Rating: White Cortina
Word Count: 1924
Notes: Mild Sam/Gene slash. Many thanks to the various members of the lifein1973 chat who agreed to feature in this strange little piece of meta!crack. They know who they are. <3 (Also - look, Mommy! I actually finished something on time! XD)
Sam settles, sated and sleepy, into Gene's side, and the words slip out unbidden. "I really hope this isn't all in my head." Sam mentally kicks himself as the words fritter away into the space between them. He waits for Gene's scoffing remark, and sure enough it comes, accompanied by an exaggerated eyeroll as Gene twists away to fetch cigarette and lighter.
"Not back to that again, are we?"
Sam keeps quiet, knowing any attempt to elaborate would only be laughed off as well. The silence stretches as the smoke curls, and Sam knows he's carelessly managed to throw cold water on what had so far been a great evening.
But then Gene does something that surprises him. "You can talk about it, y'know. If you want to, like." Gene's gazing at him with an unreadable look in his eyes. Sam feels pinned down and torn open under the scrutiny.
"You don't...I'm not...I was..." Sam stutters, until Gene breaks eye contact and the moment is gone.
"S'okay, yer not ready." Gene shrugs. "But when you are, I'll listen."
The next day dawns just like any other day in CID: dark, dusty, smokey, perfect. The main office is a hub of what Sam terms 'productivity' and what Gene calls 'some proper bloody work gettin' done, fer a change'.
The call comes in at precisely 10:10am. Sam makes a note of this and Gene just nods. “Done in time for beer o’clock on this one, Sammy-boy.”
Sam frowns at him. “You always say that. Besides, it’s not about cutting corners, Guv. It’s about doing right by Lucy Saxon’s family.”
Gene rolls his eyes at this. “Untwist yer knickers, Gladys. We’ve got a juicy murder to solve.”
As they head out of the building and towards the Cortina, Gene rests a hand lightly on Sam’s shoulder and only lets go when they reach the car.
“She’s…floating.” Sam says with an exhale of breath, stomach rolling at the taste as he breathes in again.
“She’s not floating, Sam, she’s hanging.”
Gene’s right. The young woman’s neck has been garrotted with garden wire and the body suspended from the ceiling. She swings limply from the wooden beam, arms dangled at her sides and blood slowly dripping down her sleeves to the floor. It’s a gruesome sight. And when the bloodied chin flops onto the other shoulder as the body swivels to face them, white eyes without pupils blinking slowly at them, Sam takes an involuntary step back.
“Bloody hell, she’s alive!” In seconds Gene crosses the room to collect an upturned chair and set it under Lucy’s dangling feet, brings his arms up about her middle to take some of the weight from her neck –
“Gene, I wouldn’t touch – “
And a bloodied hand clamps around Gene’s throat –
“What the soddin’ ‘eck was that about?!” Gene demands as he guns the engine and leaves the shambling, blood- stained and surprisingly strong would-be corpse of Lucy Saxon in his dust.
“Guv, we can’t just leave her!”
“Yes we ruddy well can! I want some bloody answers!”
Sam keeps checking behind them for signs that the living corpse is following them. When there finally seems to be sufficient distance between them and…it, Sam allows himself a moment of crazy truth-telling.
“I think she’s a zombie, Guv.”
“Don’t believe yer.”
“You saw it with your own eyes! Just because something is weirder and scarier than you ever thought possible, doesn’t mean it’s not real.”
Gene rubs at his sore neck and the silence in the car is palpable.
“Tell you what, though.” Sam says with a smirk a few moments later. “I saved you.”
“Piss off!” Gene takes a corner particularly sharply and flings Sam into the door as punishment.
Sam holds tight to the handle and continues to tease. “Big ol’ DCI Hunt being strangled by a girl and it took me to swing a piece of wood at her head – “
“I said shut it, Dorothy.”
And they grin at each other as they drive on to who knows where.
Back at the station, Chris looks anxious as he approaches Sam. “We’ve had another two more suspicious sightings, Boss. A lady on Bloxmore Road says she’s heard noises outside her window and someone knocking on the door. We’ve got IDs already, the, um, not-really-dead people are called Fern Bailey and Bea Armed.”
Sam turns to Gene with a raised eyebrow. “I told you we couldn’t leave her!”
Gene just looks furious. “Bloody. Bastard. Zombies. Do NOT exist!” And storms into his office.
He doesn’t look so sure a few days later when he’s running for his life alongside Sam. The zombie craze has spread quickly, the whole of Manchester, if not the whole of the North, has been affected. And right now a gaggle of girls apparently intent on eating their brains are putting up a very good chase.
“Why can’t I ever…have a normal day…wi’you, Tyler?” Gene pants.
“Why are they all girls?” Sam fires back, not really listening, glances round at Gene and nearly goes flying on an upturned crate of oranges. Gene grabs hold of his arm and drags him sideways just in time through a door Sam would never have spotted.
As they come to an abrupt halt Sam ends up falling into Gene, his momentum carrying him forwards and leaving them pressed together, Gene with his back to the wall. To their right (well, Gene’s left) is the glass door of the shop front.
“Remind me again why being locked in a completely innocuous broom closet of an office with six hungry zombies pawing at the glass seemed like a good idea at the time? And I don’t even want to start on just why my brain is coming up with all this utter bollocks!”
“You’re ranting, Sam. You – “ But he’s cut off by another voice from outside.
“Hey, guys! Sorry to interrupt. It’s nice to meet you both! My name’s Charlotte Mekke.”
Sam and Gene hold on to each other and just stare. Yep, that’s an undead person speaking to them. In a calm and rational tone and with a pleasant smile upon her face, unmarred except for the gash in her right temple. Will wonders never cease.
“How come you can talk?” Sam asks at last, uncaring whether it’s a stupid question or not. They can walk and move and strangle people, of course they can talk. But why only this particular girl?
“Oh, I’m a zobie, not a zombie. Zombies are only zombies ‘cause of the ‘m’ in their name, ‘m’ for murder, obviously. Us zobies are the peaceful ones. Let me introduce my zombie friends Jo Line and Zoe Eelneck. We don’t mean you any harm, I promise.”
Gene strokes one hand absent-mindedly up and down Sam’s back to calm himself as he speaks. “From where I’m standing, luv, yer keepin’ us trapped in ‘ere just like the rest of ‘em!”
“Us coming in here was a plan you came up with, might I remind you!?” Sam interjects, snapping at Gene.
Gene retorts “At least I thought of something!”
Char Mekke gives a little handwave and taps smartly on the glass. “All we want is to watch you two going at it like rabbits. Then we’d be quite happy to leave you alone.”
"Oh, cheer up, Gladys! It's not like I ain't seen it all before!"
"Yeah...but they haven't." There's a pink tinge to Sam's cheeks.
"Oh, just shut yer eyes and pretend it's on'y us two."
"You're very keen to comply with their demands all of a sudden. How d'you know they won't just break the door down and kill us while we're otherwise... distracted?"
"...I'll keep an eye out, shall I?"
"You're just really horny, aren't you."
"Well, it has been three days we’ve been on the run. Bloke's got 'is needs."
"What you need is a brain in your 'ead as well as your - "
"Now!" Gene shouts, and together they charge at the door, common sense be damned.
In the ensuing frenzy it’s not exactly clear who ends up biting who but all Sam knows is that Gene gets free and he doesn’t. There are serrated teeth slicing through his skin like butter and blood pouring from a wound at his left temple. Then someone – Sam thinks Char Mekke introduced her as Jo – is chomping down through his skull and biting at his brain. He feels something different, something overwhelming swamp his veins. For a short while it’s almost like he’s floating. And then there is pain. Pain, noise, pain, more noise and then! There’s a familiar hand in his, anchoring him back to earth. Some part of him wants to shake the hand off, but the feeling in his heart is relief. With no small amount of effort, he calls to mind just one word: Gene, and it gives him the strength to open his eyes despite the pounding in his head.
It’s a little hazy but there’s Gene’s face looking down on him but maybe Sam’s vision has narrowed down to just a tunnel because there are no more zombies leaning over him, waiting to not-quite-kill.
“Where’d… everyone…go?” He manages to say before the tunnel narrows down again to infinite black.
When Sam wakes everything is much clearer. There’s the dull thump of blood in his ears and painpainpain in his head but he can see and he feels stronger and even better: Gene’s still here.
“How am I not…undead?” Sam asks tentatively. He hates his voice for sounding so plaintive, for revealing his fear. Whatever happens, he must not hurt Gene.
Gene gives a grunt, and then: “Yer from the soddin’ future, right? Maybe yeh’ve got special resistance or summat.”
“Or it just won’t work on me so quickly. Slow and painful death. Sounds like my style.”
“Sounds like yer whining again, Tyler.”
“I think I got a right to whinge about my imminent death-by-zombie, Gene.”
“And there’s a sentence I never thought I’d hear yer say.” Gene sniffs suddenly and Sam studies his face closely, trying to read what he’s thinking. Is this the end, now? The last chance to confess…
There’s no urgent whispered plea of ‘stay with me, Sammy’ and no last minute sex, but there is Gene holding Sam’s hand like he’s never letting go.
“So!” Gene starts, trying to distract them both. "All in yer 'ead. Now would be a great time to start talking."
Sam nods, resigned. Not like any of the usual concerns about madhouses apply any longer. Whole world has been turned inside out and there's no going back now. Sam sniggers at the appropriateness of the thought and then watches Gene draw his legs up to sit cross-legged on the floor next to Sam, who’s lying sprawled to one side with half his brains falling out.
And so Sam tells him everything that he can.
“If yer from the future, you die ‘ere, you get to go back there, right?”
Sam hesitates but answers in the affirmative.
“And if this is all your ruddy dream world, Mr Arrogant, none of it matters anyway?”
“…Well, if you say so…”
“So which is it gonna be, my little deputy dawg?” Sam wants to kiss him, then, wants to reclaim some sort of normality with Gene at the centre of his world, whether that world may be real or imagined.
Instead, Sam says: “I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”
“Yeah, we will.”