Gene's head snapped up at the sound of his DI's voice. Wet tears flowed freely down his face, his reddened eyes wide with shock. It looked like he might have been hopeful, except that he had given up that particular feeling when he discovered Sam's unconscious form crumpled up in the grass, wallowing in a terrifying pool of redness. Then his name, forced through obviously suppressed rictuses of pain. Not dead. Sam wasn't dead. By some miracle, the wound looked a lot worse than it was. "Christ," he whispered again, this time in sheer, unutterable relief. Alive. Sam was alive.

Looking into Sam's face, Gene read fear, regret, sadness… But something else. Gene suddenly realised exactly what he was doing; holding his DI's face with something approaching reverence, gazing deep into his eyes as a grin of relief spread across both their faces. His heart stuttered in his chest and even before he moved he knew he couldn't stop himself. Gene leaned in, very slowly, and placed a chaste kiss on Sam's pounding head.

An unassailable calm washed through him. He had done it, at long last. It didn't matter what happened next; after the fright he'd just had, nothing could throw him. He'd never known terror like it; the sight of all that blood, all of it Sam's… It was like his nightmares, but a thousand times worse. He'd felt his heart in his throat, bile burning the back of his tongue as he fought to keep his sanity intact. "I thought you were dead," he blurted out, unable to bear the silence.

Sam regarded his DCI with careful eyes. "So did I," he replied softly.