Rating: Green cortina
Word count: 1100-ish
Written for: debl_ns in the Ficathon 2012 on lifein1973
Prompt: Sam/Gene, ravenous, up to and including brown cortina
Notes: This is very late. I'm rubbish at being a pinch-hitter. Enjoy!
The noise levels in the canteen weren't any higher than usual but Sam's head was spinning. He tried to separate the chinks of cutlery and raised tones from the voices in his head, but these days he wasn't always sure which were which.
He could trust his eyes though. Gene was real, shovelling down his burgers and mash like it was going out of fashion and taking a noisy slurp of tea. Sam waited for the inevitable belch that would follow and wasn't disappointed. Ray called out, "Nice one, guv!" from across the room and Chris sniggered. He could see Annie rolling her eyes even from that distance.
"Not eating?" Gene asked.
"Not hungry," Sam admitted, pushing peas as hard as bullets around his plate.
"There's nothing of you, Sammy boy," Gene said, spearing one of Sam's burgers and putting it on his own plate. "You need some meat on your bones."
"There's more meat on my bones than in these burgers." Sam pushed his plate away with a look of disgust. "Do you know what that stuff is doing to your insides?"
"Do I look like the sort of man who cares about my insides?" Gene came back with. "As long as I can out-think and out-run the bastards in this city who think they're better than us, that's good enough for me."
"Out-think, maybe, but out-run?" Sam shook his head. "When was the last time you ran anywhere?"
"Yesterday… chasing that scumbag Slater through the shopping centre."
"And you lost him because you couldn't keep up."
"Woolies is a nightmare this time of year. He disappeared."
"You were distracted by the pick 'n' mix."
Gene didn't deny it and attacked Sam's other burger, cutting it up with fierce strokes. He chewed a couple of times before waving his fork about. "I get other exercise."
Gene leered and Sam rolled his eyes. "Oh that. I hope you're not referring to Wednesday night 'cos that was hardly a workout for you."
"I'd had a hard day."
"I noticed. I couldn't determine if those noises you were making were grunts of approval or snoring."
"Definitely approval. I don't like to interrupt a man when he's in full flow. I'm sure I thanked you properly the next morning."
"With a fry-up. And I did the washing up."
"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach, my old mum used to tell me."
"And my mum used to tell me --"
Hide those bad feelings away, Sammy.
Sam shook his head. "Huh?"
"What did your mum used to tell you? Not that I'm bothered at all, but you had that dopey look on your face. Thought you were going all loopy on us again."
"Never mind. Are we done here? We've got witnesses to interview and reports to type up."
"There's no hurry, Doris. We've got the rest of the day and you haven't eaten yet."
"I'm not --"
"Hungry. I heard you."
Gene stretched his long legs under the table; one knee touched Sam's and stayed there, at once comforting and disconcerting. Sam knew he should pull away, afraid that someone would see this small show of intimacy, but he wanted the closeness, the support that Gene gave so rarely in public.
Gwen bustled by, clearing and wiping tables. Sam put his unfinished plate on her trolley and she clicked her tongue at him.
Waste not, want not, Sam.
"DI Tyler, you don't eat enough to keep a sparrow alive," she admonished.
Sam tried to look apologetic and Gene said, "It's his time of the month, love. It affects him that way." He handed over his empty plate to her and she beamed.
"It's a pleasure to feed you, DCI Hunt. Doesn't matter what I serve up, you always eat it."
"I appreciate a good meal," Gene said and winked. "Don't suppose you've got a couple of portions of treacle pudding put to one side, have you? Girl on the counter says you're all out, but you're bound to have some stashed away, eh?"
"Seeing as it's you," she said, lowering her voice and patting him on the shoulder, "I'll see what I can find."
"Two portions?" Sam queried when she was out of earshot.
Gene waved his hand between the two of them. "One for you, one for me. We've got a good afternoon's work ahead of us. You're not going to keep up with me on a mouthful of mashed spuds and a forkful of peas."
"It's my mum's birthday today."
"Well, happy birthday, Mrs Tyler," Gene said, dryly, keeping up with Sam's change of subject. "Are you going to see her?"
Sam shook his head. "No. She wouldn't know me now."
"Gone a bit funny, has she? Had an aunt like that. At the end she didn't even know my cousin, her own daughter. Poor cow."
"No, it's…. no. She….. I left her."
Gene shot him a strange look, and Sam was rescued from the conversation by Gwen bearing down on them clutching two steaming bowls of treacle pudding and custard.
"Gwen, my love, you are a treasure," Gene declared, taking the bowls from her and setting them on the table. In doing so, he shifted his legs away from Sam and the space grew cold.
Gwen smiled, a flush appearing on her powdered cheeks. "Make sure DI Tyler gets his portion," she instructed, pointing her damp dishcloth at Sam.
"Oh, I'll make sure he gets his portion alright," Gene said in a voice laden with innuendo.
Her smile faltered and she moved to the next table, wiping it down with efficient strokes, before going on to the next.
"So," Gene said, around a mouthful of custard. "Interviews with witnesses and the victim's parents, then back here so you can type them up and make them sound poncey enough to give Rathbone an orgasm."
"That sounds like a good plan to me."
Finish your pudding, then you can go out to play.
"And after that…"
"After I've typed up my notes and yours?"
"Yes. You can tell me about your old mum and why you're not going to see her on her birthday."
Sam stared, spoon halfway to his mouth.
"Or," Gene continued, "we could join the rest of our team at the pub, drink to absent friends and family, get rat-arsed and stagger home together. Your choice."
"The second one," Sam said, recovering quickly. "Get drunk, go home and have wild monkey sex on the kitchen table."
"Steady on," Gene said. "I didn't say anything about sex."
"You told Gwen you'd give me a portion," Sam told him, licking golden syrup off his spoon.
"You've got a filthy mind, DI Tyler," Gene said, approvingly.
Sam grinned and pushed away his empty bowl. "Eat up, Gene. My appetite has suddenly come back."