"Give over, ya bloody great jessie." Gene near-silently scolded himself and took another long swig out of his hip flask. A part of him knew that keeping all this frustration pent in wasn't doing him any good, but the far bigger part of him chastised that as the thought of a wimpy girl, and he was no wimp! However, though he was loath to admit it, a part of him had broken when Sam had disappeared in that train tunnel, when he had thought the younger man had gone for good. Despite the fact that all they ever did was bicker, he had become incredibly fond of Sam and dreaded the thought of what would become of the station without him. Yeah his methods were weird and he relied on his 'technology' too much and had all the gut instincts of a particularly slow slug, but Gene couldn't deny that he got the job done.

He also couldn't deny that there was something about Sam that stirred him. Something that he did his best to ignore and drown out with bottle after bottle of whatever he could get his hands on. But no matter how much he drank and no matter how much he made his wife squirm and moan… his thoughts always seemed to head back to Tyler. It had been two months now since Sam had returned, and the mounting thoughts that Gene was having about him scared the shit out of him.

A knock on his office door tore him from his thoughts, and when Sam appeared in the doorway Gene cursed inwardly. Of all the times… "What the hell do you want, Tyler."

Sam's brow knotted into a frown for a moment, but then he visibly calmed as he let out a long breath. "I've come to say bye, Gov. I'm headin' off, and I doubt I'll be coming back."

Gene could feel his grip tightening around the hip flask, and he had to physically force himself to loosen his hold and not throw the damn thing at Sam's head. "What the hell d'ya mean, headin' off? You only just got back 'ere."

In the doorway Sam fidgeted his feet slightly, but there was a look of steely determination on his handsome (no stop fucking thinking like that, Gene!) features. "I came back here hoping there'd be somethin' for me, but… there just isn't. I came all this way back and nothing's changed, and I don't wanna be stuck here when there's so much still out there to see." He gave a small shrug of his narrow shoulders that made Gene once more have to fight back the urge to launch something at his face. "Anyway, my taxi's outside, so…"

Before Gene was really aware he'd moved, he'd closed the distance between his desk and the door and his right fist was bunched in the fabric of Sam's shirt, just below his throat. Never before had he felt such an intense burning rage, and he knew it was being fuelled by the feeling of his world dropping out through the bottom of his stomach. "What the fuck do you mean, Tyler? You're just leaving, after everything I –we- did for you?"

Sam tried to push Gene away, tried to dislodge the fist from his shirt, but to no avail. There were few men who could run toe-to-toe with Gene when he was royally pissed. After a few moments of failing to shove him back, Sam stopped fighting and glared at Gene. His eyes were narrow and his voice a low snarl. "You've had more than enough time and chance to give me a reason to wanna stay, but you're so blinded by your own bullshit prejudice you can't even see it."

For a long moment Gene stood stone still, his face turning crimson with rage, and when he regained his mind long enough to function again he rammed Sam back against the wall with the fist knotted in his shirt. The younger man's head made a satisfying Ithud/I against the thin wall of the office, and Gene roared at him in impotent fury. "You arrogant prick! You think just because you're from la-de-dah land where the black and white kids hold hands and everyone lives under a fucking rainbow, that everyone should just match your view? Don't you fucking dare judge me!"

Sam renewed his efforts to get Gene off him, but the DCI could tell he wasn't really trying. If he were, Sam would've headbutted him or something by now. A few moments more, and Sam stopped struggling again. "Gene, just… Just give me a reason, a real reason. That's all I want." Sam must have felt the slight loosening on the fabric of his shirt because he leant forward slightly, putting a bit of space between himself and the wall, and lifted up his wrist to glance at his watch. "Look, the taxi'll be going in a minute. It's up to you if I'm in it or not. You've had months to say somethin'… say it now before it's too late, ey?"

For a moment, just a moment, Gene thought he could almost hear a begging note in Sam's voice. Even if that had been a figment of his imagination though, the pleading was painfully evident in those hazel-brown eyes. The sight tore a hole inside him. He knew he shouldn't be feeling this way, shouldn't be even contemplating the thoughts running through his mind. Men just shouldn't feel that way about other men, it wasn't natural!

With a growl, the fist in Sam's shirt re-tightened and Gene shoved him bodily against the thin wall of the office, causing it to shudder under the impact. Sam's eyes widened and for a moment Gene thought he was going to start yelling for help. No sound left Sam's lips though; the younger man just looked resigned to his fate as his head fell to the side and his face scrunched up, clearly anticipating impact. The sight filled Gene with an utterly confusing rush of anger mixed with intense hurt. Well, if Sam was expecting an impact, Gene wasn't going to disappoint.


Sam realised all too clearly that he should have known better. A leopard couldn't change its spots, and Gene's intense bigotry was so deeply ingrained that it had become an impenetrable shield. No matter how many times he had caught Gene looking at him, no matter how blindingly obvious it was to read between the insults and backhands, Gene simply couldn't come to terms with it. Sam had known that if he had tried to instigate anything he'd have been met with scorn at best, a fight at worst. Gene had to work it out for himself, but there was only so long that Sam could wait. He'd been hoping that this push would be the key, that this forced timeframe would spark something in Gene to make him finally face the truth about himself… but of course not. It had been a desperate final attempt, and it had failed.

He really should have known better.

As Sam was rammed violently against the wall again the wind left him in a rush, his chest already feeling bruised from where the knuckles of Gene's fist dug into it. He knew exactly what was coming; he'd been on the receiving end of Gene's anger plenty of times before. It always came down to this, emotions running high fuelled by alcohol yet suppressed by learned bigotry and societal expectations. Conversations in the form of bruised ribs and bloodied knuckles. He turned his head to the side, hoping to avoid the brunt of the blow

When the impact came, Sam's shocked gasp was muffled by the fierceness of the lips pressed against his own. The kiss was rough and without kindness, lips crushing harshly against lips and teeth clacking together from the angle and mismatched timing. It was crude and uncomfortable, the taste of stale booze and cigarettes utterly vile, but Sam could not care less. All that mattered was that it was the first thing since he'd been hit by that car that actually felt real.

All too soon Gene broke the contact, the fist at Sam's neck finally dropping away as the DCI backed away a pace. The anger was still evident as day on Gene's face, but it was blurred by something else now. Confusion, and something else that Sam had not seen before… Fear. When Gene spoke it didn't sound like him, the voice shaky and concerned despite his obvious attempt to seem flippant. "That a good enough reason to tell your taxi sod off, then?"

Sam idly rubbed at his chest, cringing slightly at the tenderness there. Yeah, that was going to bruise, yet he couldn't help the small smile that curled the corner of his lips. It was going to be a very rough road ahead, but this was a start. "Plenty good enough for me, Gov… Pub?"

Gene fidgeted to straighten his tie, still clearly deeply unsettled but working overtime to try to regain his outward composure. After a long moment he gave a curt nod, his walls firmly back in place, but when Sam thought he saw Gene's gaze travel curiously over him he hoped it wasn't just his imagination. "Pub."