Rating: White Cortina
Word Count: 679
Notes: A sort of AU 2x08, probably not for those of the Jumping Off persuasion. Silly soppy angsty fluff.
It’s all a bit pathetic, really. Sam finds himself stopping and looking around every time he hears a familiar bark of laughter, a gruff voice, the smell of Old Spice and smoke. He knows he’s imagining it, knows the whole thing came out of his head, a world fully-formed. He sits at his desk, safely cocooned by computer and new office chair with special back support, checks his emails, click, click, click. It’s relaxing, familiar, for a while he can forget the years and months and days upon days between now and that life he used to lead. He’s fine, then; focused, motivated, useful even if desk-bound. He answers queries, organises staff meetings, fills out evaluation forms.
On his way home he hobbles into the lift, uses his walking stick to jab at the button for the ground floor. When the lift doors open there’s a man in a long coat with dirty blond hair and a hipflask in one hand, heading towards the outer doors which lead onto the street. Sam forgets all about his limp and races after him, damn the consequences. He’s got a hand on the man’s arm and has shouted “Guv!” before his face comes into view. It shouldn’t be a surprise when the man looks nothing like, when all he says is “Sorry, son. I don’t work here anymore.”
“No, my fault,” Sam chokes out. “Thought you were someone else.” Sam lets go of his arm and leaves the building, face burning.
It happens less frequently as time goes by. Sam’s memory begins to dull, his heart and bones to mend. All the while he feels like he’s losing some vital part of himself. He’s waiting for something but he doesn’t know what or why or when.
“Tyler!” His television set snaps at him at half past ten on a Sunday morning. He doesn’t turn around, continues typing on his laptop, wrapped up in tracksuit bottoms and too many layers of jumpers. He’s always cold, these days.
“Oi, I know you heard that!”
Sam’s spent months with his therapist learning how not to pay attention to the voices. Nevertheless his stomach just leapt into his throat. He’s forgotten some things, but not that voice. Never that voice.
“If you don’t turn round right this instant, I’ll come over there and smash to bits every piece of furniture in that poxy flat of yours!”
“I couldn’t give a shit about the furniture,” Sam says. He doesn’t rush to kneel in front of the widescreen set, press his face against the screen. He sits at the kitchen counter in his open-plan flat and holds on tight to his mug of coffee, shaking.
“Ah, the man speaks!” The television announces. “Sam, I could really use your help here.”
“You’re dead. You were never alive. I let you die.”
“Apparently not. Ray’s a crack shot, actually. Took down Johns before he could finish me off. Just come back, you dozy git. All’s forgiven, no harm done. But Annie’s going spare without you. Chris is like a little puppy dog waiting for your advice. Even Ray says he hates you less.”
Sam can’t help it, the corners of his mouth twitch up. He turns to face the screen for the first time and it’s a little disconcerting to see a giant version of his Guv’s face filling up the space.
“What about you, Guv?” He wants to know, wants to be sure.
“You know about me, Sam.”
Sam hates himself for the tears welling up in his eyes. “Do I?”
Gene sighs. “There’s a spare key waiting for you, if you want it. We sold your flat, anyway, so you don’t have much choice unless you’d prefer to be sleeping at the station every night. And, erm, your shirts and things are all hanging up in my wardrobe, so…”
“Yes.” Sam cuts in. “Oh, hell, yes!”
The giant version of Gene’s face leans back, coughs and shifts like he’s uncomfortable. Then he breaks into a smile, a real, honest-to-god grin like Sam’s never seen on him before. “Good."