constance_b: (Default)
[personal profile] constance_b
1/ My internet time just recently has been almost non-existant, ten minutes snatched here and there. Yesterday was the first time in ages I got anywhere near up-to-date with my flist, and even then not so much because it only goes back 999 entries and I was way further behind than that. Been missing LJ so much I spent my day yesterday fixing my Mum's computer so I could use her internet. She thinks I'm being helpful. Ha! I just hadn't read a Spuffy fic for 21 days and they don't make patches for that. Everyone seems to have been setting up other journals that aren't on LJ and this is bad. If there's some kind of mass exodus I'm never going to have the time to find you all again so just stop it, okay?

2/ I accidentally wrote a little Life on Mars fic, and I'm feeling a little bit ashamed of myself. Okay, very ashamed of myself. Because I really didn't like the second series. Each scene between Sam and Gene was brilliant, but as a whole, badly thought through rubbish. Far excelled by the fanfic I've read online. (Not by mine, sadly, but I can throw stones from my glasshouse if I want to. I'm far less ashamed of writing bad fic than I am of writing LoM fic.) I thought the writing was lazy and, well kinda crap, and Matthew Graham is a nasty little hack with no attention to detail who doesn't credit his audience with any intelligence, and, most crucially, thinks fandom is silly. That's enough of that. It's only a story and now it's ended. Go and read a good book.. Wanker. Should be shot. So you could say I've written a fanfic to spite him, but actually, I've written it because my mind is obsessed with DCI Hunt. Which means I should be shot, also. Little bit slashy, btw. Sam POV.

The clock on the wall outside the CID office told Sam he'd been standing in that drab corridor for seven minutes now. He felt no inclination to move any further. He'd had the same problem outside the lift downstairs, and again a few yards away outside the police station, and earlier that morning he'd thought for a good twenty minutes about leaving his flat. As a consequence he was already three quarters of an hour late for work, but still he couldn't bring himself to take the final step and discover whether or not he still had a job.

Not that Sam had done anything to deserve a firing. Not by his liberal 2006 standards, anyway, and what he had done was pretty excusable to his own mind. Saturday had been a hell of a tough day for him in two timelines. In 2006 he'd lain helpless as some nutter played a tune on his life support system and in 1973 he'd cheated death twice in a half-hour, on the roof of a building and in front of a car. Hardly surprising he had a bit of steam to blow off. The drunken darts and male bonding in the Railway Arms hadn't lifted the lid but rather heated the cauldron. Near death experiences produced too many endorphins to be entirely dampened with beer and after one too many hearty slaps on the back from his DCI Sam had slunk off before he did something he would've regretted. It was sheer bad luck that, come Sunday morning, he still had regrets.

In the cold air outside the pub he'd briefly considered looking up Annie at home, exchanging more than smiles, but couldn't be bothered with all the careful thought and conversation such a move would require. Besides, vanilla and soft words wouldn't have cut it that night. Sam had been strung out, worked up, in need of release. In need of something rougher and unashamedly sexual, and he'd found it.

Canal Street had been a world away from how Sam remembered. It had been a good few years since he'd ventured inside any of the pulsing nightclubs in anything other than a professional capacity - now it would be a few years more before the first neon sign went up. A gay scene to the people of 1973 was a Botticelli painting. Still, Sam found what he was looking for. A dingy basement club where men danced with men and a roughly stubbled, anonymous bloke who had caught Sam's eye after one dance and invited him outside for a joint. They'd walked and smoked and small talk wasn't necessary and the sex in a random back alley was just the vent he'd needed. Raw and real and then over.

He was only a man, after all. Working for months between the soft temptation of WPC Cartwright and the animal magnetism of the Gene Genie. Sam might be the kind of guy who buried his urges very deep but every now and then even the most self-contained of men needed an outlet. It was rotten luck that had brought DCI Hunt to the very same dingy back alley. Sam had no idea what his Guv had been doing there - but as he came down from his orgasmic high the haze had crystallized into two sharp green eyes staring at him from the corner of the back lane. There'd been no time for Sam to make excuses. One moment he'd been facing that impassive glare and the next Gene was gone. Sam's partner in crime had disappeared soon after and Sam Tyler had staggered home alone, deeply unsettled.

But that was before the booze and smoke had worn off. In the cold clear light of Sunday morning 'unsettled' wouldn't wash - the feeling was out and out fear.

Not shame or repentance - Sam's 21st century trained mind wouldn't allow that. This was hardly the first time Sam had gone out looking for a little rough and tumble with a member of his own gender and he'd never felt the need to dwell too much on the why of it or feel ashamed. Experimenting had been just fine in the nineties, almost expected. Even in 1973 blokes knobbing other blokes was no longer illegal. Okay, if you happened to let the other bloke knob you against a wall in a public place that was still a little bit illegal, but somehow Sam suspected it wasn't the venue his Guv would object to.

He wanted to be able to walk into work defiant, with his head held high, because he'd grown up in a world where that was the way to be. But this wasn't the world Sam grew up in. This was his fantasy. And the only thing that kept him grounded, that made him belong here, that gave him a sense of purpose, was his crummy job sweeping out the gutters of Manchester. An impossible job that kept him fighting. Breaking out was one thing, breaking out and waking up, but without that job, that purpose... If that was taken he wouldn't be breaking out, he'd fade away. And if Sam couldn't keep fighting here would he fade out in 2006 too? Would his brainwave activity decrease until even his mother gave up on him and pulled the plug? That was a whole heap of scary to wake up to with your Sunday morning hangover.

Sam's I-haven't-died-today high was a distant memory. He'd been close to pissed when he'd left the Railway Arms, a few more pints in the dance club and a few more tokes of a weed he hadn't touched since his training days had conspired to make the ending of his celebratory night more than a tad fuzzy. But no amount of substance abuse could blur the moment when he'd opened his eyes. Face still pressed against the brick wall, his nameless partner sweaty and panting against the back of his neck, familiar green eyes boring into his until Sam had looked away.

Sam had spent most of his day off trying to interpret the expression on that craggy face, each line and pore was burned onto his memory with perfect clarity but he could make nothing of it. Gene Hunt had taken inscrutability to an art form; his actions spoke loudest. And Gene had simply gone. That was a hard action to read meaning into but his silence was more ominous to Sam than any number of threats or punches.

This wasn't 2006. There were no employment tribunals to run to, no committee decisions. If the Guv said he was out of the force then out he was and crying discrimination would get him nothing but a kicking from coppers who didn't like queers.

And always lurking at the back of his mind was the suspicion that this was real. That no matter how impossible it might seem or how often his logical mind told him otherwise, he really was in 1973 and his real boss had really caught him getting buggered in an alley. No wonder, come Monday morning, he wasn't keen to rush into the office. Even in 2006 that tasty bit of gossip would have spread round the station, there'd have been smirks and whispers and maybe a disciplinary charge, he could only guess at the insults and abuse 1973 would mete out to a bisexual copper. He could deal with it from the likes of Ray. Because Sam was better than them, he knew better, and arrogance would carry him over and above their narrow minded hatred. But he wasn't so sure he could take it from Gene. He'd heard the contempt in his voice as he'd talked of Warren the bum-bandit and Sam didn't ever want to hear that contempt directed at him, not from the Guv, no matter how wrong or bigoted he might be. If 1973 was real then Gene's respect was the only real thing he had.

Though at least if Gene was real Sam hadn't made him up. That thought was no less scary. Sam could think of many sound psychological reasons for his injured mind to take him back to 1973, his formative years. Many theories as to why it might have created DCI Hunt. He was all the things Sam was afraid of being, or maybe all the things he was too afraid to be, the flip side of his subconscious, or just an authority figure to fight against. Nothing a decent shrink couldn't sort out for him in 2006. But for his mind to create a fat, alcoholic, homophobic dinosaur who was by no means pretty, and then lust after him? That was disturbed. To then imagine him seeing you getting fucked by another guy? Bordering on deranged. Any shrink from any decade would agree - just mental. At least if Gene was a real flesh and blood person made in the regular way Sam only had to factor in the lusting when trying to gauge his own sanity.

But fearing Gene's contempt, real or imaginary, wasn't the reason Sam could admit to himself as he stood like the pansy Gene would no doubt call him outside CID, afraid to go in. No, he was afraid for his job. His grounding thread, his tie to some kind of life.

He might have stayed in that corridor all day. Sam Tyler, whose best friends would describe him as an arrogant prick, standing outside a door like a scared child summoned to Headmaster. Only he wasn't in school, he was in a busy police station and the decision was taken out of his hands when Phyllis came bustling around the corner with an armful of files. With one hand already on the push plate there was no graceful way out but to push. Walk into the dragon's den. And never had a metaphor been so literal.

Ray's desk was empty, Chris had his head deep in a pile of paper, the door to the DCI office firmly closed. Sam headed straight for his desk but he reckoned without his Guv's famous nose, which Gene had once claimed could smell a man from Hyde at 200 paces in a tailwind. The office door was thrown open and Sam's surname bellowed with enough force to rattle the cups in their saucers.

By the time Sam's faltering step had carried him to the office Hunt was sitting behind his desk, leaning comfortably back, wearing the same impassive frown that was seered onto Sam's memory. He said nothing. In the silence, the office door closed behind Sam with a doom-laden click.

"Am I fired?"

He'd meant the words to be confrontational, defiant, but somehow his voice let him down. He sounded like the little boy in Headmaster's office. DCI Hunt leaned further back in his creaky desk chair and folded his arms across his chest with a theatrical sigh.

"God help us!"

Sam met Gene's glare with confusion. "Guv?"

"Well out with it, Sammy-boy. What have you done now? Arrested the Arch-deacon? The Super's wife? Told the commissioner you're in a coma and he's a figment of your imagination?"


"Come on, Tyler! This has got to be bloody spectacular - considering all the shit I haven't sacked you for. So get it off your chest, there's a good boy, so Uncle Gene can start burying the bodies."

It didn't take much to have Sam questioning reality, waking up in 1973 will do that to you, but until now there'd been consistency to his delusions. It seemed just this once his imagination was giving him a reprieve, or he'd never seen Gene at all. Which was strange. Sam might have conjured up an image of his boss, once or twice, in the few moments before he shot his load but never staring, with a hint of accusation, from the other end of a filthy alley. Fully clothed. And the mental picture usually came before the event, not after. But if it was a vivid hallucination... Well, by Sam's reckoning Gene was already a vivid hallucination, so didn't Sam seeing him make him as real as he ever was? But his DCI was giving him a look that contained neither disgust nor contempt. It was just the standard there's-a-man-from-Hyde-in-my-office-and-this-can-only-mean-trouble glare. After more than a day preparing for a real confrontation Sam was a little too surprised to think on his feet.

"There are no bodies, Guv."

"Well that's a bleeding start. And also a bleeding metaphor, you div. So what have you done?"

"Uh..." The thinking came a little quicker this time. "Nothing you don't already know about," he answered ambiguously. And it was true, as far as Sam knew, except this morning was all wrong, and if you can't predict the world you created in your own head... It had to be the pot, Sam decided. Dodgy 1973 gear that had him hallucinating his DCI at inappropriate moments. It was better than thinking he'd imagined that his strangely charismatic superior officer had caught him getting buggered. That it was pot conjured up by his imagination was something he'd put aside for now.

Gene snorted softly through his nostrils, eying Sam suspiciously. "Bollocks!" he said firmly. "Why would you think I'd sack you if you haven't made some spectacular cock-up? Confess now, Tyler, you'll get a shorter sentence."

"No cock-up." Sam winced at his own unintentional pun. Maybe Gene had simply been too drunk to remember seeing him, though his eyes had seemed clear and the man himself upright. "I just... You seemed angry... and... Um..."

"I am bloody angry!" Gene shouted. But it was his standard irritated-policeman shout and nothing more. "You don't waltz into work at ten o'clock on a Monday morning, you lazy little scrote. We've had two stabbings last night and there are blood patterns that have gone completely unanalysed. Where the hell have you been?"

Standing outside, too much of a coward to come in. But Sam kept those words to himself.

"Sorry Guv," he said instead. "Overslept."

Another snort from Gene. "Well get to it then, Tyler. Between the tapes and the reports and the endless farting around you might actually get something useful done. Though I'm sure it's usually by accident."

The relief was physical; Sam could feel every muscle relaxing. "Yes Guv," he said again, with a meekness that must have been suspicious to Gene. He turned to make good his getaway but he was Sam Tyler and he'd never really learned when to leave things alone. A puzzle unsolved was nearly as bad as being outted and unemployed.

"So did you go on to a club Saturday night?" he asked casually, with no segue and all the subtlety of an articulated lorry. Gene made a noise halfway between a grunt and a bark.

"This about Saturday night, is it?"

Damnit, did he know or not? His DCI's rock-like face was giving nothing away. Maybe that was a clue in itself - you didn't assume a poker face until you'd seen your hand. "Saturday night?" he asked cautiously. But Gene wasn't a copper for nothing and even without fists his interview technique could break a man. He waited, eyebrows raised. Sam cracked.

"I thought you were going to sack me, okay. You're always banging on about queers and fairies and I thought... If you knew..."

Gene interrupted with a raucous belly laugh. "Jesus, Tyler! Knew you were a bloody poof the first time I ever slammed you up against a filing cabinet. A poof and a kinky little bastard with it."

I'm not a poof, was the knee-jerk reaction, but again Sam kept quiet. If Gene didn't care about him being gay then Sam was happy to let him go on thinking it. Sam firmly quashed the little voice that pointed out that he wanted Gene to care, just not in that special beat-him-to-a-pulp way. And the little voice that suggested he leap over the desk and show the man just how right he was. That particular voice wasn't merely quashed, it was bashed over the head and put in a strait-jacket until Sam was drunk enough to release it again.

"I'm a flaming detective!" Gene went on. "And you, Sammy-boy, are as camp as a tentful of Brownies. Was obvious to anyone but an idiot you were a fairy from the minute you ponced in here with your clean smell and your filed fucking fingernails. Are you calling me an idiot?"

"No Guv. Sorry Guv."

"Strange to tell, Tyler, I couldn't give a badger's fart 'bout who keeps you warm at night."

"But Warren-"

"Warren was a cunt," Gene interrupted forcefully. It was the first time he'd heard the C word since he'd landed in 1973, though he couldn't disagree with his DCI's assessment. "You, on the other hand, are a bloody good copper, when you're not being a flaming nutcase. Now go get some work done."

"Yes Guv."

(For the Americans on my flist who have no idea what I'm talking about - you should just ignore me. I wrote stuff that's not got Spike in it. Nothing to see here.)

Date: 2007-06-18 02:55 pm (UTC)
shapinglight: (Default)
From: [personal profile] shapinglight
Just to let you know, I'll be reading the LoM fic at some point. Also, I think the stampede off LJ was only temporary so you don't need to worry about it.

Date: 2007-06-18 05:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I live in fear of the day LJ do something so bad people stop talking about leaving and actually do it. It's taken me a year to figure out this site.

Date: 2007-06-18 07:00 pm (UTC)
cordykitten: (vampkiss  always wanting more)
From: [personal profile] cordykitten
Better get another LJ now and add the friends from LJ instead of trying to do it when it's down ;-)
Don't worry, most people are staying. The panic is over for now too (I hope).

Date: 2007-07-10 09:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I was just reading your journal the day you friended me! Friended back :)

Poor Sam - he can't even get sacked when he tries! I enjoyed all his thought processes and paranoia, and Gene is just perfect. (Was he in the alley way or not, or are we meant to hope?) If shooting's the answer for being obsessed with DCI Hunt, then that makes a hell of a lot of us.

I liked the second series well enough but it was patchy and I was irritated at how inconsistent they were with the characters and their relationships, and apart from the "Sam Williams" part in Ep 8, which I was captivated by, I was quite unhappy about the ending. More so, as time goes on.

Date: 2007-07-13 12:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hi! And sorry, have this bad habit of stealth-friending people when I don't have time to comment, I'd pasted your 'your desk or mine' series to read later (no internet at home, it's a bitch) and wanted to be able to find it later when I got back on line. Loved the idea of Sam hopeless hoping Gene would follow a little trail of booze out of his door and a resounding 'guh!' for the face-f***ing. Very very hot.
More so, as time goes on. I think that's my problem. If I'd just liked the first series, I'd have watched the second, thought that was okayish, and thought no more about it. As it is, I just love watching Gene and Sam but every time I watch it I notice more plot holes, more contradictions, until it annoys the crap out of me. I'm still looking for a show to replace BtVS and I get more annoyed by the shows that nearly measure up than the ones that don't come close.
And yes, shooting is the answer. I'm a 27 yr old woman crushing on a fictional, fat, forty-plus violent misogynitic bigotted alcoholic, which makes me a disgrace to my gender!

Date: 2007-07-14 11:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No worries! I'm terrible for that, read and then think "I'll comment later", and don't always get back to it.

Wow! Thanks for your compliments! And thanks for reading. The face-f***king is a terrible weakness of mine, I'm sure there's only *so* many ways it can be described.

Yeah, it's worse now they're re-running series 1, I'm noticing all sorts of things, thinking "they just left that dangling in series 2", etc, etc, etc. I can see so many possibilities where it could have been so much more satisfying. I'm apprehensive about A2A but I suppose we'll have to see.

Oh well, I'm less worried about the Gene thing, as I've had that many weird crushes it gets beyond silly, but I think a lot of it for me is because it's Philip Glenister playing him, and if it had been anyone else I'm not sure if Gene would have had the same effect.

Date: 2007-07-12 10:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm so glad I thought to bookmark this! That was a great read. I thought you nailed Sam's psychology brilliantly and you were very deft with the ambiguity both in terms of what was and what was not real, as well as Sam's feelings about his own sexuality. But your portrayal of Gene was the star of the show. You had him spot on, IMO. Funny, coarse, realistic and generous. Very well done. I'm off to recommend this to [ profile] emeraldsedai now, because we analyzed the hell out of LoM together and I'm sure she'll enjoy it.

Date: 2007-07-15 01:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I hope you realise you're at least party responsible for this fic. If I'd never read Trauma Medicine I never would have realised slash could be as good as proper shipper fic (such was my thinking at the time) and I could really care about a slash pairing. And if I'd never started reading slash I wouldn't have started reading Sam/Gene and I certainly wouldn't have written any. So you see, it's all your fault! (I may well use this excuse often, just so as you're warned. You corrupted me.)
And thank you. ::bounces::

Date: 2007-07-16 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Gosh. I'm immensely flattered! And I was just like you about slash (and very probably about Spuffy, which was a ship dear to my heart despite it never prompting me to write fanfic) - the first time I read any it made my eyes water!

I read some of your comments to [ profile] emeraldsedai about Graham's dumbass comments about the ending of LoM. Personally, I felt they had a great arc going in S1 that was going to reach a worthwhile conclusion and then someone offered them money for a second series. Suddenly all that stuff about Life On Mars (which I took to be Life As A Man) and paternity went veering off at a tangent. Even so, they could have done something way more useful with the S2. I really thought they were trying to do a Joss - expand out from the Betraying Father into ways in which paternalistic authority exploits and corrupts - but no.

I agree with you about Sam never waking up. I hope he died - but of course, they've got Ashes to Ashes in the works, so he can't have.

I wonder if they were writing on instinct about what it is to be a man in the modern world rather than analyzing it like we did? Gorram Joss Whedon - I expect more self-awareness from programme creators that we got from the LoM lot!

Date: 2007-07-13 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMG this is awesome! Fellow LoM fan [ profile] kispexi2 directed me to this story, and she wasn't wrong. I think "he wanted Gene to care, just not in that special beat-him-to-a-pulp way" is one of the best, most true-to-the-source lines I've ever seen in slash(y) fic.

And can I just say that I appreciate your words about that what I (as an American and a really rabid fan) was afraid to say about the second series? How many times have I reviewed in bitter disappointment the unfulfilled promise of the first series? As another great character in another great series said, "Thanks for sayin', sir."

Anyway, great fic, great post, and may I friend you?

Date: 2007-07-15 01:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hi! Glad you enjoyed it. Friending you back. And if you haven't found it already can I direct you to lifein1973, they have a great stash of Sam/Gene fic here, and if you want a place to bitch there's Jumping Off

I promised myself I wouldn't rant about Life on Mars on LJ because once I got started I'd never stop. When I rewatch the first series there are plot holes and inconsistancies and it's faintly patronizing to everyone who was an adult in the 70s but nothing you couldn't forgive given the brilliance of the acting. I looked forward to more, thought when it found its feet it could be brilliant... Fool. The whole second series read like nobody had bothered to actually read through the script. Lazy, lazy writing. There were some scenes that were fantastic, and everything else was slapped in as an excuse for the good bits, with no thought whatsoever.

And I hated the ending. But what really infuriated me was Matthew Graham's comments in response to some unfavourable feedback telling the audience it was a happy ending and a romance and anyone who thought otherwise was wrong. And infact anyone who thought about it at all was a bit of a weirdo. Because getting invested in a TV series, expecting TV to be anything other than shallow mindless entertainment, that's so very silly - according to the scriptwriter. I took that personally. Never mind that it's not a happy ending, you can't have a romance with someone who doesn't exist, killing yourself to live in a fantasy world is not a brave thing to do - that's why we have rehab for heroin addicts - and it contradicted everything we've learnt about Sam and completely dismissed every other character as a figment of his imagination happy to welcome him back, except his mother, who we're told by MG is supposed to 'understand' his decision because she told him to keep his promises. Anyone who thinks a mother could be happy to scrape her only son off the pavement after unknowingly condoning his suicide is an idiot, and that, actually, makes MG right - anyone who gets invested in his TV is an idiot. Sadly, I'd given my heart by the time I worked that out.

Gosh. Sorry. Shutting up now.

Date: 2007-07-15 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Brilliant rant! I'm happy to say that I was shielded from the LoM meta by virtue of being outside the intended audience. Graham's comments are disingenuous in the extreme, and if he really believes that the career he's invested his life (and, to fair, some considerable talent) in is just stupid, then woe is him. Hell, even I in my totally-by-accident career in government know better than to say to taxpayers, "You're silly to care about what I do." That's just dumb.

I agree that plot holes in the first series were a minor inconvenience when held up against the overall brilliance of the show. Moments like Sam and Gene drinking in the dawn and deciding to do something about the corruption in Gene's soul buy a whole lot of forgiveness. It was indelible moments like that, mixed with the tantalizing clues about Sam's reasons for going to 1973, that hooked me in. By the time the second series was underway, I was so besotted that I simply glossed over "mistakes" like reusing Gene's "You are surrounded by armed bastards" line (so, so brilliant the first time, so, so stupid the second).

So when the ending came, I was like the adoring, blind wife who has ignored all the clues of her husband's infidelity and is finally whapped in the face by finding him in bed with the pool boy.

As to the ending, I decided (for my own peace of mind) that Sam never fully woke up at all--that he regained enough consciousness to realize what had been happening to him, maybe to have a talk with his mother, and to be reminded of what his old, sterile life had really been like. The jump off the building happened only in his imagination, as a metaphor for deciding to return to the comatose state.

Oh, damn, there was just so much wrong with that last part! I'm going to read fic now. :-|

Date: 2007-07-13 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, and I must also add a word of praise about how you've handled the 1973/2006 confusion. John Simm is a good enough actor that even though it was never in the actual dialog, you always just knew he was thinking stuff like the bit that led up to this line: "That it was pot conjured up by his imagination was something he'd put aside for now."

Oh, and another thing: your Gene Hunt voice is perfect.

And the file cabinet mention? *fans self*

Oh, how I love this story.
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