Title: Making a Difference
Rating: Blue Cortina
Characters: Gene, Sam
Spoilers: S1 Ep4
Summary: Why Gene is the man he is.
Disclaimer: No-one belongs to me. I’m only borrowing them from the BBC and Kudos. I am making no money from this whatsoever, just enjoying the freedom of t’internet.
A/N: Written for Loz’s 1973flashfic puppet challenge. I don’t really want to try and follow m31andy’s TCG/Sockpuppet smut, but someone has to. *sigh* Oh, and it's a little 'outside of the box' too.
Making a Difference.
When Gene put on his uniform the first day in the job, he vowed to himself that he would be no-one’s puppet. He would do his job the right way, to the full letter of the law, with no-one pulling on his strings and making him dance the way they wanted.
He started off with good intent. When he saw Harry Althway accepting a wad of notes from the right-hand man of a known gangster, he reported him. He felt good, knowing he had done the right thing.
But then, the snide remarks started; whispers when he was in the locker room. When he walked into the canteen, fellow officers would stare silently at the greenhorn who had shopped good ol’ Harry Althway. Some would elbow past him roughly as they shoved past him in the corridor. But he could handle all that. He’d been doing it all his life. His dad would as soon punch him as he would talk to him when he was a lad, and it stood him in good stead for the school playground and the workforce. He’d fight back, knowing he could stand his ground and refusing to believe he’d done wrong. Even when the Desk Sergeant shoved his face into the wall, causing plaster to dislodge and leaving two small scars on his cheek, he still refused to see that he could have handled it differently.
But when Harry’s front door was kicked in after the police were called by a concerned neighbour, and he was found hanging from the banister by his own belt, Gene began to question what he’d done. Would it have hurt, to have looked the other way? The man’s death weighed heavily on his conscience.
Within a month, he took his first backhander. He did it because Harry Woolfe assured him that everybody did it; it was a perk of the job; and if he shopped another colleague, no-one would work with him and he’d be booted out of the force. Gene had worked hard to get this far and had no desire to work on the railways with his dad and uncles. So he accepted his lot, trying to ignore the gnawing at his insides, and looked the other way when Jack Marsden’s men beat up a teenage boy for trying to steal some money from one of his nightclubs.
He spent the money on getting totally legless, waking up in a back alley in his own vomit and piss, and wondering why he’d thought he could make a difference.
The next time wasn’t any easier, but by the time Gene became a DCI with his own department to run, the bribes had become second nature and he justified them to himself as necessary to keep his city’s streets clean. It still stuck in his gullet, though, that someone else was tugging on his strings.
And then a short-haired, brown-eyed man from Hyde, with gay-boy science and a stick shoved up his jacksy, arrived to work alongside him as his DI. And with his ideas about accountability and doing the right thing, he helped to cut some of the strings, starting with Warren. It felt good to be free of his pulling. Needing his DI’s respect and knowing he would back him, Gene persevered with cutting all the other strings to free himself of obligations to other people.
Sam Tyler with his nagging, his dogged persistence and his insistence on detail managed to do what no-one else had done for him.
He made him feel good about himself.
He made him feel that it wasn’t too late to make a difference. And without the strings pulling him down, Gene walked a bit taller, knowing that the man from Hyde was walking beside him.