought you fixed all that.”
“We removed the clot, but there may have been some further damage. We’ll keep him in for observation a little while longer.”
She nodded, glancing down to Sam, eyes full of pity, but he had already slipped into a deep, drugged sleep.
Gene was gazing down at Sam, wanting to hold him in his arms so very badly. He was so focused on Sam he wasn’t even aware he was being spoken to until Cartwright prompted him with a sharp “Guv.”
He glanced up, tired an unshaven.
“Any seizures?” the doctor was asking him.
“Fits? No.” Gene shook his head. Not in daylight hours, and he just didn’t know what went on at night. They didn’t sleep together, not just having Sam sleep beside him. Circumstances prevented it from being that sort of relationship.
“No, nothing like that,” Gene replied quietly. “Lots of strops, but no fits.”
“He loses his temper often?”
“He’s a right moody bastard all right. Troubled home. Chip on his shoulder.”
Gene just shrugged but Annie shot him a sharp look. Sam had never spoken to her about it, not really, but it sounded like he had, to Gene. Again she was brutally reminded that for all Sam’s babbling, he had secrets.
Gene was too tired to care, or really take anything in.
“Are you sure it was him?” he asked Annie again.
“I couldn’t see, it was dark, but yes, maybe. But why, why would he come back? What does he want with Sam?”
“Payback. Look, don’t tell Sam. He doesn’t remember and I don’t want him to. Just sit with him.”
“Keep watching him, Sir?” she asked more formally, aware that Gene was slipping, forgetting himself and showing that he cared far more than he should.
“Good girl,” Gene nodded, grateful.
“And you, Doc, keep him out of trouble. I’ve got to go and catch bad guys.” He grinned, a spark of the old Gene coming to life.
Annie smiled back, then sank back in her seat, pulling the plastic chair closer, taking Sam’s hand between hers and rubbing it gently.
“He’s a good man, your Guv,” she spoke softly, whispering near his ear and hoping Sam could hear her. “He cares for you and he won’t let anything more happen to you. I promise, Sam, it will be all right.”
She softly stroked his cheek, but he was deeply asleep now.
The light switched on and Ruth Tyler walked into the room. She wandered about for a bit, fussing and tidying, then she stood in front of the mirror and took her hair down. Then the real show began as she slowly unbuttoned her blouse and slid it of her shoulders, then unhooked her bra. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Gene slid from his car and very quietly sidled up to the other man who lingered on the footpath, also watching the show.
“Nice tits,” Gene acknowledged, nodding towards the window.
The other man jumped and Gene caught his arm above the elbow, hard, leaning in with absolute menace.
“I could nick you, just for this, just for being a dirty little Peeping Tom.”
“She’s my wife.”
“So why aren’t you home? Why aren’t you in there, with her? Family problems?”
“Get off me.” Tyler tried to pull free.
Gene leant in even closer.
“Why don’t you go in there and say hello to your son.”
“Him?” Vic’s face twisted with venom. “I should have killed the little shit when I had the chance.”
He meant it, and Gene was shocked enough that when Vic wrenched himself free Gene let go, numb for a moment, letting Vic race off down the street, crashing over bins and smashing through rotten palings into wasteland. He tried rabbit running across the barren ground but Gene was behind him in the car, having revved up and exploded through the rotted fence, and Gene, wild eyed, had no qualms about using the car to bring Vic down, knocking him sprawling across the mud. In a couple of steps Gene was out of the car and slamming the air out of Vic and he got in a couple of really good thumps before Vic pulled a gun on him.
Gene thought for sure that was it, but Vic struck him with it instead. Like father like son, always preferring the dramatics. Gene backed up, slowly regaining his feet and rubbing his jaw with one hand, carefully dragged up a lump of wood that he’d fallen onto behind him, holding it ready as Vic stood there, still holding the gun on him.
“Is that the gun you had before?” Gene asked. “The one you tried to shoot Sam with? The one that you pressed to his head? He told me, you know. Why didn’t you just shoot him this time?”
Vic sneered. An ugly, cruel twisting of his mouth.
“Too easy. Too quick. I wanted him to pay.”
“Pay for what?”
“Ruining it. All of it. My life. My business. My family.”
“Your family? Don’t make me laugh.”
Vic pointed the gun straight at Gene.
“Shut up. What would you know about family?”
“More than you.”
Vic snorted. “I’ll tell you about families. They’re supposed to be loyal. They’re supposed to stick together. But when one of them turns traitor, when a son betrays his own father. ..when a son turns against his own family, he’s not a son any more.”
Gene stared at him hard. He knew.
The horrible truth slowly dawned on Gene, the realisation creeping up his face like sun up a mountainside. Tyler wasn’t just hell bent on getting back at Sam for tearing apart his little criminal empire,. Tyler wanted revenge on his son, for the betrayal. Tyler knew.
Everything Sam had said was really true, Vic Tyler was his father, and Tyler wanted Sam dead.
“Your own son. You knew that he’s your son. You knew from the start.”
“Of course I knew. Do you think I wouldn’t? If you had kids, you’d know. I knew that was my Sam, all grown up. I don’t know how, but I knew it was him. And he shopped me. Me, his own father. The ungrateful little shit. “
“I don’t recall Sam having much to be grateful for, having a piece of scum like you for a father.”
“Families are supposed to stick together. Blood’s supposed to be thicker than water.”
“So you say. He let you go, he risked everything, letting you go, and this is how you repay him.”
“Payback. It’s what he deserves.”
Gene shook his head.
“He never deserved you for a father.”
“I never asked for a son like that. My son, the copper,” he sneered. “he’s better off dead.”
“How could you? Your own son.”
“My son,” Vic spat. “I never raised him to be the filth, or a fucking little fruit. You make me sick.”
“You never raised him at all, you sad bastard. Is that all this is? You’re annoyed because Sam didn’t grow up to be a right tosser like you? I’m glad you walked out. Gave him a decent chance. Best thing you ever did, you miserable piece of shit.”
Vic’s hand tightened around the gun, furious.
Gene swung the offcut up with a mighty crack, sending the gun flying from Vic’s hand and he followed up with a hard strike across the chin that sent Vic back staggering. Gene was on him in an instant and they rolled about in the filth, striking blow after blow.
Vic snatched up an iron bar and sprang to his feet, swinging it back behind his head, bringing it down on Gene like a club.
Gene made a desperate reach for the gun, grabbed it, rolled and fired. He’d always been a good shot, and the bullet tore through Vic’s throat.
Vic fell to his knees, hands desperately clutching at his throat, the iron bar rolling away with a clatter.
Vic gurgled blood furiously, staring at him wildly, cursing him with his eyes, and then he just died. Just like that, still staring at him.
He could have claimed self defence, but he would have shot Tyler anyway, knowing what he’d done to Sam. What he’d done to his own son. The sick fuck. Gene stood over the body and fired another round into it, right between the eyes, just to make sure that he’d sent the bastard straight to hell.
Then he sagged back, gun lax in his hand. He’d done what he’d come here to do, but he knew what it meant. He hadn’t just killed a man, he’d killed Sam’s father.
It wasn’t the first time Gene had killed a man, or indeed that he’d done something that needed covering up. Having rubbed shoulders with the worst the city had to offer, he at least knew what he had to do now, and the best place to hide the body.
With methodical coolness, he walked back to his car and rolled it back as quietly as possible. He fetched an old blanket from the back seat and wrapped Vic up in it, heaving him into the boot and slamming it shut on him. Gene drove quietly and directly to the nearest construction site, the one where they were building the new motorway. It was perfect. Unfenced and unguarded, all he had to do was just drive in, drive up, dump the body and drive away.
He dragged the blanket wrapped carcass to the very edge of the gaping mouth of the pylon and kicked it in without ceremony. He stood silently and listened as the body thumped heavily to the bottom where it would remain, unseen and undiscovered, buried under concrete.
The windscreen wipers beat steadily back and forth against the driving rain. The rain would wash away the blood at least, but it could never wash away what he’d done.
Gene felt sick, so ill he wanted to pull over and stop, but he kept on driving. He’d never wanted to be that sort of cop, the one who crossed the line, the one who went well over it. He would never be able to look at a murder suspect again without knowing he was guilty of worse. He tried to call it self defence, but he knew in his heart it was murder. He’d had murder on his mind, and he’d done it.
He’d been pushed into a corner. He could have tried arresting the bastard, before things had gotten out of hand, but Tyler hadn’t left him any other choice. Tyler was the most vicious and twisted bastard he had ever met, and he knew Tyler was never going to let Sam go, not ever. It was a blood feud, the betrayal of the father by the son, and that sort of thing only ever ended with one of them dead. Worse, Tyler had known Sam’s secret, and that had made him doubly dangerous.
Gene would do, had done what he had to, to protect Sam. And he could never, ever tell Sam what he had done, because he knew Sam would never forgive him. Sam would always believe that his father could have been redeemed. He would never forgive Gene for the loss of his father.
Sam would drive over that road a hundred times and he would never know. Sam would never see his father again, and it was better that way.
Gene pushed the grubby soap over his skin, rubbing his hands together, over and over, running them under the ice cold water and watching the dregs swirl around the dirty basin and slowly bubble down the drain.
He’d pulled over at this old concrete bunker of a toilet block, to try and catch his breath, to wash his face and hands and rinse out the boot of his car, watching both rust and blood drip down into the storm drain. Corpses weren’t supposed to bleed that much. He was still washing his hands, almost compulsively, afraid of the tiniest trace of guilt remaining, when the door creaked open and boots scuffed on the bare concrete floor. He glanced up and caught his own reflection in the spattered glass, his face sallow under the single florescent light, his eyes more hunted than haunted.
The stranger took a step closer and flicked Gene a knowing look, presuming the reason for Gene’s presence.
Gene leant back against the basin, considering. He knew this place. He used to come here, before Sam. Just somewhere to go, to get it done, and for a couple of bob he could have his cock down the mouth of some stranger and come hard, saying filthy things, hating himself, his fists curled in lank hair, making the bastard swallow it all, but it meant nothing. He was hollow inside and he felt nothing. A physical reaction, like a sneeze or a fart, a momentary release, but nothing more.
He felt nothing. There was a darkness growing inside him, and he knew it would always be there. He’d done some bad things, some terrible things before, but nothing quite like this. He’d always know what he’d done, and, worse, he knew that he’d do it again, because he had to.
Gene had never really believed Sam. He’d pretended to, or ignored him, anything for a quiet life, but he’d never believed him. But Vic Tyler had. Of course, it was hard to believe anything that came out of Tyler’s mouth (it was a trait father and son shared), but actions spoke louder than words and Vic Tyler’s hatred of Sam had been real and all consuming. He could have just had Sam killed, he wouldn’t have even have had to the job himself, but Vic had chosen to have his revenge on Sam, to break him, to engineer his fall.
That spoke of a hatred that went further than skin deep. To hate someone that much, to want to see them suffer, they had to either be family or lovers, and Gene knew it wasn’t the latter. Vic Tyler had wanted to destroy Sam, the way only a slighted father could. Vic had known Sam was his son, and that had made it real for Gene.
It had also made the threat real.
He stood at the very edge of the canal, hidden by the shadows of the bridge. He hefted the gun in his hand and then hurled it as far as he could. It dropped with a single plop into the inky night darkened water. His clothes would follow, later, tossed in a bag and into the tip with the rest of the rubbish.
No one would ever find his clothes, or the gun, or Vic Tyler. He knew that much from Sam. It was almost the perfect crime, though he felt very far from perfect.
He watched the heavy branch dip and rear back again, like the darkened shape of a prehistoric beast, distorted through the rain smeared window pane so it did look more beast than tree. The glass was cold to touch, almost damp, and his breath made small, smoky whorls where he leant against it.
The house was quiet, save the odd creak and the relentless ticking of the clock. His wife had gone out, and would probably stay out all day, even in this weather. They’d rowed, bitterly. She’d been sick of him being out all hours, working the case, and now she was sick of him being underfoot, banished from the station, especially if he wasn’t going to do anything useful around the house. She was heartily sick of Sam Tyler, and hoped he was banged up for life. It was as if nothing else mattered.
Nothing else did. Not to Gene. He turned back to the table, scattered with all his notes. There had to be some way, something here that would get Sam off without Gene having to reveal what he knew. Sadly all the evidence went against Sam, so convincing that even Gene had been shaken and unsure of the truth.
Sam was right. The case could only be broken on a technicality. Some impropriety… well, just his luck that Sam had them all taping interviews, labelling evidence and doing their paperwork. Sam was proving to be the architect of his own downfall. There was nothing to introduce reasonable doubt, at least not to a lay person on the jury, who wouldn’t care if the blood patterns weren’t quite right. Another thought struck him, something Sam had said, about the chain of evidence. He could sabotage their good work, destroy evidence. His career would be over, but Sam might be safe.
But Sam would never forgive him if he did that. He knew it. Even now, Sam would take the high road, the stubborn little prick.
Gene brooded as the wind lashed more rain up against his windows. Somewhere here was the key to saving Sam, but he just couldn’t see it. Time was of the essence. They were transferring Sam to the prison hospital tomorrow, and once in the system, it would be impossible to get him out.
The phone rang, and Gene glared at it for the first two rings, then snatched it up.
It was Chris. The second batch of fingerprints taken from Sam’s flat had come back, with a result. One of Warren’s heavies had been in there, and been careless, and Gene thought it very unlikely that Sam would have had a bruiser like Terry Sullivan over for tea and biscuits.
They’d already brought him in, and he was singing like a bird. The cab driver had disappeared, and so had Tyler, and the man was sweating. The tide was turning and Warren had made his displeasure known from prison, as nearly the entire force, protecting one of their own, had been overturning all manner of stones and rocks and stamping on whatever crawled out in retaliation. Warren had been keeping his fingers dipped in many pies, and he didn’t appreciate having those fingers broken.
Warren, unwittingly, had just done Gene the biggest favour in his life, delivering up Sullivan, gift wrapped and all, as the fall guy. Sam was now on record as having been the victim in all of this, and nobody would doubt that if Tyler had vanished, it was either due to good sense or Warren.
Gene let the phone settle back on its cradle and took his first proper breath in weeks, his gut easing at last. Nothing could change that terrible moment, what he’d done to Tyler, but it was over, and he could never come at Sam again. Gene had done it to save Sam, both of them, and now, at last, he knew at least he’d done it for the right reasons. Sam would be safe.
He glanced at the windows again, and saw that the rain was easing and the clouds had started to break, rending slightly to show patches of perfect pale blue.
“Well, if it isn’t the man of steel himself,” Gene announced as Sam walked tentatively through his door, a crude and untactful reference to the metal plate Sam now had stuck in his head. “Pick up any good stations?”
“Yeah, Sky Football,” Sam shot back, but Gene didn’t get the joke.
“If I’d have known you were coming I’d have baked a cake.”
Sam gave him a shrewish look, yet he was still standing there, somewhat at a loss.
“I wasn’t sure if I should come in, but I had nothing else to do. In Hyde, I’d normally have to be cleared by a psychologist before I’d be allowed back.”
“You want to see a shrink?”
“Well, good, because I don’t think you want to cause a fuss. The case was dropped, the doctor’s certificate says you’re fit to work, let’s leave it at that.” He glanced up. “You and I are hanging by a thread, Sammy boy. In a couple of years, if we keep squeaky clean, they just might forgive and forget, but I wouldn’t count on it. The slightest whiff of something queer”
Sam reacted as if shock, catching Gene’s entirely unsubtle meaning. He had thought Gene had been about to lecture him about sticking to procedure, toeing the line, but no, Gene meant being spotless in everything. Sam’s face suddenly crumpled.
“No, you can’t. Please, don’t. You’re the only thing - I couldn’t, I won’t bear it without you. Please, Gene.” Tears welled up in his eyes.
Shit. Gene huffed and pushed himself up from his desk and grabbed Sam close for a quick hug, just to stop him bursting into tears properly.
“Not on your life,” he whispered into Sam’s ear.
In the squad room, Ray snorted. They were at it again. Annie caught it, but said nothing, glancing away.
Gene let Sam go, embarrassed, and they shared an uncomfortable silence until Sam nodded at the poster.
“New poster.” Sam noted the Dirty Harry one sheet that had replaced the previous Clint Eastwood film.
Gene just shrugged.
“Are you sure he’s an appropriate role model?” Sam teased, sliding into his seat opposite Gene’s desk.
Gene tensed slightly, but said nothing. Then, realising Sam wanted some sort of conversation, offered up “He’ll do.”
The uncomfortable silence lingered in the air between them. Whatever they had shared had staggered to a halt and now they were just friends, if that. Gene hadn’t been over to seen him since he’d gotten out of the hospital, and Sam had felt the loss keenly. He wanted to grab Gene and demand to know what he’d done wrong and plead to make it better, but he suspected his arrest for murder, though misguided, had soured things somewhat.
He couldn’t blame Gene, he knew he’d done terrible damage to both of them, and it would take a while to recover. He’d just have to take each day as it came, which he was learning to do more and more now, and hope that Gene would forgive him, again. Gene wasn’t one to brood on resentments, but Sam could clearly see the toll the entire debacle had taken on Gene, and he deeply regretted his part in it.
“Headaches?” Gene asked, trying to fill in the silence.
“Some,” Sam agreed.
Sam played with the edge of the poster.
“Lucky break in the case.”
“Yeah,” Gene agreed, sitting back on his desk. “It’s amazing how old Tel just started singing away. Copped to the lot.”
Sam swung him a look.
“He had a sudden rush of conscience?”
“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies, Sammy boy.” Gene answered, trying vainly to close the subject. “Don’t look at me like that. He was a villain. He might not have done it all by himself, but he was there. We’ll get the others, sooner or later, if they don’t do the job themselves, honour amongst thieves and all that.”
“No idea who else was involved?”
Gene shrugged. “Just hired for the job, most likely.”
“I think you might have ticked him off, just a bit.”
“The whole arresting him thing.”
“Might have done it, yeah.”
“The forensic evidence…”
“Could have gone either way. Leave it alone, Sam. Just count your blessings and move on.”
All the while Gene had been leaning back, fishing out the bottle of scotch he kept in his desk, unscrewing the lid and pouring two measures.
He pushed the glass towards Sam, trying to get him to stop talking about it, though chance would be a fine thing.
Sam picked up the glass and held it, swirling the amber liquid slightly. He knew Gene must have cut corners and pushed hard, maybe too hard, to get him out, and he was going to do his best to just try and shut up and be grateful, despite the scrabbling inside at what Gene might have done, what Gene was capable of doing, to get him off. He nodded, touched his glass to Gene’s, and then swallowed bitterly.
Gene was surprised. He’d expected Sam to get all priggish and self righteous. He’d expected sneering condemnation. Instead Sam had decided loyalty cut both ways. Gene poured himself another double. He felt he needed it. He could never tell Sam the truth, and it made his victory hollow.
Sam set his glass down, sharing an uncertain look, and then turned, drawing away from Gene.
“One last thing.” Gene’s voice stopped him at the door. As Sam turned he saw that Gene had placed one of Sam’s old spice bottles on the table, the one that was filled with dried vegetable matter and labelled “Basil”. He’d wondered where that had gone. He’d had to barter Nelson’s hugely inflated prices for more.
Gene was unscrewing the top off the bottle, sniffing at it and making a face.
“Whoever told you this was basil was lying through their teeth. I wouldn’t be buying any more herbs off them, if I were you.”
“It’s medicinal,” Sam tried to explain.
“You what? This isn’t medicine and it isn’t basil and any Detective Inspector worth his pay should know that,” Gene told him bluntly, threat implicit.
“Yes, Guv,” Sam answered, meekly like a chastened schoolboy. Right about now he would be expecting to be offered counselling, but he suspected that a good bollocking and a warning was going to be it.
Gene just nodded and dropped the basil jar into the filing cabinet with the rest of his little goodies.
“Right, on your way,” was all he said on the matter.
Head spinning now, having escaped all manner of formal censure, yet finding Gene’s personal disapproval the most stinging of all, he stepped back out into the CID. He glanced around, unsure for a moment, as everyone fell into an awkward silence. If there had been a piano player in the corner, he, too, would have stopped. Then out of nowhere Annie caught him up into a big welcome hug. Surprised at first, he hugged her back, enjoying and needing the contact. She felt nice. She smelt nice. She smiled at him, and then they kissed, very warmly.
He pressed against her, just that little bit tighter. He held her, just that little bit longer, and kissed her, just that little bit deeper. When they finally parted, she could see it in his eyes. She knew he wasn’t such a lost cause afaterall.
Gene glanced up at the whistles and scowled as Sam held onto the plonk for a little too long. When they drew apart, they were blushing.
Ray handed Chris a heavy solid iron stapler. “Here, hit me with that. I want a kiss from the plonk, too.”
“I don’t fancy your chances,” Annie shot over her shoulder.
“Tyler! Put down that WPC and get back to work!” Gene yelled from his doorway.
He let her go, but not entirely. Still encircled by his arms, she tilted his head slightly, examining the still horrific scar.
“Does it hurt?”
“Yes,” he answered honestly.
“Better kiss it better,then” and she did.
Annie let Sam go with a small swat at his backside, flouncing past Gene, his glare sliding off her like water.
Sam watched her go, still tasting her on his lips, as he settled down at his desk. He could feel Gene’s eyes burning into him, but he didn’t look up. He was all spun around, but he kind of liked it. It was good to be back.
Sam woke with a start and she was there, lurking by his bed in the shadows, clutching that clown of hers.
“Poor thing. Does it hurt?” she asked, indicating his scar. “You think you deserved it. How sharper than a serpent’s tooth to have a thankless child. Wicked daddies punish wicked boys.”
She smiled at him and Sam remembered a jumbled flash of hands and fists.
“No!” he cried, and he opened his eyes. And he remembered. All of it.