AUTHOR: Andromeda and Fionnabair
FANDOM: Life on Mars
SUMMARY: The worst lies are the ones you tell yourself.
RATING: Brown Cortina for explicit slash.
WORD COUNT: 4,742 words
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Part 8 of the Hookerverse. We have both now retired to our top-secret underground bunker. Written for the 1973flashfic Lies Challenge
DISCLAIMER: Life on Mars is copyright Kudos and the BBC. All Rights Reserved. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made.
Secrets and Lies
There were worse jobs to get, Ray had to admit, even if the Guv had offered him the extra work with an evil grin on his face. After all, it would have been far worse to be offered £10 cash in hand to do extra backstage security at Old Trafford since that meant he wouldn't have been able to watch the match. At Maine Road, he just didn't care.
And he'd sorted the problem in the first twenty minutes of the match – another security man was fond of dipping into personal belongings – and it had been pathetically easy to catch him. In the meantime, it was the second half, which meant Ray's ridiculously easy job was nearly over.
It was pretty quiet in here, as everyone was watching the match, and apparently the Blues were winning. The only activity had been one player coming off early and heading straight for the showers.
Time to do one more round. The various team support staff were heading off to the dressing rooms again, waiting for their victorious or defeated boys, as the case might be, so it was probably a good idea for Ray to show his face. And defer the meeting with a triumphant Gene. It was a bit of a rabbit warren back here and Ray wanted to make sure that he'd covered all exits. Not to mention the chance of bumping into Denis Law – the traitorous bastard might have defected from United to the Blues, but he was still a damn good player.
A half-open door at the end of a corridor attracted his attention, and Ray went up to check. Inside it was dim, but he could see two figures. Moving gently he pushed the door open further to get a better look, then he stopped dead. It was clearly two men, one of them on his knees, his face buried in the other's crotch.
Ray recognised the standing man as the City player who'd come off earlier. He couldn't see the face of the second one at first, but as the kneeling man pulled back to tease the footballer's prick, Ray froze. It was Sam Tyler.
He couldn't tear his eyes away. He knew he should leave, it was private, it was intimate, it was bloody disgusting, it was none of his business, but he stayed where he was.
Tyler pulled his head away, grinning up at the footballer, who smiled down and ran his fingers through Tyler's hair. He gasped as Tyler leaned back down, deliberately licking his cockhead before opening his mouth wide and taking him in deep. At the door, Ray held his breath.
Things were getting more serious now, Tyler clutching at the footballer's hips, his throat muscles working. The footballer's head was thrown back and he was thrusting into Tyler's mouth, fucking it, uttering words of encouragement until he stiffened and uttered a hoarse curse. Tyler stilled, and Ray could see him swallowing. The two men stayed there for a moment, the footballer's hands on Tyler's head, caressing him, Tyler's forehead pressed against the player's belly, and then one of them said something in a low voice. When Tyler began to get up off his knees, Ray fled.
He was silent when he reunited with the Guv and even the extra bonus the club gave him didn't shake him from his mood. Gene chaffed him about being annoyed about working for City and helped him drink some of his bonus.
But for the next few days, he couldn't get the image of Sam Tyler on his knees out of his head. It popped into his head at inappropriate times – at work, in the pub, when out with his girlfriend, in bed. Especially in bed. It haunted him.
Ray knew he wasn't a poof. He liked girls. He liked tits, the bigger the better. He loved women, their curves, their smell, their softness. But his dreams were haunted by a lean man on his knees in front of him.
And then it got worse. He woke up one night, the sheets sticky – and that was something that hadn't happened in a long time – and he realised he'd had the dream again. But something had changed. Tyler hadn't been on his knees in front of him, he realised. Tyler had been backed up against a wall, his head thrown back, his eyes shut, his voice roughly encouraging, and Ray had been the one kneeling.
He wondered if he was going mad.
He started going out at night, every night. Trying desperately to get too tired to dream, but it didn't seem to work. He began taking his girlfriend out more, to her pleasure. Nightclubs, quiet bars, places where they could dance or have a drink together. Sometimes he went on his own instead.
And everywhere he went, he realised, he had a good chance of seeing Sam Tyler.
He tried not to look, but he knew Tyler knew he was watching him. He could see it in the way Tyler scanned a room when he walked in, in the way he looked up every time the door of a pub or club opened, in the small twitch Tyler gave whenever he spotted Ray.
And Ray couldn't stop himself. He held on to just enough sanity not to follow Tyler back to his flat although he knew where Tyler was living these days.
The first time Sam saw Ray Carling, it was in a nightclub in the centre of town. At first he thought he was hallucinating. He'd thought about the CID crowd at lot in the intervening weeks after the ill-fated raid. He'd even imagined bumping into Annie or Chris and what he would say to them if he did.
But it was Carling, larger than life and twice as ugly. Dancing away to Sweet with some girl. One of the infamous girlfriends, no doubt.
Sam was under no illusions as to what Hunt might have told the rest of CID. He just hoped that, when the inevitable confrontation came, he was left with as few bruises as possible. With Annie or Chris it would be a simple matter of keeping his mouth shut and hoping they had as much distaste for him and his world as Sam now did.
But Carling? Sam was sure that he would pull him in as soon as he saw him, regardless of what was happening. Just to get one over on his former DI. Which wouldn't go overly well with Hunt or Phyllis. And he just knew that Carling would make up anything he chose, just to justify a little humiliation on Sam's part. He'd be lucky to get away with a few bruises or broken bones in that case.
He grabbed his partner for the night and by dint of few subtle suggestions and a couple more unsubtle gestures, persuaded him that perhaps they ought to take this to a place a little more private.
Sam hoped that Carling hadn't spotted him as they made their way out of the club.
The second time he saw him, a few nights later, it was across the crowded auditorium at the Free Trade Hall. Carling and his date were in the cheap seats, far away from Sam, but he shrank in his seat, hoping not to be seen, which earned him a jab in the ribs from Mrs. Phelps, whom he was escorting that night.
Sam barely paid attention the orchestra that night, his mind whirling as he tried to work out why Ray, of all people, would be at a classical concert. It was hardly his type of music, after all.
Feigning a headache, he managed to steer Mrs. Phelps out of the Hall straight after the concert. She grumbled a little over missing the encore, but Sam thought it was worth the inevitable complaints if he managed to avoid the wrath of Hunt.
The next night he saw Ray again, in a small pub on the outskirts of the city. Their eyes met and Sam knew that he couldn't beat a hasty retreat this time. He steeled himself for the inevitable confrontation, especially when Ben nipped off to the Gents and left him alone for a few minutes. But Ray didn't move from the corner where he was sitting with the blonde Sam had seen on the previous occasions.
He kept up in conversation with Ben, but he could feel Ray's eyes staring at him.
Something was going to happen eventually, Sam knew. Ray would catch him alone and under a misguided attempt to put Sam in his place, make things much worse for him. Sam needed to nip this in the bud. It was too dangerous. Perhaps he should tell Hunt that Ray was keeping tabs on him. Vice wasn't normally the remit of CID, therefore this was personal.
But there was the possibility that Hunt would think that Sam was making it up, or worse still, Hunt was encouraging Ray to keep tabs on Sam. Regardless of what Hunt had said after the raid, he must know that this was a dangerous situation for them all. Accusations might fly and mud might not stick, but in the end there was evidence, just waiting to be pulled out into the light of day. Times changed. Sam knew that, he'd lived through that once before.
Yes, times changed, today wasn't the day. But it would come soon enough. In the meantime, this was about keeping his head and making it through the next week.
Ray was heading home early from the pub, still trying to get Sam Tyler out of his head. In the past week, he had deliberately started taking a route that kept him away from Tyler's haunts, even if it meant going down some dodgy streets and walking about a mile out of his way. Still, best keep away from temptation, he felt.
He rounded the corner into yet another terraced street and paused as he saw a gang of men up against a wall halfway down the street. Moving closer, he could see that they had someone pinned against the wall and were beating and kicking him.
"Oi!" yelled Ray.
"Piss off, it's just a poof," snarled one of the men. "He's only getting what he deserves, filthy little queer."
Ray reached for his warrant card. "Police!"
The men fled instantly, dropping their victim. Ray went over to the figure slumped against the wall. He swore under his breath. It was Tyler.
He bent down over him, reaching out carefully. Tyler stirred and moaned.
"Tyler," said Ray. "You okay? They've gone."
"Shit," muttered Tyler. He looked up blearily at Ray. "Oh, fuck."
"We should get you looked at."
"Well, get you home then."
"I can't. Got to meet someone."
The silence between them said more than either of them could.
"Well, I'll walk you there."
"Don't be stupid, you can barely stand."
Ray roughly hauled Sam up by his arm. Sam staggered and braced himself against Ray.
"Shit," he muttered again. "Look, there's a pub around the corner. I need a drink." He paused. "And I owe you one. I can get cleaned up there."
It was a small place, rather similar to the Railway Arms. The barman didn't raise an eyebrow when they came in. Sam left Ray with the drinks and was away just long enough for Ray to begin to worry.
He looked much better when he returned. There was a damp patch on his shirt where he'd cleaned some dirt off it, and he'd managed to wash the cut on his forehead. He sat down opposite Ray and checked his watch.
"Lucky I'd been planning to stop in here for a couple anyway. I won't be late."
He took a long pull on his pint while Ray looked at him.
"You're in no shape to be doing anything, Tyler," he said. "That big a deal, is it?"
Sam shrugged. "Less of a kicking than the one I'd get for not going there."
There wasn't much Ray could say to that.
"So, DS Carling," said Sam. "Why are you following me? Don't tell me Manchester's finest are actually building cases now rather than just weighing in with their fists flying."
"I'm not following you." It sounded pathetic and Sam grinned.
"Sure you are. He's probably laughing his head off, getting half of CID to keep tabs on me."
"You know damn well who."
"Yes. The Guv."
"Why would the Guv be keeping close tabs on you? He's too busy cleaning up the city to waste his time with the likes of you."
Sam interrupted with a snort. "Cleaning up the city? Oh yes. Tell me more about the wonderful DCI Hunt, why don't you?"
Ray stared back, disbelieving the depth of sarcasm in Sam's tone of voice. "The Guv has been a good friend to you. He watched out for you even when you managed to piss everything against the wall. Told some of the nastiest men in Manchester that he would personally remove their scrotums if they went near you."
Sam drained his pint. "I really, really, don't want to hear this. Just trust me on that. Hunt is no friend of mine and hasn't been in a long while. I'm late." He stood up, grabbed his jacket and, without a backwards glance, stalked out of the pub.
Ray jumped up and followed him, catching him by the arm as he turned the corner into a small alleyway. "The Guv is no friend of yours? He's your best friend, Tyler. Your very best friend. You screwed up so badly I'm still surprised we didn't find you with your throat cut next morning. You were a complete idiot, and he still looked out for you. Don't you think you owe him a little gratitude?"
Sam sniggered. It was a nasty sound and Ray instantly wanted to punch him in the face for it. "Christ Almighty. You think I owe Hunt gratitude? I pay my gratitude to the saintly Gene Hunt every night of the week, on my knees and on my back. He got me into this mess and I owe him nothing."
Ray saw red at that, grabbing Sam by the shoulders and slamming him against the wall of the alley. "No, you little shit. You got yourself into this mess. There's no-one to blame but yourself for opening that big gob of yours and spouting off to whomever would listen. Everyone told you that if you rocked the boat, bad things would happen and you still walked over everything with your supercilious Hyde way, expecting everything and everyone to bow down to you. Is there no wonder that you finally stepped into something you couldn't fight your way out?"
Sam's eyes widened. "And where do you figure in this, DS Carling? You obviously know what Hunt is, are you another one of his lackeys? Doing his bidding for backhanders while you draw an honest wage from the citizens of Manchester? Betraying them every time you do so just to make sure that you can take your bird to posh concerts and keep yourself in beer? You are a hypocrite, Carling."
Sam struggled for freedom, but Ray kept up the pressure, pinning him against the wall, their faces only inches apart.
"You utter twat!" Ray lent close, spittle flying against Sam's face. Sam struggled and Ray tried to keep control. But he could feel it slipping and in a moment of sheer insanity, in a moment he thought would never happen, Ray brought his mouth down on Sam's, crushing and bruising, tasting blood and something he'd never encountered before, tempting him further.
After a moment Ray jerked away, staring at Sam as if he was the very devil, and, with a look of horror on his face, ran out of the alleyway, leaving the other man slumped behind him.
Regardless of the confusion he still felt over that night Ray had had to scrape him off the pavement, Sam was eternally grateful that it seemed it had put paid to Ray's stalking. He didn't see hide nor hair of anyone from CID for weeks afterwards and life went on as normal.
It was one night, a few months later. Sam had a rare night off, Ben was out of town and Jack had plenty of cover at the Flamingo Club. Sam decided that rather than moping around the flat, he would take himself down to the Black Swan and indulge in a couple of pints of crap beer and possibly a game of cards, if any of the other locals were in.
But the bar was as empty as ever, so Sam took himself off to a corner with a newspaper and his thoughts.
It was a vile night, the rain was falling hard, and Sam wasn't surprised when the door opened and a bedraggled man came in, shaking the rain from his hair and clothes as he did so. What did give him pause, as he brought his pint up to his lips was that he recognised the man. It was Ray Carling.
Carling froze for a second as his spotted Sam in the corner, then nodded warily at him before going to the bar and ordering a pint. He had a couple of words with the barman before tentatively walking over to the corner.
"Do you mind if I sit down?" he asked.
"It's still a free country," Sam remarked, turning back to his paper.
They sat in silence for a few minutes, Sam staring at, but not concentrating on the paper and Ray staring at Sam.
"I saw you," Ray finally blurted out. "Months ago. At Maine Road."
Sam looked at him, confused. "I'm not a Blues man."
"No, in the dressing rooms."
Sam sat back. "Get an eyeful, did you? Going to tell me how disgusting it was? At least that guy doesn't get his jollies from beating the crap out of me."
"It… it wasn't disgusting," Ray muttered.
"Getting desperate, Ray?" snapped Sam. "Wilma not putting out for her caveman? Hoping I can help you? Well, I'm not getting on my knees for you."
"No, no," Carling sunk his head lower. "I want to know what it feels like to give one."
Sam stared. He wanted to laugh, but he quickly realised that Carling was being serious. That was interesting. More interesting that Ray would admit it than interesting that Ray was the one fantasising about it. More interesting that he would admit it to Sam.
He leaned forward, arms resting on the table, and arched an eyebrow. "Well, if you want to try…" he purred, leaving the sentence hanging.
Ray shot him a shocked glance. "I won't pay a… I wouldn't pay you for that."
Sam smiled. "Oh, of course not. My boss doesn't take kindly to his employees working freelance. And I'm sure that you wouldn't want to advertise this. And, believe me, you couldn't afford me. But you could start by standing your round."
Ray all but blushed at that, but went and bought a round anyway. He sat back down and studied his pint intently.
The silence stretched between them, uncomfortable in the small, almost empty pub, until Ray caved in.
"Where and when?" he muttered.
"Well, I'm not doing anything for the next hour or so, and there's no time like the present."
Ray's eyes widened and he unconsciously licked his lips. "Where?"
Sam nodded towards the back of the pub. "This place is empty tonight. We won't be disturbed in the Gents."
"Isn't that a bit…?"
"Seedy? Is that what you mean? Yes, it is. But no more seedy than sucking a bloke off just because you're curious." Sam's voice was tinged with bitterness.
Sam smiled. "Well, if you want to chicken out now…" and he stood slowly, making as if to leave.
Ray put a restraining hand on Sam's arm, but removed it straightaway when Sam glared at him. "No, no. That's fine."
Sam nodded. "Come through in a few minutes then, you may as well try and make it look less dodgy than it already does."
Ray nodded, nervously, and Sam moved towards the back of the pub, disappearing into the Gents toilets.
Ray swallowed the remainder of his pint and followed.
Sam could feel the metal door against his back, slightly chill. It certainly seemed real enough. As real as the hot mouth surrounding his cock. No, what was so unreal about this situation was the sight of Ray on his knees, docilely taking Sam's orders as he told him to suck harder or take it deeper.
And he was a fast learner. Faster than Sam was. Of course, he'd got the benefit of a good teacher – something Sam never had. It seemed weird, that Ray was so good at this, but Sam supposed he'd had the benefit of thinking of it for so long.
Whatever the reason, it didn't take long before Sam felt the familiar beginnings of his orgasm curling through his body. He momentarily thought to warn Ray or to pull back, but in a fit of spite decided that if Ray wanted find out what was involved then he should experience the full package.
So he kept quiet, biting on his lip as he came in Carling's mouth who, unprepared, had trouble swallowing. Carling grimaced as he let Sam's softening cock pull free, come trickling from the side of his mouth which he swiped away with the back of his hand.
Sam took a moment to catch his breath before shifting to allow Ray to stand up.
"Not bad, but let me show you how it's really done." And he dropped lightly to his knees, deftly opening Ray's flies and drawing out his already swollen cock.
Ray's head hit the cubicle door with a resounding thump and Sam smiled briefly before going to work. He used all the tips and tricks he'd learned in the last few months as a professional, reducing Ray to a gasping, quivering mess as he licked and sucked and fondled the cock and balls in front of him; finally opening his mouth wide and taking Ray in deep. It didn't take long, a few thrusts and a well-timed vibrating moan from Sam and Ray came with a muffled cry.
Sam swallowed it all before pulling back and neatly tucking Ray away.
"Wow," was all Ray could say.
"Giving or receiving?" asked Sam with a smirk.
"Receiving. That was… that was amazing. You always did take pride in doing a job well, didn't you?" Ray beamed happily. He hadn't come like that in years.
Sam's eyes narrowed. "Pride? Take pride? Have you any idea what sort of a life I lead? Do you think anyone would choose this life?"
"I'll tell you what it's like," Sam hissed. "When five blokes have held you down, done what they want to you, damaged you so much that you can't swallow for two days, can't take a shit without pain for a week, but three days later you've got to let some other fucker take his turn with you and not let him suspect a thing, then you can come back and tell me that I take pride in my work. When you then find out that it was all arranged by the one man you once thought you could trust your life to, then you can tell me that Gene Hunt's my friend. Because friends don't do what he does to me and what he'd do to me if I didn't obey him. You're a fucking Detective Sergeant, Carling, you figure it out."
Ray froze, the conspiratorial grin sliding off his face.
"I… I didn't know."
"Sure you didn't know. Bet you've all been having a good old laugh down the station at what's happened."
"I'm sorry." Ray reached towards Sam who turned his face away. Gently Ray caressed his jaw, pulling Sam's face around. He kissed Sam once on the lips.
"I'm sorry," he repeated and left, stumbling out of the pub under the curious gaze of the barman.
Ray tried to put the incident out of his mind – staying clear of all the places where Tyler might be.
Ray was disgusted with himself, not for succumbing to temptation but, in the light of Sam's revelations, that through the act he was, in some small way, part of that exploitation, part of that act of violence. He had taken advantage of a situation, however unconnected he was originally.
It was tantamount to rape.
Certainly the original incident should be dealt with, but, through Tyler, Ray knew what would happen. He had too much knowledge of how it would go.
If he opened his mouth, a man would die. Keeping silent, avoiding Sam, never thinking about it again would be the only way he could keep Sam safe from the retribution of the Guv. After all, it was Sam who had blabbed at last.
But even this decision was taken out of his hands the next night. Leaving the Railway Arms a little early, hoping to make things up with Wilma, the Guv followed, grabbing Ray's arm.
"A word, Carling."
"Sure. What do you want, Guv?"
"Not here, get in the car."
Ray was beginning to get a really bad feeling about this, but got into the Cortina without a word and remained silent as Gene drove through the night to an unknown destination.
They finally pulled over and, glancing out the window, Ray noticed that they were down near the canal, out Salford way. Gene killed the engine, but sat tight, staring straight ahead, his black-gloved hands gripping the steering wheel tight.
The silence stretched until Ray couldn't stand it anymore. "What's this about?" he blurted.
An icy feeling developed in the pit of his stomach. "What about him, Guv?"
"A little bird tells me that you've been keeping company with him."
"Ah, yeah. I rescued him from a beating a few weeks ago, that's all."
"So the blowjob was just a grateful thank you, then?"
How? Had Tyler said anything? Ray couldn't fully believe it, but there was no other likely source. He took a deep breath, knowing that he was on very shaky ground. "Yeah. That's all."
"Will you be seeing him again?"
"No! I'm not gay, Guv."
"You're not gay, but you let a two-bit rent boy suck you off?"
So it wasn't Tyler. That confidence was still safe. If Tyler had blabbed, he would've certainly made full use of the other side of the arrangement. But still, that meant that there was someone else who had seen something. Cautiously, feeling his way round the lie to approach something resembling the truth, he replied, "I was curious. He was offering, and well. It was a one-off opportunity."
Ray turned in his seat, facing that implacable stone countenance. Needing to salvage something from this, terrified that he'd already signed Tyler's death warrant, terrified that he'd signed his own.
He forced himself to relax, even the sound of his voice could betray his thoughts.
"Look, Guv. It's our job to keep this city clear of scumbags, to ensure that this city is safe for its residents. But you and I know that doesn't mean that it's black and white. We do what we can and hope we don't mess up on the way. If I've messed up then I'm sorry. I'm into what we do and how we do it. I'm not going to rock the boat for a passable blowjob."
Gene finally relaxed his hold on the steering wheel and turned in his seat. "I know, Raimondo. Next time there's a problem though I expect you to come directly to me. But I hope that there won't be any further problems."
Ray swallowed and nodded. "There won't be. I'm sorry."
Gene turned on the ignition and put the car into gear. "You can find your way home from here? I've got a couple of errands to run."
"Sure, Guv," and Ray quickly got out of the car. Watching the Cortina pull away back into the city, Ray wondered whether or not he'd managed to save both of their lives.