Rating: Blue Cortina
Word Count: 715 words
Notes: Gen. Warning: Character Death.
Gene dies on Monday. Intended bullet. Sam spins to see it, unable to stop it, sailing through the air to lodge in Gene’s left temple. Gene’s eyes go glassy, he opens his mouth for the final time and falls to the side and back with a dull, sickening thump. Sam can’t believe it, his entire body goes numb and he only just has presence of mind to launch himself at the asphalt before another bullet goes flying by. He crawls, fingers scrabbling through rough grey, scraping off skin, to examine, to assure himself that he’s hallucinating again, that what he thinks has happened hasn’t. But this time it was no phantom vision. Gene’s not breathing, his chest is still, his eyes are muted green and devoid of life, and there’s blood trickling in rivulets, matting into strands of hair.
Gene turns up to work on Tuesday. Sam is only there because he cannot bear his flat, which reminds him of conversations about trust - and because the fuckers got away and it’s his job to get them.
“Found ‘em yet?” Gene barks and his voice is hardly human at all, rasped and ragged. He sucks in a deep breath and holds it, his eyes bugging out of their sockets. Sam fumbles from his chair and stares, cheeks hollowed, skin pale, hands outstretched.
“You’re dead,” he says, feeling his stomach clench with the force of hysterical laughter. Gene moves in stiff, barely co-ordinated lumber, looming menacingly even after rigor mortis.
“And you’re dumb. Together we make a grand team.”
“I mean it. You’re dead, Gene. Have you looked in a mirror lately?”
Sam’s throat constricts and a half-choked laugh surges out the top as he edges backwards. Gene shrugs and his joints creak and crack beyond repair. Sam shakes his head and inhales, closing his eyes, reopening them, pressing his fingers against his temples, walking into Gene’s office and then back out again, hoping the bloated spectre will disappear.
Gene shoots his murderer on Wednesday. He doesn’t run. That’s Sam, following orders after post-mortem, chasing with leather whipping up behind him. He hauls Allen into line and waits. Gene has steadied himself against his Cortina and has his arm out straight, flesh softened and turning translucent. The bang echoes through the air with the distant snap of justice.
“Now that you’ve done that, can you go?” Sam asks. It’s part-empathy, part-concern.
“Go where?” Gene rejoins, and the words are less like words and more like loosely constructed sounds.
“Go be in peace,” Sam utters, quietly thinking ‘leave me in peace’, but Gene’s ears stopped working after his blood stopped pumping, or he tactically ignores him, and nothing more is said on the matter.
Gene appears at Sam’s flat on Thursday. Purple veins easily visible, his skin torn and tearing, one of his eyes compacted. He’s swollen, looks overstuffed; looks little like the man who only a week before was downing fine malt with vivacious and practiced ease.
Sam sits on his cot and presses his fingertips together. He worries at his knuckles, nipping at warm tissue.
“It’s not that I don’t want you around,” Sam says.
“Only, you don’t,” Gene replies.
Sam nods and eases his eyebrows up, lower lip curving into a soft, sad smile. “Not like this.”
“Not like death to keep the Gene Genie down,” Gene grunts, his jowls wobbling with the exertion of expelled air through a dry windpipe. Sam looks away, the back of his eyes stinging and his chin feeling heavy.
Gene is buried on Friday. Everyone attends. Sam reads the eulogy Gene wrote on Tuesday, grimacing at Gene’s uncanny ability to make offensive comments about every conceivable minority group and most of the major ones.
“Gene didn’t let anything stop him,” Sam says, using his own phrases now, gazing at white faces and black clothes, aware that none of them realise quite how true a statement that is. “And he’s always with us, in spirit, if not in body.”
Gene awakens Sam on Saturday. Newly shed of anything corporeal, but with attitude and verve still intact.
“You won’t give me the chance.”
“Come on, Hopkirk-”
“You’d be Hopkirk, I’d be Randall.”
“- We’ve crime to solve.”
Sam goes mad on Sunday.