I went over my last story again and came to some conclusions about it. First, posting it was a bad idea because it was largely the wrong audience. Second, I saw that some of my comments were not worded tactfully, and might be easily misunderstood. Third, looking over the story itself, I decided I really hated everything about it, so I deleted it. I'm sure some people found it crass and insensitive, but I don't think I am. Crass and insensitive, that is.

So, moving forward from that misadventure, I'm trying again in a completely different direction. I hope people will like this one better. It borrows a little concept from Billy Joel's "Tell Her About It."

Warning: gets a little slashy, but nothing graphic.

I'm Always Here

DCI Gene Hunt was in no hurry to go home. Most of the CID team had shuffled out some time ago, but at least his DI was still at the bar... sober, for some reason.

Gene shuffled over to Sam and sat next to him, steadying himself with an elbow on the bar. "Something wrong with your drink?" he asked.

"No," Sam answered, tipping his glass in a circular pattern. "Only it's warm now."

"Is that still your first?"

"Technically. But it was a double."

Gene felt offended at Sam's lack of tipsiness. "I don't drink alone, and I don't drunk alone," he declared.

Sam scoffed. "You drink alone all the time. You're a walking liquor cabinet."

Why was everyone being so contrary today? "Nelson, get DI Tyler a fresh scotch, there's a good man."

"No," Sam protested. "I don't need..."

"I'm paying," said Gene, tossing a coin on the counter without bothering to check its denomination.

Nelson murmured something about Gene's tab and got Sam the drink.

"I told you, I don't need it," Sam said obstinately. "I didn't drink this one because I didn't feel like it."

Gene took the glass out of Sam's hand and set it out of his reach, nearly losing it over the side of the bar. Then he took the new one and placed it in Sam's hand.

Sam shot a glance at Nelson and then took a sip of the scotch.

It was the last straw. He, Gene, had been nice enough to buy Sam a drink. Sam couldn't just accept it. Noooo, he had to look at the bartender, had to consider that it might be insulting the man's product if he didn't drink it—never mind insulting his DCI. Gene knocked the glass out of Sam's grasp while he was still drinking from it, and he heard a cringe-worthy clink of glass on teeth before the thunk-crash of it hitting the bar and then the floor. He worked his fingers around a nice grip of jacket and shirt and prepared to let his subordinate feel his wrath.

"Hey now," came the easy-going tones of Nelson. "You better not be about to fight in my pub... else I'll be forced to call the police." He pointed a no-nonsense finger at Gene.

"I am the police," Gene growled. Somehow it annoyed him that Sam wasn't struggling. "Fine, we'll take it outside," he decided.

"Guv," Sam protested.

"Don't you 'Guv' me, you wanker!" Gene got off his stool and dragged Sam toward the door (though in retrospect he thought Sam had guided him more than the other way around).

Once outside, Gene intended to throw Sam against the nearest wall... What actually happened was Sam throwing Gene against the wall instead. He was caught completely off guard.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" Sam demanded. "Even pissed, you're not usually this bad."

"What's wrong with me?" Gene laughed derisively. "It's not me, is it? It's her."

It didn't take Sam long to work out what that meant—a testament to his qualifications as a detective. "You've had a fight with the missus?"

"Nothing new there."

"You should go home."

"No; I'll stay at the office until she gets over it. She always does."

Sam's defiant stance withered a little and he moved to lean against the wall next to Gene. "Look, a lot of couples end up separating because they take one another for granted. You expect her to 'get over it'... maybe she's wishing you'd be the one to make the first step. One of these days she might give up. Even if you think you've done everything right, will that make it easier to let her go?"

The ponce had left himself wide open. Never one to miss an opportunity, Gene elbowed Sam hard in the gut. While the younger man was doubled over in pain, he said, "Ever been married, Tyler? What makes you the bloody expert?"

"I'm... just trying to help," Sam gasped. Slowly, he got his wind back. Instead of retaliating or making a break for it, he simply leaned back against the wall again, looking at Gene with his self-righteous concern.

Gene had a hard time remembering what he had done when he had a fight with the wife before... before Sam, that is. It was so good to have someone to take out his frustration on. He grabbed Sam by the nape of the neck with one hand.

Sam still didn't struggle; just kept looking at him in the yellow glow from the pub windows, eyes shining under furrowed brow.

Gene leaned forward and pressed his mouth to Sam's. Least you're good for something, sodding fairy.

This time Sam did struggle, pulling to the side and staring at Gene in surprise. "Gene..."

"Shh. Don't say anything." Gene renewed the kiss, slipping his tongue out to run along Sam's lips, searching for a point of entry. When Sam didn't give in to his demands, Gene stepped up the pressure and made it as far as Sam's teeth—that ended the struggle. Tooth-licking wasn't something Gene found arousing, and it was clear he wouldn't get any further without a little more drastic action.

He moved his free hand to Sam's face and found it burning to the touch. "Why so hot, Sammy-boy?"

"Gene, do you love your wife?"

"How dare you ask such a personal, intrusive, queer, Dorothy sort of question?" Gene had Sam pinned against the wall now.

Back to his long-suffering hero stoicism, Sam continued. "If you love her, you should go home to her. Now."

Sam's face swam in Gene's vision and he blinked to clear it. Sam looked so sincere. So calm, in spite of knowing he could be beaten to a lumpy puddle at any moment. A little later, Gene couldn't remember what he'd been going to hit Sam for, anyway. He relaxed his grip. "I can't," he said.

"Yes you can, Guv. She'll take you back, you'll see. Don't stay at the office..."

"I mean, I can't drive in this condition. I bloody kissed you. You trust me behind the wheel of a motor vehicle?"

Sam's mouth curved upward. "That is a point, isn't it? And you're always saying I'm the poof. Why do you hate them so much if even you act like them now and again?"

"Don't hate 'em," Gene muttered. "Just don't understand 'em."

Eyes widening momentarily in pleased surprise, Sam said, "I think that's the most compassionate thing I've ever heard you say. We need to get you drunk more often."

"Shut up or I'll knock you on your arse. You going to drive me or what?"

"Yes, I'll drive you."

Sam didn't try any more of the girly relationship stuff until he had stopped in front of Gene's house. He looked over at him in silence for a moment before saying, "I'm always here, Gene. You don't have to always deal with things on your own."

"Too right, you're always here. Can't seem to get rid of you."

"Tell me about it," Sam muttered. Another of the out-of-place, nonsensical things that Sam Tyler was wont to say.

Gene couldn't be bothered trying to work out what it meant. "Thanks for the lift. Oh, and if you so much as think of telling anyone about what happened outside the Arms..."

"I know," Sam said, lifting a hand to ward off the threats. "You'll cut something off me and feed it to me, or take some part of me and shove it into some other part of me. Got it."

"Cheeky sod." He reached over to shove Sam's head... or maybe to fondly muss his hair, he thought later... hangovers make remembering details difficult.

And so does makeup sex with the missus.

Please leave a review if you liked it or if you noticed any errors that need fixing. I'm writing late at night.

Also, feel free to suggest ideas for more stories. I don't want to start another chaptered fic until I finish one of my others, but I'll do one-shots or possibly two-parters.