Author: Hambel / hambelandjemima
Rating: Pale Green Cortina
Word Count: 1425
Notes: Sam/Gene, but nothing full on.
Rating: Pale Green Cortina
Word Count: 1425
Notes: Sam/Gene, but nothing full on.
Summary: It's New Year's Eve 1973. What’s happening to Sam’s world?
Something to Worry About
31st December 1973. It was like the bloody Millennium all over again, only without the fireworks and the global coverage. This time it was only Sam’s world about to be turned upside down.
I shouldn’t be here. I was only four in 1973.
Of course, he had no proof that anything would happen. Just a thought that if 1973 wasn’t real, what would happen when it tried to turn into 1974?
Would he go back to the beginning of 1973? To the time before he arrived in ‘A’ division? And what would happen when the time came for him to arrive? Would there then be two Sam Tylers, each trying to find a way home and generally getting up the nose of their DCI?
Or was he destined to relive 1973 over and over again, joining it at exactly the same time as before, with no advancement and no way of making a difference? He’d arrived in 1973 looking for answers and found some. Was he destined to spend eternity doing just that, asking the same questions and obtaining the same answers? And had he already spent many years reliving 1973 without realising it?
Or would his world implode on itself and he get scattered to a different time, with a different Gene Hunt giving him different problems to work through?
Or - and this was the most probable - would it all end here at midnight? Finished, finito, kaput. No more 1973. No more Sam Tyler. No more living in imaginary worlds that made him feel more alive than he’d ever felt when living in the real world.
He sighed as he stared into his glass. His fourth of the evening. Or was it his fifth? He’d stopped counting by then, but he knew that Gene was watching and counting, the way he always did with his team. He’d felt Gene’s eyes on him for most of the evening and while part of him relished the attention, another part of him just couldn’t care less. It was far too late now to find out if DCI ‘Fists First’ Hunt was as homophobic as he made out he was.
Sam always left things too late. Maybe next time. He hoped there would be a next time.
He tipped his head back and downed the contents of his glass in one fluid movement, not even feeling the bite of the fiery liquid as it slid down his throat. He banged the glass down on the counter a little more belligerently than he’d intended.
“’Nother, please, Nelson.” He pointed to his glass, priding himself on remaining polite even when half-cut.
“Don’t you think you’ve had enough, DI Tyler?” Nelson asked, wiping his hands on a tea towel thrown casually over his shoulder.
“Nope.” Sam shook his head, but decided to stop when the pub began spinning. “It doesn’t matter how much I have, Nelson, because—”
He leaned in closer, beckoning Nelson over. The landlord looked resigned and came closer to listen to what Sam had to say.
“I won’t be here tomorrow,” Sam whispered, loudly, tapping the side of his nose as if confiding a great secret.
“Goin’ somewhere, Gladys?” Gene asked, appearing out of nowhere and jostling Sam’s elbow. Sam blinked. It always amazed him how quietly his DCI could move when he wanted to.
“Yep. Probably. Possibly. Maybe.”
“Well, I’m glad we got that sorted out.” Gene rolled his eyes. “Same again, Nelson, for me an’ the lad here.”
“I’m thirty six years old.”
“’M not a lad, for Christ’s sake, Gene. Look!”
He gestured to himself, his hands waving wildly up and down in front of his body.
Gene grunted, glancing at Tyler, then looking away.
Sam leaned in closer to Gene. “You buyin’ then?” he asked, swaying gently.
“For the privilege of me drinkin’ with you, Tyler, you can buy me a drink.”
Sam pulled his wallet out of his pocket and his keys fell to the floor. He made no attempt to pick them up as he retrieved a note and passed it across the counter to Nelson.
Gene waited a moment before saying conversationally, “You dropped your keys, Tyler.”
“’S’ok, I won’t need ’em.”
“Do you think you’re gonna get lucky, then? The plonk come across, did she?”
Sam stared at him. “You can be so crude, sometimes, Gene,” he told him.
“Only sometimes? I must be losing me touch.”
Sam stayed silent, staring at his glass again. Gene prodded him.
“Oy! Keys, Tyler!”
Sam sighed and bent down to pick up the keys. The change in orientation caused the blood to flow to his head and he overbalanced, sitting down on the floor and feeling woozy.
“I don’t like the look of him, Mr. Hunt,” he heard Nelson say. “If he’s sick in here, he’s clearin’ it up. House rules.”
Sam felt, rather than saw, the sturdy figure crouch down beside him; two large hands were hooked under his armpits and he was hauled to his feet.
“C’mon, Tyler, outside,” Gene growled, alarmingly close to Sam’s ear. “There’s no point in showing everyone what a girl you really are.”
Carling saw what was happening and called out while waving one pint-filled hand haphazardly in his direction, “Only five more minutes ’til the new year, Guv!” The other arm was slung around Chris’ shoulder who was practising the second verse of Auld Lang Syne.
Sam tried to speak, but his lips wouldn’t co-operate with his brain, so he contented himself with a dismissive wave of his arm, leaning against the comforting bulk of his DCI.
Five more minutes.
“Be back shortly,” Gene said to whoops and jeers as the revellers got ready to welcome in the new year.
Outside, the cold night air caused Sam to gasp and he would have fallen had it not been for Gene’s grip on his shoulders.
“You gonna puke, Tyler?”
Sam shook his head, slowly this time, and Gene let go of him, turning as if to go back into the pub.
Gene stopped, his hand hovering above the door handle. He raised an eyebrow by way of a question.
Sam swallowed. This was it.
Two more minutes.
He wanted Gene to stay, but he couldn’t ask again. He stood, watching, as Gene mulled it over. Coming to a decision, the DCI moved back into the yard, lighting up the cigarette that had appeared in his hand.
“New year, same old shit,” he announced. “Nothing to celebrate there.”
The exhaled smoke hung in the air and Sam wondered if he could slow down time, to keep this moment forever.
One more minute.
He heard his ragged breathing, lungs breathing in the cold, crisp air; felt the solidness of the concrete beneath his feet and the emptiness of the sky above his head. He could see the glittering, watchful eyes of Gene Hunt, wary and concerned.
And he felt so alive.
Noises started filtering back to him. Music, singing, and chimes.
He twisted round, blind panic starting to set in.
Shit! It’s really real this time. No more second chances. The angels are coming to fetch me.
He clutched at Gene’s jacket, desperately clinging on to life.
“Don’ let them take me,” he mumbled.
“You what, Tyler?”
Wide-eyed, Sam pressed closer as if Gene could save him from death itself. “Can’t you hear ’em? The angels. They’ve come to take me,” he hissed, willing Gene to understand. “Don’ let ’em take me, Gene. Want to stay here. With you… in nineteen…. nineteen seven’y three.”
“You can’t stay in 1973, Sam.”
Sam listened, one ear pressed against Gene’s chest, hearing the steady thump of his heart beating, the other listening to the sounds of the heavenly chorus.
“…Should auld acquaintance be forgot….”
“It’s 1974, Tyler. Happy new year, you crazy bastard. Now let go of my jacket.”
Gene looked on warily, as comprehension dawned on Sam’s face. “1974?” he queried, grinning.
“It’s nineteen seventy FOUR!” Sam yelled, letting go of Gene and turning a full circle with his arms outstretched and face upturned to the sky. Still grinning, he faced Gene and pulled him closer, kissing him on the lips. He supposed it was similar to kissing an ashtray drenched in Scotch, but to Sam it was the sweetest kiss ever.
“Steady on, Tyler,” Gene protested, jerking himself away. “Wha—?”
Sam closed his eyes and slid bonelessly to the ground, the alcohol finally overcoming his senses.
He’d made it. 1974, a brand-spanking-new world.
And it was all his.