hughes: (is there life on mars?)
Erin (La Cidiana) ([personal profile] hughes) wrote2013-08-29 01:24 am

Fanfiction: Here Comes Your Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown | Day One

-- DAY ONE --

The first sign of something terribly wrong was the ashtray in his mouth.

Sam rolled over, sputtered, fisted a hand in his blanket, and that's when he became certain something was off, because there was no possible way his dilapidated excuse for a bed could withstand such movement without creaking. Sam ran a hand over the cushions underneath him -- was he on a sofa? -- and then rolled onto his back.

He stared at his ceiling. Except it wasn't his ceiling. Well -- technically, his flat's ceiling wasn't sodding his either, and for a single infinitesimal moment he entertained the possibility that he might have awoken in a hospital's coma ward, until -- no, right, that wallpaper was blindingly hideous. Still the seventies.

And still the victim of his mind's sadistic games. He groaned and brought a hand to his face. He felt fairly hungover -- had he been drinking?

He remembered trudging into the Arms last night, weighed down with frustration over Gene's insistence that they squeeze informants about Owen Rodrick's whereabouts rather than have the coroner take a second look at the body. He remembered drinking, and he remembered confiding in Annie, and he remembered not drinking much more after that. He remembered Ray making some misogynist comment about Rodrick's latest victim, and he remembered Gene coming between them. He remembered shoving Ray against the bar and he remembered Gene clipping his face right after.

He frowned against the hand resting on his cheek. Strange thing -- he didn't feel sore, and as he slowly patted at his cheek, his nose, his neck -- he froze.

He didn't feel right at all.

He shot up, panicked, and hissed as he brought his hand to his forehead, which -- no, no, that didn't feel normal either, and neither did his hair, much longer than it should be, and -- God, his head...

He pressed both his hands to his face -- both strange, big hands -- and then dragged them down again. He squinted up and tried to make sense of his surroundings -- obviously a house, and not an unusual one. Light filtered in through curtains and magazines lay over the coffee table. A television sat in one corner of the room.

Sam heard steps come down the nearby staircase. He sat bolt upright -- heavier, somehow, and then paused when he realized that the thing draped over him was a coat and not a blanket.

"Another late night, then?"

He looked up and saw a woman -- a pretty woman despite being a bit along in years, curlers rolled into her brown hair and tired eyes fixed on him with a kind of unwavering resignation.

Not sure what she meant, Sam opted for a straightforward "Where am I," except his brain stuttered and tripped over the last two words like he'd tumbled off the edge of a cliff, because--

That was Gene's voice coming out of his mouth.

That was Gene's voice. Coming out. Of his mouth.

"Oh," said Gene's wife, "must have been quite late then," and she turned round and climbed back up the stairs.


Sam was nearly wheezing by the time he pounded on his flat's front door. He didn't much feel like yelling for someone to open up -- he didn't feel much like saying anything at the moment -- and he was about to kick the bloody thing off its hinges when it swung open.

His own face glared at him. Hair mussed. Jaw tight. Expression cold.

Sam stared back. The other Sam raised his chin.


Sam swallowed.



Sam made it two paces into his flat before Gene slammed him into the wall -- or tried, anyway. It was more Sam stumbling back than anything else, and Gene's hands, usually huge on Sam's jacket lapels, felt small on the camelhair.

"What in the bastard Olympian fuck is this?"

"I don't know!" Sam cried. "Christ, Gene, do you think I'd know?"

"I'm not the one who prances about like I'm arse-deep in loony-land!" Gene shouted back, but there was something more to it too, because Sam could feel how much those hands shook on the coat, how his own hazel eyes stared back at him like their only lifeline was trapped, here, in front of them.

God, Sam thought, is that how I look from up here?

As if reading his mind, Gene's gaze hardened and he shoved Sam against the wall, though this time Sam only winced. Gene wet his lips, which was... well, rather bloody disturbing, and then stepped back far enough for Sam to breathe.

Sam inhaled. He leaned his head against the wall. Gene grit his teeth and jabbed a finger at him.

"You'll fix this, you little hell-raised warlock. Now."

Sam gazed back at his own face blearily, feeling he might be sick from both the hangover and ten million other things, not the least of which was the skin encasing him and fact that he had Gene's moronic drinking habits to blame for Gene's rightful sodding headache.

Sam closed his eyes and hissed through his teeth. "And what gives you any idea that I could manage that?"

Gene's expression flared. "You've stolen my friggin' body for starters!"

"Listen," Sam growled, and it was strange -- so bloody strange to feel the gruff timbre of DCI Hunt's voice push out of his chest and into the air, "I'd sooner steal a horse's backside than--" he gestured vaguely at himself "--this, so let me make it absolutely sodding clear just how terribly unhappy I am with the current state of affairs."

"You're unhappy?" Gene clenched his jaw and waved a hand at him. "You've caught yourself a prime cut of modern manliness. Me? I'm stuck as Gladys, Queen of the Fairies!"

Sam grimaced. "Bloody -- could you not use my voice for your caveman insults?"

"You're using my voice for your nancy whinging." Gene crossed his arms and shifted his weight, like he didn't have enough of himself to settle on his feet. Something about it made the sight of Sam's body outside of himself hit him like a train wreck all over again.

Sam groaned. He brought not-his hands to not-his face, then closed not-his eyes, shook not-his head, and wondered what the fuck he was supposed to do.

"These EEG readings -- rather odd, don't you think?"

Sam's hands slid down his face. He frowned over Gene's shoulder at the television set.

"Yes, as if the bulk of his brain activity has shifted from one cortex to another."

Gene followed Sam's gaze and glanced back at him.

"Sodding hell are you looking at?"

"Quiet," Sam muttered as he shoved past him in his rush to kneel in front of the television. He grasped it by either side as his eyes flicked between the figures on the screen.

Gene seethed behind him. "I'm glad that one of us is catching up on the petrol shortage, because I, for one, am a bit busy worrying about being stuffed in another bloke's skivvies."

"I said to shut up!" Sam hissed back.

"Reorganizing itself?"

"It's possible. After so much cranial trauma, it only stands to reason that the synapses might concentrate themselves in less damaged regions."

"You mean compensate for the trauma? Solve the root problem?"

"Precisely. I can't say how long it might last, but I'd estimate--"

The voices disappeared with a burst of static, replaced by the newsreader's headlines and Sam's own voice growling behind him.

" listening, Tyler? I'll not have you act a nutter with my ruggedly handsome face!"

Sam released his hands from the television set. He sighed, and he couldn't quite bring himself to imagine the sheer pathetic look of it as he leaned the Guv's forehead against the glass. "I'm afraid you might have to."

Judging from the tension in the air, said Guv seemed about ready to beat his own stolen face into a pulp.

And then the phone rang.

Sam shot to his feet. Both he and Gene turned to face the thing. On the second ring, Sam steeled himself, strode forward, and picked up the receiver.


"Oh--" Ray. Shit. "Guv! Been wonderin' where you were -- gone to rouse the Boss, then, eh?"

"I..." Sam turned, helpless, to stare at Gene. His tongue lay like a dry lump in his mouth.

"Guv? You there?"

Gene grit his teeth and stormed forward. He snatched the phone from Sam's grasp and pressed it to his ear.


"Oi. Boss." At the close distance, Sam could hear the change in Ray's tone, like gears grinding to rust. "It's us. Waiting on you, as usual--"

"Right," clipped Gene, "so how 'bout you stop waiting and get your arse on tracking those snouts for news on Rodrick."

Ray paused, then sputtered. "Boss, I thought you--"

"Lickety-split, Raymondo!"

Gene slammed the phone down. The mechanical clang echoed in the silence of the room.

Sam rubbed his eyes. "You make a terrible me."

Gene turned to appraise him. After a moment, he shouldered past him and marched toward the closet.

"You make a terrible you."


They had to report to the station. It wasn't a question either of them needed to ask -- they had no other option when they still had a killer like Rodrick on the loose, and trusting the team to handle the investigation with both the Guv and the Boss out of commission would be like kicking a spiked football into a throng of children.

It was the only option, but that didn't necessarily make it a good one, something which Sam felt imperative to point out as Gene went full throttle on the Cortina.

"You realize, don't you?" he asked, watching -- with some horror -- as Gene turned Sam's unassuming hands into mechanisms of pedestrian terror. "You realize how utterly mental this is?"

"Unless you've a better idea, you can shut my mouth and stop making me sound a ruddy twonk," Gene snapped back.

Sam swallowed, distinctly ill even with Gene's hangover slowly fading from his system. He stared forward as the alleys and roads shifted to street names nearer and nearer to the station.

"Fine," he breathed, "so we pretend to be each other. Right, yes, that sounds perfectly brilliant."

"Better than announcing we've been had by your fairy godmother."

"My idiot brain, more like it."

Gene glanced at him. "What's that?"

"Nothing, just--" Sam felt Gene's plaque-addled heart pound faster as the station's concrete edifice came into view. "Don't you think we ought to brief each other first? On our lives and all that?"

Gene pulled into the station's car park and rolled the Cortina to a dead stop. He engaged the brakes, yanked his key out of the ignition, and then turned to look Sam in the eye.

"What do you suppose there is to tell you?"

Sam opened his mouth, ready to say that there were lots of things. Gene's dart club, for instance, or his poker games at the Arms; his every-day order of mashed and gravy at the cantina and the stash of malt in his file cabinet's bottom drawer. And some larger facts too -- like how he sorted the team into pairs on raids and led the charges himself, or how he avoided Rathbone's calls from upstairs if he could help it and how he never, ever mentioned Harry Woolf's name unless someone else did first.

There were lots of things, Sam thought, and he was about to mention just how many when his mind caught up with his mouth.

"Oh," Sam said.

"Right." Gene adjusted Sam's leather jacket on his shoulders. "And you?"

"What?" Sam blinked.

Gene rolled his eyes. "You, Dorothy. Any terrible secrets I should know post-haste?"

Sam stared at him.

I'm from thirty-three years in the future and I don't know how to get back home. This world might be a product of watching my father murder a woman when I was four years old. I might be mad, in a coma, and back in time all at once. Every night when I go to sleep I wonder if I'll wake up again, and when I dream, a little girl watches me and tells me I've nothing to live for.

"No," said Sam. "Not particularly."

"Good," said Gene as he swung out of the car.


It hit Sam in the midst of discombobulation and terror as they climbed up the station's steps.

"Your wife."

"What?" Gene didn't look much better, hands balled into fists and shoulders hunched over, which -- Sam was loathe to admit -- made him rather look the part.

"Your wife," Sam repeated. "I saw her this morning."

"Did you?" It was hard to tell through the filter of his own voice, but Sam thought he detected an edge of genuine surprise to Gene's tone.

Sam waited for more, but as they continued to walk, Gene didn't elaborate.

Sam frowned. "You aren't concerned at all?"

Gene shot a glare as he pushed through the station's front doors. "Last I checked, she isn't a part of the division we're about to pull a sodding scam on, is she?"

No, Sam thought, just the woman you live with, but he didn't have a chance to get any further as they stepped in through the doors and toward the front desk.

Phyllis glanced up at them -- at Sam, really, which Sam supposed to her meant "Guv" -- and then looked back to her paperwork.

"Sunny mornin' to you too, lads. Thought you'd turned Rodrick's newest butcher meat, way you'd disappeared."

Gene snorted. "Bit few tits for his taste, love."

Phyllis paused and slowly raised her head. Sam grabbed Gene by his jacket shoulder and yanked him toward the lift.

"Which is why we'll be on our way up," he hissed. He shoved Gene into the lift and ignored any glare he might've received in return, then turned and slammed his palm into the "up" button.

Sam waited patiently for the doors to close--

And whirled on Gene, fists clenched.

"The bloody hell do you think you're doing?!"

Gene turned on him straight back. "Far as I can tell, making you look less of a ponce!"

"For God's sake, forget your aggressive masculinity for a single millisecond and think about how I actually act!"

"How you act?" Gene threw a hand into the air. "You stare out my face like Helen Keller at a mime routine and then lecture me how you act?"

"Gene," Sam breathed, trembling, "we are in a building full of detectives--"

"Right. Detectives. Meaning they're clever enough not to suspect any magical bollocks anyway."

"Except they aren't, because you've trained them to make ridiculous--" Sam raised his fingers for air quotes "--'hunches'."

"Don't you dare make your fairy--" Gene mimicked Sam's fingers "--'motions' with my hands--"

"I'll do whatever I damn well please!"

The doors slid open. They froze mid-gesture to see Vince and Geoff waiting to step onto the lift.

Geoff blinked. Vince coughed.

"Mornin', Guv."

It took Sam a moment to realize that, oh, yes, he was supposed to respond to that, wasn't he?

So he cleared his throat in return. "Um. Morning."

Another moment passed while Gene stared at Sam like he was some kind of horrifying hell-borne monster.

The doors began to re-close. Gene grit his teeth, stepped forward, and shoved them open again. He glared over his shoulder at Sam.

"Care to step off? Guv?"

Gene's sarcasm was several degrees above scathing, though Sam supposed that to anyone else it'd sound like his usual rebelliousness. Sam's usual rebelliousness, that is -- that... God, this was going to get...

Sam shook his head and shouldered past Gene, hoping his gait would pass for the Guv's usual lumbering as he marched past Geoff and Vince and into CID's main corridor.

Just get to the office, Sam thought as Gene trailed after him, just get to Gene's sodding office and don't worry about anything until you've sat down, and taken a breath, and given your boss a talking to--

Annie appeared around the corner, flipping through a stack of folders in her arms.

Sam stopped in his tracks.

Oh, God.

Annie glanced up and smiled, searching for something in particular as she made a beeline for -- Gene.

Oh, God, no--

"Been looking for you, sir," she said, sidling up to Gene in that way of hers. She opened a file. "Seems you were right -- Felicia Hartley had dirt under her fingernails, and when the coroner took another look at the chafe wounds like you asked--"

"Why the hell would I do that?"

Sam grimaced, unable to look at Annie as she stuttered to a stop like a sparrow into glass. When he opened an eye, he saw her staring back at Gene with the same wide eyes that appeared on her face whenever Sam had one of his stupendously terrible days.

"Well, I... sir, it's... you said..."

"Must've been sloshed." Gene's eyes snapped to Sam's, and if at any moment in time Sam had wished to set his unscrupulous boss on fire, this was most certainly it.

But instead he felt helpless. Hopeless, even. He grit his teeth, unable to do a single damn thing and wondering how he was supposed to get through today without Gene Bloody Hunt ruining the one good thing he still had.

"Mornin', Guv," a DC said in his direction as he walked by.

Sam froze. He felt himself smirk. Felt Gene's face smirk.

"Drunk enough to have some sense in you," he said -- with Gene's voice -- evenly.

He reached for Annie's file and gently tugged it from her fingers. He gazed down at the paper, stalling for a moment until he glanced up at Gene, and -- there, something horrible dawning on his own features as Gene came upon the same revelation.

Sam confirmed it with a satisfied grimace. "Good thing you aren't the one making decisions 'round here. Tyler."

Fury and horror spread over Gene's borrowed face. "You wouldn't dare."

Sam narrowed his eyes. He leaned into Gene's space and leered down at him.

"Try any more of that and I will."

"Um... sir?"

Sam turned to see Annie glance between the two of them, trying -- clearly -- to work out what was going on. She could probably sense something horribly awry, Sam thought. She was good at that, and for an irrational moment, Sam hoped that she'd figure them out if only to strike the damage of Gene's words off Sam's record.

But like most things that Sam wanted, it didn't happen. Instead, Annie's expression twisted from confusion to outright distaste. She settled her eyes on Gene in the guarded way that Sam knew too well. "If you won't be needing me, then, sir..."

"Don't think I will," Gene murmured, still glaring at Sam like he might bore holes in him. Annie nodded silently and headed down the hall, shoulders tense, arms rigid with anger and humiliation.

Sam turned toward her, a horrible tightness in his chest. "Ann -- Cartwright."

Annie turned to face him, wary. "Yes, Guv?"

Sam swallowed and tapped the file with a calloused knuckle, feeling foolish, suddenly, with his added height on her, with the wrong title in the wrong tone, with the wrong sound coming out of his throat. "It's just... you--"

"It's good work, Annie."

For a moment, Sam didn't register his own voice, like it was another thought inside his head. But then he saw Annie's eyes drift somewhere past him and he followed her gaze to see himself, tense but for all appearances trying to keep eye contact with her.

"It's good work -- good... you know..." The other Sam cleared his throat rather like the Guv did, and Sam reeled as his waking dream shattered like funhouse glass. "Evidence and. All that."

Annie narrowed her eyes -- in confusion rather than anger, though Gene probably couldn't tell the difference from the way he averted his gaze and added, quick and brusque, "Sorry. Bad day."

Despite everything, Sam felt a stab of empathy.

But then it vanished after a moment, when Annie's eyes did go angry, when her grip tightened on her files and she pursed her lips.

She spoke, strong and clear. "We all have bad days, Sam. No need to make the rest of us feel the same."

She turned on her heel and walked past them, footsteps echoing down the smoky corridor. It hadn't looked so alien and foreboding since Sam had first arrived.

"Mouthy bird when she wants to be," Gene muttered.

Sam watched her disappear round the corner. He clenched a fist.

"Only when someone treats her like it."

He whirled toward CID's front doors and stormed past Ray's greeting and Chris' wave, past the desks and filing cabinets all the way to the Guv's door. And, when Ray turned toward the figure trailing after him and started with a sly "so, Boss," Sam turned toward him, growled, "Shut up, Carling," and the look on Ray's face was about the only pleasant part of the entire morning.


"That was a dirty ploy you pulled back there."

If there was a subtle stung quality to Gene's tone, Sam didn't have the energy to hear it. Instead, he kept his face pressed to his hands, content for the moment to pretend that his elbows, resting on Gene's desk, were his own.

"You're dirty in general," he mumbled.

When he heard Cuban heels take angry strides toward the desk, he finally looked up to meet his own face's scowl.

"We need," Sam enunciated, painfully, in Gene's voice, "to act like each other."

"What, and keep lying to our own people?"

I've been managing it for months.

Sam clenched a fist on the desk. "Do you want to be thrown in a padded cell?"

"Not especially, though I suppose you'd know more about that than anyone else in this sodding -- oh, don't make that ruddy pout of yours on my face."

Sam matched Gene's disgusted expression with one of his own. "Then don't act a complete arse to DC Cartwright!"

Gene glared back at him. "Fine."

"Or to any other woman in this--"

"Fine, so long as you--" Gene raised a finger with deadly accusation, "--don't make decisions for my team without my bloody say-so."

Sam narrowed his eyes. "Right."

"I mean it, Sam."

Sam clenched his jaw, ready to spit out something about holding each other's lives for ransom like proper bastards instead of treating this with an ounce of professionalism -- and then he paused.

There was fear there, in Gene's borrowed face. It was the same sort Sam had seen while pressed against his flat's wall, but this time he had the presence of mind to recognize it. Stubborn resolution colliding with alien bewilderment, iron-willed steps stumbling over shaky ground. I'm the warlock here, Sam thought, because I'm the only one who's known anything like this.

"It's all right, Guv," Sam heard himself say. He felt far apart from his words, and not just because of the voice he was speaking with. "Whatever this is, I'm sure it won't last."

Gene's eyes wandered away and settled on the Sergio Leone poster on the wall opposite him. He probably didn't feel much of a sheriff at the moment, Sam realized with a strange knot in his stomach. Not while standing on the wrong side of his desk.

Gene looked down again. After a moment, he stood upright and turned toward the door.

"Clean shirt's in the cabinet, Dorothy. Been wearing that since yesterday."

"Sure, Guv," said Sam, and as some facsimile of himself disappeared out the office doors, Sam felt, for the first time since his flat door had swung open that morning, completely alone.


All insanity considered, the day went smoother than expected.

For once, the lack of information on their culprit helped instead of hindered. They knew who'd done the killings -- one of the few things Sam and Gene had agreed upon in the past few days -- but not his location. Forensics was checking into the information Annie had unearthed about the fingernails containing particles other than common dirt, but they hadn't yet parsed out what it was, and without anyone to chase, CID had stayed rather quiet throughout the day.

Though that wasn't entirely accurate. It had also stayed quiet because the Guv -- the proper Guv -- wasn't around to do any chasing. Both Sam and Gene had kept silent and static at their opposite workstations, and although that in itself probably raised red flags to everyone around them, they must have both been exuding enough "leave me the bloody hell alone" for no one to actually question it.

Except for Chris. Naturally.

"Goin' to pub, Guv?"

"No," Sam said, eyes fixed with inhuman intensity on the sheet of paper in front of him. Gene had dropped Sam's entire inbox on the desk this afternoon with a gruff "I'll not be doing your nancy paperwork," which was fine with Sam because it gave him something to focus on other than his increasingly clammy hands or lingering headache or anything else that he was really trying very hard not to list as initial symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

Chris continued to be there and Sam continued to pretend he wasn't.

"Right. Jus', y'know. Wanted to--"

"Busy, Chris," Sam growled in a way that sounded disturbingly like Gene, enough that he felt the need to add, "Need to finish some work with... DI Tyler."

Chris scrunched his face. "Is that what's been wrong with him, Guv? Lotsa work, like?"

Sam's pencil froze. "Something's wrong?"

"Well, y'know. Starin' at his desk. Pacin' 'round. Snappin' at us odd-like -- nothin' worse than the usual." Chris smirked and Sam had never, ever in his entire life felt so relieved to generally come off as an utter lunatic.

He breathed out and continued writing.

"Yeah. That barmy Tyler. Go on home, Chris."

"Right, Guv," Chris said as he finally skittered out.

A few minutes passed. Sam listened with intense anticipation to creaks and scuffles as the other members of CID gathered their things and drifted out of the station. After a few minutes more, he dropped his pencil, leaned back in the chair, and dragged his alien hands down his alien face.

"Survived the day, I gather."

Gene stood in the doorway, leaning on the wall with his arms crossed over his front in familiar demeanor if not figure. Sam swallowed and glanced at the tower of completed forms on the desk, absurd even by his standards. "More or less."

Gene nodded. He tapped his foot on the ground, then turned and slammed out the doors.

"Right. Drinks, your flat."

"God, yes," Sam said as he stood from the chair.


The ridiculous amount of second-hand smoke in the station must have helped tide Sam over earlier in the day, because it wasn't until their fourth hand of cards and his second measure of scotch that he began unconsciously patting himself down for Gene's Marlboros.

"Left jacket pocket," Gene muttered as he tossed 5 p into their betting pile. They'd both emptied their wallets on Sam's table and swapped coinage, because really, how the hell else were they supposed to count winnings?

"Thanks," Sam mumbled back. He reached for where he'd hung Gene's suit jacket on his chair and managed to extricate the half-empty carton, then rested it against the tabletop and began tugging out a cigarette.

Gene watched him fumble with it a moment before snorting. "You ever touched one of those, Gladys?"

"Why would I?" Sam scowled down at the thing, hateful and pointless as it was. "Unless I wanted lung cancer, kidney disease, high stress, short life expectancy--"

"Do you actually believe -- what am I saying, 'course you do."

"Your body's a walking death trap." Sam grabbed a lighter out of his borrowed pants pocket and tried to flick it with his oversized thumb. "And hopelessly out of shape, and heavy, and rank--"

"Oi!" Gene slammed his cards face-down on the table. "Only reason it's 'rank' is 'cause someone hasn't bloody well stood under the tap and scrubbed it down!"

Sam had been in the middle of taking his first drag and marveling at how much muscle memory and a tar-laden throat were helping him when he froze, and Gene froze, and Sam was fairly certain Gene had just bungled them into a topic that they'd both silently agreed not to talk about. But there it was, and now all Sam could think about was how they'd each walked stonily out of the CID offices toward the washroom at some point today and just how much he completely, entirely, absolutely wanted to obliterate that fact from his life as a whole.

Gene coughed. He picked up his cards.

"Impressed, then?"

"Oh, dear God." Sam pressed his hands to his eyes. "Don't. I am not fucking -- no." He grabbed the scotch bottle and poured himself a glass, then gripped it and downed the whole mouthful.

Gene raised a brow at him. "You should know yours was as limp as it looked."

Sam slammed his glass down. The table shook.

"Good," Sam croaked on the afterburn as he moved back to the cigarette. "Good, because that's exactly what I needed to hear right now. My day from hell would have been utterly incomplete without that, so thank you, Gene. Thank you for playing your part in my little horror story to its absolute fullest."

"Your horror story?" Gene asked, quiet.

Sam laughed, but when it came out as Gene's guffaw, he nearly choked on it. Or maybe it was the expression on Gene's face that stopped him, dead serious and dead still, staring Sam down with his own eyes and seeming all the more unreal for it.

Gene finally looked away. He stood up, kicked his chair under the table, then took the few paces toward Sam's bed.

"This had better be fixed by morning," he muttered.

"Freaky Friday," Sam offered weakly.

Gene flopped onto the creaky mattress.

"It's Wednesday, you moron."


It was damn strange to hear himself snore.

Apparently, while assaulted by a veritable blitz of psychological bombardment, that's what Sam's mind grabbed for. Snoring. And staring at his own prone figure on his own prone bed, watching it stir under the fickle blue glow of Night University as he wondered why the girl in the television would want to torment someone so small.

Sam closed his eyes and took another drag from his cigarette. Second one, because Gene's body belonged to an idiot addict. Second one, because bloody hell, was this what he really did to himself?

Impulsively, Sam squashed the thing out on the table. He watched the embers jump and twist in the surface's wooden crevasses and then stood up. He briefly considered making a farce of heading back to Gene's house so that his wife didn't worry, but then he decided he'd done enough fucking play-acting for one day and that the floor looked very inviting.

He thought, as he curled up under Gene's coat and closed his eyes, that Gene had been moronically stupid to take the bed when Sam was going to be the one to wake up in it. Except then Sam awoke to musty carpet on his cheek and a horrific crick in his neck and he immediately decided two things.

One. Gene Hunt was, sometimes, not moronically stupid.

Two. He'd rather get up and take the most tremendously awkward shower in the world than keep smelling the way he did now.


Day One | Day Two | Day Three