Author: debl_ns; beta-read by talkingtothesky
Rating: Green Cortina
Word Count: 1054
Prompt: Some good old Sam!whump h/c goodness would be great, maybe with a bit of guilty!Gene in the mix? <3 Can be gen or slash, your choice. Prompt word is “hot”.
Notes: Mostly gen with a hint of slash. I'm sincerely sorry that it's so late, Cello. I hope that you like it.
Sam Tyler was a bloody idiot.
The words had been going through Gene's head since Sam's phone call, appearing and disappearing like the falling snow across the Cortina's windscreen.
Gene stared out of the glass, watching the main entrance to the hospital. Five minutes to two on a Friday morning and the big bastard snowflakes were hitting the window like fat bugs in the heat of July. And, as if to emphasise the fact, a flake splattered and died, leaving behind a hint of wet.
Still no sign of Sam.
Gene felt a chill run through him. Bloody snow. Wasn't even really that cold. He pulled out his cigarettes, fumbling with the packet, and lit one, blowing a stream of smoke out through his teeth. He sat there, smoking quietly while he waited, the only sound the dull idling of the car's engine.
Sam was a bloody idiot.
Gene went back to staring out of the windscreen. Outside, in the stark light cast by the street lamp, Sam walked slowly through the double doors, limping slightly, face pinched as he moved toward Gene. It was a relief to see him. Gene waited. Sam limped closer. The snow was getting heavier, settling on his head, the slender shoulders of his leather jacket.
Gene shivered again and reached for the heater, turning it up full crank. There was a sudden blast of heat as it roared to life not unlike the rush of adrenaline ringing in his own ears.
The passenger door swung open and Sam climbed stiffly into the seat, making the leather squeak. He groaned as he settled his legs, the snow from his boots melting into the footwell. “Thanks for coming,” he said. He blew on his hands, then held them over the vents.
“You said come pick you up, I picked you up.” Up close, Sam smelled of old sweat. And copper and antiseptic. “Did it right away,” Gene continued. “I could have said you're a pain in me arse and left you there.”
There was a brief pause. “I guess I wouldn't have blamed you.”
They fell into an uneasy silence, and Gene let it drag out for a moment before pulling the cigarette from his mouth and crushing the glowing orange tip out forcibly in the overflowing ashtray. “Bloody idiot. What were you thinking?”
Sam turned round to look at him. Water trickled down his cheek and into his collar. He swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing up and down in his throat. “I wasn't entirely honest with you this morning, Gene,” he confessed. “I lied to you. I'm sorry.”
And there it was. Out in the open. Sam had left Gene's office, gone out to meet Bonham on his own. Had kept it from Gene. He'd known what a position it would put Gene in if it went wrong. And still, he'd done it.
Gene took in the swollen and discoloured cheek. The hair in need of a wash; the fresh stitches at Sam's temple. His boots were scuffed, the jeans soiled at the knees.
Sam's jacket was buttoned wrong.
Considering Sam's attention to detail, it was so unexpected that Gene hesitated. Suddenly, he felt queasy and wondered if it was the spreading heat, or the overpowering smell of antiseptic, or the thought of what he was about to do. He cleared his throat. “I can't believe you lied to me!” Fiery heat raced up his neck and across his cheeks then burned into his ears. He shot Sam a look of offence. “Supposed to be a team, Sam. That means you tell me everything. You don't sneak about, you little bastard!”
Sam probed his head with his fingers and winced. “Do you have to shout? My head hurts enough as it is.”
“Good. Serves you right for being stupid,” Gene snapped, hoping for a reaction, and got one.
“Okay, yeah. I should have taken you with me. Jesus. That make you happy, Gene?” Sam said, spilling it out in one rapid stream of words.
“Sodding ecstatic,” Gene replied without enthusiasm. They stared at each other, Sam's deep brown eyes nearly obscured by the dilated pupils. “Do you want to be partnered with Ray for a fortnight? Would you like that, Sam? Because I can arrange that,” Gene said flatly.
Sam shrugged his shoulders. “If that's the way you want it,” he replied. He sighed, amending it to “'Fuck's sake.”
Gene narrowed his eyes, his lips tight.
“I'd do it again, if need be,” Sam continued, quietly.
Gene bristled at the words. “Would you now,” he murmured, his voice not much louder than Sam's.
“Would you like to know why, Gene?”
Gene searched Sam's eyes for the truth, or the evidence of another lie, and what he saw there stunned him. Inhaling sharply, he understood. Sam had made a choice. It was Gene's job to protect Sam.
But Sam had saved him.
Gene puffed out a breath. “Right, well … you did what you had to do then.” He shifted in the seat. Gene knew he didn't have a snowball's, but he tried anyway. Would keep trying. “Er, are you hungry, Sam?”
Sam ran a hand over his bruised face. “No,” he answered. No surprise there. “I'm tired and I want to go to sleep.”
Idiot needed more than sleep. Nothing a proper meal and a bath wouldn't sort out. “I'm driving you home to yours.” Gene poked a finger in Sam's direction. “But, just so you know, I'm staying over,” he pressed.
Sam blinked several times. “What do you mean, 'staying over'? Where are you going to sleep?”
“We'll talk about that later.”
“Yeah, but --”
“I'm fine, Gene. Really.”
“You're making the tea. That was what you meant to say, wasn't it?” Gene poked Sam's arm again. “Hot, milk and three sugars for me. And I'm making scrambled eggs with beans on toast, whether you like it or not. And, before you open your gob, there's nothing wrong with my cooking.”
“Thank you. A meal would be good.” There was a smile in Sam's voice.
“Knew you'd see sense.” Gene smiled and put his foot on the accelerator pedal, then pulled away from the kerb, the car lurching away into the snow.